#RPGaDAY2015 Day 21: Favourite RPG Setting

This one is actually quite easy for me: Iron Crown Enterprise’s Middle Earth from the 1980s.

Man, did we play the shit out of those supplements. We didn’t use the Rolemaster rules or the later MERP. It was all D&D all the time back then, but damn did we love those ICE supplement with their gorgeous maps and amazing story hooks. Our campaign was 100 years after the War of the Ring, and was tied both to some resurgent evil and the return of the Blue Wizards from the East. Some of the setting particulars we had to change or adapt, but there was so much good stuff from the two Mirkwood books, the Mines of Moria, the Riders of Rohan, and so many others.

The one I remember as being the most awesome was the Court of Ardor. It had almost no connection to Tolkien’s actual stuff, but it fit really well with what we were doing in the setting.

This is me getting all nostalgic.


#RPGaDAY2015 is the brainchild of game designer Dave Chapman. Basically, each day in August there is a question about RPGs. This is day 21.

Gen Con Wrap-Up: Sunday . . . I got nothin’

Sunday at Gen Con did not start well. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know I was out late – very, very late – with some friends on Saturday. I had my final game of Nefertiti Overdrive on Sunday, so I had to wake up. Because I had been careful to get enough sleep through the rest of the con, I got up around 07:00 and had breakfast. I didn’t feel horrible (as I expected I would), just kind of tired (big surprise).

I made it in plenty of time for the game, only to have nobody show up. Nobody. Out of six tickets sold for the game, nobody arrived. I don’t know how common that is. I expected at least one or two people, but it’s possible the tickets were sold to one group, or perhaps two different groups, and they had enjoyed themselves so much that they couldn’t drag themselves out of bed Sunday morning – or were having too much fun doing something else that they missed their 10:00 curtain.

Whatever the reason, but 10:30, with six no-shows, my Gen Con duties had ended. I went looking for the Lanzas and found Alex, one of my drinking buddies from the night before. We ended up chatting for a bit and taking up a lot of space at the Games on Demand table. I thought Alex was working there, but he had stopped by to talk to somebody else, so we were actually in the way of legitimate business.

After we found ourselves somewhere comfy to chat, Mark Diaz Truman showed up and asked if we wanted to join a game of Cartel, his new Powered by the Apocalypse game. After checking with the Lanzas about their lunch plans, I was able to jump in on the game.

I wrote about Cartel here. I really enjoyed the game, partly because I was playing with a very good group, but also it’s a fascinating situation and the rules really help to reinforce the setting and the feel of cool, Mexican, narco-criminality. It was quite easy to get immersed in the story, and building the interpersonal relationships was almost as fun as actually getting to play those out.

That was a great way to cap off Gen Con, but then I got to do lunch at Steak & Shake with the Lanzas. Those guys are a big reason I always want to go to Gen Con. And there are so many others. Gen Con, for me, is much more about the people than the big announcement, or the exhibitors’ hall, or any of the rest. I get to immerse myself in geekiness with some of the coolest people on the planet.

What is not to love?

After lunch, I offered to help with the tear down of the Indie Game Developer Network’s booth, but there were so many people there, I felt kind of useless. It was fascinating being in the hall as everyone is packing up and getting out.

After all was said and done, many from the IGDN gathered at the Weber Grill. A few last pints and a great burger later, and it was back to the hotel. I was with roomie Jason Pitre of Genesis of Legend Publishing, and we ran into a whole crowd from the IGDN shooting the shit in the lounge of the Embassy Suites.

I kind of wanted to stay and just listen the whole night, but I was wiped and went to crash. And so my Gen Con ended.

One more post to come with final thoughts on my Gen Con 2015.

You can find Steak & Shake here.

You can find the Weber Grill here.

RPGaDAY2015 Day 20: Favourite Investigative RPG

#RPGaDAY2015 is the brainchild of game designer Dave Chapman. Basically, each day in August there is a question about RPGs. This is day 20.

Favourite Horror RPG: Okay, this one is nigh impossible. I don’t think I’ve ever played a horror RPG. I’ve never played any kind of White Wolf game, never played any kind of Cthulhu, never fought zombies or hunted ghosts on the tabletop. Now, RPG A Day allows one to choose something else if one doesn’t have an answer, so I’m going to go with Favourite Investigative RPG.

And that’ll be easy. Gumshoe. I used the Esoterrorists to run a short-lived X-Files meets Planetary campaign, and it worked fantastic. I love it for what it does – investigations. The best part is that the philosophy that drive it to excel for investigations is easily adaptable to most games. And it has for my games.

RPGaDAY2015 Day 19: Favourite Supers RPG

#RPGaDAY2015 is the brainchild of game designer Dave Chapman. Basically, each day in August there is a question about RPGs. This is day 19.

Favourite Supers RPG: I really wish I could say Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, but I haven’t played or ran it nearly enough to make that claim.

It’s going to have to be Mutants & Masterminds. I had a real blast with M&M back in my True20 days. We had a pretty cool campaign that was based on Planetary but became more like the Authority by way of Nextwave Agents of Hate. It didn’t matter because the system was fun and worked great, keeping the powers in the forefront but very streamlined mechanically.

Gen Con Wrap-Up: Surviving Saturday

And then came Saturday.

Saturday was actually pretty relaxing, considering that I kind of had the morning off. I had nothing scheduled until my Historical Gaming panel at 13:00 hrs. This gave me a chance to meet up with Howard Andrew Jones, fantasy novelist extraordinaire. We had coffee and just chatted about writing, business, and life in general. It was great to catch up and pretty awesome to get an advance copy of his new Pathfinder novel, Beyond the Pool of Stars.

