Friday, April 8, 2016

Post Gary Con - Lessons from an Old Dungeon Master

I love to Run Games, I am a far better player than a Dungeon Master. I am a Great Dungeon Master

I love to create games that I would love to play in, I am my own play tester. The only thing I really need people for are to make sure I can run it in in a certain amount of hours

So I came across a blog where they had people describing their first time as a Dungeon Master at a convention so I though I would expand on this.

1 - You are running things for strangers, people who may not enjoy your games because you cannot make everyone happy

2 - You have a slot to run your games, usually 4 hours

3 - You have to deal with the room noises and the amount of games in one area

I thought I would describe my first Con and running games VS. my last TWO Cons running games (and playing) and the differences between the cons

1992 - Defcon 3  - New Brunswick, NJ - 
Number of attendees - 500

3 Days, food -Hot Dogs and soda sold by the con and on site restaurant
Did not stay at con site

Ran Entrance to Classari (twice) and 2 other games

Average Age of Players - 20

This was a small con and the room was noisy, I ran games and they went amazingly well. I ended up locking my keys in the car after a food run on Saturday and had to reschedule games as someone ran me home to get my spares. Returned to the con and ran games. The next day I ran another game then went to the awards ceremony. I won best DM despite having to reschedule games on Saturday

2015 - Philly GamersCon - Trevose, PA   -   
Number of Attendees - 700?

3 Days, attended Friday and Saturday, did not stay overnight  - Food, i brought my own but on Site Restaurant 

Average Age of Attendees - 38

Played in my first Pathfinder game that friday and ran 2 of my classic Con games (Attitude and AAAhhhh) 

I will say that all the player in my games had a good time, even persuaded the Mother of one of the players to join us in order to fill the table, she enjoyed it as it was mostly role playing and solving Puzzles/ finding information

2016 - Gary Con 8  - Lake Geneva, WI -  
Number of Attendees - 1000

4 Days+Precon party the day before. Food - Table Side service, full restaurants and bar, Key Club
Stayed at the secondary Hotel

Ran Entrance to Classari, other AD&D and Toon

Average Age of players - 45+

Larger con with many VIPs,  The 3 games I played in were exceptional, One was because I was in a game where the DM was Ernie Gygax, the players themselves screwed up and F'd the game for us... but I came away with some great stories and the one player who decided to use burning hands on a fire Giant (may as well cast heal on the Giant)... My Druid was almost worthless for the entire game thanks to the screw up (Ernie was so dissapointed we did not get further into the adventure

One game was Minions with the Lead Designer at Piazzo, great game I brought my A game and I was great playing an Ocr serving a Lich

I also was an NPC in a Firefly game (I am thinking of bringing this to an East Coast con) This was great and was rolling max scores a few times

My game went well as noted on my GaryCon wrapups


My First con Experience VS my last con experience are vastly different

Let's point out that this could also be because of the locations of the cons, NJ vs WI. East Cast gamers are different than the Great Lakes region (where RPG essentially began)

The age of the Gamers is different, (As my age is very different from then) which is why I included the con I attended last year.

If I exclude the one game that I think was a failure on an ambitious premise, I think that many players at Gary Con really did not grasp the role-playing aspects of my Pregens for the most part. In the 2 sessions I ran of one of my games, the cleric is supposed to find and obtain disciples... none of the 2 sessions even made an attempt at this. I have half a table of role-players and the other half seemed to not grasp the pregens

so here is how the section is written in the Pregen

You had a vision that Vidar, your patron deity, beckoned you to seek the Throne of the Gods in order to fulfill your destiny and become a full god instead of the minor god you are in this realm.

However, you must obtain 9 Disciples in order to be eligible for the honor. 

Maybe it is just me, but I see so much that I can work with and play... Every single encounter would be a chance for me to gain a convert

So one of the real reasons I love to run TOON is that is allows people to be wacky and actually role play as silly as they can be. Now I have not run TOON for a long time but it was some of the best games I actually ran, I did not have the thoughts of "They are not getting this"

I will say that my second session of the game mentioned above was a higher dynamic of Role playing than the previous one. I have run this game a lot and always ask for input as some of the puzzles that I think are easy tend to really baffle people

I think that one or 2 people in each of my AD&D games just did not get the concepts of the game at GaryCon... Now I have had people who were not thrilled with certain things in my games and maybe it is a East Coast thing but I have not had games where it was dislike from the start (unless they were just quiet people and this was their first time playing and I misjudged them)

I am attending another one day con this month with Attitude and AAAHH, my 2 Con games I run everywhere, so I will see how it goes and update this piece at that time

UPDATE 7/12/16
So I ran AAAHHH at a Local one day Con... Legacies Game Day... It went very well and the same issue with the cleric persists... I may have to revisit what is written for each character...

I also went to DexCon and had players for TOON and Firefly...