Last weekend was Kantcon, a small but busy gaming convention in the KC area. I rolled out a new con Star Wars adventure. This time I also left enough time to actually play some games as well, as opposed to running the majority of the time.
My new con adventure is The Sandcrawler Gambit, which features 4 player characters as a small group of Jabba's Palace denizens that find themselves totally set up by a group of bounty hunters for an easy score. While they elude the hunters, they also have to return one of Jabba the Hutt's repulsorsleds that was stolen, reportedly by them. The adventure kicks off with the PCs having located the stolen sled and due to limited options, make a deal with 2 player character Jawa PCs to use their sandcrawler get the sled back to Jabba's Palace. I created a new Jawa player character species, as well as two variations of a new scout droid. The Jawas have issues of their own - namely, the sandcrawler needs some major repairs due to some earlier mishaps by one of the Jawa PCs. For maps, I used the old, huge, Star Wars Incredible Cross Sections and Inside the Worlds of Star Wars books. They looked great on the table, and were big enough for people to see.
I ran the adventure twice, and both groups had a good time. With conventions, there is a sort of natural energy level that varies as the con progresses. Fridays ramp up to the evening slot. Saturdays - and the con attendance - peaks in the afternoon slot. Sundays are always a bit slower and less attended, as people wear down a bit. The Saturday morning game players were energetic, character performing players, so the session was a bit loud and full of energy to the end. Sunday afternoon's group had a lower volume level and a more laid back pace and intensity.
One of the main benefits of running an adventure more than once is that you can improve on what happened in the previous session(s). In this case, I had finished the characters late Friday night and hadn't quite worked some of the kinks out of the story. In other words, I had certain scenes I wanted to use, and the story had to support them. I hadn't quite connected a few dots as well as I wanted to. I also tend to get carried away as the game progresses, responding to PC actions, so sometimes I'll realize afterwards that I left out some elements I intended to include. I make sure to fit them in next time. It's weird, but sometimes I can come up with elements or explanations on the fly during the game that I couldn't work out beforehand.
So, the Saturday game ended with an unexpected PC betrayal (blaming) of the Jawa allies - very appropriate for Jabba's Palace. The sheer surprise of it all was fantastic. The Sunday game ended with one PC making a roll to convince Jabba the Hutt to drop the bounty on the group. There were many red dice, so of course, one came up a Despair. This became one of those times when I wasn't sure what to do with the it. The PCs had ample proof of their innocence so it made no sense for Jabba to ignore it. With flimsier evidence, it would have been easy to have them thrown to the Rancor or something. After stumbling around for a bit for an answer, I had Jabba demand they bring their accusers/framers to him. This was easily done, since the bounty hunters were still on the way to the palace. The palace door raised up to reveal a wall of blasters as the PCs, Bib Fortuna, and a bunch of allies stood ready to capture them. The best part was that one of the players mimicked Jabba's laugh right at that moment, so I ended the game right there.
Beyond my game, I also played in a Paranoia RPG/Star Wars mashup session. It featured the new Paranoia rules, but the clones in this case were stormtroopers. There were plenty of props, including a improvised combat system that required the player to shoot a cheap dollar store dart gun at a couple of foam six sided dice from a few inches. It didn't matter, it still was a futile effort - but thematically great for stormtroopers. In the new rules, there is a Computer die. If the computer icon turns up, The Computer takes an immediate interest in your clone's situation - and never for the better. In this version, Vader showed up to personally take care of any issues.
I also got the opportunity to play the new Torg Eternity RPG, being the revived version of the old West End Games Torg RPG from the '90s. It was fun. I loved the art and character sheets. It was weird to hear all of the old Torg terms and settings after being away from the world for a very long time.