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.
Part 3: Remix a common trope in my own encounter to make it more dynamic
The Death World trope could be remixed so that the cavern and underground environment is of benefit and somewhat helpful or even nourishing to the players – it’s light, colourful, and possibly pleasant to exist in. So much so, players may feel longing for the place when taking their leave and ascending to the surface.
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!
Still playing D&D during lunch with my work colleagues, and it’s still super-fun.
Because of the Easter holidays and combined-long weekends that drifted over multiple Tuesdays, we haven’t been able to meet-up and play. That’s why the DM issues a missive to the players to keep the narrative and player engagement going, via email. The DM wrote…
As you continue to defy the untimely end that fate has bestowed upon you, you find that others seek to aid you in this struggle.
They now look to you for both purpose and direction and as such you can assign them tasks and actions to further your cause.
How it works:
Based on your calculated influence score (see behind the scenes section below) you can do the following.
Begin an multi part task with multiple checks and outcomes using you most capable follower (cohort). This cohort is a level 1 character with all the stats and abilities as if you were playing them in game.
For example you could send you cohort to seek out a rumoured druids grove or hunt down an recently escaped outlaw.
Your skilled followers can undertake a single part task using a +10 to any skill roll needed as part of the task.
You slightly less skilled followers can undertake another single part task using a +1 to any skill roll needed as part of the task.
The types of of followers (cohorts can be what ever you want) are based the your highest base ability score. No hard rules here but please make them thematically appropriate to the stat if possible.
What you need to do:
Send a reply to this email in which you:
(1) Make (or simply describe) your cohort
(2) Describe your followers(3) Tell me what each cohort and follower is doing.
I will do the rest.
Also, please note that you influence score will most likely be adjusted once I have time to improve the system.
Behind the scenes:
Please note this is rough guide and will most likely be updated.
Influence level = Base score + Modifiers
Cha level (3) + Highest stat bonus (most likely 4).
Strong hold +2 (you all have access to this)
Fairness and generosity +1 (this will depend on you characters actions up until now)
Special power +1 (can you do anything the looks visually impressive to the common person)
Influence skill: replace one of your skills with this skill to add your proficiency bonus to it (currently +2).
For example a fair and generous human wizard, who has taken the influence skill would have a influence score of: 13 (3+4+2+1+1+2)
Therefore he has a follower score of 10/1 and a cohort with whose character level is 1.
Please email with any and all questions.
After my colleague shared their own inspiring example, I was able to create my own.
Cohort of Chungus, the Warlock with an Infernal Bloodline
Weapons/Armour proficiency & combat orientated spells – has skills ‘on the tools’.
Great in a standalone stoush, but completely unreliable in the long-term.
Heard to say… “I gotcha back, but you best to watch your front”.
Solid magic skills, but not the smartest or fastest.
Great outside of combat and considered as a “jack of all trades” with abilities in cooking, music & art.
Heard to say… “My purity inside is all that’s mine”.
Another 5 members of the Shin Clan (Vert, Nil, Rae, Rsdio, Plone)
1st level Rangers
Great at scouting and guiding the party to a destination, but easily distracted and a little self-involved.
Heard to say… “There’s a rider that’s fallen and It’s clear there’s no time to return”.
Shin and the rest of the Shin Clan are scouting for our latest destination that always seems to be just around the corner, through the forest, or even over that distant hill. We’ve all heard that before, right? If they listen to Shin’s guidance and don’t get distracted, they’ll all get us there, eventually.
Eutow is good to have around to flex and enforce, and certainly isn’t afraid to roll up their sleeves and get on the tools, when needed – this seems to be an ever-increasing occurrence.