I’m a few chapters in to the novel and it is outstanding. Right now, I’m thinking it’s his best Pathfinder novel yet, and that’s saying something.

After chatting with Howard, I was able to get some time in for demos. Over at Sword’s Edge, I’ve written about both Short Order Heroes and Castle Assault. I had to go through both very quickly given time constraints, but I was able to get in some games, get some food, and make it to my panel early.

The Historical Gaming panel was sparsely attended but everyone that was there participated and we had a great chat. It was more of a roundtable than a panel, which suits me fine. I had some topics to discuss, but it was better just to take questions and engage discussion. It was really satisfying to meet some people who enjoyed and were fascinated by historical gaming as much as I.

The panel recharged me even more than monitoring the Quiet Room had on Friday, and while I was a bit late for my shift on the IGDN Booth, I was enthusiastic. Mostly it was answering questions and directing people who mistook us for Games on Demand. There were a few people who came to talk about IGDN, which was cool.

I had plenty of time to enjoy a leisurely dinner at Loughmillers Pub & Eatery, and I had a very satisfying Greek Pita (lots of veg!) and a pint of Uplands Dragonfly IPA along with a few glasses of water. Let me tell you, when you are running panels and games, you drink a lot of water. If you don’t, you’re going to have a bad time.

Saturday night’s Nefertiti Overdrive was fantastic. I was able to game with another backer and fellow Canuck (I didn’t meet many, which was kind of sad) and there was a lot more role-playing than in the other sessions. It was a great way to round-off a really good day.

Afterwards, I was planning on meeting Victor and the Lanzas for some food and drinks, but it ended up being JJ, Victor, Alex and I at Rockbottom. I’ve always been very happy with Rockbottom. It generally isn’t as busy as places like the Ram or Scotty’s, probably because it doesn’t really participate in Gen Con. That being said, the beer and the food are good, so I figure it’s a fair trade. The night was insanely late, but it was one of those times when the conversation and company are so good, sleep seems an unwelcome intrusion. As I had my final Nefertiti Overdrive game Sunday morning at 10:00, I had to get some sleep. Some.

You can find more information on Howard Andrew Jones here.

You can find more information on Beyond the Pool of Stars here.

You can find Loughmiller’s Pub and Eatery here.

You can find Upland Brewing Co.’s Dragonfly IPA here.

You can find Rockbottom here.

RPGaDAY2015 Day 18: Favourite SF RPG

#RPGaDAY2015 is the brainchild of game designer Dave Chapman. Basically, each day in August there is a question about RPGs. This is day 18.

Favourite SF RPG: Is almost impossible for me. I have very rarely played SF RPGs. I guess the most recent one was an SG-1 game when I was living in Halifax back in 2004. Supers is its own category, so I am really and truly stuck.

Can I say Fate Accelerated because we had a great Firefly game using those rules?

Can I say Old School Hack because Kirin Robinson – its creator – ran a kind of Star Frontiers hack using that at Gen Con in 2013?

Can I say the unnamed game I cooked up in university for our long running space opera campaign?

You’re going to have to accept one of those. I don’t have that much experience.

RPGaDAY2015 Day 17: Favourite Fantasy RPG

#RPGaDAY2015 is the brainchild of game designer Dave Chapman. Basically, each day in August there is a question about RPGs. This is day 17.

Favourite Fantasy RPG: This should be an easy answer, but it’s kind of not. One of the reasons I design games is because I am unsatisfied with the games available. Further, what kind of fantasy? Swords & Sorcery? High fantasy? Science fantasy?

I’m going to go with Old School Hack. It’s got that D&D vibe, but it’s a super simple system that has always delivered really fun games in my experience. It’s generally delivers over-the-top games with crazy action, and is abstract enough that it can pretty much do everything from low fantasy to science fantasy.

D&D 5E gets the nostalgia vote – the majority of my gaming time has been spent with D&D, and I like 5E the best of any of its versions. D&D 5E is also a fun game. I enjoy it. The problem is the amount of prep time it takes. Still, for the D&D experience, 5E is my favourite taste.

Honourable mention goes to Jaws of the Six Serpents. This is as close to an off-the-shelf sword & sorcery game as any I’ve played. It was the inspiration for Sword Noir.

And back in the day, I really enjoyed True20 for fantasy. It’s the best complex (or semi-complex) RPG out there, and I had a lot of fun running my historical/fantasy Viking campaign with it.

RPGaDAY2015 Day 16: Longest Game Session

#RPGaDAY2015 is the brainchild of game designer Dave Chapman. Basically, each day in August there is a question about RPGs. This is day 16.

Longest game session played: In grade school and early in high school, especially during summer, we used to have these days-long sessions, interspersed with watching movies or even players doing something else while the GM planned further once the adventure had reached as far as he had written. I can’t really quantify how long some of those sessions ran.

In university, though, I know we had plenty of all-nighters, and one in particular sticks out. Right before my Russian history midterm in third year, we had a game that ran eleven hours. I did really poorly on that test. Luckily, the prof allowed me to make it up, because I was doing really well in the course otherwise.

I don’t know if I could survive an eleven hour play session these days. Might be interesting to try.

RPGaDAY2015 Day 15

#RPGaDAY2015 is the brainchild of game designer Dave Chapman. Basically, each day in August there is a question about RPGs. This is day 15.

Longest Campaign Played? I’m definitely going to have to reach back for this. Back in high school I was a GM in a collective Middle Earth campaign that used a lot of ICE Middle Earth products but ran them with D&D. This must have gone on for three or four years. That probably doesn’t sound long to a lot of those people who have decade long campaigns, but for someone who generally doesn’t go longer than a year for a campaign, that was pretty long. We also had two or more sessions a week, and those were long sessions, so both just in amount of time in campaign and calendar length, this must be my longest.