Showing posts with label Gen Con. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gen Con. Show all posts

Friday, August 11, 2023

#RPGaDay2023 WEIRDEST game you've played

The weirdest wasn't due to the rules, but rather the add-ons.

It was a Gen Con and we were playing in an AD&D 1st Ed game. That year I want to take my family on a tour of all the editions of D&D prior to 5e coming out.  The DM though, had a copy of the old Lion Rampant Whimsy Cards, and he LOVED them.  

Whimsy Cards

The game though was so damn weird and not at all AD&D 1st ed. Felt pretty disappointed, to be honest.

I liked the idea of the cards, but not this guy's execution of them.

When the modern editions came out, the Path of Horror Cards in particular, I picked them up. So not a complete loss really.


Sunday, September 19, 2021

Back Home from GenCon 2021!

I just got back home from GenCon 2021.  We had a great time.  We stayed in masks a lot and we spent a little more time playing games in our room and outside, but all in all, we took a lot of precautions, washed hands a lot, and of course got vaccinated a while back.  

For this Con, I did not continue the Order of the Platinum Dragon campaign.  I have been building something cool for it and taking it to Gen Con would have been a pain in the ass.  Instead, we continued on with the War of the Witch Queens campaign.  Everyone really took to Basic Ear D&D well and my son even bought his own copies of Old-School Essentials.

Basic D&D

We picked up our Old-School Essentials at the Games Plus booth. They had a bunch on Day 1 and were completely sold out by Day 3!

Games Plus' Booth

Games Plus' Booth

Games Plus' Booth

Oh. And despite some claims to the contrary, Gen Con was still full and there were plenty of people here.  We spoke to a few of the restaurant workers and a few owners and they were thrilled that Gen Con was back, even in this limited fashion.

Still crowded

Still crowded

Still crowded

People stayed in masks, for the most part. Though we are still going to quarantine for a bit just to be safe. 

We picked up some great games too.  The kids both work now so they were able to spend their own money. Which is great, cause I bought a lot for me.




So far our favorite has been The Red Dragon Inn by Slugfest Games.  We had a blast with it. I have been wanting it for a bit now and I am glad we got it.

We played some NIGHT SHIFT and that was great.  While we were playing this guy stopped to see what we were playing. He mentioned he wanted to introduce his 10-year-old daughter to D&D.  Long story short, the drummer of the band Shinedown watched our game. I gave him a copy of NIGHT SHIFT, which he loved. 

Not sure what our plans are for next year, but we had a great time this year.  Glad to be back at Gen Con.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Gen Con 2020 Canceled

If you have not heard the news it is official, Gen Con 2020 has been canceled.

You can read more here:

With many cons canceling including Comic-Con this was too much of a public health risk.  We had planned to not go this year back in late March, but I was hoping that things might turn around.

My hope would have been justified if we didn't have a complete moron in charge of our country, but I should have known better.

This is the right call really.

If you look at the high-risk population and the average Gen Con attendee, there is a lot of overlap. 

Now, of course, we don't know what will be going on in late July, early August, but I do know that plenty of schools are considering not opening up for Fall term and they stand to lose more than Gen Con by several orders of magnitude.

So I am sad yes. I have not told my kids yet. 
I have canceled my hotel I had downtown (at the J.W. Marriott where we stay every year).

I was looking forward to finishing the great Order of the Platinum Dragon campaign we play at every Gen Con.  The characters are just one adventure away from retirement.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

#RPGaDAY2019: Love

Today's topic is Love.

There are a lot of things I love about RPGs.  I could go on about the games I love, or the social aspects, or the friends I have made over the years.  But today I think I want to talk about one love I have not talked about before.

Gen Con.

I love Gen Con.  I do.  The larger it gets the more I love it.  I started going only recently, the last 12 years, but I love everything about it.

I love the spectacle, I love the dealer's hall, the food trucks, staying in the hotel with my family, playing games all day and all night.

Every year for the last few years we have been staying at the same hotel, the JW Marriot Indy, so showing up there feels like, well, coming home.  My kids love the hotel and we are within walking distance of everything we want.  The Marriot has open gaming till 3:00am in their ballrooms, so it has been our tradition to play a game of D&D 5 for the last 5-6 years every night.

Every year we also try out new places to eat and we LOVE the food trucks. We love the cosplay parade and all the cosplay there.

