JP On Gaming

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Gencon 2022 After Action Report Part 5

Parts 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 6 | 7

Conclusions

It was a very good Gencon for FOE. Every event ran as planned with enough players to safely go on (not tables of 2 or 3).

I listened in on games throughout the weekend and really enjoyed the different styles and flavors.

So what do I take away from this year's Gencon?

- Have a spare tire Pretty self-explanatory.

- Masks/vax As you can see by the pictures, outside of the main Convention Center, they were mostly-optional. I hope this hysteria will end this year. The vax-line was just ridiculously long on Wednesday and it really proved little. I hope all that craziness ends with 2022.

- New GMs I will admit that I was worried about the new GMs. Since I never met many of them prior to the con, each came through like champs. A true all-star lineup. With the con ending, I can honestly call Adam, Bill, Jason, Logan, and Marissa, my friends (I knew and called Matt & Will friends already).

Jp watching his titan army disappear - Don't run/write 5 specials in one year By special, I mean a multi-table, one-shot event. Five was just too much. As I don't want to redo the same thing twice, I really pushed myself. I think next year, I will have three (or four) specials with four "regular" adventures. This will allow to keep the formula fresh and tweak it.

- Pimp myself out Quite frankly, this is something that Matt brought on the carride back. Offer a "special", much like I did for "Back Door to Hades" this year. But perhaps offer multiple times during the con. I am thinking of a "Welcome to Ozaka" or something else. I have time and choices to decice what I want.

- Run Morning and Evenings I came home with my voice and my health intact.

- Sidekicks I created sidekicks as replacement characters. These were well-received and behaved pretty solidly in spite of the events. One player event asked to play the sidekick two events in a row! I was surprised and pleased at once.

- Recap mods With FOE having run an ongoing campaign for multiple years now, I need to have adventures that can bring new players up to speed, if only for the important events. I would hate for a new player to be completely lost. I want them to know the events so they can make educated choices.

Parts 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 6 | 7

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Gencon 2022 After Action Report Part 4

Parts 1 | 2 | 3 | 5 | 6 | 7

Saturday

Saturday came much like Friday. With a pinch of sadness, I realized Gencon was more than half over... But onwards!

For the morning, I ran Dead and Buried again. Once again, I chuckled as they sought the answer to the problem posed before them. Fun GMing times once again.

GMs for Morning: Bill (Best Served Cold), Marissa (Marauding Titan), JP (Dead and Buried), Matt (Hexcrawling the Cyclopeans)

My afternoon was free. I hit the dealer hall once again. This time, I roamed about randomly. That's when I got to meet Wes-R at the Chessex booth, an old friend from Denver. We did some catching up. It was great seeing him again as I hadn't seen him in about a decade! I really hope to see him again next year!

After that, I returned to the FOE room, making a quick stop by the Baldman Games room where I spoke with my old buddy Konrad-B, also from LG days. Great catching up with him.

GMs for Afternoon: Bill (Best Served Cold), Will (Marauding Titan), Jason (Dead and Buried), Matt (Hexcrawling the Cyclopeans)

Mytenia under siegeThe evening was again another special. This time, Mytenian War. Following the evening and the shocking finale of the events of the previous night... Things had to get sorted out. With the army of Lexos with their Spartian allies at the gate, how would the PCs succeed in getting the situation resolved.

This adventure drew on many of the active threads of the weekend. A mix of action, diplomacy, and surprise made this adventure quite memorable. But the highlight were really the GMs who made everything come to life.

GMs for Mytenian War: Adam, Jason, JP (Overlord), Logan, Will

Short drive. Pass out.

Sunday

We got up early, packed and loaded everything up. That left us almost two hours before kick-off... So why not get the Denny's meal we planned on taking last Wednesday? I will say... it was AWESOME. It was everything I wanted it to be. Really hit the spot before going to the game. Definitely better than McDonald's.

Only one event today: the capstone of everything. An adventure that both closed the mini-campaign AND prepared it for next year. We had 21 ticket sold but only a fraction of that number came. Instead of 4 tables, we folded one and had Adam played at Matt's table. And so... we began to close our story for the year...

Once again, it went great! A lot of interesting development. I will keep the outcomes for a later post...

GMs for Reforging The Seal: Adam (released to play), Bill, JP (Overlord), Matt, Will

Parts 1 | 2 | 3 | 5 | 6 | 7

Friday, August 12, 2022

Gencon 2022 After Action Report Part 3

Parts 1 | 2 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Friday

Riding on a high after collapsing from exhaustion, Friday promised a lot of new things. It would be the premiere of Matt's Hexcrawl event. And today the focus shifted to Olympia. I was really curious about the reception his adventure would get. I had an original idea about it but as I worked through, my ideas shifted. Still what I heard and play-tested of these short adventures were really fun. Much like Matt, less formal and more whimsical. It would be a good complement to our other events.

