Tuesday, July 17, 2012

South Texas Minicon

If you're reading this post, chances are you've already read one or more posts about the South Texas Minicon taking place next month in New Braunfels, TX. There's a website and everything. Last year it was a bit ad hoc, but this year we're actually trying to organize it a bit better with a rudimentary registration system. We'll also have a dealer's table. How that happened is beyond me, but it did. Looks like NTRPGCon has decided we're important enough to "sponsor", which works out for both parties. It may or not be a rumor that I will have a large flask in my possession at the con; perhaps you should find out.

Like last year, I want to run a game but am having difficulty picking something. I thought DCC would be good, or maybe Mechwarrior. After thinking a bit, the former lends itself to multiple sessions mostly due to the funnel taking a while to produce an actual party. Surely you can make 1st level characters, but that sort of defeats the whole point of the game and eliminates what appears to be the most interesting portion. A con session with massive deaths is appealing, though; but D&D-like games are in abundance. Mechwarrior would be pretty cool although I doubt anyone wants to play it at a con because once the first battle started we'd be stuck there all day. Screw that. That'll go on the back-burner as the G+/Skype game I talked about before. What is needed is a game that's quick, deadly, non-fantasy and which lends itself to one-shots. Taking a lesson from last year, here is what I learned: don't try to be kitschy unless everyone is on board. If you're going to go that route, it needs to be stated in the beginning so the players know how to approach the game...you can't come up with a concept that you think is really cool but could be played numerous ways. It should be patently obvious going in what to expect, lest you create a train wreck. I'm not blaming myself entirely for last year's fiasco, but I'm sure the players were expecting something much different. Not to mention the pregen I used was written for 8 year olds (no joke).

Given that, I think I'm going with Paranoia simply because it's scifi (sorta) and ridiculous. Plus it fits my style in that the players generate 90% of the conflict. I much prefer player-driven games vs. GM railroading, and when I have to supply not only plot hooks but extensive encounters to encourage pursuing those hooks I start becoming disinterested. That is bad. Sure, it's a con game, the players expect some railroading and will follow hooks without much effort on my part, but if I can put most of the onus on them, better for me.

So, Paranoia...it's deadly as hell, funny and requires no one to learn the rules. Plus just about any sort of plot can be shoehorned into a session. I'll have to look through my stuff to see if I have anything that'll fit within a 3-4 hour time frame, but if not I might write up a short scenario. Chris and Mack were talking about a STMiniCon adventure giveaway thing anyway, so maybe I'll do a Paranoia scenario based within the Hill Country after the apocalypse. Maybe.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

NTRPGCon 2012 - Part V

It's been over two weeks since I posted about the Con, as I have been debating whether or not I should share some stories told to me by various parties. Still up in the air on that, but if there is anyone interested I'll relay the info...perhaps privately. Even though they were told over some drinks, in a public setting, perhaps they'd stir up too much controversy. Anyway, here is something I CAN tell without much chance of pissing anyone off:

Dennis Sustare

So I was in the dealers room not That Drunk on Saturday night, mostly because I had already had a few bad experiences the previous night and also because I was keeping an eye on Jason. I guess we had traded off nights to get plastered and do stupid shit. At one point he asked some girl if she wanted to "draw a dick" for him, she said no and got offended or something. Fuck her, seriously. I don't care at all, but the old dude who was trying to hit on her got annoyed and pissed at Jason, so I hauled his ass to Whataburger for some food (I got a chocolate milkshake in case you're curious) and he sobered up a bit. He ranted about some other stuff, justifiably so, and then we headed back to the con. But right before that, I was approached by a guy I did not know, probably in his 60s. He simply said, "That's a really great shirt." And it was. It alluded to my championship in Russian Roulette competitions, of which in fact I am a champion. Surely a braggable feat. I introduced myself, and he himself. Turned out it was Dennis Sustare, someone whose name I recognized immediately.

Mr. Sustare and I started talking about all sorts of random crap, the first of course some game stuff. Because, hey, it was a game con, right? I told him I really liked the economics system from Sword Bearer, and he said that grew out of annoyance with bookkeeping. Basically, as a GM he didn't want to fuck with keeping track of coins and treasure, whatever, so he just created that system. Then I asked him about Kungfu 2100 (yeah, you already knew I would), and why he submitted a whole game in response to a caption contest in Space Gamer. Oddly enough, I had read the article a few days before so it was fresh in my mind. His answer was simple: it seemed like the only reasonable thing to do. That's a great comment from a really creative guy.

But fuck all that gaming crap, Mr. Sustare and I started talking about gaming convention chicks. Or the dearth of such individuals. I just said I was looking for girls and he let me know that anime cons were a great place to meet young ladies. I let him know that a few years ago I had actually played drums for a J-Pop band at a fairly large anime con, which led him to revealing that J-Pop was one of his favorite genres of music. Apparently, he has a station on Pandora devoted to it. I am not making this up at all. We discussed some other stuff in the same vein, mostly about picking up girls, and then he said he was headed to bed. Really cool guy, into young poon and pop music. God bless you, sir.