There’s a thread over at The Masters’ Council called “It’s not easy being green”, which talks about some of the problems new players can have when joining an existing campaign, and what can be done to help them not feel somehow left out because of the experience the other players have with the game.

It’s a topic that normally wouldn’t resonate with me, as I’ve rarely been in the position of that new player (or the GM who was trying to integrate them into a game), but this time it caused me to realize that the problems being discussed were the same ones I’ve been dealing with in a PBEM that I joined back in March.

The current incarnation of the game is set many years after the original version, but takes place in the same setting, and with many of the same characters (both PCs and NPCs), though they are, of course, older now. Some of these original PCs are still being played by their original players, or, in some cases, have been taken over by other original players. Now, this is a game where the players can, and have, contributed a lot to both the setting and the plethora of intertwined families that make up the nobility of the planet where the game takes place (at least for the most part), and this has made for a very rich and detailed setting.

One in which, as one of the newer players, I constantly feel out of my depth.

There is a website for the game that contains a good deal of information, but it doesn’t cover nearly everything, and what is there is complicated enough to be a challenge to assimilate. I feel constantly reminded, as some of the older players refer to political rivalries or past events or significant NPCs, that I barely know what’s going on, and I’m finding it frustrating. For example, currently everyone is gathering for the funeral of one of a major NPC, but, though I know who he is (from reading the web pages), there are political undercurrents and emotional responses that some of the original PCs are having that don’t actually make much sense to me, because I wasn’t part of the web of relationships that went on in the original version of the game.

I’ve been thinking about possible solutions, but I haven’t come up with one yet. There are over 20,000 messages archived in the game’s Yahoo Group, and it’s just not within the realm of possibility for me to read through all of those. At least one of the other new players who is involved in the noble side of things seems to be handling things alright, so maybe I just need to not worry about it and more or less ignore the references and comments that the older PCs make that I have no clue about. I don’t know.

[I'd have posted all this to the Masters' Council thread, but I think it's a bit too rambling to inflict on them, and I don't think it actually offers any insight into the issue that hasn't already been covered.]