I ran the Akhamet adventure, Dead and Buried, an adventure that I had percolating for years (if you go back on the Gencon program, its original title of The Half-Crazed Mummy was on the program). I pulled it out for various reason, revised and re-tweaked. This finalized version, is definitely the best and most fluid of all of them.

There is a definite high point of the adventure that was so much fun to run as a GM, and I expect players really liked to find the solution, taking damage all along the way. It's a fun one on both sides of the screen.

GMs for Morning: Bill (Best Served Cold), Marissa (Marauding Titan), JP (Dead and Buried), Matt (Hexcrawling the Cyclopeans)

The next slot I had off, which was great as I was able to visit the Crocodile Games booth, walk around a little, and just take things slow. One of my only 2 slots off during the con. I used it to go meet with Leslie-F, my old LG buddy from New York.

My next slot was the second multi-table special: Mytenian Coronation. This adventure took me time to figure out, and got a fair bit of help from Florent and Florence. I knew what I wanted to do, and what dilemma I wanted to present, but my breakdown fell flat and overly pre-processed. With a different perspective, I was able to turn this into something really interesting to which I had ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA how it would go!

GMs for Afternoon: Bill (Best Served Cold), Marissa (Marauding Titan), Jason (Dead and Buried), Matt (Hexcrawling the Cyclopeans)

In the end, the final votes ended up 10-7-5! Just a few different rolls or decision could've made it go another way! One NPC voted one way because she was asked only by one group, and they rolled a "natural 1" on the D20.

I actually had very little to do during this one, boxed text at the start. Boxed text in the middle. Conclusion. Easy?

But that would not take into account that the conclusion rested on players' choices... So I would have to take notes and improv some of it according to what happened. And it was not just two three words, but quite a lot. I think it went fine.

During the game, I met and chatted with Pedro from PCI. It was great to see him again, in person. I've been a fan of their stuff for years and they definitely influenced my work and writing. There are things they do I don't like, but I still play and enjoy their games. A good chat between designers and game-runners.

I was pretty happy when someone said I was a good storyteller, which made my day.

GMs for Mytenian Coronation: Adam, Jason, JP (Overlord), Logan, Will

Short drive. Sleep.

Parts 1 | 2 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Gencon 2022 After Action Report Part 2

Parts 1 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Thursday

Got up early (I mean I was too nervous to sleep, my mind raced with concern and Will snoring). I was (more than) a little cranky in the morning, but truth be told: an egg mcmuffin and a McDonald's coffee smoothed out my issues and sorted me out.

Will and Matt (who both did not have any GMing duties with me that morning) joined me to help carry my massive collection of stuff: the food, the smurf uniforms, the character sheets, the books, the minis. You know the massive collection of stuff.

I got everyone sorted out with the Smurf uniforms - except Steve, for whom I had ordered a massive polo... I'll get you next Steve with one that fits!

Hades faces off with the First OnesDuring day (2-slots worth), I ran a special one-shot adventure that put the players in the role of First Ones. In effect, they caused everything the other tables would be cleaning up the rest of the con. They arrived in Olympia, got involved in Mytenian politics, travelled to Hades, then to Tartarus, freed up a number of Titans, made a deal with Kronus...

You know what First Ones tend to do! The game went great and they really delved into the evil side - and I was happy that they kept their evil very cerebral - very manipulative. They did a smashing great job, bypassing some of the less important fights with their abilities. You know 11th level characters can do a lot.

GMs for Morning: Bill (Best Served Cold), Logan (Marauding Titan), Steve (Dead and Buried)

GMs for Afternoon: Bill (Best Served Cold), Marissa (Marauding Titan), Steve (Dead and Buried)

The evening had the Akhamet special. Unlike our other specials, this one had the players walk in, select a character from either the Akhamet party #1, party #2, the Olympia party #1, or the Princesses. In all, there were 25 characters to choose from. Having taken a character, they were invited to sit down "wherever there was an open seat."

Do you see the chaos this could create?

Do you?

Exactly, the GMs had NO idea who/what character would be at our tables. This made some really strong tables, and others who had a more difficult time. For example, my table has no one who could heal another without a healing potion! Fighters had second wind and that was it. In a battle interactive with many scenes of battle, it made for a difficult time.

One thing I decided to add this year, during the specials, any iconic who died during the interactive would no longer be available and would remain dead. The result would take effect at the end of the con. Someone DID die at my table (I will keep who for a later post).

