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RPG Evolution: The Art of the Live Stream

It's harder than you might think.

It's harder than you might think.


I had the pleasure of attending Gregory A. Wilson's (AKA Arvan Eleron) in-person event at the Klein Memorial Auditorium. Watching the event both in-person and watching the stream afterward was an education about what makes a successful event. You can view a recording of the Twitch stream here.

Know Your Adventure​

Wilson contributed an adventure to Tales and Tomes from the Forbidden Library for Fifth Edition Dungeons & Dragons (our very own Robert Adducci and M.T. Black contributed to it!). He used “Night at the Forbidden Library” during the event, having run it at several conventions previously. Wilson's proficiency with the adventure was obvious both on stage and in the stream. More to the point, the adventure is structured to be run in the span of a few hours. It consists of three major challenges, with at least one being combat (and possibly more, if the PCs are aggressive).

Wilson was also a great teacher, explaining to the audience how the game worked and the finer nuances of D&D mechanics like rolling initiative, advantage, and how certain spells worked.

Pick Your Players​

The premise of the adventure was that five students were confined to detention at a magical school, shades of The Breakfast Club. Four players in the game had varying levels of experience with Dungeons & Dragons, streaming, and voice acting:

Plan Your Setup​

There were three cameras set up, each capturing a different aspect of the game.
  • The first was facing the players. Wilson stood in the center, with players to either side. Behind him was a large projection screen featuring what was happening on Roll20.
  • The second was a top-down camera in front of Wilson’s DM screen. This featured miniatures on a physical map that was slowly revealed (in concert with the Roll20 map behind him).
  • The third was at an angle, and provided a closer perspective on the players.
In the audience, we only saw the overhead camera (we didn’t need the other two), but having all three really makes a difference in the stream.

Use Props​

There were several clever gags that the players used to keep the game interesting. The faerie dragon player wore wings and blew bubbles to represent his breath weapon. The shifter player donned a mask when she shifted forms. The bard player wrote rhymes for every one of his spells and abilities to recite during the game. And a large inflatable twenty-sided die was used for the most important rolls – the final roll was a natural 20!

Involve the Audience​

At various points during the game, Wilson asked the audience to participate. We were playing the roles of the other students at the school, unaware of what was going on. We were encouraged to cheer, whisper, and otherwise whoop-it-up at the appropriate times. It made for a much more engaging in-person experience. We were all gifted free dice sets at the end as well. The streaming audience was managed by a separate team, who also handled giveaways and donations.

Have a Goal​

Wilson uses ArvCon as a means of supporting the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation. He set a modest goal of $1,000 for his stream and in-person, and it was exciting to reach that goal at the end of the three hours. The donation drive and RPG events are ongoing throughout the Memorial Day holiday.

This event took a massive amount of work to set up a game of this scale for an auditorium and a live stream. It was an excellent blend of role-playing, combat, and audience participation. If you get a chance to attend an event like this, I highly recommend it for fans of tabletop play or anyone interested in D&D.

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Michael Tresca

Michael Tresca

Voidrunner's Codex

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Voidrunner's Codex

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