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True Dungeon info for 2007

April 10th, 2007: Allan Sugarbaker says...
True Dungeon info for 2007

While we still wonder if a spin-off location for True Dungeon will come to light now that Gen Con SoCal is no more, we at least have information on this fall’s general True Dungeon plan at Gen Con Indy. Company Director Jeff Martin’s update (below) mentions larger encounter areas, hooded LED necklace lights for each player, better looking treasure tokens, a proper and “final” arrangement of 5.1 surround sound for each encounter area, and dedicated GMs for each area. All the improvements, the loss of Gen Con SoCal, and the event’s failure to cover costs last year were mentioned as justification for the increased price of $39 per ticket. True Dungeon tickets will go on sale May 7 at GenCon.com.

True Dungeon press release follows:

True Dungeon Details

For Gen Con Indy 2007

Greetings all True Dungeon gamers!

First, check out our preview event video by clicking on the link below. It was tough to come up with something that does not give a lot away. You’ll just have to wait until Gen Con to see the cool new sets. After the video, check out the event details below. Thanks for taking the time to read this LONG newsletter!

View Video Click Here

True Adventures, Ltd., producer of the smash-hit event “True Dungeon”, is pleased to announce the details of its “True Dungeon” event at Gen Con Indy (August 16-19, 2007) in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana. The event, once again sponsored by Wizard of the Coast, will feature two similar versions of the same adventure, and it will boast many improvements over last year’s well-received event.

This year’s event entitled “Race Across Greyhawk” will be offered in two slightly different orientations. One adventure, labeled “Race Across Greyhawk (Combat)” will offer players a more combat-oriented scenario. Its counterpart entitled “Race Across Greyhawk (Puzzle)” will challenge players with more puzzles than melee. Both of these adventures will be very similar to each other in layout, and only two out of seven encounter areas in each adventure will be different than its counterpart. Both adventures will still offer puzzle and combat challenges, but each will be slightly concentrated on either puzzles or combat.

The event is being structured in this manner for several reasons. These factors include the availability of only single pieces of certain props, the desire of the designer to provide a more “tailored-fit” scenario, and the reality of certain physical plant limitations. In short, the event will be the “coolest” since it tweaks available resources and it allows players to experience the kind of True Dungeon that interests them the most. It is important to note that double True Dungeon Experience Points will not be awarded for playing both versions. If you play both versions, you will receive only the amount of XP equal to the farthest room you reached in both versions. The same is true for Hardcore players. You will receive only the amount of XP equal to the farthest room you reached if you play both versions in Hardcore mode. The only opportunity to receive two XP totals would be to play the adventure in both Normal and Hardcore mode.

True Dungeon event ticket times that end in an even number will be the puzzle-oriented adventures, while those that end in an odd number will challenge players’ combat prowess to a great extent. Again, the ticket title will also include the words “puzzle” or “combat” to inform players of which version of “Race Across Greyhawk” they will be playing.

The Module: The theme for this year’s module picks up where last year’s event concluded. The city of Greyhawk is under attack from the evil minions of Iuz the Old, and your group has been mistaken for evil spider cultists. Your group has decided to play along with the ruse in hopes of uncovering the final plot to destroy their beloved city of Greyhawk. Perhaps some advantage can be gain be masquerading as cultists?

Now falsely thought to be allies of evil, your group has been commanded to deliver a dangerous weapon to Iuz outside the city walls. To evade the City Watch your group must clandestinely travel across the city of Greyhawk to emerge at a wizard’s tower inhabited by a mage cultist. Inside you must find a Shadowgate – an ancient portal that allows those who can uncover its secrets to cover a great distance by walking only a few steps within the Plane of Shadow. You must use this Shadowgate to deliver your package to Iuz who is encamped outside your besieged city. Only through wits and courage can your group hope to journey through the Shadowgate – and perhaps strike hard at the very heart of the enemy.

List of Improvements: It is very important to note that the people behind True Dungeon have spent the last year carefully considering how to improve the event in 2007. After some trial runs at Gen Con So Cal in November of 2006, we have designed many improvements for 2007.

Better DM Staffing/Training/Scheduling: We are pleased to announce that all DMs at Gen Con Indy will be full-time DMs who will receive extensive training before the event. Each room in the adventure will be given over to two full-time DMs who will exclusively run it throughout the Con. They will tweak and tune the room before and during the event, and they will be experts at making their rooms the most enjoyable for the players. All DMs will have exacting knowledge of the room they are running.

Bigger/Better Dungeon: We are nearly doubling the size of the adventure from last year, and the sets themselves will be much more detailed. While the number of encounter areas will stay the same at seven, the rooms will be bigger – and the spaces between the rooms will feel more like dungeon corridors. In addition, we are adding more types of environments than just your typical dungeon setting. Your race across Greyhawk will take you to some interesting locations.

Better Sound/Music: At Indy 2006, in each room, we placed the five speakers of our 5.1 surround sound system at the top of the walls — and we pointed them down at an angle toward the players. We discovered too late that those speakers are really not directional in their sound projection, and that they pretty much put out sound in a complete sphere. This caused a lot of sound to travel outside the desired experience location. At So Cal we placed the speakers about three feet off of the ground inside the room. Since the stone on the walls make perfect sound absorption tiles, the sound was well contained at So Cal. The result? We had virtually no sound problems at So Cal other than when two rooms were four feet apart. (We were very cramped at So Cal!) This is great news for Indy 2007, as the long saga of sound problems should be concluded. Yeah!

Player Coaches: The admin and training was handled differently at So Cal than Indy, and we plan to implement what we have learned this year. First, the ticketing and XP registering will be moved back into the hallway so that is no confusion as to where players are to go when they arrive. Players will not enter the True Tavern until after their event is over.

