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Dexcon After Action Report

Started by Luke, July 18, 2005, 06:53:06 AM

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Robert Bohl

Andrew, I loved your character in PTA.  I think we actually managed to do some good drama which is rare in a roleplaying game if death isn't on the line.  I have to get into a game before 12 am with you sometime.
Game:
Misspent Youth: Ocean's 11 + Avatar: The Last Airbender + Snow Crash
Shows:
Oo! Let's Make a Game!: Joshua A.C. Newman and I make a transhumanist RPG

Bill_White

I had a great time at DEXCON and learned a lot.  I ran three games of Ganakagok, and the way people played the game absolutely delighted me.  Andrew is right:  I button-holed these two young guys whose DM didn't show up for something with a name like "Death March on the Borderlands" and was like, "Hey, you want to play my game?" and one of them says, "Will there be a lot of combat?" and I say "Sure, if you want there to be."  But in the final confrontation between their two characters (one of them the "Speaker for the Sun" and the other charged to lead the village to a dark shelter in the ice), the Speaker goes all alone to the icy fastness where the villagers are huddled and tries to convince them to come out into the light of the dawning sun.  And they refuse, and so the speaker leaves them in darkness to dwell.  The end.  It was a little sad and rueful an ending, but it worked and the players liked it.  I think Tony is right:  these young 'uns today come to the table with more open expectations about what role-playing entails.

The other two games were even better.  From the second game, the character I enjoyed the most was Judd's "wise father" and his wry frustration at the failure of his efforts to unearth the God under the Mountain and head-shaking dismay at the transformation of Shawn's crazy fisherman into visionary chieftain.  In the third game, Rob Donohue's aging champion basically drove the whole story, from his battle to defeat the Sun on the first turn of the game to his flight to the Spire of the Dawn with the woman who would bear the Child of the Stars on the last.

I also became convinced about the power of the demo.  I got to play in a bit of Ben's Polaris demo, and got Luke to demo Burning Wheel.  Fantastic.

And then Tony said to me:  "Hey, Bill, I have gift for you:  Ganakagok is Eskimo punk."  And I said, "Hey, yeah, you're right."  Because it is.  Punk is about attitude, right?  When you're faced with a world that's unstable to its core, the only thing that matters is how you face it.  So that's the game:  your world is going to change in ways that you can't predict and can't control--how will you handle that?  I was even able to use that to rope in a player for the third game (a fellow named Steve, whose game I guess failed to make).  "Do you want to play an Eskimo-punk game about a doomed culture of primitive hunters who live on a fantastic island of ice?" I said to him as he was scoping the room for alternatives.  And Steve said, "That's exactly what I want to play."  He was being ironical, of course, but he sat down, didn't he?

Now I just need to incorporate everything I learned into the write-up.  The game is there in my head...it's almost ready.

Bill

Michael S. Miller

Okay. Here's the one and only negative thing I have to say about the weekend:

Quote from: TonyLB on July 18, 2005, 03:29:29 PM
In fact, the interaction around the booth and in the room party was amazing.

There was a room party? Last I heard was that it wasn't going to happen and Ben was going to wind up stuck with a lot of alcohol he had bought for it.

If it was an invitation-only affair and only folks who weren't in a Saturday night game (and thus could come) were invited, then everything went fine, I guess. If it was supposed to be a "get a whole lot of people together for a cool room party" then, there didn't seem to be a lot of communication going on. I'm sure there was no sign and I certainly didn't get an announcement.

This is not so much intended as a criticism as something to keep in mind for future Double Exposure events.
Serial Homicide Unit Hunt down a killer!
Incarnadine Press--The Redder, the Better!

Andrew Morris

Bill, I don't know if it'll burst your bubble or not, but I don't think Steve was being ironic. His facial expressions are a bit hard to read unless you've known him for a while, which is why it might have seemed that way. I'd told him about Ganakagok and how awesome it was, and he looked like he was into it. I don't know, though, maybe he was just considering it, and you got him with the "Eskimo-punk" comment.

Michael, I agree with you about the party. I wasn't sure when it was, or even if it was going to happen until a few hours before it started. Then it was too late to rearrange my schedule, so I missed out. Flyers (even handwritten ones) around the IGE area and con in general might have generated more attendance.
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TonyLB

I think that if we want a room party to really work in future, we have to clear a space for it (and only it) in the schedule.  Otherwise nobody wants to hard-sell it, or even sell it at all, lest we take away from someone's pool of gamers.  Next year, would people rather have the room party than three indie games running in parallel?  That's a hard choice.
Just published: Capes
New Project:  Misery Bubblegum

Thor Olavsrud

Aaron and I spotted a handwritten note for a game of Over the Bar in room 505, which we knew could only mean one thing. Dro was disgusted with us, but we dragged him along. It ended up with Tony, Rob Donoghue, Aaron, Dro, and myself chatting. We had no idea the rest of you didn't know about it or we would have made sure to hunt you down.

