Can I get my friends to play?

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I am 30 years old now and have not played D&D since I was 13. I was in my local game store this week and got to see the Dungeon Master's Kit. I bought it and read through it just for the nostalgia. But I became eager to start playing. But my friends have never played and they think it feels a little weird when i explain what it is. Is there a good way to get people that are a little skeptical to start playing or should I just let it be. Is there anyone out there who has managed to get a skeptic to start playing and get them to have fun? 
Ehhhh, it is tricky. I guess the thing to ask yourself is what are your friends interested in? Do they have fantasy-themed things that interest them, like novels, TV shows, comics, etc. Stealing ideas might work. You could create a setting loosely based on some of that material, or at least sell the idea on the basis of "its like watching X, except we get to make up the story".

Or maybe some of your friends like to play wargames or whatnot. Maybe they're competitive types. 4e certainly allows you to make a lot of interesting fights and gives the players lots of powers and whatnot to use, and some fairly interesting tactics.

It is commonly asserted (WotC did market research on this) that there are a few basic types of players. Everyone plays to get one or more types of thing out of the game. You have explorers, people that like to learn things about the imaginary world. There are tacticians, people that like to play games. Slayers just like to go crazy and fight things. Instigators love to poke at things and see what happens or make trouble, etc. You can probably find some articles on the subject online. If you can dope out what sort of players your friends might be then you can try to tailor the game to what they want.

As for the initial "this is weird, we aren't 13" kind of reaction. I guess one option would be to find another person that you are at least acquianted with who plays maybe? Then you can get at least one of your friends to play, that would be 3 people, and if that person likes it, then maybe the others will join too. Again, you have to consider your friend's personalities. Do they want to hang out and goof around and do a "beer & pretzels" kind of activity? Make it a comfortable natural getting-together kind of activity, so 'D&D Night' is set aside for that but it isn't like some weird different thing you do, just one more activity to make an interesting time together.

Good luck!
That is not dead which may eternal lie
Step 1- Invite Friends to a pre-game night, so to offer to help build them characters
Step 2- Offer free Beer and Meat (Works every time)
Step 3- If they seem intrested after that; set up a game night and have fun!

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Basically what the others said.

The key is what is called "Session 0".  Basically it requires you to have a decent grip on what you want to do as a DM and then give the rest to the players to see what they want to do.  In a group where nobody has played before it would be a great plan to brainstorm ahead of time a bunch of tropes from other sources to have on hand.

When discussing what characters they want to play:
Think of comics, movies, books or real life anecdotes to help see what people want to play.  Make a list of 3-5 things per person that you think would interest them and bring it up during the first night's chill and talk.

When discussing what type of game they want to play:
Take movie genres and start tossing them around.  Does playing a horror game sound interesting?  More Modern?  More Medieval?  Do they want to play the stereotypical heroes, or do they want to play in a world of grey?  Do they want to play the villians?

If you don't know a ton about the games write down their answers and come back to us for help assigning race and classes.

Things like:
"My one friend wants to play something like wolverine, only he wants to use a big ass hammer"
"My friend's wife wants to play as legolas, only a chick."
"The Jones' daughter wants to play as a holy shapeshifting mongoose with a 2handed sword"

We can help get you from concept to character on each of those.

Good luck. 
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
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Have a "D&D Party."  Geeky stuff is hip and cool these days, or so everyone tells me.  If anyone questions why you would do such a nerdy thing, tell them you're doing it ironically.  ;)

In all seriousness though, make the first session a party.  This is what I did when recruiting a bunch of new 4e players.  As another poster said, beer and meat is a good bribe.  It always works for me.  Just try to not have everyone get loaded before they start playing.    Then, once they're playing and having fun, they'll come back for more.  Either game or free food, one of those two.

Regardless, don't put any responsibilities on the other players the first time out.  You will DM but primarily you are going to be the host, and your responsibility is to make sure the party is fun for everyone.

