Saturday, January 31, 2015


The local RPG nerds had a minicon here in town yesterday. I actually made it this time. Played two games. It was fun, but a few critiques as always:

First game was D&D 5e. I think it was a classic case of too many good ideas for a convention game. It was a fun-house dungeon with an end game of apotheosis, but i have no idea how he intended us to do a fraction of the stuff he had prepped. The system of inter-dimensional doors leading from room to room was arcane at best, but we kinda figured out some part of it. That would have been enough good idea though. Part two, after we had sorta figured out part one and also had to go back and explore a room we hadn't actually found initially, was the apotheosis part. It could have been great, but this was a con game where we had made our own PCs. Meaning the DM had no ideas about our backstory and didn't give us a lot of great information about how deities worked in this generic setting. So there were tests of courage, fortitude, wits, etc. All good, but untailored for the players or PCs. Eventually it resulted in a total party kill because it came down to rolling a shit-tonne of saves to avoid exhaustion which were too high of a DC (generally 15+). Also, it suffered a bit that he had lost his 5000 word notes and we waited about 20 min for a phone call and internet access because he was so prepared that he couldn't wing it at all. We could have explored that monstrosity in 12 game sessions though, not just one.

Second game was Serenity. I think she actually requested we be familiar with the show/film, so we actually chose the characters from the show (I was Book). Easy peasy pre-gens and we all knew what the characters were. She ran a module from a book, which was actually decent. Or at least well chosen: as a con-game you need to pick something with a good time frame and she shepherded us through it all in the right amount of time. The game was somewhat ruined by these two younger players. They're of the "I rolled three repair checks, how did I do?" camp. The GM was pretty patient. I didn't understand the math of the system at all though. You roll two dice for any check (from d4 to d12) but the difficulty numbers seemed to be outrageously high at times (9+?). d6 seemed to be average, and d8 above average, but getting a 9+ on 2d4 ain't going to happen, so I thought the target numbers needed to be substantially lower for a lot of stuff. Unless there was somehow more room for help from others and whatnot. Overall the system was nice and simple though, and it made for a really solid convention game. Except its all based on skills, and I kinda hate skills. Especially perception.

Take home message: problem players suck. Don't be afraid to use (and later reuse) your good ideas, but don't throw them all in at once.

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