Tuesday, March 01, 2011

TotalCon Wrap Up from Terry Gwazdosky

Below is the wrap up from Terry who was a CK and attended TotalCon in Mansfield, MA.  Many thanks for his permission to reprint here.  Hopefully the Trolls can attend next year!


I just got back from Total Con25 in Mansfield, MA. I played a ton of board/card games and several RPGs (OD&D, 1E D&D, CoC) I also ran two games of C&C:

Game One: I ran "The Crypt of Istaris" from Dungeon magazine for 4 players. This module has a nice mix of MacGuffins, traps/tricks, monsters, and interesting situations and it has become my "go to" module for convention games. It also has a 4-hour game time limit, so players can't stop to rest.

I had 2 grognards who were big into role play, a 4e player, and old school convert. Only one was familiar with C&C, but they all took to the system without a hitch. They came up with some inventive solutions, including "slime shoes". When they were faced with a floor covered with green slime, one of the players stuck bits of wooden planks to her boots and ran across the floor (only 30'). I had her make a DEX check to keep from falling, and she just managed to get across and get the wood off before it and her boots got eaten.

My favorite quote from the game: "My turn again? Wow, this game plays fast!".

They all said it was fun and one of the players, who I later found out was also a game designer, later told me that I did a fantastic job. :D

Game Two: For this one I used "The Curse of the Witch Head", an OSRIC adventure by Expeditious Retreat Games, for four players. This is another good convention game module as it has only 20 dungeon rooms. One player was a 1e guy who brought his kids and their friends to the con (how cool is that?!), one of said kids, and 2 others that had played C&C once at a Game Day at their FLG last year.

Their was lots of laughs and exultation from the players during the session. At one point I noticed they were all leaning forward and seemed to be hanging on every word. I believe I might have gained at least one new

This particular game reminded me just how "by the book" the later editions of D&D can force you to become. Scanning her spell sheet, one of the players came up with several great uses for her spells. If I was still playing 3.x, I would have said, "that spell doesn't work like that", she would have been disappointed, and the game would have dragged to a halt while they looked for alternate solutions. It also shows how we need new blood in this hobby to keep from becoming jaded to every situation and never thinking outside the box.

I also got to play a few games of D&D with Tim Kask and Frank Mentzer. In the past I've heard some people dump on Tim, and I have to tell you, I just don't see it. Tim's games force you to keep moving; if you don't you get whacked by wandering monsters. You do *NOT* question Tim on rules - if you do, he politely reminds you who is running the game and that he adjudicates things equally for both PC and their opponents. I found Tim to be a very nice person and he was more than happy to BS with us after the game.

Frank invites correction on rules points as long as it doesn't slow down the game. He also follows what he calls "the rule of cool" - if you do something that either isn't covered in or that contravenes the rules to some degree, he allows it if it adds to the fun (gee.. that sounds a lot like rule 0 in C&C ;) ). During a break in play, Frank overheard me proselytizing for C&C and he totally agreed. He had lots of good things to say about C&C and the Trolls in general.

Make sure you take lots of mental notes if you get a chance to game with guys of this caliber. It's the little details they throw in that can help make you a better CK/DM.

Lastly, at one point I overheard a great ruckus coming from the young gamers area. I later found out that someone was running "Keep on the Borderlands" (not sure of the system used) for the kids and using their parents as henchmen. What a great idea! They were laughing and cheering so much that you couldn't help but smile.

1 comment:

Travis said...

The little ones were playing Mentzer basic.