Monday, March 28, 2011

a few GaryCon III images

My camera pooped out on me, so I only have stills today.  I got a little video with my wife's camera, but I haven't had time to review it yet.  Anyway, here's some info on GaryCon III, which I visited for a while on Saturday.

I dig this program cover.

This Troll Lords ad from the inside cover of the program perplexes me a bit.  I enjoy pictures of hot fantasy ladytypes as much as the next straight dude, but in the far future world of 2011 it's really odd to see the male gaze feature so prominently in both the illo and the ad copy.  And C&C doesn't really fit any definition of "harder" that I can think of.  It strikes me as a legit middle-of-the-road option in many ways.  Advertising, what can you do?

Kenzer, on the other hand, seems to have this stuff down pat.  Here's some monsters, here's a cover of our monster book.  And look how awesome we are:

One of things I wanted to do at GaryCon this year was to get in on one of the HackMaster 5 demos being run this weekend.  I own the basic rulebook but it strike me as the sort of game that maybe runs slicker than it reads.  But when I got close to one of the tables I saw them plotting out movement on a one inch:five foot tactical grid and all interest in the system immediately left me.

The other game I wanted to check out this weekend was the forthcoming Dungeon Crawl Classics rpg.  "Glory & Gold Won by Sorcery & Sword" is a great new tagline for this game.  And check out the covers of the modules.  Somebody has been going over old editions of books listed in Appendix N, because those babies just screen "lurid 70's fantasy".  Here's a close-up of my favorite:

Holy crap, that bad guy rules!

The DCCrpg ad was a flier rather than part of the program book.  Above is the flip side.

So I got into one of the DCC demos again and I am totally digging the way this game is shaping up.  Here are some of the handouts I got:

The spell charts are possibly both the best and worst part of the system.  On the one hand I found using them to be a ton o' fun.  On the other hand, I kept imagining how newbie unfriendly they could be.  And will there be a separate spellbook?  My 3rd level MU (see below) needed like 8 pages of these charts just to do his wizardly job.  Still, the results in play were pretty dang awesome. 

So above is my guy from the demo run by Harley Stroh, author of the module with the awesome eyeball monster up above.  The other players included Michael Shorten, the Chicago Wiz.  It was great to see him again.  He's a hoot to game with.  He was playing an elf wizard-astrologer he names Carls Agan.  At one point he took a crit that resulted in "+d8 damage and loss of that many teeth", which tells me everything I need to know about this game's critical hit system.  For the rest of the game Mike said all his in-character lines with a mushmouth.  Meanwhile I got a natural one on a spellcasting rolls, which sent me to some sort of totally metal Magic Corruption chart, resulting in my poor orphan-wizard growing a pair of horns.

My favorite incident of the game came early on.  Jim Skach brought his two kids to the con (ages 9 and 11 or so) and all three were playing.  These two kids were really fun.  The whole party was traversing an iceflow when a monster errupted up from the water below, wildly tilting the ice.  Jim's daughter immediately announces that her big strong warrior is jamming her spear into the ice and holding on.  My puny little wizard is standing right behind her, so I tell the GM as I fall over I'm grabbing onto the warrior.

GM: Tiny Tim, you're hanging onto the boot of Christina the Warrior for dear life.  Christina, what do you do?

Christina: I take off my boot.

Stone.  Cold.  I end up sliding down almost to the water.  Meanwhile another PC is already drowning but I can't quite reach him, so I use the boot.  "Here grab this boot."  Unfortunately, that guy is too heavy for my Str 6 MU to pull out, instead he pulls me in.  Mike has help both of us out.  Good times.

The vendors included Troll Lord Games, Black Blade Publishing and Kenzer & Co.  I only bought three things.  Black Blade was selling these great pads of graph and hex paper.  At the moment I don't know the exact dimensions but they're bigger than standard 8.5" x 11" so I could not resist.  I got the above book from the Troll Lords.  It's 28 pages of random dungeon stocking charts and advice.  I probably don't need another set of random dungeon charts and the advice is clearly aimed at novice DMs, but it was only seven bucks.


