Questions to ask new players for a new group?


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Im kinda building some questions so I have a good train of though about a new game group. This Saturday im meeting some perspective people for a new game im running and hosting at my house so here is what I have so far please tell me other ones

Roleplaying Questions
#1 What are thoughts on LARPing?
#2 What is a Munchkin to you?
#3 What is the Difference between a Mid Maxer and an Optimizer?
#4 Should every character be effective in both combat and noncombat situations?
#5 Can you still be a good roleplayer if you also try to make an optimized character?

Non Roleplaying Questions
#1 What do you do for a living?
#2 Do you smoke or drink and do you have a problem with someone who does if you dont?


I also added
#6 What are your thoughts on the Leadership feat and how should it be used?


I wonder if this is just a horrible topic or the mix of being in gamer talk and gen con news no one is looking down here for things

Sovereign Court

Heya Joey. I tend to screen potential gamers through PFS or meetups and one shots. The problem is everybody has different definitions of munchkin and optimizing. I have found that the proof is in the play and I let these things come out in one shots or modules. My experience is that I cant take a new acquaintance at their word about things until we have some common ground.

The drink and smoke is probably a pretty good one. Some folks wont want to be around smokers and if a smoker has to take breaks you will want to plan it so its not disruptive. Bad drunks are no fun during any activity certainly not gaming. Probably the only question I would ask


I'll bite.

Here are my answers:

Part 1
#1- stands for 'live action role playing'. Not my bag, but hey, I don't judge.
#2- New England for donut holes.
#3- idk, you tell me.
#4- nope. Tell Smashy over there to shut his mouth and let the Talky Lady get him a new Smasher from the Ugly Man in the Loud Place of Shiny.
#5- Sure 'nuff.
#6- only in a party or situation where the GM sees fit; parties of 4 or less I think it's OK, above 5 no way unless it's crucial- "Dude- we need a healer!" But, overall, DM's decision. I'm also of the mind that the DM should create the cohort, but it's OK to let the player run it.

Part 2
#1- work
#2- it's your house. I don't smoke, but once did; social drinking is OK so long as no one gets belligerent. Smoke is cloudy, though. I'd prefer regular smoke breaks outside.

Am I in?

I'm not sure exactly what you're trying to parse from your questions. I'm guessing you're trying to find out what the potential player's projection is as far as 'play style?'

When you start to throw out the Munchkin/Min-Max stuff, you're looking for negatives in a player; you are also using gamer-speak that might not be well-understood by the potential player. To a potential player, it says you're preoccupied with a compatibility to a style over adaptive gameplay.

Would you be better served to find out the player's last campaign and how long it/they lasted, their favorite class and or race, least favorite quality in other gamers? Perhaps their best and worst GM or Player story? A memorable character or campaign they played in? Have they ever GM'd themselves? Favorite spell/trick/weapon/companion/etc.?

Building confidence like this is a more subtle way to find out if a potential player is a "power gamer" or a donut hole, no?


1. Do you plan on LARP? You said you are hosting the game. I'm pretty sure if players wanted to LARP, I"d tell them: Not In my house. I have nothing against LARP. Just not in my house. Honestly, I don't think I'd even bring to topic up, unless I wanted to do it myself.

2. Wouldn't ask this either. You will find out when they play. I doubt anyone goes around saying: "Yeah, I'm a Munchkin."

Actually, why even grill your players? Just have them roll up some characters and start in.

I would expect smokers to go outside for their cigi breaks. Probably no drinking allowed either. I'd most likely want them to go home after the game wraps up, and drunk driving is never a wise choice.


I'm trying to weed through. Like. 8 or 10 people who want to play and I only want four or five players and I'm bringing them over to my house where my wife and two young kids are
I personally am an optimizer and I optimize the adventure paths so I want to make sure the players make at least some what effective characters so they all enjoy the game.

