NPC Closeup 04/20/2001

Conventioneer (Prestige Class)

Conventioneer : Illus. Arnie Swekel
Illus. Arnie Swekel
(To see a full-size version of this picture, check
out the Gen Con or Origins Preregistration
or On Site Program Books.)

Above all other gamers, amidst collectors and costumed folk, there is no one more at home and familiar with the intricacies of attending gaming conventions as the conventioneer. For up to four days at a time (and sometimes conscious for all 96 unrelenting hours), the conventioneer rises above his or her game-playing peers to thrive in the chaotic environment that is a con.

Hard-core gamers, power gamers, die-hard gamers, and old-school gamers make extremely effective conventioneers. Casual gamers, newbies, and first-time gamers can greatly benefit from the experience that comes from taking up the dice bag of the conventioneer, though the rigorous gaming existence that is the stock and trade of a conventioneer can at first prove daunting

Conventioneers, not surprisingly, gather in great numbers at conventions such as Gen Con and Origins. However, some small cons (such as GeneriCon or MonteCon) see a disproportionate number of conventioneers in attendance, often well over 50%. Amongst other gamers, conventioneers are often regarded with a sense of astonishment, as many of their savvy abilities lend them an almost unnatural aura (particularly if observed over the course of two or more days at a con.)

Hit Die: d12. (Really, it's a d4, but we need more reasons to roll d12s.)

Table 2-1: The Conventioneer

Special Additional
Knowledge Skills
1st +1 +1 +0 +0 Savvy +1 rank
2nd +1 +2 +0 +0 Savvy +1 rank
3rd +2 +2 +0 +0 Savvy +1 rank
4th +2 +4 +0 +0 Savvy +1 rank
5th +3 +6 -1 +0 Savvy +1 rank
6th +3 +8 -1 +0 Savvy +1 rank
7th +4 +8 -1 -1 Savvy +1 rank
8th +4 +10 -2 -1 Savvy +1 rank
9th +5 +12 -2 -2 Savvy +1 rank
10th +5 +15 -2 -3 Savvy +1 rank

* Fortitude Saves increase quickly through built-up tolerance for sleep deprivation, caffeine and sugar, and other remarkable strains on the physical well-being of the conventioneer.

** Reflex Saves slowly decline because of the relatively low demands of dice-rolling, card-flipping, and most other tabletop and computer game-related activities. Note: These penalties can be offset by multiclassing into the LARPer prestige class.

*** Will Saves diminish somewhat because of the conventioneer's driving need to game and propensity to mindlessly consume entire bags of potato chips whilst playing.


To become a conventioneer, a gamer must fulfill all the following criteria:

Knowledge (gaming system): At least one rank in three gaming systems.

Feats: Subsist on Junk Food, Appraise Swag.

Special: Must attend at least one convention (T-shirt purchase is optional).

Class Skills

The conventioneer's class skills (and the ability for each skill) are: Card Shuffling (Dex), Character Generation (Wis), Costuming (Cha), Dice Rolling (Dex), Gamer Humor (Wis), Knowledge (all skills taken individually) (Int), Read Polyhedral Dice (Int), Scarf Pizza (Con), Schmooze (all skills taken individually) (Cha), Solve Puzzle (Int), Spot Celebrity (Wis), and Tote Rulebooks (Str).

Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the conventioneer prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Conventioneers gain no proficiency in any weapon or armor. Note that wearing armor can provide situational modifier bonuses to Costuming skill checks, especially if it's really cool armor. Carrying a weapon can provide similar benefits but can provoke ejection from most cons if it's ever unsheathed -- even if it's a really neat-o weapon.

Increased Gamer Knowledge: For each level attained, the conventioneer adds one rank of skill in any of the following: Knowledge (anime), Knowledge (comic book), Knowledge (gaming system), Knowledge (movie), Knowledge (sci-fi/fantasy novel), Knowledge (television series), and Knowledge (video game).

Convention Savvy: When you start putting conventions under your belt, they just keep getting easier. For each level attained, the conventioneer becomes even more worldly in the ways of the convention and may add one of the following specialties (no bit of convention savvy can be chosen more than once):

Table 2-2: Convention Savvy

Savvy Effect
Around-the-Clock Gaming +15 to Will saves vs. Sleep.
Comprehend Schedule +6 to Int checks to understand events listings
Dealer Room Timing Always choose the short, fast line; find good stuff before it's gone
Fill Open Chair When a player is needed, the conventioneer is always on hand
Obscure Reference +4 to Innuendo checks to impress GMs, and +2 to Intimidate non-conventioneers
Quote Int modifier +6 worth of known movie or TV dialog, +2 to Diplomacy and Perform checks
Resist Stench Immunity to all gamers' smell-related attacks
Rules Lawyering +6 to all arguments, +4 to min/max characters
Wilderness Lore (convention) +6 to all checks that deal with locating restrooms, cheap food, and hotel rooms with extra floor space
Track Event Locate events that have been moved or changed

Around-the-Clock Gaming:Cramming as much gaming as possible into a weekend is what it's all about. Conventioneers develop a phenomenal ability to play through the wee hours and well into the next day without flagging. Around-the-Clock Gaming gives the conventioneer +15 bonus to Will saves vs. sleep after less than 24 hours of continual gaming, a +10 bonus between 24 and 48 hours, and +5 bonus to all other saves vs. sleep. (Note: Gamers playing elven or half-elven characters are still susceptible to sleep.)

