Sunday, June 5, 2016

North Texas RPG Con Day 3: The Realm of Pidgeonloft and Satan's Midnight Auction

Folks, today is Day 3 here at North Texas RPG Con 2016. Today is the most active day for me with the least amount of planned events. The auction is this afternoon (and tonight!), and this morning I'm running a game of TOON, the cartoon role-playing game. Hopefully, I'll be able to keep up!

Tomorrow morning, I'll be heading to the airport for the flight home, so this is likely my last post until my return. So what happened today? Wouldn't YOU like to know? Read on, Sparky!
  • It's Saturday morning, so it's time for CARTOON MAYHEM! Normally, I run Thundarr the Barbarian for the 'toon aficionados, but this year I went full scale 'toon RPGs with...well...TOON by Steve Jackson Games. In "Dullards & Dragons", six intrepid cretins from the Looniverse were tasked with traversing the Lands of Teesahr (pronounced "tee-ess-ahr") into the dread realm of "Pidgeonloft: Land of Horror and Gothiness". After getting directions at The Obligatory Tavern (run by bartender Phil Obligatory), the party met Da Wolves -- a gang of '50s greaser werewolves who challenged them to a dance-off. The bard entranced the fiends with her mad kazooing skills while the the team snuck past. Brother Fahther the cleric even convinced one of them to join the party. Upon crossing the Deep Gorge (and having the thief fall to her doom) and reaching Castle Strahdovich, they used an angry moose to break through the walls. The party came face to face with the horrific Plaid Dragon who breathed laughing gas at the team! Once they hypnotized the Count into thinking he was Munchkin from Oz, he was easy prey for the bull fighter to charge him into the arena walls. (Did I mention this was all a live show at a Medieval Times-type restaurant?) In other words, it was a typical game of TOON with much chaotic insanity! And if you want to play the adventure yourself, I posted the files earlier today!
  • I stopped in the main floor to watch a few minutes of Ryan Moore running his own Thundarr the Barbarian game using the DCC rules along with material from the zine Crawling Under a Broken Moon. Demon Dogs! What an adventure! (And Ryan mentioned he wanted to play the Wayward board game with me later today, so we've made plans to break out the board and give it a go here at the con.)
  • Glen Hallstrom and I spent a good chunk of the afternoon at one of the side tables just talking about bookbinding, our respective entrances into the hobby, and general "how life was treating us" talk. Again, it's always good to take a moment away from the gaming tables and just hang out with pals at events like this. Good to see you again, Glen!
  • The 4 p.m. auction was keen as usual as Frank and Tim (you may have heard of them...) stepped up to both bring in the bids and entertain the crowds. Several items got top dollars, but most heartening were the three #1 signed copies of "Chuck's Dragons", a fundraiser for Chuck Wright's rehabilitation. Each went for $400+ from the crowd. Always delightful seeing the auction in action.
  • Before the auction, the announcement for the Three Castles Award was presented. For this year, the award went to Red and Pleasant Land by Zak S.! One of my favorite RPG supplements and very deserving of the award.
  • Try as I might, I *cannot* locate Greg Costikyan, so it looks like my TOON will go unsigned. (cue sad trombone music).
  • Stopped by and spoke to Jason Braun again for a few minutes at his artist's booth. I saw that he had prints of his artwork he created for the earlier Labyrinth Lord books. Knowing he did the artwork for the first Mutant Future cover, I remarked that it would have been nice if he had one of those for sale. AND HE DID. Getting this print became one of the highlights of this whole trip. Thanks Jason!
  • Ryan Moore and his brother Grady joined me later for a game of Wayward, a dungeon-crawler boardgame I highly recommend and have reviewed here at TSAW. As we explored the depths of Darrowell Dungeon (and later Darrowell City), several interested folks stopped by to watch the game and ask questions. Nice to see interest in this game, as it's one of my favorites. However, Grady won the first game (and I didn't even make it out in time) and Ryan won Game Two (and I came in third).
  • A guy I've never met stopped me in the dealer's area. "You! I've been looking for you!" he said as he pointed and motioned for me to follow him. Slightly bewildered, I walked over to his table as he rummaged through a backpack. He pulled out and handed me a copy of Event Horizon, a White Star module I edited a while back. It was author Johua De Santo, and this was a comp copy he brought to NTRPG Con specifically to give to me as way of thanks. Thanks again Johua!
  • It's 2 a.m. and Satan's Annual Midnight Auction just ended. Hysterical stuff as The Dark Lord auctioned off one-of-a-kind items, unusual wares, and tons and tons of crap. Laughed my ass off for two straight hours as bids went high on the damndest of things. I got a Midnight Syndicate CD I didn't own, as well as a copy of the Chick Tract "Dark Dungeons" that was personally autographed by Satan: "Just hangin' with Marcie!"
  • And, with that, my time at NTRPG Con comes to an end as my flight leaves tomorrow. Had a great time, played some great games, and met and reconnected with great folks. Thanks gang. And count me in on 2017. This is Your Friendly Neighborhood Sniderman, live from Texas, signing off.
The brave knights enters the TOON realm of "Dullards & Dragons"

