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THE (ALMOST) UNDELETED • View topic - GenCon report (WARNING! INTENSE NERDERY)

GenCon report (WARNING! INTENSE NERDERY)

Any old topic will do, I suppose.

Are you a Gamer?

No, never played an RPG in in my life.
0
No votes
Yes, but not in a long time.
6
50%
Yes, a little.
3
25%
Yes, quite a lot, actually!
0
No votes
RPGs are my life's blood, and the air I breathe!
3
25%
 
Total votes : 12

GenCon report (WARNING! INTENSE NERDERY)

Postby Ragabash » Fri Aug 29, 2008 2:44 pm

Greetings, (Almost) Undeletedans!

My brother, Omphalos, asked me to write a report about my experiences at GenCon this year, as there are quite a few gamers and other people interested in gaming on the site. Always happy to contribute to content on this site, I readily agreed.

I'm going to do this in fits and spurts, as that's how my faulty memory works. :lol:

The place where I spent a lot of time at the con was at the Forge booth. The Forge is a web site that is devoted to discussions of game design, mostly in the 'Indie' RPG scene (i.e. games that are not affiliated with a major game design house). These small, unique games are what I am most attracted to in the hobby, and I know a few of the designers who made games sold there.

The Forge is associated with Indie Press Revolutions They were offering 10-15 minute demos of the games sold there, generally run by the authors of the games themselves, so you could a) get a taste of what each game was like before buying, and b) see how it was intended to be run by the designer. This was a TON of fun, and I managed to get in a lot of them during the con. Here's a list of notable highlights.

    Sons of Liberty: A steampunk alternate history game about the American Revolution. "In defence of the troops at Valley Forge by British Zeppelin ParaAssault, John Adams dons his Clockwork Power Armor." Boo yah!

    Zombie Cinema: An interesting hybrid of RPG, board game and card game from Finland. It's a very fast-paced game based on Romero zombie flicks, so most people interested in playing already know the tropes. This is a very satisfying, quick and altogether fun little game.

    Spirit of the Century: I demoed this even though I already own it and have played extensive campaigns of it. Yes, it's that awesome. Two-fisted 1930's pulp action in a world where those born on the first day of the Century are imbued with mystical powers. It's like an old radio serial come to life. The demo was given by Leonard Balsera, one of the authors of the book, who made it come to life.

    Spione: A story game about hard boiled spies in East Berlin from the 40s to the 70s. It uses ordinary playing cards in an interesting and so far unique method to dictate the outcome of conflicts. Also, you play both the spies and the handlers of the spies, on both sides. It was influenced by and had the feel of early Le Carre, specifically "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold." The demo was given by the Author, Ron Edwards, who also wrote Sorcerer, one of the first indie RPGs.

    Dirty Secrets: Cops and Robbers with secrets to hide. It uses 'liar's dice' as the conflict resolution engine, complete with dice cups and bluffing. It's like the TV series 'The Shield', set in your own home town.

    The Zantabulous Zorceror of Zo: Play your favorite characters from Fairy Tales! In this one, I played the protagonist from 'Where the Wild Things Are', complete with magic tiger suit. I had to help Fairy Princess Peach get her magic wand back from the mean old Dragon's cave on the other side of the Enchanted Forest! Oh no! It was run by the author, Chad Underkoffler, using his PDQ system.

Also hosted by the Forge/IPR was the Games on Demand room. It was an uassuming room on the far end of the Con, full of empty tables and one coordinator. People would show up and vote on what games they wanted to play, after folks volunteered to run them. Naturally, mostly indie games were played there.

I got the opportunity to play Lacuna in the GoD room, which I had been looking forward to for months. The game's central conceit is that some shadowy, evil corporation has discovered in a deep cave, a world that is comprised of the thoughs of every person in the world. If someone somewhere is thinking of something, it shows up in this world. The more people that think about it, the stronger its presence is.

The players are agents hired by the company to enter a trance state and plumb this world for secrets. Naturally, the corporation also has its own agenda that it doesn't share with its employees, who are frequently unwilling patsies in the shenanigans. The most interesting thing about this game is the 'heart rate' mechanic. Since you are really just a projected consciousness from an inert body, everything you do in the dream world increases your body's heart rate. As you roll dice (higher numbers winning), the results are added up and added to your heart rate. Yes, successes make your heart beat faster than failures, so you want to ration your conflicts. As an additional complication, once your heart rate hits an 'optimal' range of 100-120, you can throw in as many dice as you want to a conflict. This increases your chance fo success dramatically, but each die you add will also make your heart beat faster. Naturally, once your heart goes above 160 BPM, you start taking damage. Yikes. A blast!

