Mixing Tables and Different Quests

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One aspect of this season is going to be challenging for certain DMs: what happens when logistics at the game store force players who played a different part of the adventure one week to play together the next?

When designing the adventure, we knew this was going to be a potential pitfall. One thing that we tried to do with each session was make sure that there was a potential for the session to always end back in Hommel Lane. Even in the first part of the Moathouse, the PCs learn about things happening in town that could--if highlighted--entice them to return to town before heading into the second part of the Moathouse. The "Reptile God" encounters should all end with the PCs knowing where to head next, but they are always in town before they take that next step. This would allow people to come together from different tables, although it might take some work on the DM's part.

In a case where players might be about to play something that they have already done, there are a couple of places in the adventure where you can create a whole new encounter to play that isn't one of the official sections.

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Have the creatures that are in the secret basement of the Inn of the Winsome Wench come out and attack innocent villagers. You can run an encounter with the two bad guys at the general store. Any of the "charmed" townspeople could attack. Some humanoids from the Caves of Chaos could make a preliminary raid on the town. Bandits who were absent when the PCs attacked the moathouse could come forward seeking revenge.  I'm sure other people can think of all sorts of cool encounters to add if needed.


Thanks to all the DMs for bringing fun to the players and helping promote the game!
Thanks Shawn for all the info.  I never thought of doing this.  I can see how all this can ease players who have played different sessions.  
twentyfootradius@gmail.com Alton - @TwentyFoot 20ft Radius - 20ftradius.blogspot.ca
I'm curious about this, because I've seen this a lot "oh, we have 2 tables.... we didn't have our regulars, etc."

At our shop, week to week, we can never count on the same players showing up, because of the nature of running a public-play series. In general, it balances out and we get 3 tables of players each week. But it's not always the same 3 tables, and we are never sure who's going to drop in this week or next (one week, we had 4 new players walk in just  before 6 PM, ready to play.... we had to pull in a 4th DM).

When I've traveled, I always call or email in advance to let the organizers know there'll be extra players... then I arrive and am sometimes faced with groups that did not expect to have an unknown PC in the party.

So, how do you handle a rotating group? Do you just not get that much rotation going? Are you advertising/not advertising in a certain way? Are your groups pretty much "home groups" now, where there aren't new people coming in and out on a regular basis?
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