Archive for the ‘HelgaCon’ Category

HelgaCon Saturday

Before I let it slip too far into distant memory, I want to follow up with a quick report on the games I played on Saturday at HelgaCon.  I’ve already covered my Friday night and Sunday morning earlier, so this should cover everything.

Morning

After getting up too early in the morning and eating a spectacular breakfast (thanks Brian and Paul!), I sat myself down to play in BigFella’s Thousand Year Sandglass game.  It’s basically a sand-box world with an Arabian twist, using Labyrinth Lord at it’s core but all the demi-humans have been replaced with very cool and thematic custom classes.  That said, Delta and I created a pair of ne’er-do-well human fighters that we’ve played for three years running now and I really look forward to playing every year.  The Jarib brothers were back for another go at riches beyond comprehension, and with some success this year.

BigFella always goes above and beyond with the minis for this one, as you can see here where we’re fighting a huge lizard chained under the sand of a corridor in a musty old tomb.  As you can tell from the description, BigFella is also very good and pushing interesting settings for the fights that are chock full of that Arabian Nights vibe.

OK, I’ve realized I have nothing really informative to say here about this game other than how freaking fun it was.  This year Delta was a bit of a stickler at the end in claiming some of the nicer treasures for himself and me, which made a lot of sense given that we’re the ones coming back every year while many other characters don’t make the repeat visit.  Still, I always feel a slight remorse that perhaps he and I stomp all over other players in this game.  Well, maybe we do, but screw it, with all the DMing we do at this event we deserve a romp through the desert!

Afternoon

In the afternoon I ran a session of Stonesky Delve, an Expeditious Retreat module run as a tournament back at GenCon 2010, which I happened to play in.  It’s a really great module, though a bit nasty on anyone volunteering to be the mapper.  The premise, of the first part at least, is to be more realistic in terms of spelunking, including a lot of 3D terrain.

Personally I think the second half of this module falls a little flat, but that first half is really fun.  I definitely recommend it, especially if you want to put your mapper through the wringer.

 

Evening

By evening it was time for the third installment of Delta’s run of the original G series modules.  For some odd reason, this year we only had 6 players.  In the past I’m pretty sure he’s gotten a full 8.  I picked the same character as I always have as did my brother Max.  That dope, his character’s biggest asset last year was his wand of fireballs — what use is that against Fire Giants?

We got it pretty rough in this one.  We tried our hardest to be sneaky coming in, but missed the hiding guard, and it was straight into the meat grinder from there.  At some point we managed to retreat (having lost one player), collect ourselves, and then come back the next day.  It was even worse on the second day, and ended with a TPK.

To be honest, I enjoyed G2 much more than G3.  Perhaps that was our fault for missing the hiding guard.  Perhaps we were at a disadvantage with only six players.  Had I realized at the start how good fire giant saves were, I might have lobbied at the start for an all fighter party (something I brought up at the end).  It was fun, sure, but I think it probably plays better in a campaign where a party can take more down-time to contemplate the problem and think of better ways to crack it.  As a convention game where players are inclined to be a bit more headstrong, I think it’s not at its best.

Now that we’ve completed the trilogy, it’s my hope to pick up some copies of these modules at next GenCon.  If I can’t find them at the GenCon auction, I may very well resort to ebay.  Either way, I expect to be reading these in the future, and may have more to say at that point.

So there you have it, HelgaCon as I remember it, which may be somewhat blurred or distorted given how sleep deprived I was the entire time.  Can’t wait for next year.

HelgaCon 5

 

Been awfully quiet around here recently.  My apologies, work and life have got in the way of gaming and blogging I”m afraid.  That said, this past weekend was HelgaCon, and the only reason I didn’t post about it coming up was the simple fact that I was so busy making it happen.  For those who don’t know, HelgaCon is a mini-convention that I organize.  This year we had 20 people all in a lovely house down near the Cape for a weekend of gaming and, well, mostly just gaming.  Very little of anything else really, including sleeping.

