Hm... seems like you're using IE. Can I suggest a better browser, such as Firefox, Chrome or Opera? There are other choices too.

If you wanna stick with IE, or can't switch, I'll warn you right now, while most of this site should work with IE, stuff might come up buggy, so you might not enjoy it as much...

Dnd for large groups

Jan 31, 2020 3:30 pm
So, I am considering creating a Dnd class to teach at my school for a Enrichment class, but I do not know how to run a game with 15-30 people with only 30 minutes to do it. Any suggestions or tips?
Jan 31, 2020 4:06 pm
Hmm, that's one heck of a challenge you've given yourself... Well, character creation can take a lot of time, so I'd suggest plenty of pre-generated characters to speed things up a bit. You'll probably want to keep your plot very simple as well. Perhaps use a timer for turns: if a player cannot decide his action within a set amount of time, their characters skip their turn. This may sound harsh, but it will keep the action moving, you only have 30 minutes after all...
Jan 31, 2020 4:08 pm
I have a D&D club at my school, tried to run for only 9 players in a 45 minute lunch period.

For 15-30, I suggest a "train the trainers" model. Take an adventure like Lost Mine of Phandelver and run some motivated kids through it. Then, make sure they take the class and you can make them the DMs. Give them LMoP to run - hurrah, they already know how to do this! The game you run is always for developing potential DMs.

Some tips:

- Nobody rolls damage. Just use average damage always. Have student's calculate that before hand, including sneak attack, spell damage, etc. This accelerates combats significantly.
- Don't bother with initiative. Just go around the table. Inject villain turns when appropriate. I know this invalidates class features, so if somebody's character is negatively affected, just start with them more often than not. The alternative of trying to keep track of a large initiative pool is so much worse.
- Try to make sure everyone gets some spotlight every other session.
- You can't really get into anyone's backstory when there are so many players, so either make sure everyone has the same element in their backstory and the game is about that, or make the adventure about nobody's backstory.
Jan 31, 2020 4:18 pm
HP, AC, ATT bonus, that is all. You can pick races and classes ahead of time and assign them. Also very simple adventure. Guy hires you, you go to cave, cave has monster, you fight monster, you go home. Nice and simple for 30 players.
Jan 31, 2020 4:21 pm
My first thought is to streamline things. Only use the D&D 5e Basic Rules. Limit characters to only that PDF (which is free, so you can give them as handouts to your students).

If this is an ongoing class, you could break it down into phases. Character creation, spellcasting, combat, etc, can each be covered in a their own class session. It's like walking a new player through the process. If it's only one class, you'll definitely want pre-generated characters with the basic options.

As for the actual game, I might break up the class into groups. Each group of 3-5 students is one adventuring party, and each party has the same characters and classes. You stand at the front and present a scenario with a problem, and each party will have some time, maybe 5 minutes, to figure out how to solve it. After the time limit, each group offers up their solution; they can roleplay it if they want, or just describe it. You describe the results based on that group's actions.
Jan 31, 2020 4:24 pm
Oh, another challenge that is presented: I only have 3 weeks to do this per group. This type of class is set up to reward/advance kids that are doing well and don't need help/remediation. Previously I've taught things like chess and probability card games.

Some things I was considering:
I will pre-generate all the characters and they will all be level 3 (not too squishy but not too complicated from being overloaded with abilities)
Combat focus (because with middle schoolers that's the most interesting)
Jan 31, 2020 4:55 pm
Does it have to be D&D? In this short time frame, going for a simpler game might be easier.
Jan 31, 2020 4:56 pm
I'd like for it to be, because I have the most familiarity with DnD and only have any real access to DnD materials.
Jan 31, 2020 5:32 pm
It really depends what you want the students to get from the experience. If it's math/probability, then this might not be the best suggestion, but if it's imagination/troubleshooting/role play then this is a very simple game for any size group. Everyone only needs a writing utensil and a piece of paper. I haven't actually played it, but I've heard it's quite fun for short, impromptu games. I've been wanting to give it a try, but the mechanics aren't very good for pbp, ha ha.

The Tearable RPG
Jan 31, 2020 5:37 pm
Fyi, the game is free and in fact you can see the entire game by clicking on the preview as the rules are only a single page.
Jan 31, 2020 5:49 pm
Give each player a set of cards that they can play for actions -- with one of them being a sort of generic stunt action that they describe that would speed things up considerably
Jan 31, 2020 11:36 pm
Some additional time saving suggestions:
* Limit the PCs special abilities, feats, spells, etc., so players can decide their actions more quickly.
* Have the PCs fight against monsters with low hit points (e.g. kobolds) so one hit will kill them. No damage roll needed.
* Start the game in the middle of the action. For example the village the PCs are in is invaded by said kobolds.
Feb 1, 2020 12:41 am
Well, if we are going to start suggesting alternatives to D&D, then here are my picks.

