Convention report of DunDraCon 40, Feb 12-15 2016,
DDC 40 Con Report by Saulster
I usually run one rpg over the weekend but in this year I decided to run a short 4 hour rpg at the request of the RPG coordinator. My first game was scheduled on Saturday at 2pm to 6pm and Sunday from 6pm to 2am. So that freed my Friday night to play an rpg. I signed up for three and got into my 2nd choice a Empire of the Petal Throne game.
That is an old rpg that was the first setting published by TSR. It was a science-fantasy setting. I have always wanted to play it but never got the chance and here it was being offered 38 years after it was published and pretty close to how long I wanted to play in the setting.
Empire of the Petal Throne on the world of Tekumel is a setting by M.A.R. Barker who rivals Tolkien in scope and breathe of work. The description of the game was vague but it didn't matter. When I got to the room I knew three of the other 5 players. The GM described it as a simple dungeon crawl, which wasn't really my interest but then I just wanted to experience the setting. As I said the GM called it a dungeon crawl but the players had other things on their minds.
The pre-generated characters not more than stats and a name, but the players infused personalities and motivations into those simple characters. Simple details that the GM gave were thoroughly investigated by the players. We made grand schemes and plans all thinking that this is what the GM had in mind. But they were not, his details were just some fluff, we delayed getting to the "dungeon."
At one point one of the players said "Where is the dungeon? I thought this was a dungeon Crawl?"
We got to the dungeon fought a few monsters and by that time it was getting late and we ended the game before we had finished the 'dungeon." This was a weird game for me. I recently backed a successful Kickstarter for a new set of rules of this game setting, called Bethorm.
I actually ran a game of Bethorm at DDC the year before and it was a much different game. It was more intrigue and political game which I thought was more in tune with the setting but I felt I didn't "know" the world enough to run the game well. It was well received but I thought that in the hands of a veteran Tekumel GM who knew the "world" forwards and backwards this setting would really shine.
I was happy to play but was a little disappointed by the adventure. The GM knew the setting pretty well and maybe felt that world details would be lost on players at a con, but I thought it would have been a better game if he had tried a little be harder on immersing us in the rich setting of Tekumel. And it was a pre-written adventure from the 1980's. And many of those old TSR modules were not the best written adventures and they were primarily hack and slash type of adventures. Not what I am looking for these days. Still I was glad to have played in an Empire of the Petal Throne game after 38 years of waiting.
My Saturday game was a Dresden Files game using the Fate Core rules. Now the funny thing is that I didn't say it was based in the Dresden Files Universe. The title of the game was Menace at Dennis the Menace Park. No mention that this is from a series of games I have dubbed Monterey Dresden, which is based in Monterey Ca. but in the Dresden Files universe. Still I had a full table of 5 but had 2 no shows but a great player wrangled 2 missing players.
Since Monterey is pretty close to the Bay Area most people had been there at least once, but there were a couple players that knew the area very well. I grew up in a city close to Monterey and have read many books by John Steinbeck who based many of his stories in Monterey and the surrounding area.
The player that wrangled the extra players was a "Monterey expert" and fell in love with the "Disgraced Alcoholic Detective." And he was brilliant. I had two players who just recently starting playing together and one of them DDC 40 was his first convention ever and mine was his first game at a con! Oh the pressure! Another player had stopped playing rpgs for a couple years and this was his first game back. Gee Sus,
I was a bit worried, but needlessly so, because these guys had me and each other laughing. I firmly believe that an rpg game really needs good players to be good. A gm can bring it but if the players don't actively buy in the game cannot excel. This was a fun game to run and I had a blast.
The game was an investigation of a couple 'strange' deaths near a very popular kids park in Monterey called Dennis The Menace Park. It is named after the comic strip character and the artist of the strip actually paid most of the money to have the park built back in the late 1950's. The highlights of the game was the use of a paper plate and mop handle to use as a magic detector in the park and (Frmr) Dective Marlin Baines "flashing the badge" and "driving like a lunatic" in Cannery Row to save the day. It was a crazy, fun game.