GM fatigue from player loss


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


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This is somewhat asking for advice and partly a rant;

So around October/November I started two Rise of the Runelords campaigns on Saturdays for one and Sundays for the other. At some point Saturday had 8 players and Sunday had 7 players. I allowed this because inevitably people flake and have lives get in the way so I knew that before long some players would have to drop, and boy did they ever. Saturday is now a three man party and Sunday is down to two constant flakes, a consistent player and a semi-consistent player. As far as I know, because I ask for feedback after most sessions, no one was unhappy but players drop off from family, health, or work schedule problems. Others seem to just vanish. Also I cannot merge these two groups because they dont' have the same open time slots.

Now I understand that life gets in the way. Sometimes you have to miss sessions and sometimes you just have to abandon ship for your life. Its a game and your personal life is more important but these two campaigns aren't bothering me. Its that this ALWAYS happens. I admit that I haven't been playing for decades like some players but I've been playing RPGs for ten years and in that time I've seen a campaign end once and in that game we went from an 8 man party, to a three man party to a four man party with lots of fluctuation in between, and I was one of the two people that saw session one and the last session. I've seen games end in player loss so much that I'd say the average length of a campaign is three sessions long before I have to go to PFS to tide me over.

Adding to that there is the two shelves of Pathfinder stuff and using websites to organize sessions and communicate with players and trying to juggle my own time to remain consistent and moving time slots to accommodate people spend time preparing for entire adventure paths and campaigns. In the end I'm starting to feel a little sick of it all. I love the game as a player and as a GM but aside from PFS (which is far from my ideal way to play) I feel like I just don't get to play enough to have these books on my shelves. Numerous times I've had half a mind to just sell everything and just join games that pop up in my face rather than having to deal with organizing a game only to eventually have no one show up or play a game where I'm eventually the only one still playing/the GM vanishes from the face of the earth.

At that point what do you do? Do you stop playing the game and find a new hobby? Because of it's ease 5e probably has more players/GMs, do I jump ship and go there? How do I get untired of struggling to herd cats into GMing or playing long enough to get past at least the first book in an AP?

Dark Archive

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Have you thought of doing it on a fortnight basis instead of a weekly one? That way those players who have family or work schedules can work something out that is easier to pitch.

You could also run one game on one weekend, and the other game on the next.

Otherwise if you're not getting enough for a regular campaign, considered getting into pathfinder society games?


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I just used Meetup and kept punting flakes and advertising for new folks until I got into a group of consistent folks.

Flakiness does NOT have to happen. Yes, life occurs, but if people can make time to get wasted regularly or anything, regularly scheduling a block of time each week is not that hard. Life happens, and you forgive occasional issues, but regularly flaking is not only inexcusable,its a serious sign of disrespect.

Keep plugging away and you'll find people that aren't inconsiderate jerks. Yes, that's all those folks are, and there's a ton of them out there, but there are people out there with the same dedication as you.

If it helps, I didn't find a group of people who weren't flaky until I got into one where I was the absolute youngest. It seems that, generally speaking, not being a selfish prick incapable of holding to a schedule is a quality that comes with age.


Our group first met in late September, three of us total. One guy could make it anytime, anywhere day or night because he had no life (35yrs old, no job, no family, nothing to do all day except read PF books), Myself, with a wife and son and job who can pretty much make it any night except Wednesday (son's music lessons) and Matt, who married, a business owner, does charity work, has four kids (two under 5yrs old.)

Matt dictates the play schedule, because he is the "least" available, and we're good with that. Since then, however, we've attracted four other players (two really good, one ho-hum and one border murderhobo we keep reigning in) and we lost the guy with no life (he was an obnoxious player anyways and quit on his own.)

We play twice a month, one time on Matt's Dark-Sun-ala-Pathfinder, and the other game I am DMing Shattered Star.

I wanted to play more than 2x a month, so gave PFS a try with two different groups and locales nearby... did not care for the overly bureaucratic way the system is handled, lack of opportunity for non-predictable ROLEplay and overwhelming lack of "player-survival-tension" during the sessions.

Advertise, interview and recruit the good ones!

The flakes will be flakes, do not worry or fret about what you cannot control - down that path lies madness...


Its not about some people having extra things in their life, and its not about how easy the rules are. Some of us put gaming as a higher priority than others. For this reason, I endorse Slyph's recommendation of running each game every other week. It could be messier, but you also try to consolidate the two groups into one.