I’ll go into more detail in future posts, but for now, here are some highlights:

  • The house was awesome.  I really wasn’t sure I was going to be able to get a place for so many people.  Houses that big tend to be pretty extravagant, which leads to much higher prices.  I luckily happened upon the Idlewild, a former 19th century hotel now rented as a large vacation home with very reasonable off-season rates.  The owner was extremely helpful and easy to work with, the house was gorgeous, and everyone commented throughout about how happy they were with the location.  I expect we’ll be there again next year.
  • Two new guys joined us that despite the “6 degrees of Paul” game played during introductions at this thing could get to me in just two hops, none of us had never met.  They turned out to be very nice, fun to game with, and as luck would have it, expert breakfast chefs.  I was having trouble getting volunteers for KP and they took up the slack for both breakfasts.  I have to applaud them for their chutzpah in going away for a weekend to game with 18 strangers and make them all breakfast to boot.  My hat is off to you guys.
  • The games, as usual, were awesome.  My games conveniently organized themselves in a vague crescendo of fun.  Not to say I didn’t have fun at my earlier games, they were all great, but I did find that as the weekend progressed I was enjoying myself more and more and it really ended on a high note for me.  The only downside is that now I’m hitting a few withdrawal symptoms — I can’t believe there’s no game today.
  • Delta’s hex-crawl on the Outdoor Survival board, per OD&D text, was really hugely enjoyable for me.  Our goal was simple: gather 100,000 sp.  We only hit 61,000.  I seriously want another try.
  • I shifted the evening games from 7-11 to 8-midnight.  My original thought was that this gave folks an hour to cool down after gaming and still get to bed by midnight.  Who was I kidding, folks were up jawwing well past 2 am every time.  The 8 o’clock start time is far more realistic for Friday as folks struggle to get down after work (location in Plymouth was a real boon in that regard this year though).  On Saturday, having 2 hours for dinner was very nice, and it gave everyone a chance to breathe and actually socialize with their fellow gamers, which I think really does help the general atmosphere.
  • Another bonus of being just an hour away instead of further out on the cape is I felt a little less rushed getting everyone out the door and the house tidied before I left.  I managed to get out by 4, even though we had the house until 5.  In fact, I think in future it might be nice to have some kind of 30 minute or so formal gathering of folks as a deneument to the event.  Like an awards ceremony or something, just to cap off the weekend and make it feel a bit less abrupt going from gaming to packing and leaving.  I’ll have to think about that, as there are no awards to give, so I’m not sure what kind of context to put to such a thing.

OK, that’s everything off the top of my head.  Pictures and specifics about games will follow.

 

HelgaCon: Into the Forgotten Realms

OK, it’s almost a month later, time for me to put a cap on the HelgaCon reports.  My last game was an AD&D tournament: Into the Forgotten Realms.  Originally run at GenCon 1984, this module was written by Ed Greenwood at a time when Forgotten Realms wasn’t nearly as recognizable as it is today.  There were no novels, no comic books, and not even a D&D campaign setting for the Realms.  The only people who might recognize the name would be readers of Dragon Magazine, where Ed regularly talked about his home campaign in his column, and the players of that home campaign. Eventually this module was printed in Dragon Magazine #95, which is the version I ran.

The text tells the GM that “the accent in this module is on roleplaying and creative problem-solving”.  However, the module then presents a pretty straight forward dungeon crawl, albeit with some interesting clues about the final encounter.  The text also informs us that “it will become apparent to most referees that the characters could be easily destroyed by the single most powerful monster in this dungeon.”  The point is not to fight it, the point is to come up with clever ways around it.  OK, I guess I can’t dance around it, I’m going to have to spoil the adventure for you to talk about it.  Turn back now if you don’t want to know.

As may be apparent from the image, the final monster is a lich, and an insane one in this case.  However his insanity is such that he will be reasonably friendly to the players, giving them ample opportunity to come up with a clever way of dealing with him.  The tournament even awards bonus players to a player for “devising a method of dealing with the lich without causing it to attack the group, and having that method adopted and used successfully by the party.”  But what does “dealing with” the lich mean?  Getting out with your skin, or actually taking the thing out?

