Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Gencon 2013

Gencon was a heck of an adventure this year. I suffered from some pretty bad anxiety attacks in the days leading up to the con, sure that I was massively under-prepared. I was also about half-certain that my car would explode somewhere on the four-hour drive from Toledo to Indianapolis (our car has some chronic and nebulous problems). Turns out I needn't have worried about either of these issues. I didn't really start to calm down until I got around Ft. Wayne and found a radio station playing early-90s. It's hard to be stressed out while blaring MC Hammer out your windows at 70 MPH.

So I managed to pull into Indy Thursday afternoon, and it turns out the only thing I had forgotten was my razor and candy to use as YumYums for my QAGS games. Both of these were easily and cheaply replaced at a truck stop.

Rob, racing some spies.
This year, Hex Games got moved to a prime location, ICC 110, right in the middle of the convention center, just around the corner from registration and a mere walk-down-the-hall to the exhibition hall. It was exciting to be right inthe middle of things, and Hex Games had worked hard for years running fun and unique con games to work our ways to "the big kids table."  The constant press of humanity was something we hadn't expected though, and it took some getting used to.

Ian "Aces & Apes" Engle, Robert "Spy Racers" McCabe, and Erik "Thunderstep" Sanstad were already there, running their games. I finally got to see print copies of Sex, Lies & Ultraspies and Spy Racers. Very exciting.

My first game was on Thursday night. I ran "Pulp Fantasy All-Stars." Sheelba and Ningauble recruited  Conan, Elric, John Carter, and other stars of  classic swords & sorcery to prevent Thulsa Doom from using Mourneblade to conquer reality. I had five players, four of whom were totally new to QAGS. The game went splendidly, and it confirmed my belief that fantasy gamers love noting more than slaughtering hordes of snake-men.

Steve "Spooky" Johnson and Richard "IMP" Smith were waiting at the hotel when I finished up. We stayed up waaaaaaay too late talking about stuff and nonsense.

Friday saw me up and early and very tired for my 9am game of Hobomancer. "The Town the Loved Hobos" was essentially "Shadow Over Innsmouth" with Hobomancers. I had four players, one of whom was a return player, and the others were all new to QAGS. This was my first attempt of using my new Hobo Histories mechanic from the upcoming "Hobomancer's Companion" (heavily influenced by Dungeon World's Bonds). They worked as good as I had hoped, quickly generating background and connections between the newly-crafted PCs. The heroic hobomancers manged to defeat and seal away Shoggula's evil with a combination of magic and high explosives.

Bang! Bang!
After that, I had several hours to kill. I spent a good chunk of it in the dealer's room. I didn't buy much at all this year. The newest One Ring expansion wasn't available in print, and I had sudden second thoughts on Rocket Age. I did pick up the new issue of Gygax magazine, and I found a Noteboard at the Pelgrane Press booth. I had been meaning to pick one of those up. I also ran across Owl Hoot Trail by Clinton R. Nixon and Kevin Kulp. I love fantasy/western mash-ups, and I'm a fan of Nixon's other works, so I snatched that up right quick (I'll have a review later). I also tooled on over to the Indie Press Revolution Booth, since that was where all the Hex Games stuff was being sold. I dropped five bucks to get a print version of FATE Accelerated, since I already owned in in PDF and I'm actually in a FAE game currently.

Leighton "GILGAMESH!" Connor showed up that afternoon, ready to run his delightful Laser Ponies game. He even brought plastic pony and alien miniatures. It looked like he had a good group of both old and young players.

Steve, Richard, and I had more time to kill, so we playtested a card game Richard was working on. I was calling it "Monkey Apple Cart,"  but he insists that's not the name. Fun, simple little game. I look forward to playing it again.

Friday night was my Golden Age superheroes game "Attack of the Cannibal Planets." All the PCs and NPCs  (including the Cannibal Planets) were old comic characters now in the public domain. I love goofy shit like that. Black Cat, Blue Bolt, Silver Streak, the Flame and other old heroes came out of retirement to save the world from the Cannibal Planets, now controlled by the Green Sorceress and the Leopard Women of Venus. All my players were QAGS newbies. The adventure took them from Legacy City, to Area 51, to the moon. The Highlight of the game (and maybe the entire con) was when two players (the Flame and Sub Zero Man) slid me a note saying that they were the real villains all along, tired of the other capes constantly getting all the public's attention. OH MY GOD! As a GM I live for that sort of thing! After pausing for a few moments to come down from my cloud we totally ran with it. Betrayal, sacrifice, villainous monologues, and even an appearance by Satan himself. It was a hell of a game.

In the middle of my supers game, Leighton texted me a picture of an Ennie award we had just won (I may have mentioned this before). I was ecstatic! I believe my response text was something like. "Are you serious? Are you fucking serious!" All my players got extra Yum Yums in celebration.

Too good for words.
I slept pretty well Firday night, and Saturday morning meant it was time for "The Fantasy Hangover," the game I was most looking forward to running. You've seen the movie The Hangover right? It was exactly that, only with sword & sorcery heroes. A bunch of heroes return from a successful adventure and celebrate in the city. They wake up with no memory of the night before, but a bunch of people now wish them ill. ALso there's a tiger demon in the privy.  I had seven players. Four of them were returning QAGS fans that I had ran for in previous years, and the others were newbies. The game ended with the city on fire, partially exploded, and a war raging between an evil sorcerer and an equally evil warlord. I call that a success.

We had a couple of panels after that. Attendance wasn't great and the rooms were in kind of a weird place, but panels are always pretty easy and relaxing to do, so it was  good way to unwind. After that it was the "company dinner" at The Ram. We had an hour wait but the "Porter of Deception" was well worth the wait.
Light doesn't even pass through that beer.
Action museum curator!

I was done with all my games at this point, so I decided to play in Leighton's "Beowulf vs. Dracula" game. Time travel, and lots of monster slaughtering goodness. I got to play Leonard Van Helsing, an descendant of the famous vampire hunter. Leonard wasn't impressed with Beowulf, and spent a good amount of time trying to convince the others to use the time machine to go get the famous Van Helsing instead. It was a fun time with the warrior king of Geatland and a handful of action-scientists.

Sunday morning eventually came, and I was mighty fatigued by this point. Again, my games were all done, but I sat in on Steve's Herrick Agency game "The Sword and the King." Our band of supernatural investigators had to track down the legendary Excalibur which had been stolen by a cult of evil Elivs impersonators. I got to play my established Herrick Agency character, a time-displaced Sindbad the Sailor, now a smooth-talking grifter and fixer. I love that guy!

After that it was time to go. We all went to lunch at a delicious Mexican place out of town, then said our goodbyes, promising to follow up on projects we had discussed that weekend, and looking forward to seeing each other again at Archon in St, Louis in October.

Then on the way home, a cow truck tipped over or something, totally stopping traffic on 69 south of Ft. Wayne for over an hour.

And here are some other pics I took this year. I didn't take many (sooo tired).

I don't know what this is, but... GIANT ROBOT!


LOVE the steampunk Stay Puft.

Hex books!

LWoV in print! PRINT!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment