Aug 22

Michael went to GenCon 2014



I joined my fellow gamers for our annual pilgrimage to the holy land of Indianapolis, Indiana to pay homage to our forefathers and foremothers of Gaming.  Below follows the travelogue of my adventures this year.


The Rpg Academy Pre-GenCon Extravaganza


L-R Alissa, Pierce, Tim, ME, Dani, Randy, Travis, John, Rocky, L-R sitting are Nick B. and Brad K.

In what I hope will become an annual event, I had put out an open invite for any of our Twitter followers or listeners of our show to meet at our Hotel on Wednesday night to meet up and play some games. I had the foresight to call ahead and reserve a room at our Hotel as I expected quite a few people to show up. I was told we had a room but when I arrived we were told they had double-booked the room and I found out the room wasn’t available until around 10:00 PM. I can’t be too upset as I was getting the room for free and the other people were paying for it (An Auntie Ann’s corporate meeting I think – smelled amazing!) but it would have been nice to be told ahead of time so we could have arranged for a different place.

It worked out though. So no harm, no foul.

We set up in the Lobby around 4:00 PM and started playing games as we waited for everyone else to get there. (And by we I mean: Me, Travis, Amanda, Nick B., Brad P., Brad K. Jared was with us as well, but he went to the street party and did not join us for the evenings activities).
Shortly our first guests arrived: Randy of the green shirt and Tim of every time it’s my turn chaos ensues, joined us and we taught them how to play Legendary: Marvel Heroes. We eventually lost ( I think, I had to step out for a bit and let Rocky take my place – so I blame him). We’ve covered Legendary on the show several times. I’m a big fan. Still think set up and take down is too cumbersome though.
A different Tim, who played D&D4e with me for a while back home, and his son Jacob joined us as well and they played some DC Heroes with Travis and Amanda. Around 8 or so John and Dani made it. Randy and Tim wanted to run a co-DM’d D&D5e Game so we started making plans for that and some of the other group broke off for some Zombiecide action.
Eventually Pierce and his fiancée Alissa made it and we ended up playing a 9 person D&D game, with lots of intrigue and backstabbing followed by additional backstabbing and finally some betrayal. It was fun for everyone, except maybe Nick who inadvertently took his PC out of the game and became a non-active participant for a while. I had a lot of fun even though my PC died at the hands of my duplicitous sister’s former lover (did I mention the betrayal and backstabbing?). My favorite moment came when I said, “well, I guess I’ll roll my death save in case I roll a 20 and can get back up.” Roll: Nat 20. So I got to rise back up like Jason from the Friday the 13th Movies as everyone ignored me. I got one more spell off, but didn’t do enough damage before I was cut down by the Fighter and then beheaded to prevent any further shenanigans
The game ran till about 1:30am and we were ready to get a couple hours sleep, so we parted ways. The whole Pre-GenCon event was a highlight of the trip and I am so glad that Randy, Tim, Dani, John, Pierce and Erin, Rocky, other Tim and Jacob made it down in time to play some games with us.
I guess I should actually call this Pre-Acade-con because many of those same people are going to be in Cincinnati, come November for our Mini-con.



My first official day of GenCon started slowly, with me standing in a line. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m sure; I weaseled my way into getting a press badge this year. Press badges are not sent through the mail so even though I had my tickets sent to me, I had to pick up my badge in person. The door opened at 7:30, so I got there at 7:00 thinking I’d beat the rush – silly me. There was a notice that the first 100 people in line would get early access to the Exhibit hall (9am vs. 10am for everyone else, you know, the peasants). I was way past 100 and figured that was out. I did Inspire.buttonmeet a couple other people in line, one of whom was Alan Patrick (@ Warfteiner) An associate Community Manager for The D&D Adventure’s League and he gave me my first piece of GenCon swag – The nifty Inspiration token.

After about an hour I got to the door and was given my Press Badge, offered the Press only wifi password (which was great, but only usable inside the press room or close to it)  and the Press room for interviews if needed. Despite my place in line, I was given a ticket for early exhibit hall access and eagerly moved from the long press line to the even longer early access line. On the way to the back of said line (it wrapped around part of the building, then outside and down the street) I ran into Kelley and Seth, the Director and EP of the movie “Of Dice and Men” who were on the podcast recently as guests and were having 2 showings of their movie at GenCon. They gave me my second piece of GenCon swag – a Off Dice and Men dog tag.Dicemendogtag
(I wasn’t able to make it to either showing but I heard they went very well with lots of people walking in and many coming back for the second showing with friends  – which makes me very happy).
It didn’t take me long to realize that the line to the exhibit hall was too long and that if I stayed in it, I probably would barely get into the hall before it was time to leave for my first event. So I skipped my special early access and headed off to my first event.

Dungeons & Dragons The New Edition: Ready, Set, Play!


This was a 2 hour seminar event hosted by Mike Mearls, Rodney Thompson and Greg Brisland (with a brief appearance by Chris Tulac). During the first hour the Panel used a projector to walk through many features of the new system:Dnd5e phb
Advantage / Disadvantage – A new mechanic that replaces many of the previous versions multiple +/- effects. So instead of tracking three things that give you a +2, and four things that give you -1 and coming up with a total of +2 on a roll the DM can just say “You have Advantage on this action.” If you have Advantage you roll 2d20’s and take the best result. If you have Disadvantage on an action you roll 2d20’s and take the worst result. It’s simple, elegant and replaces so much fiddly stuff that I can’t help but be a fan. Plus I like rolling 2d20’s anyway so it’s a big win-win for me.
Bounded Accuracy – This is tied into Advantage / Disadvantage or should I say Adv/Disadv is tied into bounded Accuracy. Essentially this means they are trying to keep the math flat. In previous editions, particularly 4e (in my experience) at higher levels it was not uncommon for the d20 to be the least important number involved in an action. You roll a 15 to attack and add 30 to it. With Bounded Accuracy the goal is to keep that D20’s importance. At the highest level of play (currently 20) you could have a 20 stat (+5 bonus) and a +6 for proficiency so a total of +11 added to your attack roll. Maybe higher if you have a magical weapon but those are also less common. Just like Adv/Disadv – I’m a fan.
Inspiration – This is a mechanic to help encourage roleplaying. I’ve been told it’s similar to a Pathfinder mechanic, but I’m not certain about that, nor do I care. I like it and it doesn’t matter to me where it came from. A DM can give a PC Inspiration for roleplaying their character well. It is designed to be a reward to following through on your Ideals, Bonds and Flaws (These are IMO similar to Aspects in FATE, things your character believes in and define them – are you generous, bold, arrogant, overconfident?) but I can see it being given out by different DM’s for different reasons. Regardless of how/why you get it once you have it, you can turn it in anytime to get Advantage on any action. You also have the ability to give it to another Player so they can turn it in on an action.
During this first part we were also shown some art from the upcoming Dungeon Master’s Guide. If you are a fan of the art in the PHB you’ll like it. If not, you won’t.
Next we walked through all the races in the new Player’s Hand Book and touched on them and then the same for the Classes and subclasses or decision points (Fighting Styles, Domains, Wizarding schools, etc .,)
Finally everyone was offered the chance to create a character using a copy of the basic rules provided and we had   a few PHB’s that were available. These characters were meant for the Adventurer’s league play. As part of this everyone was given the choice of what faction they wanted to join. I didn’t end up making PC but I did choose my faction, Order of the Gauntlet. I got use the concept (a religious zealot wizard who was disavowed by the church for another’s crime and sought redemption and vengeance) when I played Secrets of Sokol Keep on Sunday.
The other exciting part of this for me, was that I got a chance to get my PHB signed by the panel and take this pic MIkeandmike




At 12:30 I had my first official press interview. It was with Michael Williams CEO of Oomba.


You may know Michael Williams from the many video games he has had a hand in creating, from a level designer on The Bard’s Tale II & III up to Lead Programmer on Men in Black and Pinky and the Brain. In his own words he is a serial Entrepenour and hopes to have huge success with this newest venture. I’ll admit, I had no idea what the hell Oomba was when I set up the interview, but by the time I left I was intrigued and excited. If they can pull this thing off, it could be huge.

The big draw of Oomba at GenCon was their Guinness World Record breaking attempt at the largest tournament. As a way to show off their system’s capabilities they had a tournament of the Paper, Rock, Scissors, Lizard, Spock game – made famous by Sheldon on the Big Bang Theory. The rules are simple:











I did hear later that the Oomba team was successful and set the record with the largest tournament in history with 2,950 people competing, including our own Brad P. the GM of our Star Wars: Edge of the Empire game. He made it to the third round.

So, you’re probably still wondering what Oomba is, right? What I gathered from my conversation is that they want to do with Oomba what ESPN did with The World Series of Poker. I was never a poker player before they started putting cameras on the tables and showing hands, and giving me the odds as they changed. That simple addition turned Poker into a spectator sport and launched Poker personalities to stardom.
wsopNow, Imagine the same thing with a Magic The Gathering tournament. You could watch the game being played over Oomba TV and there would be an overlay of what cards were in play, what cards were being held in each hand. You could have situations where you could see what the odds of the next card being the card the player needed (3.5% chance of a Forest allowing him to play XXX and win).

Yeah, think about that. While the tournament management aspect could be used to run your home MTG league or stores use them to run FLM. For the stores it would greatly speed up the process and reduce duplication of effort from store level with entry of player info each and every time.

MTG is the most obvious, in my mind, use for the system, but it could be used for any competitive game.
While I was waiting to speak to Michael Williams I edged my way into a conversation with a Mayfair games Rep. They hope to forge a strong connection with Oomba and they want to work together to broadcast Catan Tournaments — again, think of an ongoing score at the bottom, what tiles are left to play, what each tile will do to the point totals. As I said earlier, I’m very intrigued and will be keeping eyes and ears open for updates on this company. Maybe we’ll all be watching the WSOMTG soon.


13th Age – 2 hour slot

13thagecoverMy first actual GenCon game was at 2:00 PM. 13th Age game. I had a hard time picking my ‘favorite event’ but this game easily had my favorite moment in it. Nothing to do with the game – though Michael B. (Aka @Summonedmonkey) did an excellent job as the DM –this is truly hubristic, but I gotta share because it cracked me up.
While we were waiting for any last players to show up a gentleman at the table to my left (skipping one seat ) was asking the DM about the 13th Age game system and about the best way to get his players to try out the system as they seemed to be hesitant. I perked up and said, “Would they be interested in listening to an Actual Play of a game, maybe see how it plays,” I’ I’m pulling out a business card as say this and hee replies, ‘No, I don’t think so. I can’t imagine anyone listening to someone else play. Sounds terribly boring!” I laughed and said, “well, I run a site where we do that . . . “ and the DM kinda blurted out, “You’re Michael from The Rpg Academy!?” My face lit up (this was the first time I’d ever been recognized like that before) and I said “yeah!” we shook hands and talked for a bit and then the guy I had given the card too said, “well, I guess I could check it out.” Which I thought was funny, but trust me my feelings were not hurt. I thought the same of AP podcasts for a long time and still do. Some podcasts out there are great, but not for me.
But the best part of the story (for me) is right as we were about to get started the last player came in at the last minute and sat down directly to my left. I said something to the DM and the new player almost shouted “Are you Michael from The Rpg Academy?” I nearly jumped and said, “yeah!” it was none other than Michael L. AKA @kosovodad he and I had a game set up for Friday. We had no idea we were both in this game. But what cracked me up was the other three people at the table having no freaking clue why these two guys were so excited to see me.


Despite what this looks like, we were winning

As I mentioned earlier, Michael B. was a very good DM; knew the game, kept things moving and did his best to work in all our Icon rolls (of the 5 players we hit an almost absurd number of them at the start) but I don’t think 2 hour games are for me. At least not for 13th Age. Just going through and picking pre-gens, filling in the background points, One Unique Thing and then Icon rolls took ½ hour. So we had to rush through the game. I would have loved to play a 4 or even 5 hour game of it so that first part wouldn’t sting so much.
This leads me to my first Do Different for next year: no 2 hour RP games, unless it’s something like a Games on Demand situation where I want to try something new without a huge time commitment.