Abner Kadabner, the wizard; Sir Loinstake, the warrior; Brother Fahther, the cleric; Rizzo DeRatt, the not-a-thief; Ranger Rick, the ranger; and Merry Eddie, the bard, all became Official Knights of the Four-Sided Polyhedral Table! HUZZAH!

Ryan running Thundar the Barbarian! Lords of Light! Ahhhhh-heeee!

Artwork from the prolific Doug Kovacs

This Jeff Easley painting was amazing. Skeletal warriors ROCK

 And this piece by Diesel was titled "35 Years Later And Still Full of Lizardmen"

Frank and Tim running the auction

A print of the first edition Mutant Future artwork I got from Jason Braun

Ryan, his brother Grady, and I played a few games of Wayward while we waited for the midnight auction. Great dungeon crawler boardgame and highly recommended.

The Dark Lord auctions off a copy of The Apprentice boardgame starring our potential future leader

Saturday, June 4, 2016

TOON Dullards & Dragons Now Available For Download!

As this post goes live, I just finished running a group of players through a new adventure for the TOON RPG by Steve Jackson Games -- "Dullards & Dragons"! If you'd like to run it for your own home group, here it is available for download. (I even included 6 pre-gens for your use!) Enjoy, and let me know if your players were able to stop the scourge of Count Strahd Von Strahdovich (thunderclap) from the Realm of Pidgeonloft!

North Texas RPG Con Day 2: Hollar Hollow, DungeonQuest, And The Green Devil Face

Howdy folks and welcome to Day 2 of Sniderman's live travelogue from North Texas RPG Con 2016. Yesterday was my first full day of gaming, socializing, shopping, and geeking out, and I hope today is just as energizingly action-packed. By design, I only have one scheduled event, so today I'll be trolling the open gaming and not-yet-filled events. So if you're here and you see me wandering around, offer me a beer and a place at your table!

