Well I had a somewhat safe return from Strategicon ... only one minor vehicle malfunction on the way out of LA which delayed us about 5 hours or so. It wouldn't be a con road trip without something like that happening. At any rate I had an absolute blast!! It was huge fun ... I saw old friends and had a chance to play some great indie RPGs. I managed to wander around and BS with some of the attendees at the 40K/WHFB tourney as well. They seemed to have a decent turnout . Overall it was again well worth the trip down. I managed to do the con (including travel, room, food and spending money) for around $300.00. For a raucous four day game romp ... in my book that is money well spent.
Friday at 8 PM
House of Cards: The Russian Mafia is sending $500 million to Beijing on the Trans-Siberian Railway. Your crew is going to steal it. You'll either end up rich or dead - it's a no risk, no reward proposition. Come playtest my quick-play heist game. GM: Eric Boyd (actually he is the creator of the game).
Ok this was a really interesting concept for an RPG. We played with the creator of the game as this game is still in playtest but should be out this year sometime. The game uses a standard deck of cards in place of dice for all game resolution.
Saturday at 9 AM:
4th Edition D&D, DOGS OF WAR: The paladins of Elturgard cannot tolerate a threat from the gnolls of the Reaching Woods at this time. Will heroes step forward to undertake a risky mission to foil the gnolls and their demon allies? A Living Forgotten Realms adventure set in Elturgard for characters levels 4-7.
This one was a "Special" mod which means more loot, etc. again ... next September there will be NO LFR mods for me ... in my book at strategicon its a waste of time with other really good GMs running indie games, rare board games, gamer flea market, etc. etc. its just a waste of time. However playing this one mod sold me on attending Neoncon this next year in Vegas because I had a blast playing it, but again there are just too many other cooler activities at Strategicon going on for me to waste my time playing D&D again. To give a quick recap I was playing a tooled up Paladin who my friend Scott built for me right before the con. He was combo heavy and did alot of damage for a defender, I really enjoyed playing that chr. The mod itself was interesting our group managed to overcome the skill challenges which allowed us to avoid several minor encounters thus enabling us to get to the end boss fight where we had to stop a demon summoning in progress. We managed to save the captive who was about to be sacrificed and kill the boss ... just barely ...
A game that I missed playing at that time but wish I would have played in was one by a great GM named Mike Olson called Leftovers which is "a roleplaying game of post-apocalyptic survival in a horrific world but with a heart. More Information: http://rollsomedice.blogspot.com" That is my only regret of the con is that I didn't play in this game instead of D&D. Again I had fun playing D&D but Mike is an amazing GM and this is his own system. I really didn't pay enough attention during registration in terms of this game. I'm hoping to make it down to Hyphen-Con this year so I can play in a session of it run by Mike.
Saturday at 2 PM:
A cool Savage Worlds game run by Andy Blanchard who is someone that I've played in games run by and as a fellow player with for several strategicons in a row now.
"Fan of Jim Butcher? Love his Codex Alera fantasy series? Dream of playing an element-controlling furycrafter? Well then join the fun! Playtest the Savage Worlds tweak for the Codex Alera fantasy setting, and maybe even save some slaves from cruel and uncaring bastards while you're at it!"
Andy did a great job combining the awesomeness of Savage Worlds with what seems to be perhaps an even better series of Butcher novels than the Dresden files. The backstory for the world is pretty interesting and it has a Roman feeling combined with sort of a Last Air Bender twist.
Basically the PCs are elemental casters who draw upon the elemental powers of the world in order to cast their spell like abilities, heal, and generally manipulating their environment. The party was balanced and though everyone is a "caster" ... the classic RPG party roles can be filled as in addition to the four elements there is a wood bender and a mental bender. The metal bender in particular is a melee damage and/or tank class, the water bender is the healer, air controller, fire ranged damage, wood ranged damage with a bow, etc.
Andy's Savage Worlds mod is awesome and I had a blast.
Saturday at 8 PM:
Fate: Final Exam Crisis
"Are you ready for some exciting but essentially non-lethal Silver Age-type action? When supervillainy threatens Pacific City, it's up to Seaside High School's motley assortment of teenage superheroes to put a stop to it. And during finals week, no less! Come playtest this new superheroic version of FATE, the ruleset that powers Spirit of the Century, Diaspora, and the upcoming Legends of Anglerre.
