Hosting events, any guides?

Argent Dawn
Been thinking about doing events for quite some time. Been thinking about doing a big arena style event. Players fighting each other, various wild animals and the like.

Are there any good event guides written up that I could read through to help in the planning and the like?
Not that I know of, but I'll write down a couple od pieces of advice from my own rulebook.

Keep your events fluent. Avoid 'phases' and the like. Avoid situations where the flow is halted or interrupted by complex mechanics or other reasons. This impedes immersion heavily.

Do not descend into OOC bias. Treat everyone equally. Each player attending is of equal importance.

The next bit is somewhat complex;

Say you DM a group of enemies attacking a group of players, and each of the players emotes a response of some sort. 'Adam raises his staff in defense against the charging kobold pack, a blast of arcane energy discharged from its crystal.' Then Mark summons flames, Keira swings her sword and Darius invokes the elements to shake the earth beneath them.

The worst possible response to this is 'The kobold pack is swiftly struck down by the group's efforts.'

Pay attention to individual emotes, show that you're paying attention. Try to directly describe the impact of their actions in your responses.

That's it for now. Good luck!
I made this a while back, if you're looking for a guidelines. Looking through it though, I may need to update it slightly but otherwise should be fine!
The first idea that comes to my mind when creating events is that you need to be flexible. And I think it is the most important skill of DM. It is good to have plan of event but always leave other options open or even those you coudn't come up with but players did. Don't force attendants to figure out your plan and they will fail any attempts to just rp as they want. Of course have main points in mind but allow other way of solving problems or discovering/fighting. Depending on the event. Don't be afraid if something goes of track, stuff you planned were not fully discovered. Keep main points but don't force it.

If you plan however to make player versus player kind of event have set of strict rules prepared beforehand. Will it be roll combat? Is there hp? How do you treat magical damage, when one can defend, attack ect. So it can go smooth without unecessary drama that can happen during duels. You can set some sort of combat rules against players versus created enemies or npcs as you wish but let participants know before event starts. It can spare you a lot of confusion during later rp. You don't have to stick to any rolls or you can make detailed combat system, all depends on how you wish to DM.

Give people spotlight from time to time, don't tend to focus on one person all the time either or make event circle around story of one character. People need to be interested to stay.

Example of that may be simple. Event 1: Jon is searching his family member and entire event resolve around Jon making other players potentially not interested. Event 2: The group of friends (guild, mercenaries, soldiers...) move to discover strange occurances in the area (reported attack, rumours of beast, treasure, ruins...) and on the way they find Jon's family or clues. Second option simply give reason for other characters to attend as well while you still can manipulate event in a way to reveal story you wanted to. So in short give people reason to be there, some sort of reward for instance.

It is worth mentioning that events that bring challange may be more enjoable by many rpers (I heard such opinion very often), so let people be wounded from time to time, struggle or even leave window for potential fail.

Also if actions of person is important in event it is the best feeling ever in my opinion. That your individual emote can have impact on what is happening. So try to read what people emote, punish and reward them for those emotes too. I mean someone emote runing into group of enemies by himself screaming and revealing position... it may hurt simply. But if person try to sneak around or ambush or at least get brief investigation of the zone beforehand, it changes a lot.

Well... that's from top of my head, maybe if i spend more time on this post it would look more precise heh.
Had written some comments in the thread Kaliyra posted above so I won't repeat them here, but here's a thread that might help you when it comes to promoting an event:

Tardie's Guide to Promoting Events

It's from 2010 but still has some good pointers in it. I don't know about the effectiveness of yelling in cities these days, but the parts about how to go about the forum thread and what kind of expectations to have might be helpful for you.
Given that there have been plenty of hints already, I will simply try to give you an advise that I personally found very valueable when given to me as I had to DM the last year for 20-40 people twice a week.

Find your own style. Do you focus on the event mechanics more, on the narrative, or optimally both? Do you want to use a roll system, free emoting, turn based roll system, etc? That is something you must decide for yourself, the key thing to take note of is that for any form of event, an adequate pace is mandatory to preserve immersion and devotion to the current event. Utterly long-winded scenarios with little possibility for interaction often kill the mood for players.

Overall, however, all you can do is to dive in and play. DMing is alot of extra work but it is also very, very fun and rewarding to see people enjoying themselves. It may start out a bit confusing and burdening even, but once you get the hang of it it will go smoothly. Especially with a good plan.

That said though, as stated above, never run a script. Don't force things, try to stay optional and -guide- them towards your desired end goal without making people feel that they had no choice in it anyway.

Not much, I know, but perhaps it helps!
Good luck and have fun, I will gladly see for this arena event of yours myself to partake if it comes to be too!
Thanks guys. This would primarily be a player vs player event using /roll and with defined HP with some assistants playing the part of beast (probably using mounts).

Still I shall get to reading those guides.
I would also add to start small. Practice finding your style with just a few people until you're comfortable.

I've been DMing for a few years and only recently attempted it with more than 10 people... Vora's 20-40 is honestly exhausting, I don't know how he does it!

The important part is to have fun with it, ask for feedback on what went well and what people didn't like so much and use it to constantly improve :)
Don't know if it has been mentioned yet, but one advice that I have gotten from a lot of directions is "Planning events is nice. Just be prepared that the attendees are going to do everything you find the least likely to happen." Meaning, be flexible, because there's no end to what is possible to happen in a group.
Thankfully I have past experience in DMing as I use to run D&D and various white wolf games for several groups. It was more for seeing advice for more public events. So far the tips and linked guides have been great guys.

Join the Conversation

Return to Forum