Kat Miller

Dex Con was so much fun.

Mike and I arrived on Friday in time for the morning slots, he had NPA to run and I had my standard Everway game to run.  Demoralized by a recent rash of apathy from Gen Con and Mepa Con I was bummed to be slotted for a Friday 10 am game,  No one is going to want to play in it.

Boy was I wrong, by 10 after the time slot I had 5 players.  I was so happy.  I'm flipping cards for conflict resolution only and the game was lots of fun.

I walked away from a game Second slot.

There was a Hero System Game about Atlantis and the Origin of Man that sounded like fun.  I don't know Hero System and like to go to cons to learn new things.   I sat through the first 45 minutes of before play cringing as the GM did lots of things I can't stand. 

First she assumed we were all familiar with Hero System.  In 45 minutes she never even bothered to ask if anyone wasn't. 

Second, she assumed that everyone would have her familiarity with SG Atlantis even though SG Atlantis was not in  the description, nor were there any verbal clues that would hint at StarGate Stuff in the game.   Only one player had any familiarity with the Subject- but that's ok because the GM spent the time telling us about her favorite episodes for 45 minutes.

She did supply pregen characters but never went over system.  And, the Characters descriptions were either based on a deeper understanding of SG1 or completely unappealing,  "He's you typical brittish Git.." 

Finally, She didn't even bother to provide any dice.  (This to me is bad form for a GM) 

The reason I started running games at cons was because I've been here before.  This game is going to suck and I'm stuck here hating it for 3 hours and 15 minutes but at the rate of tangents the gm is making, I'm sensing Overtime. 

I handed her back the character sheet before game started, thanked her, appologised and left.  Being a GM I know how much it sucks to have someone who doesn't want to be there at teh table.  It takes away from the players who do want to be there. 

I went to my room thinking maybe I'm just not a player anymore and took a much needed nap.  The week leading up to the Con had been rather extreme.

3rd slot.  I'm a little gunshy.  Well, actually I wanna shoot something and DOGS is running so Michele and I decide we're gonna go with god and guns, but Bulldogs is also running and I recently picked up a copy of Brennen's Sci Fi d20 game and I wanted to see how it plays.  So I dropped DitV for Bulldogs.

Bulldogs redeems my earlier player experience of the con.  The plot was a little light and there were 7 players.  7 is a big number for most table top games.  Brennen has pregens, dice and patience, knowing none of us will be familiar with his game.   Brennen is cool enough to ask if everyone is familiar with d20.  He then briefly explains the System, the Races  and the setting and answers questions then sets us up with our bang. 

There were some wonderful role players at the table, and one troll.  The player chose a character that looked like a troll, read the background and became obnoxious and insulting through out the game.  And his was character with the people skills.  Go figure.

Bulldogs is sci –fi with good grit.   I really liked how the Ship had less hit points than its pilot.  It gave the ship more of a character like feel. We gotta take care of this thing, its our bread an butter.  If it dies so do we. 

I walked away from Bulldogs smiling despite obnoxious player.  This is a game I wanna play again.

Saturday:

10 – 2 I played in a LARP.  It was a mistake.  I might post why in an actual play thread. 

3 –7 I played NPA Pretender and Discernment.

Pretender was much more fun than expected.  When we ended in two hours I wanted more.   Some of the things you can use your dice to pay for are unnecessary, like Ripple, and Discovery.   The problem being why pay to have a bad effect or learn bad news?  Since Narration defaults to zero if unpaid for there is no reason to pay for that slot either. Safety Style and Motion were the only things I spent dice on.

Discernment: 1st time I played this game despite it having been written by my husband.  I got to be the subject.  I really like the multiple GM's thing with this game.  I really liked this game. 

8-midnight
I ran Everway again.  Funny thing happened.  I hadn't prepared 2 different scenarios so I told Friday's people I was going to be running the same scenario Saturday.  Due to a very innocent act on the part of a good player, and knowing better than to block or railroad, I ended up running something totally new anyway.  Again I had 5 players. 

Midnight- 3
My Life with Michael.
Its funny how many people want to be minions of the man.  I waited as an alternate hoping to be brow beaten late into the night.  Fortunately the hour of the game is enough to break the wills of lesser minions.  MLwM is still a creepy game.  I was a Taxidermist who could make anything out of body parts except from those who had died on Sunday, and who smelled of dead things except when holding dead things.

Michael played a Brain Master very well, and bullied but never used force to intimidate.  The last few masters were Beasts so it was nice to see the change.  I got to kill him and die hurling us both out the window. 

