I just concluded an online game with my players. (We played 5E, but I want to move to Dungeon World.) I started with four players, and that has since grown to around ten people wanting to play, which is a problem as even with only six players I’ve started getting comments about there being too little time spread around to too many people.
I’ve tried a few approaches to help mitigate this, but every time I try playing with a smaller group, I run into the same problem: someone in the smaller party can’t make it.
This means running for the active party is that much harder because so much more of the party is gone, and the inactive players start wanting to play because they actually showed up on time ready to play. But there are enough of them that if I find a narrative reason someone else can come along, they all try to take it, and grumble about having to stay in town (or wherever) for no reason if they don’t get it.
How do I DM for this group when we can’t handle a large group properly, but also can’t count on any smaller group all attending?