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Alain Curato
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My flgs of up to last month had three chairs, and a gaming area of about 1 meter per side.

Hard to play in that.
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Mavis
England
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I am a player in one long running campaign but, for a number of reasons, this game and the GM can be quite 'frustrating' so about 2 years ago I decided to broaden my horizons and try a one shot on Free RPG day at one of the FLGS in the city. This was GMed by the store's owner and was a lot of fun so a few weeks later I decided to sign up to a new Dungeons & Dragons (5th Edition) campaign advertised on the FLGS' Facebook page.

The GM and the other players in the game were all a lot younger than me and most of them were really into optimising and creating the most wild and whacky characters they could. My character was wildly underpowered in comparison. What my PC lacked in power was made up for in character. The other players were likeable and this campaign lasted for about 8 months before the GM just gave up one week, sold all his D&D books and never came back.

One of the players, new to GMing, offered to run Curse of Strahd and I agreed to give it a go. My PC, a Necromancer, was even more underpowered compared to the other PC's and although characterful, ends up not having much to do as the other PC's all Bonus Action this and Bonus Action that every combat round. The GM is (understandably being new to it) not very good, reading verbatim from the boxed texts and combats are just so bland and lifeless dice rolling fests. Two players quickly left and we gained two more identikit optimisers. I regret not dropping out early on because now I am kinda stuck as they all really like me playing and look to me to provide character and roleplaying and without me the game will probably die, which would break the GM's heart as he has put so much effort into it. So I persevere for now. I did offer to run something different but they (and most people who attend the FLGS) just want to play D&D. I have come to learn that I dislike Dungeons & Dragons (5th Edition) very much.

As for the experience of playing in a FLGS the main drawback is the noise, there are usually 6-8 games running at the same time, some with some very loud players, and my hearing is not what it was.
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Robb Minneman
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Jackasses? You let a whole column get stalled and strafed on account of a couple of jackasses? What the hell's the matter with you?
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I've run games at our FLGS. Notably, a few years back I ran Classic Modules Today B2: The Keep on the Borderlands using Labyrinth Lord. We cycled through a few players, and I would have greatly benefited from some of the open table advice that has run through this space in the last few years. I ran an open table game before I ever really knew what one was.

Now, though, I'm introducing RPGs to my kids and so that's where my time is spent. I just don't have the time to spend on afternoons at the FLGS.
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Chris Tannhauser
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San Diego
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Playing RPGs with strangers would be like doing a gymnastics floor exercise through a minefield: briefly exuberant, suddenly messy, and only hilarious years later.
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I saw that the FLGS in my town was involved in the Free RPG day event. They encouraged people to come down and join an RPG. I did so, but they hadn't really planned anything. the owner suggested I wait for some guy who was running a game. When I asked him about joining, he looked sheepish and said he was just running for a full group of friends and not looking to add anyone else. I had fun chatting with a couple people and got a few of the free rpg books but it was a bit disappointing not playing after I had waited around for a while for it.
I think it is just the shop in my town that is the issue. It stocks RPG books and board games, but really it is all about competitive games, all the open invite events are for card games and table top miniatures games, if you wanna play warhammer, pokemon tcg, Magic etc it's fine, but the other stuff is kinda there as an aside
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Caroline Berg
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...124 to run fleeing from the mountain. ...125 to use a rope to climb the cliff. ...126 to quickly cast "summon stairs." ...127 to dodge under the falling rocks.
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Ah, awkward, I think is the word for it.

The most recent time I've done this is because I was invited by a coworker. I was the only woman who showed up for the event, and while it was fun to play, and I really could do without all the wide-eyed stares - especially from the other tables of players... I can only imagine it is because I am some rare beast the sighting of which is akin to a griffin sitting down and playing dominoes... *rolls eyes*

When I was younger we occasionally played at or local game store when none of our houses was available - but since one of the players worked there, it tended to be after hours when no one else was around to hear us.
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Emperors Grace
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Rexford
New York
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I've not had great experience with this due to a combo of factors.

I'm introverted but can force myself to socialize (and run games at conventions successfully)... but it's a lot of energy.

As a full-time employee who commutes and as a dad, my time for adult socializing is also low.

Lastly, while I'm quite patient and courteous, I won't willingly waste my time in the company of a******s.

