Tales of Tadeusz

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Gaming News: My Hallowcon

I've returned from my stint as a guest and gamemaster at Chattanooga's Hallowcon. The hotel was nice, although rambling, as its a huge hotel. They sold out the convention block, and were willing to get me their one cancelled room for just one night for $83 bucks--so we went next door to Ramada Ltd. which was far more reasonable, even if they only had a continental b'fast (which did not mean doughnuts and orange juice, but was respectable, if limited--which fits the name of the hotel we stayed at.)

The first night I got there we played Savage Worlds rpg, set in the Fallout video game universe. And I got to play a religious visionary who believed the Vault Dweller was the Chosen One, which was fun, even though I was a fairly poor shot. And the dog was the best dice roller of the game. This system uses "exploding sixes", and the player kept getting them, one after the other.

This heightens my thought that SW is a quick, light system designed for universal as long as universal means "Pulp".

Helping out, the GM was dressed up as the Vault Dweller.

After that, still visiting with JS, we joined in a just starting game of Betrayal at the House on the Hill, which despite the confusing name (I'm still not sure thats the right name) was very good. The other players also helped to make it fun. The basic idea is a tile discovery game set in a haunted house, where one of the players eventually turns evil. It has a very nice set-up, and I loved the character tiles with the side counters with sliding scales for Sanity, Knowledge, Speed, and Might.

I've seen a lot of recent Southern Plantation horror, which includes one of my soon to be published settings...Plantations Present, Past, and Perilous. MJ Young, one of the Multiverser game designers, has also started using a Haunted House in his demoing.

The ending was a bit lame, and anticlimatic with the House game tho'. JS turned evil, and lost all his cool items, with that ending (others are more dangerous), and we stopped the evil even before it got in one attack.

I got home to my hotel at one, and found the Mr. C still awake watching cartoons while the others were asleep. This was a vacation for all of us of course, so that was fine. Not at all the usual practise, but once in a while it doesn't hurt a little guy to stay up late. The others got to go to the Aquarium, and watch SF and cartoons and hang out with each other while I gamed and gabbed. All of us enjoyed it, even though the some sort of sickness seemed to work through the boys from youngest to oldest with me getting a fever on Saturday night as I tried to sleep.

The next day, I got up terribly early, wandered over, wandered back. Ate some sausages btw at the con. And another BTW, the food was very good. Except for one visit to Blimpie's with JS, I ate hamburgers provided by the con. Its not your usual consuite, which isn't bad in itself, but more an actual line up and get a meal on a plate thing, which was nice indeed.

There was a scheduling mixup with my first Multiverser game skedded during my speech on Quick World Creation. Since the gaming space was so limited (although they said the gaming was four-fold larger than last year) they could not reschedule.

But JS was able to playtest more of his upcoming to be published version of Countercoup d20, the Epic Version, by High Forest Games which was enjoyed by the players, I thought. Something to be said for healing 150 hp each to the players for the cleric character, in one round...

But it was rough, the barbarian, despite his 700 plus!!!!! hp was killed. Naturally the situation was fixed since the high priestess of the land was one of the pc's...

I'm glad it was rough because thats my preference for D20. Tough but fair. No instant death traps, but no waltzing through the scenario either.

I went about this time and talked with Lawrence Barker and his cover artist Katherine, of uncertan by me last name (sorry), for an hour. He's written Renfield, about Dracula's henchman, and Victorian madhouses, and a "Southern Reconstructionist" era fantasy...He thinks the only one of its kind, rather like I think Death of a Blogger is the world's first blogger thriller. Both looked interesting, and I wish I could have spared the cash.

We discussed ideas for horror stories, and at one point, he wanted my permission to use an idea created by moi and his cover artist to use for a story. I, of course, gave it, not being a believer in the ownership of ideas. Text is a different thing. I hope he comes out with something for it.

Then it was my turn to speak. I gave my talk to an interested group at the bar after someone suggested moving over there. For this inspired suggestion--thank you. I think, judging by the enthused faces, and comments at the end, that they all enjoyed Quick World Creation. I tried to keep in informative, fast-moving, and humorous.

I'll be adding the speech to the second edition of Placeholder Worlds.

We ended up using the advice to create three separate, and interesting worlds at the end. One a Victorina post-apoc world where nuclear weapons end the Civil War, and poison the land, drawing out mutations, and the weakened state allows the forces of Europe and Asia to stick their fingers in. Another was a possibly feudalistic society where an Ice Age forces vampires to protect their herds of people, and it could actually be a symbiosis as Lawrence Barker pointed out... and then what happens when an extradimensional visitor comes who sees vamps as all evil, all the time? And then I added a comment about we could also have Polar Bear Ghouls. And there was a third world, but it slips me by this time.

One guy apologized afterwards for interrupting too much, but he hadn't, and besides, that shows the host that you're paying attention...its called audience participation. So that was good by me. Perhaps I don't mind because I'm the type of person to do just that.

Then I went off to join JS's game which I've already detailed.

Further on, I demo'd for the first time the introductory world from Placeholders, and for the Multiverser system, Green Glass Monument. Its a world where the problem of nuclear terrorist was resolved in a very few minutes as most of the Middle East was plastered. This was part of one of my concepts of Grim Futures, as well.

We played another game of House, which ended by mutual consent since the Beastmaster bad guy (the game has variable endings) was almost certain to win, if we wanted to waste enough time. That was Franklin Cain, I believe, who won that time.

Later, I played in Axis and Allies, and the Axis triumphed rather strongly. But it was a good game, even for me being on the losing side.

A game of Time's Up, an interesting variant on Charades, and while JS stayed up for Are You a Werewolf, I staggered back to my ladywife and kids, and into a fevered sleep.

The next morning did not see much gaming although I did have my RR game ready if needed.

We talked to a couple friends, and some new acquaintances, shopped in the dealer's room (and I got Serenity the RPG as a birthday present---woo hooo!), Mr. C got given a pirate pistol by an older girl and had a great time playing with some other kids, and the beautiful ladyfaire drove us home.

Now, that was my Hallowcon. They had some other speakers I would have enjoyed listening too, and they had a lot of party events along with a bar for drinking, but thats not my thing so I'm glad a party and media con was able to do a good job providing gaming, food, and an opportunity for me to play the part of guest.

It was a lot of fun, and I will seriously consider going again next year.


  • yo Eric, email me man!, this is James, we've met, usually at constellation, though we hung out a bit at Novacon this year, spent most of today trying to track you down.

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