Up to 30 minutes before their start time, players will be allowed to enter inside the ballroom into a Marshalling Area where ten big tables await — with each table being labeled to correspond with a start time (:00 or :12, for example). It will be a quiet, player-only area that will be a great place to meet teammates before the event. Players can trade tokens, pick characters and help newbies so teams can get a jump start on organizing their team. Character sheets and reference materials will be on the table for reference. By the start of the event, most groups will be ready to go.

At the event start time a veteran TD player called a “Coach” will come over and introduce herself. She will then spend the next 12 minutes with the group to make sure all party members understand how combat, tokens and characters work inside True Dungeon. A combat board will be available in the Marshalling Area to help explain the combat system. Also, Coaches can gauge the players’ experience level so that they can tailor their message to fit the group. Even veteran groups might learn a few tricks from a Coach.

At the end of that 12-minute segment, the Coach will move their group into the Training Room that houses all the class-specific training stations. Again, combat will be covered and practiced by the fighter types while the non-fighters practiced their class skills. At the end of this 12-minute segment the Coach will introduce the players into the adventure. It is during this prep phase that the Drow will re-appear and give you your mission.

Hit Point Counters: Players will be given the responsibility of tracking their own hit points with the use of personal hit point trackers. DMs will no longer be required to take valuable time to mark character sheets with a dry erase marker. Instead the DM will just call out, for example, “Rogue, the zombie slashes your side for 5 points of damage,” or “Wizard, the Cleric just healed you for 7 points of damage.” This simple change will make combat and other damage-related game mechanics much faster and more fun.

Personal Neck Lights: All players will receive a personal white LED necklace light to use throughout the dungeon. The tiny lights will be shrouded in a black tube so they will not normally visible to other players, and they will be great lights to read tokens, character sheets and hit point counters. These small LEDs are not very bright, so their use as environmental light sources is very limited. This keeps them from overpowering a room, but they do end many player frustrations.

Awesome Treasure Tokens: We have greatly improved the look and feel of the True Dungeon Treasure Tokens this year. They are now made of a very heavy composite material that feels like metal, and they have a “gold piece” appearance on one side. The other side boasts a cool full-color image of the treasure item, as well as vital information about the object. The tokens now feature info about which classes can use the item and how many hands it takes to wield. These tokens are available to earn inside the adventure, at the Event Reg Desk, and they can be purchased NOW in 10-packs for $10 at www.truedungeon.com. All players get a free 10-pack of tokens at the start of their event. These can be traded among players on a team to maximize the group’s survival.

A video of the new tokens in action can be found at the link below.

Controlled Combat Board Spotlights: DMs will be able to activate a spotlight on the combat boards so that there will be plenty of light during melee. It is a great way to provide ample light for combat, while maintaining the ambience in a room when combat is not going on.

Party Cards: After everyone has their tokens distributed in the Marshalling Area, the Coach will fill out a ½-page cardstock sheet that records many of the players’ vital statistics. This allows the DM to have an easy reference sheet during combat – as well as soon as the party enters a room and gives the Party Card to the DM. At a glance the DM can see what characters are in the party, and she will see all the vital info about them. As a result combat will be much less hectic, easier to understand for new players, much faster and a whole lot more fun for both the DM and players.

A Surprise!: We will be making another cool addition to True Dungeon, but instead of highlighting it here, we will be keeping it secret. We will say that it should allow players to get a better feel for what it would be like to venture into a dark and dangerous dungeon. This should be a lot of fun!

The event will cost $39.00 per ticket, and they can be purchased in advance starting Monday, May 7th at www.gencon.com. Since the event sells out very quickly, it is recommended that very interested players log on the first day to purchase tickets. There are 7 players per group (or timeslot), and one person may buy all 7 tickets at one time. If the tickets are sold out when you check the website on May 7th, please check back on May 10th. Any tickets that are trapped in shopping carts on May 7th will be released at that time. Last year a few hundred tickets were available in this manner.

We acknowledge that the increase in price may place the event out of the reach of some players. We very much regret the fact we have to increase the price each year, but rising convention costs, the loss of the SoCal event, as well as lack of additional space to expand the Indy event prevents us from keeping costs static. So we are truly sorry if the event becomes out of reach for some players. It is, unfortunately, the price we have to pay in an ever more costly environment. We also must be cautious as the event did not cover all its expenses last year, and it consumed its entire accumulated savings.

The event lasts about two hours, and admission price includes a free bag of treasure tokens ($10 value) and one free admission into the True Dungeon Tavern ($3 value).

Finally, if all seven players in a group agree, we will allow an 8th player to play in an adventure. A person who could not get a ticket and wishes to be this 8th person should register at the Waiting List Desk in the event admin area. You must present $39.00 worth of Generic Tickets at that time. A group of seven can pre-select a friend to bring along – just make sure the people at the event admin area are aware of the situation, and that the friend has $39.00 worth of Generic Tickets. The areas are bigger this year, so we are allowing an 8th person if the ENTIRE groups wants it.

Other Events

True Arena will be making a return with a few improvements, and it should be a lot of fun for you combat oriented gamers. We are also sponsoring a True Dungeon seminar called “True Dungeon 101” that will be a great introduction for new players – and it will offer some helpful advice that even veterans can use.

Conclusion

The play-test of this year’s dungeon was extremely well received, and we are tweaking it further to make it even more fun. The adventure will be big, cool and very immersive, and it should bring a lot of smiles to the faces of D&D fans everywhere. This year’s event should make our 5th anniversary very special. See you there!

Jeff Martin
Director

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