In the past, when I've tried to join local RPG groups at stores, I usually meet an OK person, get invited and then meet the rest of the group.

Unfortunately, the "rest of the group" has so far included creepy people, people who feel they need to share their unfortunate opinions (on everything from politics to gender and beyond), or have displayed an absolute contempt (not just ignorance) for the practice of hygiene.
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William Hostman
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Alsea
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adularia25 wrote:
Ah, awkward, I think is the word for it.

The most recent time I've done this is because I was invited by a coworker. I was the only woman who showed up for the event, and while it was fun to play, and I really could do without all the wide-eyed stares - especially from the other tables of players... I can only imagine it is because I am some rare beast the sighting of which is akin to a griffin sitting down and playing dominoes... *rolls eyes*

When I was younger we occasionally played at or local game store when none of our houses was available - but since one of the players worked there, it tended to be after hours when no one else was around to hear us.


My current saturday in-store table has mostly females... the local store's RPG nights are over 30% female.
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Robb Minneman
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Jackasses? You let a whole column get stalled and strafed on account of a couple of jackasses? What the hell's the matter with you?
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aramis wrote:
adularia25 wrote:
Ah, awkward, I think is the word for it.

The most recent time I've done this is because I was invited by a coworker. I was the only woman who showed up for the event, and while it was fun to play, and I really could do without all the wide-eyed stares - especially from the other tables of players... I can only imagine it is because I am some rare beast the sighting of which is akin to a griffin sitting down and playing dominoes... *rolls eyes*

When I was younger we occasionally played at or local game store when none of our houses was available - but since one of the players worked there, it tended to be after hours when no one else was around to hear us.


My current saturday in-store table has mostly females... the local store's RPG nights are over 30% female.


This is historically unusual, to say the least.
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Caroline Berg
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...124 to run fleeing from the mountain. ...125 to use a rope to climb the cliff. ...126 to quickly cast "summon stairs." ...127 to dodge under the falling rocks.
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aramis wrote:
adularia25 wrote:
Ah, awkward, I think is the word for it.

The most recent time I've done this is because I was invited by a coworker. I was the only woman who showed up for the event, and while it was fun to play, and I really could do without all the wide-eyed stares - especially from the other tables of players... I can only imagine it is because I am some rare beast the sighting of which is akin to a griffin sitting down and playing dominoes... *rolls eyes*

When I was younger we occasionally played at or local game store when none of our houses was available - but since one of the players worked there, it tended to be after hours when no one else was around to hear us.


My current saturday in-store table has mostly females... the local store's RPG nights are over 30% female.

My current face-to-face RPG groups are 40% and 50% female, the groups I've run at work were the same - 40% and 50% women, and I played with two groups in college that were 90% - but I've never seen that at any local game store, even when I stop in to purchase supplies - it's still dominantly male in the public sphere.

I have a theory that most female RPGers don't play at stores, but prefer other locations that aren't as loud - or can guarantee table space (and clean bathrooms).
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They've really run the gamut. It really killed my interest in D&D3.5, because the desire not to limit player access to books (and therefore support the store) resulted in some truly egregious character optimization that harshed my buzz.

The six months I ran D&D4 and Living Forgotten Realms at the shop went great, until the system itself sucked out the last of my will to run it and I took a year long hiatus from all roleplaying.

Now I'm in my fifth year of a D&D5 game that started out in June 2014 as an eight-person "come and try out the new Starter Set" campaign at the store. My table was the newbie table, and here we still are, all this time later. We do dinner twice a year and occasionally go out for beers. It's a good group.

I've participated in some excellent Shadowrun games worthy of remembrance; likewise a short Dark Heresy campaign and a handful of successful one shots.

Running Paranoia for strangers unfamiliar with the game is hard.

I tend to agree that truly bad actors have been pretty rare. We definitely have our share of badly socialized folks, but roleplaying is too good for them to exclude them just based on the fact that they're uncomfortable to be around. If I felt for a moment that any of them were harrassers, or that they represented any kind of risk, I wouldn't be so tolerant.
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William Hostman
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Alsea
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robbbbbb wrote:
aramis wrote:
adularia25 wrote:
Ah, awkward, I think is the word for it.

