Thursday, March 20, 2014

How to run a con game, some notes for myself

Last Saturday I ran a online Stormbringer game for an online game con. It was in the middle of the nineties the last time I did something like that, so I was a bit rusty.

Running a game online has its own problems, and running a con game is also its own beast. I knew, in theory, how to do it. This is as much a reminder to myself for the next time as well as some advice for the potential reader.

Base the scenario on scenes
Have a clear idea of the location, and the concrete opposition in that situation. It will help you pace the game, and you know how much the game have progressed in time and in the plot.

Make the end goal simple to grasp
Don't make it too fancy, or subtle. In a long campaign you have all the time in the world to establish the metaphysics of the world or the power players in your setting. In a con game you can't let the players game their way to a stance on the global problems. There just isn't time.

The player characters have to be distinct
Make sure the characters have something they are good at, and some things they don't like. It's probably a good idea to make sure there are NPCs that push their buttons, as well as some of the other characters.

What I did
Sadly I didn't heed all that advice. I did a fairly involved setting, with subtle power play. I also included references to other media, which some of the players clearly had no experience of. But, my biggest fault was I did not break it into scenes. I just started it and knew where it was headed, planning on shepherding it along as we played. Naturally, it made it less focused than it should be, and rushed when I looked at my watch and how far we had proceeded.

But, some of my players got to shine, do weird things and kill every human being on that plane of the Multiverse. That's worth something.
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