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Woe, woe is me (vent)

Pathfinder Society GM Discussion

Lantern Lodge *

Woe, woe to the GM whose tables refuse to show! 3 events in a row have failed to happen because not enough players have showen up! Three adventures that I was greatly looking forward to running, that I had carefully prepared for, that I had enough people promise to show up to, that have all failed to appear at the appointed hour, or even called in advance to say, "oops can't come"! GRRRR, I find myself both saddened and annoyed at this turn of events. I realize real life happens but it would be nice to have some warning so that I can plan accordingly. The upshot is that I have not hired a babysitter each of those times and so didn't have to pay for one or feel like a loser for canceling.

Sovereign Court ***** Venture-Captain, Florida—Jacksonville aka Corax "the honest thief"

i am.sorry. you are not the only one. one of my buddys is facing the same deal. he is starting at a new shop. gets some people wbo say they are going to show. no show all day. next weekend he has 2 people walk in. bam the other three who said they could make it. not a peep. it happens. it would be nice if they would call the shop or drop a email before hand. sadly it just happens. if the shoe was on the other foot and they showed and you didnt. their would be a nasty post. best i can say is roll with it. just remember next time who it is that signs up. good luck. i am hoping i can make itlater today to show support, but he knows that iam coming in from sea so he gots the 411. sometimes works says no way

Sovereign Court ***** Venture-Captain, Florida—Jacksonville aka Corax "the honest thief"

on the plus side those who did show but still couldnt run came back because he kept coming back and were willing to take a chance on him. so keep posting and setting up events. cause the people who do want to play will appreciate you and make the effort because you are. others will see that and people will respond. it took him a month to get this far. in another month he could have 2 tables full and be needing another dm. you may be suprisied next event. is there a vc or vl you can ask for help in your area? dont get discourged. sometimes it just takes a bit of time.

Sczarni ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Pullman aka Coraith

If you are doing this at a Shop somewhere, bring in some other board games that only take 1-2 people to play in case this happens in the future. Then you at least get to have some fun. I hope you get some more people to play with you soon.


I have been in the same situation.

My experience was in a new location, players would routinely say they would play and they wouldn't show up. After about a month of showing up without enough players I stopped supporting that store. 2 other GM's tried to continue to support the store with the same results.

So if I could give you some advice, bring some fast simple game to play while you wait for players. Also try to change the hours or the day that you play, or the number of times a month you could run. My experience the location I was at was 11 am on a sunday, every week.

If I could go back and offer advice to myself, I would of immediately changed it to every other week or not consider those players as rsvping. As well as trying to advertise the event at other places.

Lantern Lodge *

great suggestions, thank you for the support. Right now, this is going on with my home group, I really hope that once I feel confident enough in my abilities to take the game public this won't happen as often.

Grand Lodge **** Regional Venture-Coordinator, South aka Thorkull

If these are friends of yours then the best advice I can offer to you is to discuss it with them and explain how you feel. Explain that failing to call or otherwise contact you to cancel is inconsiderate of your time and the effort you put into preparing the games. Ask them if they are serious about playing. If not, then stop inviting them.

Dark Archive **** Venture-Agent, Colorado—Colorado Springs aka Dust Raven

Talk to the guy behind the counter. If he sells Pathfinder merchandise (and he should!) ask if you could put up a flyer and see if he can point it out to anyone coming in to buy Pathfinder stuff. Shop owners like to sell things, and if they can get a customer to come in regularly for a game, that same customer may come in regularly to buy stuff too.

Grand Lodge **** Regional Venture-Coordinator, South aka Thorkull

Dust Raven wrote:
Talk to the guy behind the counter.
Xera wrote:
Right now, this is going on with my home group

There is no "guy behind the counter" in this case.

Dark Archive **** Venture-Agent, Colorado—Colorado Springs aka Dust Raven

Jonathan Cary wrote:
Dust Raven wrote:
Talk to the guy behind the counter.
Xera wrote:
Right now, this is going on with my home group
There is no "guy behind the counter" in this case.

Hehe. I missed that part. :)

In that case, Xera, take your game to a place where there is a guy behind a counter, then read my previous post. :p



I'm the guy James is talking about. I've been working Gamer Apocalypse, with the GREAT and AWESOME support of the store staff, for nearly 2 months. It takes time, communication and a HELL of a lot of determination to keep coming back.