Of course, there are the games.  I try to get a nice variety in with the kids. We try out new games, play some old ones.  One year I did "The History of D&D" for my family where we played every edition we could get into. Where else can you do that?

This is no slight to other cons, I have had great times there too.  But Gen Con is our love.
I also know that people complain it is "too big", not me.  I love the fact that 70,000 people are there.

It is a great feeling to be in a place where 70k+ people are there all for the same reasons.  It is a wonderful time. 

I know there will be a time when we don't go. My kids are getting older, it is getting more expensive and that drive from Chicago to Indy is the WORST.  But for now, I am going to enjoy Gen Con with my family. 

Sunday, August 11, 2019

#RPGaDAY2019: Examine

Today's topic is Examine.

ὁ δὲ ἀνεξέταστος βίος οὐ βιωτὸς ἀνθρώπῳ"
"The unexamined life is not worth living"  - attributed to Socrates

Gen Con is a great time.  I get to run different kinds of games and I get to play different kinds of games.  But I also get a chance to reflect on my own style of Game Mastering.

I played in a Call of Cthulhu game that my son ran and I was really impressed on how he had come since the last time he had run a game for me.  Really, really impressed.  Now he is young and has more to master than a 50-year-old like me.  But I could not help but think how much he had improved his own game over how much I had, or had not, improved my own.

I also got the chance to play in Jess Ross' Blue Rose game.
Jess is an amazing GM and she also has an actual play podcast for Blue Rose at:

Jess also runs her games a little different than I do and it was also quite a lot of fun.

Both of these events got me thinking more and more about my own style and what I need to do to push it up a notch.

I have not quite figured it all yet, but I am certainly examining what I liked about these other play styles.  I think I want to go back to my notes of when I was running Ghosts of Albion all the time.  Those were some great games and I'd like to recapture some of that for my D&D games.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Back from Gen Con!

I just got back from Gen Con 2019!

Took the whole family and we had a great time.  In fact, it was one of the best Gen Cons in recent memory.  We played a lot of D&D 5 and Call of Cthulhu 7th ed.  I got in a game of Blue Rose and a public playtest of Cthulhu Tech 2.0.

More details later. Tired and needing some Chicago style pizza.  Indy is great, but their pizza sucks.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Gen Con Gaming: Shrine of the Kuo-toa and Vault of the Drow

I have not talked about my Gen Con games yet, so let's get on that.

We got down to Indy a day early so we could have some extra time on Wednesday, but it also gives Tuesday to Saturday to play at night.

The Order of the Platinum Dragon continued their trek through the underdark.   A few random encounters including a run-in with Evelyn (and it was so satisfying to put her mini down on the table!) the party entered the Shrine of the Kuo-toa.

Of course, I had to make my own Blibdoolpoolp statue.  Though I will freely admit I spent more time on making her than she saw in the game.

To clean out the shrine of the fish people took a couple of nights.

The Order worked their way through the Underdark where they defeated Belgos and Silussia who nearly took out the entire party.  They finally entered the Vault of the Drow and the City of Erelhei-Cinlu.

Saturday, our last night we started really early and got right down to it.   After spending some time in the city and avoiding a cult of hobgoblin assassins the Order managed to get to the Fane of Lolth where they were able to stop a ritual. 

The trouble is the ritual, while keeping out the sun, was also keeping Lolth away.  Oopps!

They defeated Lolth, at least on this plane,

The Order was all sucked into the Abyss and now they are all seperated from each other.

My kids wanted to do something different for their next level, 14 to 15. So I split them up. 

I am going to run a series of one-shots all set in the Abyss.   I am not sure what they will all be yet, but I know one now.  The group's paladin and fighter are going to spend some quality time with Liberation of the Demon Slayer!   It's now a realm trapped in (or near) the Abyss and should be a lot of fun.
I had always known I wanted to use this, I just needed an excuse.  Well, Venger himself gave me an excuse when he put it up for free.  Oh an read my original review of it here.

This is going to be great.

Facebook reminded me that it was today, 4 years ago that we created characters for this campaign.  No records were broken for advancement, but it has been a great 4 years.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Going to Your First Con

It's just about Summer and that means Cons are in full swing.   One question that comes up from readers is "what do I do at my first Con?" or even "how do I prepare?"

