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PAX West True Dungeon event?

ElmoFuntzElmoFuntz Portland, ORRegistered User regular
Got an email about this today and it sounds interesting but appears to be affiliated with PAX since it came from ReedPop but there is no details on where the event is taking place and based on the description I can't imagine it will be on the Expo hall floor (actually I see it says in a ballroom). Does anyone have more details on a location possibly? It sounds interesting and I am glad they have time slot signups since its a 2 hour session but the fact its $68 makes me want more detail upfront.

Go for the eyes Boo, GO FOR THE EYES!


  • whypick1whypick1 PAX [E] Info Booth Manager ~2' from an LCDRegistered User regular
    PAX West (August 30th - September 2nd, 2019)

    Grand Ballroom - The Westin Seattle - 1900 5th Avenue - Seattle, WA 98101

    Is it PAX <insert nearest future PAX here> yet?
  • ElmoFuntzElmoFuntz Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    Completely missed that page. Thanks a bunch helps me know if I can make it :)

    Go for the eyes Boo, GO FOR THE EYES!

  • IncreaseBlueIncreaseBlue Registered User regular
    I was interested in this. I saw kind of mixed reactions from folks that participated at South. I'm gonna wait until the schedule comes out first though before nabbing any time slots.

  • Bladed CicadaBladed Cicada Registered User regular
    Is it really...$68 per person? After you buy a $50 ticket? And it will take up SOME kind of space that would have been used for non-exclusive stuff for con goers? I am the only one that thinks this is ridiculous? Lol is PAX "Partitioned Audiences and X-clusion?"
    First let's make the main show floor a private reserve Lobby space for streamers. Then let's make you spend $250 for the con and then waste 2 hours of that valued time to spend another $70 per person. I mean...jesus I miss Robert.

  • Bladed CicadaBladed Cicada Registered User regular
    Lol if I feel extra curmudgeonly I might just cos play as the superhero cash-grab! I'll just wear a suit and fixate fake dollar bills all over myself and then people can just take money from me. It'll be pretty appropriate given the circumstances 🙃 k, I'm done.

  • IncreaseBlueIncreaseBlue Registered User regular
    edited June 2019
    I get the irritation but my understanding is that they're a partner in this, not thrown directly by PAX.

    This is different from game makers putting on big experiences or booths, that's a part of their show/marketing budget. The idea for them is to throw out swag and promotions for people to later buy their games.

    Conversely, this IS how True Dungeon makes money. They gotta pay their actors, propmakers etc. It does them no good to offer this for free to PAXers in the hopes that they'll later pay to revisit the same adventure content.

    The cost is definitely a shot to the gut, but it checks out to me why they're charging.

    Edit: More clarity.

    IncreaseBlue on
    Bladed Cicada
  • Bladed CicadaBladed Cicada Registered User regular
    I get the irritation but my understanding is that they're a partner in this, not thrown directly by PAX.

    This is different from game makers putting on big experiences or booths, that's a part of their show/marketing budget. This IS how True Dungeon makes money, so it makes sense that they'd charge. They gotta pay their actors, propmakers etc.

    The cost is definitely a shot to the gut, but it checks out to me why they're charging.

    Sure, and that's fair. The bad tastes just keep stacking up and I'm not seeing any palette cleansers 🙃 I too would want to see what the previous experience was like before even remotely considering $70. Well it sounds like the production level is higher, it's almost or about twice as much as your typical escape room. And again is being held during Show hours so you're going to spend extra money to leave the show. I don't know just seems weird. Especially when they've done less high production live stand-up D&D type things before that were just at the con and part of the price.

  • Bladed CicadaBladed Cicada Registered User regular
    Ok, one last gripe lol. They also want to run this thing with volunteers! They're going to be pulling in over $500 per play session over the course of four days and they can't even pay people to run their event? I don't know man I'm just getting tired of all this corporate bullshit. Where's the Totino's Pizza Rolls

  • IncreaseBlueIncreaseBlue Registered User regular
    I agree on wanting to get a better idea. They did a featurette on it when it was at PAX South last year and it does seem pretty darn cool:

    I did see time slots open for after the vendor hall closes. That's a relief because I also wouldn't want to be limited to just during the expo hall hours.