More Information: http://spiritoftheblank.blogspot.com" GM: Mike Olson
The game was hilariously awesome!! It had a classic silver age teen comic hero spirit with an edge to it. The player builds were: Brick, Multiplier, Speedster, Empath/Telepath, Sonic Blaster. I won't go into the other characters but the character I played was named Clique and she was basically the hot mean girl from high school who always managed to start the rumors, maintain her domination of the in-crowd, etc. etc. and that personality blended with a multiple-girl hero had some hilarious and fun application potential. Really having played this game I have realized that for my tastes FATE does supers better than anything. Mike managed to build a mod for SoTC that captures the feel of comic super heroes with the open cinematic potential of FATE. Its an awesome combo and I'm really inspired by it. I'm hoping to get more info on this from Mike so I can run it in a home game. I just can't say enough good about this game ... but honestly I'll save that for another post later when I attempt to break this out for my home game group.
Sunday at 9 AM:
We were registered for a West End Games classic star wars RPG game where we would have been playing as Jawas .. the game description was: "You are the renegades which no clan wanted... you drink, you carry weapons, you look for trouble. An imperial shuttle has crashed in the dune sea and everyone wants it..." it sounded hilarious but the GM canceled all his sessions for the con. So we ended up with a free slot on Sunday which actually was rather nice it gave us a chance to walk around and recover.
Sunday at 2 PM
The Collapse of Villengard, Burning Empires
"The leaders saw the warnings but were too distracted by their petty concerns. Even when the Vaylen began landing troops they tried to maneuver things to their advantage. Now all that remains is a choice save yourself, take some Vaylen with you as you die, hold onto the slim hope for reinforcements, or evacuate as many people as you can." GM: Will Huggins
Ok I'm going to be somewhat blunt here. This game is really a steep learning curve and running it at a CON is not a good idea. The description said familiarity with the burning wheel mechanics was preferred and I didn't see that until after we'd registered. I really didn't have a good time in the game. The GM knew two of the other players and the banter focused on them. I did set a few scenes and had a chance to see how the game worked but overall the experience was pretty dry. It was a good kick the tires type experience though for the game, and I know fully appreciate the utter complexity of this system. If people want to play it they need to study the rules like its a final exam in a college capstone course ... this is RPG quantum mechanics or calculus IV.
Sunday at 8 PM
Spirit of the American Hero! (Read CLASSIC GI JOE PEOPLE!! YES GI JOE!!)
"SWORD-ARM is the code name of America's daring, highly trained special mission force. Its mission to defend human freedom against CHIMERA a ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world! Join the Top-Secret, covert, military operatives of SWORD-ARM in this high-octane game of modern military action. A GI Joe and modern Military & Adventure fiction inspired Spirit of the Century game." GM: Morgan Ellis.
Ok now my two favorite GM's of all time are Morgan Ellis and Mike Olson ... these guys are masters of pacing, game flow and generally maintaining fun and hilarity in a game without letting the pot boil over. I aspire to be half as good a GM as either of them one day. Anyway Morgan managed to capture the spirit of classic GI Joe in a mod of Spirit of the Century.
The pre-gen characters were hilarious mods of Duke, Snake Eyes, Gung-Ho, Airborne, Scarlet, The Baroness, Destro, Cobra Commander and on and on. I played the Spirit character named "Geronimo." Morgan left two aspects blank for us so we could select two custom pieces of whatever we wanted. I selected a peace pipe and an animal companion (a bald eagle named Freedom!).
The game was a hilariously raucous, over the top romp ... we killed ... yes this wasn't the parachute out of the plane style GI Joe this was ADULT FUCKING SWIM (we used that as a table aspect in the game) style GI Joe ... at least 100,000 Cobra ... *cough* ... I mean Chimera operatives ... blew up their base and sent Cobra Commander .. *cough* ... I mean The Golden Pharaoh fleeing in his escape pod away from a self destructing Egyptian sphinx base.
After a horribly funny, yet unavoidable GI Joe testimonial by nearly everyone at the table (seriously there was a 45 minute GI Joe BS session ... which wasn't Morgan's fault) ... the game got rolling and again I can't use hilarious enough ... it was so god damn funny. I'm very glad I got a chance to play.
On another note I had a chance to glance over a game that is a leading candidate for my SPACE MARINE RPG mod ... Diaspora ... it has alot of promise. What I like about using that game is that if the mod worked out I could run a full campaign not just a con one shot. I also picked up an out of print game that I meant to buy years ago Railroad Tycoon.