We wanted to post some information that we made public in November when we launched our eBook, “Player Retention“. We took to Reddit and did an AMA about the book right after it got approved on Amazon. The full text of that AMA can be found here, but we thought we would highlight a few of the more interesting questions that we received, and provide updated answers.
Q: How do you deal with power-players? In our larger groups, we had issues where half the characters were designed solely with the intent to play a personality and the other half were min-maxed.
A: I think part of this can be handled in advance by having players fill out a questionnaire about their character’s goals. Then the DM can craft the story to accommodate both factions of the group. However, the DM should also retain some of the mystery by not letting players “rail road” the game; certain dice rolls should always be done by the DM, and a strict adherence to the dice rolling rules can be detrimental to the story. To help minimize the min/max methodology of gameplay, a DM should offer “Roleplaying” rewards, (Examples include experience points, useful story information, and maybe even extra treasure on occasion) just as often as they hand out combat rewards, if not more-so. That’ll train players to do more of both, which makes the story more interesting.
Q: D&D for kids: What would you recommend to get your kids also playing?
A:I think kids have a short attention span, so if you’re expecting a story-heavy session, you’ll be let down. Props are great for kids. Allow them to “dress up” like their characters, or fight out their combat scenes. Being flexible with the rules can help them get an appreciation for the story. Also, get them started on reading early in life.
Q:How big of a role do you think the food/drink available at a table plays in getting people to come back?
A: I think a hospitable atmosphere is crucial for a successful game. Comfortable chairs, drinks, and a pizza can go a long way to keeping people returning. This game is intended to be social; you don’t want to have players thinking about anything other than the game while they’re there. That said, it shouldn’t be on just the host to supply the food, unless you rotate through houses, and not everyone can afford to feed a large group of people. So it’s something you need to discuss with your players.
We cover these topics in more detail in the book; check it out if you’re interested in learning how to use Technology to keep players interested in what happens between sessions.