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Tropico
August 26th, 2007, 13:47
So in some random RPG blog reading I found this article which I thought was very cool and informative (plus I'm a sucker for the 'collection of related tips' type of article :) ).

It ocurred to me that VTTs have some things similar to 'con' games... especially that first game where everybody is new and doesnt know each other. I have never actually been in a con game, but it seems that way; at least several of the tips there really did sound like they could appy very well to online 'one-shot' sessions.

So here's the article (http://www.treasuretables.org/2007/08/gencon-2007s-lessons-for-convention-gms). Any thoughts? Totally applicable to online? Not in the least? Love to hear em.

Tropico
August 26th, 2007, 20:58
No thoughts from anyone? :( Guess this is really only interesting to those who are (relatively) new to both GMing and GMing online... which I guess there are very few of... maybe even.. only myself :o

Anyways, in case there are any others like me, this article (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=rpga/articles/ca20030609writing) has also been tremendously helpful in getting my head straight enough to actually do it. Hope it helps someone.

Griogre
August 27th, 2007, 03:01
The second article is much better. While I don't think the first one is flat out wrong I don't think it is right on either. There is a reason most RPGA tournements are set at 4th level and you can see why in the second article. You can also see one reason I think the first article is wrong about short games. The lenght of a game realistically is tied to the level.

If I run a tenth level game at a con I want a 10-12 hour run with a 20 min break in the middle.

On the first article, you should realize most cons don't run with "tickets" for events so it's a pay once and get in. Even with cons with tickets you usually get a few ones free when you sign up.

First, a few points. You are going to play in some bad games at cons. You need to understand it and get over it. I mean this is a positive sense. Don't let one bad game ruin your Con. Realize anyone can run games at a Con - Anyone. You will find awesome game masters and very poor ones. Conventions other than the very biggest ones typically want more GM's than they can get, so they take anyone.

That said, there are three types of games at Cons and some are more likely to be good than others. There is a "Demo" game. This is where a company is demoing a game or product of some sort. Companies want to look good in demo games. Typically the people running a demo are very familiar with the material and have been vetted by the company. The odds are you will have compentant to good DM and if it is a product that interests you - you will have a good time.

The next type of game is a tournement game. These games often have mutilple rounds at a big Con. In this type of game the scenario has been approved by someone, usually with a limited timelimit and con mechanics in mind. This typically means the scenario is decent to good. The GMs are going to run the gaultlet of skill though most will be average to good.

Finally there is the random game. Some of these you signup for, some you find in the open gaming room. The quality of these games is totally random. Don't be scared off by this but make sure the game is one you are interested in. Find out if it is a published module. That helps your odds. But don't be afraid to experiment. A Con is a great place to try a new game, but be reasonable, don't play in a mid to high powered game if you don't know the rules.

Edit: I didn't make the point about at ticketed Cons it is much more important to not run over. You don't want to make someone lose a ticket. Tourneys also are almost always run exactly for their duration because it isn't fair to the other teams if you run over the time.

Tropico
August 28th, 2007, 12:54
Wow thanks for all that Griogre, you clearly have a bit of experience under your belt on the topic!

GoOrange
August 30th, 2007, 14:44
Interesting articles. I think I had read the first before, but it was good to read again.

I think both articles are spot on in their advice.

When I'm at a con, I want to play a few different things and like a 4 hour slot. This is about the max limit of my attention span. No way would I sign up for a 10-12 hour game. With shorter slots, you don't get stuck with a bad group or bad GM for too long.

I agree with Griogre that game lengths are tied to level to some extent, but this can be compensated by limiting the number of combat encounters.

Personally, I wouldn't run or play in a high level con game, I usually prefer lower levels. That, and I usually play games other than D&D at cons, because I like playing things I don't normally get to do with my group.

Good reads, both - thanks for drawing my attention to them!

Griogre
August 30th, 2007, 17:29
Personally, I wouldn't run or play in a high level con game, I usually prefer lower levels. That, and I usually play games other than D&D at cons, because I like playing things I don't normally get to do with my group.
I think this is very good advice. I would almost never play in or run anything higher than for 10th level D&D characters at a Con. I picked the 10th level example because it is the max level I would normally play or run. Anything higher is usually full of munchkins. The odds are also higher the DM doesn't know the rules which is far worse at high levels than low to mid levels. Also bear in mind that a 10-12 hour run could and often is a game split into 2 or more parts.

Finally, I very much agree that a Con is the time to try or play games you normally wouldn't get a chance to play

scytale2
September 1st, 2007, 01:23
My experience of Convention games has been almost universally positive. The GMs have been fab and even some of the players....

Regarding high level play, I think this is one of D&D's biggest failings and, in some ways it is more evident now with 3.5 than we had in 1st edition. The complexity of the game increases as the levels increase. So, we play to increase levels (and have fun), but all that happens is that the game becomes ever less playable.

I think also what is not mentioned in the first article is that an encounter should be "timely", i.e. the GM should estimate how long it is going to take and then weigh that against how much time is available. Now if it is too long (regardless of level), then the encounter needs to be pared down.

Big dragon encounters are only very lengthy, if the dragon has lots of complex spells or it is flying by? If this makes the combat lengthy, then change the encounter. The idea is to make the game enjoyable and involving, with variety and roleplaying, not just one big numbersfest. In the dragon example, you could reduce the treasure and make the dragon weaker or use a better but younger dragon that has fewer spells...

It is also up to a character to make sure thay can play their high level character in a timely fashion. People who take complex feats and don't know how to use them, people who look up the spell after they have cast it, people who don't know their spell DCs, people who simply don't know the rules, should either play a simpler class or a lower level.

Anyway, my only point is that high level games are a lot of fun, if you can prepare for them well, with properly-gauged timely encounters and you have experienced players who focus on their own play, rather than idle chat or worse, arguing with GM or other players, then you have a recipe for a more interesting experience than the frequent goblin/kobold hunt that the low level games provide.

Tropico
September 1st, 2007, 14:51
It is also up to a character to make sure thay can play their high level character in a timely fashion. People who take complex feats and don't know how to use them, people who look up the spell after they have cast it, people who don't know their spell DCs, people who simply don't know the rules, should either play a simpler class or a lower level.

Man I can totally agree with this, having both been that person and watched that person from across the table as well. Neither are a good feeling.