  • IncreaseBlueIncreaseBlue Registered User regular
    One last counterpoint I swear lol.
    Ok, one last gripe lol. They also want to run this thing with volunteers! They're going to be pulling in over $500 per play session over the course of four days and they can't even pay people to run their event? I don't know man I'm just getting tired of all this corporate bullshit. Where's the Totino's Pizza Rolls

    Yeah but PAX also employs volunteers to run the show (even during Khoo's time).

    That's pretty normal for conventions in general, and these guys are offering free hotel and meal stipends on top of badges. That's more than most con volunteer gigs.

  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited June 2019
    True Dungeon is its own company coming to PAX to do its thing. It's running exactly the same as it runs at every other place True Dungeon goes, with similar admission cost, etc. If you don't want to participate, don't participate.

    I am not personally a fan of TD, but it's like many other games. You want to play Magic, you need to buy some cards. You want to play TD, you gotta buy the "experience". PAX can't just put TD in its tabletop library for people to hang out and play.

    zerzhul on
  • YoungFreyYoungFrey Registered User regular
    edited July 2019
    I know $68 is kind of steep, but it is $12 cheaper than they charge at GenCon for the same event (where they sold 8,000 tickets this year, compared to PAX's 1400).

    Of course True Dungeon also has loot boxes. You have gear in the form of tokens that are bought in random packs. The packs normally contain 7 commons, 2 uncommons, and 1 rare. But 1-in-100 packs has an even rarer token (which can be ridiculously valuable). You get a pack of 10 tokens with each admission ticket. To put that rarity into perspective. At PAX West there are 1400 event tickets. There is a 99% chance there will be 23 or fewer ultra-rare or better tokens in those 1400 token bags (so 14,000 total tokens) that come with the tickets.

    You can also buy additional packs for $8 each. You can easily spend bazillions of dollars kitting out a character to the max. To give you a sense of how much people apparently spend. You can trade tokens back to TD (by mail) to have them transmuted into higher rarity ones. Because some people do this so much and it's a pain to open stacks and stacks of tokens (at $8 a go) they sell condensed packs that are the equivalent of buying 120 10-packs, and trading in all the commons. They are $1000. You aren't getting anything extra, just saving time and shipping hassle. There is also an $8000 super-condensed that is like buying 960 packs and converting all the commons, uncommons, and rares. At least all this stuff is physical and you can do with them as you wish.

    Obviously most people running TD aren't dropping the price of a used car on this game every year. But I'm quite curious how those whales and a history of the event running every year affect the experience. The first year of TD at an event might always be kind of rough, but in later years as people come back with progressively more gear and experience, it might smooth off a lot of the rough edges.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm excited to play this game. But it clearly has an infinitely deep hole you can pour money into. I've never run TD, and I've only recently started reading up on it. If you are interested, I'd recommend starting with their Player's Guide. And their forums are full of veterans to bounce questions off of.

    YoungFrey on
  • SingsalotSingsalot Registered User regular
    edited August 2019
    Greetings folks.

    I'm Singsalot, I've been an Enforcer at Pax South and a TD volunteer.

    TL;DR: TD pays its volunteers, the price is steep but as fair as possible, there will be a free demo, learn more on the forums: True Dungeon Forum (Main)
    There are about 550 tickets available (48 full 10-ticket runs) for Friday-Sunday night 5-midnight.

    1) TD does pay their volunteers a stipend and badges like PAX does, and they provide hotel rooms for full-time volunteers. They also have a couple of year-round employees. You can discover for yourself the rewards of volunteering at True Dungeon Volunteers - click on "What are the benefits & responsibilities" under PAX West (the stipend is larger than normal this year only because this was a last-minute addition and they don't have a bunch of west-coast volunteers yet).

    2) $68 is a lot of money to pay for a two-hour experience! There is no doubt about that. More than all but the most expensive plays or concerts. What do you get for your $70?

    7 rooms: Each room is made to look like a dungeon, cave, forest, tundra, cloud, space, etc. Each room involves at least 1 volunteer: A DM. Most also include at least one more: an NPC, or someone operating an "animatronic" monster. Sometimes There are as many as 4 volunteers dedicated to a single room. Each room is equipped with its own combination of lights, sound, props, projection, etc.
    In addition, you will have a Coach for 24 minutes and a Trainer for 12. That's 10-15 people, plus the various department heads: NPCs/costumes, props, Dungeon coordinators, etc.

