What should organized play look like in English?

Eric USNA
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What should organized play look like in English?

Postby Eric USNA » Fri Feb 17, 2017 9:06 am

Hello everyone,

The question of organized play has been an ongoing conversation among the Ulisses North America team, and while we do have some ideas, it seems only fair to ask some of you what you would like. So I'm starting this discussion/informal survey here on the forums to get some feedback.

The Dark Eye has a long history of organized play, living history, and fan-inspired setting events. The Ulisses Spiele team often runs living games at its home convention of RatCon, and some of these are later published as adventures for everyone to enjoy. Just today, the German team announced the publication of Niobara's Legacy, an adventure that was run competitively at RatCon 2015.

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But running those kinds of events for the English-language market has its own difficulties. First and foremost, the translation process means we are never going to be fully current with the Aventuria timeline in Germany. Even if we try to organize specific event games simultaneously in both languages, the context is going to be different for each region because fans will have different sets of products available leading up to the event.

So here's the first question - is it important to you as an English-speaking fan to have some opportunities to influence the current Aventuria timeline, or is it enough to be able to experience events as they come up in the delayed English timeline?

Then we get to the problem of geography. Right now we are analyzing our backer distributions from Kickstarters to see where our fans are located and trying to make sure we start attending conventions near them. We are working on expanding our demo team and our convention presence in the next year, so hopefully you'll see us somewhere convenient soon.

But is that where we should be running our big "living" events (whatever form they may take)? Do you want us to organize big, multi-table events (or even LARPs) at conventions? Or would you rather we make materials available to local stores and playgroups (similar to Pathfinder Society or Adventurers' League) so that you can run them wherever you are?

We know we have fans in the UK, Australia, Canada, and even Southeast Asia/Pacific Rim. A convention strategy will definitely not reach everyone. But maybe that's okay to some of those fans, as long as we report about what happens in our big events.

So for now, this discussion comes down to those two big questions:
1) Do you want to participate in events that are current for the German timeline, or is it acceptable to be "current" in the English timeline?
2) Should we focus our efforts on convention events or distributed local events?

Thanks in advance for your input.

-Eric

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julianwolfe
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Re: What should organized play look like in English?

Postby julianwolfe » Fri Feb 17, 2017 9:41 am

Why don't you start by telling us what the German version of organized play looks like?

Eric USNA
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Re: What should organized play look like in English?

Postby Eric USNA » Fri Feb 17, 2017 10:23 am

I'll let folks who have some firsthand experience share their thoughts on that.

But from what I understand, it is mostly convention-based, including some large LARP events that are fan-organized. Input for world-building comes out of both of those types of events, as well as fan discussions on forums and social media.

Any of our German fans should feel free to add elements that I'm missing.

-Eric

Biest
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Re: What should organized play look like in English?

Postby Biest » Fri Feb 17, 2017 12:01 pm

Philipp Neitzel here, one of the authors of Niobara's Legacy and a member of the convention team.

We do have a group of game masters for conventions and in store events. We do have a recognizeable T-Shirt and all. The demo games we do at conventions usually are announced ahead on the Ulisses Spiele forum and / or website. We of course try to meet a certain standard of quality to give new players a good first impression of the system and make the sessions something special for veterans.
The scenarios we run often are tied to the metaplot in some way or sometimes are previews of cominh hero's works. The player's don't always change aventurian history but they do get a glimpse at something canonic that they would not have gotten in another game. There are fans who try to play every official demogame once.
The multi-GM events, like the one that launched Niobara's Legacy, are run at bigger conventions. Usually the RatCon but there is one coming up for the Kaiser Raul Konvent too. We start running the games in separate groups, that can meet each other during the scenario and influence each others progress. We give each group at least one scene interacting with another group of players. In the finale we usually have a GM set up the situation and then have the players pick new groups by whatever task they want to undertake in this scene or by location. Then we run the last scene in this new groups. The whole concept takes a lot of planning and coordination to get the timing right.
We had some of the multi-group events and special scenarios influence the metaplot more directly. Sometimes by choices the players made in game or by a vote or decision made at the end by all the players.

There is an aventuria LARP too, that just got a reboot. Things they do can become canon too, for example by being covered in the Aventurian Herald.

Oiselarius
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Re: What should organized play look like in English?