I have talked about these ideas in the past and was recently inspired to share some of these ideas in honor of the Amazing Las Vegas ComicCon coming up at the end of June. If you're trying to plan your travels for your first ComicCon there are awesome Las Vegas package deals to suit anyone's needs.

I would say I have not been to a lot of cons, but so far this year I guess I have already been to three! So as always, your mileage may vary.

What Should I Bring With Me?
Many Cons are now limiting what you can bring in with you. Some don't want you to bring in fake weapons anymore, others might allow real swords, but have zip-tie on them.  If you are cosplaying be sure to check the rules first!
At many cons, the lines for food, drinks, and everything else are long. Sometimes really long. If you can bring in a bag, pack some snacks.  I still hear horror stories about the year that Gen Con ran out of bacon! So plan accordingly.
No one loves caffeine more than me, but skip loading up on sodas and energy drinks and instead opt for water.  IF you are walking a lot (and you do at most big cons) you will need it.

What should you wear? 
Comfort is the key.  If you are going to a large con then again you will be walking a lot, so comfortable shoes are a must.  This is also your time to let your freak-flag fly. I have an entire collection of t-shirts I can only wear in public around cons! Nothing offensive, but certainly ones that only my Geek brothers and sisters would enjoy.

If you are Cosplaying, again comfort is key.  Granted you might not be walking as much since you could be posing for pictures more, but consider it.  I have a great Victorian outfit I wear. But the trouble is it is also all black wool.  Great, as long as I can stay in some AC all day.

Whatever you decide, make sure you have everything.  Like any trip make sure you have extra clothes too.   I also make sure I have room for the t-shirts I'll buy at the con too.

What are some important dos and don'ts?
Please, PLEASE, check with your con's website to see if they have any special rules long before you go.
Many/all cons have a website FAQ of things you can and can't do.  Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con, for example, has a FAQ here:

- Pace yourself! You have a lot to see and do, no sense wearing yourself out Day One.
- Eat well! Plan your meals. Cons are great times, but eating sometimes gets pushed aside.
- Wash Your Hands!  Ever hear of "Con Crud"? You will! Exposure to so many different people leads to new viruses. Add bad eating habits, less sleep and different levels of exercise you have a nice mix that leads to Con Crud.
- Bring cash.  Not every place takes credit/debit card and some autograph lines only take cash.
- Budget yourself! Don't spend all your money day one.
- Have a great time! This is great experience and you should enjoy every moment you can.
- Looks for hidden treasures! Every town that hosts a con hopes you enjoy yourself.  See what they have to offer. I have found great places to eat and some I get just as excited about as the con itself.

Make sure you have your hotel and travel plans set and ready to go.

But there are also a few DON'Ts
- Don't be a jerk. Other people are coming to the con too. Some it might be the only one they go to this year or for many years. Don't be a jerk and ruin their con.  That goes for people working the cons, people working at the hotels, restaurants.
- Don't forget you are there to have fun!

I have to add that when it comes to Cosplay.  Cosplay is NOT Consent. Come on, don't be a jerk.
I don't care if you know every line of every Deadpool issue there is, that girl wearing the Gwenpool outfit that she spent hours (maybe days or weeks) working on is just as welcome here as you are.  She (or he) doesn't need Geek Gatekeeping from you, harassed or touched.  Tell her "hey, that's an awesome Gwenpool!" Ask her if you take her picture and then move on.

Remember the rule: "Butt on the floor, pictures no more."

Cons are becoming more and more family welcoming. So remember that this is also a lot of little kids' first cons too.  Give them a reason to want to come back every year!

Ready?  Let's go!

Don't forget that the big OSR Sale is going on over at DriveThruRPG.  Just a little over 10 days left. Lots of great titles on sale including some from The Other Side.  Check them out.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Review: Victoriana, 2nd Edition

Victoriana and I have a long and complicated relationship.  I find it interesting that to date I have not done a review for this game.  So let me fix that now.  I discovered Victoriana, 1st Edition around the time I was writing Ghosts of Albion.  I picked up the game, but since I was deep into working on and playing Ghosts at the time I didn't look at it much.  Finally, I did and then learned a 2nd Ed was going to come out.

