Sunday wake up was like the others: early. Breakfast, pre-packing as today was the NeoExodus adventure I’ve been talking about for a while, Encounter at Ramat Bridge. I had a diaper box in my suitcase that held all of my terrain ready to be used. Large diaper boxes are awesome to carry stuff. However it is… Well it is hard to bring on a plane. But the only thing that was damaged was a base that came off. I placed that element behind another one and no one knew.
So I ran Encounter and as I really owe my play-testers a big THANK YOU. The play-test allowed the game to run in precisely the time allotted to it (5h), give a good play experience to all, take a 20 minute break (for hotel checkout as I set up my collection of terrain).
As I told Louis, the terrain really drew a lot of positive attention (I told you so). The display received praise from the players, passersby including Erik Mona himself. I was soaring with pride (as if I needed more of that). Having a terrain-filled gaming table really draws the eye. So thinking back on my initial article and announcement, let’s see if the objective was achieved.
1 - Four hour timeslot. Kinda complete. PaizoCon game me 5 and I filled the 5 hours.
2 - Introduction to NeoExodus. During both games, the players quickly understood what the story was about and got into the feel of NeoExodus.
3 - Showcase NeoExodus. The adventure uses a number of NeoExodus unique books, monsters, spells, feats and races. The players really seem to take to the new and unique races.
4 - Action and story. The adventure included moments of constant action and challenging fights. The story and background were also quickly presented to the players who seem to take to the story. With just the basic information provided on the character sheets and the one-pager, they quickly began to make links. Great! Players also understood the importance and shock of the revelation that appears in the module.
5 - Visual aspect The comments received and my own appreciation both converged. This one is very nice. The display looks very cool. Definitely draws the eye.
6 - Re-playability I am certain it can be offered again at later cons. The adventure really draws the PCs into the story. As we at LPJ Design are already looking into the second part of the series (which I think would be awesome to debut at NeonCon as a part 1-2 deal).
Okay. So Encounter at Ramat Bridge accomplished the six goals I had for it. Mission Accomplished I said. Now to buckle everything and move on!
Back to PaizoCon.
After that I attended the final conference about building and borrowing content by the Paizo creative staff. I was greatly interested and happy at the same time that what they were saying were things I have doing myself in projects like Akos and NeoExodus.
- Focus on what the players will experience first. The rest can be ret-conned or explained later.
- Think of the game in realistic terms, not just magical terms. Just because people can cast wall of stone does not mean they want/ can build everything. Erik Mona gave a good example about Wish Economy (Google it).
- Think about resources: commerce, food and physics.
- Think about cultural exchanges. Neighbors don’t remain on their sides of the border, but learn from each other over time and a given advantage often blur on borders. Dress, combat styles, resources, etc. Also neighbors are not static, their relations evolve over time. They hate each other for a while, then something happens and they need each other, which fosters a new friendship, etc.
- Think of the game world not just as a static snapshot, but as the final evolution of years of history. What happens today is the direct result of events in the past. Why are these countries dominating/ on the rise/ in decline? Past events have led to this. What are they?
- Look to history and the real world, not as a resource and put a different spin to it. This allows you to approach subjects from different angles. For example, the dwarves and humans have always been allies in one area but then the dwarven mines dry up. So the dwarves decide to migrate through human territory. Though they always been friends, the dwarves now have little to offer the humans and are impoverished. How do the humans respond?
I really liked the seminar as it both validated what I had been doing and reassured me that I was not talking out of my ass about things I have been preaching about. Again, my ego was filled! Huzzah.
Went to do a round of goodbyes and thanks on site to the usual suspects spend a little time with people I know and do a farewell tour. That concluded my PaizoCon, but not my trip…
A few months back I got an email from a guy in Boise, Idaho asking for my help in setting up a PFS con in Boise. No worries, I sent him some feedback and shared some of my experience. He and I exchanged some ideas and news about how things were going in Boise. Simple stuff.
Turns out Clarence – his name – was also attending PaizoCon. A few emails later we resolved to meet there and chat about Fandemonium (the con he is helping to run). It was pretty early on Friday that he found me. That I wore my Phoenix Cardinals jersey with my name in big letters must have helped! It comes as no surprise to me that he and I hit it off immediately and got along real well. Our paths crossed throughout the con and I dare call him an instant friend.
In our last communication prior to leaving for PaizoCon, he kindly offer to drive to the airport after we’d share a meal. Long story short, while in Seattle I wanted to go for some seafood. It’s been a long time and Denver is not to be the place to go for such things. So using his GPS, we went to the Crab Pot. Oddly enough, the Crab Pot is where Alan Richman went for some massive munchies. It didn’t disappoint! We had a clam bake, serve by dumping it on the table. Just great. Yum. That filled a spot. It was delicious.
THAT is how I ended my stay in Seattle. Great games, good food, new friend, what more can a gamer want?
On the next and final install of JP at PaizoCon… Cheers and Jeers…