So last week I accidentally attended GM Dave's The Walking Dead Thing in the high Arctic and whilst I very much enjoyed the first session, I had intended to only really make up the numbers as our three games are somewhat packed out at the moment. Whilst we had six players initially, which I usually consider optimal though opinion varies of course, as we went to play our pilot (or ex-pilot if you consider blowing up a plane a career change) joined us as we were descending to the table making a party of seven. When we started, our psychologist also arrived which suddenly meant we were at eight players.
Now whilst GMs are often accommodating and keen to have a reliable player base there comes a moment when there simply isn't enough time allocated to each person even with the best of intentions. Having said this it was a remarkably workable session but I got the impression that all the players were acutely aware of the size of the group and were all being very well behaved. In fact we got some combat in and resolved it and we are now currently hiding on our Cat vehicle checking ourselves over for zombie bites. Actually, come to think of it, I can appreciate another reason why a GM would start a zombie game with a lot of players..
Anyway, the point is that as players turned up and character sheets were running out, Dave did need to deploy the emergency party member, namely Brian, the base dog and whilst dogs are very intelligent of course, they also have a compulsive need to chase balls, lick testicles and roll in shit. Nevertheless armed with only the one word in my vocabulary "woof" I think I managed to embark on an heroic character arc of rescue, struggle and redemption. I would perhaps have preferred a base parrot for the additional vocabulary but it would be too irresistible to push the game into pirate waters.