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View Full Version : DM Help Gracefully saying "I'm sorry, my group is full."?



NOhara24
2017-05-30, 08:23 AM
Hello Playground,

I'm in a situation that I'm sure many DMs would be envious of. I have a full group and more people who are expressing interest in joining. However, I can't run a 5 or 6 man campaign. I've only got a 4 hour block of time (that's really closer to 2.5 of game time between dinner, and everyone saying hello to each other and such.) and I really prefer that everyone get their time in the spotlight vs having more people around the table. For anyone that has experience in this matter, how do you gracefully tell interested parties "Hey, I'm sorry my group is full." And do you extend the option of letting them sit in and see how sessions are conducted? Or do you find that that makes it worse?

Firest Kathon
2017-05-30, 08:30 AM
"Hey, I'm sorry my group is full" sounds just fine for me. I would not let them sit in either, unless it is a step before joining permanently. I personally do not really like "observers" when playing RPG games, and in my experience it tends to get boring quickly for them.

Lorsa
2017-05-30, 08:35 AM
I agree with the above post. "I'm sorry, my group is full" is graceful enough. I've said it myself on occasion, and been on the receiving end.

mephnick
2017-05-30, 08:49 AM
Yep, I've got 5 players right now and hate playing with 6+. I've had 3 people ask to join lately and I say "Group's full, I'll keep you in mind if someone drops, but that's pretty rare, sorry."

People will understand if you're just honest about it.

NOhara24
2017-05-30, 08:59 AM
I personally do not really like "observers" when playing RPG games, and in my experience it tends to get boring quickly for them.

Well...shoot. I knew I myself found sitting in boring, but I wish I'd known it was boring for other people before I extended any offers. But, based on everyone's replies in the thread, it sounds like straightforward & honest is the best way to go. I'll stick to that. Thanks guys!

Geddy2112
2017-05-30, 09:29 AM
Yeah, as you stated in the thread title.

If you really want to be polite, you could say "We would absolutely love to have you, but there is simply no table space. If we have an open spot I will let you know"

Also, do this, and be firm. My table is at 8 because people invited others and strongarmed them into the game, causing a schism and 2 people leaving(we would have been at 10). Once people are in, it is hard/rude/wrong to ask them to leave. However, it is totally normal to tell somebody there is logistically no space, and any reasonable person would understand this and not make a big deal(hint, if they react negatively you did not want them at the table anyways).

DireSickFish
2017-05-30, 01:36 PM
See. I just invite them to the game. Then when they show up I go "haha, did you think I was serious? No way I'd ever play with a loser like you." Then they go home crying and you never hear from them ever again. The horrer stories also keep new people from trying to shoehorn themselves into the game. You might have to try some other tactics like giving them the wrong address to keep the pain fresh.

Eygam
2017-05-30, 02:16 PM
Depending on the number of people trying to join in, you could suggest to them to make their own game?

Jay R
2017-05-30, 02:49 PM
I don't recommend asking them to sit in. The reason the game is full is that you can only react to so many inputs, and there's only so much time for people to talk. An extra person, even an observer, is another set of distractions, social interactions, and comments.

ComaVision
2017-05-30, 03:04 PM
I have a pool of about 20 players and I'm the only one that DMs. I tell them a game is full if I don't want more people in it and I never allow observers (though, SOs have occasionally dropped in unannounced and I can confirm it slows the game down).

Zale
2017-05-30, 03:31 PM
I typically make it a point to let them know that it's mostly a matter of my personal limitations rather than anything about them- I simply cannot adequately DM once I get over a certain threshold of people (it varies depending on the game, but still); and, after that point it's hectic and detrimental to everyone's experience, including mine.

Mr Beer
2017-05-30, 07:25 PM
I say "Hey, I'm sorry my group is full."

RazorChain
2017-05-30, 08:19 PM
Hello Playground,

I'm in a situation that I'm sure many DMs would be envious of. I have a full group and more people who are expressing interest in joining. However, I can't run a 5 or 6 man campaign. I've only got a 4 hour block of time (that's really closer to 2.5 of game time between dinner, and everyone saying hello to each other and such.) and I really prefer that everyone get their time in the spotlight vs having more people around the table. For anyone that has experience in this matter, how do you gracefully tell interested parties "Hey, I'm sorry my group is full." And do you extend the option of letting them sit in and see how sessions are conducted? Or do you find that that makes it worse?