As usual, I'll be returning to my room and adding to this blog entry as the day goes on, posting the final results before hitting the sheets. So without further ado, here's Day 2:
  • Man, I ran one game and played one game yesterday and my voice is already cracking. Seems to happen at every con because I just can't shut up for more than 5 minutes, straining my voice. Glad I brought lozenges this year.
  • Some of you may have realized that my posting frequency here at TSAW has been thin this year. Typically by now, I've amassed 50+ posts, but this year, I'm at less than 20. Well, Your Friendly Neighborhood Sniderman has been doing a lot (A LOT) of freelancing behind the scenes which has cut sharply into my "Bloggin'-and-Playin' Happy Fun Times." But I'll try to get better about it. This daily live-blogging is an attempt to get back into the swing of regular posting again.
  • I wore my custom-made Tomb of Horrors shirt today. Lots of folks thought it was cool. I like it too, but conventions are the only place I can wear it without folks thinking I'm an Anton LeVey follower or something.
  • Blah blah blah, wah wah wah, so what about gaming stuff, Monkey Boy? Read on!
  • Played in Mike Curtis' DCC game "Holler Hollow" this morning. Our group of adventurers were passing through the afore-mentioned burg deep in the Shudder Mountains. Over supper, Chase and his wife, our overnight hosts, told us of the restless spirit of a local woman who was beginning to appear in town. Seeking vengeance? Closure? After "Elfie the Action Elf" tried to communicate with the spirit (using Magic Missile), we ended up at the old haunted gristmill where the ghost and her husband originally lived. Long story short -- We finally made contact with the spirit and found out how she met her untimely end. Sadly, those responsible for her death turned upon us, causing our own party to turn against each other. By the time the game ended, the only one left alive was Elfie, who was completely under the thrall of The Bad Guys. And the Shudder Mountains were left to a horrid fate due to our failure. (It was a GREAT GAME! Thanks Mike!)
  • After trying (and failing) to locate some folks, I left the building to grab a bite. On Mike's recommendation, I hit "Simply Burgers" where they serve...well, it's right there in the name. Huge half-pound burgers, crazy-deelish. However, I must be more pasty-white than I thought since I believe I got sunburned on the 15 minute walk up the street and back.
  • Stopped by to visit the Tenkar Tavern's Annex. Our host Erik Tenkar was busy catching up with blog posts, while Richard LeBlanc of New Big Dragon Games ran a game at one of the tables. Two vendors were set up as well: the Frugal GM and Inkwell Ideas had wares available. A lot of action in the annex! I made plans with Erik to meet later in the bar for a game of Drinking Quest! (What a social guy! Very approachable!)
  • As I left the Annex, I found a game of DungeonQuest in full swing. Doug Kovacs was there, and he explained to me that DQ was one of his go-to games since high school. For years, he and friends played this game. Very cool.
  • I sauntered around to make sure I knew where my game of TOON was going to be held tomorrow morning. Found the room, then looked to see what else was going on while my game was underway. I discovered that the table next to mine was going to be hosting a game of Pax Britannia run by Greg Costikyan. Yes, THAT Greg Costikyan -- creator of Ghostbusters, Paranoia, Star Wars, and TOON. Well, this should prove interesting...
  • Later that evening, I met Erik and Rach in the bar, and we were later joined by Richard and Justin Davis. The four of us BS'ed until 1 a.m. No Drinking Quest, but there *was* drinking!
  • It's getting late and I have to be up tomorrow morning to run a traditional Saturday morning game. Usually I like to run Thundarr the Barbarian, but this year it's going to be Saturday morning cartoon mayhem as my players throw pies, drop anvils, and generally go "looney tunes" in a game of TOON. Stay tuned for more from the show tomorrow!
    In honor of one of my absolute favorite modules for any game, here's the shirt I sported today at the convention!

    Not seen in this photo of Mike Curtis' Holler Hollow game is the wholesale slaughter that started shortly after this photo was snapped.

     The Atrium tables were all full and running games this afternoon. It would stay like this into the evening. Keep in mind, this is just ONE area where games are being played here. The ballroom, boardrooms, and side rooms were all just as busy. I'm trying to stress this is a gaming nirvana, folks.

    Tenkar's Tavern Annex with lots goin' on and lots happenin'.

    DungeonQuest in progress.

    I discovered where my TOON game is being held tomorrow morning. I'm playing in the same room at the same time as Greg Costikyan, TOON's creator.
     -Gulp- No pressure.

    Friday, June 3, 2016

    North Texas RPG Con: Watch The Con Live On Five Live-Streaming Channels

    Wanna watch the North Texas RPG Con LIVE as it happens? The event has not one...not two...but FIVE cameras up and live-streaming! This will give you a bird's-eye view of the activities as they happen! Give the links below a click and watch the action unfold!

