Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Gen Con 2014 Report

A week ago tonight, I had just finished driving home from Indianapolis after 5 days of gaming at Gen Con. It is crazy to think how time flies...a few weeks ago, I was worried about getting everything ready for the convention. A few weeks before that, I was thinking I still had plenty of time to get everything done, maybe even get one more Darkshade Publishing book completed ahead of it. Now, the next Gen Con is only about 49 weeks away since it is an early start next year (July 30).

Pictures? Nope - did not even bother to snap any on my out dated and not smart phone.

Busy? Yup - worked about 8-12 hours each day at the auction as well as ran one 3.5-4 hour game each day.

The Exhibit Hall? I just find it hard to pay retail price for things these days. I usually try to track down Wargames Factory since they offer some free sprues with their new sets, but they did not show up this year. I did drop in a few times on the Peryton Publishing booth to say hello or grab a few SA! Lite books to use for my game on Saturday, but I otherwise did not really do any real shopping or investigating.

Darkshade Publishing? Tom and Robin at Peryton Publishing were kind enough to offer my two books in the Exhibit Hall. I don't think I sold more than a few copies, but I am ever thankful for the exposure they offered.

Wednesday? I showed up early on the day and helped with auction intake. I then went to the KFG Wednesday Gaming at Scotty's to get a good meal and run a cool little card game that is one of my favorites (Formula Motor Racing). Briefly talked to KFG Bart there and ran my game at 3pm for an awesome local couple. No one showed  up for my 1pm slot, so I enjoyed a sandwich and a dessert watching Hellboy 2 and Man of Steel on the vid screens. Went back to the auction, worked a few more hours, then met the Peryton group at the Tilted Kilt for our annual pre-con gathering.

Game of Thrones RPG? I find that the game is always a good time. It can be a challenge dealing with a table full of people that more than likely know the books better than I do. It is also a low magic, lower monster type world which presents its own additional challenges. I think the one thing I can confirm for 2015 is that I will be taking a break from AGOT - 6 years (2008-2010, 2012-2014) was a decent run.

Tunnels & Trolls? The fantasy sessions seemed to work well enough. All the players were new to T&T so it was really a teaching session, but both groups really developed some strong characters in the short time. The strength of the system is its allowance for creativity on the character front - players seem to love being able to choose a race that could be improbable for other games.

Stay Alive? I ran the Gaslight game for 8 players. It went quite well and I think it is something I can really try to expand upon for future Darkshade projects. As with most independent publishers, I need to find some reliable and affordable artists to work with.

What did I buy? Not much at all. I bought a copy of 'Castle Panic' in the auction for $16 (with an expansion) and bought a zombie board game in the charity auction for either $26 or $28. I sold a few items in the auction, netting just over $200 after paying my seller fees.

Will I be back next year? It is hard for me to resist the temptation of Gen Con. Every year I say that I am done running events, but then I have some really great players show up and make me re-think that stance. I already promised the boy that I would bring him along next year, so the only question will be working out the hotel room and how much time to work at the auction.

It was nice to see some newer friends once again - Cram, Sligo, Caed, Jordan...met a few others for the first time from the Peryton crew. Thanks again to Tom and Robin for everything you do and for the 'Event Uber Overlord' t-shirt. I really do enjoy organizing those events every year. Also to Robin for running the D&D 5E game that I showed up late to...and KFG Bart for once again tracking me down to give me my t-shirt and dice (and for organizing all the KFG stuff every year).

Monday, August 18, 2014

Attributes - Kindred Limitations

The Lone Delver posted a very detailed  and well thought proposal for the update of starting kindred modifiers HERE.

I have just returned from GEN CON after having run 3 separate T&T sessions, all with new character generation. One was my SA! GASLIGHT game, so I will not refer to that character generation since those were human only characters.
Jeff Dee/TSR

Does it make sense to 'cap' or set a maximum for a kindred that cannot be surpassed by spending AP to increase the attribute? It makes sense to limit a Hobb or a Leprechaun to start with a limited STR, however those low numbers are easy pickings to start raising once the AP starts flowing in.

I know that most purists would say that this would be nonsense and T&T should be unbalanced, but then why have racial modifiers at all if you are limiting or rewarding the character based on his or her kindred propensities at the start?

If a Leprechaun and Hobb are both limited to a negative starting adjustment for STR, does it not make sense to say that such characters should never exceed a 15 STR? Would it make sense for a Hobb who is so racially limited at the start of his career to have a negative modifier to his natural STR, to be able to get this value up to a 40 or 50, thus being 'stronger' than say a giant?

Just thinking out loud here...I will spend some time adding to the existing 7.5 charts what I think should be MAX values for different kindreds. More to come soon...

For my fantasy games at the convention, I had two distinct and wonderful groups...