I don't mind power gamers


The LARP question has to do with prior experience most LARPers I have gamed with didn't mesh well with how I run and play games


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Other than fixing a few typos, those look like good questions. A few others I'd ask might be:

  1. When at the game table, what are you doing with your phone/tablet/laptop?
  2. Do you have any favorite party roles? If so, why?
  3. What is your favorite campaign style? Kick-in-the-door, heavy roleplaying, urban, wilderness, etc.
  4. Are there any houserules you've used in other groups that you particularly like? If so, what was it and why does it appeal to you?
  5. What is your availability?
  6. Batman or Superman? ;)
  7. What questions do you have for me and/or other potential players?


Are you going to GM as well as host?
Because if you're GM you can TELL THEM what the playstyle will be, and they can decide for themselves if its what they'd like.

Otherwise there are generally 2 types of questions:

1. What is your preferred playstyle:
A. Mostly combat with optimization? Lots of social/mystery solving/roleplay? Or some blend of the two?
B. I think your question about favorite houserules is a good one.
bi. opinions on critical hits/ critical fumbles?
b2. leveling up: everyone levels together when GM feels its appropriate, or XP?
b3. dice rolls must be rolled in front of GM to be counted?
b4. how are player absences going to be handled? and do they get the same xp as everyone else?

2. Other major category is courtesy:
A. do you smoke or drink while gaming?
B. opinion on phones/laptops/tablets?
C. appropriate warning of non-attendance/lateness (sure, anyone can have a *real* emergency. but generally, what will be the accepted time to notify the group/GM of non-attendance?
D. if there is a frequent absence by a player, how many are allowed before replacing with a more available player?
E. how is inviting players significant other to be handled? (drop-by bored girlfriends who want the players attention all to themselves can be disruptive. i say this as a long-time female player myself. someone who's genuinely interested in joining the game is different.) just saying talk about it ahead of time.

Maybe committee or essay questionnaire isn't the best way to handle this. Take a look at lots of boards about what is considered the polite standard. No one agrees.

So I suggest instead that you say... politely, courteously...my house, my rules.

Not so bluntly. But along the line of "THIS is the kind of game I would like to play, and THESE are some guidelines for how I'd like us to treat each other. Would anyone like to make additional suggestions?"


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Here is an idea that myself and another GM have used. I actually got it from him. When you have your Meet and Greet, have it away from your house at a public venue. That is mainly if you have never met these potential players before. If you have a FLGS nearby, have it there.

The purpose is to protect your family. Do you really want someone who you decide to not invite to know where you live? I know this sounds sort of paranoid, but it is actually just being cautious.


Make friends and influence players, a survey of questions which they might get wrong is not a great start.


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Seems backwards to me. Feels like the players should be asking the questions.

Might I suggest you tell the players about yourself first. Tell them what kind of game you like to run, what kind of stories you like to tell, what players can do to inspire you and what they can do to draw your ire.

Keep it casual and a meet up at a public place as Silverhair2008 wisely suggested.

-MD


silverhair2008 wrote:

Here is an idea that myself and another GM have used. I actually got it from him. When you have your Meet and Greet, have it away from your house at a public venue. That is mainly if you have never met these potential players before. If you have a FLGS nearby, have it there.

The purpose is to protect your family. Do you really want someone who you decide to not invite to know where you live? I know this sounds sort of paranoid, but it is actually just being cautious.

Yeah we are meeting at a local game store that's why im asking these questions


3.5 Loyalist wrote:
Make friends and influence players, a survey of questions which they might get wrong is not a great start.

These Questions are more then likely just going to be for me kinda a guide on what to ask the players

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

if you're really concerned about this, first write up your preferences/thoughts/expectations.

See who is still interested.

After that, if you still need to weed anyone out, I would suggest you run a module or something as a one off, in the public venue, on a second date. Let everyone you don't object to come - it'll be tough to run, but hey, it's just a one off.

This will give you time to see if there's anything worrisome or creepy about them that makes you uncomfortable having them in your home. it lets you test the waters on their game style and expectations. It lets you see if people actually show up. Bonus points if your wife can join for a bit. See if her "creep-meter" goes off.