My 13th Age game set in Primeval Thule was the event I was most looking forward to prior to GenCon and it did not disappoint. I had backed the game setting book on Kickstarter at the “Sasquatch Sighting” level which meant they would run a game for me. I had asked beforehand and they were cool with me recording it for our podcast. We had ran a contest and Phillip W. came out victorious by popular vote on his One Unique Thing submission which was:
Twice when I was a child, I was saved by a strange little man. First, he saved me from freezing to death. The second time, he saved me from drowning. Each time, he asked for nothing, but left saying “three completest the binding.” I fear that someday soon he will save me again and I will find out to what ( or whom ) I am bound.
I rounded out our Adventurers with Enrique B. AKA @NewbieDM, Chris R AKA @NPCChris, Friend of NPCCAST Tony, friend of NewbieDM Jorge ( regular home game player of Mike Shea AKA SlyFlourish). I, of course, took the last spot.

Thule game pic

Here we are making our “Barbarian Faces”

We took almost an hour creating characters. We didn’t have pre-gens and had to do everything from scratch. If there is any negative about the game, that was it. I wanted to play more – (see 13th age game notes above) and because we had only a couple copies of the book this took longer than I had hoped. But we ended up with a great party. I did record the game and it will be released on the site in the upcoming weeks so I won’t spoil it here, but I will say we accomplished no other group that was ran through the adventure managed ( or was foolish enough to attempt).






The night ended kinda early so I headed back to the hotel and Nick B. and I played some Star Realms, a Deck Builder he picked up. It plays super-fast and is really fun. I got crushed during our first game, but got hooked. I bought it and the expansion the next day. Needless to say – I’m a fan!









I don’t recall exactly when and where I bought stuff, but here are some of the other things I picked up from the Exhibit hall.

the Crisis expansion for DC heroes, the 13th Age bestiary (Got Rob Heinsoo to sign it for me ) and picked up Boss Monster based on Travis telling me it was great. I tried to play it during our dinner break but I don’t think we did it right. Haven’t tried again yet, so a review of that will come later.



I started day 2 by blowing off a game I really wanted to go to: TimeWatch RPG. I want to run better mystery games and have heard that the Gumshoe system that TimeWatch is based on does just that. However, I was given an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. Sorry Kevin Kulp.


Prototype Ultimate Scheme Board.

Because I was a backer of Primeval Thule through Kickstarter I was given first dibs on a playtest of a new board game from Sasquatch Game studio. Ultimate Scheme is a game of global domination through nefarious means. Each player assumes the role of one of 10 (Currently) factions or Master Villains with monikers such as W.R.A.I.T.H, Das Moon Reich, Cult of Tentacly Doom, Gigaton Industries or the Six Fingers. Each faction has a unique ability that bends or breaks the rules of the game. The game mostly works on worker placement where you collect resources needed to complete schemes; you collect Money, Science, Occult and Minions. You also have 3 secret areas that you have to gain access to which each can give you the rare ‘Unobtanium’ each player is dealt a secret scheme that if accomplished is worth extra victory points at the end of the game. Some of the schemes we came across during our game were ‘Create a new dance craze’, ‘Raise the Titanic’, and ‘Steal the crown jewels’. There is a definitely a tongue-in-cheek approach and some subversive humor in the schemes and accompanying flavor text.
The timing of the end game is random as the ‘penultimate scheme’ is randomly placed in the scheme deck. Once it is drawn each player gets on more turn and then you count up victory points.
I was really bad at the game, but had fun playing it. Likely it will be on Kickstarter later this year and I’ll be backing it when it does.


L-R Mark Sponholtz, Rich Baker (Lead Designer of Ultimate Scheme) Warren Wyman and David Noonan.



