Question for GMs: Suppose you are starting a new game with a group of players all of whom know each other to some degree, and another friend who doesn't know the others asks to join.

What do you do to help the new player get comfortable with the group and vice versa?

(I may be overthinking this, but it may be happening with my about-to-start Expanse RPG campaign, so any thoughts would be appreciated.)

@Golux13 Before getting everyone invested in a long running campaign, play a one shot with low investment. A quick, simple game, preferably one that involves the PCs interacting significantly with each other. This lets you see how they mesh with everyone else at the table, without making a commitment to a long running game just yet. If they don't get along with anyone else, you've haven't tanked the campaign, just wasted a single evening.

@nickwedig That's great advice, and fortunately already baked into my game. Since The Expanse RPG is a new system/setting for everyone, I'll be starting with at least one pre-written adventure.

@Golux13 As someone who was thrown into a session as the unknown, allow them to talk to other players if possible, get a grip on the world, how it works and such.

I got straight into a session with a bunch of others, hardly got chance to talk, my character didn't fit the world and racism was rampant apparently... a wood elf with an Oathbow was decidedly unwelcome, and the physrep/player was stupidly uncomfortable and felt like they didn't fit at all with the people.

@Xenni Thanks for the input. This is a brand new RPG based on known IP - The Expanse - so the players are generally familiar with the setting. I only have to tell them when in the canon the game is taking place.

As for pre-game contact, my plan is to add the new player to an email group so everybody can discuss characters/group focus etc. Hopefully that will be a sufficient introduction for everyone.

@Golux13 Sounds like a good plan :)
To add as well, a lot of DMs seem to thinkg that housekeeping stuff is known by everyone. Make sure you put the boundries down solidly and so everyone knows where a line is. If you're encouraging racism, make sure those playing a non-human race are in the know. If you're not wanting PvP, set it solidly from the start and have them work it out by other means.
stuff like that ^_^

@Golux13 I normally just start up gaming as usual, unless the group is typically brittle to new people. But, given that I've sat at the same table with you, I don't think that's the case with most of your squad. I only knew Rex when I joined his games.

Keeping the first sessions about the PCs getting to know each other can also be a good lead-in with a new player to the table.

@attercap I'm not expecting any trouble with these people. But it's an anxiety trigger for some people (e.g., me) to be the one newbie among people who know one another, and I was just trying to figure out if there are specific things other GMs do that I might not have considered to ease that particular situation.

@Golux13 It's probably because most of my gaming since I moved to Portland has been open-table that I'm just used to plopping down or a GM with strangers.

Out of curiosity, how do you feel when you play at a convention open table; same levels of anxiety?

@attercap It depends. I don't mind *too much* if everybody's a stranger, but if more than about two people know one another and are playing together, I definitely feel less comfortable. (I've played scenarios with one of my kids and few other strangers at GenCon, and that was OK, but if it were just me and 3+ people who were together, I'd be iffy.)

@Golux13 That makes sense. I don't mind if that happens at the gaming table, but it would up my anxiety levels at a party.

I think there's also difficulties, when being the newbie among regulars, of knowing if the table might do/say things that I might find offensive. People who are casual with each other can sometimes be a little less restrained and 1 stranger might not affect that.

There's a "comfort level" form regarding possible topics at a gaming table, maybe have everyone fill out that?

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