Convention Game Best Practices

I’m running a Torchbearer game this weekend at a convention.

I initially prepped an area with a collapsed ceiling concealing the remnants of an armoury. Under the rubble it contains a couple of weapons and a couple of rolls on loot table 2. Should I be prerolling that stuff or showing the roll at the table?

In one of my dungeon rooms I’ve placed a Black Dragon as the ultimate level challenge for this dungeon. I’m a bit worried about this. It’s one of those insecurities I have that I just need to let go of and let the players react to it and then go with it. Right? I should explain the might rule rules out running it off or killing it.

There is treasure of varying value and a few rolls throughout the dungeon. With as many gold coins as they can carry at the end. I figure that’s good for a convention game. I even gave the characters some sacks.

I am worried that the dungeon is too small but it has 10 areas with varying levels of threat and I think there are opportunities for good ideas. The game says that’s medium. I don’t expect it’ll all be used.

The player’s characters are a pair of married Dwarves and their friend “a wise human” who could be the cleric or magician I’ve prepared. I think I will ask who will be the brawny dwarves and who wants to be the clever human first. Then I’ll ask the dwarves whether they’d call on their magician or cleric friend and the group would discuss this. This ought to start them playing smoothly as then I can describe them leaving the cleric’s abbey or the wizard’s town. I’d then deliver the dwarves lead to the human player, informing the whole group before asking for goals.

I think it’s best to roll up loot for pre-planned encounters before the adventure for a couple of reasons: 1) less to do during the game. 2) sometimes the loot you roll for an encounter makes sense to be placed elsewhere, so what I found myself doing was starting with listing loot for each encounter, but then I’d usually shuffle it around a bit so things felt more natural. So, instead of some goblins having some ornamental urn, it was placed in a room elsewhere that made sense.

As far as the dungeon size, over the last few weeks I’ve seen people saying that 3-5 rooms per 4 hour session is a good average to keep in mind. Some groups will go slower, some faster. I’d expect a new group to be a bit slower especially as they’re learning what they can/can’t do.

Remember that you can always Riddle a dragon. ;D

As an aside, why is the Black Dragon there? That’s more important than saying “now you have a Black Dragon conflict”.

That’s the reason why the dwarves abandoned their keep. Should I make that explicit? I was planning on just saying that they’d dug too deep and it was all rather vague. Secondarily it’s there to kill everyone at the end :p.

The “I’ve taken up residence” works, in my mind, yeah. I’d rather frame it as so, because it lets you play out a final scene with the dragon in a believable, enjoyable way. More likely than not, the dragon will be the one choosing the ground to engage the PCs on, unless they figure it out and make advance plans to get the drop on it. It’d be great if the players’ actions were what framed the choice of the dragon. Is it just annoyed by these invaders? Is it amused? Does it just want a nap? Does it want to deign to have a game with them?

I think the point they are making is that it should be explicit to yourself and there should be clues for the players to figure it out, not necessarily that it should be explicit to the players. Mystery is fun! (My players were convinced the scales in the House of the Squires were from a Naga, and nobody had hunter to know what they were getting into, they were afraid, teehee)

It wants to be lazy atop its gold. But should the opportunity present itself it would like the bodies of characters to present as a gift to a potential partner.

But there’s no intent writing here. Conflicts will be dependent on how the players react to a dragon atop the treasure, or the noise they make attracting its attention. The book say the “wants” are important, but I’m not sure how exactly. I’ll play the dragon like that and I’m sure I’ll find out.

“wants” are important because without them the monsters are 2 dimensional and boring. If all they want is hero meat then the only thing you can do is kill them or run away, and d&d 3 or 4 make better combat rails than torchbearer does :stuck_out_tongue:

Ah, see, that is a fine motivation right there for a dragon. Especially if the dragon is actively courting.

The first go through, I had the players roll their own loot. They got a kick out of that.

More recently, Sean has been rolling all the loot ahead of time (using his fancy loot generator).