DUNGEONSCAPE – interview with Chris Matney

My second straight up Press event was an interview with Chris Matney, Founder of Trapdoor Technologies and developer of the recently named DungeonScape application to run alongside D&D5e.
I had gotten a chance to play with what was then known as Codename: Morningstar at Origins earlier this year and you can read and hear about that here

My Origins 2014 Story

Podcast: Table Topics # 49 – Maybe I’m the A-hole

There wasn’t much more to report. A few updates and tweaks (good ones, mind you) but the questions everyone wants answers to (how much and when) are still unknown.
I still had 30 minutes with Chris and we used the whole time. Chris is a gamer, through and through and that viewpoint is helping craft DungeonScape; though that wasn’t the original idea. The engine that they are building DungeonScape on is called Story Machine and it was designed to make books into better ebooks. Its ability to do what it is doing with D&D is secondary. At its heart it takes data and makes it accessible my various means. This makes it extremely customizable on the user’s end.
Here’s an example. When I got to play with Codename: Morningstar at Origins, each ‘screen’ had 3 boxes with information. There were 6 screens total and you could swipe left and right to cycle through them, but they would not cycle all the way around (you couldn’t go from 6 to 1 or from 1 to 6). My feedback was I wanted to be able to do that. They went several steps better and added a ‘pinch’ gesture (on the ipad version, it’s a Pinch) that lets you see all the boxes and pages and rearrange them however you want, even removing the ones that are not applicable to you. You can pinch to jump to the page you want to set up the pages with whatever boxes of content you want and in the order you’ll want them in. It’s just data and can be used how you want!
The goal of DungeonScape is not to be a VTT in the way Roll20 replaces the table. To Chris, D&D is a game you play around a real table, face to face with your friends. The Ipad, phone or tablet in this system is away to replace the character sheet. It should be something you look at when you need it, not as a window to the game. In fact, one of the things they were hesitant to add was a dice roller because that put more focus on the machine than table during the game. I get the hesitancy (I APPRECIATE the hesitancy) but for me, it’s intuitive for it to be there. If I can pull up my spell book and it has my spells separated with my DC’s based on level/ proficiency included. It only makes sense that there should also be a button to click and have it roll damage for me. I hope that it gets added to the full version and expanded. I want to be able to pull up my Arcana skill and roll it from the machine. If my DM doesn’t want me to, it’s still an option.
There will be a staggered release (which is tentatively set for ‘later this year’). First will be the Players version which is the Character Creator and use as a Character Sheet. Next will be the DM version which will allow the DM to use maps and run battles (stats built into encounters with customizeable features to add/delete monsters and NPC’s – again, it’s all just Data) and lastly there is the Forge version which will allow for custom content. DM’s can create and manage their own modules. I asked about the possibility of a Marketplace where user generated content would be up for sell (similar to how does it). That is really up to WOTC to decicde, but the ability will be there when it is released.
There are beta tests open now and the Web version should be open soon. Because I got to participate at Origins I was given an invite to the Beta. I’ll be updating my thoughts when I get a chance to truly play around with the system.

Near the end, Chris and I were discussion nostalgia and how 80’s cartoons were much better than today’s cartoons. This led me to talk about some of my favorite modules I played when I first started in D&D. I happened to mention how WOTC is (apparently) doing good business releasing these old modules through and how cool it would be if we could get those old modules into DungeonScape. Chris’ eyes lit up a bit and he smiled. “They can and will,” he said. That is one of the projects they are working on currently. Updating specific old modules to 5e rules and having them be releasable in digital form to DungeonScape.  Much like everything else with this application, I’m excited to really see what it can do. Hopefully we don’t have to wait too much longer.



I had some free time after the DungeonScape interview so I decided to hit the Exhibit Hall and wander around a bit.
I took the chance to Demo WizKid’s Attack wing and Dice Masters. I’ve heard nothing but great things about the X-Wing Mini game and this is the same, but with Dragons – how could it be bad? attackwingWell, it wasn’t bad, but I wasn’t impressed either. I think maybe I’m just not a mini’s game kinda guy. Don’t know, but it’s not a game I see myself playing enough to buy, at least right now.