I suggest you use this to your advantage. Ask the interested parties to do you favors and they can join the game. Don't forget to play up how important it is to be part of the game, do it in a mystical and secretive manner...only the chosen ones get to join the game.


Before you know you have people who paint your house, mow the lawn and other stuff. If you play your cards right you might even manage to start some kind of rolelaying cult where you are the Master.

Shamash
2017-05-30, 08:43 PM
If you liked their character concept, compliment it, comments of what a shame they didn't made it on time and tell them you plan to invite them if anyone one drop out of the game so that they can keep an eye out for that.

If anyone drop out of the game, actually invite them.

Jay R
2017-05-31, 08:25 AM
"Unfortunately, my game's full. I'm having trouble keeping track now. But if you want to game and decide to run one yourself, I'd love to play in it."

Glorthindel
2017-05-31, 09:45 AM
Yep, "Sorry, I've hit my limit at the moment, but I will keep you in mind if someone drops out" is the only way to go. That said, I usually run one under my maximum to enable me to take on an emergency newcomer (saved generally for existing members partners, since its a bit crappy not to let them in if they want).

And definitely no observers - its crap if there is no hope of a slot, and serves as a distraction (since they wont want to sit quiet the whole time) and an uncomfortable one at that (since playing players are going to be conscious there is someone waiting to pump in their grave at the slightest opportunity)

kyoryu
2017-05-31, 11:02 AM
"I'm sorry, my group is full. Give me your info, and if we get an open spot, I'll let you know."

If you wanna be super nice, and you really want the player, and the game is one that allows for it, allow them to be the "adversary" GM that runs enemies during the combat.

Mr Beer
2017-05-31, 06:55 PM
Normal people don't get grumpy when you explain your RPG group is full at the moment. As long as you're not rude or dismissive when you say no, it's fine.

I only ever had one person get shirty about it, which basically confirmed in my mind that they would be a problem player anyway.

lunaticfringe
2017-05-31, 07:22 PM
Elegantly kick them in the junk & run away in a dignified manner.

Guizonde
2017-05-31, 08:43 PM
if time is available, and enough people are motivated, start a b-group. i have a main group and we are tight and exclusive. when it's us 5, it's us 5. we can anticipate how the other will react, who will think of what, we're a team. we've got our stories, our shorthand, and it'd be too much work (and risky) to include others. what we do, though, is create b-groups. i've got 5 others who wanted to play, and when i wasn't playing with the main team, i dm'd for the b-group. fun, some great roleplay, but it's apples and oranges. another of the main team did this with 3 of his friends, and it didn't work out due to logistics.

i'd seriously advise against dm'ing for more than 5 players. it gets hectic and player infighting is a hassle: slowing the game down and tempers rising make for no fun for all concerned.

when people ask to join the main team, i bluntly tell them they'd have to catch up 4 years of private jokes. it's not happening, so instead, i try and generate another group. it's worked once, and from that group i've got 3 regulars, all are roomies, which is really easy logistics-wise. i've been recently included in a pathfinder game, and from what i gather, the group is rising from the ashes of a crud-storm. you take out the bad seeds, bring new players, hope they'll fit together. we play trollball together, so it's less risky, though funny enough our roles are reversed in the game compared to on the field (i'm the line-breaker on the field, in-game, i'm the scout. the point-scorer is the tank in the game, and the tank is the support).

if time isn't available, politely tell them to wait until you can have time to give. there's nothing worse than feeling forced into playing.

bulbaquil
2017-05-31, 09:11 PM
"I'm sorry (apology), but my group is full (explanation) at the moment (temporal hedge). I'll keep you in mind if a spot opens up, though. (keeps lines of communication open)"

Beelzebubba
2017-06-01, 12:59 PM
"We would absolutely love to have you, but there is simply no table space. If we have an open spot I will let you know"

THIS right here.

Additionally, if you are willing to shift gears a bit, and anyone else in your group can also DM, consider encouraging them to run the game on another night, and running in one shared world 'West Marches' style.