Organize everything yourself and don't focus on rules, world-building, or PC character sheet filling out.  Just make your first session focus on fun ... this is a party game.  Provide a variety of pregen PCs for players to choose from, preferably in a very simple format (D&D Encounters had some pretty nice laminated pregen cards, but even those might be a tad complex for first timers).  Provide pencils, paper, dice, etc. and use any colorful and attractive play aids like maps and miniatures or tokens to draw the players' attention and keep them interested. 

Focus on adventure and an exciting, fast-paced story.  Hours of talking, political intrigue and difficult situations are just going to cause people to lose interest.  Don't get bogged down in unnecessary details and make sure that the scenario is short enough and fast enough for one session of no more than two hours.  Make sure everyone gets a chance to roll dice as often as possible and try to provide a chance for each player to be in the spotlight and be awesome and heroic.

Afterwards, solicit feedback from the players.  Find out specifically what they found fun and what they thought was boring or silly.  Don't be surprised or insulted if some, or maybe even all of them are just not interested.  But for those who are, schedule a time to try again.  That's when you can get a little more serious about teaching the rules of the game and developing more fully realized adventures.

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Challenge" is overrated.  "Immersion" is usually just a more pretentious way of saying "having fun playing D&D."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

One other thing, for the OP himself.  If you haven't played D&D since you were 13, one of the most important things you can do is to throw out everything you know about D&D.  If you're playing 4th edition it's not the same thing at all as what you may have played almost 20 years ago.  And that's a good thing.  The rules are very different and the whole philosophy of the game design is different.

4e assumes that there is going to be a party of adventurers that, from level 1, are working together as a team of equals toward a common goal, PC death will be rare and doesn't end the story when it does happen, and that the DM is a player just like everyone else, not an adversary.  It's just that the DM has additional duties of being a storyteller and a referee.  4e also goes very light on the "hard-coded" RP elements because the designers intentionally leave the story up to you, the players.  So while rules for combat are extremely well defined with very few grey areas, rules for RP are extremely light and meant to allow you maximum freedom to play the kind of game you want to play. 

Gone are the days of "Killer DMs," "save or die," "quadratic wizards and linear fighters," "PvP combat," "attack matrices," "enforcing alignment," and "no, you can't do that."  All of this makes for a more mature game, one that allows more freedom while also being much easier to referee and logical to play.

Just keep in mind that in 4e the players are heroes from level one, the DM is on their side and that the goal is for everyone to have fun and work together as a team to achieve their goals and have fun.

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Challenge" is overrated.  "Immersion" is usually just a more pretentious way of saying "having fun playing D&D."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”



Gone are the days of "Killer DMs," "save or die," "quadratic wizards and linear fighters," "PvP combat," "attack matrices," "enforcing alignment," and "no, you can't do that."  All of this makes for a more mature game, one that allows more freedom while also being much easier to referee and logical to play.

Just keep in mind that in 4e the players are heroes from level one, the DM is on their side and that the goal is for everyone to have fun and work together as a team to achieve their goals and have fun.




While I agree all these things are ideal and the OP should try to follow those basic ideas; the one’s I bolded I have found are a table to table deal; I know a few DMs who I still think of as “killer Dms” who approach combat with no problems killing characters.


I am not saying this is good; just letting the OP know that there are still a lot of throw-back DMs who think this way.


PvP isn’t as uncommon in my experience as lots of people make it out to be. I have had numerous comrades fall to the “dark side” and backstab their party.


Once again, not saying its good; just informing that there are still players which play this way (and I don’t think it’s that bad tbh, I enjoy DnD PvP)

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I would suggest finding another group of people to play the game with intially.  Maybe your local game store has some events or suggestions.  Maybe a local gaming convention is nearby.  Once you have a couple gamers involved in your game, it is easy to bring in a couple of your non-gamer friends and show them what its all about.  
I would suggest finding another group of people to play the game with intially.  Maybe your local game store has some events or suggestions.  Maybe a local gaming convention is nearby.  Once you have a couple gamers involved in your game, it is easy to bring in a couple of your non-gamer friends and show them what its all about.  