Marvel Dice Masters has been on my radar since Origins. It was being talked about everywhere. I had played Quarriors once before and liked it and figured the super-hero theme would push me over the edge, but I was really underwhelmed by that game as well. Just didn’t do anything for me. Another game I’m going to pass on, for now.





Call of Cthulhu – Nerd’s Domain


This was my master plan.

My final event on Friday would have been my favorite of GenCon if not for my Primeval Thule game. I got invited by Matt (AKA @Quiett) and Jason (AKA @foolsmask) of Nerd’s Domain  to be a guest of theirs during Call of Cthulu: Gatsby and the Great Race.
I had wanted to play in a CoC game and tried to register for one but wasn’t able to get into one (there are not that many of them compared to D&D, Pathfinder, and go fast!) so not only was this a great honor (I was considered a celebrity guest- but don’t let their low standards fool you, they were great guys and the game was amazing) it also let me try out the game. Nick B. and Brad K. were able to join me as well. I would love to tell you all about this game. Its design was excellent and I have to give major props to the Nerd’s Domain Crew (there were several there that were part of the crew, I’m sorry I didn’t catch all their names!) for the execution. hpcocNot sure how it compares to a ‘normal’ CoC game, but it was awesome. However, since I know Matt and crew will be running it again I won’t ruin it for you, but trust me; if you have the chance, sign up! It was an unique and fantastic gaming experience. Whether you are a COC fan or not, I think any gamer / role-player will have a blast playing the game. It also inspired me. Next year at Gencon I will be running an The Rpg Academy event and I hope ours is half as cool as this one was for me.

Dungeon Crawl Classics – At a crowded table

Day 3 was my worst day and it was still pretty freaking awesome. I had some free time in the morning and wanted to get the exclusive card for the Boss Monster game I bought the day before. It took me a while, but I finally found the booth and only then realized I didn’t have the coupon book with. Bummer. I then went and bought a new LARPING sword for my youngest minion. The one I bought him at Origins was a bit too big for him and we needed a third one so he and his brother and I could all participate simultaneously in our battles so I got one more his size and then headed to my DCC game.

Last year, my favorite event of GenCon was the DCC game I played with Travis. We had an awesome DM and it was a cool premise: we were regular Joes from 1970’s Wisconsin and got sucked into a fantasy realm by a spell gone wrong. We each started with 3 characters and my first one died getting off the bus –literally. Frankie “Snake-Eyes” final roll was 1 and 1 as his lucky dice fell from his pocket as he fell into lava trying to get to safety. I had so much fun that game and really like the feel of DCC but wanted to try a straight game to see how it ran as an Fantasy Adventure game. So I put a DCC game at the top of my prioritiy list. I wasn’t interested in a funnel game though, so my choices were limited. I found one that worked time-wise but was for up to 6 players. I usually max out at 5 players and go with 6 only on rare occasions. But, I liked that DCC game so much I decided to go for it. It was a mistake. The game was fine, the DM was good, the adventure was cool, but we ended up with 8 players total. I had taken Nick B. along in case someone dropped as he was free during that time. The DM let him sit but then everyone showed up. Happened to another guy too and 8 is just too many. It also didn’t help that I died about an hour before the game was over and sat out the rest of the game. Add to it that when I left I forgot that nice new sword I bought (and it was gone when I went back for it!) that whole thing wasn’t a great experience for me.
Here’s the thing though, I really like the system. I like how magic works and I like the Deed Die for fighters, I like the low-level deadliness of that game. I want to play more of DCC. Just with less players.


Centurions of Science – the most fun 1-hour RPG ever!

