Thursday, July 12, 2018

Common Sense Convention Event Preparation 101 & OSR Sword & Sorcery Weirdness

I've got a wall of clients today & any minute I'm going to have my first one descending up on my work bench as of this blog entry with another four or five to hand me their repairs. But I've got something on the back burner which is prepping an Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea 2nd edition  event for ShireCon in Falls village Ct.
So how does a dungeon master with little time, lots of energy, & a hankering for Sword & Sorcery action go about getting down a Con event quickly & painlessly? Does he sell his soul to the Outer Gods in return for wisdom from the depths of the Outer Darkness? Read on faithful one.

AS&SH 2nd edition Artwork from here

Well, no instead he begins to work up a con event based on the time slots available first of all. Then you grab your Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea 2nd edition hand book & prepare out an outline for an adventure based around an idea or other highlight event that fits in with what you as player might like to play. Be prepared that you might get anyone as a player in your event or events.

Anyone folks means that you might get the designer or writer themselves at your table. This has happened to me in the past so keep the adventure simple, the preparation down to a dull roar, & amp up the encounters. Deal with all the encounters, treasure,etc as if this was a first game adventure with a beginning, middle, & solid end point.
Con events are all about common sense game preparation & if the game is Sword & Sorcery then this means that its doubly true. Have all your maps drawn way, way, ahead of time & reread the game your playing to run rule book again. Factor in all of the treasure, monster placement, quick encounters all around the spokes of the adventure idea.

AS&SH 2nd edition Artwork from here

The biggest factor is to keep the adventure simple, easy to pick up, & fast to run with all of the pre generated PC's ready to go out of the gate. Make sure all of the player hand outs are on hand & simple to deal with. Your going to get a wide spectrum of players from across your area & all of the factors of play as the dungeon master are on your side. Be especially friendly, open, listen, & be observant to the players especially at a convention. You as the dungeon master are not OSR messiah so don't try to be & relax. The convention is there for folks to have fun & play games. This includes you as well. So where does that leave me??
Well at the moment I'm on the outline stage of things but I've got time to get the material down to the brass fittings of the adventure. With encounters, monsters, treasures, etc. & I may throw this my players way's to quick test it as well.

Some of my suggestions for this sort of last minute convention event preparation are as follows:

  1. Do quick & broad outlines for the adventure event. Don't panic and use common sense. Think about the level of the adventure that you want to do. 
  2. Pull out the rule book for the game you want to run & think about what drew you as a player & consumer to it. Grab that thread & then create an adventure around it. 
  3. If you feel strongly about a game adventure then others will as well. 
  4. Pre generated PC's have to be equipped straight out of the gate but make them as a player not simply as a DM. 
  5. Go for the whole thing as an action movie & keep the adventure's plot light we're not writing Shakespeare here.
  6. Breath & walk away for an hour or so to get some distance & then reread your adventure material. If you scrap it then great but look at it again & there might be something to salvage. Don't get discouraged.
  7. Use common sense when writing a convention event & ask yourself if this is something that you'd want to play. 
  8. Throw your home game players under the bus & ask them if they want to help you play test this event. Ask their opinions about the event and then do what's necessary to it. 
  9. Rinse & repeat by rereading the event again or walk away for a day or so. 
  10. Go over everything to see if you've missed anything for the event. Then reread it again & blow through the adventure one more time to be prepared. 

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