Furnace prep diary

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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? Continue reading

The Irish method

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For those that don’t know, The Smart Party are based in the UK and as such most of our Con attendance is here, plus the occasional European jaunt. We have a lot in common with the US in the way that our Con gaming is generally set up and run, but it’s not the only way. Over in Ireland they play by a very different system indeed, and recently there has been lots of debate about it. Will it stay, will it change, and to what? Here’s a summary from this discussion: Continue reading

Just nipping out for a bit

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Our house sale finally came through today, so we’re moving tomorrow. Very exciting. It means I’ll be offline for a week or two until I can get my IT sorted out at the new place. Feel free to add comments to all the other posts while I’m gone though eh? I’ll be sure to reply when I get the chance.

Evilgaz will be all over the site like fleas on a tramp in the meantime I’m sure.

See you soon.

D&D at Furnace

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I’m getting my prep in super early for this years Furnace. I’m going to run two D&D 4e games. One will be set in the Feywild and the other in the Shadowfell. Despite my own advice I’ll probably have some links between the two, but it will only be minor stuff tucked away in the story.
The advice I’m getting at the moment is to pitch the games at the mid heroic tier, that’s about levels 4-7. Initially I wanted to go paragon, but apparently that slows the game a little if you have 4e novices at the table (and I imagine I will do).

What would you like to see if you were to play? What wouldn’t you?

Thinking about Linking

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Or, when one shots become two or three shots.

At various Cons I’ve often seen games that are meant to be part of a bigger piece. For example, you play part 1 of a scenario on the Friday night, part 2 on the Saturday. Other variants have been sessions that run across 4 different tables, all at the same time, with 4 different GMs. There’s also the ‘gameshow’ variant, where you might have to ‘win’ one game in order to ‘compete’ in the next. (Sorry about all the ‘bunny fingers’, but you know how people can be about terminology)

Continue reading

New player type discovered!

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If you’ve been paying even the slightest attention to the hobby at all you’ll be aware of player types. From memory, I’ve seen such lists in the Fantasy Gamers Bible, in Robin’s Laws of Good Gamesmastering and in the Dungeon Masters Guide II for D&D 3.

In the lastest DMG, we get a run through again, but I see there’s a type I’ve not seen called out before: The Instigator

“An instigator enjoys making things happen. She has no patience for careful planning or deliberation. She’ll open an obviously trapped chest “just to see what happens.” She provokes authority figures and opens dungeon doors to bring more monsters into an already difficult fight. The instigator can be disruptive, but she can also be a lot of fun for the other players. Things rarely grind  to a halt with an instigator in the group, and the stories that get retold after the game session often revolve around whatever crazy thing the instigator did this week.”

Interesting. Just when you think you’ve got a handle on the sort of players you might have rock up to your table, here’s another one. I can see how this type merits it’s own entry, and in hindsight, the typology has had an instigator sized omission for years.

I’m not sure I’d want a whole table full of instigators at a Con, but a couple could make for a very feisty game indeed.

All my own work

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When you consider all the things that can go wrong with running a Convention game, why do the vast majority of GMs potentially exacerbate that by writing their own scenarios?

Writing your own stuff has it’s pros and cons to be sure. You’ll have a better understanding of it from the off. You’ll be better placed to improvise around it. You won’t (usually) have to write it all down so tht it makes sense to a stranger. On the other hand, you’re very much an amateur right? Well intentioned, and possibly very talented, but at the end of the day you’re a hobbyist.

I once suggested that more ‘modules’ could be offered up at Cons and the reaction was one of shock and horror, maybe it will be again. But I still remain convinced that there are some great published adventures out there just perfect for the Con experience. I’ll be reviewing some of them in future posts. Obviously, just because it’s published, doesn’t mean it’s any good, just as home cooked stuff could very well be genius. But lets play the odds here. Why run your own Unknown Armies confection when you could run Jailbreak? Will your three room dungeon be able to match one of the better Dungeon Delves?

Maybe the answer to those questions is ‘Hell, yes!’, in which case congrats, go ahead, knock yourself out. But then again, whenever you’ve had a poor Con game, ask yourself why that is. most often we get personal about it and look at the GM or the player dynamic. Couldn’t the scenario have a large part to play? and if so, might it not help to have professional help?