Still, when I write what I consider to be an amazing blurb for an eight-person event and get two players to sign up, it makes me wonder what went wrong. I'm not really concerned about coming up short of players at NTRPGCon -- those folk show up to play old-school RPGs, and there's seldom an empty chair. It has happened at other shows, both for RPGs and miniatures. I moved beyond agonized "maybe they just don't like me" self-appraisals years ago, but questions remain.
Sometimes the problem is the convention itself. Here in Seattle, at least, we have a few cons where the event-to-player ratio is out of whack; the Pacific Northwest breeds GMs, apparently. You can see this when the program book is filled with events and every table in the gaming hall is in use, but most of them have only two or three players. This is bad for players, GMs, and shows, because no one is having the convention experience they payed for.
That still leaves me with occasions when I wrote ass-kicking event descriptions (IMHO) and wound up with almost empty dance cards. I've concluded
- Seattle is different. This area is a focal point for creative industry and game design, so the GM-to-player ratio probably is actually higher than the national average. The indie game movement is very active out here -- so active that it has game days of its own. They're some of the better gatherings to attend.
- Despite #1, getting people to step out of their comfort zone can still be hard. Many gamers come to a convention hoping to play something just like what they always play, only with the Barnum & Bailey treatment -- lots of miniatures, showmanship, and a big dealers' hall.
- There's no accounting for taste. That mine is different from many people's comes as no surprise.
Game Title : An Emperor's DoomGame System : D&D Basic/Expert
The oracle of Faunus has foreseen a prophecy of doom for Emperor Andronius of Milenia, and the Emperor is none too pleased. As the most valorous of the empire's warriors, you have been chosen to visit the oracle and persuade her to alter the prophecy or, failing in that, to find a way to forestall the doom. Such a thing has never been done before, but the Emperor commanded you to make it so, and so you shall.
Game Title : The Cold DepthsGame System : The Fantasy Trip
The gem mines of Quchu played out years ago and were abandoned by all except a handful of lonely prospectors. Now a reclusive miner has stumbled out of the hills and into your camp with a tale of terrifying visions, monsters crawling up from the deep caverns ... and a sackful of diamonds, emeralds, and rubies. A fortune is there for the taking, for anyone brave enough to risk those cold depths.
Game Title : Green Acres
Game System : Gamma World
In search of greener pastures, Prof. Monkey (your boss) moved the Radium Powered Lab to the other side of the hill. There he found not just greener grass but an entire Ancients agricultural complex. With a treasure like that under his enlightened domination, Dr. Monkey could seriously tackle the job of rebuilding civilization in his own short, hairy image. The only hitch is the current occupants with their dark, disturbing secret. But that's not Prof. Monkey's problem, it's yours.
Game Title : BlueshiftGame System : Star Frontiers
There's little of value at New Vulcan besides the UPF orbital research station. Now the science crew reports that the station is in grave danger -- its orbit is decaying rapidly for an unknown reason. A UPF response team needs to rescue those scientists, save the station if possible, and figure out who or what is behind this mess.
After having recently played in a (disappointingly) railroaded rpg event at DunDraCon, I think it would be useful to include one sentence on where your events fall on the scene-based vs. exploration-based, and the success-is-guaranteed vs. failure-is-possible spectrums.ReplyDelete
But the fact that they're at NTRPG Con may mean the answer is implicit in this case.
That's an interesting idea. One could add something like a Consumer's Guide to the blurb: "Roleplaying=Low; Combat=High; Traps=Moderate; Exploration=Moderate; Lethality=High."ReplyDelete
That is an excellent idea. You might add "Genre: " to that list as well, in case someone isn't knowledgeable about the game in question, or maybe you are doing an odd cross-genre adventure.Delete
I also think people scan looking for certain buzz words of interest to them. For instance if I see "Cthulhu" and "Sci-Fi" when I skim, I stop and read the whole entry.
The sad truth is too many people just don't read well. I don't mean they can't read, but they are so used to the web and chunked text in bulleted lists that you almost might be better off going that route.
I’m afraid my reasons for wanting to play in all those games won’t be very helpful. ^_^ (1) Because I had much fun in the two games of yours I played in last year. (2) B/X is my favorite D&D, and the other three are all games I’ve wanted to try but haven’t had a chance to.ReplyDelete
I also think you do a good job of describing the scenarios. A little flavor. The basics of the situations. And what (or at least hints at what) the mission will be.