The most recent time I've done this is because I was invited by a coworker. I was the only woman who showed up for the event, and while it was fun to play, and I really could do without all the wide-eyed stares - especially from the other tables of players... I can only imagine it is because I am some rare beast the sighting of which is akin to a griffin sitting down and playing dominoes... *rolls eyes*

When I was younger we occasionally played at or local game store when none of our houses was available - but since one of the players worked there, it tended to be after hours when no one else was around to hear us.


My current saturday in-store table has mostly females... the local store's RPG nights are over 30% female.


This is historically unusual, to say the least.
From what I can tell, it's pretty normal for Oregon.

In Anchorage, 3-6 years ago, it was more like 20-25%.

The current teens and twenty-somethings tend to be less gender biased in a number of fields than the 30+ crowd. And, from what I can tell, Oregon less gender biased than many other states, as well. Combine those...

I've usually had female players in my groups since about 1995... (when I met my wife...).

The trick is to (as with all things different in organized play) stack the deck. You want to run something odd at the FLGS? Get someone to agree to play it before you go, and go on a night you expect there to be surplus players. You want a group with more women? Takes longer, but have a woman or two agree to go for several weeks, and put photos online... and have a public policy banning sexual harassment.

Things that my FLGS in Oregon does:
1: clear policy about sexual offenders. (If convicted ever, you're not welcome back, ever.)
2: back-room closers encouraged to not close up while any woman would be left alone (unless she's the closer).
3: a informal "no-bounce" policy. You can't bounce someone from the table without good cause. Informal, but very real. To get the GM discount, you have to have a willingness for anyone who bellies up and isn't disruptive.
4: staff involvement but not staff run. The store has an employee coordinating, but the actual GM's are volunteers, compensated with a 10% discount.
5: snacks available.
6: separate gameroom entry from the store entry, so the store can close before the gameroom.

Bosco's had an explicit no-bounce policy, staff involvement, separate entry, snacks... I got permission to reserve seats until start time for my regulars (who chipped in for the adventure)... but if they weren't there at start time, first 7 to sit got in. So my group started showing up at 1830 for a 1900 start time... and usually, all 7 were there by 1835, and wanted to start at 1845...

One other thing that Bosco's did that was wonderful: In the summer, they had "portable garage" type tents that got set up and secured semi-permanent - so during the summers, one to two groups were playing outside - a bit more wind, but far less people noise, and closed on 6 of the 7 faces, so wind was just a noise issue. I often had people pulling into the lot to find out what was going on.
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john Whyte
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With regards to the women thing:
One of the big reasons my wife kept playing with me is that there was another female (who she made good friends with).
And she has no interest in anything at the current FLGS's (she likes the owners and buys stuff for me) is that there are no other women. (and it doesn't help that the males there are not really a good arguement for the perpetuation of the species)
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Michael Daumen
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When I recruited for a game in 2015, I proposed meeting at a store since it was neutral ground for all involved. We are still playing, although now we play at folks' homes. I realize this is probably an outlier, but I doubt I'd be playing at all without this happening.
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Dan Conley
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adularia25 wrote:
aramis wrote:
adularia25 wrote:
Ah, awkward, I think is the word for it.

The most recent time I've done this is because I was invited by a coworker. I was the only woman who showed up for the event, and while it was fun to play, and I really could do without all the wide-eyed stares - especially from the other tables of players... I can only imagine it is because I am some rare beast the sighting of which is akin to a griffin sitting down and playing dominoes... *rolls eyes*

When I was younger we occasionally played at or local game store when none of our houses was available - but since one of the players worked there, it tended to be after hours when no one else was around to hear us.


My current saturday in-store table has mostly females... the local store's RPG nights are over 30% female.

My current face-to-face RPG groups are 40% and 50% female, the groups I've run at work were the same - 40% and 50% women, and I played with two groups in college that were 90% - but I've never seen that at any local game store, even when I stop in to purchase supplies - it's still dominantly male in the public sphere.

I have a theory that most female RPGers don't play at stores, but prefer other locations that aren't as loud - or can guarantee table space (and clean bathrooms).


I ran a Call of Cthulhu (7th Edition) demo this past Monday evening at my FLGS. Three ladies and two guys. Unusual, I’m sure. We had a blast!
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