REVERB GAMERS 2012, #24: Have you ever been to a game convention? What was it like to be surrounded by so many other gamers? If not, would you like to go to one? Why or why not?
Game conventions are a blast. The first ones that I attended were the LA Gateway series in the early 80’s. I attended Origins 1984 in LA and it was definitely one of the more memorable conventions that I’ve ever been to. First, my friend who traveled with me had a seizure. He recovered quickly, but it was a very scary moment. Fortunately some of our friends saw what was happening and were able to help him and find me.
Second, I was really looking forward to playing a convention Champions event, and I come to find out that not only did the person who wrote the scenarios not send them to the organizer, he didn’t even show up to the convention. The committee had a lot of unhappy players with no game to play, so I stepped in and ran.
The first problem with con games, especially pick-up/spur of the moment games, is characters. There’s no way that I could run a reasonably balanced game and let people run their own favorite characters. I had with me the three Enemies books published by Hero, and I combed them looking for 250 point villains. I wrote them down on character sheets, gave them 25 XP to spend, and made up my watchlist.
When game time came, I told them ‘You were all villains. You were caught, you served your prison time, and now you’re all on probation being heroes.’ I had like a dozen character sheets for eight players, so people stood a chance of getting someone they’d like to play. They had half an hour to spend the 25 XP on anything except dex, speed, or ego as I’d already written up the watch list. They could buy levels, increase other characteristics, reduce disadvantages, buy new powers, whatever.
I don’t remember a lot of the specifics of the scenario — hey, it was almost 30 years ago! — but the basic gist was that it was a two-parter, there was a basic bank heist with a bunch of goons in powered armor that didn’t take the ‘heroes’ very long to put down, but it turns out that was a diversion for the real villains to kidnap the governor’s daughter or something and take her out to an island stronghold. So the real mission was to rescue the kidnap victim.
And the villains of the scenario? They were my player-characters from various campaigns, so I knew exactly how they worked.
The players were slowly winning the day, and everything came down to a climactic fight between my mentalist who had an ego killing attack (not strictly allowed by the rules, but it was only 1d6) and a high-speed martial artist. The martial artist was slowly putting stun on the mentalist, but the mentalist, while slowly killing the martial artist, couldn’t stun him. Eventually the martial artist KO’d the mentalist and the day was won by the forces of good.
Now here’s the weird thing. 10-15 years later I’m at a science fiction convention in Phoenix. A bunch of my friends are talking to Mike Straczynski, and this one guy kept staring at me. Finally he walks up to me and says ‘I know you!’ I don’t recall him at all. He says ‘You ran Champions in L.A.!’ I had no memory of it at all. Finally he started telling me details of a game that I ran over a decade previously, ending it with “That was the best Champions game that I ever played!” Needless to say, I was happy.
One of these days I’m going to run the same sort of thing again at a convention, give the players reformed villains to run. They really seemed to have liked it.
REVERB GAMERS 2012, #25: If you game enough, you’re bound to run into someone being an ass. What’s the most asinine thing someone’s done in a game with you? How did you react? Did that experience change the way you game?
I had this happen last year. A friend was running a new game that no one had played, and one of the players was constantly talking about “They wouldn’t do it like that! This is lame!” Finally I just started ignoring him and interacting with others. He quieted down, but I can pretty much guarantee that the GM won’t invite him back and I would be reluctant to play another game with him.
So the take-home is: be good and respectful to your GM and the other players around you. If you don’t like a game, no one is forcing you to sit at the table. If you simply say ‘This game really isn’t for me, excuse me, but I’m going to go do something else’, chances are that no one is going to mind.
REVERB GAMERS 2012, #26: Who or what was the most memorable NPC you’ve ever encountered? Why?
Sadly, none come to mind. Too much dain bramage.
REVERB GAMERS 2012, #27: If you were an Ent, what kind of Ent would you be? Or, what other NPC creature would you be? Why?
Yeah. Right. I had no idea there were different kinds of Ents, is this in some game’s monster companion campaign rule book or something? Sorry, not my cup o’ tea.