Postby Oiselarius » Sat Feb 18, 2017 6:38 pm

I am only in passing familiar with the new D&D Adventurers League here in the States but do know one of the primary organizers and could get involved to see how those are run to get some idea of that type of play. I've never been a fan of that sort of thing, which primarily occurs at Cons or through organized local tournaments. I'm more of a home-brew player using the official materials to do my own campaign and story arc.

But as far as that goes, since it appears that the Aventuria campaign is much more geared towards a large participant group like MMORPGs (WotC appears to be taking their latest version of D&D in this direction as well) I would prefer the German edition to be slowed and translations for the other languages sped up to sync the time line. This would of course require the expense of translators which, as I understand it, isn't on the table for Ulisses.

However, that type of large scale integration of organized play is apparently not as typical of Stateside RPG play as in Europe and having the English speaking players not participating in Aventurian history may not be an issue.

Eric USNA
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Re: What should organized play look like in English?

Postby Eric USNA » Sat Feb 18, 2017 8:51 pm

So a couple of things -

Don't worry about getting me information about existing models. I'm fairly well-versed, and am quite happy to do extra research on my own if you happen to mention a more obscure organization. Feel free to just let me know "this is one I like because X" or "this is one I don't like because X." I am much more interested in your preferences about the two questions in the original post, so knowing that you would rather have more local events is helpful. Thanks!

And similarly, don't worry about how it's currently done in Germany. Some people were curious, so we provided the information. But we don't have to copy them directly. That's the whole point of this discussion. :)

Really, the key for this informal survey is the pair of questions I asked in the original post. I just want as many people as possible to weigh in on their feelings about those two questions. It's important that we establish our guiding principles before we get into the details.

-Eric

Tarkhel
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Re: What should organized play look like in English?

Postby Tarkhel » Sun Feb 19, 2017 9:07 am

Hello there! I was fortuitous enough to find the core rules, bestiary, and solo adventure all from a local convention, and I've been looking into it with considerable interest. Thank you so much for bringing us thisde edition. :)

As far as Organized Play, I am a veteran of multiple programs (D&D AL, Pathfinder Society, and some brief interactions with the Mind's Eye Society), and enjoy the idea of Organized Play as a whole. That said, many programs I have taken part in quickly become stale for one reason or another. The most common reason for this, based on my experience, is that the adventures presented are often formulaic - very much a "Go here, interact with this NPC, receive objective, have encounter, find objective, complete objective, done" style of play. While this is fine for garnering the highest amount of players to games and events, I would much rather see something that rewarded character development through other means than strictly level progression and material boons.

I freely admit that I have no prior experience with this system before this weekend, but given what I've already seen from precursory glances at the Core Rules? I am highly intrigued, and see a lot of potential for good roleplay, engaging stories, and character concepts worth investing time into. I will also admit that, if this is already the norm in the countries where this RPG is prevalent, then clearly, we as American are missing out. :P

Hope this input helps at least a little bit. I will be happy to elaborate on any point, if need be. Looking forward to following this game for years to come. :)

Silverthorne
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Re: What should organized play look like in English?

Postby Silverthorne » Sun Feb 19, 2017 10:28 am

One of the main problems for the established organized play is that it focuses on a 4 hour time frame that the game has to be done in. Leaving very little to role play or anything other than just doing the fights. But usually at conventions there is very little time for anything else, you have a short time frame to get the game done.

Demoguy
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Re: What should organized play look like in English?

Postby Demoguy » Mon Feb 20, 2017 2:39 am

That was one of my problems with the Pathfinder Organized Play. No time for rping. Perhaps having bigger blocks of time or trying to design more flexable scenarios could be an answer.

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Bosper
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Re: What should organized play look like in English?

Postby Bosper » Mon Feb 20, 2017 8:52 am

Silverthorne wrote:One of the main problems for the established organized play is that it focuses on a 4 hour time frame that the game has to be done in. Leaving very little to role play or anything other than just doing the fights. But usually at conventions there is very little time for anything else, you have a short time frame to get the game done.

Well the german version consists of meeting up at early noon and playing into the late evening.I cant remember how long Niobara's Legacy took us, but it was almost all day,with several short breaks, i still could play something afterwards but it was a late night game. You just have to choose if you want to participate in the big organized game or maybe play 2-3 normal sessions at other tables.

I personally prefer this model, because i dont see a point in a game under 6 hours. And cant believe one could finish a whole plot in that kind of time. Our sessions usually are 8-12 hours.And we never finish a plot in less than 3 sessions.


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