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Old 08-14-2014, 07:20 PM   #1
Agemegos
 
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Join Date: May 2005
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Default #RPGaday Topic 15: Favourite Convention Game

I'm doing RPG-a-day in August, as promoted by Dave Chapman (Autocratik). This is Day 15 of 31.


Favourite Convention Game

I my experience of running games at cons goes back to June '83, when I wrote the module for the first UNSW Role-Players' Association convention: Escape From Fortress Fohgidon. It was a wickedly killer three-level module in which the PCs had to escape from cells at the bottom and fight, sneak, or run their way out at the top, and where everything that looked like an opportunity to do anything else was a trap. But for all that my experience at cons is a bit thin: only about nine or ten games all told. I consider two of those good. They're hard to pick between, but since one is coming up later I'll describe the other now.

My favourite con game's real title is "9,401", but since I didn't actually come up with it until after the blurb had gone into the prospectus (in fact, I thought it up in the car from my motel to the first playtest) it is known by the title of a different adventure that I never ran: Après Moi, L'Enfer.

9,401 is a simple thriller in disguise as a police procedural, set on a planet called "Cockaigne" just as a civil war is breaking out, run using ForeSight in my long-running SF setting FLAT BLACK. The PCs are agents of the Imperial Justice department investigating the murder of a protester on the glacis of the Imperial enclave while everyone else is distracted by what seem to be much more important things. The investigation leads into intrigue and covert action, ending up with a mad scientist with a devastating secret weapon — except that she's a social scientist and the secret weapon is a list of names. In the crisis the PCs have to decide what to do with the list of names, since destroying this particular secret weapon is far from being the obvious choice. I ran this adventure at Phenomenon in June 2005, about five or six times, and it worked well enough that I was invited to contribute a game to their "triptych" the next year (which didn't work out). I've run it several times since in friends' homes and over the 'Net, but it doesn't work so well without the time pressure of having to get things wrapped up in a three-hour con game slot .

One of the things that impressed the punters in 9,401 was my preparation, and in particular the way I prepared handouts and used them to manage time. An expert or junior detective could be assigned to do some sort of investigation such as the autopsy, investigating financial records, going through surveillance tapes, doing a long list of routine interviews etc., and I would give the player a handout to read while I was playing out some other scene with other characters, involving dialogue with NPCs. When that was done the player of the expert or junior investigator was ready to summarise his or her characters' findings, from the knowledge contained in the handout. That worked well.

I'm tempted to anecdotalise a few of the more amusing results of player characters hitting the few set encounters in 9,401, but I'm going to control myself.
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Last edited by Agemegos; 08-21-2014 at 09:36 PM.
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Old 08-14-2014, 07:52 PM   #2
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Default Re: #RPGaday Topic 15: Favourite Convention Game

I was going to say I've never played in, let alone run, a convention game, but that's not quite true; many years ago, at an early Comic-Con, I ran two sessions of a variant Superhero 2044. But I don't think I would call it my "favorite" except in a trivial sense. The whole convention gaming dynamic is alien to me.

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Old 08-15-2014, 01:14 AM   #3
johndallman
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Default Re: #RPGaday Topic 15: Favourite Convention Game

A session of The Skool Rools, run by Phil Masters on the Sunday evening of Contraption, the 1992 BRS convention IIRC. The game is essentially "Molesworth, the RPG" and was created by Phil - I think this may have been the first time it was ever played.

Playing ten-year-old schoolboys is very liberating - you just don't think about the future, even when making plans. The players were a very assorted group, staring Michael Cule, of this parish, and worked together in the correct kind of confusion. The game is humorous, and that night it was one of the funniest things I have ever experienced. Steve Jackson - of SJG, not the UK one - was Guest of Honour at the convention, and spend some time watching us, alternating collapsing with laughter and trying to figure out how to make the game saleable.

