Furnace prep diary


So I’m getting down to organising my D&D games for this year’s Furnace convention. I’ve got my plot all done and I’m fleshing out a series of encounters. As suggested by Lemur in a previous comment, I want to show off some of the bells and whistles of the game. I think it’s really important to do this. A great many punters at Cons will want to try out new games, to get a flavour of what’s going on without having to commit time and money to a game that isn’t for them. Even existing fans of your system or storyline will want to play something they are less likely to get at home, otherwise why bother coming out to play at all?

With that in mind, I think it’s often worth jotting down some USPs (unique selling points) that you want to get across in your slot. It can be rules, subsytems, themes, locations, individuals, whatever. For my 4e game I wanted to showcase some new stuff, as well as go with things I found personally interesting. Here’s my first thoughts;

  • Feywild and Shadowfell
  • Heroic tier
  • Non standard party
  • Built in motives and relationships
  • Military theme, the dirty (half)dozen
  • Correct minis and tiles
  • Two games with a similar backstory
  • Stripped down character sheets
  • Full skill challenges
  • Lots of art reference
  • Some non-battlemat combats
  • Hostage situation
  • Betrayal

I had those running around in my head when I first started thinking about my scenario. I’m glad I noted them down, as it’s now a month later and I want to see if I’ve stuck to my ideas and themes. That doesn’t mean they are written in stone, far from it, but it’s a good way of keeping your focus. Like anyone, I’m prone to ideas drift at the best of times, so this helps me stay on track. I’m nailing down the details right now and i’m pretty p,leased with what I’ve got. then I’m going to put it all to one side for a bit to let it simmer. Hopefully I’ll still be as happy with it when I return.


3 thoughts on “Furnace prep diary

  1. zackspacks

    Hi there
    All sounds interesting, especially the ideas wrt the scenarios you are running, and a non-standard party. However, I won’t leave it at that, as I suspect you have created this beast with a view to the odd debate. For the record it’s all been good stuff so far, too. Keep up the good work guys.

    Okay, here’s a few questions for you:

    1. How do you expect to showcase the system with a stripped down character sheet ? Are these not counter to each other ? Or do you mean something else by ‘stripped down’ ?

    2. Not having played D&D for nearly 20 years ( apart from ‘Tactics 3.5 on the PSP ) some of the terms you use are beyond me, so what is a(n) Heroic Tier ? Or is that RPG jargon ?

    3. Minis – will you be using paper flats or painted metal ? What scale do you use ? Do you have a smaller scale if there’s not enough room ? (see [5] below )

    4. Tiles – where do you get your tiles from ? ( Not sure if it’s in the Smart Party remit, but some tips on tiles could be useful ? ) Also, how do you plan to present them? Are they card, plastic, card covered in plastic, etc

    5. Playing area – have you checked with the event organiser as to how much space you may, or may not have with regards to your floorplans ?

    Paul (Lawrence)

    • Hi Paul (Lawrence),

      Let me try to answer your questions.
      1. Stripped down means getting rid of everything that is not necessary in a one shot game. For example, level. I’m also losing all the ‘working out’ boxes that sheets usually have. When mine are done I’ll post them here for you so you can see what I mean.
      2. Heroic tier is an in-game term that refers to levels 1-10. D&D now goes up to level 30, from ‘heroic’ through ‘paragon’ to ‘epic’. They have different styles and expectations, essentially they get more over the top and flashy the higher you go.
      3. I’ll be using WotCs official D&D minis. They are prepainted plastic, about 1″ represents a human.
      4. Again, WotC produces dungeon tiles on heavy duty card stock.
      5. Yep. It won’t be an issue. Furnace has a very cool website, and the organisers (who lurk here) are happy to answer questions.

      Thanks for commenting,


  2. zackspacks

    Hi again Baz
    Forgot to say thanks for the info, so…thanks 🙂

    I must confess I didn’t realise that WotC produced either figures or cardstock floorplans, I will have to check them out, as I do collect floorplans.

    I did collect miniatures, but I know have far too many unpainted ones. WRT floorplans, the majority of mine are from Skeletonkey games wrt fantasy settings, and homemade for sci-fi settings using Powerpoint. Not as convenient as your battlemats as you have to print and mount them on card, but this also means you can vary the set-up of the scenery. In addition there is an online programme in which you can actually map out areas with the various tile sets. Errr…just for clarification ( as that almost sounded like an advert ) I am in no way associated with skeletonkeygames !

    As for Furnace, yes I agree they are good. In fact this year I even requested the area to play in ( which is why I appear in green on the prog ) as I know the rough dimensions of the table to fit my own floorplans and minis on. The reason I asked is because some of the playing areas are very tight, ideal for a non-minis game of course.


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