So I went to CONcrete Cow last weekend and thought I’d do it as a punter if possible, relying on other people running games. I’d taken something to run, but we found a game with empty slots and signed ourselves up and given that the GM knows *a lot* about the 40k universe thought that Rogue Trader should be fairly cool. Now here’s the first problem I’ve been encountering at convention and it may be just coincidence. It may be that I’ve got silly high standards about what I get from a game. It may be rampant misogyny and I need help. But whatever it is,I just can’t seem to get a lady to run my a decent RPG these days…
Kenners ready before Evilgaz shocker. Due to the demise of my computer, I was not what you’d call prepared for Conception, and so it was with no small amount of fluster that I stuffed my gaming bag for the con with AK uncharacteristically ready and waiting. Once I’d got my shizzle together though we were off and down in good time. Not quite good enough to make the evening slot on Wednesday, but early enough to settle in and say some hellos.
How can you not be tempted by a journey to play games in a castle on the Rhine? I was there for my third year and it was as great as ever.
The journey to Bacharach was as easy as ever, with only a slight delay at the airport on the Deutschland side while the bus turned up, but the sun was shining and a free beer on the journey over was most welcome. Everything about the con was ruthlessly organised as always, with the notable exception of games, for which there seems to be an almost masochistic desire to make it a scrum to sign up for things. I took to my usual method of avoiding troubles by taking lots of games to run. Apparently I now hold the record for most games played at a Tentacles, and as that was the last one… Continue reading
So how do you write a scenario for a convention or one-shot? Simply don’t know where to start? Well, if its 4e there’s a ton of things you can buy or download, so just boiler plate one of them and change the baddies round. If its a left field hippy game then you probably make it up with the players along the way. But if you want some on advice on how to knock something together, with some interesting bits on the way then you might find the following useful. Its a method I’ve been using for some time, maybe it’ll help someone else with a place to start at least…
Actually I’m a fan. Some people want silence in their games, no distractions, abhor the convention gaming hall and anything other than character interaction. I on the other hand like a bit of hubbub. Not to much, so you can’t hear or talking is a struggle, but I like something to be there. I played a game at Conception last year and we got a large room to ourselves. It cut out most of the sound from anywhere else and left us focused on the game. But you know what the issue was? In the words of many a hackneyed film, it was *too* quiet. Continue reading
Why volunteer to run something? You’re going to a convention and want there to be good games on that you want to play, but somehow there never seems to be what you want. The solution is to pick up the gauntlet and run it yourself. If you expose other people to your New Favourite Game, the chances are more people will buy it, play it and run it and by extension, there’s more chance it will appear at a convention somewhere near you. If delegates don’t volunteer to run things, its going to be a pretty shoddy convention… but how do you know what to run?
I went through a phase at conventions of writing stacks of info for players, big ass descriptions, things they thought of the other characters, world background, organisation information etc. But frankly, that’s all too much. Anything over a side of A4 just ain’t going in, with the best will in the world. Typically I’ll have some flavour on one side and the stats on another. I’ve even been paring down to A5 in some cases for things like Savage. On the other hand I’ve also just given people the raw stats. Now, in things like Pendragon, that’s fine. You’ve got personality traits and all sorts right there. In other games though, you might be selling your players short, especially if they’re new to all this.
Strange beasts aren’t they, with their funny smells, crazy ways of dressing and odd ways of thinking about things. But enough about mad hermits in roleplaying games, how do we deal with the fairer sex? Well from a player point of view that’s easy isn’t it? Treat them like everyone else – what’s wrong with you you chauvinist pig! Female characters however are often neglected. Continue reading
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?
One thing that it rarely done regarding convention games – and even more rarely, done *well* – is criticism. First things first, its probably best to ask someone if they want to chat about their game. A GM may well have just had a bad game from their point of view and be feeling down about it anyway, and in no mood to be told by someone else that it was poor also. They might have other things going on in their lives and have struggled through to run a game anyway so they don’t let people down who’ve showed up. There could be all manner of other reasons – perhaps they just don’t like talking about games? So, the best thing to do, before we even start, is make sure your GM wants to hear what you’ve got to say. Continue reading