Saturday, April 23, 2011

OSRCon and Running Convention Games

As I indicated in this post, I am planning to run monthly open-to-the-public Labyrinth Lord games in my local game store (or perhaps more likely bookstore) starting later this fall. This is a new deal for me; I have only ever run at-home games with players I have known well. But I truly believe that James Maliszewski is spot-on correct when he says that "what we need are more gamers who are willing to share their hobby with interested newcomers. [. . .] Rulebooks and intro sets and websites can only get you so far; what’s really needed is face-to-face interaction with people actively involved in the hobby." So I am going to become an OSR activist, taking the Old Ways to new (to me and hopefully to old-school D&D) gamers. I am going to become an emissary of Labyrinth Lord and, through it, of the OSR more generally (gulp!).

No sooner did I make this pledge than something amazing happened: I saw an ad for OSRCon in my print copy of Fight On #11. I fairly quickly decided that, since I live only three hours south of Toronto, I have no excuse not to attend OSRCon on August 12-13. Furthermore, clearly I should run a couple of Labyrinth Lord games there. Time to start getting my public-DM'ing feet wet!!

The game I am running at OSRCon will be straight LL, no AEC, with only two house rules:

(1) Multiple Round searching for secret doors allowed, and

(2) Shields Shall Be Splintered!

I will provide Pre-Generated PCs to all participants, and will be running a homebrewed Level 3-5 adventure scenario called The Tower of Death. I will run one game during Session One on Friday and one during Session Three on Saturday. My LL games are designated "Table 5" in OSRCon's online schedule.

I plan to treat each of my two Labyrinth Lord sessions as a stand-alone experience, that is, new players may join the second day's session without prior knowledge of the first day's game and I will NOT assume continuity between the two days' games. Yet if a critical mass of players from the first day's session come back for the second one and want to "continue" deeper into the same dungeon, and the new players consent, I will strive to work that in.

To prepare myself for this event, I am gathering some advisory resources relating to running convention / FLGS games. Some of these include:

+ Jeff''s recent advice on running games at local game stores.

+ Cyclopeatron's list of 9 Ways to Enhance Game Immersion seems timely and quite applicable to the convention game environment.

+ "One-Off Con Adventures" guest editorial by Tim Kask in Fight On! #10.

+ "Adventuring at Conventions," also by Tim Kask, in Knockspell #5.

Are there any other ideas, blog posts, or articles about running convention games that I should be aware of? Please respond in comments.

Note: As a participant in and representative of OSRCon, I want to urge all my readers to look into the event details via the OSRCon website and blog, and PLEASE consider making the trip up to Toronto to play some frikkin' GAMES! In addition to my Labyrinth Lord game, it looks like James M. will be there running Dwimmermount (!!) and there are sessions featuring Pendragon and Expedition to the Barrier Peaks as well.

OSRCon registration is only is $20 CDN until July 1.


  1. Great stuff - shame I live in the UK!

    (1) Multiple Round searching for secret doors allowed

    Carter what's this house rule, I'm not familiar with it.

  2. @Jovial: It is merely to correct an idiosyncracy in the Labyrinth Lord rules -- those rules state that one may only search for secret doors or traps in a given area ONCE, period. I feel that parties should be able to sink time into searching for stuff like that, and the "search each area once" rule feels too arbitrary for me.

    See also James Raggi's comments on this matter:

  3. Calgary is a 3 1/2 hour flight from Toronto. So, do I go to OSRcon or GenCon, which is the weekend before? I'm not sure I can really afford either...

  4. @Paladin: Wow, tough call. I would like to make it to GenCon myself sometime, but this year I need to break into the public gaming experience on a smaller scale.

    Good luck choosing -- don't you owe it to yourself to at least go to ONE of them?