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Author Topic: Convention game concerns  (Read 1547 times)
Eamon Voss

Posts: 108

« on: April 22, 2003, 09:38:40 AM »

As I wind up for my summer convention circuit, I started to write adventures for my current favorite RPG, TROS.  And I started to feel some concern.

You see, when I run games, especially convention games, I try to keep the action quick and dynamic.  Now TROS combat is a quick and dynamic, but only between the Senaschal and one or two players at most.  Sure, I can run several rounds with one player and switch around, and I do that now in my campaign.

But how do I do that in a game with 5 or 6 players?  While I am running through a round or three of Bob's fight, how do I keep Sally busy and not bored?  Keeping up the player energy and focus is very important in my games.  I love it when players track down all the games I am running so they can play under me again.  Heck, I have a stock adventure I've run about 20 times that I keep in reserve for players who track me down and are good to boot.  We play in the off hours of the convention.

So I'll probably limit the game to 5 players, but even then I am concerned.  I guess I can do a bit of work based off of character types as well.  Having missile armed characters will keep things out of sticking into melee too much.  

Thoughts?  Ideas?  Mocking laughter?

Realism in a melee game is not a matter of critical hit charts, but rather the ability to impart upon the player the dynamism of combat.
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters

Posts: 10459

« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2003, 10:12:23 AM »

The "Cascades" concept is the answer. I've seen Jake run it this way with a lot of players. And is sorta default for how TROS works anyhow.

The term comes from the game "Run Out the Guns" which is derived from Rolemaster. The designer noted that combat in "rounds" isn't interesting with lots of players. Heck they end up waiting a lot anyhow. And having to keep track of many things at once slows things down overall.

The point is to just flash back and forth between characters in mass combat. Do an entire fight between two characters, then flash to another fight. Cut at some dramatic point from one combat to yet another. Then come back and complete the cliffhanger.

The point is that players during other action can shift to being "audience", and can get interested in what the other players are doing. In round by round play, this doesn't happen, as players stay concerned with what their character is doing. By going with one character for a while, you keep the action quick and engaging for all. The acting combat has more continuity to it than othewise, so it's more fun for everyone.

What you'll find is that you're doing whole combats or at least dramatic segments of combats in the amount of time it takes you to do a single round in other systems. As such, the players are participating about the same amount over time, but engaged in everything a whole lot more.

In fact, I'd say that this is really a requirement for a lot of TROS play in general. PCs just can't always be together. You have to be able to run separate scenes for characters and keep the other players engaged. Fortunately that seems to happen just fine. The fact that play revolves around something like an SA, and not buying equipement or searching for traps means that the game is engaging to all the players, not just the one who's character is currently in action.

Am I making sense? Consider that Jakes Con Demo last year placed the PCs in direct opposition to each other. If you can get the PCs to fight, then, hey, that's two players engaged at once. Have some preliminary fights set up, and then let them go at each other for the climax. After all if someone croaks at the end, it's not like this is a campaign, right? :-)


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Posts: 61

« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2003, 08:28:08 PM »

You might also consider using the quickstart rules when playing with a table full of newbies...

Exterminate all rational thought.
                  ---Wm. S. Burroughs
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