Fact is, I don’t think it would actually be all that hard for the party to take on the lich.  Sure, he’s got some nasty spells, but a well placed Silence spell in the narrow confines where that combat is likely to take place would prevent that.  Sure, he’s got plenty of hit points, plus a paralyzing touch attack.  But the party has 10 characters, plenty I think to absorb enough of the lich’s attacks to whittle down his hit points and take him out.  Perhaps that’s the kind of planning the author expects though: corner the lich, toss a Silence, maybe a Prayer and Bless to up the paralysis saving throws, and have at it.  Personally, I find it much more interesting if the party comes up with some other way of neutralizing the lich.

It’s an interesting group of characters in this game too.  Every last one of them is human, and none of them has a single magic item (except maybe a rock with continual light cast on it).  Their stats though, they would have even made 12-year-old me blush.  Two fighters with exceptional strength, and everyone with at least half their scores above a 16.  Seriously, despite the lack of magic, this group had enough hit points and combat pluses that I think they’d be pretty well positioned to take on a lich.

Both times I ran this game we never really found out.  My first group (TotalCon), with only 4 players, decided to attack in a blaze of glory, and ran out the clock just as they were about to meet their doom.  My second group (HelgaCon), tried their best to seal the lich into the underground, dispelling the magic bridge across the chasm and blocking up passage-ways behind them.  I don’t believe I awarded the “dealing with” the lich bonus points in either case.

The scoring system in itself is interesting, awarding points by player rather than to the group at large.  This jibes pretty well with my memory of playing such games at GenCon back in the early 90’s, but is very different from the tournaments Delta runs where the entire group gets a score.  As I was not running multiple sessions of the tournament, I liked the idea of having a winner at the end, and even bought a couple copies of Dragon Magazine #95 to hand out as prizes. However, the scoring system is a bit odd.  It gives awards for various clever things like searching specific areas for clues, theorizing the existence of the lich well before he’s encountered, and volunteering to go first in the most dangerous areas.  However, there’s also some points that can handed out by player votes for “the best roleplayer”.  Likewise, the GM is given some points to hand out to the best roleplayer.

Some points?  Who am I kidding, the number of points given to the GM to hand out to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd best roleplayers are so lopsided that he might as well just pick the winner.  In both cases I decided to ignore these points.  I did let my players vote for their choices, but I took a pretty liberal view of what “best roleplayer” meant.  I encouraged my players to simply vote for the person they felt contributed most to the game, whether it be through contributing clever ideas, portraying an interesting character, or just rolling the most 20s.

In the end though, I still felt kind of bad for all the “losers”.  This is a team sport, how can one player win and everyone else lose?  Ultimately, I don’t like ending on this slightly sour note, especially in a module that I think is otherwise a heck of a lot of fun.  It’s got a clever mystery to figure out without being all about the mystery, if you know what I mean, and it’s pacing is perfect.  I ran once with 4 players and once with 8, and in both cases they explored about 90% of the place in the allotted 4 hours.  There’s a good balance of combat and problem solving, and two or three different NPCs they can actually interact with in ways that don’t involve stabbing (or at least don’t have to involve stabbing).

All in all, I’d say a very fun module.  I’d be curious to run it again using Basic D&D or even OD&D with all the house rules I use these days, especially my interpretation of the Silence spell.  As a module, I’d say it’s top notch.  The tournament stuff, well, just ignore that part.

HelgaCon: The Fallen Obelisk

Saturday night we sat down to play BigFella’s Labyrinth Lord sandbox with an Arabian Nights theme that he brings every year.  HelgaCon presents me with a rare treat to get to play with Delta again, now that we live so far apart.  It’s an even rarer treat to have both of us playing side by side, as usually one of us is the DM.  And even better still, BigFella held onto the characters we played last year, and so the brothers Jarib rode again.

Last year we encountered a medusa that turned her victims to solid gold rather than stone.  We of course avoided her altogether, found a previous victim, hacked its hands off, and returned to town rich men.  One of the first things BigFella told us this year was to scratch off the golden hands from our character sheets, as we had lost the money to bad business deals and untrustworthy women since the last campaign.  As our characters we were of course irate, however inwardly I was quite happy with BigFella’s decision.  I quite like the idea of playing the weaselly desert thieves who just can’t seem to quite ever catch a break.  I talked BigFella into granting me a mule in exchange, with the obvious intention of finding and hauling back the rest of the golden statue, which of course would never come to pass.