    Camera 1 URL: - Special Events
    Camera 2 URL: - Special Guest Games
    Camera 3 URL: - Random Games
    Camera 4 URL: - Doug’s Random Stream
    Camera 5 URL: - Con Overview

    North Texas RPG Con Day 1: Stopping Ragnarok With A Child's Toy And Killing a Shark With My Mind

    GOOD MORNING DALLAS! (And everybody else who ain't here at North Texas RPG Con 2016.) Yesterday's informal meet-n-greet energized me for the events that lay ahead, and I'm roaring to get started with this most OSR of events. As I type up these introductory words, it's 6 a.m. and I'm preparing to go eat breakfast. On my schedule today is a game of Ghostbusters (running) and Met. Alpha (playing). Plus, y'know, whatever happens in the between-times. Let's see what today holds, shall we?
    • I turned on the TV this morning (for some sweet D&D tunes -- see previous post) when I saw the TV wasn't working right. I unplugged it then plugged it in. Now it won't work at all. Whoops. Leaving a note for maintenance...
    •  You know, I *love* a cup of coffee in the morning. And I super-love hotel bathroom coffee. Shaving while a cup o' joe brews at arm's length? Nirvana! But when I set up a coffee maker in the bathroom at home, my wife wasn't too keen on the idea.
    • Enough of my morning rituals. Time to hit the con!
    • Just a few of the folks I've met today: Jason Braun who was prepping to set up his area in the Artist's Area; Michael Curtis who spoke of DCC Lahnkmar and upcoming mutual projects (as well as signing something for me...see below); buddy Justin Davis and wife Alana (and baby Ajax who has two speeds -- Full Tilt and Dead Asleep); and gaming pal and Old Man Grognard hisself Glen Hallstrom and his +5 Fez of Awesomeness.
    • My Ghostbusters game "Ragnarok-a-bye Baby" just ended amongst much revelry as the "Goose-boosters" managed to defeat the World Serpent who was accidentally called to Earth by Thrud Thorson, Thor's 3-(thousand)-year-old toddler. After losing their VW Bus ("Ecto-64") when it crashed into a Frost Giant, our heroes managed to cobble together a Smart Car and sled to get to the final confrontation and stop Nordic Ragnarok in time. It's a good thing that toy hammer was imbued with both supernatural essences and positive protonic energy! Shout outs to Glen, Erik, Rach, Justin, Ben, Bobby, and Michael! They were indeed here to save the world!
    • I talked to artist Jeff Dee for a bit, congratulating him on regaining the V&V rights. He clued me into some plans for the line and, as a big time fan of V&V, it's got me pretty excited for the game. Jeff also signed my original well-played copy of Tomb of Horrors, as the cover artwork on that is one of my favorites from any game.
    • After eating lunch with Justin and Alana (and bemoaning wayward Kickstarters we're both involved in for anyone who would listen), I scampered to one of the boardrooms to play in Mike Curtis' "Radiation Road." Our group of mutants we tasked with securing a vault many miles away before one of several other clan-teams made it there first. It was Mad Max motorized mayhem, and we were victorious! In fact, Mike told us we were the first to ever successfully get to the goal. My highlight of the evening: Causing a sandshark to explode underground using only the power of MY MIND.
    • It's about 11 pm as I wrap this up, so I think I'll hit the sheets. Or hit the bar. Haven't quite made up my mind just yet. So I'll top off the metaphorical tank with this batch of photos from today's events. Enjoy!
    The main atrium early in the morning before the games start. The entrance to NTRPG Con is in the rear of this photo. (The main ballroom for other games, the auctions, and vendors and such.)

     I love the fold-em-up cardboard dice towers they have at this event. Each table has one.

     Vendors are already set up and sellin' their wares. Lots of good stuff already up for grabs! (And I've "grabbed" some good stuff already!)

     One of many games underway.

    Michael Curtis signed my copy of DCC RPG "Intrigue At The Court of Chaos." His sig appears in the top right corner of this photo. And where I died during the playtest (The Chamber of the Yokeless Egg) is now marked in the lower left corner.

     Lookit all this DCC goodness!

     Action shots of the main floor...

     More games going on in the ballroom...

