Gateway 2015: Friday

The journey there

A long bus ride on a Thursday. The first bus, to my friend Jack's new cafe, Endorffeine in Chinatown (plug!). So, so good.

Then a second bus. A ride down Santa Monica for 1.5 hours that involved a good, long listen to the Mad Max soundtrack. This inspired me with a realization about being ready to run the late night game, that comes later.

One of my favorite parts coming into the con, is the Thursday night... off to have dinner with friends, and a very late night game of Splendor (in preparation for the tournament), with my friends Howie and Lisa.

Friday pre-games

Howie and I take off, and pick up some nutrients in the form of cold press green juice (because god knows there will be nothing green to eat during the weekend). And then off to the con for an early start... gotta sign up for them games!

We get there around 10:30am, and get in touch with Craig (aka whodo on the Happy Jacks forums), who is visiting from the UK. Just for the con... amazing. Chat around, eat at the Habit Burger (now a tradition pre-con), and then back for the sheets.

By then there is a crowd getting ready to riot. Fortunately, Jim Sandoval (the Generalissimo de RPG) steps up and cracks the whip! Three people can sign up at a time, when one is done, next in line can step up. Slow, but very effective, and fair. And we got our own taste of some Gencon line waiting!

Friday 1pm-7pm: Distress of Life Liner 928

GM: me. This is my Star Frontiers / Savage Worlds / Lego game, which I've talked about in a previous post


  • Kurt (Lauer) as Cutter Parsons, Human Pilot
  • Kody as Galius Sturk, Dralasite Engineer
  • Brian as Verm, the Sathar Medic
  • Bill from Arizona as Sarkin Rah, the Vrusk Captain
Character generation

Character generation

Character generation always takes about 30 minutes, but it definitely works faster now. Instead of having them make the basic character, then starting the game, and then stopping to do equipment (which, really, made sense in my head when first making the game)... now we just do it all up at the front and get into it (thank you player feedback!). Per always, they come up with all sorts of fun, interesting combinations that I haven't seen before.

I can't state enough how much fun the players bring into this. But needless to say, I had a grand ol' time running it.

A picture of people taking pictures.

A picture of people taking pictures.

Friday 7pm-10pm: Splendor tournament

I was supposed to be in an RPG, but about 2 weeks back I found out they are running a Splendor tournament. The first, at Strategicon. I got in touch with Asmodee, the US distributor, and was able to secure 3 more sets of the game to the Game Library. Thanks Asmodee and Space Cowboys! Unfortunately the "prizes" that they sent wouldn't reach us in time. But hey, next con.

As it was, had a great time, and even got 3rd place. Was in the final game with my friend Howie, and it was brutal. It was what I term a "fast" game, with lots of high-value cards in the center and top rows. And everyone knew it. And it was cock-block city, with everyone hoarding gold coins, and other people's colors, and pointing of fingers. So, so good. Truly a cut-throat game, and I'm honored to have been a part of it.

My semi-final win. Killed it with 17 points.

My semi-final win. Killed it with 17 points.

After that we wandered about a bit, and I ran into Bob Quinterro's Xcom game, which included these cats (including Dimitri / radzap and Craig / whodo):


Not finding anything to play, it was time to pull out the big guns in my back pocket...

Friday 11pm-2am: Dread Mad Max Fury Road

GM: Me.


  • Howie as Bwarez, Howard, and Russians
  • Albert as Grog, Alice Spiderhands, and Mike the Midget Master
  • Sinh as Shaggy Pig, Charlie Brown, and Cupcake Daisy
  • Andy as Honkey, Vladimir (damn, I forget the rest! He took the scraps of paper!)

I stole this game. The idea. It was Andy M from Seattle: He ran this at GoPlayNW 2015, which I attended. Although he played in my game during that con, I didn't get to play in his, but heard the players talk about how amazing it was. Fortunately, conversations with both Andy himself, and another amazing fellow named Stras, illuminated much of what seemed to make it so cool.

And so I've planned to hijack the game for some time, but just really wasn't sure if it'd just implode in my face, since it's very ad hoc, and all improv. But on the bus ride to the con, I was listening to the Mad Max soundtrack, and was touched by the great arm of the RPG god herself... it was all so clear: Just follow where the music takes you.

And so with that, I took my three friends, and then poached a Werewolf GM (who also RPGs heavily; but I did steal him from his Werewolf duties!) We find a spot, setup a Jenga tower, and I start playing the soundtrack, and then:

I start by asking them what kind of game they want to play. It's what Andy M does, supposedly. And within the first few minutes, Sinh says "thunderdome". There is a groan or two, but wait, I exclaim. We are not playing thunderdome from back in the day... this will be thunderdome as re-imagined in Fury Road.

And hence we have The Pig Hunters. They are gladiators that have risen through the ranks, but are now hunters for new players in the gladiator pits. Which they poach from the wastelands. And have them fight. The losers become "pigs" and are eaten by the community. The winners keep playing. Until they lose. Or until they come up in the ranks, and join the tribe.

Now, sterility is a thing. And they need women. Or children. And there are some, but they are beyond the radioactive wastes. Good thing they have a plan. There was an old man who came from the wastes in a biohazard suit, not too long ago. He had a Geiger counter, and when he reached our land, he said it was clean. Before we tortured him and ate him. His helmet and the tatters of his suit still hang in the town square. But he did reveal one other thing: There is a facility out in the wastes with more suits, where he came from, and "please don't kill me. I'll show you where it is." Blah blah blah.

And if they get these suits, perhaps they can find a new place to live, and start their own thunderdome. The big men in charge are not fun to work for, keeping all the best spoils for themselves.

Now, they need vehicles. And gear. And that doesn't come cheap in this world. And blocks start getting pulled immediately. Howie wants a motorcycle with a side gattling gun, and an AK-47 and a mortar, and some more miscellaneous stuff. No worries! "Just pull 8 blocks. What was that? Just a harpoon and some barbed wire? OK, two blocks it is." And so it goes...

Everyone is armed, and out. It's 2 days to the great river that'll need to be crossed. First they have to get by the Amazons who live up in the hills. Men go there to die, but it is said that the Amazons let them die in a pleasant way. Before they are eaten. However, the Amazons live in a fortress of rocks and caves, and noone has ever been able to infiltrate their home turf.

They scrape by, but then find they are chased. Battle ensues. The tower grows, and falls, and grows again. The Amazons are defeated, and they capture a new bike.

And now it is time to camp. In the red rock wastelands. Where the large Ligerbeasts live. Supposedly they hunt in packs of 10 or 20, and drag off travelers at night, silently. They set up camp, and blocks are pulled. And a tower falls, and someone is dragged into the night. The party gives chase and is finally able to surround the beasts with a crazy maneuver, (and a tower falls) and another member is decapitated by a fleeing Ligerbeast. But the sun then rises.

They continue on to the river, and find a huge croc sun bathing at the sandbar. The one used for crossing. And one of Andy's characters runs down to sacrifice himself (tower pushed) by holding the croc's jaws open while his mates scurry across... and as the last car passes, the croc's jaws come snapping down.

And it's 2:30am and we decide it's time to call it a night. But shit was that an amazing ride.

And where did the story come from? The music, man. Just follow the music.

A tower, a speaker, and a dose of crazy.

A tower, a speaker, and a dose of crazy.