Having four brothers, it’s very easy for me to roleplay that kind of sibling rivalry which makes these characters so much fun.  When it was discovered that his character had two magical weapons and I had none, rather than accepting his loaner gracefully, I immediately set out to prove that the weapon was mine all the time.  Thus, the “Jarib Family Enchanted Spear” was born.  Hilareous.

And of course, BigFella gives us a great playground in which to bounce these characters around.  He ended with a tense game of chess between another party member and Genie, and the dice loved him for despite a slight disadvantage on our end they kept things extremely close until the very end when we just managed to scrape out a victory.  I was quite glad to give another player a chance to shine in this situation too, as I fear when Delta and I really get into these characters that we may accidentally overshadow the rest of the group.

All in all, and excellent game.  I apologize if the details here are fuzzy, but by Saturday night the sleep deprivation is really setting in.  Of course, this only helps make the roleplay that much more amusing.  I remember gales of laughter throughout the game, but I couldn’t tell you what the heck it was we found so darn funny.

 

HelgaCon: Warhammer FRPG

On Saturday afternoon I ran my first game, a Warhammer FRPG game with all skaven characters.  I ran a similar game last year, using the same characters in fact.  Last year the skaven were tasked with reclaiming some escaped slaves, who had hidden themselves in various locations in a small human village.  The skaven players had to skulk about at night and reclaim the lost slaves while avoiding too much notice from the town militia.  This year, the entire game took place underground, as the skaven were asked to explore a newly opened tunnel into an old abandoned dwarven complex.  It was known these dwarves before they died out had some very interesting technology, and the warlocks in Clan Skryre wanted to reclaim and repurpose as much of it as possible.

It turns out that these dwarves had actually devolved into a form of worship of Slaanesh, who rather than appealing to traditional lusts in this case was warping the dwarves’ addiction to advanced technology in unpleasant ways.  The complex contained some of the golem like war-creatures the dwarves had built, still powered by the insane dwarf spirits sacrificed to the chaos gods during their construction.  In the forge room was a massive pool of lava which once heated the forges, and now was home to a demon that took the form of a huge golden dwarf.  The players managed to skip past the part of the tunnels occupied by living dwarves also attempting to reclaim and went straight the golems and demon.  I think they did quite well all things considered, and quite a few laughs were had as the skaven tried to avoid the seriously dangerous parts and backstab each other as much as possible.

And I think ultimately that’s the key to any skaven based game.  Give the players some pretense for being together, and then let them enjoy trying to subvert each other while still ostensibly contributing to the central goal.  It’s difficult to come up with roleplay situations for the players to interact with an NPC, but the built-in tensions in skaven society makes for some very funny interactions with the other players.

I tried to use “old school techniques” in this game.  I wrote the adventure in the one page dungeon format, though I had to go to two pages to fit all the Warhammer related stats and just due to the raw number of rooms.  I also tried to keep things fast by not letting myself get bogged down with specific rules, especially for skills.  I’d call something as requiring an ability test (default at half), and if someone had a skill that was appropriate it was up to them to tell me and I’d let them use that instead.  It worked all right, but I also don’t think a lot of skills really got used, which may in itself be an indicator that it wasn’t working as well as I had hoped.

Warhammer FRPG combat continues to be much slower than I’d like.  The critical system is very fiddly, counting half and whole actions is annoying, and I ended up looking up special weapon types (snaring, impact, etc.) more frequently than I’d like to.  And don’t get me started about the dodge/parry stuff.  I mean, the players need something to make it a little less deadly, but dodge and parry really does slow down combats.  I frequently “forgot” to have the enemies play combat smart by using a parrying weapon or taking a parrying stance just to speed things up, though it did give the players a bit of an unfair advantage.  I wasn’t too worried in this case as some of the enemies were beyond the ability of the players anyway.

It’s a shame, because I really do love the setting of Warhammer.  I still think an enjoyable game could be made in that setting with simpler, lighter rules, but Jenn seems disinterested in such and if she’s not interested than I see no reason to not just play D&D.

