July 18, 2011

GM Tip Request – How to Run Professional Conferences for PCs

GM tip requestHi Johnn,

Every Year, my campaign features a wizards’ colloquium, called The Studious Accord, with speakers on various topics. These speakers are NPCs familiar to the PCs, or their topics recall adventures that they’ve had.

The Accord effectively serves tips, rumors and adventure hooks. I write up a list of speakers and the titles of their talks, and a short list of prominent vendors. I let the players choose what talks they’d like to attend.

Each of these then becomes an encounter, sometimes yielding an opportunity to take an otherwise unavailable feat, to invest in some potentially game-changing endeavor, or to just do some fun roleplaying.

I can often tailor the benefit on the fly to appeal to the player or players who choose that talk. For inspiration, I use story elements the players enjoyed, TED Talks, news articles on physics research, and plans for future possible adventures.

I’d like to know if your readers have similar “professional conferences” for other character classes, and if so, how they run these.

- Ray Newland

Readers, if you have any ideas or advice for Ray, drop me a note.