After hours at GenCon, I got the opportunity to help playtest some new games that haven't hit the market yet. The notable entries are:

    Mythender: By Ryan Macklin. In the dark ages, the world is full of myths, legends and old gods. You are the mighty ones who kill them. Want to stab Thor in the face with a broadsword and steal Mjnolnir? This is the game for you!

    Pirates of the Seven Skies: By Chad Underkoffler. Swashbuckling and piracy in a world where flying sky galleons fight for control of floating island nations! Boarding actions! Decks swamped with blood! All thousands of feet in the air in wooden sky ships!

I'll write more about the con later, please feel free to comment or ask questions.
    GLaDOS wrote:This was a triumph.
    I'm making a note here: HUGE SUCCESS.
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    Postby Omphalos » Fri Aug 29, 2008 4:27 pm

    As you well know, Ragabash, I have not played in years, though I miss RPGs. I wish I had more time to play wit you and your homies.
    Something is about to happen, Hal. Something wonderful!

    -James C. Harwood, Science Fiction Writer, Straight (March 5, 1956 - May 25, 2010)



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    Postby SandChigger » Fri Aug 29, 2008 5:08 pm

    (Cute. :P )

    Yes, but not in a LONG LONG time.

    And obviously never to the same extent as some of you. :shock:
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    Postby Ampoliros » Fri Aug 29, 2008 11:00 pm

    I play in a regular Sunday D&D game. Real D&D not some namby pamby 3rd edition or that button mashing KJA inspired trash that is (Forked Edition)

    We also play some Hackmaster, which I love, and some WEG Star Wars. I like the WEG Star Wars because I used the printed stats of the Sun Crusher and the Death Star to stage a fight. The Sun Crusher lost in the first round. (It wasn't destroyed until the 4th round, but after I locked on to it with several tractor beams and held it in position it was all over anyway.) Just my own little 'FU' to Kevin. And yes, I used an Impartial GM.
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    Postby Omphalos » Sat Aug 30, 2008 1:05 am

    AD&D then? Or, like Blackmoor type stuff? :wink:
    Something is about to happen, Hal. Something wonderful!

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    Postby Ampoliros » Sat Aug 30, 2008 6:07 pm

    yeah, we haven't done any blackmoor though.
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    Postby Omphalos » Sat Aug 30, 2008 9:07 pm

    You oughta see the miniatures Ragabash painted when we were kids. Not sure if he has pics, but they are as good as the ones in Serapham's sig.
    Something is about to happen, Hal. Something wonderful!

    -James C. Harwood, Science Fiction Writer, Straight (March 5, 1956 - May 25, 2010)



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    Postby Robspierre » Sun Aug 31, 2008 1:25 am

    Damnit! Now you have me itching to dash off a Cyberpunk 2020 campaign! Ah fuck it ,I'm goint to go play Hammer of the Scots instead, :lol:


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    Postby Ampoliros » Sun Aug 31, 2008 10:18 am

    I love painting mini's the new plastic crap ones are just that, crap and filler.

    I'm not as good as the one's in Seraphen's sig though.

    Do we dare open the can of worms that is character stories?

    My fav all time character was a Neutral Evil Bard named Pinstripe. (Hackmaster) He rolled lucky on his STR and had an 18/** but every other stat was devoted to skills. He only lived to 5th level but he had one heck of a good time.

    I love Hackmaster more than AD&D because they fixed a lot of problems, but kept everything that mattered. (Basically the same system) You can make a super-powerful character to start with, but EVERY weapon in the game is potentially lethal (1-shot-kill) and we came up with a general rule that you shouldn't get attached to a character until he hits 5th level.

    Do any of you guys/gals read Knights of the Dinner Table? http://www.kenzerco.com/index.php?cPath=22_23_53
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    Postby Ragabash » Mon Sep 08, 2008 4:24 pm

    Robspierre wrote:Damnit! Now you have me itching to dash off a Cyberpunk 2020 campaign! Ah fuck it ,I'm goint to go play Hammer of the Scots instead, :lol:


    Rob


    Is that where you go to a pub, order 50 scotch eggs, and smash them all with a rubber mallet?
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    I'm making a note here: HUGE SUCCESS.
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    Postby Omphalos » Mon Sep 08, 2008 4:29 pm

    Mmmmmmmmmmm! Scotch egg.
    Something is about to happen, Hal. Something wonderful!

    -James C. Harwood, Science Fiction Writer, Straight (March 5, 1956 - May 25, 2010)



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