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The Called Shot Podcast’s Advice to Those Looking For Group

The Called Shot Podcast is playing through the Pathfinder Skull and Shackles adventure path from Paizo.

Finding a good gaming group can be difficult, particularly for a long tabletop RPG campaign. The main thing comes down to finding others that you want to sit around a table and spend time with.

When you listen to the Called Shot Podcast, you can feel their easy camaraderie around the table, so who best to ask about getting a gang together, so that we might get some tips for forming our own gaming groups?

So I captured them and brought them back to Nerds on Earth HQ. They were interrogated thoroughly, then released unharmed.

LFG: The Called Shot Podcast’s Advice

Clave: How did you two meet and start playing Pathfinder together? In other words, what’s your origin story?

Wes: It all started on Reddit. My original gaming group had just broken up due to real-life issues: babies, scheduling, work, etc. I made a post on r/LFG about wanting to run Paizo’s Emerald Spire mega-dungeon. Chad and Davery responded, and we met in a dark corner in a seedy bar to make sure no one was a serial killer. We started gaming the next week, and have been ever since. That was roughly 3 years ago.

Clave: What, it started on Reddit?!? A ‘swipe right’ sounds safer! Chad, why did you agree to this?

Chad: Why I agreed to this? Boredom, poor judgement, and the unshakable belief that I was probably bigger than he was.

And Wes is correct, it all started on Reddit. I had lost my previous gaming group quite a bit before due to the same thing: Life. I had been trying to find a group since without much luck and that’s when I saw Wes’ post. I sent him a message, then proceeded to not hear anything for…a month or so, if I recall correctly.

I had just about started to look again when he responded and we set up a meeting in the aforementioned dark tavern. After a bit of who’s on first as we had gotten there around the same time and proceeded to sit in different dark corners on the opposite side of the same wall, we finally met and agreed that none of us were overtly serial killers. The three of us started The Emerald Spire the next week and have stuck together ever since.

Wes (L), Chad (R)

Clave: You mentioned Davery also joined your party in a tavern, but what about the other party members?

Wes: Chad and Adam met working together in IT, Chad can better describe that interaction.

Chad: I had gamed with Wes and Davery for a few weeks by that point. Davery and I were each running two characters and we had discussed bringing in some other people but hadn’t really found anyone yet. I had known Adam for a bit as he worked on another one of the IT teams. It happened to come up in conversation while we were terminating a particularly nasty bundle of cable that he had played Pathfinder a couple of times and was really interested in doing more gaming. I invited him along to the group and Wes promptly incinerated his fighter. For some reason he really enjoyed gaming with us and stuck around, providing a ton of enthusiasm that I think really helps bring the group up.

Clave: Huh. I had hoped for a salacious story involving a seedy tavern and not a story about chatting with a buddy at work but whatever. Let’s backtrack a bit. Some of you had been running Emerald Spire, a described super-dungeon, so what was it like integrating those new humans into your existing group? Did you bribe them with snacks, or what?

Chad: Well, Wes and Davery for some reason took my endorsement of Adam to heart and didn’t even do the Axe Murderer Test, so for Emerald Spire we only had to integrate him, and he has a genuine love for characters who hit things with a large pointy objects. But we ended up dropping the Emerald Spire game as it was a bit too dungeon crawly.

We played a few non-Pathfinder games and briefly brought in another friend of mine (who eventually left due to real life issues) while I ran a Supernatural-meets-X-Files inspired Alternity Dark Matter game. Wes introduced us to Matt as his friend who wanted to run a Forgotten Realms campaign he’d been working on for over a decade (Red FLAG!) and we moved into that using the Pathfinder rules.

Wes: Matt was a friend of a friend of mine. Matt and Vallie have been friends for 20+ years and they met doing Cons in the area and general nerd stuff in Knoxville. So Matt brought Vallie on board, and boy are we thankful for her addition to the group. She’s been fun to get to know and she’s brought so many of her friends on board with us.

Chad, Matt, Adam, Davery, Vallie (L to R)

Chad: That largely became our regular Sunday game for some time.

Wes: Ah yes, the fun of gaming at 25+. People in and out. Adding Adam was easy, he was just an awesome personality. Matt’s game has been fun to play in the past few years. We actually just wrapped that one up. And Vallie just fit right in like she’s been gaming with us for years.

Clave: Gaming groups are the best, so thanks for sharing yours with us! Now let’s zoom and and talk to folks who might be hoping to either pull together a group or join a group. What are your lessons learned or what advice might you give to someone LFG, other than terminating cables in seedy taverns?

Wes: I’m naturally an introvert. Sometimes talking to people via text can be easier. Be nice, but don’t be afraid to express what game you want to play. You may be surprised at who is also wanting to play the exact same game. And not just rules: setting, theme and overall gaming style.

Chad: I’ve never been accused of being a shy person, but it can be difficult to put yourself out there. Don’t be afraid to state what you’re looking for, but by the same token, don’t straight jacket yourself into only playing one system.

Always meet first outside of a gaming context, see if these are people that you actually want to spend time with. And if the group ends up not meeting your needs? Don’t be afraid to move on. Don’t accept bad gaming or unpleasant people just because you’re afraid you won’t find another group. It may take a while, but when you find or build the right group, its like winning the lottery.

I’ve gamed with a lot of people over the years, and every time I game with the CSP Crew I still feel like I’ve won.

Clave: Awww. That feels like a way to end this, doesn’t it? Thank you, guys. So glad you are gaming. And thank you for giving some advice for those who might be looking to get into gaming!