We had this one security guard at my apartment complex that gave me the creeps. in a large mixed group, I mentioned the "serial killer security guy". That was the sum total of my description. Every woman in the group immediately knew who I was referring to. None of the men had felt anything was off.

YOu might also judge if the players will be able to handle children in the house. Some are cool, some are indifferent, and some don't like it.


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I second Jess' mention of if possible have your wife at the meet and greet. She will let you know if anyone doesn't feel right to her.

Remember the old saying about not messing with Mama Bear when her cubs are around.


I've been following silverhair's advice for years -- since before he and Jess were players in my game, in fact! -- and have never gone wrong with it.

Spoiler:
Previously, my wife and I met Houstonderek for coffee at a gelato shop before I agreed to game with him; I met silverhair in that game, along with another guy I ended up not inviting to mine. Jess Door was recommended by both HD and silverhair, so she had rock-solid credentials. They all three ended up being awesome players and good people. Conversely, I met another applicant for lunch, realized he wasn't someone I'd want to hang out with socially, and sort of neglected to invite him after that -- and never regretted the decision.

Honestly, I don't even care that much about their attitudes towards the game (as long as they're willing to give my zany houserules a try!). What I care about is whether I really want to spend 4- or 6-hour blocks of time with them, whether they make me laugh or creep me out, and so on. And, yeah, Mrs Gersen is often as good or better a judge of that than I am, even though she doesn't play.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Good thread for me, as I'm meeting up with a new group Monday for dinner. :)

You should actually ask how comfortable they are with the rules and how long they've been playing, so you know how much help they will need.


I have to admit, I have no idea how TOZ ended up at my table -- I don't remember meeting him socially beforehand (nothing personal -- as I get older, I'm finding I don't remember a lot of things!).

Anyway, that's one of the few times I broke my own rules, but in retrospect I'm glad as hell I did. So, maybe, having general rules you're willing to break isn't too bad a thing.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

No, I think we met at that Greek place, with the outside seating so we didn't have to leave Ozzy at home.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
No, I think we met at that Greek place, with the outside seating so we didn't have to leave Ozzy at home.

Aha! I believe you are correct, sir! And Suz and I had a very nice time.

But, just to prove my memory isn't totally shot, it was Bosnian, not Greek! ;)

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

You aren't the only one with memory bank problems. :P


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

To the OP...

Some other things to consider:

Are there any themes or types of storylines that are off-limits?

What do they feel about horror elements in the game?

How do you feel about facing obstacles from which characters should really flee?

Evil characters: Allowed/encouraged or not?

Be sure to explain the basic theme and setting of the game you plan to run, and let the players craft characters that will work in that setting. Ask how the players feel about the possiblity of you rejecting a potential character, or requiring modifications. (e.g. if you're planning your campaign about a huge underground dungeon-crawl with lots of restricted space, you should discourage the players from bringing a cavalier.)

What happens to PCs with absent players? If the answer is "GM runs as an NPC," how will a player react if his character gets killed when the player isn't present?

Also, I would make a general assessment of the potential players' general level of maturity. (i.e you act like a 12-year-old when things don't go your way, you don't get a spot in my game!)


silverhair2008 wrote:

I second Jess' mention of if possible have your wife at the meet and greet. She will let you know if anyone doesn't feel right to her.

Remember the old saying about not messing with Mama Bear when her cubs are around.

She is already planning on being there and she is a psychologist so she can read people like a book (while she checks out her comics)


here is where i am now

Roleplaying Questions
#1 What are your thoughts on LARPing?
#2 When at the game table, what are you doing with your phone/tablet/laptop?
#3 What is the Difference between a Mid Maxer and an Optimizer?
#4 Should every character be effective in both combat and noncombat situations?
#5 Can you still be a good roleplayer if you also try to make an optimized character?
#6 What are your thoughts on the Leadership feat and how should it be used?
#7 What are your thoughts on Player deaths?
#8 Do you have any favorite party roles? If so, why?
#9 What is your favorite campaign style? Kick-in-the-door, heavy roleplaying, urban, wilderness, etc.
#10 Are there any house rules you've used in other groups that you particularly like? If so, what was it and why does it appeal to you?
#11 What questions do you have for me and/or other potential players?

