Jun 25, 2013

GenCon - The End of Pre-Reg

Just a little reminder. If you are thinking about GenCon, the pre-reg deadline is fast approaching, this Saturday the 29th to be exact.

One of the benefits of pre-reg is getting to save a few bucks on the cost of admission. This year, the cost savings is $10. And of course you need to register for a badge before you can book a hotel room, or sign up for any events.

And this year there are plenty of events to check out, from a bunch of new D&D Next games, to the usual slate of board, card, and other rpg games. GenCon is one of the best places to try new games, or reconnect with classics that you might not have played in a while.

Anyway, if you're interested, now is definitely the time to head over to the GenCon site and see what interests you. I'm sure you'll find plenty of somethings.

See you at the con...

Jun 21, 2013

D&D Next - Resources You Can Use

If you are using the new D&D Next rules in your game (like I currently am), there are a number of resources you should be aware of to keep up to date with the latest thinking of this still-evolving game.

One resource that I seem to keep "rediscovering" is the The Tome Show. While I've been a fan of this podcast for a while for their D&D 4e coverage, I'm glad to see they are just as thorough in their coverage of D&D Next. This podcast covers a pretty wide swath in the D&D game space, with episodes covering the latest 4e book release, other episodes around their monthly book club, and some episodes featuring several DMs discussing their own ongoing games. For the D&D Next fan, The Tome Show is covering all the latest releases around the D&D Next rules, as well highlighting columns and online articles you may have missed. Their monthly news desk shows are a great way to make sure you aren't missing any details.

The next few resources are all from WotC employees involved in the new rules.

Probably the most important page you can read is Mike Mearls weekly Legends and Lore column.
As the senior manager of the team crafting the new rules, Mike is in a unique position to see his vision of the game form the core of the new rules. His column is a great way to learn what he's thinking, giving insight into areas not yet covered in the rules, or where existing rules are evolving.

Another page to check out is Rodney Thompson's weekly D&D Next Q&A blog posts. Here Rodney addresses three questions he's previously pre-selected and answers them based on the new rules and the work in progress that he has visibility into.

Lastly, I would highly recommend reading James Wyatt's weekly Wandering Monsters column. While not specially focusing on monsters in D&D Next rules, his column does attempt to abstract the core concepts of various monster types. These concept designs are meant to influence everything from D&D branded video games, D&D branded t-shirts, and I suspect D&D Next creature design.

If you are using the D&D Next rules, I highly recommend checking out some or all of these resources that not only can help keep you up to date on the game, but can also aid you in your next session.

Jun 14, 2013

Too Much Murder in Baldur's Gate

There seems to be a lot of Murder going on in Baldur's Gate, and it's a little confusing to this partial resident of the Realms.

I mean, there's a GenCon event called Murder in Baldur's Gate, then there's the next D&D Encounters season to be called Murder in Baldur's Gate, and on top of that there's a listing on Amazon.com call, what else, Murder in Baldur's Gate.

Are these all the same thing? If I play the GenCon game, is that going to be the same as the Encounters season, which is the same as what I can buy on Amazon?

Or worse, is the GenCon game a teaser for Encounters? After the four hour GenCon event, I hope it doesn't end with a big...

to be continued

And is the Amazon product just a "for sale" version of the Encounters season? So unless you have a Delorean, with a working Flux Capacitor and Mr Fusion, I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

In other news


GenCon 2013 is shaping up to look a lot different this year than previously, and for one big reason.

WotC has decided to NOT have a booth in the exhibit hall this year! For people who haven't been to GenCon, you might not realize how big a deal this is. The exhibit hall is one of the premier visits during any trip GenCon; you can easily spend an entire day in there and not see the whole thing.

And one of the most recognizable spots in the hall has always been the TSR/WotC castle, a multi-level structure that can be seen from anywhere in the exhibit hall.

On one hand I think it might be short sighted for them not be in the hall selling any number of products they have available, like their Dungeon Command game that they rolled out last year, or all of the earlier edition repeats, or novels.

On the other hand, the thinking seems to be that if they spend less this year on hall space, they can double down next year when the final version D&D Next will probably be released.

I really need to get a working time machine!

Jun 7, 2013

Getting the Band Together - Recruiting for Your D&D Game

Recently, I've been having an issue running my weekly or even biweekly Dungeons and Dragons game. With five players, it's been difficult scheduling everyone for a convenient time. And even then, work or life was often rearing its head leaving us short at the game table.

My general rule of thumb is that if I can get at least three players, then I'll run the others as NPCs for a given session, but even getting just three was problematic.

Then one of my most consistent players had to drop out of the group, leaving us with 4 players and myself. It was definitely time to turn on the recruiting drive.

There are a number of different things you can try. I'll list out what I did and what seemed to be the most successful for me.

One of the things I did NOT do, was post a sign up at my local game store. It's 2013 folks, and since I do most of the session scheduling via email, I wanted someone at least tech-comfortable, if not tech-savvy. Other folks my have better results recruiting from a game store post, but I was trying to cast a much wider net for players, and just a few small posts at a few stores in the area wasn't going to cut it.

Since I run my game in the Dragonlance setting, I thought going to Dragonlance fan sites and forums might yield a few potentials. Sadly, I've tried this route several times, and never reached a single player. When going to fan sites and fan forums, look at the focus of the site/forum. If most of the focus is on discussing fiction related to the setting, or game rules, it's probably not worthwhile.

What has worked. Sites that focus on recruiting, or social meetups. I got a number of great players over the years from the EN World forum Gamers Seeking Gamers thread. If you're looking, definitely set up a post there and subscribe to the thread so you get email updates when anyone posts to it.

Another site that has been very fruitful in finding new players is Pen & Paper games. That site also has a Seeking Players form thread, as well as allowing you to search for players based on their profile and geographic location.

Lastly Meetup.com has been wonderful. In my area (just outside if DC), there are a half dozen groups dedicated to RPGs. Join a few, and look over their forums, and meetup threads. And don't be afraid contacting someone who might not be looking exactly for your type of game. I was able to find some folks in the area looking for a 3.5 or Pathfinder game into my D&D Next game by just reaching out and telling them a little about the new system and my game. Likewise, I recruited a player who I thought might be living a little further than he might want to travel, but after talking, it turned out he was available and OK with the distance.

In short, if you're the DM, and you're looking for new players, you need to take a very active role is recruiting. Post online or in-store, and follow up when someone reaches out. You may get more misses than hits, but if you work at it, you can find players out there to bring to your game table.