Ben was almost too nice as a minion, trying to rescue kids and stuff, Lisa was unrepentantly cantankerous, and Andrew was truly very creepy as Petra

The thing I learned was how difficult it was to be sincere in that game.  I missed out on sincerity several times because I kept forgetting to take the blame for the awful things I was doing.  Desperation is so easy, Sincerity not so much.  Wow, that was eye opening which is saying something at 3am.

Sunday:

Still hurting from the late Night with master game, got the play Polaris, a game I had been hoping to play all con. 

Polaris does the rotating GM's thing, and relies heavily on relationship maps and where they can take a story, it lived up to my hopes.  This is a game meant for longer than 4 hours, it's a game that needs to be drawn out, so that each loss can be savored.  We are failing knights, our doom should be slow, painful and very very beautiful.

We left the con early at 3 pm.  At other cons 3pm on Sunday is dead.  There was still plenty going on.  Including a rainstorm to drive through

I'm realy glad the IPR was strong at Dexcon it really improved the Con for me.

-kat 
kat Miller

Michael S. Miller

Quote from: TonyLB on July 19, 2005, 02:50:31 PM
I think that if we want a room party to really work in future, we have to clear a space for it (and only it) in the schedule.

Here's a thought: We provide serious food (Kat and I will take point on this) and we schedule the party to coincide with the Saturday dinner break. Those that don't have an afternoon game can come a little early. Those that don't have an evening game can stay a little late. And everybody can get dinner by coming to the party....

...and playing War Stories. 8^)
Serial Homicide Unit Hunt down a killer!
Incarnadine Press--The Redder, the Better!

Robert Bohl

Also for the room party, getting it announced would be good.  There are events tripods all over the place and I don't think I saw an announcement on them.
Game:
Misspent Youth: Ocean's 11 + Avatar: The Last Airbender + Snow Crash
Shows:
Oo! Let's Make a Game!: Joshua A.C. Newman and I make a transhumanist RPG

Judd

Because there always has to be a bright side.  Right?

What I learned at Dexcon

In Nomine:

I learned to shake hands with the players as they come to the table and introduce myself, encouraging them to do the same.


Ganakagok

Maps of communities and relations are nifty.  All of our bangs were mapped out right there.

Also, creator enthusiasm can be wonderfully infectious.

As if I hadn't learned that last year at the Forge booth.

N.P.A. Pretender:

Fortune in the Middle is freakin' cool.

N.P.A. Discernment:

Despite being one of the nicest guys I've met, Michael disturbs me.

Also that the N.P.A. is an untapped treasure trove of good games.

Dictionary of Mu:

PRe-made kickers need to be short and tight.

Cybergen:

As a GM, i have to really think about what I spend time describing and watch for player involvement.

P.T.A:

This is THE game I'll use when I introduce my non-gaming family to gaming.

Pulp Era:

Generic systems just don't flip my switch anymore.

Dogs in the Vineyard:

In a con scenario in particular, tying the NPC's from the scenario's town into the player's accomplishments is key.

Burning Wheel, a large table:

I want to run one of these large, dozen+ player circus games.

It'll be about groups of priests gathering to discuss the death of a god.

Burning Wheel, a small table:

BW's combat is liquid fun.

Demo's:

Iconic situations rule because they get the players right into the thick of it.

Dregg

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm I posted yesterday but it never posted so I will try again =)

Dexcon has always been a great experience for me since my first Dreamation 2 years ago.
Vinny (the Con Owner) is easy to work with and one of the better people I have met in that industry. I would go into all the stuff he has done for my old demo team and I-CON, but that is for another thread.

I will open with It was good to see all the old faces and people I do not get to see all that often (Abzu, Dro, Thor, Emukt, etc), and all the new faces Paka (who is a kick ass role player), and Rob D. who I though was an awesome man and kindred spirit.

Friday I arrived about 2:45 and did not get my room until about 5:30, the hotel staff as pretty annoying and I hope that in the future they will be kinder to those who spend money in their over priced hotel. There was a misschedule in my Friday afternoon run of Chez Goth so that did not get ran. I goofed off for the rest of the day playing a cool cybergen game at 8 and showed up at Midnight for my InSpectres run, but I had no shows.

Saturday I was addle brained for the morning, I do apologize to those who were in my Pulp Era Demo as I was so out of character that it just droned on... (Reminder to self, I am totally useless at cons until I get at least 6 hours sleep). My game at 8 had much more energy and chutzpah, and the players were just eating up all the pulpy goodness.

