In theory and in practice it’s a good thing to do, but in the context of a relatively inexpensive online workshop where the stakes are low and there’s little incentive for a participant to engage in an optional activity aside from the goodness of their heart with the hope you reciprocate, your expectations are low when it comes to getting someone to playtest your encounter – it can be intense constantly schilling your encounter in the Discord channel.
That’s why the fallback of a read through works – it’s relatively quick and easy to do alone and within your own time, which means it’s more likely for your encounter to receive feedback. I’ve been fortunate to give and receive four read throughs, which is fantastic.
Throughout the week I’ve also been exploring layouts and tinkering with The Homebrewery to format my encounter and prepare it for publishing in Week 4. So far it looks a little like the following.
As noted on the #Stoco workshop website, playtesting is an optional step in the game design process in which you test your design for flaws before releasing it to the market (Arman, n.d.). As Arman (n.d.) also notes, the playtesting can be of great benefit and can help you to:
receive valuable feedback from real gamers
glean insights about your audience and how to anticipate their needs
mitigate negative criticism arising from unforeseen issues in your creations prior to release.
Arman suggested to really focus your playtest, making sure to identify the areas and specify what you’d like to find out and make it easy for playtesters to offer feedback e.g., provide an overview, goals and link to survey or similar to gather responses.
In there, a bunch of cool stuff can be found, including links to GM BInder and Homebrewery which are online tools for generating the ‘D&D trade dress style’ – gotta explore this more so I’m ready to apply these tools to format my published encounter at the end of the fourth week!
My current favourite is the short and sharp map, The Dragon Shrine. Dyson Logos writes…
Seeming to have climbed out of the ghost dunes, the namesake of the Dragon Shrine is more accurately described as the upper torso, shoulders, head and arms of a massive troglodyte assembled from massive stone blocks. Stone tiers and rows of parallel columns lead up to the idol’s chest where a copper door covered in a deep green patina allows access to the interior of the beast to those who know the command word to open it.
We are so excited to see all of the buzz about our upcoming Write Your First Encounter workshop! If you want to get started in writing for #DnD 5th Edition, this is a GREAT place to begin. Join us starting May 1st!
— Storytelling Collective ✏️ #StoCoComics (@StorytellingCol) April 26, 2022
What I’ll do
By the end of the workshop, I’ll have written and produced a one-page D&D 5th Edition encounter – a mini adventure. In the workshop, I’ll learn about:
elements of an encounter
designing my encounter
writing my encounter
playtesting my encounter
Dungeon Masters Guild Best Practices – cool!
The weekly schedule looks pretty good – here’s how it unfolds over the four weeks of the workshop.
What is an Encounter?
The components of a D&D encounter
What is an Encounter?
Types of Encounters
1 – 7 May
Writing Your Encounter
Brainstorming the Effective Way
Starting Your Encounter
Playtesting Your Encounter
Producing Your Encounter
Publishing to DMs Guild
Marketing Your Encounter
Before it begins…
So far, I’ve been able to successfully sign-up, join Discord and request to join the #wyfe channel where participants will be able to share their work and thoughts with others – great stuff.
The off-platform discussion and participant engagement and sharing via Discord is a vaguely similar to the way #DS106 used Twitter and each participants’s personal cyber infrastructure as well as a central hub to deliver the course, sort of – making use of available tools and platforms (that the target audience most likely already uses) is more efficient and flexible than designing an LMS/walled-garden situation. It probably also keeps costs down, which means the course is more viable.
The next steps for me is to continue to make my way through the pre-course welcome area and continue to monitor the Discord channel before it all starts on 1 May, of course – not much time!