Saturday, November 11, 2017

AcadeCon Day 2: Cryptworld Thralls And Dungeon Shirts

Good morning everyone and welcome to Day Two here at AcadeCon, the Dayton-based convention produced and run by The RPG Academy. It's 6 a.m. as I start typing up today's post, and I'm fueling up with a box of Entenmann's donuts and a cup of Death Wish Coffee before I head down for the day. The open gaming area is open 24 hours, so I'm curious to see how many bleary-eyed stalwarts pulled an overnight campaign. Let's go find out, shall we?
  • Today I got to wear my Old School Dungeon Map t-shirt at a gaming convention! This shirt is based on the Classic RPG Map cloth design I created that now adorns many dice bags. I had this made at Zazzle, and it turned out fantastic. (Oddly enough, I saw someone else wearing a dungeon map shirt, but his was the Tomb of Horrors, I believe. Wish I had gotten a photo...) Want one of your own? Check out my Zazzle store!
  • When I went over to the con floor early this morning, I actually found one game of D&D (5e, I believe) that went all night. The players looked a bit exhausted, but one still managed a weak "Yeah, got 'im!" fist pump as they took down yet another creature in the wee hours. Game on, my friends. Game on.
  • I had signed up to play a DCC RPG game this morning, but my throat was a bit hoarse this morning and I didn't want to blow it out yelling for four hours, so I bowed out. After trying (and failing) to find a pick-up board game in progress, I instead returned to my room and broke out my Kickstarter-fulfilled copy of Untold: Adventures Await and ran through a solo game. (Expect a review of this Story Cube-moderated RPG in the future!)
  • Returned to the vendor hall and discovered a copy of Kobolds Ate My Baby! Played this game years ago, and was pleased to find a copy for purachse! ALL HAIL KING TORG!
  • Sat down at a table to grab a bite and was joined by two friends who were also here for the first time. Speaking of first times, they also attended their first Gen Con this year -- the massive 50-year anniversary. "So, what'd you think of Gen Con?" I asked. "Crowded. So very, very crowded," they both said nearly simultaneously.
  • Holy crow, this afternoon, I had my first duel CRYPTWORLD player death in a convention-run game. Dying in a CRYPTWORLD game is pretty difficult, as you typically run out of Stamina and fall unconscious LONG before you take that last Wound. But I had two players who fell prey to a few Critical Wound results. As we played my adventure "Unquenchable" (available in the future "Burial Plots" supplement), one player was horribly (HORRIBLY) managed by one of the THINGs, and he began to transform into one of them during the game. Another player was down to a few Stamina points and one Wound due to a series of bad rolls, and he ended up getting strangled to death by another thrall. The transforming player, who missed a Willpower save, became truly evil and shot his teammates who then returned fire, nearly killing him. He was taken in by DAPA where he'll spend the rest of his short life being examined before he's dissected like a lab experiment! The players loved the horrific nature of the way the game ended (two survivors crawling out of the forest) while I was left with my jaw dropped as the sheer carnage that occurred!
  • And, with that, the evening comes to a close. Nothing really scheduled for the evening, so I returned to my room, played a solo game of Camp Grizzly, and am now retiring to bed. I'll be getting up early tomorrow to return home (meeting the wife for pancakes!), so I'll close out by saying "Thanks AcadeCon! I had a great time!"