I've done two sessions in the last 3 weeks now and am feeling a lot better. (Intro to the Lore and Goblin Guild)

The way it paid off (for me) was to put up flyers at the store, register the event here on THIS site ahead of time

(example: the event schedule for this month)

Additional things to do is talk to your Venture Officers (My new VC was very helpful), look for sites taht cover your areas (Game store pages, their Facebook pages, Forum sites that cover your region (for Example.. I use the Florida FPS site)

Put that data on your flyer.. make an email you want FPS stuff to come at and be prepared to do a bit of weddling and grumping till the routine pulls in folks.

Lantern Lodge *

Thanks guys for the support. Once I get my friends to stop being annoying ag get through the First Steps Series, I think I will work on making my games public. I'm thinking we will be meeting in a coffee shop instead of a game store. Here are my reasons for this: 1) I can really only gm on Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons; notoriously bad times to try to get into already full game stores (also, I checked our game stores are really full at that time) 2) this particular coffee shop is centrally located a plus when half the known group is really north and the other half is really south or quite outlying, also the game stores that *might* have room are not conveniently located for anyone, especially me 3) this coffee shop has rooms available for groups that are large enough to hold two tables running simultaneously if we ever get that large.
Anyone have any thoughts on this idea? Input is always welcome especially from those who are doing the majority of the leg work for getting PFS started in an area. =)

Grand Lodge *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Tales Subscriber


The important bit is - get to critical mass so that you can afford someone not showing up.

I noticed that I have three kind of players
a) players you truly can rely on - they are there every time.
b) players not that fanatic to play - they might not come often - but if they say they come
c) unreliable ones

Interestingly I have seen players alternate between a) and c) depending on new girl friends mainly.

Each of the above types has their own issues.

a) will be a burden long term - as these are the players who at some stage 'have played everything'
b) they are great to keep it fresh. But they seldom reach higher level play
c) unfortunately sometimes you just rely on these until you reached critical mass with a) and b)

Right now I lost three type a) one he moved away, one has played all low level and one got a girl friend and turned c)

So it is rebuilding time for the group. I moved one type b) to a) and after failing to get someone showing up for 2 years he suddenly seems to go for a) as well. Off course he is not yet higher level and we will see.

One option for home game I have. My wife and son play as well. My wife is the one who played everything - but I'm experienced enough to change scenario last minute and parachute her in if this keeps a table up to level.
With my son I allowed him to play with the adults (evening game) as a special treat. I stopped it at the moment as he has started secondary school with a lot of work load and he needs to be up early each day. But I might get back on him.

Apart of that - well - I'm in recruitment mode. And once I have enough players again c) type ones will start not getting an invite first if the table is full - until they show initiative or I need them.

Might not sound fair - but they are the first I cut if I get above 6.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Canada—Quebec

Been their, a lot...

I find that using a Facebook group event or something similar and asking peoples to reserve their place reduce no-shows.

If I end up with 1 or 2 players, I will do a rules workshop of some kind. Things like build characters on Herolab on my laptop, character audit, build suggestions... New players love that :) then I run small encounters to teach tactics or I talk about Golarion lore pertinent.

Doing that may even get you a walk in to replace your no-show.

If I have someone late and the base prep is done, I talk background. For example, this year, I have been doing a tour of Magnimar.

Grand Lodge **** Venture-Agent, Nevada—Las Vegas aka kinevon

@Zera: The main thing to remember, especially for some place like a coffee shop, is to make sure everyone polices up afterwards. Not giving the staff extra work is one way to make sure they look forward to you coming back, and can even turn them into advocates for your group.

That also means moving tables and chairs back to the way they were setup when you arrived, not leaving them how you want them, since the next people to use the room will probably need the room in its standard configuration, rather than RPG configuration.

The second thing, since they are a coffee shop, is to try and make sure everyone knows not to bring outside food or drink, if possible, but to purchase from the coffee shop. Again, if you add to their business without adding unnecessary work, they will be happier to see you.

Third, schmooze the staff. If you can, visit on other days, not just game days. Remember to tip, and remind your players to tip, as well. Again, the happier the staff are to see you, the more smoothly things will go on game days. Don't forget to mention that they can join you, as long as it doesn't interfere with their work.

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