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Reluctant Time Traveler
I ran the D&D Next playtests at DDXP, Origins, and GenCon--as well as in a couple of different home campaigns. It is a little dangerous to compare these different experiences, since there were so many differences between the circumstances. DDXP and Origins was a 4 hour experience with totally pre-gen characters and an adventure that was by design very much left up to the DM to present to the players in any way they wanted. GenCon was a 1 hour experience (with 30 minutes beforehand for character creation). The GenCon adventure was honestly similar to the DDXP/Origins adventure, but the DM was given more explicit instructions for the GenCon one, and the 1 hour time limit makes it a much different experience.

I have a great deal of feedback for WotC on the current state of the playtest rules, but I am sending that feedback to WotC directly. :)
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First Post
Thanks for joining in the thread. I hope you don't mind if I ask a few questions.

My pleasure. I'm only sorry that work and "real life" stuff bumped this off my radar. As usual, however [MENTION=56746]mudbunny[/MENTION] has kept me on-track.

I may have missed it above but, does WotC have NDAs for play at the conventions now?

Um, sort of. At GenCon we had signs posted at every entrance to the D&D Next Playtest area that basically said "by entering this room, you're under an NDA - if you don't like it, you're welcome to remain outside the room".

I didn't, myself, read the sign (I had way more things to juggle than that) - so I'm sorry to report I can't exactly what it covers. I'm pretty sure it really just came down to "Don't run off out of the room with a copy of the rules material (which we had printed on bright yellow paper to help us keep track of), and don't go giving people a blow-by-blow of the rules. If they want to know, they can sign up for the playtest themselves."

Trying to get 2,500+ people to sign NDAs over the course of the show would have been madness, so I don't know that there would have been any other way to cover people without the signs at the doors.

Also, the "About Us" page on Baldman Games seems to have been written by someone else and you are mentioned toward the end, but I can't seem to find the name of the person who wrote it. Who is that?

That's written by "the" Baldman himself, David Christ. We know the website needs work - it was supposed to get a full redesign and re-write before GenCon, but that didn't happen.

I'm having lunch with Dave in about an hour, I'll add "website stuff" to my agenda, and see if he and I can't start to hammer something more solid out.

Has Organized Play always been something you have also done or did you join in more recently? Did you run a lot of Organized Play events for Living Campaigns also?

I jumped in on the OP/RPGA scene around 2004 or so. A couple friends and I had been running our own D&D adventure for GenCon every year since around 1998 or 1999 - and GenCon was the only time of year I got to roll dice and play D&D.

Around 2003 or 2004, I started to get an itch to play more D&D - and I'd heard about the RPGA here and there (usually a small blurb in the back of 3.x adventures), so I looked into it.

While there was Living Greyhawk going on, I picked up an adventure from Mark of Heros, because I like the episodic nature - at least for dipping my toe into. My friends didn't care for it - they never ~really~ got into 3.x, and they knew little to nothing of Eberron, so it was mostly wasted/lost on them.

A year or so later, I poked at the RPGA again, and read up on Xen'Drik Expeditions which was starting soon. I started to run it at my FLGS, and learned that I could volunteer to run it at conventions too - and was rather amazed.

I GM'd at shows for about two years, and because I was always volunteering my "off" time to help out around HQ (and because I'm relatively personable) - I was fortunate enough to soon be invited to join HQ at shows.

A sidenote - many people assume that being in HQ is some special privelege. That it's some sort of elevation or something. Let me assure you - it's not. GMing is hard work sometimes (especially in a crowded convention hall competiting to be heard over hundreds of other voices) - but you're sitll PLAYING D&D, you're still rolling dice. In HQ? We suffer papercuts, answer the same questions over and over and over, we solve problems, and we run ourselves ragged. There are many times when I realize I'm nuts for working HQ instead of DMing.

Fast forward a couple more years - and Dave's operation is getting big enough that he needs dedicated help. So, he brings me and a couple others on-board, and here I am now. His semi-official PR guy (my nickname/title is "The Faceman"), and keeper/writer of our official documentation.

While I ran a decent amount of LFR in my FLGS and the occasional module at a show or two, by far and large, my role in LFR has mostly been sitting in HQ and organizing things. Officially, I'm also one of the LFR admins - in the role of Point of Contact, but my involvement there is (in my opinion) pretty ceremonial/honorary at this point.

And, sorry just one more question, does the other fella from Baldman Games have an EN World screen name? Thanks for your answers in advance.

Good quesiton, if he does, he's [MENTION=15080]wavester[/MENTION]. So, if that turns into a link, we'll have our answer. :)

Thanks to you and your brother for joining in the thread. Can you more clearly define what you mean by "set-piece," please? In fact, I'd like to hear what everyone specifically means by "set-piece" as it seems to be used by people to cover different ideas, even if only subtly different in some cases.

RPGNet Report: D&D 5TH EDITION AT GEN CON, PART 1 by Charles Dunwoody

Also, when will part two be posted?[/url]

Just got back from camping and saw your post. In reverse order, part 2 is up now.

A set-piece battle is how I ran about half my 4E battles. A big battlemap, lots of enemies, and the PCs battle it out. I don't bring in new monsters not already on the map or have to much intrude on the balance of the battle.

Some of my 4E games and all of my earlier D&D edition games ran differently. I might have a battle map out (2E or later) but I also watched everything in surrounding rooms and kept part of my brain aware of the noise of the battle (and light if it made a difference).

Blowing up something in one room might bring down the occupants of two adjacent rooms for example. I tried this in 4E and nearly wiped out the party a couple of times, so I started spreading out the encounters a bit more.

At D&D Experience, if we got ambushed by kobolds outside the caves and started tossing fireballs, a patrol of orcs might wander over and join in the brawl. It was glorious, dangerous mayhem.

At Gen Con, my brother's wizards blow up a bunch of exploding crystals and took down part of a cave (the crystals were meant to free up a cave in later we learned). It only brought one patrol of kobolds. No organized defense, so protection in depth, no consequences for our actions.

I love big battles, but I don't like a set-piece battle. One well-balanced and that poor or poorly thought out choices cannot suddenly overwhelm the PCs.

Epic Threats

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