Sunday 9am: Games on Demand and Wind on the Path
Bob and I woke up around 8:30am, had a quick brekkie, and headed down to setup GoD. I wasn't going to be able to play or run anything since I needed to get the daughter for con, but was there to help get people going. Turned out there was no need! Who wakes up that early on Sunday at Strategicon? No one! (MENTAL NOTE: The plan for next time: "Games on Demand: Sunday Brunch". We'll make it start at 11am for short-form games that end by 1pm.)
So, the two of us sat down and I ran us through Wind on the Path, a short 2-player samurai battle story game by Jonathan Lavallee, and featured in Codex - Iron, an RPG zine put out by the Gauntlet.
I had some samurai playsheets printed out, and a little Wind on the Path tracker helper I whipped up prior to con, and we went to it. I used my samurai Yashinoki that I had made for my initial game in the Gauntlet's slack samurai battles, and Bob put together his own samurai. We met at a bridge, which featured a fisherman and merchant dragging his wagon and taking a break. Before long we were up on the rocky bridge, exchange harsh words, intimidating stares, with a gusty wind, and then SLASH... we tied. Hmm... not really sure how to resolve that (a question for the game designer). We both were wounded, him across a forearm, me to the bone on my thigh.
The game plays quickly. About 30 minutes if you are new to it. And the mechanics and movements really evoke a cool little narrative. It was great seeing someone else also enjoy it, and just reinforced that I'll be running this for Jackercon (Happy Jacks online RPG convention), as a sort of samurai league.
Off to pick up the daughter from my wife's work on Sundays, and then back. Although the weekend started pretty cool (especially for LA at this time of Spring), it warmed up by Sunday, and we hit the pool for about an hour. It's something to plan for, as the hotel has one medium sized pool surrounded by 4 hot tubs, all of it outdoors on the 3rd floor in one of the atriums.
After a little wandering we checked out the dealer room. The daughter used some of her hard earned cash to pick up a set of polyhedral dice in a sparkly deep blue that she liked (and bemoaned the high cost... that's a win in her learning the value of her money). I found a pair of ladies making custom dice bags. It was a pretty cool setup, as they had a selection of fabrics and a sewing maching, and could do a reversible dice bag for you on the spot (assuming you could come back to pick up a few hours later). They made me a bag with a gritty dungeon map on one side, and rainbow space invaders on the other. I'll try to remember to add their business details later when I remember where I put that business card.
We also played borrowed a game of Lotus from the game library, which is extensive at this game convention (you only need to let them hold on to your photo ID). We played a round at open gaming, but then it was time to prepare to run my Sunday afternoon kid game...
Sunday 2pm: Fallout Shelter RPG (KIDS ONLY!)
GM: Me; Players: 4 kids (ages 6, 8, 8, 8)
I setup this game cause the daughter has expressed more and more interest in RPGs at the con (although I can't get her to play at home yet... a quest for another time). She's played in this scenario a couple of times, both with kids and adults, and I knew she could handle all the mechanics and story elements. Two of the other kids had played RPGs before, but I could tell attention spans were of the somewhat short end. The 6-year old had never played before, and he seemed a little shy.
I immediately scrapped a few mechanical elements in the game (money economy, the mechanical end of combat in lieu of short narrative bits), and decided I'd shorten the scenario from the usual 4 hours, down below the planned 3 hours, to 2 hours with a very large break in the middle. This was a smart call, cause it held their attention perfectly. We did lots of quick cutting and simple questions, and very basic story.
They traveled the wasteland. They followed a strange vault dweller in, who tried to cook them in an oven. They went to the medbay and were apologized to by the vault's doctor, and pointed in the right direction to help the overseer. They fought off some mole rats chewing through the electricity, and then saved the overseer, and helped feel the molerats to his pet Deathclaw. The overseer gave them the key so they could leave the vault, and also access to the storage closer with all the rare armor and weapons they could carry (i.e. two each).
Scenario-wise, I ran it a lot more like I would Golden Sky Stories, than how I usually run this game. Worked well considering the age range and attention spans. I consider that a success.
The rest of Sunday
We finished earlier than I had planned for, so we hit the dealer room again, I picked up my dice bag, and we eventually had dinner and hit the pool again. Before long it was 9:30 and the daughter wanted to "rest", but still wanted to hit a Werewolf versus Texans game scheduled for that evening. Our friends Cell and Chris would meet us there, and their son, who was having his 11th birthday at the con and has played in my RPGs in the past. Unfortunately, the daughter just passed out, and despite many attempts, I couldn't wake her up later. So it ended up being an "early" night (relatively speaking).