GM Playbook

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GM Playbook

Updated June/3/2019

Important Dates

  • GM Registration (PUBLISHER GAMES ONLY) June/1/2019 and ends Sept/29/2019
  • GM Registration (Non-Publisher Games) starts August 1/2019 and ends Sept/29/2019 (Early Bird Prize for 1st 20 GMs to Register and Run their Game)
  • Player Registration starts Oct 1/2019 and goes to the convention (Early Bird Prize for 1st 30 Players to Sign Up and Play in the Game they Signed Up For)
  • Convention starts 10 AM New York/7 AM LA/3 PM UK Friday/Nov/15 EST and Noon Sat/Nov/16 Melbourne and runs through 9 PM New York/6 PM LA Sun/Nov/17/2019 and 2 AM UK/11 AM Melbourne Mon/Nov/18/2019

Harassment Policy

AetherCon is dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age or religion, nationality, or sports team affiliation. We do not tolerate harassment of convention participants in any form. Convention participants violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the convention at the discretion of the convention organizers. Our anti-harassment policy can be found here.

Event Slots (All times New York)

We have nine slots available for events, each lasting 5 hours.

  • Timeslot 1: Friday/November/15/2019: 2 PM to 7 PM  (GMT-5)
  • Timeslot 2: Friday/November/15/2019: 7 PM to MIDNIGHT (GMT -5)
  • Timeslot 3: Saturday/November/16/2019: MIDNIGHT to 5 AM (GMT-5)
  • Timeslot 4: Saturday/November/16/2019: 9 AM to 2 PM (GMT -5)
  • Timeslot 5: Saturday/November/16/2019: 2 PM to 7 PM (GMT-5)
  • Timeslot 6: Saturday/November/16/2019: 7 PM to MIDNIGHT (GMT -5)
  • Timeslot 7: Saturday/November/16/2019: MIDNIGHT to 5 AM (GMT -5)
  • Timeslot 8: Sunday/November/17/2019: 9 AM to 2 PM (GMT-5)
  • Timeslot 9: Sunday/November/17/2019: 2 PM to 7 PM (GMT -5)

Supported Virtual Tabletops (VTT)

AetherCon we support two VTTs:

  • Roll20
  • Google Hangouts

Roll20

For GMs new to online RPGing and Roll20, check out the Tabletop Tutorial here. Still need help? We will also be offering live tutorials with experienced hands who can walk you through setting up and running your game. Contact our tutors at roll20tutor@aethercon.com

Google Hangouts

Setting up a Google Hangout is super easy once you have a Google account. There are several ways to do it, but perhaps the simplest is to create a calendar item on Google Calendar. Follow these steps:

  1. Create a Google account or login to your existing account.
  2. Go to Google Calendar at https://google.com/calendar.
  3. Click the red “Create” button on the left.
  4. Provide a title for your Calendar item (this is really just for your eyes).
  5. Set the date, time, and time zone.
    1. Use your first choice’s date and time here.
    2. If your first choice is unavailable, we will let you know. You can then come back and adjust the calendar item. However, this is strictly optional, as the date on the Hangout doesn’t affect the link.
  6. Click the “Add Video Call” text link; this is the action that establishes a URL for your Hangout.
  7. Provide an optional description; again, this calendar info, apart from the Hangout link, is just for your eyes.
  8. Do not add any guests.
  9. Click the red “Save” button at the top; you will be returned to the main Calendar view.
  10. Find the calendar event you just create and click to edit it.
  11. Right-click the “Join Video Call” text link, and copy the URL.
  12. This is the URL you use on your form. Don’t lose it!

Note: Hangout URLs are permanent and can be used for multiple, successive Hangouts. If you are running ten games, at different times, you really only need the one Hangout URL.

GM Registration Form

You can find the GM Registration Form here.

This online form must be filled out for each event you will be running. It provides our system with the details of each game you’ll be running, including a description, and the virtual tabletop (VTT) link to your session.

Organized Play

Remember if you want to run Cthulhu Cult of Chaos, D&D Adventurers League, Pathfinder Society, or Starfinder Society you need to register by using the e-mails below and *not* the form above:

  • Cthulhu Cult of Chaos: cocgmreg@aethercon.com
  • D&D Adventurers League: dndalgmreg@aethercon.com
  • Pathfinder Society: pfsgmreg@aethercon.com
  • Starfinder Society: sfsgmreg@aethercon.com

Deciding to Run a Game at AetherCon

We are assuming you have a lot of experience with role playing and/or table top games. But you may be new to the online experience of gaming with others over computers using virtual tabletops. Some of our online players have remarked that online play can be similar in enjoyment to in-person games. Others felt that online play can allow the GM and players to focus more on the story compared to meeting in person.

Having to carry around loads of books, dice, pawns, etc… PHEW! Using online tools can be easier once you understand how to use the tools available. And then sometimes it’s fun to teach your friends something new by using tools like Google Hangouts or Roll20.