Friday, November 10, 2017

AcadeCon Day 1: Tackling A Chaos Lord And Fighting Off Killer Bunnies

Howdy gang, and welcome to the official first day of AcadeCon! Although this is my first time at this event, this is the fifth year for this Ohio gaming convention produced and run by The RPG Academy. ("If you're having fun, you're doing it right!") As usual during these travelogues, I'll be stopping by my room off-and-on to post my observations and thoughts as the event goes on. So read on for today's highlights!
  • On the drive here, I stopped at a Dollar General store in some small never-before-heard-of small town. And there, on the shelves, were 10 cans of super-sugared, super-caffeinated Jolt Cola. Looks like I'll be gaming like it's 1985!
  • I reached my hotel next to the Dayton Convention Center where AcadeCon is being held. Handed my keys to the valet and entered to check in. Oops, forgot to get my luggage out of the trunk. Valet brought car back around. Tipped valet big due to the hassle. Went to room. Oops, left my cell phone in the car. Valet brought car back around. Tipped valet extra-big due to the extra-hassle.
  • Cool, my room is right next to the walkover concourse to the convention center! From my room to the convention takes all of 4 minutes. Convenient!
  • AcadeCon is a newer convention being run by folks who are passionate about the event. It shows. The staff really is going out of their way to make sure everyone is having a good time. I appreciate the extra attention they give the attendees.
  • Conversely, I overheard one of the organizers explain to an attendee that they didn't have hardcopy event schedules here, as it was a mess to clean up last year and everything was online anyway. That's great and all, unless -- like me -- you're a Luddite without a smartphone. If I wanted to see what table an event was scheduled for, I had to return to my room and look it up on my laptop. And if I had some spare time and wanted to see what events were open, I had to return to my room -- again -- and look it up on my laptop. Although it's probably a great convenience to others, it's a royal pain in the neck for me. 
  • Vendors were still setting up when I got here, so shopping is a bit sparce Friday afternoon. But I did score a full set of Impact glow-in-the-dark dice, which will get a lot of use in future Mutant Crawl Classic games! Speaking of that system...
  • At noon, Nick, Mike, Andrew, and I played in the classic DCC adventure "Sailors on the Starless Sea" run by Tim Grunkemeyer. Each of us played four characters in the funnel, so we felt pretty good with the odds in our favor. However things didn't go well for us. I'll keep spoilers minimal, but here's how my cast of PCs met their ends: Broderick - absorbed by a gelatinous tar creature; Abner - killed by my own party after becoming possessed and attacking my teammates (sorry Mike!); Trinion - dragged to a watery grave by a tentacle from nowhere. My glorious death though was Brennon, who charged a newly-formed Chaos Lord and (burning all of my Luck) tackled him, carrying both him and my PC into a lava crater, killing them both. It was suicide, but it ended the resurrection of a Dark Lord. So "Yay me!" Thanks for the game, Tim. It was fantastic!
  • However, I didn't have anyone sign up for my 5 p.m. game of Cryptworld, so it looks like Experiment TB-4 is left running rampant through the lonely halls of Vinton Hills Metropolitan Hospital for the last time at any convention. (Although YOU can try to stop the creature when Burial Plots for Crypworld is released this December!)
  • Came back to the room to relax a bit and chug a Jolt Cola. While taking a look at the events run
    later this evening, one caught my eye being run by a designer I recognized -- Craig Campbell of Nerdburger Games, known for the recent Murders & Acquisitions RPG. He was playtesting his new RPG: Die Laughing, The Horror Comedy Storytelling Game. I raced to the con floor and grabbed the last open chair. In the game, the players are typical horror movie archetypes trying to survive the B movie forming around them. The movies and scenes grow organically as the players take turns as the "stars" of each scene as well as becoming the director of someone else's scene. In our game, I played the jock, Brock Van Johnson, who found himself at the local Renaissance Faire (huzzah!) as weird stuff began to happen. With Brock was Arnold the nerd, Tommy the preppy, Bo the gearhead, Stacy the cheerleader, and Benny the class clown. As people started screaming and racing for the exits, we discovered that mutant rabbits had spawned in the nearby hills, which were descending on the Faire, consuming everybody. (This, after all, is a COMEDY horror movie.) Brock didn't believe any of this was real (it had to be one of Benny's stupid jokes) and he picked up a rabbit and stuck his finger in its mouth, daring it to bite him. It did, taking his finger CLEAN OFF. Due to a series of bad rolls, Brock bled out, dying in a most non-heroic way. Though dead, I (as the player) then became a producer of the movie, able to alter and change the script as the still-alive players struggled to stay alive. Each new death brought in a new producer who screwed with those still living as the comedy of errors increased. In the end, Benny survived (still wearing a salvaged suit of armor) in the movie titled "The Day There Was No Joust". Fantastically funny game, and I'm looking forward to the official Kickstarter for it next year.
  • As the day winds down, so am I. I have a Cryptworld game tomorrow with players signed up, so let's see how they do against the horrors of "Unquenchable" as it's played for the last time in a convention setting! Stay tuned for tomorrow's post from AcadeCon 2017!
And, in closing as I always do, here are some photos of Things Of Interest:
AcadeCon tables as they were earlier on Friday before the games really got underway.

The registration booth was always humming, and the Play to Win game booth had a lot of great games you could win.

This year's official t-shirt and swag as well as my official ID for the con.

 Jolt Cola chillin' in my room fridge.

Even though I "seeded" the area with Cryptworld posters and Comic Conversion Issue 2, I had no Cryptworld players on this first day.

Nearly every table was filled with gaming as the evening wore on.

Craig was good enough to sell me his only hardcopy of Murders & Acquisitions as well as a work-ion-progress copy of Die Laughing. (I plan to run this myself!) I also picked up a set of Impact glow-in-the-dark dice.

And they REALLY GLOW. (Taken in the darkened bathroom of my hotel room.)

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The NaGaDeMon Strikes Again! (National Game Design Month 2017)

It's November, and while others churn out their Great American Novel during NaNoWriMo, I prefer to focus my efforts during the National Game Design Month, or "NaGaDeMon." In 30 days, you are encouraged to imagine, design, write, and play a game of your own design. It can be anything: a board game, a video game, a card game, or an RPG.

NaGaDeMon is a fun exercise for some folks, as they endeavor to create a new game whole-cloth within one month. However, I use the occassion to wrap up and release some long-ignored project that I've been noodling around with during the previous 11 months.

This month, I'm focusing on my Creepy Comic Conversions for Cryptworld. Issue 3 is nearly done, and I have one or two other issues in mind as well. And, if I get lucky, I might have time to compile and release the first Creepy Comic Conversion COMPENDIUM!

Sound off in the comments if you plan to participate this year! It's always great to see who's working on what. And NaGa DeMon is a great way to get motivated to actually produce something for your favorite game!

And here are a few places you can go for more information:

The NaGa DeMon website
The NaGa DeMon facebook page (NaGa DeMon's founder)