HelgaCon: Book of War

Book of War has been on my mind a lot recently, which makes it a happy coincidence that the next game I played at HelgaCon that I want to discuss is Delta’s Book of War round robin.  Very oddly the players of this game worked out to be me and my two brothers, so we had a little war of succession.  Delta wanted to run three total games so each of us got to play the other, but sadly due to time constraints we only got two done.  He also wanted to play with bigger armies, which is likely the reason we ran out of time.  We started out with a big 500 point game between me and Max, and then reduced to a 250 point game between Max and Christian.

I built my army around heavy crossbows and light cavalry.  That gave me units with the longest range and fastest movement, which coincidentally is the same number: 24″.  I then rounded out the army with a unit of pikemen, because I wanted to see how pikes operated in the game.  I tried to punch through Max’s lines with my light cavalry to try and spook Max into moving into range of my heavy crossbows.  Unfortunately I didn’t quite have enough movement for it and took some heavy losses in my cavalry.  Ultimately I didn’t mind, as Warhammer has trained me to see light cavalry as disposable units best used for making your opponent make bad formation choices, but it did fail to get Max’s units up within range of my heavily defended hill full of crossbows and pikes.  Though I later noticed that pikes don’t get all their excellent advantages when on the slope of a hill, so I might have been sorely disappointed if/when max actually charged in.  Doh!

Anyway, we ended early due to time starting to really run out, and Max had me on points from having taken out so much of my light cavalry.  Between this and a missed call that cost me half my cavalry, Delta was feeling a bit guilty and I had him giving me the benefit of the doubt in all subsequent calls.  Honestly I really don’t blame him at all and I had a fun time playing, but I took advantage of it in specific case: that Max be forced to play the next game giving me the chance to go take a shower. Thank goodness for that, as I had a game to run in the next time slot and the extra time to get ready was really appreciated.

Seriously though, I had a lot of fun with Book of War.  I was really glad just to get a chance to play the game with Delta there.  It’s one thing to give feedback based on written work, but entirely another thing to actually play test the game.  I admit I have an ulterior motive for helping Delta with this project as much as possible: I intend to use it in my own campaign to resolve mass combats whenever possible.  As such I wish I could have played in his later Siege-based game, but I was glad to have whatever play time I could get.

Max and Christian had a great fight while I was in the shower.  It really dragged out in a bloody mess to the last man.  Personally I find games where the favored winner shifts back and forth repeatedly, and that’s exactly what was happening here.  As we didn’t get to play the final game of me vs. Christian, I insisted that the war of succession remained bloody and unresolved for many more years.

Oh, why is Book of War on my mind now a week later?  Well, as we’ve been packing up the office at work I’ve had to bring home my 10 mm minis and terrain.  I didn’t trust the movers to pack and move it, so home it came.  One of the coolest things about these guys is how portable they are.  Between the size and the use of magnetism, it’s very easy for me to pack this all up and bring it home without it impacting the show-ability of our house.  This got me thinking.

Delta plays a lot of quick one-on-one games of Book of War with his girlfriend and posts about it regularly.  Jenn has on occasion been interested in war-gaming, and given how light and easy Book of War is, I was starting to think maybe she’d like to play the odd game with me.  And as these guys are so portable, I bet I could leave them in the basement and pop them out for an odd game and then pack them back up even while we continue to show the house.  Best of all, my painting area is still accessible, so I could even paint some more of these guys as needed.

I don’t know which is more exciting, a chance to play Book of War some more, or having something (anything) to do during this house selling process other than sell a house.  It seems like a match made in heaven.  Now I just have to convince Jenn of that.

HelgaCon – G2 The Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl

HelgaCon started with a bang for me on Friday night with Delta’s running of G2: The Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl.  Last year Delta ran G1 Steading of the Hill Giant Chief, and now it looks like he’s going onwards with the whole series, and I couldn’t be more excited.  OK, maybe I could be a little more excited — if only he were running these a little more frequently than once a year.  Still, some is better than none.

Seriously though, I love that Delta is running this series.  It’s a classic series of some very good modules, and best of all I somehow have managed to not read a single one of them.  Add in Delta’s own unique flavor of OD&D, and the whole experience really captures the mystique of D&D I felt when I was 8.  There’s something both familiar and foreign about these games, and it combines into a strange ephemeral feeling that I just can’t describe, but also makes my palm itch for a d20.

