Jay Elmore is a former local coordinator of the Portland, Oregon area and an active organizer at local stores and conventions, including Rose City Comic Con and GameStorm. Jay’s philosophy on convention D&D is that players go to a con hoping for something better than what they can experience at home or at a store. In this Community Spotlight, Jay shares with us his tips for “leveling up” your convention game.
Find One Cool Part and Make It Memorable. “Give up the idea that you’re going to have a super strong narrative like a longer hardcover adventure,” Jay says. ” Instead, figure out what is the core of the story and what are the cool parts you want to really highlight.” Jay likes to create a stunning set piece or colorful, detailed maps ahead of time to really bring something special to the game. (One of his favorite “hacks” is using the back of gridded gift wrapping paper for maps.)
Encourage Player Engagement. Another convention DM Jay met shared with him a tip for creating cinematic introductions that open up roleplay. “He’ll set the scene, and then he’ll say, ‘Imagine this is a movie,'” Jay says. “You’re on this boat, making it to this exotic land of Chult. The camera pans into each character. What does the camera see?” By describing what characters look like and what they’re doing, this brief introduction brings players out of their shells. Jay says to be just as mindful of who isn’t doing a lot of talking, who might be shy, and who you should occasionally check in with (“Hey, what’s your character doing while everyone else is talking to the constable?”) to make sure they feel included.
Encourage Environment Interaction. When characters are thrown into combat, Jay likes to list 5-6 elements of the scene. A dropped weapon. A handful of loose dirt. A flower pot. If characters find creative ways to use these elements on their turn, he rewards them with advantage on their attack roll or ability check. Jay says spelling out tangible, concrete elements of the environment promotes creative thinking in game.
Set Silent Alarms on Your Phone. To ensure players get to experience an adventure fully, the Dungeon Master should be very aware of how much time they are spending on each section. Jay’s trick is to set silent vibrate alarms on his phone that go off every hour. He keeps the phone in his pocket for discrete reminders.
The Adventurers League Community Spotlight features members of our community accomplishing cool things and sharing their tips to make your AL experience equally cool. If you know someone who makes your AL community better, e-mail [email protected] to tell us why they should be featured in the next Community Spotlight.