Registering your Game at AetherCon

“What?”

We welcome all systems at AetherCon from the Industry Giants to the smallest in Indie Press. However remember to keep in mind that lesser known games and homebrews do not have the exposure of better known systems. For that reason, taking full advantage of this document is recommended.

If your first thought is “I’ve always wanted to try running this game but couldn’t find any players…”, that should tell you that you probably need to put in the extra mile to attract the necessary traffic.

 “How?”

Put up a decent descriptor. If your descriptor reads “Dungeon crawl for five players,” expect potential sign ups to treat your game with the same amount of enthusiasm you are.

For Open Games (which includes Publisher Run Games but not Organized Play), make sure you accentuate the fact that anyone playing in your game can win the Open Gaming Bundle by including the phrase “Players eligible for Open Gaming Bundle!” after your descriptor.

If you plan to beta-test an unreleased system make sure you mention that. There are plenty of players out there that enjoy playtesting. Make sure they know you’re looking for them. Maybe bring a couple of your own beta-testers along for the ride and turn your game into an event by featuring them.

After Registering

After you register your event, it will be important to start developing the virtual tabletop (VTT) your game is running on to increase your chances at a full table. Here are some ideas to help.

Your Virtual Tabletop

Populate your Roll20 campaign with a cover sheet. If folks sign up for your game and see a blank white page they may wonder just how committed you are to running it and ask themselves why they should be more committed than you are. We’ve made a media kit especially for GMs. You can find it here.

In the case of homebrew games, the RPG rules or rules changes from the system you are basing your homebrew on should also be plainly spelled out in the journal section of Roll20 for player viewing prior to Player Pre-Registration starting.

A Note to Publishers and Beta-Testers

Providing a two to three page PDF that either explains how to roll a character or is short overview of your setting for our RPG Sneak Peek Collection can help put people at your table. Those we receive will be linked to that game entry on the event schedule.

For Roll20, Dynamic Character Sheets (ones that remove the math for the player who clicks on the appropriate dice icon in the Character Sheet to have it calculate the variables and produce a result) are essential, especially for games with a heavy math content. Investing the effort to ensure you have these available will benefit your game at AetherCon and make your game easier for a GM to select going forward.

Similarly, building out your game table (adding the maps and NPCs) once can benefit you for not only AetherCon but for other online events you participate in further on down the calendar.

As with anything, using Social Media to get the word out about your participation in AetherCon always helps. Make sure your supporters know when your itinerary be it games you are running, webcasts you will be a part of, when you will be in your booth at Baublebrook’s Bazaar, or even bartending in The Wandering Toad. Adding ‘#AetherCon 15-17/11/2019’ to your Twitter name will help make sure your Twitter followers know where you will be during the festivities.

Like Social Media, your website can also help raise awareness. Make sure you put our logo in a place that will be easily seen and backlink it to our website. Putting your itinerary here as well can also go a long way.

The Online RPG Community is expanding as more gamers grow up in a digital world. Putting in time here will help place you in the path of the next wave of RPGers.

Character Creation

  • We highly suggest that you supply characters for your players if you are running a non-Publisher Open Game. If you are a Publisher we suggest you either supply characters, or if you have a new system, perhaps make the characters at the table with the players and use a shorter scenario.
  • If you are providing characters for the players we suggest creating an extra one for every two characters the scenario requires so as to give the players more options when it comes to selecting what kind of character they would like to play. Also, when making the characters, write a couple of sentences. Who are they? Why are they? Nothing fancy, just two or three sentences.
  • We also suggest that the characters be viewable in Roll20 by the players prior to Player Pre-Registration starting.
  • Start a Roll20 Forum Chat where your players can touch base with you prior to the big day. It will provide a way for them to ask questions about things they are uncertain about and help your session run smoother so that come game time you are playing and not explaining.

Get the Word Out!

Simply put: Advertise on Social Media! You know who your demographic is likely to be more than we do. Get the word out. AetherCon will always do its part to promote games on its schedule, but your effort here only improves the chances for a great time.

Remember: You will get out of your game what you put into it.

GM Table Count

Remember, you and your players are eligible for prizes! But we can’t get their loot to them if we can’t contact them. It’s imperative that you fill out the GM Table Count Form during or immediately after each game.

You can find the GM Table Count Form here.

The form asks for your scenario’s name, when it was played, how many players attended, and the contact info for your players.

Final Thoughts

In closing, remember to have fun! 🙂

And don’t forget to keep checking back with us as we roll out all of the other events happening during AetherCon Weekend, November 15-17, 2019!

  • http://www.aethercon.com (Currently under re-build)
  • https://www.facebook.com/AetherConRPG
  • http://twitter.com/AetherCon
  • https://youtube.com/c/AetherCon

Thanks for being a part of the dice rolls heard ‘round the world!