Also, I love Delta’s pre-generated characters.  We used the same ones as last year, and I got the same exact character as last year, a human fighter/wizard called Ezniak of the Myriad Rings.  My brother took the single-classed wizard, and while a level 9 vs. a level 10 wizard doesn’t seem like much of a leap, Delta really made the play between the two feel very unique via the contents of their spell books.  I don’t know if he intentionally planned it this way, but the multiclass character ended up with a lot of utility spells (read languages, fly, etc.) while the single-class wizard got the big guns (fireball, lightning bolt, etc.)  Combined with his wand of fireballs, the straight wizard really was the star wizard of the show, while my character filled a very interesting niche as not the best wizard and not the best fighter, but still a pretty awesome and powerful character in his own right.  It was a really nice balance and I really enjoyed it.

If I have one complaint about the game, it’s a minor one: Delta tried an interesting house rule of not allowing memorization of the same spell more than once.  At the time I just found it curious, but now looking back I realize I didn’t care for it very much.  What I love about wizards is their versatility, the ability to customize your powers each day based on what kind of situation you think you’re heading into.  This rule takes a little of that away, and I found myself packing a few spells I would have never taken otherwise, ones I knew would be of no use whatsoever in this module.  Mostly this is lower level spells like hold portal or sleep, useful spells to be sure when you’re low level, but when you’re level 10 taking on frost giants, they just feel like a waste.  I wouldn’t have minded an extra magic missile or two in their stead.

All in all though, a really solid game.  I got Delta to do his “big dumb chaotic creature” voice at least twice, which is a sure hallmark of a fun time.  I really can’t wait for next year.  Bring on the Fire Giants Delta.

HelgaCon Highlights

I was simply too exhausted last night to post anything about HelgaCon, and now at work may have little time time to really post in earnest here.  So instead, here are some very high level high and low lights of the convention for me.  I’ll post in more detail about individual items later.

High Points:

  • Got to game with awesome people that I don’t get to game or even see nearly enough.  Really, the people totally make this gathering.  It’s like skimming the cream of a regular convention into a highly concentrated gaming experience.  No, it’s even better than that, because unlike most convention go-ers these people are also my personal friends.  Someone at the convention rather aptly called it a “convention of gamers who know Paul.”  Yeah, pretty much.
  • Continued slow but steady growth.  I love sharing this experience with as many friends as I can, and nothing says that they’re also having a great time like seeing more faces each year.  It’s a slow rate (about 1 person per year), but this gathering is definitely getting bigger over time.
  • I never rolled so many natural 20’s in a game as Delta’s running of G2.  It was truly awesome, and his rules for critical hits (victim gets a Save vs. Death to avoid) really helped keep them even-keeled and exciting.  It may be dumb luck, but having so many fail to critical and then having the final one succeed was really exciting.
  • I love helping to play-test book of war, rather than just sending largely academic feedback after reading Delta’s written work.  I wish I got to play more, but having the break between games in the morning was very nice and I was happy to have the opportunity to sneak in a shower.
  • It is very easy to run a successful skaven WFRPG game, as really 90% of the fun is letting the players roleplay the skaven interacting with each other.  All you need to provide is a little scenery and a few problems to surmount and the players do all the work.  Well done guys.
  • Getting to play alongside Delta is a rare treat (gosh, I played an awful lot of games with Delta this year), and playing alongside Delta on Saturday night when both of us are suffering from extreme sleep deprivation is absolutely hilarious.  Thanks so much to BigFella for running his excellent Arabian Nights themed sandbox again this year, and extra thanks for actually saving our characters from last year.  If the stars don’t align next year for a third go at this I will be very sad.  I may have to put something into the scheduling system to allow a preference for playing alongside another player.
  • The food was delicious.  Thank you so much to all the meal coordinators.
  • The house was very well situated for the gaming.  Three separate play spaces each with closing doors to keep out the noise of the other games was perfect.  I don’t think the house we used last year would have been as good about supporting three simultaneous games.

