Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Con Report 2016: Ragnarok, Weird Skyships and The Guns of Bloberone

A Trump board game?  Now THAT's Evil!
It's 2016 and I've gotten another North Texas RPG Con under my belt. As per usual it was at the Dallas Airport Marriott South (although that will be changing – see below) and it was a mix of the familiar and the new, with a tinge of melancholy. Y'see, with Becky retiring soon and a host of variables it brings, I'm not sure I'll be able to make next year. That, and the fact that Mike and Doug set us up the bomb on all of us (a bomb that was inevitable, but a shock nonetheless), it felt almost like a class reunion. Still, there were some outstanding things this year, not to mention great gaming going on everywhere. That said, I commence with the highlights:

• The trip up was a bit of a challenge with the stormy weather and an accident that closed off part of I-35 but I persevered and got to the hotel in record time.

• Meeting my roomie (and future friend) Robin Irwin. His flight was delayed but managed to make it in by late afternoon. He was a fanboy for about a day and a half (“you mean like you were the first time?” said Becky – thanks Hon) then he got into the Dallas gaming groove and had a ball.

• Had lunch with Robin, Jeff Easley and Dave "Diesel" La Force in the hotel restaurant where a lively discussion about artists rights between Deisel and Robin (who is a lawyer). And the food wasn't bad either.

• First up: Tim Snider's Ghostbusters game. I ran the same scenario for my Monday group but I wanted to see what a fresh group would do with it. It went a lot wilder than my group but the end result was the same – we stopped Ragnarok with the help of Thor's Daughter and Baby's First Molnijr.

• Before I got a chance to finish prep for my open game Zeb Cook snagged me for a round of Clay-O-Rama, the tactical game of Play-Doh that he wrote for Dragon Magazine back in the day. He handed me a can to make my creature and when the smoke cleared I was the victor, beating out Tentacular (AKA Bob), Satan's Sharkfin, and the Tombstone of Doom. Long Live The Guns of Bloberone!

• Said game I was prepping for was Gangbusters. I ran half of Part 1 of The Plot Thickens for Vince Florio and a couple other enthusiastic players. They managed to get the low-down on who was killing real estate investors and when the next shipment of hooch was coming in from Canada. We never finished as one player had to leave and I had a 6 PM game to get to so we ended up shooting the bull for a couple hours. Had enough playtime though for me to rewrite it for next years' con.

Bruce Heard's Basic D&D Calidar game. A pleasure. We took a skyship to near space to investigate a cloaked ship (a mini-dungeon) full of weird mutated orcs and ogres worshipping some Elder God. I thought of it as Spelljammer On Drugs. Had a lot of fun, went through a lot of spells (I played an elf) and stopped the menace – for now (the next group the following night had to deal with the collateral damage that escaped to the planet). Some sanity was lost and a good time was had by all.

• The Case of The Disappearing Special Guest – Both Tim Snider and myself were looking forward to meeting Greg Costikyan – but we never found him. I checked registration and he got there, but was nowhere to be found, by us anyway. We weren't the only ones. Maybe next year (I saw afterwards on Facebook some folks did see and talk to him).

Theron Bretz's 4E Champions game. He ran To Protect and Serve and it was a masterful job. He even let me play one of my old characters (Escargot). I was also thrilled to be playing alongside Steve Perrin. Theron is an old HERO hand and it shows – I was exhausted afterwards watching him balance character sheets, phase charts, the module and all the other plates he had spinning. It was a sight to behold and I was reminded why I don't GM that game anymore. Age creeps in when you least expect it.

• I actually got a chance to go to Satan's Midnight Auction this year. I didn't bid on a damn thing (I was tempted by that Call of Cthulhu DVD though) but I had a blast watching. Gotta do it again next year.

And another one goes into the memory vault. The major bomb dropped this year was right before the regular auction Mike announced this would be the last year NTRPG Con would be at the Airport Marriot, as they needed the space (they cap attendance at 350 but we still have to have more room, as there were a LOT more scheduled games than last year). I felt a bit sad, as the Marriot started to feel like Convention Home to me once a year. Oh well, on to a new venue (The Airport Westin). Crossing my fingers...

Anyway, once again a great con. Nice to see Mike and Liz Stewart again even though I couldn't make their Victorious game.  Thanks to all the folks running games, the Marriott staff was on-point and the biggest thanks go to three people – Robin Irwin for being my roomate, covering the hotel bill (I can't thank you enough for that) and being a good new friend, and of course Mike Badolato and Doug Rhea for putting on the Best Gaming Con In The Nation.

We banged that one out, Gaming Community! On to the next one!


Theron said...

I had a blast running that Champions game, but it reminded me why I only do it on special occasions nowdays. I was so wired I stayed up past 3 and wasn't up for my Sunday game and driving home.

I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Badmike said...

Thanks for coming again, always good to see you!