D&D Encounters can be a good place to start.

 

 

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I am 30 years old now and have not played D&D since I was 13. I was in my local game store this week and got to see the Dungeon Master's Kit. I bought it and read through it just for the nostalgia. But I became eager to start playing. But my friends have never played and they think it feels a little weird when i explain what it is. Is there a good way to get people that are a little skeptical to start playing or should I just let it be. Is there anyone out there who has managed to get a skeptic to start playing and get them to have fun? 

I think you can lay it out or offer but I wouldn't push. Lots of folks aren't into games, let alone games with the kind of time-requirements of D&D. It isn't something you want to lose friends over.

Meetup.com, Cattg, local games stores all offer opportunities to play with pickup groups and make friends with folks who already like to play D&D.
You could also ease them into the idea by starting with other, less complicated tabletop/board games first. If they're unaccustomed to anything more than snakes and ladders, try bringing them around with some Catan, Catacombs, Gloom, etc. (TableTop, the webseries from Wil Wheaton has a ton of great suggestions for simple, fun games) Then, try something a bit nerdier, like the Game of Thrones board game if you're a fan of the series, or Risk, Battlestar Galactica boardgame, etc. All these are slightly longer playtime and more complex. I've played 6 hour Game of Thrones sessions before. Once your friends discover how fun tabletop games are, they might be more into the idea of trying d&d. 

I play with old friends from high school, plus newer friends we met afterward (mostly SO's) and some work buddies mixed in. Everyone lives spread out across the city, so we appreciate it as time spent together having meaningful interactions, and something to look forward to bringing the old group back together more often. If you can show your friends that it's more than just playing a nerdy game, they'll be on board.
In my experiance the anxiety of trying to get people to get interested in D&D is an afflicition of the one trying to the introduction and not the potential player.  I find that everyone has a geek buried deep inside them, its no coincidence that movies like Lord of The Rings or Star Wars are so popular.  Its in there somewhere and all you need is to draw them out.  

Generally though there are certain types of people that really are to shut down to be able to join in something like D&D which is a kind of opennly nerdy thing in perception.  Good cannidates are people who enjoy PC games or Console games, its usually a given that they will easily take to pencil and paper RPG's, the link is so strong that they are like Karate Kid... suddenly out of nowhere they will simply know how to do Kung Fu because PC gaming turns out is the wax on wax off going through the motions training.

Readers are also really good cannidates. They don't nescesserily have to be fantasy readers, but an interest in stories is usually more than sufficient.

People who love science fiction usually take to fantasy as well, so big movie fans that talk about how awsome Battlestar Galactica is usually have the disposition to become RPG players.

Sports fans also make great D&D players once they get over the whole "im not a nerd" thing.  Sports fans usually love a challenge, they love the underdog, they like to gamble on their own abilities.  Its actually a big part of the game so it will make sense to them.

Since most people will fall into one of these categories, most people have a natural disposition for the creative endevour that is role-playing.  Besides D&D today is really not seen so nerdy anymore.  With the board game renassance happening right now, the size of the PC and console market... people are pretty accustomed to playing games of some sort, so this is just another game for them to learn.

My suggestion is don't push to hard on the role-playing thing.  Lead by example but try hard to make it 3rd person at first and let them get a feel for it as a kind of participating observer before you start voice acting and creating atmosphere of that sort.

If its any consolation, aside from my wife, I've never met a person who I wasn't able to convert to the religion of role-playing.  

Good Luck!



"Edition wars like all debates exist because people like debates"

http://www.gamersdungeon.net/

I was the skeptic, I think it just took persistence to get me to show, my interest in it was pretty gradual, I mostly showed up because I had nothing else going on but I eventually got into it.

I've become much more interested since looking into 4th edition, my favorite games when I was younger were tactical rpgs like the Shining Force series, or more recently Disgaea, so grid-based combat is exactly the sort of thing I like.

Like other people are saying, they're your friends, you should have a general idea what they're into, sell them on what aspects of it best jive with their interests.
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