[RPGs and the general public] A newb's first convention

edited March 2012 in Story Games
http://www.avclub.com/articles/1-dungeons-dragons,71111/

Long (I mean, seriously long) article about an adult nerd catching up on all the nerd stuff he missed as a kid. It's worth a read for the good things he has to say about story games (Fiasco and Lady Blackbird get mentioned) and his experience with several different editions of D&d.

Comments

  • edited March 2012
    His friend Mike Olson did a good job of introducing him to a wide assortment of roleplaying game experiences. He got to play a pretty wide variety of games at Orc Con! Everything from GMless structured freeform to 1980's D&D in one weekend.
  • I know, right? Who would have thought a typical con would be a good introduction to gaming? Has anyone out there ever served as con-guide to a newbie like that?

    This is relevant to my interests because my friend and former Pathfinder DM has decided to make next month's MoatCon his first con ever. I want to help him have a good experience. What games should I tell him to try?
  • edited March 2012
    Posted By: Jason MorningstarHis friend Mike Olson did a good job of introducing him to a wide assortment of roleplaying game experiences. He got to play a pretty wide variety of games at Orc Con! Everything from GMless structured freeform to 1980's D&D in one weekend.
    Thanks! It was pretty fun to go through the schedule picking out games for him. In every slot I gave him at least two choices -- games fill up, so he needed a Plan B -- and he got a good sampling out of it. Most of them, I knew the GM or could make a good guess at the game's quality from the reputation of the system and/or GM ("People seem to like that Happy Jack's podcast, so... that guy should be okay, right?"), but a couple of them were a total crapshoot, like that Traveller game that went south. Shitty that was his first RPG experience, but at least he had nowhere to go but up from there. And go up he did, because right after that was Fiasco, which blew his God-damned mind.

    I think we're finally going to get to play D&D together this Sunday at my FLGS -- we've both played with that group separately so far, but not together -- and hopefully we can expose him to some other games soon. Maybe I can get him to come down to Hyphen-Con for, uh, research purposes. The Hyph's almost all indie games this year (except for that GURPS My Little Pony game...).
  • Mike, that seems like such a gift - being able to sort of take that guy under your wing and show him some cool stuff you love. Sounds like it was a big success.
  • I've never tried to explain my love of gaming to my mother.

    I emailed her that article today.
  • Posted By: Jason MorningstarMike, that seems like such a gift - being able to sort of take that guy under your wing and show him some cool stuff you love. Sounds like it was a big success.
    It was cool, yeah, but I also felt like I was under no small amount of pressure to get it right. I mean, shit, if I'd chosen poorly for him, or if things went wrong in his games, that article would've come out a lot different. Plus, what if he wouldn't be into it regardless? I only knew him from his pieces on the AV Club before I reached out to him on Twitter. What if I'd talked this guy into spending an entire weekend doing stuff that just did not appeal to him on a fundamental level? That would suck. I was pretty apprehensive about that.

    That all went away when I actually met Todd in person on Friday night of the con, and it became clear that, unbeknownst to him, he was already one of us.
  • Posted By: JoeyThis is relevant to my interests because my friend and former Pathfinder DM has decided to make next month's MoatCon his first con ever. I want to help him have a good experience. What games should I tell him to try?
    I believe he's already signed up for Candlewick, Dead of Night, Swords Without Master, Leverage, and Mist-Robed Gate. This should be insane.
  • That article is amazing. It's so cool to see things through a newcomer's eyes:

    The difference between traditional RPGs and story games is that in trad games you roll frequently to determine your fate, while in story games you roll occasionally to determine what you can make up next.

    Roleplaying is threatening to the establishment because it's an activity that's so unbounded by rules.

    The player camaraderie is a big reason to play.

    And I still can't get over how his ironic distance was lost and the fiction became "real" for him when another player wrote down something he made up for others to include in their games later. This is simultaneously obvious and baffling to me.
  • Posted By: Mike_OlsonPosted By: Jason MorningstarMike, that seems like such a gift - being able to sort of take that guy under your wing and show him some cool stuff you love. Sounds like it was a big success.
    It was cool, yeah, but I also felt like I was under no small amount of pressure to get it right. I mean, shit, if I'd chosen poorly for him, or if things went wrong in his games, that article would've come out alotdifferent. Plus, what if he wouldn't be into it regardless? I only knew him from his pieces on the AV Club before I reached out to him on Twitter. What if I'd talked this guy into spending an entire weekend doing stuff that just did not appeal to him on a fundamental level? That would suck. I was pretty apprehensive about that.

    Introducing new games to my regular gaming group scares the bejesus out of me...and there I'm just worried if I wasted $20 and a hour of their time. Yeah, I'll bet it was worth it in retrospect since it went so well, but I'm with you, I'd be scared shitless too!

    Congrats!
  • edited March 2012
    I think I see an interesting way-to-organize games here.

    I did a "classic games track", a "Lovecraftian track" and a "play with the Designer" track at Rincon the year I ran RPGs there. So if you wanted to play nothing but Call of Cthulhu, Cthulhu Munchkin, Trail of Cthulhu and Pokethulu, you could just grab the flyer and go from game to game.

    What might be cool is a "intro to RPGs" track...very similar in breadth. Also it can emphasize to game organizers to be on their best teaching behavior...
  • Posted By: JDCorleyI think I see an interesting way-to-organize games here.

    I did a "classic games track", a "Lovecraftian track" and a "play with the Designer" track at Rincon the year I ran RPGs there. So if you wanted to play nothing but Call of Cthulhu, Cthulhu Munchkin, Trail of Cthulhu and Pokethulu, you could just grab the flyer and go from game to game.

    What might be cool is a "intro to RPGs" track...very similar in breadth. Also it can emphasize to game organizers to be on their best teaching behavior...
    Tracks are awesome. And they can draw a strong group of people interested in a particular thing, which is good, since it means there's strong communities for folks to find. Excellent.
  • Posted By: JDCorleyWhat might be cool is a "intro to RPGs" track...very similar in breadth. Also it can emphasize to game organizers to be on their best teaching behavior...
    Hmm, we actually did a "Story Games 101" track for the first Go Play NW, although I'm not really sure how useful or successful it was. It might be worth considering doing again this year, particularly as we're now drawing twice the crowd we had back then and that I know we're now picking up more first-con-timers if not outright newbie gamers.
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