For myself, I love playing music and I love gaming. I also have family and work.There is only so much room, but at this point in my life music is taking a back seat, as is having a "normal" social life. I don't get to play every Sunday like I used to, but consistantly playing every other Sunday is a lot better than not knowing when my next session is. Who knows what will happen in the future.


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I disagree. You shouldn't have to cut your fun in half because the people you play with are flaky. If they're flaky every week, they will be every two weeks, only now you'll be going a month between sessions when someone cancels.

Toss the old and advertise for new - there's tons of people looking for games out there, and the player-to-GM ratio is highly in your favor. If you don't live in an area conducive to finding in-person groups, online gaming is an option, too.


can't do nuthin. can't force a man to change his fundamental attitude towards attending the game. and yeah it's "just a game," but more importantly, it's everybody's shared time. bailing on a group is disrespectful and just plain tacky.

what you can do is place high value on people who respect other people's shared time. worth their weight in gold, these folks.

another is you can heavily screen players before letting them join your game table in the first place. for example, i am leery of people who live farther away, in general.

finally, is you might have to settle for playing less frequently, but for longer sessions if possible. even a monthly commitment is a major commitment to make, let alone weekly. i actually prefer longer infrequent sessions to shorter frequent ones.


thegreenteagamer wrote:
I disagree. You shouldn't have to cut your fun in half because the people you play with are flaky. If they're flaky every week, they will be every two weeks, only now you'll be going a month between sessions when someone cancels.

That could certainly be true. If the OP wants save the group/groups, then find effort should be made. I mean obviously it's better to have 5 or 6 reliable people who like to game with one another, but that might never happen.


@Sylph Oradin: Sunday is actually a bi-monthly game although absences have made that almost once a month lately. I'm not too much of a fan of PFS. Not that it's bad but not the kind of game I want to play/GM. (I've played and GMed PFS)

@thegreenteagamer & Ciaran Barnes: Most of my RPG life has been constantly changing games that are hard to reschedule around, sudden pick up and play games and games that die. I have the desire to have a regular set up where we play often enough for me to not wind up forgetting the whole plot and get invested in other people's characters instead of just mine or just the NPCs.

I have less of a problem with flaky players and more of a problem with games systematically dying. Most players have some reason or another to drop out or miss sessions. My issue is that campaigns die so often due to player loss that I felt like not trying to keep things together anymore. Particularly yesterday where I found out that one player was out for medical reasons and another was out for unknown reasons, probably work, which left me with two players for this Saturday and I haven't gotten a confirmation from one of them. Now this Saturday's game is dead after last Saturday's game and Sunday's game getting shot so I just felt exhausted. Like there's effort and books and minis and materials and it's just for nothing more than a spark in the dark each year.


Roll20...a VTT (virtual tabletop) rpg community is pretty cool..plenty of flakes, but alot of solid players there, as I have said a few times, I have been playing in a campaign there for 10 months or so..and if we lose players the GM just advertises for new ones..
Not exactly as fun as in person..but a good game is a good game regardless.

Liberty's Edge

Ashtathlon wrote:

Roll20...a VTT (virtual tabletop) rpg community is pretty cool..plenty of flakes, but alot of solid players there, as I have said a few times, I have been playing in a campaign there for 10 months or so..and if we lose players the GM just advertises for new ones..

Not exactly as fun as in person..but a good game is a good game regardless.

I agree with what's being said here by Ashtathlon. I've been on Roll20 since about August and while a good number of players end up dropping (or mysteriously disappearing) you do usually find a few gems who are able to stick it out.

Plus you can always get new players, this has saved one of the campaigns I'm in from crumbling.

P.s. Not sure why it made some of the quoted text larger.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Malwing wrote:

@Sylph Oradin: Sunday is actually a bi-monthly game although absences have made that almost once a month lately. I'm not too much of a fan of PFS. Not that it's bad but not the kind of game I want to play/GM. (I've played and GMed PFS)

@thegreenteagamer & Ciaran Barnes: Most of my RPG life has been constantly changing games that are hard to reschedule around, sudden pick up and play games and games that die. I have the desire to have a regular set up where we play often enough for me to not wind up forgetting the whole plot and get invested in other people's characters instead of just mine or just the NPCs.

