JP On Gaming

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Lexicon 2018 After Action Report

This year's Lexicon has come and gone. I must say I have some mixed feeling about this one for a variety of reasons. But let's go over what happened.

I arrived in Lexington on Friday night with the last 2 miles taking about 45 minutes to cross! It was ridiculous... However, after receiving some great news from the Day-job front in the form of additional unexpected, well-paid work. I got to the con in a great mood. There is something about getting something you do not expect.

Why was Path/Starfinder completely off my options? I offered Chad a deal: if he would sit and play one game of 5e with me as a GM, I would join and play some of the Paizo stuff. His response (which did not surprise me) was That's a negative Ghost Rider... Meaning my conscience was clear not to participate in his games. Trap baited. Hook swallowed.

I entered got settled, chatted with Chad and Holly. I also noticed with great surprise there was to be no Shadowrun missions at the con. Too bad because I was really looking forward to playing that game again. This left me with... Pathfinder Society (huh... NO), Starfinder Society (even less), Adventure League (okay, but I wished to play something else because the following week, ActionMan and I are going to Chattanooga for some 5e action), or some indy stuff (maybe)...

This is where my offer to Chad somewhat backfired... And seriously limited my choices... I could not go and play any of P/SFS now... Which changed my choice to Adventure League.

Looking at the games offered, I sat at a table of Adventure League (AL). I sat down and played Local Boy Mik, who is a drunken hillbilly and everyone's relative. Our GM, Josh, was not used to tier 2 play and thought he was going to wreck us big time. But he did not. Our party was well-balanced with DPS, support, and buffing. A fun game. The 2h adventure lasted well over three and it was well-worth it as we role-played the be-jeezus out of the story.

Saturday morning, I ran a table of The Sorrowful Lady. It is a really fun adventure, one that has more than a few built-in laughs.

The afternoon slot, I had planned to play the AL epic. When I planned my events, I told Larry-E, the RPG coordinator that I would GM all day Saturday and Sunday morning, except for the slot when AL ran their epic.

It started out very rough for us as we got into a battle and got our rear ends promptly handed to us. I went through 8 potions of healing within the first 20 minutes of game start... Yes, it was Baaaaad. However, we adjusted our approaches and managed to be extremely successful in the rest of the epic, finishing ahead of time and getting the opportunity to return to the location that beat us up, for some revenge. I do enjoy the way they do their epics quite a lot, as the formula makes it feel like you can affect other tables, and do by providing them with some minor (and in our case, very useful) boons.

For the evening slot, I was to run another adventure, however, that one did not run. Leaving me to find myself a table. I went back to the AL room but the only adventure I had not played already had 6 players. And I don't do tables of seven. So it was back to looking. After looking, I joined a table of Iron Kingdoms RPG. I had been looking forward to playing this game yet had some reservations about it.

I may post a more thorough review later, but one of the biggest selling point for it is that it is pretty much Warmachine/Hordes. That is true. If you know how to play the wargame, you can play this game. And the many creatures from the wargames can be added, creating an ever-evolving beastiary, which is both brilliant and a great way to sell additional miniatures. With my own collection of models, I would be able to create quite a variety of encounters.

On the negative, the game is really great for fanboys (like myself) but a lot less approachable for newcomers. Similar to my issue with the 40k RPGs. Still for me, that is not really a negative.

One big shout-out, every miniature had a base of a great paint job, from the PCs to the bad guys we faced (we fought Khadoran troops). The PCs were well painted and colorful. I randomly picked the Rhulic dwarf sorcerer. What's funny about that? My "Main" faction. It was fun. Always nice to play with well-painted minis.

Which brings me to Sunday morning. Again, no sign ups so at time, I folded my table and mustered into a Mezro adventure for the AL once again. Fun times once more.

In writing this post, I went back to last year's After Action Report to see if things improved or worsen...

The positives remain the same: a fun crowd, a decent venue and Larry-E's tireless work he was very responsive to the feedback we provided (see the negatives).

The negatives have changed significantly from last year.
- The lack of trashcans, yes, you read correctly. For most of the con, there were no trash cans on the floor, forcing us to throw the garbage in the bathrooms where they quickly overflowed. This was remedied on Sunday, thanks to Larry-E!
- The Attendance grew for the con, which is good. However, the RPG attendance seemed to be lower, with the gains going to the board game crowd. This is a gain for the con, but as someone who attends for RPGs, this resulted in a drop of RPG attendance. The larger population of board gamers led them to move into the RPG are and squat, moving table numbers and refusing to move when asked. The table number issue was correctly (Thanks Larry) on Sunday with the taping on the table cloth of the actual number, in addition to the standing table signs.
-It seems the attendants are tied to the big organized play campaigns, with little outside of that. This is neither a positive nor a negative as such, but for the product I am offering, this is significant. If the attendants participate in little other than PSFS or AL, why should I put the amount of effort I did to put together my games for this event? This is the biggest negative and is something very personal. Other people will likely not notice this.

So... will I go back next year? As a player, resounding YES. As a GM/organizer, I am not certain, at this time. I leave the door open for a decision later. As much as I would like to say I would return, no, I cannot commit at this time.

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