The invitations are heading out! And if they’re making it all the way to The Evil Party, then you know that this Thief + Wizard wedding is going to be huge. I just hope Laurel forgives me for asking her to draw all those characters. And dang way, what do you say we while away our countdown to the big day by discussing the fine art of guestlist management? As Antipaladin is discovering, it can be a delicate topic.

Just so we start on the same page, let me first direct you toward the “Five Geek Social Fallacies.” I’ve linked to ’em once or twice before, but they’re very much in the back of my head with today’s comic. More specifically, I’m looking at “Geek Social Fallacy #1: Ostracizers Are Evil.” Kind of an ironic title, what with The Evil Party being the ones ostracized, but let’s leave that for now. The important thing to look at is the level of social discomfort being generated by the snub. No doubt our wicked ladies have all manner of resentments whirling through their malicious little minds.

They didn’t invite me. They must secretly hate me. I’d better hex the shit out of them. 

And while it can be great fun playing the vengeful party guest in a fantasy story, the home game isn’t so great. That’s why it’s important to realize that invitations to the game (or the lack thereof) are not personal.

Take my group for instance. We’ve got something like thirty members kicking around in our private forum. There are half a dozen different ongoing campaign between us. But you know what none of those campaigns have? Thirty friggin’ players. I told you guys about the time we tried to cram nine PCs into a Shadowrun game. It was way too many cooks in the cyberpunk kitchen. Pairing that mess down to a reasonable number was necessary. And as much as I miss my Cajun combat troll, it was absolutely the right call to bow out.

What I’m saying is that there are limited seats at a well-balanced table. You might get one or you might not. But when simple arithmetic is at play, you probably shouldn’t take it personally. These days, whenever one of my buddies starts a campaign it’s a drama-free experience. The call goes out, the interested parties raise their hands, and 4-6 of us get the nod. As a GM making that decision, I might want a player who I haven’t gamed with in a while. Maybe I want genre aficionados. Maybe I want expert players for a high-level game, or complete neophytes that can learn a new system with me. There are a thousand and one good reasons for a disinvite beyond “my friends secretly hate me and don’t want to be my friend anymore.” So if you ever find yourself in the shoes of Witch/Necromancer/Succubus, do yourself a favor and assume it’s one of those good reasons. It’ll probably result in fewer hexings in any case.

Question of the day then! Have you ever had to winnow down the guestlist for a campaign? Did the uninvited players take it amiss, or did you keep it cordial? Conversely, have you ever found yourself without a seat at the table? Do you feel like it was an intentional snub, or were you alright with the situation? Tell us your tale down in the comments!


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THIS COMIC SUCKS! IT NEEDS MORE [INSERT OPINION HERE] Is your favorite class missing from the Handbook of Heroes? Maybe you want to see more dragonborn or aarakocra? Then check out the “Quest Giver” reward level over on the The Handbook of Heroes Patreon. You’ll become part of the monthly vote to see which elements get featured in the comic next!