I have less of a problem with flaky players and more of a problem with games systematically dying. Most players have some reason or another to drop out or miss sessions. My issue is that campaigns die so often due to player loss that I felt like not trying to keep things together anymore. Particularly yesterday where I found out that one player was out for medical reasons and another was out for unknown reasons, probably work, which left me with two players for this Saturday and I haven't gotten a confirmation from one of them. Now this Saturday's game is dead after last Saturday's game and Sunday's game getting shot so I just felt exhausted. Like there's effort and books and minis and materials and it's just for nothing more than a spark in the dark each year.

I wonder if you'd be better off being more selective at the start of a campaign. Perhaps limiting the game to four players who can commit is better than eight with an expectation that people will drop out.

My situation is very different (I've played with essentially the same half dozen people for thirty something years) but I imagine that if I was in a campaign that had begun with eight and was now down to five, I'd either regard it as "on the way out" or just a casual commitment. It's also possible that you're attracting people who like playing in big groups - then when it begins to atrophy, it's no longer the game they thought they were signing up for.

Do you keep contact details and so forth? Anyway you can contact four of the more consistent players you've encountered over the years, outline the issue and see if there's a smaller core group you can build? There may be some of your players (ex or current) who are feeling the same way as you.


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My trick is to play with couples. I have a group of 5 (I'm the GM) two married couples and one extra. I'm normally guaranteed if one can make it, then they both can.

The other trick I use is not to have a regular scheduled time. This might sound counterintuitive but it works really well. We "try" to play every Sunday but that's just a target. At the end of every session the question is "when are we meeting next". If the next upcoming Sunday (or whatever day you decide) works for everyone, that's the day. If not, we look at Saturday or jump to the next Sunday. If two weekends don't work then we find a weekday in the middle that works for everyone with the understanding that it's a short session (2-3 hours). Short sessions are great to bridge the gap between long sessions due to life.

This has worked for 3 long term campaigns I've run. The first was 2 years long level 1-30 with 4e. The next was 1 year with PF (levels 1-13). And now with 5e for the last 5 months.

As an aside, there could also be a matter of interest being lost in these games. Player's are not likely to tell you they aren't having a good time no matter how much you ask. And if you have to ask, you already are doubtful they are having a good time. Another thing is that adventure paths, although great source material, are a little dry to actually run (even rise of the rune lords). No matter what you do, the players are still on rails and they know it. As a GM the prep for them is crazy as well, so I can see getting burnt out in prep when it feels like the players don't appreciate it. Adventure paths are really only a longer PFS so all the things that make PFS "not your ideal way to play" also applies to adventure paths for your players. So my final advise, don't run modules for home games. Use modules to give you ideas for your home game, but keep your home game driven by the players. Prepare less and let the players drive what's going on. You'll have a lot more fun.


I've gotten to the point where i ONLY play PFS...and the closest is an hour away! I agree it sucks to not play in a campaign environment anymore and a few of the PFS players are a pain to be around. But i ALWAYS get to at least play each saturday and am not stuck in no-mans land wondering who's going to cancel at the last minute or show up 2 hours late. Overall the experience has been much better....ideal? no. But you take what you can get. You may also meet players at PFS you can get a private game goin with...i haven't been able to but that is mostly due to being so far away from them, but it may happen.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I think one of the ways you opened yourself up for grief was trying to manage two campaign groups at once. If both groups have lost so many players, the best thing to do might be to merge them and work out the rough spots.


Please try not to take this too badly because I don't intend to be mean but you may want to take a hard look in the mirror. It is very easy to chalk lack of attendance/commitment up to flaky people but you seem to be haemorrhaging players at an astonishing rate; perhaps it has something to do with you? While you shouldn't have to bend over backwards to retain players or suborn your gaming preferences too much, there may be something that you can do to fix your problem. Rather than simply casting blame upon the flaky players, find out from your regulars why they keep coming back. Ask them what they like about your game and if they think there is anything that can be changed or improved. If you can, contact those players that have stopped attending and get them to tell you why they did.

I say this because DM's are usually incredibly scarce compared to number of players out there. In my experience, it's a case of "if you run it, they will play" unless there is something very out of whack. At one point, my home game was running with 11 players because the DM felt bad for turning people away until he realized that large of a group was compromising the game play. We've cut back to no more than 8 now and pretty much always have 2 or 3 ppl waiting to come play with us. In the most constructive way possible, I suggest that you consider you might be the reason, or at least part of the reason, why your experience is not similar to mine.


