Monday, October 20, 2014

Con on the Cob Report

Wherein I play in three excellent games, pick up some loot,
and learn a lesson about getting older.

The Summary

Con on the Cob was a great time, just as it was last year. I got to game with +Tim Shorts, +Rob Conley and +Daniel McEntee in person once again, and got to meet +Ken H face to face for the first time. And like last year, we all had a blast.

My Three Games

My three games each represented either a first for me, or else the making of a tradition.


Friday Night: +Tim Shorts' Esoterrorists Game
(my first non-medieval-fantasy RPG)

This was the first non-medieval-fantasy RPG I ever played in. Yep, playing RPGs since 1981, and I've only played medieval fantasy (various editions and clones of D&D, some GURPS, some Fate/Fudge). And it was pretty cool. My character, Jules Bonnot (name chosen by Tim), works by day as the manager of the Erie Historical Society. By night, he and the other PCs are part of a team working for AEGIS, whose job is to investigate supernatural threats to the world. Tim's game was centered on the suspicious suicide of a young man near a creepy abandoned house. The course of our investigation led us to discover, among other things, a summoning circle, a small demon, a sigil keeping an ex-AEGIS agent locked up in a rest-home, and a cemetery that recently experienced a mass exodus of all the souls whose bodies are buried there. A fun game that I hope we'll continue on Monday nights.


Saturday Afternoon: Roy Snyder's Dungeon Crawl Classics Tower Out of Time Game
(character death as tradition)

This one seems to have started a con tradition for me, since this was the second time in two years that my character was killed in the final minutes of the game (last year my PC Albus the Cleric died in the Blasphemous Brewery of Pilz). I played a potato-farmer-turned-warrior named Spud Clodhopper. The other PCs and I worked for the Bannockburn Forestry and Mining Company as security, and we were charged with getting rid of a tower that had recently and mysteriously appeared on land belonging to, and currently being forested by, the company. We even had badges from the company to show we meant business. Long story short, we got to the leader of the bad guys in the tower. Spud maimed one of the bad guys which drew the leader's attention and it was all over for the ex-potato-farmer in one round.

GM Roy Snyder drafted an honest-to-goodness death certificate for my character.

Spud did manage to hang around a bit as a ghost, even briefly inhabiting the body of a strange monkey-creature, then winding up with his soul grafted onto that of the host. So not only was he dead, but he was now a confused mix of human and simian souls.


Saturday Evening: +Rob Conley's Swords and Wizardry Outpost on the Orclands Game
(my first chaotic character)

Another first for me as I had never played a chaotic character before. Yes, I know. How do you go a whole for 30+ years and not play a chaotic? Beats me. I've played a lot of neutral character who were morally ambiguous, but I never actually went the chaotic route. Even this time I tried to make my PC, Steiner, subtly chaotic. Not a village-burner or baby-killer, but just a guy whose ambition clearly outweighs his empathy. A guy willing to betray people around him to "get in good" with the people in power. Interestingly enough, this paradoxically led to a situation where he and the party's paladin (played by +Tim Shorts) actually had a common agenda, but for different reasons. At one point, a young man who had run off with the Bailiff's daughter and been caught was going to be hanged. Most of the party wanted to rescue him, since the punishment seemed unfair and excessive. The lawful paladin wanted to support the Bailiff in exercising his legal authority to hang the boy. My chaotic fighter wanted to support the Bailiff in order to score brownie points with the Bailiff in the hope of future advancement, and also because, as he said to the party "I just enjoy a good hanging."


Here's what I picked up at the con:

Lesson Learned

I'm not a college-aged kid with college-age stamina anymore. I'm 46. And trying to squeeze in three 4-hour game sessions (one Friday night and two Saturday) between two 4-hour drives (one Friday evening and one Sunday morning) while getting 5 hours of sleep per night two nights in a row is not feasible for me. This hypothesis started forming in my mind last year, and I confirmed it this year. I get to my fatigue threshold faster than I used to, and I end up enjoying things less than I would like – and less than they deserve – just from exhaustion.  Don't get me wrong. It was all still a lot of fun. But when you're struggling to stay awake, it ends up being less fun than it could have been otherwise. I definitely plan to go back again next year, but I'm going to limit my gaming to Saturday, two sessions only, and make sure I get a full eight hours of sleep each night.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Delving Deeper House Rules in Progress

I'm really falling in love with Delving Deeper. As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm planning use if for the next campaign I run after Ephemera (and heck, I might even try to convince the guys to switch over to it while we're still playing in Ephemera).

+Adam Muszkiewicz has been writing a really interesting set of posts at Dispatches from Kickassistan as part of a "Delving Deeper Week." You can read his posts

here (from day 1)
here (from day 2)
here (from day 3)
and here (from day 4)

His fourth-day post discusses house-ruling Delving Deeper. At the end he asks what kinds of house rules people have been writing for their own games. Since I'm already working on my house-rule sheet for DD, I thought I'd go ahead and post what I have so far here (still a work in progress):

The use of Target 20 for Combat and Saves
was inspired by their use in Delta's house rules

Monday, October 13, 2014

Adventure Sound Bites

"I nearly got sucked to death. It's not nearly as interesting as you think, though. It was stirges."

"I see what part of the goblin?"

"Always turn your cell phone OFF before entering the dungeon!"

"As long as you're using my bandwidth you'll live by my rules! If you want more bandwidth, get a job!"

"World of Warcraft. It was the gift that kept on taking."

GM: "To your left you see a goblin."
Player: "I feed him an arrow!"

"I'll use my jazz hands of death!"

GM to Player A: "Make an Athletics check."
Player B to Player A: "I support you!"
(think about it...)

GM: "You get hit with an arrow and drop to zero hit points."
Player: "Arrgghhh! That was my favorite spleen!"

"Who's the dead guy next to me?"

Player A: "I don't want my body defiled by an owlbear."
Player B: "What do you want it defiled by?"

D&D Fun Fact:
Most people don't know that Gary and Dave spent a whole weekend
watching public service announcements before creating the owlbear.

"James Brown rallies the party – 'Get up!' "

"He's diatribic. So he has to take insolence shots."
(What do you expect when the players are confronted with an evil trash-talking elf?)