KantCon 2018, Pt. 5 (Dread)

My last session was discussed here.

Horror is a very tricky thing at the game table. I’ve been wrestling with that mood since 2nd Edition Ravenloft. The players aren’t in the same situation as their characters. They have knowledge the PCs don’t and player characters by definition are better prepared to handle these situations than your usual horror protagonists. Plus, control over the environment to reinforce the unease, or descriptions that put you there, can too easily veer off into cheesy gimmicks that pull you out and insulate you from what’s happening. Horror, in my opinion, is best reinforced by a rules system that puts you there, ratchets up that tension and helplessness, and keeps things unpredictable. more “KantCon 2018, Pt. 5 (Dread)”

KantCon 2018, Pt. 4 (Savage Worlds)

My previous sessions are discussed here.

When I pick sessions for a convention, I look for 1) a system I have never played, or 2) a system I like with an interesting hook for the session. If one of the players or GM is someone I know, all the better. In this case, Savage Worlds is my comfort food. A friend of mine turned me on to the system about 12 years ago and I have run campaigns in it ever since. It was a game changer for me, since it handled large combats smoothly and had some interesting takes on character creation, support characters contributing to combat, and an initiative system I fell in love with.

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KantCon 2018, Pt. 3 (Fate Accelerated)

The previous session of KantCon 2018 was covered here.

The only RPG session I ran all weekend was this one, a Fate Accelerated romp called “Forget It, Jake. It’s ToonTown,” a mashup of film noir tropes and Looney Tunes antics. It was Who Framed Roger Rabbit meets L.A. Confidential. A toon ingenue hires a human private investigator to look into threats made against her while filming a movie in Hollywood, with a fox toon journalist on their heels looking for dirt and the detective’s old partner from the ToonTown police force, a pig cop yearning to get back out there and solve crimes. Rounding out the team is the actress’s bodyguard, assigned by the studio to make sure she makes it through the production. These five will hunt through the back alleys of Hollywood and ToonTown, up against kidnappers and the toon Mafia, the White Glove. Each character also has a secret on a slip of paper which affects how the story unfolds. Familiarity with Roger Rabbit helps, but isn’t necessary.

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KantCon 2018, Pt. 2 (Ten Candles)

The previous session of KantCon 2018 was detailed here.

I closed out my first night with another new game: Ten Candles. It came out in 2015 and I haven’t been listening closely enough to hear anyone discussing it. It started showing up in conversations alongside Dread (more on that soon!) and when one of my favorite GMs had a session running, I had to sign up. It is very much in the story-game world of improv and rules ultra-light, with some ritual elements and shared storytelling going on. The premise is that each session is a different chapter in humanity’s final moments against Them, otherworldly horrors that lurk in the permanent darkness that has blanketed the Earth for the last few days. Your characters’ inevitable demise is the story being told.

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KantCon 2018, Pt. 1 (Red Markets)

KantCon, in Overland Park, KS, is my hometown convention. It was my first tabletop con four years ago, and is the only nerd event in town that I will absolutely plan around. This was its 10th year and had a big jump in attendance. The major effect of such high attendance was multiple games filling up, waitlists, and my playtests getting more attention than usual. Given that I was pretty excited to share Heist at this con (and had new buttons!), this was great news for me.

I’ll discuss the playtests in detail soon, but will briefly say I got great feedback and plenty of information for the next printing. Also had a lot of questions about my other projects, so that’s great, too.

My first session as a player was Red Markets, a zombie post-apocalypse game built around hustling for resources. The dice mechanic is clean and fits the theme: A red d10 subtracted from a black d10, plus skill modifiers, is the core mechanic. Any positive result is a success (or “stays in the black”), and any even doubles are critical success. Any odd doubles are a critical failure. A stat called Will allows you to spend a point and flip the two dice. That’s all we got in the session for mechanics.

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KantCon 2016

Last weekend was KantCon in¬†Overland Park, KS. Last year, KantCon was the first tabletop convention I had ever attended and my¬†first convention ever with a game in tow. I have quickly come to appreciate the unique opportunity that tabletop conventions provide: fans ready to mingle, play, and challenge each other, and GMs who are offering their take on settings and rules all over the place. For gamers of most any stripe, it’s hard to turn down the opportunity to be surrounded by a few hundred of your peers, especially when “real life” has interfered with one’s ability to get a game going. For me as a designer, it’s invaluable.

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