Friday, February 20, 2015

Discussion: Your Best New Player Moment

With this week focusing on new players in our games, I thought it would be fun to have a discussion about our favorite moments with new players.

In the interest of not stealing all of my current group's stories for this game, I think my actual favorite new player moment happened years ago during my first experience with Legend of the Five Rings. This was before I even fully knew what I was playing, but I knew enough about "Samurai Culture" to not have the same culture shock.

The moment was simple enough. Myself and the other new person trying out the game were in a market and had to pick something up. Along the way the other player decided his character was hungry and asked if there was a food stand around. The GM said yes. The player, for some reason, decided he didn't want to pay and instead tried to steal the food. They had a roll, the PC failed, and the GM described the merchant seeing the player, noticing his swords, and then looking away as he took the rice ball.

The player was confused, but also curious. So he took more things. Eventually he asked what was up and the GM explained that because he was samurai the peasants would not talk back to him. In effect they were honored to let him have those things. The player did not catch the hint in the GM's voice that it was still wrong and being noticed. Why would he? Now he was a kid in a candy shop that could take whatever he wanted.

And so the theft continued....until a passing Mirumoto saw what was happening and took offense on the part of the peasants. A quick argument/discussion on the role of the samurai and a sound trouncing later and the player's comeuppance had arrived.

Now, in hindsight, I'm not sure if the GM handled this the way I would have. I think I would have warned the player more bluntly that just because a peasant wouldn't say anyting didn't mean there couldn't be severe reactions. At the other end though, the way the situation played out was a great introduction to Rokugan and that kind of society, including the extreme difference between the classes.

Also, the player totally had it coming. The Rice ball they could have gotten away with, but by the end they were taking just to take. It is the kind of thing that gets noticed.

What's your favorite new player moment/story?


  1. During character creation in L5R running a Thousand Years of Darkness campaign which is essentially an everything is awful setting. I was offering everyone 1 rank of glory for half a rank of Shadowlands Taint. For reference, Shadowlands Taint is touch and proximity transmissible soul cancer that's incurable and difficult to even slow down. Everyone said no, other than a new player.

    The new player promptly says "Yeah, that sounds great! What's taint?" I explained it to him and offered him the chance to reverse his decision and he said "Neh, sounds cool, let's see how it goes!" He had a great time with his short lived character.

  2. Regarding your story A.L., agreed that it was nice that the important lesson about Rokugan was learned organically. However, I can't picture handling it like that as a GM because the PC in question is a samurai, and a samarai would well know the likely ramifications of the stealing. Therefore, I would have felt compelled to candidly explain to the player exactly what the likely ramifications would be. If after that the player still chose to continue stealing then all good.

    A favorite new player moment just occurred. New player is playing a weak convenient NPC until their PC arrives in the story. The player started roleplaying that NPC more than anyone else at the table with their own character. Then afterwards, the new player writes a good sized background story for his temporary character & posts it to the campaign website.

    The creative bar for the whole ~2-year campaign got raised a notch just like that.