    Treasure: Each ticket comes with a 10-pack of tokens. These retail for $8 as noted above, so you could call your ticket $60 (though you can get them cheaper by bidding on auctions in the TD Forums, etc.) Each pack has a 1% chance of holding a token worth in the $90-120 range. At the end of the dungeon, each player gets 3* treasure tokens, which go on the secondary market for around $5 each. These equate to random pulls that could get tokens worth $1-2, $10-20, or $90-100 (or very rarely something worth way more). In addition you get a participation token unique to your Con! These can be highly sought after by longtime players who can't make your con. If your group plays on Hardcore, you get a better, rarer token. Nightmare, you get both. Also, the Rogue player gets about 3 chances to win extra tokens in the dungeon. If you never intend to play again, you should be able to move your tokens for something like $15-30, if you open your 10 pack but don't use your Treasure tokens.

    *You can increase this to 4 with one of 3 tokens that you can usually buy for $5-10, or to 5 by combining that with a new token that's going for 30-50 on the open market. Players with enough XP (surviving 7 dungeons on "Hardcore" difficulty and one on "Normal,") get a bonus Treasure token as well. There are 5 expensive tokens that increase this even further, to a current max of 21 per adventure. Sometimes if you land with a veteran group, they'll loan you tokens that increase your Treasure tokens, often for 1 extra, but sometimes for much more.

    Is that worth it to you? No idea! I brought a friend at South, and she brought a friend. She loved it! He didn't. I played with a group at Origins - me and another volunteer, and 8 other people. 8 of us loved it! 2 people complained.

    What True Dungeon isn't:

    1) An Escape Room
    A True Dungeon run consists of 7 rooms - 3 puzzle rooms, 3 combat rooms, and 1 either/or or mixed. Each lasts exactly 12 minutes, pass or fail, and while they are thematically connected, and sometimes an NPC follows you through a few, failing one puzzle isn't going to leave you stuck, and passing one isn't going to give you a clue critical to the next (though there are sometimes hints in the dungeon). Puzzles are varied - wordplay, physical challenges, spatial awareness, lights, sounds, smells, music, magnets. Puzzles are my favorite part of playing True Dungeon. I've passed about 65-75% of them with groups of strangers. Keep talking!

    2) A Role-Playing Game
    TD borrows heavily from D&D for its mechanical structure, and the dungeon has its story, but you are not expected to play a role. Some people love to dress up or put on a voice (bards love to play or sing!), but there is no role playing required, and indeed, there is often little time for it when solving a puzzle or pursuing a combat. However, as an NPC I have had parties engage in some characterful conversations, and I've heard of DMs going along with player gambits/negotiations in rare cases.

    3) A Haunted House
    Some of the stuff in TD can be pretty creepy, and it's always dark in the dungeon. You'll be moving from room to room, taking in the sights and sounds and keeping your wits about you. But you'll need to do much more than run and scream.

    4) A Tactical Game/Board Game/Carnival Game
    The "Rogue Boxes" are an electric game a la Operation, and the combat is done by sliding on tables like playing shuffleboard in a bar. The 12 classes have a variety of passive, active, and one-off abilities and spells that they can use to help themselves or their party. Will the Paladin guard the Wizard or the Druid? Will the Rogue give the team a clue, or keep the treasure? Will the Dwarf taunt the monster, even if they only have 8 hit points left? Should the Barbarian rage now, or save it for the final battle?

    What True Dungeon is:
    Kiiiiinda sorta all that mooshed together?

    So: dare you spend $68 on something you might not enjoy?

    Well, on the one hand, there are now about 550 tickets left to buy.
    Sometimes players release a ticket back, so you can check periodically, and sometime after GenCon, people might be looking to fill up their runs of pre-purchased tickets here.

    BUT you're in luck whether you missed your chance, or aren't sure and don't want to commit:

    There will be a FREE yes totally PAX style FREE demo all day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (and Mon til 2) of Coaching, Training, Puzzle, and Combat (plus free token, at least so it went at PAX South) for a total of 24 FREE minutes of True Dungeon excellence, 10 people at a time (100 people/hr, minus periodic breaks), and I will be your friendly neighborhood Combat DM, so come see me!


