What's New for Role Play Rally

My name is Jonathan, and I organize Role Play Rally.  If you did the Epic last July, I was the guy on the microphone raising flags and such.  If you're reading this, then you either attended RPR, ran games as a DM, or are interested in doing one of those things this year, and that means you have a stake in the convention.  It's important to me that I be as transparent and clear with any stakeholder, so that's what this post is about.  It is meant to give you a look inside the planning process for the convention.  So with that in mind, here are some things of note from the last event and how it's affecting this event:

Dungeon Masters and Event Schedule

I learned a lot from the last convention.  I was keenly aware of the poor ratio of DMs to players, and it's on the top of the list this year to fix.  In fact, there's a volunteer whose sole job is to coordinate and recruit DMs.  The first thing Brian did was figure out a schedule for events, how many DMs we needed, how many we wanted, and how many players that would support.  The other thing he did was build a staggered schedule that allowed for better breaks and could accommodate people coming later.

The next thing he and I did was meet to talk about getting DMs.  My favorite thing that we did was come up with the DM Elite program.  There are people out there who love to DM, and we want those people coming!  So DM Elites' role will be to run games every session, including the Epic.  In return, they'll get some special stuff from the convention, including a special game day just for them on a future weekend.  In addition, we'll still have standard DMs running games, but we're formalizing a reward system for them that gives them more stuff the more they run.

The other part of that is to put a hard limit on the number of tickets that are available.  The number of DMs is the "chokepoint" of the convention.  It doesn't matter if 500 people want to come if we only have enough DMs to support 50.  So the tickets are currently limited by the quantity of DMs that we will have at the con.  So this means the convention could sell out if the demand of players is higher than the supply of DMs.

Breaking Even

Flat out, Role Play Rally lost money last year.  In an effort to make the convention as affordable as possible, I priced tickets as close to the break even point as possible.  Costs were higher, and attendance was lighter than budgeted, so that blew the budget.  I should note that I still consider Role Play Rally in July a success by every other measure, but it did mean that changes had to happen this year.

Since the number of attendees is fixed and known, and the costs are now better known, it's simple math to set the attendee ticket price.  Make no mistake, it's a big jump to go from $25 to $40 for a weekend, but if the convention is to continue, it's necessary.  The costs include paying for the hotel space, printing for the Epic, rewards for the amazing staff of DMs and volunteers, and a few other things that inevitably come up.  But it's important that we get people to come out for the event, so if the costs are high, consider volunteering!  There's other things to do besides DMing including helping new players, running registration, and helping before the convention.