Comprehend Schedule: The intricate and arcane matrices of events in the pre-registration and on-site convention books become clear. A conventioneer with Comprehend Schedule gains a +6 bonus to Intelligence checks to understand the listings of events to such a high degree that well-formed plans can be made and successfully executed. Note that this bonus not only works when pre-registering for events with limited openings, but also allows for on-the-fly decision-making.

Dealer Room Timing: Conventioneers have an uncanny knack for getting in lines when they are at their shortest and most quick-moving. A conventioneer with Dealer Room Timing also manages to acquire hot, fast-selling, or highly desirable items and merchandise before they're all gone.

Fill Open Chair: When a player drops out of a game or doesn't show for a scheduled event, someone has to jump in. The conventioneer's talent for being in the right place at the right time enables him or her to join games that otherwise would have been missed.

Obscure Reference: Conventioneers know things like which image in the Dungeon Master's Guide has shown up in all three editions. They can, at will, toss out buzzwords, catch phrases, and other jargon that instantly displays their seemingly infinite gaming knowledge. (Note that conventioneers often use Obscure References to speak with one another, adding +4 to Innuendo checks when communicating with other conventioneers.) Obscure Reference also adds +4 to Diplomacy checks when trying to impress game masters, and +2 to Intimidate checks when dealing with non-conventioneers.

Quote:Lines from movies like Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Highlander, or TV shows such as Star Trek or The Simpsons constitute the primary content of many gamer conversations. However, the conventioneer is even more intimately familiar with a well-chosen collection of favorites. For each point of Int modifier +6, the conventioneer possesses nigh-perfect recall of dialogue from one feature-length film or single season of a television series. An appropriate quote used in conversation or in response to another quote provides a +2 synergy bonus to Diplomacy or Perform checks made against that audience for 1d10+3 minutes.

Resist Stench: After nonstop gaming in excess of 24 hours, all gamers develop an extraordinary scent-based attack that worsens with time. (Those within 5 feet must succeed at a Fortitude save (DC 15) or be wracked with nausea, suffering a -2 circumstance penalty to their ability to pay attention to what's going on in the game for 1d4+2 minutes.) Conventioneers instantly become acclimated to this odiferous olfactory offense and are immune to its effects.

Rules Lawyering:Cover-to-cover, front-to-back, a conventioneer learns everything there is to know in the rulebooks. By wringing out every drop of information regarding a favored gaming system, a conventioneer gains a +6 situational modifier to arguments about that system and has a +4 synergy bonus on Min/Max Character skill checks.

Wilderness Lore (convention): There are many impediments to successfully navigating an entire convention, and conventioneers know secrets that make the whole experience significantly easier and more pleasant. Conventioneers with Wilderness Lore (convention) receive a +6 bonus to all checks that deal with locating urgently needed restrooms, cheap food, and hotel rooms with friendly occupants and/or extra floor space.

Track Event: Despite the best intentions on the part of organizers, scheduled events occasionally go missing. Whether they've changed locations, game master, theme or system, a conventioneer has a near unerring sense that guides the way to errant events.

Track Event Modifiers

DC Modifier Condition
+1 Moved no farther than 50 feet, or is in direct line-of-sight of original scheduled location
+1 Changed game master
+2 Changed name
+3 Changed game system
+5 Moved farther than 50 feet
+5 On a different floor, in a different building
+10 Canceled without notice
-2 Signage at original site with information about new location
-2 Staff member on hand who is aware of the change (-5 if staff member can also give directions to the new location)

About the Author

Mat Smith: Male human Gamer 9/LARPer 4/Conventioneer1; CR 14; Medium-size humanoid (6 ft. 0 in. tall); HD 9d4+9 plus 4d6+4 plus 1d12+1; hp 41; Init +1 (Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 12 (+1 Jacket, +1 Dex); Atk +7/+3 melee (1d3, dicebag; 1d4, rulebook) or +8/+4 ranged (1d2, dice); SA wordplay; SQ dodge nickel; AL LE; SV Fort +9, Ref +6, Will +7; Str 11, Dex 13, Con 12, Int 15, Wis 9, Cha 12.

Skills and Feats: Bluff +10, Character Generation +7, Costuming +5, Dice Rolling +4, Gamer Humor +10, Knowledge (gaming system) +11, Juggle Workload +9, Not Work +15, Perform (lute) +4, Profession (copywriter) +13, Profession (foam weaponsmith) +5, Read Polyhedral Dice +3, Scarf Pizza +6, Solve Puzzle +9, Swim +2, Tote Rulebooks +1; Appraise Swag, Enhanced Sleep Resistance, Fabricate Factoid, Hit Deadline, Obscure Reference, Subsist on Junk Food.

Possessions:Beach towel of astonishment, +4 coffee mug of Siegfried & Roy,+2 eyedrops, +3 laptop of Mac, marker pad of ideas, pen of readiness, picture of Torg waving "Hi," purple dicebag of holding, ring of enduring, sleeping bag of the underdesk, wallet of the seashore.

Tactics: Mat has been a Wizards of the Coast copywriter for just over six months, but has been playing Dungeons & Dragons and waiting to get a job with the company that makes it for well over 18 years. Now he gets to spend most of his days thinking about new ways to tell everyone in the world to play D&D, which is just the coolest thing ever.

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