     I love seeing this display every time I come here. (I'd also love it if some of those things were for sale!)

    The "Goose-Boosters" in action. (And who's that guy behind me looking at my notes? I wonder if he's into gaming?)

    Michael Curtis takes a group of Metamorphosis Alpha mutants down "Radiation Road"

     Jeff Dee was kind enough to sign my very old, very worn copy of Tomb of Horrors. After signing his cover artwork, he then sketched a tiny "silver knight" logo on the opposite side of the TSR logo! Thanks very much Jeff!

     My purchases thus far in the dealer room. Picked up some new DCC RPG modules, a DCC t-shirt (I love that logo), some new Villains & Vigilantes products, and a hardback copy of WEG's Star Wars RPG: Second Edition!

    And, to tug at your heartstrings, my wife sent me this photo of our dog waiting for me to return. Awwww...

    Thursday, June 2, 2016


    I didn't want this milestone to go racing by while I'm here at NTRPG Con, so I'm taking a moment to make sure that the Official Post Number 1000 is duly recognized. So, here you go:

    When I return, I'll mark this anniversary with something a bit more substantial. Maybe I'll give stuff away as I like to do. But for today, this will have to do. Thanks for reading all these years, folks.

    Wednesday, June 1, 2016

    North Texas RPG Con Day 0: Arrival And Reconnecting

    Hey gang, after taking a few years off, I'm finally back here in Dallas for North Texas RPG Con 2016! I'm getting settled in my room as I hammer this out, prepping to bring you the next four days of OSR gamin' goodness from the Lone Star State. So stop by The Savage AfterWorld the next few days to get a attendee's-eye-view of NTRPG Con! I'm here a day early to settle in and get ready, so here's a bit of a preview of what's happening during the setting up hours leading up to tomorrow's convention:

    • The flight down was uneventful, which was a relief (I'm a pretty bad flyer). But DEAR GOD, someone on that flight must've eaten a bad burrito or something Whoof. And at 50,000 feet, you can't crack a window.
    • One thing that's very cool about the rooms here -- the TV sets have Internet TV. I have a Roku at home that I use all the time, so I was able to access my accounts on the TV in my room. Sure, I have my Netflix in my room, but I'm more excited about having Pandora blaring out my "Dungeons and Dragons Fantasy Adventure Music Playlist". Just the mood music I need for the next four days!
    • Stupid desk chair, however, dumped me onto the floor when I leaned back in it. I have a big carpet burn on my elbow from the apparent fiberglass carpeting in my room.
    • Also, I brought along my copy of Wayward Adventure Board Game . It's a very fun dungeon delve, and I hope to get in a game or two during the off-hours. (In fact, I just played a quick solo game in my room to refresh myself on the rules...)  Look for me in the lobby with it set up and join in if you want!
    • After I unpacked, I went to the restaurant to grab a bite in the restaurant. I wondered idly if I was going to run into anyone this first non-day of the con. As I passed through the lobby, DCC man-about-town Michael Curtis greeted me with "Sniderman!" After taking with him for a few minutes, I sat down to eat when Tenkar's Tavern power-couple Erik and Rachel sauntered by. I flagged them in, and the three of us had lunch and BS'ed about retirement, jobs, beer, trains, and gaming for a chunk of the afternoon. Looks like I needn't have worried about not seeing anyone I knew today! And I agree with Erik -- these "down-time socializing" moments at conventions are just as good as the gaming moments.
    • After stopping by my room again, checking in with my wife, and changing shirts, I walked back to the lobby to find Alana Davis and child SBA lurking near the fountain, which held great interest and mysteries to said child. Her hubby and my pal Justin Davis was apparently deep in the throes of a time-travelling dinosaur robot game (I honestly didn't get the details).
    • Got my ID, program, and shirt. Games are already in session in the main ballroom and atrium, so -- unofficially -- the convention's underway! YAAAAAYYY! (Cue Kermit-like flailing...)
    (clap clap clap clap)

    Getting my gaming supplies unpacked while listening to the Skyrim soundtrack on Pandora.