Planning for the Nationals 1

The UK Student Nationals is an annual convention which brings together university gaming societies from across the country for a weekend of RPGs, board games, CCGs, wargames and LARPs in a semi-competitive manner. Players in the RPG categories play in two games, one on the Saturday before switching to a new game on the Sunday while the GMs (such as myself) run the same game over the two days. Last year I ran Corporation, a post-cyberpunk / sci-fi game for which I wrote an investigative murder mystery entitled the Morpheus Protocol, which is available in the Happyjacks Two Sides: One Epic Collection (see here for my post about that).

Nationals 2013 is the 15th – 17th March and once again I’ll be running rather than playing. Rather than stick to sci-fi however I’ll be running in the humour category, for which only one game could suffice. Demon Hunters, a comedy horror / urban fantasy game from the minds of Dead Gentlemen Productions. As I want the game to be as good as possible I’m already well into the planning for the game, which I’m aiming to chronicle in this series of posts. I’m breaking this down into three areas:

  • Scenario preparation
  • Character generation
  • Visual presentation

All of these are of course tightly woven together, especially the scenario and characters which need to be suitable for one another or else the game can easily stall due to a lack of appropriate skills / abilities. As part of this I’ve already run an initial playtest (post on that is to come) and aim to run at least one more before the Nationals itself.

It is the visual presentation, however, that I expect to spend a disproportionate amount of time on. While I want the game to shine on all levels the visual feel to the game is the aspect I am weakest at. At this point in my GMing career I have plenty of experience in planning adventures and writing characters, but not so much in making it look good. Inspired by posts made by Kimi (see here and here), one of the hosts of the Happy Jacks RPG Podcast, my aim is to create a presentation which grabs the players from the moment they sit down at the table. While I’m still working on exactly how to do that I’ve already started on the first step, commissioning a series of character portraits from a friend who is a professional artist, which I’ll post up here as I receive them.

So with a little over two months to go I’ve got a lot still to do but at least I already have a game which could be run without any further prep. Sure it would be rough at the edges but I’ve got time to make it shine. Can’t be too hard, can it?

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