Beginning an Encounters program at the FLGS and I have questions

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Hi everyone,


I'm not sure if this is the best place to post but I've got some questions about the D&D Encounters . As a member of a small college gaming club, I'm working with a comic book store that recently opened up nearby. The store already has a weekly Star Wars game, and I've spoken with the store owner and he says he'd be willing to host an Encounters program with some of our DMs.


I'm planning to meet with the store owner in the next few days and talk about this, but I still have a few questions (and I hope this is the right place to get them answered!).

  • Do we still have time to sign up for Scourge of the Sword Coast?
  • What steps will we need to take in order to sign up for the Encounters materials? I've checked out the WPN site, but it seems I can't do much without the proper authorization.
  • Apart from Encounters needing to be on Wednesday, are there any time restrictions? One of my prospective DMs won't be available until 6:00 PM, and it'd be nice to know if he can still run a game.
  • Anything else I should know if I'm trying to organize an Encounters game?

Thanks very much, everyone! If this is in the wrong place, let me know where I can post to get more information.

Yes it is too late to sign up.

There are A LOT of hoops the store will have to jump through to host Encounters. (at least that's how I took it talking with the stores in my town)

You're much better off contacting WotC than posting in forums, I would imagine.

#1 the store needs to sign up for WPN -

Thanks for the help! It sucks that we missed the boat on this season, but maybe we'll be able to figure something out later.

1. No

2. Store signs up for WPN and if you're the run sanctioning that has to be arranged with WPN as well.

3. No, just the Wednesday restriction.

4. Have fun. Welcome new players and have pregens available. Understand that Enconters is an open experience and people will come and go as their schedule allows.


Here is the WPN scheduling list for D&D. Scheduling opens for the season after Scourge of the Swordcoast in March.

@feetz_grande on Twitter

You might have missed out on the official sanctioning for the coming season (Scourge of the Sword Coast), but the adventure will be available to everyone via the dndclassics site so you could still run it to get the feel of things while your store gets registered etc.

"Well that encounter was, guys, why is the DM grinning?" (party members last words)

It's not a party till the screaming starts!

Follow me on Twitter @Vobeskhan or check out my blog

Is there anything we can do to have access to the adventure materials? I wish I'd known about the scheduling thingy earlier...

Koga305 wrote:

Is there anything we can do to have access to the adventure materials? I wish I'd known about the scheduling thingy earlier...


Like Vobeskhan said. You can download the adventure here on 2/4/14. This is the adventure every other store running Encounters is running. Although those who sanctioned the season will get a special promotional kit for the season and will be able to download a copy of the adventure for free.


So you can download the adventure on 2/4 and be running the same thing as everyone else. The downside for not having it registered is you won't get the promotional materials or the adventure for free. Now that you do know about sanctioning you'll be reading for the following season.


Here is the product page for Scourge of the Sword Coast.

@feetz_grande on Twitter

Like Vobe and Feetz said, the only thing you have missed out on so far is being officially sanctioned and getting the Game Day Kit (dice, player maps, large area map). Other than that, you can still organize your group and play as a regular event this season while your store gets everything together they will need to officially sanction games for next season. I'm not totally sure what sanctioning does for you ither than to get the store registered on the WotC website so that players can find your game is they are in the area. There used to be prizes that players could win and things like that, but the organized play group seems to have really fallen off the past few seasons. Each season offers less and less support and materials. Don't get me wrong, I you should definitely take the steps to get sanctioned, but feel like you're missing out in too much at this point. You can still run your games like every other sanctioned event.


Tips on getting your Encounters program going:

  1. Have a Game Day event on a Saturday - This season it's just the normal first encounter of the adventure, so missing out on the Game Day packet is no big deal.
  2. Promote you Game Day event and Wednesday night games. Make a flyer and get your store owner to post it on the door, at the register and next to RPG products.. such that they are. Flyers can be a bigger draw than you think. This is a low-res version of the one I made for our upcoming Game Day.
  3. Make a meet-up event for your game. Meet-up is a great site that had caught on in our area and has pulled in a huge number of players for us. This is the meet-up page for our next game:
  4. Start an email contact list. The most important ability for any organizer of any group is the ability to communicate with everyone. I get all new player's email addresses and keep them up to date on our events and news. As players stop coming, I move them to a second group of past players so I don't keep bugging them. I do include them on big news like the start of a new season.
  5. Have a back-up DM. Have an extra DM or two ready to go. If you get more players that you anticipated, you don't want to have to run a table of nine players or turn anyone away.
  6. As you grow, you want to spawn new tables as soon as you can. Don't let your tables get above 6 players. All you need is 4 to be officially sanctioned. Plus, game-play moves faster with fewer players, each person gets to do more and they tend to have a better time, keeping them coming back.
  7. Try to make sure you get all four phases of the game in each session. Home games allow for very lengthy RP interactions with no combat or extreamly complex battles with no RP or explorations. Encounters is designed to be played in 2-3 hours and to accomodate people that are brand new to the game. As such, you want to give them a little taste of everything; Interraction (RP), exploration and combat. It's a balancing act and frankly a challenge considering the time constraints.
  8. If you have nice gaming aids, use them: Encounters is, or used to be, the Flagship program for D&D organized play. As such, they would send DMs a free adventure and tactical maps for all of the encounters. Times have changed. But to be fair, so have the adventure styles. The adventure is not free and there are no maps available, free or otherwise. To make up for this, I use maps from past seasons, 4e adventures or, yup, rival game makers, to give my players a great experience. Wet-erase battle mats and tokens are fine, but if you are able to use miniatures and printed tactical maps, it is impressive and adds credibility to the program.
  9. If money is an issue in your program, see if you can work with your store owner, who also has a vested interest in your success, to throw in some prizes for your game day event and have a raffle. We paid for all four DMs to buy last season's adventure this way. (SWAG from GenCon helped a bit too) 

I hope this helps and good luck.


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