Season 2: "Hi I'm Larry, this is my brother Darryl and this is my other brother Darryl"

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So given the format and the likely hood that people and table composition will change during the course of the event. Anyone else not too impressed that Season 2 will only have 6 pregens to choose from?
I don't think it'll be a big problem.  Even if there were, say, eight pregens, there would be a big chance that a replacement player who previously sat at "table A" would be playing the same character as an existing/returning player at "table B."  (Did that sentence make sense???) 

Encounters are just about having fun.  Most folks won't be too worried about another character being a twin brother :-) 

But you are right -- the limited number of pregens is another hurdle that the organizers had to consider in this format of game.  They just decided to let it be.
If the general "feel" of Encounters from Season One continues into season two - I'd think that organizers will be free to create additional pre-gens if they feel they the need.

There are a few hurdles, of course.

1) Organizers will only be receiving the current chapter of Season 2 - we/they won't have the complete series.  This might make it hard to help optimize a character, since "forthcoming threats" can't be accounted for.

2) Dark Sun isn't out yet.  This means feats, races, classes and other mechanics may not be available to further help optimize (or even flesh out) a "House Rule Pregen".
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They should have left something up to the player, and as this thread points out...  Couldn't we expect the players to at least name their own character?

I've run a pre-gen before, and had everything all set up for the players... But I left it to the player's to decide on their character's name, so at least that much would be theirs.

That way you don't end up with a party of Larry, Darryl, Darryl, Darryl, and  Bob.  Mechanics can be pre-built, but anything that constitutes fluff, and personality of the character should be left to the player.

Always a GM, never a player (not really but sometimes feels like it).

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I will reserve judgment until I see how it all plays out. Realistically, they can't let players build their own PCs since the DS material won't be out until August. DS uses some cool new things such as template powers (Gladiator, Templar, etc.) that cannot be found until the book comes out. Weapons and armor are different. Etc.

Also, there are some hints in Tulach's article that the story will link to the pregens. That could be a very cool idea and a greater incentive for the players to show up each week... you don't want to miss the week the story deals with you! But, it really will depend on how this is implemented. I think it could work really well.

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My real concern lies in the fact that there is only 1 choice for a leader. I can definitely see more TPKs next season with absent leader players.
I don't see how this is any different from the current setup. Folks playing leaders can fail to show up now. Most tables I rarely see more than one leader.

True, someone can "take one for the team" and play a leader-ish character for a run but I think you can do the same for the Season 2 format. Have someone play the leader that day instead of their normal striker/defender/controller.
I gotta say, I like the pregen Idea.

We have people leave, switch tables, and some that show up every week like clockwork.

The idea of setting up a game with 6 consistent characters where only the players change every week makes more sense to our store than  the random mishmash of characters appearing / disappearing, taking loot with them..

I mean obviously, its limiting the character creation experience, but i believe its ideal for a weekly drop in drop out single encounter format that we have
I like the pregens, but wish there were more.

I haven't seen them yet. How do you know there are six, and the roles of each? 
Nothing forbid the players to tweak all non game related information on their pregen character.
The names, gender, description and personality of the characters are all yours if you wish so.
At least as a GM this is how I consider it.
We haven't had an issue with this despite having 16+ players in a given week. There's been a steady mix of experienced players who make use of the character generator and new players using the pregens, but we've also benefited from talking to people about using the DDI tools, either independently or by sitting down with their DM before the game begins and creating a character that way. We've also had a couple people who've shown up with more experienced friends, and those friends have helped them create a character prior to start.

With the second season being (as I understand it) all pregen, I'm hoping that there will be more options- although worst case scenario we can just play it more like the old multi-player arcade games: nobody's at the Elf's controls? Great- grab those for the session. Since leveling up will be automatic at the end of each chapter anyways, it'll matter less who's in control from session to session.

Of course, this has the downside of being less akin to 'real D&D' and players may be saddled with characters they don't want to play- but it might work out for the best with regards to new players, if only because it guarantees you're a valued and useful member of the team no matter what, rather than "the third Defender." Or "Team Wizard," (as in a whole group of wizards, not the team wizard), as one of our locals says. 
My real concern lies in the fact that there is only 1 choice for a leader. I can definitely see more TPKs next season with absent leader players.



i think one really easy and very good solution to the missing roles week-to-week problem would be: have all characters without a player for a particular session become NPCs for that session.

this way: all roles are always covered, all characters stay in the story for the whole season, and the encounters never have to be scaled up or down each week.

this is the way i plan to run it next season.
My real concern lies in the fact that there is only 1 choice for a leader. I can definitely see more TPKs next season with absent leader players.



i think one really easy and very good solution to the missing roles week-to-week problem would be: have all characters without a player for a particular session become NPCs for that session.

this way: all roles are always covered, all characters stay in the story for the whole season, and the encounters never have to be scaled up or down each week.

this is the way i plan to run it next season.



That's an intriguing option.

The organizer documentation also suggests that Organizers/DMs keep the pregens between sessions. To that end, if the guy who plays the leader can't make it one week, and the party feels they really NEED that leader - someone could easily swap.