SteeleC has it right - be proactive.

Also, momentum is a big factor. When some people drop it makes it more likely other people will drop.

Double also - some of it you can't do anything about. You just can't. No matter how selective you are, stuff happens. One of the better "role" players in my current group sometimes just can't make it because of work. And if there' medical stuff and kids - those things aren't things that "making gaming a priority" can fix.

Our game's rule of thumb is if one player can't make it, we play. If more than one can't make it, we shift the day. If we can't shift the day - we don't play. The people who can sometimes get together to play other games. Seems to work for us.

(Edit, sorry, I forgot to put what I was really going to say: run shorter campaigns for awhile. Things that will be finished in four or six sessions. Maybe that'll help you feel that not everything ends badly).


Meet some new players. Then meet some other new players. Maybe play in a game for awhile. If you keep it up you'll meet some like-miinded players.


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born_of_fire wrote:

Please try not to take this too badly because I don't intend to be mean but you may want to take a hard look in the mirror. It is very easy to chalk lack of attendance/commitment up to flaky people but you seem to be haemorrhaging players at an astonishing rate; perhaps it has something to do with you? While you shouldn't have to bend over backwards to retain players or suborn your gaming preferences too much, there may be something that you can do to fix your problem. Rather than simply casting blame upon the flaky players, find out from your regulars why they keep coming back. Ask them what they like about your game and if they think there is anything that can be changed or improved. If you can, contact those players that have stopped attending and get them to tell you why they did.

I say this because DM's are usually incredibly scarce compared to number of players out there. In my experience, it's a case of "if you run it, they will play" unless there is something very out of whack. At one point, my home game was running with 11 players because the DM felt bad for turning people away until he realized that large of a group was compromising the game play. We've cut back to no more than 8 now and pretty much always have 2 or 3 ppl waiting to come play with us. In the most constructive way possible, I suggest that you consider you might be the reason, or at least part of the reason, why your experience is not similar to mine.

This is a good bit of advice. I was in a group that at its peak had 8 players with two more that played whenever they came back to town (they moved out of state), but due to a GM who progressively got worse over the years, people left. By the time I left, the table was down to three - the GM, her husband, and his best friend. Sometimes player hemorrhage is due to a bad GM or a bad table.

A few years back (during the recession) I read an article written by a man who helped companies find he right employees for them to succeed. He was analyzing why they couldn't get good employees, especially in a time when so many people were looking for work.

The companies themselves did their own analysis. They determined that there was simply a lack of skills in the workforce, despite so many people out of work. They blamed this on the colleges and universities for not teaching the right skill sets or on potential employees for not building themselves up enough to get a job or learn a new skill.

One thing they left out on all their research was a good hard look at themselves. When Mr Author stepped in, he noticed the same cause at each of these companies. They were their own worst enemy.

When they advertised for jobs, they paid at the market rate - which is to say that they didn't pay any higher than any of their competitors. In addition, they didn't want to train anyone new, they only wanted people with experience so they could be working from the get go. And lasly, they refused to hire anyone who was currently jobless (they believed that if you didn't have a job, then there was something wrong with you and they didn't want to deal with that), which meant that they would only hire people who were actively working in the same field - aka their competitors. So basically they only wanted to hire experienced people from their competitors and refused to pay more than their competitors did. And from this they were highly confused at why they couldn't find anyone. Well, is it any wonder?

Sometimes a good hard look at yourself can reveal why bad things seem to happen to you. Sometimes it isn't everyone else, it's you.

As the old saying goes, if you run into a jerk during the day, then bad luck - you've run into a jerk. If everyone you meet is being a jerk, the it's you who is the jerk.


@Bookrat, I'm not saying you (and Born of Fire) are wrong, knowing nothing of the OP or his GMing abilities; but perhaps frame things more constructively, such as:

Perhaps the OP should ask the players who have dropped out, or even just those still around, if there's anything they think he should be doing differently in how he GM's.


I've kind of been there and as I said, I ask for feedback frequently.( if anyone has a problem they don't tell me when I ask) but earlier I said that flakes were less my issue because there are a lot of blameless drops in the mix, it just feels like it happens very often.

Also I noted this isn't exclusive to games I GM but games I play and games in general. This does somewhat include the next table over. Aside from the 5e group I'm in and the HERO system game I'm not in I don't actually even know any stable groups. I mostly hear about them online.