CosI had set up a Play date of sorts with one of our podcast Listeners, Mike aka @Kosovodad to play Dungeon World at Games on demand at 4p on Saturday. We didn’t exactly understand how Games on Demand worked apparently because Dungeon World wasn’t an option, but when we got up to check the menu I saw that Sparks Nevada was on the list. When we interviewed Mike Olson AKA @Devlin1 recently about The Atomic Robo RPG he brought that up and I thought it sounded cool so I got @Kosovodad to agree to it. There was a slight communication problem and our GM, who turned out to be Mike Olson himself, wasn’t prepared to run Sparks Nevada so we got to play Centurions of Science instead. No offense to Sparks Nevada, but that was a big-time trade up in my mind.
During our Interview with Mike he had brought up the Centurians of Science which is the after-the-fact pre-curser to the Atomic Robo comic. You have Nikola tesla (Basically Tony Stark), George Westinghouse, Charles Fort, Harry Houdini, Annie Oakley, Winscott Lovecraft, and Wong Kei-Ying running around having adventures. I recalled saying during the interview that I really wanted to play that game, so when this was brought up as an option, I jumped at the chance.

AtomicRoboCover I ended up playing Annie Oakley, Mike (@Kosovodad) chose Winscott Lovecraft, a friend of his took Harry Houdini and our final table mate took Tesla himself. We started off at the World’s Fair in Chicago under fire from some thugs wanting to shut down a cannon display. It ended in a warehouse with two Steampunk mech’s anda magnetized ceiling. Sound crazy? It was, but freakin’ awesome! The only gripe I had was how quick it went. Again, 2 hour slot. As I mentioned about the 13th Age game, that’s not enough time (for me) to really get into a game. Backgrounds went faster than in 13th Age but we had some players new to FATE so Mike went over the basics and covered how each character worked (aspects and stunts mostly) so all in all we only played for about 1 hour but it was an awesome hour. If an Centurions of Science RPG sourcebook isn’t already in development then Fred Hicks needs to make that happen, pronto!


OLD SCHOOL HACK – The Angry Way!


My last game on Saturday was an invite from Friend of the show @TheAngryDM ( ) I had bugged him incessantly all year about missing out on meeting him last year at Gencon and I think he took pity on me so he invited me to play in a game of Old school Hack, sorta. When we finally got to a table he actually offered to run one of several games; Everway, Dungeon World, Old School Hack and Savage Worlds. I would have been happy with any of them (though Everway didn’t really connect with me), but we settled on OSH. We went through character creation which was fast and fun, and stressful. The one quirk I really liked is you place each score as you go. You can put them where you want, but once you fill a slot it’s gone so there is a bit of a push your luck mechanic built in. Want to be a fighter? Well, is 15 going to be your highest score? Slot that one early and you may miss out on a 17 or 18 later. I played the fighter and ended up slotting a 13 on by 4th roll (you get 6) and could have had a 15 but I couldn’t risk it.

As usual I tried to play against type and played a reluctant fighter ( you give yourself a title that includes a level description – similar to how Numenra works; I think! – so I was a heroic and brash man at arms.) It didn’t help and we ended up burning down an entire town. Then we met the only survivor, an old hermit, who promptly died to the assassin that was chasing one of the PC’s.
We eventually won that game. But then we lost that game.
Along the way we killed Batman, because onions. I wish I could make that make more sense, but I really can’t.

Thank you Angry, for the game. And a big thanks to the other players:
Scott, @GlimmtheGnome, Adrienne, @Solarpoweredspork, Dan,@Dciskey and Jake @ClosetGeek587
I really wanted to end this section with a rhyme, but I don’t want to take that much time, because I can only think of 11 as a rhyme to 7
#GoblinRhymes- it’s a thing!


SECRETS OF SOKOL KEEP – D&D Adventurer’s League

I was just exhausted by the start of day 4. So tired, in fact, that I considered blowing off my early game, but thought better of it and I’m glad I didn’t. I got to play Secrets of Sokol Keep, part of the D&D Adventure’s series of adventures.
It was a fun little adventure, great for learning the game. It was a little bit of a mystery but still very straight forward. What was really great (for me) is that I got to play at the DungeonScape table and use the Ipad app (which was great since I didn’t finish by PC from Thursday and this let me do it quickly). I had a table full of people who had never played 5e before (three were coming from 4e, and two from 3.5/Pathfinder). We also had a youngster (14 maybe) at the table and he loved it. Our DM was great, as long as he was running the game. Outside of Game mastering I thought he was a little grating actually. Pro Tip: Sure, you’ve been running games all weekend, but for the people at the table, especially those that came in just for sat/Sun, this is likely their only 5e game. Constantly talking about how you can’t wait to get done and go home (and then finishing up an hour early!) wasn’t a good move, in my opinion.
businesscardsBut . . . I wasn’t shy about helping out since I knew the rules well and I think I got a couple new listeners with those business card I had made









