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 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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