Malwing wrote:
I've kind of been there and as I said, I ask for feedback frequently.( if anyone has a problem they don't tell me when I ask) but earlier I said that flakes were less my issue because there are a lot of blameless drops in the mix, it just feels like it happens very often.

This is good and really shows that my advice may not matter at all. A word of caution, though: people sometimes don't like confrontation, and won't tell you what you're doing wrong because they don't want to deal with making someone mad (a lot of people blame the messenger). Keep up the good work with the introspection and drive whatever bad things you find out. Continuous improvement. :)

Quote:
Also I noted this isn't exclusive to games I GM but games I play and games in general. This does somewhat include the next table over. Aside from the 5e group I'm in and the HERO system game I'm not in I don't actually even know any stable groups. I mostly hear about them online.

As others have said, people place their gaming priority at various levels. I place mine high on the list, but not before my family or work. My own players present an interesting dynamic: two of them are actors and often join plays, which means practice at 5pm on weekends and when the show starts they have the matinee show on Sunday's. This leaves us Saturday before 5pm to play. So we schedule Noon-5pm on Saturdays when they play. The other two players like to go out drinking Friday night and stay up all night, so they usually sleep in on Saturdays until 3-4pm. Starting at noon is difficult. We often skip game because have of our players are passed out drunk.

My solution to this is to have a flexible game. When I can, I set the time for Saturday evenings. Then move back to Saturday afternoons when the actors are in plays. If we have to, we move the game to Sunday afternoons (but never Sunday nights, because I have to get up at 5am for work). On a rare occasion, Friday nights. Every week we talk about what time and what day we play. It just stays flexible so we can bring in all the players. And I've just learned to deal with the fact that some of my players are flaky and that sometimes - when only two people show up, we have a movie day or play board games. I could kick them, but I don't want to - I like my players and want to keep playing the game with them.

I've also found that when I'm the one who GMs, my players are more likely to show up (not because I'm that good, but because when one of the other guys is a GM, he treats two of my players like crap). Also, when my wife and I cook, they tend to show up right on time. :) This week, I'm frying up some chicken wings with homemade buffalo and garlic sauces.


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There is no way I can play in a weekly game, nor can my players. We play once a MONTH. When I did bi-weekly, even that was too challenging. When people have families, marriage and kids take precedence. That's life, man. Do a monthly game. If you are the single guy maybe run two separate monthly games, and then you should have people willing to commit to that and look forward to it. When you do a weekly game, it will probably be a drag for the folks and they won't be able to commit.


bookrat wrote:
Malwing wrote:
I've kind of been there and as I said, I ask for feedback frequently.( if anyone has a problem they don't tell me when I ask) but earlier I said that flakes were less my issue because there are a lot of blameless drops in the mix, it just feels like it happens very often.

This is good and really shows that my advice may not matter at all. A word of caution, though: people sometimes don't like confrontation, and won't tell you what you're doing wrong because they don't want to deal with making someone mad (a lot of people blame the messenger). Keep up the good work with the introspection and drive whatever bad things you find out. Continuous improvement. :)

Quote:
Also I noted this isn't exclusive to games I GM but games I play and games in general. This does somewhat include the next table over. Aside from the 5e group I'm in and the HERO system game I'm not in I don't actually even know any stable groups. I mostly hear about them online.

As others have said, people place their gaming priority at various levels. I place mine high on the list, but not before my family or work. My own players present an interesting dynamic: two of them are actors and often join plays, which means practice at 5pm on weekends and when the show starts they have the matinee show on Sunday's. This leaves us Saturday before 5pm to play. So we schedule Noon-5pm on Saturdays when they play. The other two players like to go out drinking Friday night and stay up all night, so they usually sleep in on Saturdays until 3-4pm. Starting at noon is difficult. We often skip game because have of our players are passed out drunk.

My solution to this is to have a flexible game. When I can, I set the time for Saturday evenings. Then move back to Saturday afternoons when the actors are in plays. If we have to, we move the game to Sunday afternoons (but never Sunday nights, because I have to get up at 5am for work). On a rare occasion, Friday nights. Every week we talk about what time and what day we...

A while back I'd play a lot more Magic: the Gathering. every once and a while I'd host a party with home made mini pizzas, cheese sticks, mini cheesecakes. The parties went very well but it became a hassle when I started playing less magic in favor of classes. Now I've gone from hosting 50-person release events to not even being able to find a casual game last week (nothing but tournaments and drafting which require money.) So I can see how not making dinner can kill a group's morale. I had a board game group die after we moved to a different place and I stopped making home made pizza. I have to think about this...