Yeah, Robert is right: The descriptions give just enough situation & mission summary, and avoid the common problem of being too long.ReplyDelete
On the idea of using Roleplaying as a category: I'd avoid that term because it's too broad. It varies significantly between individual gamers as to which of the following are included and *excluded* from a definition of Roleplaying:
- Dramatic "play acting" in character (optional: without breaking the 4th wall by bringing in out-of-character discussion)
- Using funny voices
- Choosing actions based on character knowledge as opposed to player knowledge
- Interacting with NPCs (there are two variants here: with and without die rolling)
- The player imagining himself in the particular situation and choosing what to do
(And I'm probably missing some other common definitions.)
I tend to use roleplaying to describe any nonviolent interaction with NPCs. As you point out, there's bound to be another term that would be less subject to misinterpretation.Delete
Not knowing you at all, here's my impressions:ReplyDelete
An Emperor's Doom: No.
This entry was way more confusing rather than intriguing.
It sounds like it's a high level adventure from the "As the most valorous of the empire's warriors..." bit, so I'd expect it to be challenging role-playing, but the text really doesn't convey that.
More importantly, this sentence just doesn't make any sense to me: "The oracle of Faunus has foreseen a prophecy of doom..."
What is that even supposed to mean?
Has the prophecy has already been made? Or had the oracle has foreseen [someone else's] prophecy, and that's what is supposed to be hushed up or forestalled?
I think you meant: The Oracle of Faunus has prophesized doom for Emperor Andronius of Milenia...
...but I'm not going to second-guess you as an event registrant, so I'll just pass...
The Cold Depths: Possibly.
The description is straight forward. I should know what to expect (A dungeon crawl, killing monsters for loot... right?).
I'm not familiar with the system, but it sounds like it's an introductory-level adventure.
Could be fun, I'd prefer a D&D game, but if The Fantasy Trip was a comparable system and there were no other D&D openings, I might try it...
Green Acres: Not my thing.
Sounds like a bunch of mutants fighting on a farm.
It could be fun, but I don't have any sense of the tone of the session.
Is it meant to be 'serious' or 'silly' play? That needs to be better conveyed to me. I might want to play a fun game of silly, but not serious...
Star Frontiers: No.
Again, the description is confusing: Is the "science crew" on the planet or the station? (If they are on the station, why not just call them the 'station crew'?) Is this supposed to be a limited time/resources scenario with the choice between a rescue mission or a repair mission?
The "...figure out who or what is behind this mess..." adds an element of 'whodunnit?', but you've just now implied that someone or something *is* actually behind it, spoiling some of the mystery and (most importantly) the urgency of the mission.
Obviously, there is something behind it and participants are expected to find out who.
Why am I playing this?
Over all, you really don't tell me what style of role-playing or adventure to expect from a session and you leave me dismissing your games simply because they have ambiguous and seemingly contradictory descriptions.
Thanks, Biopunk. That's exactly the type of detailed feedback I was hoping for. It reinforces my suspicion that a bit too much of my own idiosyncrasy might be creeping in at the expense of clarity.Delete
Most of Biopunk's feedback about diction are the kind of nits that I might pick in an academic publication or technical documentation, but I think they were perfectly clear and appropriate in this context.Delete
First - yeah, not sure if it's low- or high-level.
I don't get it.... Sign me up straight away. Your pedigree in the business should trump any description. I would play in any of them and consider it an honour sir.ReplyDelete
Kind of reminds me of a trip to NASA watching an astronaut give a talk, I was shocked to see the school party there talking amongst themselves and texting.
Ok fan excitement aside I would play in the first the system is great and the story sounds interesting, gives me the feel of Sabre River or even Drums on Fire Mountain.
The rest wouldn't interest me as much mainly due to the systems, maybe Gamma World but which version is it.
1. Transitive verbs with personal impact: Players must clear their names. Get the thingee or watch their families die. Retrieve their souls. Find out who ate the only one who could work the star drive. Think of the short story writer's maxim: start as late as humanly possible.
2.To follow-up on BobM's comment: keywords. Think of this as a Hollywood pitch. Aliens in Mordor. Outland with atomic mutations....
The first two descriptions sound similar to what I might find at Organized Play sessions: straight-forward fight the monsters scenarios. This is fine for the player who wants something like that, but for me, not interesting enough to draw me to a table.ReplyDelete
The Gamma World one has an interesting dynamic and sounds gonzo enough that I'd see if there were open spots for it. Why not? What's to lose?
The last one, as someone else pointed out, is a confusing description. It also sounds like there are more objectives than may be possible to deal with during a one-shot game, which has the potential to leave me unsatisfied. I'd pass on this one.