Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Art of Dungeon Mastering at Conventions

Running games at conventions is completely different then running your weekly game. Your weekly game will allow for players to go and do something not planned for, they have more options in the decisions

Here are the top item you need to consider when running a Convention game

  • Is your Adventure unique
  • Is it straight forward (A to B, B to C) or flexible
  • Is the goal obtainable in the time frame
  • Are the Characters Pre Generated ? 
  • Do you have prepared sheets in case the player does not bring one
Every game I have run has been unique from the Search for the ultimate ale, to the Assassins game. I have play tested the games before hand and have a good expectation of time. I have games with each character personality and interaction listed and some bring your own where you have no idea... 

Game descriptions 
  • Does it entice players to play
  • Does it convey what player can expect
  • Does it set the goal, setting, or both
  • Is it Adult material, PG or Everyone

Everyone struggles with this, I can be the best thing ever written and you have 4 people at the table. For example, I recently went to a con (it has been since 2004 that I attended a con) and ran a game that was highly popular at previous cons I attended. I used the same script I have used in the past 

AD&D- So you think you have an Attitude!
Only Dwarves need apply... 13th-15th level... bring your own or be issued a generic.... The followers of the God of Attitude and Drink are sent on a quest.
Beginners welcome.
Age 13+ please.
Pregenerated characters provided.

I actually have 7 people signed up but 4 of them bailed to play in other games.  This was one that was always talked about in previous conventions, People would come up to me by late Saturday night and ask me to run this for them. When i was doing conventions 2-3 times a year, I always filled my games in the first couple of days

Pregen Characters Provided... I promise a truly Epic adventure that will generate stories for you to tell in the tavern
This features some of the greatest concepts and Role Play that I have ever put together.  The characters provided are all high level
and saying anything further goes would ruin the integrity of the game.
Age 15+ please.

ONLY Pregenerated characters provided.

I consider this to be one of the best adventures ever written, but I wanted this to be mysterious... Everyone who has playing this has raved about it, it has never failed to be less than epic

Typical times for playing are: 
  • 2 Hours (Mini Slot)
  • 4 Hours (the typical amount of time)
  • 8 Hours (Double Slot)
I prefer 4 hour slots because I can run more games, typically, I do 2-4 games a day - 8 AM, 12 PM, 4 PM and 8 PM... sometimes a 12 AM.. .

Your Responsibilities as a DM / GM / Storyteller / Animator / Ombudsman
  • Be on time
  • Be organized
  • Bring Extra Pencils
  • Bring Extra Dice
  • Bring Additional Characters
  • Bring Character Sheets
  • Bring note pads
I try to plan as if someone is walking by and at the last moment decides to play. I do not lend dice easily but I keep 3 sets with me that are expendable and losing them is no issue (You will lose dice and gain dice at conventions if you run games, it just happens)

In Addition, I always try to do the following:
  • Have water and Ice Tea available at the table
  • Napkins, always needed
  • Gum or mints or packets of skittles
I find that if the players are on your side from the beginning, they will accept anything you throw at them or do to them. If I am running a Role Playing intense game, then I usually reserve killing for a bone headed move... 

I have no qualms about killing players, I prefer providing a tough challenge where they may be killed...

During the Game
  • Know the Material !!!
  • Be Organized
  • Be Energized
  • Dig deep, be unique
  • Don't be afraid to try it
  • Don't Dream It, BE IT !!!!!
The more you bring the game to life, the better your players will respond. I use lots of different vocals and hand gestures... many people can attest to my horrible Jamaican accent and my equally well done other accents... 

I have all my notes ready to go and it is a simple tear of a centimeter to hand it over...

Game flow is important, anything that stops the action or pauses for too long is not helping the players to enjoy the game

My goal has always been to have the most talked about game at the convention, if they are talking about it and people are standing around watching the show.. then I have done it.

If the players do something that truly amazes me, then i feel i have inspired them...

REMEMBER - It is all about the Players

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