That will create a larger, more robust gaming group, and you'll get more people involved in creating the world.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGAC-gBoX9k

Velaryon
2017-06-02, 09:29 PM
I know from experience how many players I can handle in one game, and how many is too many. 6 is my absolute limit, though I prefer 4 or 5. If I'm already at my limit, I let people know that I simply am not able to run a game with any more players. If it's someone I would like to play with, I will see about inviting them to the next one or to another gaming group that I'm in, though.

GPS
2017-06-04, 10:17 PM
Honestly, just say it like you said it in the title. That's how my current DM does it, and he hasn't really offended anyone thusfar.

Rhyltran
2017-06-05, 08:39 AM
Hello Playground,

I'm in a situation that I'm sure many DMs would be envious of. I have a full group and more people who are expressing interest in joining. However, I can't run a 5 or 6 man campaign. I've only got a 4 hour block of time (that's really closer to 2.5 of game time between dinner, and everyone saying hello to each other and such.) and I really prefer that everyone get their time in the spotlight vs having more people around the table. For anyone that has experience in this matter, how do you gracefully tell interested parties "Hey, I'm sorry my group is full." And do you extend the option of letting them sit in and see how sessions are conducted? Or do you find that that makes it worse?

For me no one sits at my table that isn't going to play. As for how to gracefully tell someone the group is full? My method is by telling them well.. The group is full but if there's an open spot I'll let you know. If I know they'll be good players/are willing to learn I'll actually ensure that they're the next picked in order of when they asked.

dps
2017-06-06, 03:03 PM
Pay everyone who wants to join your game but can't $1000 for being a good sport about it.

BTW, I'd like join your group. I'll PM you about where to send the money.

Phoenixguard09
2017-06-07, 07:03 AM
I'm currently running for a regular group of five after our sixth player left recently. I am comfortable with six, though I reckon more would really push it too far. Personally, I think five is the optimal level and it has certainly been the number at which our group has been most stable and we have had our best sessions.

After the last departure did so, one of my players asked if his significant other could join, whom most of the rest of us had never met. I was pretty keen on running for only five again, so I told him that I didn't have a spot for her but she could come along and observe if she wished.

During our lunchbreak on the first session with her, she accompanied my fiancÚ and another member of the group to the bakery to collect the food and expressed her excitement to join the game. Knowing that I was not keen on adding another player, in part due to numbers at the table, and in part because I run a heavily narrative-focussed campaign that is very close to the end, where it would not make a great deal of sense to introduce a new character, my fiancÚ informed her that I was not looking for new players at the moment. I believe she did so kindly, claiming it was due to my comfort in running for a large group.

Our prospective new recruit then informed her that she felt that was not a valid excuse as she had run a game in the past for over 20 players all at once and that I should rethink my approach if I felt that one more was going to upset the balance at the table. I don't think Ladyhawk was too impressed by this remark, but that's neither here nor there.

When play resumed after lunch, our prospective new recruit then proceeded to interrupt on a semi-regular basis, informing me of ways she thought I could have improved the scene or tells us tales of her own GM'ing prowess. Now I wouldn't mind this in the right time and place. As I am trying to run a game for the rest of the group is not the right time or place.

Unfortunately, having made the invitation to her at the start, I cannot now uninvite her and she has proceeded to attend every gameday we have held since. I have not added her to the main group, and refuse to do so, but I did relent and allow her to join the Maw games we hold when the whole group is unavailable.

She turned out to be a pretty average player as well as observer, but that is another matter entirely.

The point of this rant, and I do apologise for it, is that inviting someone to observe when you have no intention of letting them join the game can backfire horribly.

kyoryu
2017-06-07, 10:36 AM
Unfortunately, having made the invitation to her at the start, I cannot now uninvite her

Yes, you can.

I usually start, though, with "hey, these things you're doing? They're not okay. Please stop doing them. We're happy to have you in the group, but you can't do these things."

If they continue, reiterate the message, but add "if you persist in doing these things, you won't be invited back. You're welcoming at the table, but these behaviors are not."

Then, stick to your guns. If someone will not accede to fairly simple requests (like "don't disrupt the group constantly by saying how the GM could be doing better, but bring that up at an appropriate time"), then they're likely going to be a problem in other ways as well. I mean, in general, if you ask someone to not do something and they insist on doing it, there's a huge problem.