Non Roleplaying Questions
#1 What do you do for a living?
#2 Do you smoke or drink and do you have a problem with someone who does if you dont?
#3 What is your availability?

Other things about the game to talk about
A. Dice rolls need to be rolled in front of the GM or multiple players to be counted
B. How are player absences going to be handled? and do they get the same xp as everyone else?
C. After player death how much treasure does the incoming new character receive?What do we do with his old treasure?
D. How do you want to sort party treasure?
E. What is appropriate warning of non-attendance/lateness (sure, anyone can have a *real* emergency.) but generally, what will be the accepted time to notify the group/GM of non-attendance?
F. If there is a frequent absence by a player, how many should be allowed before replacing with a more available player?


PCs should die when:
a. The dice say they should
b. Only when it is dramatically appropriate
c. Only when they do something stupid/make a sufficient mistake

You really need to know this about your players and be on the same page with them---or at least willing to 'disagree and commit'.
Related to this question is the level of difficulty desired of the game itself.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Joey Virtue wrote:
#3 What is the Difference between a Mid Maxer and an Optimizer?

Trick question to see if anyone is a spelling Nazi? ;-)


This smells of too much lawful to me.

:P


Seems like you're in a bit of a different position then I am when it comes to forming groups (I'll get 1-2 new players from my college's club every year or so, most of the time it's by personal invitation). The only questions I really ask are:

1) Have you played Tabletop games before?
2) What games/version are you familiar with?
3) What sort of game are you looking to play?

The last being the most important one, because I like to create campaigns for characters and not have players do it the other way around, with one exception where the campaign is going to be a part of my senior thesis.


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@ Kirth,
Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate it. Your game was interesting and fun, but my Grouchy Old Fart brain couldn't learn 2 systems at the same time. I was trying to learn Pathfinder and Warriorcraft.


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Maybe I GM a different way then most people do, but about the only questions about play style that I ask my players is what kind of game are they interested in playing? Do they want a dungeon crawl? Do they want a heavy role play game? Somewhere in the middle (which is the usual response)? Do they want a more seriously themed game with political and moral dilemmas periodically, or maybe a more ridiculous/humerous game with an emphasis on the silly? Do they want to play a game that is hard (your character has a legitmiate chance of dying every night), or more easy (you'd have to do something outlandishly stupid for me to kill your character)? Once I got those questions down how they choose to play doesn't bother me so long as it's legal and they don't piss off my other players, ie PVP.


I've seen pvp become really justified. A good pc standing with good npcs against an evil pc and his band of soldiers trying to become the new tyrant of the region.

This was not my setup, this is what the pcs went for in a sandbox.

Another one, and a question. Is pvp justified if a pc burninates innocents?

So questions could be asked around this, but I prefer to just let the game develop, the players take it in what direction they want, and I the dm will try to keep up.


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3.5 Loyalist wrote:

I've seen pvp become really justified. A good pc standing with good npcs against an evil pc and his band of soldiers trying to become the new tyrant of the region.

This was not my setup, this is what the pcs went for in a sandbox.

Another one, and a question. Is pvp justified if a pc burninates innocents?

So questions could be asked around this, but I prefer to just let the game develop, the players take it in what direction they want, and I the dm will try to keep up.

I never prevent PvP from happening. It rarely comes up as it is, but when it does, it's ALWAYS because PC A knowingly tried to do or did something PC B is morally against, and has to deal with the consequences. They can work it out for themselves.


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You know what I find funny about PvP?
I'm less hostile to the notion that probably 90% of the GMs I know, but I actually experience far LESS of it than most of them do.

The reason why is that as a GM I seriously frown on players attempting to exploit the 'PC' stamp on their character's forehead. A party in being isn't required to accept any new character from any player. I won't play narrative games generally to browbeat the other players into green-lighting your character. If, for instance, the four characters that form your group 'The Party of Four' want to expand to 'Party of Five', and you're making a new character, it must be at least reasonably credible that you're what they'd choose based on the options available to them. Pretty much never will you have a stalwart paladin in one of my games answering the question---why are you adventuring with those amoral rogues? with---well, they're PCs and social conventions require I game with them. This lack of default acceptance of new characters (or even of the other characters at game start, we generally have a metagame discussion on why these characters will throw in together prior to character generation) seriously cuts down the motivation for PvP. If you had the choice, would you create an unstable powderkeg of rage?


Ellis Mirari wrote:
3.5 Loyalist wrote:

I've seen pvp become really justified. A good pc standing with good npcs against an evil pc and his band of soldiers trying to become the new tyrant of the region.

This was not my setup, this is what the pcs went for in a sandbox.

Another one, and a question. Is pvp justified if a pc burninates innocents?

So questions could be asked around this, but I prefer to just let the game develop, the players take it in what direction they want, and I the dm will try to keep up.

I never prevent PvP from happening. It rarely comes up as it is, but when it does, it's ALWAYS because PC A knowingly tried to do or did something PC B is morally against, and has to deal with the consequences. They can work it out for themselves.

Yeah, that is my take on it as well.


EWHM wrote:

You know what I find funny about PvP?

I'm less hostile to the notion that probably 90% of the GMs I know, but I actually experience far LESS of it than most of them do.

The reason why is that as a GM I seriously frown on players attempting to exploit the 'PC' stamp on their character's forehead. A party in being isn't required to accept any new character from any player. I won't play narrative games generally to browbeat the other players into green-lighting your character. If, for instance, the four characters that form your group 'The Party of Four' want to expand to 'Party of Five', and you're making a new character, it must be at least reasonably credible that you're what they'd choose based on the options available to them. Pretty much never will you have a stalwart paladin in one of my games answering the question---why are you adventuring with those amoral rogues? with---well, they're PCs and social conventions require I game with them. This lack of default acceptance of new characters (or even of the other characters at game start, we generally have a metagame discussion on why these characters will throw in together prior to character generation) seriously cuts down the motivation for PvP. If you had the choice, would you create an unstable powderkeg of rage?

Yep, and this is why the party, not the dm, can be the best at preventing troublesome characters from joining and messing up a group.

Does the new guy seem insane/unstable/overly greedy/too proud and likely to be a hassle? Cool, they don't take them on board. And to the next scene.

If the rejected characters follows them and starts something, well xp is xp, clearly their leave them behind decision was the best one (assuming they survive the solitary pc ambush).


You know, I've run hiring task forces at work before--interviewed lots of people. Never have I been attacked or even spoken to rudely by anyone who didn't get the job. The probability that a player who has a rejected PC attack the rejecting party is metagaming is very very high.


Well that is a different situation, involving a workplace with security and workplace mores, contrasted to a recreation space with very light sanctions for being a dick.

If their super special PG spreadsheet is not welcome, and they feel they have nothing to lose... Well I've seen some get (pc) self destructive while rping.


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Our group had lost a few players and we decided we need to find some new people. It was very daunting as we all knew eachother for at least 15 years.

We found Mothman and then Dementrius from the Paizo boards, I had a history of their posts to check out.

Mothy was the first recruit, the group being very democratic all wanted to meet him on neutral ground before we invited him to play.... Poor old Mothy ended up at the pub 4 times because the group couldn't sync up times.

Glad to say that both Mothy and Dementrius have fit in so well that we forget they haven't been with us since the beginning.


