Does Your Table Have 7+ Players?

Please be warned that this post about our family game with 7+ players will include just a wee bit of ranting. I’m going to divulge one of my personal pet peeves when it comes to the Dungeon Master’s Guide, Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, and pretty much D&D in general for editions through time immemorial. Ready for it?

Everyone assumes you have at MOST 6 friends.

Bear with me here. I realize a lot of us are pretty nerdy gamer geeks and more than 6 friends might seem like a stretch. But for some reason, the DMG, in particular, puts a pretty strong emphasis on it. Naturally, what I’m grumbling about is how charts and tables always assume parties of 4, 5, or at most 6 players. It’s not that it’s incredibly difficult to extrapolate from the chart what comes next. The real problem is that usually once you get more than 6 players at the table, the chart itself is full of bad advice.

Because the game totally changes when you run a big enough group.

Why This Is A Big Deal For Me

This is a big deal for me because I live in a household of 14. My home game is, quite literally, my ‘home’ game. It includes my prettier half, my daughter and her husband, my daughter in law, and three of my grandbabies, ages 8, 9, and 10. The magic 7 players. And that’s only because my son doesn’t like playing in a group that large. Also, my eldest grandson is in a ‘you’re not cool enough to play with’ stage.

Before this campaign, I ran an ‘away game’ for the youth of my church. That game also often burgeoned to 7 or 8. And even 10 players for a session or two.

In other words, I deal with 7+ players a lot.

7+ Players Changes The Game

There isn’t a lot of great advice out there on how to run a game with 7 players, let alone even more. Some of the problems we run into just don’t exist the same way in smaller groups. Problems like…

  • Players having to wait for 6 other players AND the GM to take their actions before it’s their turn again in combat.
  • 1.5-hour fights that should last 30 minutes.
  • Keeping it fun and engaging for so many different varied individuals.
  • Balancing fights to be challenging for 7+ players. Without single hit kill abilities from solo monsters or overwhelming mobs that take hours to overcome.
  • Skill crossover being so high that asking for a check almost always results in successes.

The list goes on…

Because the books don’t deal with parties of this size, and because my own internet searches have only given a handful of options (and most of them theoretical) I’ll be devoting a bit of time on a regular basis to analyzing my home game. I’ll be experimenting on them to improve our game, and sharing that experience with you.

As I overcome different challenges, I’ll be sure to share what worked for me. Because I’m pretty sure many of YOU have more than 6 friends, even if mine are all relatives…

What kind of challenges have YOU encountered, or overcome, with 7+ player parties?

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