Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Final Reflections on NTRPGCon2

[I meant to post this earlier, but I have been suffering from a terrible bout with the flu and have been getting lots of rest over the last two weeks.]

My final thoughts are about many of the wonderful people I got to chat and game with.

My roommates were Dennis Sustare and Paul Jaquays.  We never saw each other in the room, that is how involved all three of us were.  I had the opportunity to give a panel discussion with Tim Kask and Dennis.  It was taped, and Badmike noted that it would be available some time in the (near?) future.

Tim Kask and I chatted for about an hour about many things game related and other.  We both discussed our convention scenarios we'd designed and the pros and cons of each and how players would be reacting and X, Y, Z points, etc. Tim's was a sprawling, detailed affair and he "worried" that the PCs would become stuck at one of its many parts.  I  later heard that that did not happen and instead all the players enjoyed his game immensely.

As with last year's convention, Matt Finch and I, being smokers, ended up in various running conversations outside the hotel.  His groups were a riot to listen to, as they were obviously very gung-ho on the adventure(s).  I also talked with several of his participants (John January, Chris Finch and others) who related their own versions of what was transpiring within the game (mostly amid chuckling while doing so).

After some design talk Sunday between Timeshadows, Steve Winter and myself on the merits of Kyrinn's rules and World of Urutsk, Steve and I played in the pick-up episode of her continuing scenario along with Urutskian "veterans" Amanda Marohl and "Doctor Joe."  We then signed some dice bags and I escorted Kyrinn from the convention site and said adios 'til next time.

Later, I watched Circus Maximus being played (I bowed out of playing as I was very tired by then for all of the convention activities).  I did champion Alan Silcock, who unfortunately flipped his chariot on top of his horses, which ended his run in the race.  So I silently picked Jeff Imrie as my next champion as Alan and I retired to the lobby where, among many other subjects, we discussed the merits of adventure design.  Alan runs Tegel Manor by JG every time he shows at conventions, and considering the sparsity of information available in that adventure, he does it the classic way, with quick imaginative thrusts and on the fly interpretations with a lot of gut instinct. Everyone enjoys his DMing immensely (probably because, as he said, "I make it all up as I go along"). Our discussion seemed timeless, and we caught up on many life events as well (including both of us talking about our childhood play experiences and early home environments).  Amid the many inspiring things that came out of this discussion is the fact that Alan wants to go beyond the usual "dungeon crawl" which he sees as a venerable, but worn, adventuring model, and aspire to greater heights of design challenge in such RPG scenarios.  So we had an excellent  give-and-take discussion on a specific scenario he is designing and as he had played in my Dungeon of Death we compared the two concepts for his possible design paths; and I made some specific suggestions and volunteered to help him at any stage in his design process.  We then returned to the CM game.  Sadly, by then, Jeff Imrie was being dragged behind his chariot and slowly dying.  So much for my picking champions, a curse it seems, as it worked out.

Other Highlights In Brief:

Talking at length for the second year in a row with Marshall Clayton Mahurin III.  Marshall is the miniatures guru of Texas and of this particular convention.  From what I understand, his collection of miniatures exceeds 10,000 and represents all historical periods as he is a classic gamer from BitD.  We talked shop on WW2 Navals, Napoleonics, and his current favorite, the American War of Independence.  I heard a rumor before departing the con Sunday that he will be fielding the battle order for a Chainmail version refight of Tolkien's "Battle of the Five Armies," this for next year's convention.  Now that would be a treat indeed!

Playing with Joan MacDonald's son in Kyrinn's Urutsk and DMing Joan as part of the team in Dungeon of Death (Rd 2).  Her son is a natural born player and I hope he plays again next year.  He thought I was a little paranoid in my approach as a player.  Heh.  If he'd only been there later when my PC took a bullet to the head that almost killed him...  As his mother said (at the Acaeum) "He'll learn..."

Having John Lile (KingofPain) play in my Dungeon of Death (Rd 2).  John played in Castle El Raja Key at the first convention so it was great to see him back.  He always lends penetrating views on the adventure at hand and this time was no different (even though this one caused him some in-game brain hemorrhaging).

Chatting with my old friend Allan Grohe (we were both so busy that we had little time to actually chat in-depth like old times); meeting and gaming with the dynamic artist and very soon to be married Amanda Marohl; catching up with the great Jason Braun (a treat as usual).

Talking for many (combined) hours with Doug Rhea before, during and after the convention; and noting Mike Badolato unselfishly adminning the convention in lieu of playing games; and of course playing with Badmike's dear friend, "Doctor Joe," in Kyrinn's games.

And, of course, what would a NTRPGCon be without a 'Cimmerian'?  It is REH territory, don't you know...?


Cimmerian said...

Glad to hear you are on the upswing. Summer's here!

I've been dogged with some bad luck post con too. Like a Serlingesque shift into the Twilight Zone, I am waiting for the end where he narrates my experience, filling in the holes I could not understand.

Could not agree with you more about the highlights of a trip to Texas. As fun as the games are, spending time catching up with the personalities is a must.

Texas is a great experience to open the eyes of the common gamer. A fun house of sage advice & wisdom, quality gaming, & a healthy dose of friendship from anyone you should come across.

Rob, it was just as fun for me & thanks for the laughs as always.

PS. Still tired.

Rob Kuntz said...

Good show, Cimmerian. Convention-going is a rare and delightful treat for all the reasons you state.

See you next year and do update us on the SoCal event.

Umm. And beware passed out drivers from the TZ! :l(

Badmike said...

Eh, one of these days I'll be able to participate in more than one game the entire weekend...! But really it is worth it just to meet all the guys and talk gaming for 4 straight days. I'll remember some of the conversations I had more than I will the games I sat down to in future days! If you have never attended a con before you are really missing out, not just on gaming, but far more.

To add to the post-con bad luck, I've just recovered from a two week post con ear infection....

Rob Kuntz said...

Hey Mike!

Ear infection? Well, with Cimmerian being swiped by a crazy driver, TS with the bug, myself with the bug, the run so far for post-con isn't great! At least you have "Doctor Joe" down there. ;)

I know what you mean about all the good times to be had outside of gaming. Sure would like to test your metal in one of my games though. Maybe next con! :)