After facing a massive horde of undead, and a massive titan, they stood victorious. It was a difficult fight with little mercy offered by the GMs. The city was saved, by a mixture of insane bravery and sheer determination. Smiles all around let me know that this was a success. They walked out bloody and battered, but as heroes.

GMs For Special: Jason, JP (Overlord and Table GM), Logan, and Steve

Parts 1 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Gencon 2022 After Action Report Part 1

Parts 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Before Gencon

Gencon started so long ago, around Christmas time when I started working on and planning the convention. What overall story I wanted to tell? What format did I want to use? What setting? What would I need? And most importantly, how to NOT make it all more of the same.

Something I learned and trained myself over the many years was to create stories and adventures that added to the overall plot but they were not the same with serial numbers filed off.

True, there are *TYPES* of adventures that will resemble each other: a dungeoncrawl, the exploration of a region, an event-based adventure, but as adding twists and subplots make everything different.

Although I had high-level ideas for the longest time, some came together better than others, and some frankly had me bang my head against a wall to complete.

I must thank Florent & Florence (both veteran FOE GMs) who did some late-night chats with me to sort my head out. And because it them, it did come together.

Wednesday

This year, I planned my Wednesday better. No working that day. The plan was... Leave Murfreesboro TN around 8:30am, pick up Will around 9:30 and be there around 14:00.

Why? Because this year, Gencon added vaccination status line and I never got a clear answer regarding the handing out of the GM badges. So getting there early would simplify everything. We'd have time to do some setup, then hit the Denny's for a good pre-con meal, yak some and finally crash with ample time.

But nothing went according to plan.

Oh, I was able to pick up Matt and Will at the appointed time. Great.

But about midway through Kentucky, the problem hit.

Pic by Matt Thor GoodmanI say hit because as we passed a truck, I believe something flew and hit my front tire. The tire shredded and I was able to stop (safely) by the side of the Interstate.

To get a tow truck (I had no spare) took about 4hours:

- The company sent a truck to mile marker 48 in Tennessee (over 100 miles back)

- The company sent directed a truck to Franklin KY (50 miles back)

- The company canceled the truck because I refused to give them my credit card over the phone (to someone I never talked to before), after I offered to pay cash.

- When the truck arrived, we had to leave one of our number behind (Matt offered), I told him Google showed a Taco Bell nearby, so he headed there.

- As we were in the tow truck, the driver decided to cut the median... AND WE GOT STUCK!

- The drive used his jacks to push the truck... but it was going INTO the INCOMING FAST LANE! We eventually got unstuck.

- The Taco Bell was closed, replaced by a gas station and Subway. (He did get to visit ALL of Park City, KY - which was not a needed bonus). We did get a nice picture of the goat to hillarity (From Will and I).

- Will tried to get HIS company to send us a truck and that caused more snafu. They sent a truck after he called to cancel AND we were at the Firestone dealer.

But finally, we got back on the road.

After a six hour delay... We picked Matt up and rolled northwards.

We finally got to Indy around 8pm having eaten only snacks.

We got through the vax-check line, which had to be about a mile-long. It was litteraly going all over and around the Convention Center. Granted, it moved quickly, but it was just insane. I'll give additional thoughts about it in the conclusion for the con.

After about two hours, GM HQ was closed for the night. Our game room in the JW was also closed. So in effect, the only thing we accomplished in my list of things was to get to Indy and get through the vax line.

We went to the hotel - after I passed right in front the Denny's...

Will and I kept yakking and yakking. (and yakking)

Parts 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Monday, August 8, 2022

[Meet the Iconics] All the First Ones Iconics together

The First Ones Iconics made for Power is Fickle.

Amarilynn

Female First One (spiderling) bard 11 (Dark Dancer)

From a young age, you trained as an entertainer with your mother who was a Dark Dancer too. From her, you learn the secret dances of the school. Like many spiderlings, you prefer to manipulate events rather than control them directly, let others take the fall.

Blarg the Underhanded

? First One (shogleth) fighter 11 (Kares’kor)

From the moment you gained consciousness, you knew you wanted to be adored and worshipped by others. Thus, you became a gladiator since shogleths are low on the totem pole. Not interested in fighting fair, you met with a Kares’kor master and learned to fight dirty, you don’t care as long as you win.


Quanah of the Jet Arrow

Female First One (netherling) ranger 11 (Jet Arrow)

From a young age, you trained as a bounty hunter, chasing down rebels and escaped slaves. After finding a copy of a secret book “The Jet Arrow: A Shot out of the Dark.” You joined their order.