    True Dungeon Forum (Main)
    True Dungeon Forum (PAX West)
    Bought a ticket, and want to connect with the people in your time slot, or bought extra tickets and looking for group? Pax West Group Forum
    examples of this from GenCon: GenCon Group Forum
    List of all such posts (if any) will be gathered here: Pax West Group Index where you can look to see if anyone is looking to fill a slot
    examples of a full index from GenCon: GenCon Group Index
    Learn about volunteering: True Dungeon Volunteers
    Learn about True Dungeon:
    What is True Dungeon?
    How to Play
    Rulebooks, Classes, etc
    Look up any TD token: Token Database
    Play around with equipping characters without needing to buy anything: Character Creator
    Buy tokens: TD Store (random packs and big purchases)
    forum stores
    forum auctions
    Best online stores: TD Tavern and Trent Tokens

    I'm Singsalot on that forum too so you can PM me there with specific questions (I don't check here often).

    Singsalot on
  • SingsalotSingsalot Registered User regular
    Updated the links & made it a little more readable

  • BekerBeker Child's Play Program Director SeattleRegistered User, Penny Arcade Staff regular
    Having done several of these at South I can say I loved it and bought my tickets for the West version as soon as they went on sale. If you have the time and especially if you can get some friends together I fully recommend you see if you can do the free version. I suspect it will fill up quickly, especially as the weekend goes on and people learn more about it.

    I don't speak for PA, but i've chatted with them about this kind of thing over the years, and they have debated allowing TD (or Magic Drafts or Watch the Skies or other things that cost extra) to exist at PAX because they do really like the idea that your ticket gets you access to everything. However there is a balance there, and some experiences do cost more to put together and are highly popular.

    Certainly the Price of PAX has gone up over the years, and Reed Pop and PA are indeed both for profit businesses, but I feel like the ticket price is still a wonderful deal for the amount of content and value you get. YMMV.

  • SingsalotSingsalot Registered User regular
    If you've already bought a ticket (especially if you bought more than one), you might post in the PAX West section of the True Dungeon Forum to connect with people in your run or if you have spare tickets, etc. (One person has just posted they want to try to trade 2 tickets they bought for another time slot due to a conflict).

  • SingsalotSingsalot Registered User regular
    They did a featurette on it when it was at PAX South last year and it does seem pretty darn cool:

    I love seeing this because it was my first time volunteering and I get to see all the familiar faces.

    They also did one on the demo in 2017:

  • YoungFreyYoungFrey Registered User regular
    ... and it's sold out. I'm sure things will shake up a little once the schedule is posted.

  • SingsalotSingsalot Registered User regular
    Yeah, once people see what else is there, some will try to shuffle things around, so tickets may come available, either via the TD event site, or on the forum. Don't forget the free demo.

  • ctiwolfctiwolf Registered User regular
    I think they just decided to run through midnight on sunday

  • YoungFreyYoungFrey Registered User regular
    That seem to be it, the earliest available is 5:12 PM.

  • BaskeBaske Registered User regular
    Not sure if I missed the information but how does one signup for the demo? Will it be a signup system at the beginning of the day to reserve a time slot, a line/queue that people wait in or something else?

  • SingsalotSingsalot Registered User regular
    Based on South as an example, the free demo will involve a line that could get quite long, but as each group is 10 people, individuals and small groups might get slotted in to groups of 5-9 nearer the front of the line.

  • SingsalotSingsalot Registered User regular
    Also made some edits; there are full 10-ticket runs available after 5 pm on Fri, Sat, and Sun available for purchase.

  • every day's greatevery day's great Registered User regular
    I did the short escape room at PAX last year and it was sort of fun, but I've also done other things like this before that left me pretty unhappy and disappointed at the end (very much regretting the time and money spent) so I'm apprehensive about adding it to my PAX experience...

  • SingsalotSingsalot Registered User regular
    We're on 4th floor of the Westin above VR

    Short line!

  • SingsalotSingsalot Registered User regular
    Did anybody do the Demo or Abyssal Swamp dungeon at West? Battle reports/reviews? (New players)

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