Big Bad Con 2015 - Friday, Oct 16

Getting there

Took a flight to San Jose, hung out with the family, and then left Nova with my parents so I could head up to Big Bad Con 2015.

I've been supremely looking forward to this for quite some time. The list of games was looking brilliant, and the games I signed up for included all sorts of interesting ones, such as Torchbearer, Vox, Songlines, a Fate Accelerated game where you play nations instead of characters... I mean, seriously. All in one con.

Got up to the con before noon, so had time to spare before running my game. The hotel was great in that they let me check in at 11:30am without drama, and I quickly grabbed a bite, and then headed down to checkout the scene.

Setup was still in progress, and Registration was still being constructed. Sean Nittner, the Chief Gaming Officer of the con, was there, so I said a hello, and he quickly got me situated and registered. I wandered about, getting oriented, and then went back to the room to get my gear for gaming.

Distress on Life Liner 928 (Star Frontiers  / Savage Worlds / Lego), 1pm-7pm

GM: Tomer Gurantz (that's me)


  • Joe as Robot Medic #8247
  • Wilhelm Fitzpatrick as Yazirian Pilot Grak-Ahz
  • Liz Ruifrok as Sathar Weapons officer Kip
  • Jason Murray as Dralasite Engineer Bliff

This is my Star Frontiers (Savage Worlds conversion rules) space-based Lego dungeon crawl that I've mentioned on previous posts here.

Starting a 1 pm Friday game has risks, and those risks mainly involve people not getting to the con on time. That's a better narrative than people hearing about my game and changing their minds, so I'm sticking with it! So, two players short, I was able to convince Joe to join us, though he already had a game scheduled later. He admitted that he'd ditch it if he was having fun though (as he ended up doing). And then about 30+ minutes in, Liz joined us as she was free... two unscheduled guests plus two scheduled guests equals gaming win.

Everyone built interesting characters, and I won't go into the details as there are always semi-spoilers if people want to play at a later time, but there were new builds this time around, which is always fun. I'm a huge fan of this plug-and-play method of creating characters, which gives players something of a pre-gen, but also a PC they are responsible for creating, and therefore have some ownership over. And it also means I, as the GM, never run the same game twice.

Some folks met their objectives, some met their objectives and then died horribly, and some continued living in hiding. All in all, good fun. Lessons learned? Mainly, pump up the volume a bit more (the players said it was a bit on the quiet side).

The crew of the Golden Can: Joe, Wilhelm, Liz, and Jason

The crew of the Golden Can: Joe, Wilhelm, Liz, and Jason

The Facility (Vox), 7pm-1am

GM: Matt "Matthulhu" Steele


  • Bruce Harlick as Gill, I mean Lawrence
  • Tomer Gurantz as Tiffany
  • Christopher Ory as Roberto
  • Julie Dinkins as Hyrum
  • Ezra Denney as Fritz... I mean Hanz

(at least those were our made up names)

I was very excited about this game. In fact, it was one of my two initial sign-ups.(For those not aware, Big Bad Con this year implemented multi-staged game registration. First you sign up for 2 games maximum on an initial Saturday. Then a week later, you can register for as many other games as you desire. Great plan, as this lets everyone get into some games they really want, without it being a complete slugfest.)

Why was I excited about this game? The first sentences of the description of the Vox game system: "Vox is a game in which you play a character and The Voice of the character next to you." Damn.

Here's the description of the scenario that Matt had written for this session: You wake to fire, pain and destruction. You’re in some kind of facility. You don’t remember coming here. You don’t know where you are. Hell, you don’t remember who you are. But then The Voice tells you to get out of there. Whatever happened to you is bad. What happens next could be worse. Time to get out.

And he ran the first 10 minutes of the session so beautifully in playing to that description. It was one of those great games where you chose your character according to a picture, and nothing else. Matt started at one end of the table, as characters became conscious, one after another, and had each character as a lead in to the next one awakening. It was masterfully done. It real lent to the chaos and confusion of the situation. And of course each player was bought in, and played their characters to the tee.

What was interesting was that we were each given 2 character sheets.

One was our main character, which in this scenario, had a number of blank spots. We might know, for example as I did, that I was a good Street Fighter and that I liked to Help the Helpless. But profession? Unknown. Other skills? Unknown. Your name? Unknown. Why are you here? Again, unknown.

The second character sheet was the voice. The voice has a personality. A physique and personality associated with it, and its own set of skills. And the voice knows the name of the character to your right (even though that character doesn't know that themselves). Playing the voice involves occasionally talking, or spitting words and phrases, to the player to your right, at opportune moments. However you can also communicate through other means. You can write things on paper and have those appear to the character on a wall, for instance. But I think the key is that these are some sort of verbiage (as opposed to complex visuals or hallucinations.

On the left, a picture, and character record with blanks that would slowly get filled out. On the right, a ghost that whispers in the ear of another player.

On the left, a picture, and character record with blanks that would slowly get filled out. On the right, a ghost that whispers in the ear of another player.

It was much fun. All I know is that there is something a bit disconcerting about a character that keeps asking about food and saying how hungry he is, and then this character's voice that keeps telling him to eat 'them' (where 'them' is the rest of us). 

All said, great session with a great GM and great players. Won't spoil any endings, cause you may, and should, play this game.

Confusion and voices

Confusion and voices

Late night ramblings

We were done shortly after midnight. What's next to do? Find players and more games! I wanted to get something going, like some Mad Max Dread, or some short GMless thing like Forget Me Not, but most people were pretty worn down by then.

I did run into a grand table in one of the rooms where muchas personas were chatting away. My friends Gina, Jason, and Morgan from LA, including many others. We were eventually joined by Adam Koebel as well, and hearing him, Morgan, and <that other fine gentleman?> chat away was pretty entertaining. They all know a lot of shtuff, but it was on matters that I'm no wizard on. So I just sat back, kept drinking, and enjoyed the ride. 

I got to sleep eventually, somewhere before 4 am.