Back when I had a LOT more time for gaming, I used to go to local RPG conventions with an eye towards finding suitable players for miniseries and short campaigns I'd run. It didn't really matter all that much which RPG they were playing, gaming with them as a fellow player a time or two was an excellent litmus test in both directions with them rarely even recognizing that one was being done. I suppose you could probably use PFS in a similar manner, although I've yet to do that. Maybe when my three kids are a bit older.


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Joey Virtue wrote:
#7 What are your thoughts on Player deaths?

Dude, if one of your players dies, I'd think you could forget the game for a couple of days and attend the funeral.

Sovereign Court

When I screen players for our group here is what I do.

I tell them all about the group, the background of it and each person (How long each of us have played and our experiences. I explain why we are looking for people. I explain the games and type of games we play and give them a little back ground on those games. I then start asking them about themselves. How long they have played, what games they play, what style of game they like. I explain based on that more information and that we love to RP but we do have combat that we balance it. I explain that we do a meal and everyone brings an item to make that meal. If with the 30+ minute conversation or emails back and forth I feel they might be a fit, I send them the group forum address which has rules for the group (drinking, smoking, hygiene, etc)If I hear back from them we try them out. Everyone has a 7 game trial period that either they or we can end at anytime if we don't see a good fit.

In this it is hard to find good players but when we find them, they rock and become great additions. We take our gaming seriously. He have had to many ruin it by being munchies (eats the food but does not contribute), not letting the group know they will or will not be there until just before game, getting drunk or showing up drunk and being disruptive.


Yeah when I had my old established groups it was easier to find new players but I have to find all new players now so its difficult


If I were looking for a new group and the GM presented me with a list of a couple dozen questions to answer, I'd probably decide right then and there that this wasn't really the group I wanted to play with.

In our group when we bring in a new player we basically meet with the new player for lunch somewhere and just talk to them. If they seem to be a good fit, we invite them to join us. If they think it's a good fit, they agree. Right now it's about 60% of the time that we get a new player from this process, the rest of the time it's an amicable decision that we don't quite fit.

What we look for when we meet with someone is essentially a mix of compatible play style and maturity.


Do you have a local comic or book store that has PFS?

If not, maybe look into creating one. Publicize it at the comic shop/book store, and at warhorn online, and at any local colleges if you have some.

PFS is not my favorite gaming situation, with inflexible rules, and the series-of-one-offs playstyle, but...

It's perfect for meeting new gamers, playing with them for a while, and seeing who you like enough to invite for a home game.

Adamantine Dragon has a point-- that there might be some great players you accidentally turn away if you start off with a lengthy questionnaire.

I've met some great, funny, savvy players at my local PFS. People I might not have ever started a game with, based on a first impression, but turned out to be terrific.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

We don't make it an interrogation. It's more of a sit-down and talk, with these questions in mind.


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If this were a literal instance of being handed a questionaire I had to fill out... yeah, I'd be turned away. I don't think anyone is suggesting that though. Certainly, even in laid-back conversation there are questions you ask.

"So, what's your favorite fantasy novel?" etc. etc.


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Are you, or have you ever been "that guy"?


I do find this a bit odd though, because the fun players that have come to my games, I think they would have been turned off if there were too many questions, or a trial period, or voting. There is adventure to be had, gaming shouldn't be a job interview, or anything like it. Throw your spiel, grab the players and get to genning.

One of my good friends, when we worked out we had similar interests I invited him to some of the games I was running. I didn't put him through the question mill, and it is likely he would have walked rather than put up with that s*** of are you exactly the right type of player and good for our group. Raise the bar too high, and some will just walk away rather than try to please you and jump over it. I mean, what if they start to play you, and totally give the worst answers to the questions to see what you do? Some people have that sense of humour (I have it, my gamer friend above has that type of humour). If you reject them based on their joke answers you have no idea what player you turned away.

Then again, I have gamed with anarchists, fascists, psychologists, lawmen and real rogues. A good game is made by the diverse personalities and different types of people. Test them in game, not before.

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