JP On Gaming

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Festival Draconis En-ligne 2023 After Action Report

Another edition of the Winter-edition of Festival Draconis is in the books. It's over. We now have two editions of this convention, one in-person during the fall and the winter edition on-line. Living so far from Montreal, I can only attend one...

The fun thing about it all is that it brings together players (and GMs) from the province of Quebec, France, and Belgium (if people came from other countries, I did not get to speak with/ meet with you guys this weekend). Oh and some strange guy living in Tennessee!

The Draconis Jam

This year, my Draconis started months ago when I was contacted by Stephane who asked if I wanted to be a judge for the "Jam." The Jam is a contest for people to submit games based on a theme, this could be any type of game. You know me... Of course I agreed! The theme we judges agreed upon was "Le Rêve/ The Dream."

I had no idea what to expect when I opened the six proposals. (They all appear on the Jam Draconis 2023 on It is an interesting set of games. Many are mini-games that could be used in other campaigns. Great efforts and one thing I thought was really cool is that ALL six entries received one favorite by each of the judges (we had 3 to give), which is a sign to the variety of interests from the jury.

By the same token, EVERY judge give a favorite to the eventual winner! As I said on the stream, the winner managed to get six gamers to agree on one thing!

Six. Gamers. Agreed.


The Con itself!

So on Friday, I started my Draconis by giving a talk about the OGL situation, recapping the whole situation and provided my personal thoughts on what will happen. I think I made it all entertaining and fun.

After that, I joined my regular Friday night group as they fought through the many challenge they themselves dug themselves into. Again.

Saturday morning, I ran the first public game of Ozaka and first play-test of the Gencon adventure "Lady Mijiko's Journey". And a journey it was. The biggest problem with the adventure is its length. I had to rush a fair bit, which I always hate. However, what I will do is merge two encounters into one. Not a big change overall, but it will allow the game to flow and allow the PCs to discover and interact with parts of the adventure in longer details.


Great times as my old friends Alain, Phil-D, and Yves and new friend Philippe-L.

Saturday afternoon, I had it open so I went game-hunting. I eventually settled on a Savage World with a Horror them. It was interesting. I played "Hubert Centé" a doctor with a bad Italo-Spanish accent suffering from serious indicisiveness. I'm not 100% sure that we saved the world, but we did our best. I'm surprised that the others did not agree to my idea of torching the house as we left. Would've made a great visual...

The intrigue was inventive as there were so many clues scattered around the house. Clues that provided us only part of the puzzle but that in hindsight really made a lot of sense. There was no one-clue-to-rule-them, rather pieces and bobs that came into focus by adding two or three of those, pointing us to one clue or another. It was a well-constructed set of clues.

One interesting thing is that the NPCs were present - as it was set during a soiree in an expansive manor. Only the main host was not available to us (at least, we did not seek to speak to him). The rest would make veiled references to what was happening. My thought was that they were not fully clear about what they were gonna do themselves, but each had an inkling or a prefered version of the truth.

Again, a well constructed adventure.

Right after Savage Worlds ended, I volunteered to MC the Jam result announcement. We had a few technical snafu that may the thing even funnier... Such as Thalie jumping while we thought we were muted to the live stream to say "Hey guys, we hear you!" Hahaha! Oh well... If you were live, you may had previews of what was to come. But in the end, I think the conversation as we shared our feebacks about the games made for a dynamic and fun exchange. What more do you want?

Then Saturday evening, I was set to run again but had no one signed up. I had a player show up but playing 1 on 1 D&D... at a con... So we went out separate ways. I joined a Delta Green RPG game.

My love for Delta Green started when it first came out in the '90s. Simplified as "Cthulhu meets the X-files" (which is a good description too), I knew Pagan moved away from the Basic/Cthulhu engine but had not played this new one. So I was excited to play this one.

