I was watching a video taken from the recent Gencon, and it was detailing on open forum session for GM’s where they are able to bring issues amongst themselves and help each other out. A fantastic idea and for the two years that it has been provided it seems to have gotten a fair rate of participation and attraction, understandably so.
One of the GM’s in the crowd brought up that he actually had too many people in his group and wanted to split them but didn’t know how to go about it and how it would work. The solution put forward was to split the group and try to run them in integrated adventures, this allowed you to bring them together from time to time as both groups dealt with the same issue and possibly from different sides. This got me thinking of the ways that my gaming group and I have utilised different playing groups or people into our sessions.
One of the great ones that we have utilised, particularly if there are a group of players that are less regular, is that the second group play the enemies in situations and scenarios this gives everyone interaction, can take some heat off of the GM and imparts a small amount of rivalry amongst the groups which can bring out some great roleplaying. The first few times that we initiated this it was a little chaotic but after ironing out a few things then it worked quite well, particularly if the “enemy” players were relatively powerful as opposed to being creatures such as base level goblin.
The second memorable method that we have used was cameos. One of my friends played a few sessions with us, but midway through a campaign left the country to take up a job overseas so his character left our company. A year or so on and unbeknown to everyone in the playing group except the GM, he had come back home for a week and had secretly planned an appearance in the session. So when we rolled into the next town waiting for us on its outskirts was his character and at exactly the same time that we saw him in the game he opened the door to the room we were in and surprise! This was a really engaging and social way to bring him into the session. Since then he has made continued appearances in the sessions of that campaign. This method can also be a great way to get adventure hooks placed in the lap of the party, particularly if you have several of these cameo characters.