I have people that just kinda fall off the grid but I have a number of players that are trying to play but cant play at the same time.


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Do you have a D&D meetup group near you? In my area, there's a monthly meetup for gamers, and they rotate GMs. The games aren't always consistent, but at least you can play.

If not, you could always start one. It might fit well into the flaky lifestyle of the gamers near you, as each month will have a different group of people show up. This is through meetup.com.

Penandpapergames.com is a great gaming advertising site that gives notifications when a new member signs up. That site is how I acquired my current group. And it's a great way to cycle through players until you find a good match with consistent play. You basically put up your game and people will email you if interested, or you can email gamers near to you invite them. This is what I did for my current group, and we've been playing for about 4 years now.


bookrat wrote:

Do you have a D&D meetup group near you? In my area, there's a monthly meetup for gamers, and they rotate GMs. The games aren't always consistent, but at least you can play.

If not, you could always start one. It might fit well into the flaky lifestyle of the gamers near you, as each month will have a different group of people show up. This is through meetup.com.

Penandpapergames.com is a great gaming advertising site that gives notifications when a new member signs up. That site is how I acquired my current group. And it's a great way to cycle through players until you find a good match with consistent play. You basically put up your game and people will email you if interested, or you can email gamers near to you invite them. This is what I did for my current group, and we've been playing for about 4 years now.

I work at a place that does Encounters and PFS but one day modules aren't my thing. I generally go to PFS when I have nothing else whatsoever. Also a lot of my friends fell out of the local PFS scene due to a lack of play time so PFS has been weaker lately.

I've been at Penandpapergames.com and got some results but its where most of my vanishing players came from.

I feel like I should concentrate on closer friends and try to find people available from old groups. Yesterday I ran into someone who had to quit before because of work and just had new work so his old group is dead but he's available on weekends now. Also yesterday met a new player who can do evenings but not afternoons.


What area are you in? I've got a weekly game that has a slot available. Established group that has been playing for years.

I always think this is the best way to fix group problems online: use the reach of the interwebs to find a strong group. We play on Sunday's but I know another good weekly group that plays on Saturdays. I'm in Fort Worth TX area.


I won't run campaigns for this very reason. We used to run for three hours once a fortnight. Was me plus four players, two who'd never played before (but one of the two had played plenty of console equivalents so got the principles). Then another friend invited himself along, and soon there were 7/8 players, all with different experience and abilities.

Then two completely dropped out and one pretty much dropped out, turning up very, very infrequently. He's my eldest son and in his degree graduation year so can't kick him per se, but his character is now effectively an NPC cohort that the others control. Others can't be bothered to let me know their availability, have to leave early, arrive late and the usual.

The only workable thing for me is sandboxing, so maybe try that as opposed to adventure paths. Those that show can play, those that don't miss out on the adventure. Miss three in a row and your character is an NPC, because I see no reason why I should run it.


BigDTBone wrote:

What area are you in? I've got a weekly game that has a slot available. Established group that has been playing for years.

I always think this is the best way to fix group problems online: use the reach of the interwebs to find a strong group. We play on Sunday's but I know another good weekly group that plays on Saturdays. I'm in Fort Worth TX area.

Nowhere near there unfortunately. California's Bay Area.


Malwing wrote:
BigDTBone wrote:

What area are you in? I've got a weekly game that has a slot available. Established group that has been playing for years.

I always think this is the best way to fix group problems online: use the reach of the interwebs to find a strong group. We play on Sunday's but I know another good weekly group that plays on Saturdays. I'm in Fort Worth TX area.

Nowhere near there unfortunately. California's Bay Area.

Slightly too far for me, I'm in Sacramento.


Bay Area people are flakier than non-Bay Area people in general. Even though you may be the common denominator, the problem is probably them. lol.

+1 to booking next session at the end of the current session.

Also, I do the feedback thing online - generally people will be more brutally honest which is really what you are looking for.

Grand Lodge

I find that getting consistent players is a bit like evolution, there are a lot of paths that wind up in dead ends. Just keep bringing in new players.

I've had mixed results with ad-hoc scheduling of the next session, but have had much better attendance rates since settling to a fairly consistent game start time. I'm open to adjusting things if a different day still works for enough players.