Truly a disappointment

Since I finished my first game early I had time to run over and buy a replacement sword for the one I lost. And then it was off to True Dungeon.
All I will say is that I was disappointed by True Dungeon. I’m happy that I did it, but I see no reason to ever do it again. If I were to ever do it again, it would only be if I could buy all 10 tickets and then throw half of them away. I guess it goes back to not liking 8 players at DCC. We had too many cooks in the kitchen, and there were puzzles that were solvable but we didn’t’ communicate well. For me at least, True Dungeon was a one-shot.




My last event of the Con was a tournament of Legendary: Marvel Villains. Part of the reason I signed up is in the description it indicated random boxes would be given away and at the time I signed up it was less than ½ full so I figured my chances of winning were higher than normal. But the biggest reason I signed up is that I got to play Legendary and not have to set up the board or take it down. Seriously, I love that game, but I have an open invitation: I’ll pay $6.00 anytime I want to play if you’ll come over and set it up and take it down for me. Totally worth it! – (again, I’ll pay handsomely for an iOS version. Someone get on that!) encounters

My GenCon was amazing, but Nick B.’s was less than stellar. Some of his events just didn’t work out and he was mostly solo which makes a difference, so I’m very happy to report that he won our tournament and the Alien Encounters version of Legendary that came with first place -there was no random draw




HEADING HOME – but not yet

I thought our adventure was over there but much like Peter Jackson’s Hobbit, it keeps going. We had some hotel/carpool hiccups to get everyone back home so Brad K and I had to park next to each other on this last day to move some luggage around. Since I had to go in much earlier than everyone else I parked in the complex next to the Ram Brewery on the very top, making it super-easy for him to find me. This was a more expensive lot than where we had been going but it made more sense than having Jared wander the lot for an hour looking for my car. The transfer worked great, but the problem that when we tried to leave the line to get out of the complex went from street level to our level (8th) and wasn’t moving. We waited 20 minutes and DID NOT MOVE, so we decided to go get some lunch and try again.
The Ram was out of food. Let me repeat that. The Ram Brewery was out of food and had to turn people away. So we walked over to the Colts Grille. We killed some time and then headed back an hour later. The line was still there and had not moved, and was in fact, longer. We waited another hour before we got out of the garage (eventually some policemen were called to direct traffic, at least that’s what I heard someone else say when the line started moving). So, it took us longer to get to the road than it did to get home once we got there.

Not a great ending, but overall It was a fantastic event. I really cannot wait to start planning for next year!




    • Mike L on August 22, 2014 at 10:38 pm
    • Reply

    I’m glad you had such a great time, and thanks a bunch for making my Gencon great as well. It was fantastic to meet you, and I can’t wait to hear your show about Primeval Thule. Take care, Mike L “Kosovodad”

    • Nick B. on August 23, 2014 at 3:03 pm
    • Reply

    I got a chance to play Legendary Encounters last night!

    I’m sad to report that Legendary Encounters takes just as long to set up and take down. Part of this though is that I hadn’t opened the game yet; people were ready to kill me once we had sorted everything!

    Despite only having a passing interest in the Aliens universe I think the game itself has a better theme and is more engaging than Marvel Legendary. You have the normal starting hands, but also take on a ‘Avatar” role (essentially a class) that gives you a unique card that scales throughout the game. It seemed to make the beginning of the game more involved as it gave you more to do; you’ll need it too because if the game I played is any indication this version doesn’t hold back!

    You can tell the game designers have learned new things since the first set, which I think is evident in Marvel Villains Legendary and even more so in now. I didn’t even get to scratch the surface on all the variants they have in the rules book, it looked like someone can play as the Aliens!?!?

    Can’t wait to have you try it Mike!

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