Playtesting you're much is to much?

Discussion in 'RPG Discussion' started by SoulCatcher78, Feb 24, 2018.

  1. SoulCatcher78

    SoulCatcher78 Level 0 Character

    So I've just completed my final test of my Dwellers of the Forbidden City port that I'll be running on Thursday so that I can make some final adjustments based on group composition and it made me wonder "how much is to much testing?".

    For those of you who GM at conventions regularly, how many times do you test your content? Do you run more than one particular adventure during a convention? Do you have any hair left once you've completed your prep?

    I'm running three separate adventures this year and I'm guessing close to 16 hours of testing/prep so far with another 6ish to go to finish off Masters of the Forbidden City.
  2. JediSoth

    JediSoth Troubadour

    I like to run each scenario I'm planning to run at a convention once for my homegroup before I take it "live." The only exceptions are if I don't yet have the adventure (if I'm running someone else's content, like an Adventurer's League scenario) or I'm running something I've already run at a convention once or twice (or more) before. I typically run four different adventures, though I've been known to double-up popular content like Paranoia, Star Wars, or Ghostbusters.

    Honestly, I spend more time prepping the pre-gens and minis (when appropriate) than I do the adventure. No matter how perfect you tweak it for any particular group for which you're running it, the next group is going to come along and do something completely out of left field that you didn't prep for.
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  3. SoulCatcher78

    SoulCatcher78 Level 0 Character

    I'm trying to keep the material as loose as possible to account for the likely derailing by the players (it's DCC so I'm counting on them throwing a monkey wrench into things). Pacing is my big variable but as long as there's a beginning and an end, all the stuff in the middle can be sped/skipped or slowed down as needed.
  4. grodog

    grodog Troubadour

    Since most of my adventures are eventually intended for publication, I consider the convention scenarios the playtesting. I sometimes run my scenarios ahead of time, and often at other conventions, but truthfully I consider the chance to play in a soon-to-be-published adventure as one of the best perks of attending GaryCon, North Texas RPG Con, and other old-school-friendly shows.

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  5. Ray Otus

    Ray Otus Level 0 Character

    Once or twice is plenty. The first time gives you an idea of what might not work and you get to practice descriptions, voices, etc. The second time run it about the same way unless there was a glaring error. It's possible you got false signals from the first one. If you decide to leave a problematic bit in, make sure to address how it might get off on the wrong foot. BTW, don't be subtle! Cons are loud places and the people playing don't know all your tones, influences, etc. Where your home group might pick up on something right away, a con group might struggle. It's better to over-do the clues than underdo them. They will miss a % of what you say anyway.
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  6. chainsaw

    chainsaw Troubadour

    Sometimes I run it once before the convention, sometimes not. Depends on how soon before the convention I finish mapping/keying and if any locals are available. As grodog said, the convention itself ultimately serves as the primary playtesting environment. For example, I have run one upcoming AS&SH module more than a dozen times across Gary Con, NTRPG Con and Gamehole over 2016-2017. Each time's been fun for me because I love seeing how different parties approach the challenges (not to mention, now I can run it blindfolded, so it requires almost no prep). I've changed things too after seeing what works - sometimes something sounds good on paper, but falls flat in real life for various reasons.

    I have run up three different modules at a single convention (seven slots), which, frankly, I don't recommend unless you have run them all at least once or twice. I had fun doing it in the end, but the prep started snowballing and began to feel too much like work. All those sessions also left me with little time to relax on site, too. Running a fun game is fun, but so is hanging in the bar chatting with friends or playing in someone else's game.

    Haha! Yes.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2018
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