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Thread: Recommendations for Next Year's Event

  1. #1
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    Default Recommendations for Next Year's Event

    Thank you all for participating! I hope to make next year's event even better, so I'm looking for your feedback. I've got a few questions I've been pondering, but I absolutely want to hear any additional feedback or ideas you may have.

    Should I limit recruitment to leave a pool of replacement players/characters for the seemingly inevitable event when people disappear?

    Should I use pregenerated characters or limit class availability (like free basic rules only) to help keep teams balanced?

    Should I not allow players to select their teams so I can balance teams a bit more evenly?

    Should I go back to a more plot-free/lite funhouse dungeon like last year or keep the small, self-contained plot like this year?

    Should I select a shorter adventure to ensure most groups can complete it, or keep one that at best one or two groups will complete? (Was expecting at least one group to finish this year, so would make it a little shorter anyway.)

    Should I change the way I keep score? Shift focus? (You'd obviously need to evaluate the scorecard to get a good idea on this one.)

    What level/tier should I find an adventure for? Last year was level 3, and low levels are more dangerous (good for this type of game) but everybody does low levels all the time. I worry going too high might deter newer players even if there were pregens or material sources were limited.

    Anything else I should consider?
    Last edited by Rellott; 08-13-2017 at 12:14 AM.


  2. #2
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    So our team was just plagued with bad luck and posting challenges. So there isn't much you can do about that. I like what you do with the humor, but on the other hand I will also say this: People have different senses of humor and if they don't have the same humor as the DM, they just won't score points in that regard. That being said, it doesn't account for many of the points in the end. That was my only real concern I think.

  3. #3
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    1. No, dropping out is such a common issue, it is just the way things are. Combining dwindling teams might help that, especially if you use a more sandbox approach, rather than the linear rails approach.
    2. Pre-generated characters helps to increase recruitment, especially for among newer players. It might turn off some, but the reality is that most RP tends to not be really character creation sensitive in these kinds of settings, and it would allow people to avoid the constant, "Well, what kind of character might fit in this instance?" back and forth. It would also help if you were to use a sandbox approach, as you could determine the right balance to meet all of the challenges you want to include.
    3. Personally, I think team self-selection key to fun activities like this.
    4. Definitely sandboxy!
    5. It seems as though creating the expectation that everyone will be expected to finish the adventure makes player choices and actions more important, as the quality of play becomes more important than the quantity of actions or rooms explored. For example, if everyone has to the solve the same problems, the quality and creativity of the solution becomes more relevant, and can competition be much better as individuals can compare their solution about how to pass the tripwire or disable the death ray turnstile..
    6. Scoring is fine, and I like the hidden scorecard, as it helps to cut down on powergaming, as no one can guess what does and doesn't count toward things. I would like even more of that, of hidden accomplishments that make you really think about how you want to address certain situations and opportunities. Personally, what could also be interesting (especially if you create pregenerated characters) are character specific accomplishments that can affect how players engage in situations that can sometimes be critical to success or significant obstacles to success that require creativity to resolve. It would reward clever gameplay, kind of like a How to Host a Murder kind of thing.
    Last edited by Tarien; 08-12-2017 at 11:03 PM.

  4. #4
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    Default Recommendations for Next Year's Event

    @Light: how would you address the differences in humor between players and DM to ensure fair evaluation while maintaining the fun environment? Remove points but leave inspiration? I find a lot of people rarely used their inspiration and just kept acquiring it even though it doesn't stack. I'd be concerned without the point motivation it would become a humorless grind. I don't want to remove the humor/fun aspect from the game. I want it to be silly.

    @Tarien: how would you reconcile your push for sandbox style adventures with the need for a consistent experience by all groups for fair evaluation? And you did have two entry points to the dungeon and no set order you had to visit the areas in other than "save this room for last".

    Can you give some examples of character-specific goals?
    Last edited by Rellott; 08-12-2017 at 11:39 PM.


  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rellott View Post
    Should I limit recruitment to leave a pool of replacement players/characters for the seemingly inevitable event when people disappear?
    I think like Tarien said that's just gonna happen. The idea of combining dwindling teams seems cool, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rellott View Post
    Should I use pregenerated characters or limit class availability to help keep teams balanced?
    Pregenerated characters might add a cool boardgame-like element to the campaign.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rellott View Post
    Should I not allow players to select their teams so I can balance teams a bit more evenly?
    I think people might enjoy selecting their own teams, but having those pregen characters might help the balance anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rellott View Post
    Should I go back to a more plot-free/lite funhouse dungeon like last year or keep the small, self-contained plot like this year?
    I haven't played last year's dungeon, but I'd be willing to try something like it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rellott View Post
    Should I select a shorter adventure to ensure most groups can complete it, or keep one that at best one or two groups will complete? (Was expecting at least one group to finish this year, so would make it a little shorter anyway.)
    Like Tarien said, the idea that everyone could possibly complete it would probably make for better/more creative play and choices. I like the idea of every team working toward their own creative solutions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rellott View Post
    Should I change the way I keep score? Shift focus? (You'd obviously need to evaluate the scorecard to get a good idea on this one.)
    I like the scorecard and all the possible hidden achievements--those were really cool. I liked the humor-scoring as well, but I think Light makes a good point, too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rellott View Post
    Anything else I should consider?
    My team was really lucky that we had the three of us still playing to the end. Character AWOLing was probably the most stressful part of the game basically because we got locked into that fight at the end. So, it felt like dropping was the biggest issue we came up against. Combining teams might help with that, but I guess that could make figuring out the new, combined team's scorecard more difficult to determine. That, I'm not sure how to work around.

