May 16th, 2006

D&D GMing Tools?

So I'm kicking around the idea of running a D&D campaign. Why? Mainly because I think it'd be fun to have some old school hacking and slashing happening.

However, D&D is paperwork intensive. I'm wondering what tools are out there to cut down on this? Specifically I'm looking for things like NPC / monster management, XP tracking and calculation, etc. I'd really rather not have to recreate all these things myself.

Another question I have - if I do this I want to have lots of maps (like on the dry erase grids ya know). What's generally the best way to handle this? Do you draw the map in as the players come into new rooms? Do you draw the whole thing and cover it up with paper or whatever (potentially a pain in the ass it seems)?
  • xuenay

Optimal amount of players?

This entry was prompted by the recent post on missing players, where the original poster used the phrase "to all the GMs out there with player groups of 6+ members...". This made me go blinkblink a bit, as I consider six players just about the absolute maximum for any group, and even that's already a bit too big in my opinion. There's just too much waiting in a group of six players, with each of them constantly jostling for the GM's attention or waiting for their turn in combat. Four or five players seems the optimum number for me - enough to create group dynamics of the sort that you don't have with just two or three players, while at the same time creating a suitably intimate atmosphere that's good for roleplaying. (Of course, if you're working from a purely gamist viewpoint, atmosphere won't matter as much. Even gamists would probably benefit from shorter waiting times, though.)

This made me quite shocked to see mentions of groups with 10 or more players in the comments of that post... and several GMs I know seem to consider about six players a good number, so obviously not everyone agrees with me.

So what are your thoughts? What's a good party size, how many is too many and how few is too few?