One con down, one to go. GamerNation Con, run by GamerNation Studios and the Order 66 podcast, was a great success and a lot of fun last weekend. Next weekend is Planet Comicon in KC, where I'll be running Star Wars RPGs and Savage Worlds The Last Parsec RPG. Plus, new Star Wars news keeps rolling out...
So, GamerNation Con was a bit of a whirlwind for me. After a week of late evenings at my day job, so to speak, Friday night came along and I wasn't as prepared as I wanted to be for the games I intended to run over the weekend. I had specifically been trying to avoid this situation, because it always makes me lose sleep right before a con. Well, that didn't work. There were good reasons for, but in the end, I still had to wrap a few things up.
Mainly, I needed to finish the character backgrounds for the Star Wars Force and Destiny adventure. I decided to call it Paths of Destiny, instead of the earlier title The Secret Guardians. At KC Game Fair, I basically discovered that the middle and end of the adventure was far more interesting for me and the players which was one of the reasons I was reworking it. Anyway, I had the actual character stats all finished, and I could've gone with just that, but I really wanted just a little more information for the players and myself to use during the game. I had already jettisoned the Edge of the Empire adventure and had Rescue at Glare Peak if I needed another one. I also needed to get my outline down on paper, since I've been tinkering around with it all week, and would need reminders as I was running the game to keep me on track.
So, another late-night combined with an early flight to Dallas meant I was operating on about 3 1/2 hours of sleep. You might've thought that I could sleep on the plane, but instead, I was modifying stat blocks for a few of the major NPCs. Basically, that meant taking some of the FFG adversary cards and modifying those that didn't quite match up with what I wanted. By the way, creating NPCs with Force powers is speeded up by the creating an inquisitor section in the beta book, even if you're not actually creating an inquisitor. There are short summaries of typical force powers that save a lot of time. Of course, this was one of the few times where the plane actually arrived significantly early, cutting my prep time a bit.
GNCon arranged to have writer Wayne Basta give me a lift from the airport, which was much appreciated, since I'd never been in Dallas before. We went straight to the venue, which is an unusual place called Dallas Games Marathon. Essentially, it is an old dance studio that has been converted into a board game club. I had expected some sort of store attached to it, but found out that it basically survived on memberships to use the enormous game library and event rental. My arrival was announced to the room full of gamers, which was unexpected and entertaining. GM Chris gave me one of the swag bags with shirts, dice, a game called Coin Age from TMG, badge holder, and an number of buttons I was go hand out to anyone who asked for my autograph.
The con had a couple of its own games running, where players could earn XP for various things, and there was another benefit from gaining GamercCred, represented by custom-made buttons with various amounts and art on them. The ones the authors were giving out was called Brush with Fame, and and was one of several secret pin types. I was later awarded the GamerAthlete pin, because I stood up almost the entire time I was running my game.
We played a custom version of the game Love Letter that GM Chris had made, using Star Wars Imperial characters instead of the normal cards. The rest of the afternoon became consumed with the panels. The first was supposed to be actor Sam Witwer talking about voice acting, but due to some sort of time zone mixup, it took a bit to start. In the meantime, the Rebel Legion and 501st appeared to induct Sam Stewart into the Rebel Legion as an Honorary Member.
Sam Witwer skyped in because professional obligations had caused him to cancel a few days before the con. They borrowed the TV that had been serving as the Artimis Bridge Simulator game main viewscreen, and moved it to the panel room.
Once the panel started, everyone was thoroughly entertained as Sam more or less interviewed various attendees, rather than the other way around. There were also hilarious mishaps, involving tripped over cables, inopportune video freezing, and GM Dave accidentally killing the feed the moment he wrapped up the panel. I don't know how much of that ended up on the streaming version, but you can watch it here (actually, I think it got divided up).
After that, I joined Sam Stewart (FFG Star Wars RPG lead) and GM Chris, with GM Phil, and freelancer Keith Kappel on a panel called "Yes and..." about salvaging prepared adventure material after the PCs ruin the GM's carefully concocted plot. See here.
Later in the evening, I played in the Most Valuable Gamer combined Edge/Age/Destiny session, run by Sam Stewart. It's sometimes a bit hard to hear, but here's that video. Did I mention that GNcon streamed a lot of events?
I managed to get a bit more sleep, then ran Paths of Destiny on Sunday morning. I had a great players at the table who all got into their characters reasonably well. Everyone had a lot of fun, including me. The adventure went as planned, but there are some changes I'll make before next time. One: Cut or drastically reduce the beginning, because it took too long (even after reworking it from the first try). Two: Tweak one of the creature stats to better align with the group. No big issues, but had to rework a couple of items on the fly because they were clearly going to be overpowering. Three: Adjust a few clues so the PCs have a better idea of what happened previously. Four: One of the PCs' hastily created backgrounds didn't have even the minimal hooks and detail that the others did, which unfortunately undercut a dramatic scene for that character, so that has to be fixed. Five: Rework the ending or drop one a goal which might be one too many for a 4 hour adventure. I think only one or two typos were discovered in the character sheets, so a bonus there.
The con wrapped up with a big auction, where the attendees spent their XP for prizes.
It was a very good time. I'll try to make it again next year, schedule permitting.
This weekend is Planet Comicon. The gaming area has its customary board game library, but there are also scheduled RPGs and other events. Prereg and descriptions are available here. I'll be running Star Wars Age of Rebellion Rescue from Glare Peak, Edge of the Empire Beginner Game demos, and a demo of Savage Worlds The Last Parsec RPG using part of Pranac's Pursuit.
Finally, for those who somehow missed it, the "Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens" was announced today, comprising a collection of new books of various types building up to the movie release later this year. There were several familiar names on the list. Jason Fry is one of the authors, for which I was unsurprised given his work of late. The surprise for me was seeing Greg Rucka is writing a Han Solo and Chewbacca story. I've worked with Greg on a couple of his products - a map for his novel Alpha, and deckplans and world maps for his Lady Sabre and the Pirates of the Ineffable Aether kickstarter awhile back. It will be fun to see what he does in the Star Wars universe.