Friday, September 5, 2014

GenCon Recap: Friday, August 15

Finally!  I am awake at a decent hour!  I make it from my apartment down to the convention center with time to spare.  I quickly find a group and we sit down for our morning session.  Although I had fun playing Kygar yesterday, today I'm playing my new Taldan rogue, Averitt.  Named after a band I particularly like, Averitt is a hard core Taldan nationalist.  He believes that the empire is destined to rise again.  Unsurprisingly, he's joined the Taldor faction of the society.  After last night, as a player I'm curious to see how the faction Taldor's being moved into, the Sovereign Court, will play out.

This morning's session is PFS Scenario 6-01: Trial by Machine.  They've said that the new season of PFS won't be over the top on technology.  But I'm excited to see how things play out with integrating Numerian superscience into the metaplot for the season.  The scenario takes place on Absalom, but involves exploring a ruin that's been "redecorated" by a Pathfinder with ties to the Technic League.  We're basically right at the line between upper tier and lower tier, so we decide to play up.  Averitt's only played one scenario before, the opening scenario from Reign of Winter.  Playing up was a great challenge but one piece of advice--THIS SCENARIO IS A KILLER, DON'T DO IT!

No spoilers on the scenario for you!  But, I'd like to tell you how excited I am about the chronicle sheet I got.  Averitt's got an e-pick now!  Numerian ruins, beware!  There's a thief that's going to open you up like an oyster!

Next, it's off to a one-shot session playing 13th Age.  This is my first foray over to play in an independent session.  Those are all over at the J.W. Marriott, which is actually blocks away.  It took me past both the anime and collectable card games portions of the Con.  This really marks how big the Con actually is.  Although I was at a session at the Westin the day before, it's directly across the street from the Sagamore Ballroom, where the Pathfinder Society scenarios are played.  The trip to the Marriott takes about fifteen minutes.  This walk really makes something hit home.  There is so much going on at GenCon that it would be completely impossible to experience all of it.  (I did mean to make it into the card game rooms to check out some games, especially A Terrible Time, which I Kickstarted, but it just didn't happen).

I'm a big fan of 13th Age.  Although also a fantasy-derived system, it has about 1/3 of the math that Pathfinder does.  I played a dark elven sorcerer with connections to the city's underworld.  The session took place in a city dominated by trade and that is therefore hospitable to monsters.  We were employed by a lamia in love with a dwarf.  Her medusa friend turned the lamia's fiance into stone.  She wants him changed back, but on the sly.  We have to procure some ingredients to fix his petrification.

Our GM was a guy named Graham Wills.  I'm unsure if he was British or Australian but can 100% verify that he was awesome!  He really set things up to make playing the game easy on us.  He'd designed character sheets that had all the necessary background info and mechanics so that we needed very little explanation.  That really freed us to focus our time on roleplaying.  Graham was great about creating a story-driven game and he was the perfect type of GM--good at setting the scene and good about creating intrigue but also fantastic at saying, "Yes!"

Without going into details, we got to have an opportunity to put on a play!  The scenario ended well and, honestly, I enjoyed it so much that I'm thinking about GMing a session for DC Game Day next month.  After the session was over, two of the other players accosted me about my Arkansas hat--Pierce and Alyssa are from my home state!  Pierce had come to GenCon solo on a lark the year before, which really helped validate my decision to do so this year.

After 13th Age, I decided it was time to brave the Exhibit Hall.  The Paizo line was long, but I braved it!  I picked up all the stuff.  I had a great time talking with a lot of the Paizo staff.  I also talked to the publisher of 13th Age, Pelgrane Press and picked up a few other things along the way.  I've got a little bit of time, so I hail a cab back to my apartment and drop off my loot.  He agrees to wait and bring me back to the Con.  I have bought too much--this is going to be hell on my bag & on my checking fee!

And now it's time for the end of season scenario for Pathfinder Society.  Khygar's back for this one.  "Spoiler" alert!  The Pathfinder Society has finally found the lost Sky Citadel, Jormundun and it's time to explore it before the demons of the Worldwound have a shot to overrun it.

This was hands down the best group I played with all weekend!  Things were looking rough on finding a group, but slowly but surely things worked out.  First, I met a great couple from Seattle, who were actually using GenCon as their honeymoon.  We had another sweet couple, and another single.  I made number 6.

Our GM was the Venture Captain of Chattanooga, Justin Peters.  He hasn't gotten his official shirt yet.  Note: He deserves it and more!  I got in trouble early on for meta-gaming.  Justin totally kept us on task.  Never before had I noticed how much faster things go if you roll attacks and damage at the same time.  Justin kept us on track and really helped us move through the Sky Citadel at a brisk pace.  And, boy, was it necessary!

Things are going along and we are part of a major work.  All the tables' results are tabulated together and individual sessions get interrupted from time to time to let us know how the overall session is going.  Part-way through the session, we get stopped for an unrelated reason: Paizo has won all the Ennies!  As a celebration, everyone gets a special mini--the Slaver Demon.  James Jacobs himself delivered them to our table.

There's a twist in the scenario, but I'm not telling.  But, our party finishes and nobody dies, which is a relief.  Investigating ancient dwarven ruins is thirsty work, so I decide to head over to Scotty's Brewhouse again.

Yet again I'm drinking alone.  But, then this hot guy sits down next to me.  For the life of me, I have no idea if he's gay or straight or whether he's even hitting on me.  But we chat a bit.  He's from Chicago and he's her Numenera game the following day.  I also meet another GM running a table (either Numenera or the Strange).  His name is Brandon and he runs podcasts related to Numenera and the Strange.  You should check out Transmissions from the Ninth World and Translating the Strange.  Everybody finishes up their drinks and it's back to the apartment for the night!

e visiting from Chicago and he has a huge group.  I met some nice people, including the girl who's supposed to GM my

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