Just something else to think on. 
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My biggest problem with the idea is that i have 8-10 people at my table each week and I am not about to start turning people away, that goes against the whole philosphy of Encounters, so there will be all kinds of doubling up going on I guess.
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My biggest problem with the idea is that i have 8-10 people at my table each week and I am not about to start turning people away, that goes against the whole philosphy of Encounters, so there will be all kinds of doubling up going on I guess.



If you have that many people it sounds like you need to break off into a 2nd table anyhow.  See if you can find a friend or a store employee that can run the 2nd table for you.
Good idea, but I am already running the 4th table in our locale.  No 5th DM in sight.  If I had a complaint, and I love the Encounters, so this is a minor niggle, I would say they need to be more large-group friendly.  There are a lot more new and returning players out there than DMs, so we need tools to handle large groups, rather than turning them away or "finding another dm."

Our large group of 8 players is managing to have scads of fun without becoming bogged down, I am lucky to have such an eregetic, enthusiastic group.
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Good idea, but I am already running the 4th table in our locale.  No 5th DM in sight.  If I had a complaint, and I love the Encounters, so this is a minor niggle, I would say they need to be more large-group friendly.  There are a lot more new and returning players out there than DMs, so we need tools to handle large groups, rather than turning them away or "finding another dm."

Our large group of 8 players is managing to have scads of fun without becoming bogged down, I am lucky to have such an eregetic, enthusiastic group.



Are the other 3 tables full of 6 people?
Season 1 has been challenging for DDE because at the store I DM for we have had a range of 7-14 folks show up each Wednesday.  So up to 8 we would stick to one table (7 players 1 DM), and any higher we would split to two tables.  The variance was mostly early in the season, so hopefully from this point on it will stay consistantly on the high side.

But I'm concerned about the restart in Season 2.  Taking away the character generation piece does change it significantly from Season 1, so it's not a given that all the same players will be interested.

That being said, I am also concerned about the slight decrease in flexibility having 6 pregens creates.  Not only does it make certain player counts more difficult to manage, it creates more reason for players to want to stick to their original groups as much as possible and thus be less willing to split up to accomodate newbies.

Like other posters have said (and I applaud you!) no one will get turned away so long as I am involved in an event so I expect I will have to get creative by preparing some additional "pre-gens" or even allowing (some) players to build characters if necessary.  Granted the Dark Sun stuff is not out, but I can't imagine tossing in say a Half-Orc Fighter, a Rogue, Barbarian, or one of the Primal builds will break the adventure so long as the pregens are the first choice.  I'll have to assess once I see the material.

Good idea, but I am already running the 4th table in our locale.  No 5th DM in sight.  If I had a complaint, and I love the Encounters, so this is a minor niggle, I would say they need to be more large-group friendly.  There are a lot more new and returning players out there than DMs, so we need tools to handle large groups, rather than turning them away or "finding another dm."

Our large group of 8 players is managing to have scads of fun without becoming bogged down, I am lucky to have such an eregetic, enthusiastic group.



Are the other 3 tables full of 6 people?



We're having the same "problem" at our venue. I run a game for 6 people at 4p, before our regular 6pm time slot, and with five DMs we still have more than six people at each table. Even if we had a sixth DM, we don't have the room in the store for them! No one else has the time to run two games per Wednesday, and I am not about to turn players away.

Two of the tables have had the same 7-8 people since Week one, and they would not dream of splitting up! The two DMs are seasoned vets who handle it well, and the chemistry at the tables is like that of old friends that have been gaming for years, despite only seeing each other a couple hours a week for the past 3 months!

I will probably be printing out the Dungeons and Dragons Experience pre-gens for more variety at the tables. 
My store hit a "wall" of space as well.  Our solution was to split our groups into separate days. We just moved up some groups to Tuesday.  It works really well since some DMs aren't available on Wednesday, so they run the Tuesday before.  Plus, the groups playing on Tuesday have an easier time making it on Tuesday.


My store hit a "wall" of space as well.  Our solution was to split our groups into separate days. We just moved up some groups to Tuesday.  It works really well since some DMs aren't available on Wednesday, so they run the Tuesday before.  Plus, the groups playing on Tuesday have an easier time making it on Tuesday.




I thought we could only run it on Wednesday O_O It would be great if I could run a "make-up" session the following Monday.
My store hit a "wall" of space as well.  Our solution was to split our groups into separate days. We just moved up some groups to Tuesday.  It works really well since some DMs aren't available on Wednesday, so they run the Tuesday before.  Plus, the groups playing on Tuesday have an easier time making it on Tuesday.




I thought we could only run it on Wednesday O_O It would be great if I could run a "make-up" session the following Monday.


I know that our store appealed directly to WotC based on having a full Wednesday program. In the end the store was allowed to run on other days so long as it also ran on Wednesday (which it does).

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I thought we could only run it on Wednesday O_O It would be great if I could run a "make-up" session the following Monday.



Wizards suggested adding a "make-up" session for the first Encounters session in the PH3 Game Day material...

Kerry
We ran/run on Wednesdays and then also hold a 2 session makeup session every other Sunday as well.
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