Monday, January 23, 2012

The Players Wanted ad

I'm not going to run DARK•HERITAGE for my group any time soon.  Not only did my last attempt have a woeful end due to scheduling difficulties (which plague our group at the best of times as it is--and this wasn't the best of times) but we just started another campaign, which is estimated to last at least all of 2012.  For me to even suggest another game would be mutinous, not to mention rude and unfriendly at this point.  But as my excitement for DARK•HERITAGE is waxing at the moment, I might be inclined to look for another group--a "mistress" group if you will, where I could run for them on the side.  I don't know if I'll do this, of course, but considering what I had to do when I first moved into the area, and what I might have to do to find another group now, I thought it would be fun to craft a "Players Wanted" ad.  Whether I actually use it is another thing altogether.  Once crafted, aside from sitting here on my blog, where it won't get any bites, I could post reformatted versions of it on various online RPG meetup type places, and most importantly, on the bulletin board of my local gaming store (I'm lucky enough to still have one that's not very far away.)

A good Players Wanted ad needs to be brief.  Who is going to be so interested in it that they'll read a Great Wall of text?  Precious few potential players.  But it needs to be informative.  It needs to convey in brief yet clear tones what kind of game you're looking to run, so that the bites you do get will be the right kind; there's no point talking to lots of potential players to find out that all they really want to play is an elf bladesinger in a Forgotten Realms campaign.  You want it to be specific enough to act as a self-selecting filter for the kinds of players who you are likely to mesh with, but you have to be careful with that so you don't come across as a holier-than-though stick-in-the-mud elitist with finicky tastes, which would be off-putting to exactly the same players that you're hoping to attract.

And most of all, it needs to be evocative.  If in your pursuit of brevity and information-sharing, and correct tone placement you manage to come across as dry and boring, then you're not likely to get any hits that way either.

One good way to do so is to use the "Hollywood style" pitch idea.  This is a very concise comparison of your game to a few other well-known titles, characters, or elements in the hopes of drawing attention to the similarities between them.  Famously, Star Trek, the original series, was pitched to studio executives as "like Wagon Train to the stars."  You probably want to be a little more exacting than that, but not much longer.  And some kind of snappy graphic--a banner ad, or a fantasy picture that is evocative of your setting, can't hurt to help grab attention.

So, here's my ad--sorta.  Normally, I'd actually put this in Word, pdf it, and print it, but for now, I'm just doing it as web text with a banner.  It might not be perfect, but it should at least be a good enough example of what you're looking to do.


Looking for 3-5 players for a fantasy roleplaying game.  d20 Modern rules and a playstyle more like Call of Cthulhu than Dungeons & Dragons.  It is not necessary to own any books or know the rules to play in this game!

"The Black Company and The Godfather meet spaghetti westerns and Pirates of the Caribbean!"

A homebrew setting and game that encourages wild swashbuckling action, gritty noir investigation, and Lovecraftian dark fantasy in equal measures.

Looking to play biweekly in Fakesville, USA in the evenings for 3-4 hour sessions.  I am a veteran roleplayer and gamemaster looking for local players who enjoy fantasy, horror, and thoughtful roleplaying.  If interested, contact me at

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