Group 1 consisted of the following:
  • Naga Wizard (complete with a saddle to allow the Leprechaun to ride on his slithery end)
  • Leprechaun Rogue (with a Talent for 'finding profit' - basically a Ferengi, well played)
  • Dark Elf Wizard
  • Dwarf Warrior
  • Dwarf Warrior
  • Hobgoblin Warrior (with a talent in cooking that endeared him to the humans in the caravan the group was guarding - also had a small boy who eagerly followed him around with a fork trying to help him fight)
Group 2 consisted of the following:
  • Ogre (female) Warrior (she patched together her armor from bits and pieces of armor from fallen foes - she also took insult to anyone that just assumed  she was a monster - she was very un-uncouth)
  • Vampire Wizard (told others he was victim to some really bad acid wounds so he keeps his entire body covered)
  • Merperson Warrior (an aristocratic envoy to the landed peoples who got tired of the hum drum life of courts and politics and took up his harpoons, trident, and net to try some delving)
  • Leprechaun Rogue
  • Hobb (female) Rogue
For the record, my SA! Gaslight game had the following:
  • The Assistant (a chemist assistant who was eager to try out his own talents at mixing things)
  • The Doctor (nicknamed Doctor Death for his eagerness to stab anyone with his hunting knife)
  • The Dentist (carried around his bottle of chloroform)
  • The Rich Guy (independently wealthy, loved his boomstick)
  • The Irish (he was Irish and he created a talent called 'Liquid Courage' which worked quite well)
  • The Dancer (proficient with darts, she also brought out a burlesque dance in a tavern to cause a needed  distraction)
  • There were 2 other characters that I am having a hard time remembering their details...

Monday, August 11, 2014

Stay Alive! Gaslight, and another Gen Con Update

Was able to play some SA! on Saturday night (before and after the Columbus Crew game) with Tom, Robin, and the Boy. It is nice to be able to bounce some ideas and flesh out some ideas with a strong group of role players and friends.

For my convention games, I like to use what I call my 'Danger Room' method. I fondly remember plenty of old 'Uncanny X-Men' comics where the characters start an issue with a fight against some sentinels or was seems to be the return of the Marauders. After the fight, we find out that it was a Danger Room exercise, a bit of action to set the stage for the issue, or just start the blood flowing a bit for the story.

Playing at a table full of strangers, and normally people that have little or no experience with the game or system, it serves as both a way to hit the ground running (after what could be a half hour of character creation) and also get the mechanics of combat out of the way so that it goes potentially smoother later in the session.

My Danger Room scenario was intended to be a quick fight and capture of a Voodoo Papa Juju as he was interfering with the crews continuing the work of draining the Black Swamp and building a southern road. The group started out on the back end of the investigation, but I found out quickly that it could have easily served as full adventure - I really took away from some good role playing opportunities by just handing them the climax of the story.

Also it should be noted that both Tom and Robin came up with creative background for both their characters. The Boy's character background had already been fleshed out over the prior weeks leading up to this weekend. I am making this note to just remind myself to come back to this particular game as it had some very memorable events to share.

Gen Con update....

Darkshade Publishing Preparations
Pack up Peryton Gamers T-Shirts
Pick out the games to sell in the Auction
Enter the games to sell online at
Pack game for KFG Wednesday Gaming

Need to do
Print character sheets for T&T games
Print out character sheets for AGOT game
Pick out the games to sell in the Auction
Enter the games to sell online at
Pack miniatures for AGOT and T&T games
Pack game for KFG Wednesday Gaming
Update and Print AGOT adventure
Update, Playtest (Aug 9) and Print T&T SA! adventure (In process)

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Gen Con 2014 - Darkshade Publishing

Gen Con.

Those of you not going are probably get sick of all the constant references and posts about preparations.

Peryton Publishing will be kindly offering some Darkshade products at their booth in the Exhibit Hall, #1317. Hard copies of both Meandering Monsters V1 ($7) and Stay Alive LE ($5) will be available as well as some nifty postcards with the 50% off discount code for the PDF, good through September. There are not many copies for sale (about 13 of each), but I would not imagine they will be selling out either. Tom or Robin from Peryton Publishing will be at the booth, or some other Peryton Gamer volunteer.

I will also have some of the postcards with me for the T&T games I am running on THUR-SAT-SUN.

There will be some extra t-shirts as well. If by chance you are not already getting one (Peryton Gamer) and would like one, reply to this post and I will try to get you one. If I am not running a game, I will be one of the countless fools working in the auction all weekend. You could find me there as well.

If you are not busy on Wendesday afternoon, I will be running a card game called Formula Motor Racing at Scottys Brewhouse, both at 1pm and 3pm. Seats are still available, but official sign-ups are currently closed.

Here is a full list of the Peryton Gamer events - some still have tickets that can be purchased on site. Also, show up with generics...most events have no-shows or can accommodate more than the listed attendees. No promises, but worth a shot.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

What I still need to do before Gen Con

Others have done this and I think it is a good idea to help me be a bit more organized.

Darkshade Publishing Preparations
Pack up Peryton Gamers T-Shirts

Need to do
Print character sheets for T&T games
Print out character sheets for AGOT game
Pick out the games to sell in the Auction
Enter the games to sell online at
Pack miniatures for AGOT and T&T games
Pack game for KFG Wednesday Gaming
Update and Print AGOT adventure
Update, Playtest (Aug 9) and Print T&T SA! adventure