Last edited by johndallman; 08-15-2014 at 01:16 AM. Reason: Add rules link
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Old 08-15-2014, 02:50 AM   #4
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Default Re: #RPGaday Topic 15: Favourite Convention Game

See previous entry on "most memorable character death". But also, one Gen Con, Mike Pondsmith of R. Talsorian was running an experimental chop-socky martial arts game, in which (to represent bad dubbing) you had to lip-synch your character's lines while the player to your left guessed, and spoke aloud, what it was you actually meant to say.
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Old 08-15-2014, 08:25 AM   #5
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Default Re: #RPGaday Topic 15: Favourite Convention Game

Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerBW View Post
See previous entry on "most memorable character death". But also, one Gen Con, Mike Pondsmith of R. Talsorian was running an experimental chop-socky martial arts game, in which (to represent bad dubbing) you had to lip-synch your character's lines while the player to your left guessed, and spoke aloud, what it was you actually meant to say.
If I were having to do that, I would effectively be guessing at random. . . .

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Old 08-15-2014, 12:37 PM   #6
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Default Re: #RPGaday Topic 15: Favourite Convention Game

Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
If I were having to do that, I would effectively be guessing at random. . . .
It may have been intended as an incentive to solve problems by martial arts rather than talking.
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Old 08-15-2014, 10:48 PM   #7
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Default Re: #RPGaday Topic 15: Favourite Convention Game

Greatest convention experience ever: played Capes WITH the author... It was High Powered Supers on D-Day. There were some great characters.... The evil nazi übermensch focused on corrupting my white bread captain america emotion controller. I remember we had a flamboyant French resistance fighter. We had a nazi AI supertank mecha transformer who sunk troop transports and battleships by using them as stepping stones.. And the young black jr officer fighting nazis as he fight his allies' racism. Best theee-four hours of gaming ever.
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Old 08-15-2014, 11:08 PM   #8
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Default Re: #RPGaday Topic 15: Favourite Convention Game

I did a LARP once where I got my glasses broken

I wanted to do a Werewolf LARP (due to the sweet sweet poster) but got dragged away by staff duties

So. No luck at con games
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Old 08-16-2014, 08:38 AM   #9
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Default Re: #RPGaday Topic 15: Favourite Convention Game

My favorite game in which I've played was one of the Paranoia Trek series. I got to be the Captain Kirk equivalent, and had a lot of fun doing bad impersonations and trying to get my shirt torn fighting hippies in San Francisco and the like. If you get a chance to play in a Paranoia Trek game, take it!

My favorite game I've run is WJBL4: The Evercandy Story. Watching my players try to figure out how to drive a tankbot using the flight control joystick I slapped down on the table, teleport pads that likely merge clones together, trying to stop traitors without killing everyone around. It's been great fun.
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Old 08-16-2014, 10:15 PM   #10
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Default Re: #RPGaday Topic 15: Favourite Convention Game

My favorite con game that i ran was my first official one. I'd run unofficial games before with friends and like those it was an aside to my ongoing games. In this case my long running Mage: the Awakinening game was coming to a close with the characters destroying a (doomed) parallel universe to save their own.

So the can game took the inhabitants of that universe, giving them an opportunity to escape and rewrite the history of the "real" world. It was fun to give the players control of favored bit characters in my larger story. What made it really fun was the idea that they really could alter the ending of my game. Using the flaws in their reality they could hop through time and space and undo choices in their past.

Most of the players seemed fine to go with the flow and focus on escaping reality (I also got some joy of seeing my players' character be seen as the movers and shakers in the background of this story) but one, who playing the teenage mage Arachne that the group had sacrificed so much for, decided to make a new choice. The first real choice in her history. To sacrifice her humanity to save the city she lived in. It undid a lot of the earlier plot and added to the sacrifices that my players in the main game had to make.

My favorite con game that I played in would either be my first session of Don't Rest Your Head or Prime Time Adventures. Both had great groups that brought interesting ideas/issues to the table.
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