Sunday was a wash except I played probably the coolest supers game ever. Capes is a brilliant game and Tony really knows how to pimp his wares. I'm sorry I did not have the cash to pick it up at the con, but I will pick it up soon off the web. My only regret is I had to hit the road so soon. Major Victory Rocked.
Sales were ok I guess, Pulp Era sold 2 copies but I know that sales for everyone were a bit low from what I have read in this thread.

The one thing I learned this weekend, is that I really need to design my next game a little more cleverly, Pulp Era is good for a conventional RPG, but it falls to the wayside next to most of the games from the Forgers... My next two projects I should have ready by Dreamation 2006 and will hopefully be a little bit more dynamic in design.
J. Carpio "Dregg"
Gaming Coordinator I-CON (iconsf.org)
Chapter 13 Press co founder(www.chapter13press.com)
Column Writer "Lights, Camera, Action!" (silven.com)

Russell Collins

My experiences were generally favorable, but a good deal of that could be chalked up to the fact that I run games so often, it's a great relief to just show up and play.

Capes: Gah! Fabulous! I wanted to buy this game at Dreamation, but couldn't imagine my group actually playing it. Now I will make some new friends if I have to. The only thing holding me back is learning, and I mean really KNOWING the rules. I felt there were so many times during our session that I had to ask for a reminder about when I could react or spend my debt and so on. Thankfully Tony is such an exhuberant host, he didn't seem irritated even the 10th time I tried to react to a rolled 6.

CyberGen: Eh. It is what it is. I walked in without many expectations, which may be why it didn't bug me when the pacing fell out of the session. I have realized the great advantage of this game however. Since your characters are angsty, irreverent teenagers, just about any of the stereotypical gamer table talk still fits the characters.

Dogs: Heh. Life's full of tough decisions. From the word go we were up to our necks in conflicts. Between our teachers, between retired Dogs, and between each other. Heck, I never even left Bridal Falls, and I still managed to be in a gunfight. Judd did an excellent job keeping the game focused on the intensity of our every word. I do agree to him that we should have taken stronger fallout, rather than brushing it off or trying to save face, but he also didn't stop us from doing what we did so it's neither here nor there.

Burning Wheel: Whole lotta rats. It was fun and larpish for the first half, but I must confess that by the second half I was distracted by thoughts of the session I had to run next. The system has every angle of confrontation covered, though I do find the arguement resolution a bit formulaic. Especially when the player's own words don't seem to gel with the "type" of statement in the rules.

Shadow of Yesterday: I'm never running a midnight game again. At least not after there have been 2 sleepless nights leading up to it. I think I did well enough in explaining the rules, and the characters did a good job of embracing their personal goals to forge the story. BUT, it was too late at night. One of my players could barely keep his eyes open, and that lead to me making the narrow path decision of "we need to boost the excitement, NOW!" As a result, we skipped a good deal of social interaction between the players and the 2 factions of the Ratkin and cut to the "Squall is a big jerk with a monster in the basement." Good enough for a dungeon crawl, but I really wanted to give the players something better.

They actually saved the adventure for me, because they continued on after the villianous Squall disappeared to allow one of the players to fulfill his diabolical plans to start a human war. He rolled so well, no one ever really had the chance to stop him, which is a danger with low advancement characters. C'est la vie.
My homeworld was incinerated by orbital bombardment and all I got was this lousy parasite.

Russell Collins
Composer, sound designer, gamer, dumpling enthusiast.

Andrew Morris

Quote from: gains on July 20, 2005, 04:10:50 PM
One of my players could barely keep his eyes open

Heh. He felt terrible about that, by the way. He did enjoy himself, though. Midnight timeslofs are a bitch for GMs and players alike.
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Judd

Quote from: gains on July 20, 2005, 04:10:50 PM
Dogs: Heh. Life's full of tough decisions. From the word go we were up to our necks in conflicts. Between our teachers, between retired Dogs, and between each other. Heck, I never even left Bridal Falls, and I still managed to be in a gunfight. Judd did an excellent job keeping the game focused on the intensity of our every word. I do agree to him that we should have taken stronger fallout, rather than brushing it off or trying to save face, but he also didn't stop us from doing what we did so it's neither here nor there.

Taken stronger fallout?

When did I say that?

You dogs can punk out of the conflict at any time and its up to you to look the King of Life in all of His splendor when your time of Judgement comes and explain yourself.

I don't recall saying jack-all about that.

Glad you had fun.

I am thrilled to hear that the choices were tough.

Brennan Taylor

Quote from: Paka on July 20, 2005, 06:28:00 PMTaken stronger fallout?

When did I say that?

You dogs can punk out of the conflict at any time and its up to you to look the King of Life in all of His splendor when your time of Judgement comes and explain yourself.

I don't recall saying jack-all about that.

He's not referring to fallout, but rather taking the blow. A lot of the players at the game were taking the blow with their dice but describing a see instead.