I spent some time reading the 1st Edition rules and thought it was interesting, if odd.  For starters, I am not sure why there was no U.S. Civil War. I was also not a fan of the Fuzion system.  I liked all the odd races for the game (even if it did lead to the infamous Orc from Africa debate) and felt like it was, as it has been later described as Victorian Age Steampunk.

The thing that struck me though is how similar that cover is to the Ghosts of Albion BBC logo.  In particular the silhouettes of  William and Tamara.   I am sure it is nothing but coincidence,  but I could not help but notice it all the same.  Save for the pointy ears on the Victoriana cover that *could* be Tamara and William from Ghosts.

I went into the 2nd edition with a lot of preconceived notions of what the game was.  That is until Gen Con 2007.  Friday night I ran a Ghosts of Albion game and a lot of the authors and playtesters for Victoria 2nd Ed came.  I later joined them on a 8:00am Saturday morning game.  I was hung over, battling the oncoming con crud.  I played an Ogre butler with a Wits (intelligence) score of two whose saving grace was a giant shotgun that he wielded like a pistol.  I had a GREAT time.

Victoriana is a perfect example of why you need to play a game instead of just reading it to do a full and proper review.  Reading through the rules the first few times gave me a bit of headache, but playing it was a snap.

Victoriana, 2nd Edition is a 286 page book. Color covers, black and white interior.  A couple of words about that.  The art for this book moves between D&D-esque fantasy races and vintage photographs.  Many of the photos are of author Andrew Peregrine's own family.  I think this gives the game a unique touch.  Personally, I do not want color art in my Victorian-era games. This is a world in black and white.

Vic is best described as a Victorian "cyberpunk" game; not just in terms of ethos, game design and play but also mechanics.  The game is based on d6 dice pool with the extra advantage of a "black dice" to add more random flavor.  Roll your pool of Characteristics, Skill, and Specialties and see how many successes you have.

The system that powers Victoriana is known as the Heresy system. Maybe an allusion to the game company that published Victoriana 1st ed.

The real feature of this game is the ability to play a number of fantasy races in a magic-is-real and in-the-open Victorian London 1867.   The similarities to ShadowRun continue here.  You can play dwarves, ogres, elves (Eldren) and other fantasy races.  It could also be described as Steampunk ShadowRun or even Steampunk D&D. To call it that would really be selling the game a little short to be honest.  I often described it as most Victorian games turned up to 11.

The game won a Silver Ennie for Best Writing and there is a ton of great material in this game, if viewed from Victoriana's own lens.

Appendix 3 Source Material is a great read for any fan of the Victorian era.  Six pages of great and pretty exhaustive material.

The supplements for Victorana are all top notch with the same artistic style and flare of the core book.

Victoriana is one of those games I always seek out to play at conventions when I can.  I have always had a great time.

If this sounds fun to you there is a free preview of the game here.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Gen Con 2016 in Review

I am back from Gen Con.  As always we had a great time. I am on my lunch so I thought I would fire off an update.

Every night was devoted to the Against the Giants adventure. We didn't get as far as we wanted, we only got through G1 The Hill Giants and +Thork Hammer aka R.C. Pinnel's G4 The Stone Giants.

They encountered their first drow of House Eilservs from Erelhei-Cinlu.
Since I am running this all under D&D 5e I am making the Drow of House Eilservs all partially Warlocks of Tharizdun, whom they know as the Elder Elemental God.  The G4 module played into this rather nicely.

I bought some things of course.  Mostly stuck to Castles & Crusades books.

Can't wait to dip into Victorious!

Went to the ENnies.  I didn't win, which I will admit was disapointing.
I'll post more later on this.

I did get a chance to meet +Zak Sabbath, Stoya and Charlotte Stokely at the ENnies and that at least was cool.  Zak took home 3 of the 5 ENnies he was nominated for, that was also cool.  My son loved his speech thanking Satan.  My son threw up some horns for that.  I also got my copy of Maze of the Blue Medusa signed by Zak and Stokely.

Opted to play a lot of different types of games this year.  Played a great game of Castles & Crusades.
Played some Exploding Kittens (really fun) some Munchkin (also fun), got into a board game at the Mayfair group, but didn't really care for it.  Tried to find a board game we all liked, but no success there.

I got some more art for my game room from Wayne Reynolds.  I think I want to get one of those frames that holds three pictures at once.

Wonder how much he would charge to do some art of Larina....