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I play in a group where half the people playing have jobs that are basically on call and their hours change every single week. we never play on the same day twice it seems. the biggest factor for us is that we are all friends and/or family that we see outside of pathfinders anyways. when you play with friends, you will make time to get together. when you play with strangers, it will always inevitably fall apart on some level because RPGs arent really enough to keep people together if you don't like these people.

table top RPGS dont attract the same kind of people that a beer league softball game attracts, or a pick up soccer game attracts. you will need to put in some serious effort socially with some of these people. Iomedae bless their hearts, but its true.

Maybe all you need to keep these people coming back is to make friends with the ones you want to spend time with and that can be your gaming group? I honestly have never played this game with a bunch of strangers, and have never played PFS. I love the game, but I just dont think its enough to hold my attention without the social aspect of it.

This game provides so much more than an opportunity to kill orcs, it provides you the opportunity to kill orcs with your buds!

just my two cents


rainzax wrote:
Bay Area people are flakier than non-Bay Area people in general. Even though you may be the common denominator, the problem is probably them. lol.

I wouldn't dismiss that very quickly. East coast, I get 5 people confirmed for the movies I get 5 people. Here I confirmed 10 close friends for movies. I went with 5, 1 of which was part of the group I invited.

I also have an entire family on CP time.


Well update both of my games are officially dead as I'm down to two people per time slot.

Also I have something new to complain about; What's with people's refusal to organize outside of the game? Everyone in my game has email contact with me. this results in a long massive thread that's hard to follow and people miss days because they information isn't clear or they forgot about a session, so I make an Epicwords account so that I can make schedule email alerts, players can rsvp or message me if they can't make a session, we can update missing people on what happened and I can resolve minute issues without disrupting gameplay. I also give out my email and phone number so that I am available to call, email or text.

Now I went through this same song and dance two years ago with Obsidian Portal so I'm realizing this is a chronic problem, but nobody uses these things. Sure some people use it and there's sometimes the one person who puts their entire family history on the thing but as a whole I'm lucky if half the people even sign up let alone respond to anything. Not really asking for much, just lets communicate so that we're all on the same page as to what's going on, so that I'm not sitting at a table wondering if anyone is going to show up this time, if anyone will be late or has dropped the campaign.


A suggestion you'll probably dismiss out of hand...

Switch up your gaming style. I know you want the long campaigns, but I'd save the effort on those until you know you have a stable group. Play games that lend themselves to short, chaotic bursts. Dungeon World, for example, is great as a low prep game that embraces the chaos of player behavior. Once you get to know people and find them reliable enough to plan a campaign around, sit down and play PF.

I have a gaming group that is stable, but they're flighty on what we play. When it's my turn to run stuff, I pick games that are easy to run off the cuff, because it's super random if they'll stick with a game or move onto the next, we also cancel a lot of sessions often 2 per month.

A different group I play in, we're very consistent and we just finished what amounts to Season 2 of our campaign (we end up playing the long game from June through January, switching to board games and one-shots for a couple months, then back to our long campaign). For that group I don't mind putting in the effort of building a long game, because I know we'll use it and enjoy it.

This won't necessarily "solve" the problem. But it might make it feel less stressful and irritating, which is still a good thing.


Irontruth wrote:

A suggestion you'll probably dismiss out of hand...

Switch up your gaming style. I know you want the long campaigns, but I'd save the effort on those until you know you have a stable group. Play games that lend themselves to short, chaotic bursts. Dungeon World, for example, is great as a low prep game that embraces the chaos of player behavior. Once you get to know people and find them reliable enough to plan a campaign around, sit down and play PF.

I have a gaming group that is stable, but they're flighty on what we play. When it's my turn to run stuff, I pick games that are easy to run off the cuff, because it's super random if they'll stick with a game or move onto the next, we also cancel a lot of sessions often 2 per month.

A different group I play in, we're very consistent and we just finished what amounts to Season 2 of our campaign (we end up playing the long game from June through January, switching to board games and one-shots for a couple months, then back to our long campaign). For that group I don't mind putting in the effort of building a long game, because I know we'll use it and enjoy it.

This won't necessarily "solve" the problem. But it might make it feel less stressful and irritating, which is still a good thing.