  1. Thanks for the report. I'm both intrigued and apprehensive in regards to the DCC game. That module cover is bitchen' though.

    Word verification: cronic.
    Not any more, I assure you.

  2. Wow, fun game report and the DCC and Kenzer images rule!

  3. Carls Agan = WIN. Also the new DCC looks like a blast and a half.

    As does a spell called "scorching ray".

  4. The art for the dcc game is awesome! Thanks for posting these.

  5. Holy crap! That DCC art is awesome! (and I'm not saying that just to promote myself since I did a smidgin of it... I just haven't seen much other than what I did myself).

  6. From my playtesting of the system, the DCC RPG is a lot of run.

    In one respect it will live or die on its presentation/layout because of the spell and critical charts. Sounds like they are going in the right direction with the cards they handed you.

  7. err that is supposed to be fun. But there was a lot of running too in the games I ran.

  8. It was really great seeing you as well, Jeff. I'm glad you had a great time. Jim's kids were awesomely cool! Everytime I'm in a game with kids, the dial goes to 22 on the fun.

  9. > Christina: I take off my boot.

    Oh, that one has a bright future all right!

  10. How did she take off her boot and keep holding the spear with both hands?

  11. I guess I was among the DCC rpg skeptics, but it does sound like hella fun from your report.

  12. I guess I was among the DCC rpg skeptics, but it does sound like hella fun from your report.

    I was too. It seemed like an unnecessary project to me when originally announced. Last year's demo/playtest put me in the neutral column. After Saturday I feel much more positive. Though I still wonder how much the game will be bogged down by chart management for the DMs and casters.

  13. How did she take off her boot and keep holding the spear with both hands?

    I believe she wriggled her foot out while using her other foot to press against the heel.

  14. Anonymous12:01 PM

    Correct. I ruled she wiggled her heel free, sending the wizard sliding down into the drink.

    And thank you for playing, Jeff! Your game was definitely one of my highlights. Any chance of seeing you at NTRPG?


  15. "I take off my boot."

    So totally classic! :)

  16. Wish I could have made it. I was planning on going, but I had to help my brother move.

    As it happens, he was moving into the apartment complex right next to the Armored Gopher. So I went in after I was done and bought Smallworld.

    Thus, not a completely wasted weekend, gaming-wise.

  17. Another "People of the Pit"?!?!

    I wonder if this one is based on an Abraham Merrit story as well?

  18. Anonymous11:40 PM

    Jim's kids were really fun to play with in my event too. I'd heard the story about the boot from several sources & complimented her on it when I met her, but somehow no one mentioned to me that it was JEFF RIENTS she kicked in the water! Especially since I now have a mental image of you (tried to say hi but you inadvertently went the other way), this makes it even more perfect. Yeah yeah it was your wizard not you, I still imagine any PC of yours having your facial hair.
    - Tavis

  19. I dig the art for DCC but am on the fence in regardless to the mechanics. Basic Fantasy and Labyrinth Lord kinda do the same job that Goodman want's his game to be. Still, I'd like to see the beta one it's released before I make a final judgment.

  20. Anonymous2:37 PM

    All of that looks like treasure to me!
    The Dungeon Crawl RPG and adventures would be something I would pick up. You must have had a great time there!

  21. Thanks for the report, especially the comments regarding the DCCRPG.

    Man, I have to get to GaryCon next year!

  22. Jeff---

    I'm sorry we didn't get to meet while at the con.

    The Black Blade pads were 11x17 hex paper (with smaller hexes nested in the larger ones) and 8.5x11 and 11x17 graph paper (6 squares per inch, with inch square grouping grids).


  23. Anonymous10:23 AM

    Jeff - you totally should have played some HackMaster. There were some great games there. And all they were doing was using minis like lots of other games; not sure why that would have turned you off. :(

  24. I really like Lokerimon the Lawful. The module covers are also delightfully goofy; hope the content is good -- DCC modules had been rather hit-and-miss, with some gold (e.g. Legacy of the savage Kings) but also a generous helping of meh (Bloody Jack's Gold -- the best post-2000 module cover wasted on that clunker :( ).