Low Points:

  • While the gaming space was better, the sleeping space was worse.  The beds were really crammed into the rooms with little space for much else.  Some of the rooms were above the garage and you had to go outside and through the creepy garage to get to them.  The room we stayed in was also separate from the main house and very cold.
  • Insomnia when you’re already sleep deprived is just infuriating.  I’m sure it was due to a silly combination of anxiety and excitement.  Thank goodness Jenn was there this year to calm me down when I couldn’t get to sleep at 3:00 AM on Saturday.  Next year I’m solving this with chemistry.  Jenn recommended Advil PM.  Any other advice would be welcome.
  • Wish I got to play some more Book of War.  Delta is a lucky man to have a GF willing to play it with him regularly.  I wonder how I might convince Jenn to play.
  • Big AD&D tournament was fun, but Sunday morning was probably not the best time for it.  The double time constraint of the tournament itself and of letting everyone go home at a reasonable time would seem to be a nice match, but I thought it felt very frenetic especially at the end.  I guess I would have liked a little more time afterward to chat about it with the players.
  • Also, should have brought my DMG.
  • Soap and shampoo would have also been nice to pack.  How did I manage to forget both?  Thanks to everyone who loaned me the necessaries.

OK, that’s the weekend in a nutshell.  I will discuss individual games in greater detail next.  Now though, I really must get to work.

HelgaCon, Here We Come

This weekend is HelgaCon, and I’m starting to get pretty excited about it. It seems a lot of things have been conspiring against the con this year. Losing prep time to house related stuff, Jenn’s not feeling very well (hoping that’s allergies and not a cold coming), and now apparently a freak snow storm might be coming.  My hope for the storm is that it really is just limited to central MA, that the Cape will just get some rain, and that we’ll escape central MA before it gets too nasty.  Or maybe the whole thing will just blow out to sea and it’s a false alarm, you never know (nor do the weathermen it seems).

All those worries aside, I’m pretty excited about my schedule this year:

Friday Night: G2 Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl -- Delta
Saturday Morning: Book of War Round Robin -- Delta
Saturday Afternoon: Steal-Steal the Machine -- Me
Saturday Night: The Fallen Obelisk -- BigFella
Sunday Morning: Into the Forgotten Realms -- Me

Sounds like I’ll get a nice spread of games to play.  The two games I’m running are nicely placed apart from each other on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning.  My Friday night and Saturday morning games are both with Delta, so I should be able to match his crazy night-owl schedule without worrying about not getting any sleep at all.  (Not really, I’m sure I’ll pass out hours before Delta pack it in.)

I’m sure after the con I’ll have some interesting things to report about my own two games.  Into the Forgotten Realms is an old AD&D tournament game run originally back at GenCon ’84, and is written by Ed Greenwood.  I think it’s pretty cool to see how light and easy the Realms were back then, before all the product development got in the way.  AD&D usually isn’t my thing, but given the tournament style I thought I’d like to try and stay as true to the original written material as possible.  I actually ran this very tournament once already at TotalCon, but avoided writing too much detail about it for fear of spoiling the HelgaCon run for any of my readers that might be attending.  I’ll definitely drop some more detailed thoughts on that next week.

Steal-Steal the Machine is my second attempt at running a Warhammer FRPG game with all skaven characters.  The idea of another similar game was the most popular of all the ideas I floated to the group for stuff I might run, so I figured I couldn’t disappoint.  I’ll be running this as straight by-the-book Warhammer FRPG, but I’m sure there will be some old school influences in how I run it.  Heck, I already wrote it up using the one-page dungeon template that I really favor now for my written material.  I’ll share that after the con and report on how it went.

I guess once this con is over I should take a look at what I signed myself up to run at GenCon.  I hate how early they do it, I really have no clue what I’ve promised to run.

To the Rescue!

I ran two games at HelgaCon this year, a Warhammer FRPG game and a Labyrinth Lord game.  I want to talk about the latter tonight, but I’m always kind of hesitant to write about these things when I know there’s a chance I’ll run the game again in the future.  It’s especially keen on this one, given that there are a few twists that potential players would probably want save as a surprise.  So if you think there’s a chance you might play my game To the Rescue! at some point in the future, I recommend against reading on.

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