Actually I'm setting up to go through the modules I got from the Golem Sale. Trying to run low commitment for a while until I can gather a reliable group. I could convert to 5e for a while since I have that, same goes for Dungeon Crawl Classics and Sword and Sorcery. But, I don't really like those compared to Pathfinder. They aren't bad really, I'm in a 5e campaign right now, but I'm still thinking for Pathfinder.


There's lots of Pathfinder Society around in the Bay Area, might be a worth a try. Even if you decide its something you don't like it's a great place to meet fellow hamers.

You can find all our local venues at bayareapathfinder.com

We also have a big presence at various Bay Area Cons, like the upcoming DundraCon.


Malwing wrote:

This is somewhat asking for advice and partly a rant;

So around October/November I started two Rise of the Runelords campaigns on Saturdays for one and Sundays for the other. At some point Saturday had 8 players and Sunday had 7 players. I allowed this because inevitably people flake and have lives get in the way so I knew that before long some players would have to drop, and boy did they ever. Saturday is now a three man party and Sunday is down to two constant flakes, a consistent player and a semi-consistent player. As far as I know, because I ask for feedback after most sessions, no one was unhappy but players drop off from family, health, or work schedule problems. Others seem to just vanish. Also I cannot merge these two groups because they dont' have the same open time slots.

Now I understand that life gets in the way. Sometimes you have to miss sessions and sometimes you just have to abandon ship for your life. Its a game and your personal life is more important but these two campaigns aren't bothering me. Its that this ALWAYS happens. I admit that I haven't been playing for decades like some players but I've been playing RPGs for ten years and in that time I've seen a campaign end once and in that game we went from an 8 man party, to a three man party to a four man party with lots of fluctuation in between, and I was one of the two people that saw session one and the last session. I've seen games end in player loss so much that I'd say the average length of a campaign is three sessions long before I have to go to PFS to tide me over.

Adding to that there is the two shelves of Pathfinder stuff and using websites to organize sessions and communicate with players and trying to juggle my own time to remain consistent and moving time slots to accommodate people spend time preparing for entire adventure paths and campaigns. In the end I'm starting to feel a little sick of it all. I love the game as a player and as a GM but aside from PFS (which is far from my ideal way to play) I feel like I...

Sounds to me like the players are the problem and you shouldn't let it get to you (it also sucks when you're constantly having to GM), I've had my share of those types as well. Currently we're a group of three, me and two others and we're good friends so we just stick as our three and don't worry about it anymore. It makes things interesting with a group of 2 but we do okay, currently I run Rise of the Runelords and one of the other players runs Wrath of the Righteous.

As others have said, you might want to consider playing on Roll20, we use it in our local games, we each use a laptop and it can make dungeon runs great fun with the lighting effects but it can also be run totally remotely. It's something you might want to try.


Hmm...

Consider a group of friends rather than just a random group of strangers. A group of friends gets together to hang out rather than just to play that one game.

Not conclusive. But may groups seem better at committing to the occasional regularly scheduled week night rather than almost every weekend. I can probably make the 2nd Tuesday every month a constant open point in my schedule. If it is every weekend, sorry no. Family, friends, work, concert, vacations, etc... will get in the way.

I know one GM that is just constantly recruiting because he knows people will keep dropping. He is aiming for a consistent table of 4, but constantly recruits up to another 3. I think if he ever does get a group of 4 that is 'always present' he might stop recruiting. But it hasn't happened yet.

Don't know your age, but older player tend to be a bit more responsible with their commitments than younger players. Note, I said 'tend' not just are. I know older players that are completely unreliable and will no-show without notice. I know younger players that are the most consistent at perfect attendance.

Groups that have something else in common tend to stick together better. Co-workers, college students, same industry/background, play basketball on the weekend, RC airplane operators, memebers of the same church, home beer brewers, etc...

You go to PFS specifically invite the guys that have a play style similar to your and show up at nearly every PFS event.

That's all the ideas I can think of at the moment.


It happens. Life gets in the way. All you can do is try to recruit some new players from somewhere and hope for the best.

Is there any way to combine your two groups now into one?

Sounds like you're burned out as well. Try finding a game to play in with someone else as GM. Switch systems for a bit and take a break from Pathfinder. After a little time away, you'll get that itch to come back to it again.

I'm currently running a couple campaigns from modules that I've linked together. I find that running modules makes the time commitment a tad smaller than a full AP which takes a long time to see all the way through. With modules, all I hope for is the players to make it through each one. When I start the next, we see who is there and run with it.

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