The system remains very close to Basic but adds some interesting twist. I like the Bonds system where if you are faced with a sanity loss, you can instead lose your bond. These bonds ground you to the world, so you are no longer a Cthulhu-hobo, going from investigation to investigation without any care or attachment for anything. If you lose points in there, at the end of the adventure, you should play a short scene that describes the impact on you and your life.

For example, my character had attachment to my third wife, and my kids. If I chose to lose the point with my wife, the scene would showcase how my relation becomes strained, leading to divorce, affairs, or worse (we are talking a Cthulhu-clone here so some scene may get dark real fast).

I played "Cornwell," a profiler with the FBI (think Criminal Minds).

The game was good but game dragged and became a terrible slog. Why? The GM was good. The scenario was good. The characters were fine. The players competent...

For the first 1h or so, we only succeeded at irrelevant skill checks. I did not succeed any rolls until the final confrontation. Criminology? Yeah! I've 70% in that... Rolled 74, 84, 72, and like 93... Oh! Humint (sense motive/ insight)? I have 80% in that. Rolled 93 and 82...

AND THAT'S JUST ME the other two guys rolled the same way throughout the game. Which led to a somewhat rushed conclusion because when we got to the final location, we rushed our work (and did not trust our dice rolls). We ended up doing something to stop what was going on. Maybe. We think.

We did not dare to make a dice roll to know...

I finished my evening on the live post-day stream talking with the crew: Marc, Thalie, Stephanie, Stephane, Matthieu, and Christophe. (I'm sure I forget people)

Sunday morning I had a third offering of "Lady Mijiko" but it did not happen either. Sad. So I jumped on something else. I joined a table of Star Wars D20. Our GM, Halley, had updated Star Wars D20 with Pathfinder. I enjoyed the story but my biggest issue was that we were put in a pure sandbox with no motivation or goal other than "you are poor an in this bar". So we spent an hour of gameplay just trying to find an adventure. Once we finally found and settled on a hook (well two actually), things got really fun.

I was Lenox Dren, the gambler whose terrible perception skills (I did not roll above a 5 on a Perception check) so I spotted the Hooters, the lingerie models, or cute girls, but nothing that was immediately

His sandbox approach is great and super interesting for a campaign. He had done a TON of work to make Nar Shadaa a living-breathing place. Showed. I gave him that feedback and am likely to look for his games again next year.

We also spoke about making some sci-fi work together... Which I plan to look into after I'm done with everything I need for Gencon. I'm excited about it.

For the last slot, Sunday afternoon, was the final slot for the con. I joined a table of Numenara. I knew about its setting but had never played before, the super-science fantasy is not really my thing. Still, playing games is always something I like to do and during conventions, committing to four hours should give me an idea whether I want to play more or not.

After playing many intelligent or charisma characters, I went for a warrior. I got a barbarian-type, a guy seeking heroic situations and who was typically lucky enough to come out of tough spots in a better situation. But I had no interest in dealing with the numenara/magic things. I was there to loot and enjoy the ladies.

We had a good group with many different powers and abilities. Due to time, we did not really get a proper conclusion to the adventure.

I thought the system was interesting and fun, a little crunchy perhaps but workable. Then again, maybe the problem is linked to the fact that we played on Roll20 and each roll required like 6 clicks to make a single roll. In-person, you could easily roll 3d20 and analyse the results. So my main annoyance has more to do with Roll20. I found the specifics were rather elegant and interesting. I thought it interesting the GM did not roll a single dice. I would be open to playing some more.

The game over, that was it for Draconis. I did a short stint on the end game live.

Conclusions and Take-aways

I left Draconis tired but filled with energy to write and create more material. The game of Ozaka went well but I left with a few changes to make to it. I will have to streamline the intro to the setting.

More generic quick-hit things to do going forward:
- Run more games in French
- Start thinking more seriously about sci-fi game
- Participate again next year

So a big thank you to everyone who put together the con AND those who participated. You made this a great weekend.


No comments:

Post a Comment