"Ah, good, you've all arrived. No doubt you've heard of our plight, we need adventurers such as yourselves before you took an arr... ahem... sorry, wrong script. We need adventurers to quest out and do things for us, because as harmless NPCs we can't manage our daily lives without intervention! Everything falls on you. Please, will you help us?"
--Mayor McPlayer, elected mayor of Helplessville
Inviting players to your game is one of the most important (and often overlooked) set-up steps to running a Campaign. Typically speaking, it's best to invite as early as possible.
Table of Contents:
- Setting up a Lobby
- If players will set up their own tokens:
- If the GM will assist in setting up tokens:
Setting up a Lobby
Plainly put, setting up a "Lobby" is making a staging area for your players as they join the game. This prevents the rookie mistake of creating a huge map, inviting players, then as they join, they see all your GM secrets before you were ever ready!
To set up a lobby, make a new blank map. Name it "Lobby", or whatever you'd like, then place down some sort of graphic. Here's a chance to add a personal touch! This will be the first thing your players see as they join. Maybe it's the room their characters are in when they meet, or perhaps a title screen for the Campaign, setting the stage for what's to come.
**Important** Make sure that the Lobby is the first map in the list. All players who enter the game will land on this map unless you place their tokens elsewhere.
If players will set up their own tokens:
If your players have a good grasp on the system being run in your campaign and how to set up their characters on Astral, then it's likely they will be setting up their own character tokens. This relieves some of the setup strain on the GM.
If your players will be configuring their own tokens, it's important to invite them earlier rather than later. This way, while the GM is working on the finishing touches to run Session 0, the players can be working on setting up their tokens asynchronously. This also gives time for them to smooth out the rough edges before everyone joins for the first session. In order to do this, you will need to set up a lobby for your players, so they don't see something before they should.
When a player accepts their invite, they'll be prompted to make their token. If your game's system has a template, their token will start out with all the template's forms filled out appropriately.
If the GM will assist in setting up tokens:
More often than not, the GM will end up assisting in character setup. Some GMs may prefer to set up the characters for the players entirely. Maybe this is one of your player's first times running on Astral. Regardless, if this is your choice, you may want to take a different invitation strategy.
Still make sure you invite your players early. The more time they have personalizing their characters and making sure they have their actions set up properly, the better.
You may want to include pre-made characters (or at least started, for them to continue) in the lobby. As your invited players join, they will land in the lobby and you can assign their tokens to them. From there, they can take over the tokens and get to work customizing them!
If they create tokens, you may need to delete those tokens so their new tokens can become their primary token.