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Your Summoned Gamer Ally: Convention Game Mastery, Part 2

Your Summoned Gamer Ally

It’s Game Day!

So you’re ready to go and you bring all your gear to the right room at the right time. You find your table and meet your players! Before things really get started, take time to introduce yourself and the adventure ahead. Now the gamers coming to your table will most likely have never met you or each other. Ask them to introduce themselves to the group by giving their names and what games they’ve played. Afterward do the same for their characters. This gets everyone oriented and ready to game. It’s also a handy idea to provide stick-on name tags and use character names so they don’t end up calling each other “elf” or “fighter guy” all the time.

Remind everyone how long the game is expected to last. If it’s going to run longer than three hours, make sure you tell them there will be a fifteen-minute intermission about half-way through. This gives smokers and bladders a break and also gives you some time to refresh yourself before you go back into the ring. Any experienced GM knows refereeing a game takes a lot of energy, so meal up beforehand and pace yourself throughout the event. Everyone at the table made a commitment to be there to play and have fun, so remind players to turn off their cell phones or, if they must take a call, to take the call away from the game table. You’ll keep an eye on the player’s character until he or she returns, but don’t stop the game because of one player.

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Collection of Curiosities: Inside That Gelatinous Cube

"Jiro the Kobold" by Pat LoboykoYour stalwart adventurers might have faced down a gelatinous cube or two in their heroic lifetimes. If not, or if you want to throw another one at them, here are some interesting things to place inside that classic monster. If you want to roll randomly for one, use the handy number provided with each entry to figure out your result on a d12. You can also pick the one that works for the area in which your characters currently linger.

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Tiamat Tuesdays: Maintaining Focus

Tiamat TuesdaysTyranny of Dragons is nothing if not epic. It starts out fairly small, as a tale of unknown raiders attacking towns and caravans along the Sword Coast for loot and ransom. Before it’s done, those raiders will be rounding up prisoners to sacrifice in their dark rituals, dragons will gather in numbers not seen for generations, and every political and military force on the Sword Coast will need to unite against the threat if they hope to stave off an unimaginable evil.

The Forgotten Realms is big enough to allow that kind of story—to absorb the devastating blows that these amassed evil forces deliver and survive. But with so much going on everywhere, we had a big task just deciding what to focus on. The player characters are clearly the heroes of the tale, but by the beginning of The Rise of Tiamat, the Cult of the Dragon is operating across a region that spans thousands of miles. A handful of heroes can’t be everywhere at once.

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Your Summoned Gamer Ally: Convention Game Mastery, Part 1

Dice: An Important Convention Prep ItemThere’s something special and exciting about running an adventure at a big gaming convention like PaizoCon and Gen Con! Are you ready for this experience—especially now that convention season is upon us? If this is your first time gamemastering at a convention or even if you’re a veteran convention GM, here are some helpful tips to make your game the best it can be.

Before the Game

A great GM is a ready GM. Prep as much as you can for your game ahead of time, and you’ll have an easier, more enjoyable game when the big day arrives! Well beforehand, re-read your adventure and make whatever edits you need that make the adventure more accessible for convention play. You may need to modify, delete, or add encounters to accommodate a larger group of players. And don’t forget to account for the amount of time allotted for play. The entire session you have scheduled should include some time to get players situated, plus time to wrap up things. Make those decisions now, or you’ll find yourself harried and dithering at game time.

Additionally, print out any handouts, gather props you’ll need, and select any miniatures you might need in advance. Keep everything together in a “go bag” along with snacks and drinks for yourself. If you’ll be using a battlemap for figures, have it drawn out in advance to save game time. Players get bored sitting idle while a GM carefully draws lines for twenty minutes. Then when the time comes, you can lay down your masterpiece with a smile and say, “Roll initiative!”

Use Art!

Publishers spend good money on quality art and maps. Find some good visuals for your game, print them out, and keep them in a handy folder. Plunder old game magazines for cool art. Slice them out, slip them in plastic page protectors, and whip ‘em out at encounter time! I like to have a cool visual for as many scenes and monsters as possible. It also gives players something to look at while you read descriptive text or while you’re working with one particular player.

Uh Oh! Player Prep Fail!

There’s always someone who’s not prepared, who made a last-minute game change, or who lost their stuff en route to the con. Be the hero of the day and keep extra pencils, erasers, and dice available for your players. Also, always have plenty of pregenerated characters printed out and ready to use, even if players are supposed to bring their own. If someone had a complete disaster and came totally unprepared, how would you be able to help them? Think of what you’d need in a situation like that, and the list that comes to mind can be the one you create to help in epic prep fail situations.

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Enter the Dragon’s Lair: An Encounter Contest

Dragon LairIn honor of one of the deadliest of beasties in fantasy roleplaying games, which we like to call dragons, we wanted to give you all a chance to join in on the draconic fun!

Using rules for the Pathfinder RPG or 13th Age RPG, design a Midgard encounter with a dragon of any kind in its lair and send it to us for judging. The maximum length for entries is 1,500 words, and entries must be submitted on or before July 11, 2014, to be eligible. You’ll find the full details in the rules below.

A panel of judges will pick out five finalists to post on the Kobold Press website. Then we’ll ask the public to vote on the entry they think should win the grand prize!

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