Gencon 2017 is just a memory, but much gaming was played and vendors visited. This is the first of several (count to be determined when I finish) posts about the convention. Specifically, I will cover the games I actually played with posts on specific vendors and other events in subsequent posts. Let the games begin!
Gencon 2017 Games Played
“Colonial Gothic” is a bit obscure as RPGs go, but the premise of the early American historical events influenced by the supernatural was too good to miss. Harvard’s library burned to the ground (mysteriously) and the local authorities tasked our heroes with solving the mystery. We poked around in the ruins and discovered a “special reserve” library filled with books guaranteed to drive you insane. If that was not enough to get you in the mood, we found the night watchmen with his organs sucked out, reduced to a flesh bag. Sanity was lost during that encounter.
Determining our arsonist was a disgruntled, disgraced former professor, we tossed his rooms and found his evil plan. On the outskirts of town, our villain scribed a summoning circle to gain the power of ancient gods. We arrived just as he completed the ceremony, a demon appeared we attacked and … died. TPK. Toast. Ex-adventurers.
Turns out we missed visiting the villain’s girlfriend with the magic amulet to protect us from the demon. It is a convention game, so dying did not bother me so much as an adventure where missing a single clue means you automatically fail. The game world was fun, the system was ok, but a poor plot undermined an otherwise great slot. Might read through the base book for some adventure ideas.
Not really a game, but it was a ticketed event at Gencon 2017. The main take away for me was “Numenera 2: Discovery” and “Destiny.” “Discovery” is a backward-compatible cleanup of the base book, which is going out of print. MCG made a point of saying this is not a new edition, just a new iteration that is fully compatible with everything that came before it. It boasts some alterations to the base classes, more world content and character options. “Destiny” offers rules for PCs building equipment, vehicles, and even entire settlements. It is for the PCs to put down roots and develop their town or outpost, even rules for upgrading the settlement. Sound like a “4x” approach to a campaign. I am looking forward to it.
Cypher is MCG’s generic RPG game system. For this event, we played completely incompetent airmen exiled to a remote Alaskan test facility. This game was hysterical because the PCs were a collection of total losers, with pathetic back stories and minimal skills. A science experiment goes wrong and suddenly we are fighting interdimensional invaders. I do not want to spoil it, but the cross-section of enemies is…diverse. We prevailed and were still stuck in the middle of nowhere. Life sucks, but it was a fun game.
First Exposure Playtest Hall
This slot allows me to try out some new games under development. Many were barely one step above hand-written cards on a kitchen table. I played a dice/resource management game fairly far along in development. Werlen and I were both in this slot and figured out the game became mathematically unwinnable for three of the four players about 70% into the game. It needs more work and we gave some constructive feedback. As with last year, I am not going to search-engine blacklist an incomplete game with bad keywords. Hence this game shall remain anonymous.
An old school adventure with Numenera explorers running a traditional dungeon crawl. We escorted a healer into a giant, humanoid-shaped structure to cure a plague. Solved that problem in about 5 minutes and then it all went sideways. Oddly, Numenera eschews traditional dungeon crawling, but this adventure (and the Jade Colossus sourcebook) are dungeon crawl supplements. We even broke out graph paper to draw the dungeon! I love the Numenera system for its ease of use and elegance so the adventure was fun even with the combat-focus. This entry is vague so as to be spoiler-free as the adventure is likely to be run in many home games.
Another MCG offering based on the Cypher System rule set, “Predation” has high-tech time travelers stuck in the distant past with dinosaurs kept as mounts and companions. Again, spoiler free, but the adventure was secondary to the entertainment value of the dinosaurs. Every PC gets a dino ( I had a T. Rex!), the animals are modified to make them easier to handle and better companions but they are still animals. To simulate this unreliable control, players make a control roll to get the dinosaur to do the things you want. Standard stuff, but in “Predation” another player runs your dinosaur! Yes, you can tell your loyal companion to attack a specific enemy, but another player decides how the animal acts. It will attack your chosen target, but it might step on another PC to get there. They do have brains the size of walnuts, after all. It made for hilarious moments and worked well. My GM already stole the mechanic to run droids in his Cypher System “Star Wars” game currently underway.
Enough reporting today on Gencon 2017. I will post again with some exciting game reports, including the much-anticipated “AEG Big Game Night!”
Trask, The Last Tyromancer