A short re-cap of Strategicon Orccon 2017...
It started with an early Thursday of getting there. I ran into Dave and Kurt and we went a drinking at the bar. I was part of the Happy Jacks RPG podcast Drizztmas exchange, and as it turns out my "secret Drizzt" was Kurt, so I brought the gift along to the con. A box filled with various goodies, all wrapped in shredded old Dragon Magazines from my youth!
Dave, Kurt and I ended up playing Tokaido, the board game. It's a little game of journeying from Kyoto to Tokyo, bathing with monkeys, and the usual Japanese hijinks. A nice way of starting out the con.
Friday 2pm: Masks (GM: Carl Rigney)
My friend Dennis talked up Carl a while back, and Masks is also the PbtA game I’ve most wanted to play (that I haven’t already), and that was that. Got to play with Jib and Gina and Ira (all Strategicon staples). Great GM, and great collaboration at the table. And I just love how this superheroes game just oozed teenage angst and attitude. And we all grew and learned... love games that end with me wanting to know what happens next, and a little sad I never get to explore this in campaign form. There must be some German word for that feeling.
Friday 8pm: "Distress on Life Liner 928", a Star Frontiers / Savage Worlds / Lego game (GM: Me)
This was my 2015 Lego game that I just pulled out of the closet. Haven’t even looked at it in over a year. Shit, it’s fun to run. I knew it runs long, so scheduled it for 8pm to 2am. We played over 6 hours and ended at around 2:30am. There was zero combat. I don’t even know why we had so much fun anymore – it’s a bit of a blur – but the players had great personality, and the role playing was just fun.
Saturday 9am: Games on Demand, round one.
We've been trying to get Games on Demand to pick up some page at Strategicon. The premise is that people just show up, and we get games going. I've been to a few conventions now which have various ways of handling this, including "the donut" at Go Play NW, and various more organized / sign-up style versions at Big Bad Con. In our case, we're still not advertising it heavily, and just kind of doing it ad hoc.
I was impressed... over 15 people showed up in the morning. My friend Chris from the Gauntlet community ran Fiasco for a table, and Stu Venable (from Happy Jacks RPG podcast) was there to run the Swords and Wizardry and had 3 kids plus more. I spun up a few other Happy Jacks regulars (Bill, CA Dave , Kurt and wife Katie) with The Quiet Year (with Lego Creationary set, my favorite way to run this game). In parallel I was getting another table ready for Dread (they were doing the questionnaires). Bill had played before, so that worked out well and they were off and running shortly, and I went off to run Dread (it’s a scenario I borrowed and tweaked and wrote about back here on blog if you are interested in the materials). Due to the shorter timeframe, I don't think I really followed too much of the scenario as prior written, but I think everyone got the gist of what Dread is trying to do! And of course we ended with a good death, and unhappy endings for all the characters!
Saturday 2pm: Games on Demand, round two
A short break, and then more GoD for the afternoon slot. We had a good 10 folks including myself. I got one table started with Forget-Me-Not: Murder Hobo, a Jim Pinto game. After getting them going, I kept hearing them laugh behind me for the entire session, and that was heartening. In parallel, I had a table of players getting Dungeon World characters created, and I ran a dungeon starter for them (check those 1-2 page freebies online, they're by Marshall Miller) called "The Escape". Funny part was I used about 3 or 4 questions from the dungeon starter, and then never looked at it again. The players came up with some kooky-fun characters, and before long they defeated the zombie-horde sent by the elves to collect the bard’s overdue saxophone… all with a wizarding ritual based around the barbarian and his kama sutra belief system. I had such a fun time running this.
Saturday 6pm: Games on Demand, round 2.5:
And then I was catching my breathe, and occasionally marketing the games and pimping GoD to random passerby’s, and suddenly I find myself running a Quiet Year with Lego for a couple who’ve never RPG’d (and two others), and that was fun. I started to burn out, had to clean up, and then had another game scheduled, so jumped out towards the end, but by then they had the flow and kept playing without me for the last 30 minutes or so.
It went down mostly smoothly. There are some issues with GoD this time around (no reservation signs on the tables to keep off non-GoD gamers, con book confusion, and communication could be a little better), but I got to talk to Jim Sandoval who runs RPGs, and I have no doubts we’ll keep working it into something more seamless by next con.
Saturday 8pm: Apocalypse World with Sam Carter.
Sam comes up from San Diego and generally runs amazing Dread games. This con he was running lots of Call of Cthulhu, but also Apocalypse World. I’ve never played this seminal game of PbtA, and so I just couldn’t miss this. I played a Brainer (psychic weirdo), and hell was that a fun game. We were one fucked up set of individuals, and dealt with both the resurgence of the sun cult, and prevented radioactive military shells from destroying the vicinity, and despite some very strong misgivings, pretty much worked together. Oh ya, AND fixed a record player. Truly happy ending.
I did get to run into the Happy Jacks RPG podcast room on the way to the loo, and the HJ crew had me quickly jump up on the mic, so I guess I'm in that episode.
Sunday morn: Pick up the daughter.
Hit the pool. We were the only ones there, and basically everyone else missed out. Despite the earlier rain-magedon storm in LA, the weather was just overcast, and the pool was warm, and the jacuzzi extra excellent.
Sunday 2pm: Golden Sky Stories (GM: me)
This was my family-friendly game session as the game is “heart-warming role playing” at its finest. The daughter was playing, and although I like to limit the game to 4 or 5 max, I ended up with 7 players, including one 6-year old girl and similarly aged boy. I just couldn’t tell these kids "no" to joining us. Kudos to the kids, cause they stuck around for a 3 hour game, and it was a fun little session. Fortunately, Ira played (who’s run this before at con), cause he actually knows the mechanics, and I barely do. I had the story down, but he helped with a few times where we had to do actions, a foot race, and magic. Stuff to learn for sure, but mistakes are the best way, right? I was very happy with the scenario, which I called "The Kid from Abroad", and plan to write it up at some point.
The rest of the night was mostly wandering around, saying hi to folks, and then finding a little card game called Lotus that the daughter and I played in open gaming. Then off to “early” (11pm) bedtime.
Monday 9am: “Hare Today, Gone Tomorrow”, Bunnies and Burrows (GM: Mook)
The daughter was excited to play in this, as she’d also played in Mook’s Monday morning game the last con and had a great time. A friend’s son also came along for the ride, and despite his shyness, I talked to him afterwards and he said he loved it. Mook had a table of 6, including CA Dave. (No room for me, but I dug just watching the table flow, and the daughter get into it).
The daughter said she liked it more the last time, and I think it was hard for her to share a table with adults. That said, the adults were actually really cool about the kids, and constantly tried to include them, and ask them for guidance, and Mook was excellent. But the mix of the shy boy and the girl who didn't feel like sharing, probably didn't go as well as the last con from her view.
End of con
End of con means “Adventure Scavenger LARP”, where both the daughter and her friend ran around in empty rooms looking for crap. They found a few dice, a Cthulhu for 2016 pin, a plastic mini, and various trash. A successful hunt. And due to some miraculously good timing, I picked up the Car Wars Card Game for $6 just as we were passing by the game auction (another thing I highly recommend for those staying until Monday noon time).
And another Orccon comes to a close.