Kolreka of House Ougozar

Female First One (harovite) wizard 11 (master of the veils)

You trained at the Althrezzar School where you spend years learning about the many planes of existence, their relations with each other, and how they could be conquered. You are not merely interested in them for scholarly pursuits, but seek to subjugate them.

Koryo of the Whip

Male First One (grexodite) paladin 11 (oath of the Whip)

Trained from birth to be the a brute and the enforcer, taking slaves and forcing them into service. You learned are merciless and draw pleasure from knocking opponents off their feet.

Barkah of House Ougozar

Male First One (drovite) rogue 11 (Shadow Blade)

You are a Shadow Blade, one who strikes from the shadows and vanish before retribution is possible. You trained at the Na’Zathal School where you studied poisons.

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

[Titan Tuesday] Stonemen

More goodies for Gencon just before I leave for Gencon!

The Olympia Campaign Setting can be the home of any number of monsters and creatures you can imagine.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

[Meet The Iconics] Olympia Party #2

Here is a group picture of the group of iconics dubbed "Olympia 2". They first premiered at Gencon 2022, if you played at JP's table. They performed very well, but had a few minor issue (some spells weren't on there). But as a team, they performed so well that they are back.

They were created with races and options from the Olympia Campaign Setting book, however Antigone was made using the princess race from the Princesses book.

They include:
- Antigone, the Sleeping Beauty cleric of Aphrodite, a child of the Nymphs
- Cassander, a human transmuter, a servant from Spartia
- Galatea of Byzantia, a favored of Athena fighter, a warrior-princess
- Melia, the nymph bard, an entertainer
- Parmenios of Tebes, a titanborn ranger, from the sacred band of Tebes
- Solon of Athenion, the son of Hermes rogue, a sailor

Miniatures by Wargames Foundry, FreeBlades (?), Privateer Press, and Crocodile Games.

Friday, July 29, 2022

[Meet The Iconics] Akhamet Party #2

Here is a group picture of the group of iconics dubbed "Akhamet 2". This group is making its premiere at Gencon this year... so they will be brand new, right off the presses!

They were created with races and options from the Akhamet Player's Guide with a few extra options from the Campaign Setting books.

They include:
- Ah-Sutebi, the thothru necromancer, a sage
- Amenophanhket, the sphinx warlock, a noble
- Kipunet, the nefru ranger, from a family of merchants
- Numanet the hathorian fighter, a trained soldier
- Teal of Ophara, the living mummy cleric of Horus, a trainer soldier
- Tutmeses, the iaretaru bard, a criminal

Miniatures by Crocodile Games and Reaper (some conversions).

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

[Titan Tuesday] Lizardfolk

More goodies for Gencon.

The Olympia Campaign Setting can be the home of any number of monsters and creatures you can imagine.

These lizardfolk come from Privateer Press.

Monday, July 25, 2022

[Meet the Iconics] First Ones Iconic: Blarg

Another First Ones Iconics made for Power is Fickle.

Blarg the Underhanded

? First One (shogleth) fighter 11 (Kares’kor)

From the moment you gained consciousness, you knew you wanted to be adored and worshipped by others. Thus, you became a gladiator since shogleths are low on the totem pole. Not interested in fighting fair, you met with a Kares’kor master and learned to fight dirty, you don’t care as long as you win.


Sunday, July 24, 2022

[Meet The Iconics] The Princesses

Here is a group picture of the group of iconics dubbed "Princesses". They've been going around playing through a variety of adventures from across the universes. These gals pack a punch, they are not simply fun, joke characters. But they are the real deal, and can take on any adventure sent their way.

They were created with races from the Princesses book.

They include:
- Bianka, the Snow White bard, a noble
- Doncella, the Cinderella fighter, an urchin
- Elzbeth, the Sleeping Beauty sorceress, a folk hero
- Keera, the Ice Princess arcane cleric, a hermit
- Koral, the Little Mermaid rogue, a sailor
- Marguerite, the Belle transmuter, a sage
- Petunia, the Rapunzel barbarian, a soldier

Miniatures from Reaper, Privateer Press, and a Heroclix. Adding the hair to Rapunzel was pretty cool.

Saturday, July 23, 2022

[Meet The Iconics] Olympia Party #1

Here is a group picture of the group of iconics dubbed "Olympia 1". They first premiere many years ago.

They were created with races and options from the Olympia Campaign Setting book, however Antigone was made using the princess race from the Olympia Campaign Setting.