I picked up a copy of Gettysburg for a friend.  Picked up some more dice. Signed up for the Star Trek playtest.  Was going to pick up Pathfinder Horror Adventures, but there wasn't really anything new in it for me.   I might grab it later at my FLGS.

Loved all the Cosplay.  My son went as Jacob from Assassin's Creed and found a like-minded friend.

There were tons of "Harley Quinn"s but also a lot of "Rey"s from Star Wars. I thought that was cool.

While the con is still dominated by middle-aged, bearded white guys I am seeing a lot more families and kids.  This is a great thing.

Ate and spent WAY too much.

Not sure if I can make it next year.  It is later in August and my kids' school starts before Gen Con.

All in all a great time.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

A to Z of Adventure! L is for Lendore Isles

L is for Lendore Isles (and Len Lakofka).

I was a fan of Len Lakofka way back in the day when I first discovered his work in Dragon Magazine.

I think it was his articles on the Gods and Goddesses of the Suel Empire that read first. Especially the one on Wee Jas.  Or it could have been his article on the Death Master NPC.

But in any case it was his L series, the Lendore Isles, that most people know his work.

Module L1, The Secret of Bone Hill, is a classic for a number of reasons. First it was Lakofka's first foray into module writing. There is was plenty of background detailed in this module as well, a lot for what amounts to an introductory module.

The typical hack-n-slash or kick in the door plot is given over to what really amounts to a mystery.   The adventure section itself is actually only a small part of the adventure.

I also think it was that Bill Willingham cover.  I made character based on that magic user.

I got the chance to run my kids through this at Gen Con 2014 and we had a great time with it.
I had planned to run L2 Assassin's Knot, which is a great follow-up to L1, but time did not allow it.  By the time I had calculated all the XP the characters were ready for something else anyway.  Which is too bad, there is a great murder mystery in L2 that my youngest would have loved.

L3 Deep Dwarven Delve was completed at the same time as the first two adventures, somewhere around 1979, however it would not see publication til 1999 for the D&D Silver Anniversay Edition set.  I have never actually owned or even read this one. A fact that was lost on me till I started working on this post!  In fact the game it was written and published for, 1st Edition AD&D, was no longer in print and 3rd edition was on the very near horizon. Even the company, TSR, was no more having been bought by Wizards of the Coast.
(eta I checked and I did buy it on PDF at some point)

You would think that 20 years is enough to keep a guy out of the gaming biz. Well Len then released the next installments of the Lendore Isles adventures on the old-school gaming forum Dragons's Foot.

The next adventures were L4 Devilspawn and L5 The Kroten Adventures.
Plus material to support these adventures.

I have ready through these other adventures and I can't help but feel that they might work great for Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea. They have the same feel to me and think they would compliment each other very nicely.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

RPG a Day 2015, Day 5

Day 5: Most Recent RPG Purchase

Well fresh off of Gen Con there is a lot.

HEX: Revelations of Mars
Pathfinder Occult Adventures
Victoriana 3rd edition
Chill 3rd Edition
Beyond the Supernatural
Palladium Fantasy RPG 2nd Edition
A bunch of Mayfair AD&D books
Castles & Crusades Castle Keeper Screen
Amazing Adventures Character sheets

AND a bunch of Munchkin stuff.

Now to find the time to play them all.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Gen Con Haul

The BEST thing about taking my wife and kids with me to Gen Con other than having their company and dedicated gaming time is that I pretty much get to buy what I want under the guise of "it's for the family gaming nights!"  Well. It also happens to be true.

So here is this year's haul.

This is a cheat since I had already backed the Kickstarter.  But I got my book, dice and Martian princess figure.

Got these half-off because a Beyond the Supernatural game I was in was cancled.

My BIG buys.  Notice a theme?  Occult Adventures looks fun. Victoriana 3rd Edition is one I have been wanting for a while.  But the big win?  CHILL 3.0!!  OMG people this is such a cool book.

Mayfair D&D.  All of this for about 10 bucks.

Still loving Castles & Crusades.

AND an autographed print from Jacob Blackmon of my iconic witch Larina for "Strange Brew".

And last, but not least...although I didn't buy it at Gen Con, it came in the mail today.

My "Death Wand" from Magical Miscellany.  The newest endeavour by my friend Kim Pauley.

It is a real work of art!  I am going to need to stat this up!