Warrior, Rogue, & Mage: Free, simple, and classless. You have only 3 attributes: the titular Warrior, Rogue, & Mage. The more of a "class" you want to be, the more points you put in the corresponding attribute. Uses only d6s. Should work wonders for young kids.

Hero Kids: Designed specifically for kids, relatively cheap, and looks to be pretty simple as well. I sadly have no experience with the system, so I cannot tell you more than that... (Edit: I'll also put First Fable in here as well as it is another game aimed at young children and free-ish...)

I also wanted to suggest Dungeonslayers 4th edition, but the download links seem to have recently died... Oh well...
Last edited February 10, 2020 7:52 pm, a total of 1 time
Feb 1, 2020 12:48 am
Ah missed that someone had done that ... more systems to ponder ;)
Feb 1, 2020 2:15 am
Oops, my bad, I skimmed the messages and missed the fact that you wanted to stick with dnd. But thinking about it further, given the limited time frame and large number of players I think you'll need to do many of the major adaptations people are suggesting, in which case why not consider a game that's been designed to be more simple. I like Kalajel's suggestion of WRM. It has the dnd feel, so your experiences with dnd might translate well, but is drastically more simple. But if you do stick with dnd, seems like there are many good suggestions to make it work. Good luck!
Feb 10, 2020 5:11 pm
Remember Twitch Plays Pokemon?

Have the class split into groups based on what they want to play. Make one character for each group. When it's their turn, decisions need to be quick, so they need to discuss stuff during other turns, then yell out their decision (or lack of) when it's their turn. If they've made up their mind, great. If not, go with the loudest suggestion, but give them disadvantage, or something like that.
Jul 11, 2020 5:05 pm
I don't think I would even try to play in half an hour. How about a series of tutorials? Every class teach an aspect of play. Like ranged attacks, or choosing feats, etc.

Every day try to put a seed in their head, that they'll take home and try in their own game.

(and good on you for teaching D&D anyway - I grew up during the "satanic panic" and schools did everything in their power to stop us from playing)
Jul 14, 2020 5:39 pm
lenpelletier says:
I have a D&D club at my school, tried to run for only 9 players in a 45 minute lunch period.

For 15-30, I suggest a "train the trainers" model. Take an adventure like Lost Mine of Phandelver and run some motivated kids through it. Then, make sure they take the class and you can make them the DMs. Give them LMoP to run - hurrah, they already know how to do this! The game you run is always for developing potential DMs.

Some tips:

- Nobody rolls damage. Just use average damage always. Have student's calculate that before hand, including sneak attack, spell damage, etc. This accelerates combats significantly.
- Don't bother with initiative. Just go around the table. Inject villain turns when appropriate. I know this invalidates class features, so if somebody's character is negatively affected, just start with them more often than not. The alternative of trying to keep track of a large initiative pool is so much worse.
- Try to make sure everyone gets some spotlight every other session.
- You can't really get into anyone's backstory when there are so many players, so either make sure everyone has the same element in their backstory and the game is about that, or make the adventure about nobody's backstory.
Damn, this is great stuff. I would only add that Dragon of Icespire Peak (from the newer Essentials Kit) may be even better for kids. It follows a quest-based format, which may be more intuitive for new players to follow.
Jul 16, 2020 6:59 pm
Honestly, given the size of the group and the age range, Bowl is correct in asking "does it have to be D&D?"

The reality is that something MUCH lighter in rules and play is going to suit this particular task better. D&D is already a medium-crunch system with a lot of exception-based play that compounds the issue when played with larger groups. Obviously, accessibility is a concern, which is where a link to many of the free SRDs is going to be incredibly handy.

If you can break up it up into groups of 5-8, you'll find this far less challenging, but this is going to be a nightmare to handle...
Aug 4, 2020 7:17 pm
30 minutes of a session with 15 (best case scenario) players is 2 minutes of interaction per player. To DM a traditional adventure, that's just simply not enough time. Adjudicating a scenario involving everyone is going to just be bad news.

Having assistant DMs is about the only way you're going to get it to work, but that skill set is more akin to running an event than running a game, so I'm afraid I don't have much input to offer there.

One thing I can offer is that your scenario design is going to have to be pretty breezy, and some groups are just going to move faster than others. You have to fit a reasonable beginning-middle-end into 30 minutes, which in many D&D groups is 1/4 of a single combat encounter.

Another important question to ask is how you want to present fantasy violence, and how you can trust your apprentice DMs to handle fantasy violence and character and NPC/Monster death. D&D is a game of many combats, and for a school setting, it's very much worth considering carefully how you handle these both mechanically and narratively.

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