They include:
- Aktea of Delfos, the daughter of Apollo warlock, an apothecary
- Kaliope of Amazonia, the amazon cleric of Hera, an exiled noble
- Kleothera of Thrakia, the favored of Artemis druid, a scavenger
- Kritias of Spartia, the son of Ares Paladin, a Spartian trueblood
- Lysandra of Yonia, the medusan bard, a former oracle
- Thalassios of Minosia, the son of Poseidon fighter, a pirate

With time, the group lost Solon and Galatea to group #2 and added Lysandra and Thalassios.

Miniatures by Crocodile Games, Wargames Foundry, Old Glory, and Reaper.

Friday, July 22, 2022

[Meet The Iconics] Akhamet Party #1

Here is a group picture of the group of iconics dubbed "Akhamet 1". As such, they were the first group I create when I started Akhamet.

They were created with races and options from the Akhamet Campaign Setting book.

They include:
- Amenheti the horite cleric of Pharaoh, a man of the people
- Hapatset, the ubasti sorceress, one of Pharaoh's wives
- Neferhana, the anubian ranger of Anubis, a Church-lady with a a greatsword.
- Osaphis, the sethru bard, a man of the desert
- Princess Akat, the paladin of Anubis, raised by the mummies
- Tetsora, the gebite rogue, the architect

The lineup had one change, the khemite ranger was replaced with the much-prefered anubian ranger, Neferhana.

Miniatures by Crocodile Games and Reaper.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

[Campaign Fails] One fist killed Twilight: 2000

A big thanks to Ryan-A for bringing this back to my memory. It has been a while since I thought about that game or that story.

It was the 1980s, I must've been around 14 or 15 years old when someone brought the original Twilight: 2000 RPG by GDW to school. It was an odd game.

For those who do not know, it is 2000AD, and the East-West war shook Europe (and the rest of the world, but we played in Poland). Tactical nukes where sent by both sides. The bombs leveled a lot of cities and turned others into radioactive wastelands. The old orders and regimes collapsed, and a new post-apoc order rose. Mercenaries from a collection of countries banded together to prey upon the land and well... do what mercs do.

My buddies Marc-P and Patrick-D were very much gung-ho players who really appreciated using heavy weapons on things, firing m-60s and grenades at anything that moved.

Useful.

However, that was around the time when I began to think there was more to RPGs than shooting stuff and killing monsters. That story mattered and that we could do cool stuff. My friends weren't "quite there yet," and I could not quite explain how and what I wanted to do with the game - not that I think they would've been on board.

So the party had 4 people: Marc was an American heavy weapon specialist, Patrick had a French Canadian demolition expert, there was another guy (I can't remember who) but he has a Canadian rifleman. And I was a Russian Medic/ Intelligence officer (I took it because we needed a lot of languages).

The Plot

So I can't remember who the GM was, I thought it was Philippe-B. Our mission was simple: We were holed up in Poland without gas or money for our vehicles. Then this warlord came to us with an offer. He wanted us to extract this guy in that village. The NPC had information he wanted. We would get a premium if we could get that information.

We manage to scope out the town, get some great intel, and discover that something isn't quite right. The bad guys were not acting as expected: they had all shiny new American gear, spoke English, and had like a bunch of missiles and stuff. I told the guy about it, but all they were excited about was the new Rolls Royce car and the large gas tank.

I could see them salivating as they imagined the explosion they could do. I think I was also excited about it, as a great way to cover us as we fled...

Well I don't really remember the details of the operation but things turned south:
We got the target out (he did not want to come with us).
The guys opened up on the gas tank early
There was another firefight at the entrance as we stole the car.

The Game (and I) Die

In the end, we were in the car flying over bad Eastern Europe road in a car riddled with bullet holes. The target was bleeding. I was screaming for the driver to slow down so I could save him but they didn't care. Bringing the target would get us paid. I wanted to know about that strange outfit.

I pulled my pistol at the driver and ordered him to slow down.

Then Marc who was riding shotgun declares he will punch me in the face.

Okay that's fair. We roll dice. He hits.

His base damage double the amount of hit point I had on my head.

So my head exploded.

Followed massive arguments (mostly on my part) about how that made no sense. In the end, I was dead.

That was the last time I played TW2000. Yeah, I took my ball and went home. I was pretty unhappy.

Fallout

The game ended then and there. It started something of a feud between the guys and I, which we resolved only much later.

To make things worse, I spoke with the GM later and he was super happy that someone "got" the many hints he had in there about something more happening. He was excited for us to do more than blow things up randomly. He never told me what he wanted to do or what his plan was.

It is something that haunts me to this day... Decades later.

It may be just as well because I can dream of what could've been. From that day, I planned to reveal only what is happening when players discover it. Everything else is...

Well it didn't happen, just as I said in the previous post: What Would've Happen To [NPC]? from mid-May 2022.