Post GenCon 2013 Report

Gen Con

Gen Con (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

GenCon has come and gone.

For me, at least, it was a great time where I got to hang out and game with friends, despite having a horrific head cold.  It was a crowded con, GenCon is already reporting breaking numerous attendance records — and you could tell.

Unfortunately, my illness (and, from which, my daughter was just recovering) activities were minimal, but there is always next year!  The dealer hall (our favorite feature) was as filled with innovative and intriguing ideas as ever.  The big wins for us this year:  getting to see our “extended family” at Exile Games (always a tremendous highlight), all things Numenera, a good friend of ours getting “devoured” by a ten-foot tall balloon Cthulhu, and getting to game with my best friends (sans one who was unable to make the con this year) in our hotel room.  Game of choice this year:  Lacuna.

The illness kept us from a great many activities we had hoped to do:  Walk of the Dead dance on Saturday night, midnight movie on Friday night, Exile game marathon, and the Numenera launch party, to name a few.

There were a few things I was not too pleased about at this year’s GenCon.  Chief amongst them:  Fantasy Flight Games’ booth access.  Without going in to great detail, let’s just say that standing in a 20-45 minute line just to wander through your booth is a huge turn-off.  They have great products, I am (mostly) a fan of the new Star Wars RPG line, but come on, there has got to be a more consumer-friendly method of allowing access (just for browsers) to your booth.

Anyway, you all will see posts begin to spring up here concerning Numenera when the Star Trek episode posts come to a close, so keep your eyes peeled for those.  And now we go in to planning mode for next year’s “Best Four Days in Gaming!”

Till then, roll on…

GenCon 2013 — Are You Ready?!?

Well, its finally on us.  After a little over a year of waiting, the big geek con is back in Indy!

I don’t know about you, but I am pretty psyched.  Not only is this a break from work (and I love my work, but I still need to get away from it every now and then), but its a chance to hang out with some very dear friends, while wandering around the coolest, largest game store in the world.

There are so many new releases each year that I go in wide-eyed and spend way too much money.  But I can’t help myself; its an opportunity to support small publishing companies, independent artists, and local restaurants.  Its like nerd charity, and I love every minute of it!

If you are going, I hope you are well-prepared, coming equipped with everything you need.  If you aren’t going and you wanted to, I am sorry…maybe next year.

Otherwise, see you at the Con!

Combination Platter

The original starship Enterprise

The original starship Enterprise (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is interesting, when talking about (and working on) Star Trek episodes (or adventures, as the case may be) and their foundations — that is to say, where they find their roots.  Take The Original Series’ “Obsession” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obsession_(Star_Trek:_The_Original_Series) which has clear links to “Moby Dick”.  This is a tale of one man’s vengeance and quest for atonement.  Just like other episodes before this one, the theme and story was compelling and exciting, but once thoroughly examined, did not lend itself well to group play.

That did not deter me from wanting to re-imagine the story, however.

In the end, this episode wound up having a little bit of everything, which (I think) is one of the reasons my players responded to it so well.  There’s exploration — and not just space, the PCs get to explore a planet.  In this, my group greatly expanded upon the written narrative and turned the planetside exploration into a session itself.  This, in turn, enabled me to truly showcase some of the oddities created by the Genesis Event and what a newly “birthed” planet might actually be like, with rapidly evolving and competing ecosystems.

There’s spaceship combat.  In this case, it was against a vessel type previously encountered (including an old foe, enabling the group to expand their rogues’ gallery) which showcased the sharp contrast between their earlier starship and their newer one.

There’s a bit of a mystery to it all, as well.  Although, like most re-imaginings, astute players will see the “mystery” for what it is (although, that can be a powerful RP tool, as my players demonstrated repeatedly).

There’s ground-based combat, too.  Yeah, the players got to fire their phasers (and the Security head got to use Photon mortar aspects, too)!

There’s even a good chunk of social interaction, between the colonists, the enemies, and in dealing with (and figuring out) the mystery.

So, really, the episode truly had a bit of something for everyone.

This is also one of those adventures that appears rather short on paper, but has a greater depth than what its length might otherwise indicate; there are ample opportunities to expand and improvise.  And so, it is this wide combination of set pieces and situations that helped to create an incredibly entertaining whole.

I hope it does the same thing for your Trekkers.

Episode 8 All That Glitters

All For One

English: A stylized delta shield, based on the...

English: A stylized delta shield, based on the Star Trek logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wow.  How cool!  Recently (as in today), a fellow Trek-fan compiled the Star Trek rulebook PDFs, inserted the addendums, and slapped a snazzy cover on it all to provide one and all an unified PDF Star Trek FATE document.  He even named it, “To Boldly Go”.  Pretty appropriate, I think!

Kudos, Matt Ceb, and thank you for the work!  Very cool!

Here’s the document in full:  To Boldly Go v2

Too Far Gorn

STArena

Ahhh…good times.  First contact.  Ripped uniforms.  Foam rocks.  Latex masks.  Double-fisted punches.  Old school choreography.

Last post we talked a bit about the notion of taking a fan-favorite Original Series Star Trek episode and modernizing it for group-style roleplaying.  This post embraces that concept in a full bear-hug, squeezes as hard as it can, and asks for a giant foam rock to throw at your favorite Starfleet officer.

The episode in question is “The Arena”, episode 18 of season 1 of the Original Series (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arena_(Star_Trek:_The_Original_Series).  It is a beloved episode that plays much better in memory than in viewing.  The story is fairly solid, and I recall it being pretty intense when I was a kid.  Compared to the frenetic action sequences of today’s media, however, it plays like a snail-race.  Thus, for me, it begged for modernization.

When I rewatched the episode, I noticed something vital for a tabletop game:  as written, it would not play well for group activity.  The majority of the episode involves the crew watching Kirk fight his Gorn opponent as if it were a boxing match.  Certainly, the commentary concerning violence as a sport and the like can be debated, but for most RP groups (mine included) that would not be an enjoyable session.

So, some modifications had to be made to turn the adventure into more of a group activity.  This started as a subtle change that wound up altering the entirety of the episodes presentation and progression.  I strove, however, to maintain a loyalty to the original concept, while putting a greater emphasis on player involvement, as well as discovery, in particular maintaining the core concept of “uncertainty in exploration”.

The end result is for your judgment, however.  Therefore, I proudly introduce episode 4…

Episode 4 Ancient Claim

So, You’ve Found Your Way Here…

Welcome to our ephemeral corner of the World Wide Web.

Here, we’ll be creative.

Here, we’ll think outside the box.

Here, we’ll jump the shark (or climb into a lead-lined refrigerator).

Here, we’ll go off script.

This is my place to post and publish material I have created.

Hopefully, it is also a place that you will find intriguing, inspirational, and enjoyable.

Welcome to Off Script.

–Sean Gore