Is Encounters Good for New Players?

This evening at the regular encounters game we ran into a bit of an unfortunate issue. A group for four new players, players who have never played an RPG before showed up to play encounters. This was the final session in the chapter, and they joined a large group of established players, many of who have been playing encounters since the program started.

We normally have two DM’s on duty, with 8-12 players showing up regularly. Tonight, we have 13, and that is without some of our regulars. Unfortunately, we had to split up the new players across tables, and I ended up with a table of seven, which is bad on a good day. To top it all off, Wednesdays are our busiest day, and it gets loud in there, think Gen Con loud.

I would not have enjoyed the experience, and response from the new players was mixed. They verbally expressed satifaction from the game, but their body language during contradicted that. The group left quickly after the session finished, so I did not get a chance to speak with them outside of the game context. Hopefully the experience did not leave too much of a sour taste in their mouth.


2 Comments for “Is Encounters Good for New Players?”



this season of encounters brings all sort of problems for public play. the worth system is confusing, the storyline requires too much enthusiasm and dedication to understand and appreciate, and the morally ambiguous setting is not appropriate for mixed groups. if i walked into a store having never played d&d before, I would be immediately turned off. we regularly have upwards of 40 people show up every wednesday, but new players are not returning because of ridiculous pvp situations, note passing, and all the other stuff that would make for an excellent campaign. i can’t wait for this season to be over.



Sounds you’re having the problems that I feared when I read the first organizer brief on the season. Luckily, at my venue we have been having a fair amount of success. Previous seasons were resulting in 7 – 10 players showing up regularly, This season we have expanded that to 12 – 15. The normal new player retention rate has been 5%, this season we’re are at 75%, we’re at 50% retention since the beginning of the Drow arc.

The PC death toll at my table sits at 9, and I only killed 2 of them as DM. I’m surprised how well the players are taking it, I think the casual nature of this group helps. Although, last week we had priestess sit in at the mercenary table. She was quite surprised when they go sick of her ordering them around and slaughtered her in cold blood.

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