    Anyway, thanks for running the dungeon--it was a ton of fun and I loved getting to goof around with my stalwart teammates.

  6. #6
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    Default Recommendations for Next Year's Event

    Ooh! Question I forgot to ask! I'll add it up top in a sec for new people to the thread, but here it is:
    What level/tier should I find an adventure for? Last year was level 3, and low levels are more dangerous (good for this type of game) but everybody does low levels all the time. I worry going too high might deter newer players even if there were pregens or applications were limited in some way (like free basic rules only).


  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rellott View Post
    Ooh! Question I forgot to ask! I'll add it up top in a sec for new people to the thread, but here it is:
    What level/tier should I find an adventure for? Last year was level 3, and low levels are more dangerous (good for this type of game) but everybody does low levels all the time. I worry going too high might deter newer players even if there were pregens or applications were limited in some way (like free basic rules only).
    I liked getting the chance to play at Level 6 because, yeah, other games had low levels, so it was cool to try. Level 6 or thereabouts might be a good cap because once you have a lot of abilities, it can get worrisome for newer players like you mentioned.

    I didn't try at Level 3, but that sounds fun and challenging too. It seems like a lower level would discourage combat. Having pregens would be especially helpful because they could have whatever exploration tools that we might not think to bring at that level. That goes for Level 6, too, but at that level some of us had access to things like Fly and Invisibility already.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rellott View Post
    How would you reconcile your push for sandbox style adventures with the need for a consistent experience by all groups for fair evaluation? And you did have two entry points to the dungeon and no set order you had to visit the areas in other than "save this room for last".

    Can you give some examples of character-specific goals?
    I guess I need to be more careful with my terminology. I realize now that in gaming parlance, sandbox refers to open-world, where you can go anywhere, do anything. I use the term more as homebrew, specifically designed campaigns with intentional in-game experiences that allow for a wide variety of potential solutions that can cater to multiple gaming styles or critical thinking (like some of the puzzles in the WPM module where combat is not a viable solution, though that actually makes me think of a fairly grisly, but viable, solution for the puzzle that your group faced a few rooms ago...).

    And please, understand that this suggestion was in no way intended as a negative criticism of this year's scenario or the competition in general. It is definitely one of the most exciting and enjoyable things I have done since joining TTW more than 2 years ago! Writing up the Scooby-Doo skit had my entire family laughing and making suggestions for changes.

    I am not sure if you still have a question about the character specific goal, but it can be just about anything that only the player or individuals playing the character would know. What could make this even more interesting is that if you were to include this, you could have both team and individual winners, e.g., best team score, but also best individual representation of Character X, based on the individual scorecards for each pregen. It would take more prep, but in terms of execution in-game, I don't anticipate that it would add a lot more workload.

  9. #9
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    Default Recommendations for Next Year's Event

    @Isada: yes, combat was discouraged at level 3. Short of the random event special slaying arrow, you have almost no hope of slaying the a) purple worm, b) dragon, or c) lich sorta guy in that level 3 module.

    @Tarien: I didn't take it as a criticism. Im not about to write an adventure, and I do try to select adventures that offer multiple paths to success in some scenarios (or I just accept multiple paths even if they're not written in, if they're good enough). I'm glad you enjoyed it - and I did enjoy your Scooby Doo skit even if I had to retcon it a little. I would still appreciate some examples. Are you talking like "cleric who heals the most HP over the adventure" sort of achievements?
    Last edited by Rellott; 08-13-2017 at 01:08 AM.


  10. #10

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    I've already spent my wambulance fare for this one, but my biggest complaint is that combat took up too much time, at least for our group (out of the 5 rooms we entered, two of them had combat encounters and only one was a puzzle- the other two were Thieves' Tools tests, all of this after beginning with a combat encounter). If combat is going to be a major factor or test, especially combat against a Challenge Rating 10 encounter, successfully ending a combat encounter should award points to prevent a group who's stuck in an encounter from being permanently put behind.

    I wouldn't be opposed to pregenerated teams: Say that everyone can pick their team, and then the teams choose who gets what character. This would allow for character-specific challenges and some flexibility in player options while making sure the teams are balanced. When everyone has the same list of powers, it comes down to player skill.
    Last edited by DarkisnotEvil; 08-13-2017 at 02:57 AM.
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