Tuesday, February 17, 2015

DunDraCon Days 4 & 5

The past few days have been so packed that I haven't been able to take the time to tell you about it.

When last we left our intrepid hero, he was just about to run his adventure for the Teen Room. When I got there (yeah, I know. As fun as that opening line sounded, I don't think I want to write this whole thing in third person) I found a full table waiting for me. Including the two presenters for the seminar where nobody showed. I had the time to talk to them about the game as part of our conversation that night, so they decided to give it a try.

Overall, the game went well, and the party came up with an amusing solution to the final problem. There's typically some variation in how the players handle the problems presented in the adventure. Most groups come up with fairly typical solutions to the problems presented, but the final encounter is very open ended and demands a unique solution.

The Jaded City of Oz is a city so magical that they're not entertained by much anymore. In order to get into the city, the players have to demonstrate that they have something unique and interesting to offer. That night, the player who had the Shaggy Man (I use the Characters Pack to provide pregenerated characters to play) used the Love Magnet to romance the guard into opening the gate.

We started at 7 PM and finished the adventure at around 10:30, which wound up being bedtime for me.

The next morning was nice and easy, with very little to do. I wasn't scheduled to run my game for grownups until 2 PM, so I took advantage of the morning to get some shopping done. I'll tell you a bit more about what I got and what I think of it in another post, once I've had proper time to digest it all.

I had a full group by the time I showed up. One player had announced that he would not be arriving, and I believe that one other person who signed up simply did not arrive, but I had two girls turn up to see if any slots were available. Since there were, and I wouldn't have minded squeezing a few extra players in anyhow, they both joined the group. That left us with 4 females and 2 males (a father and son team if I'm not mistaken) to start off the adventure.

Both of the guys picked the Soldiers, Omby Amby and Private Files, and I got the feeling that they were expecting a more traditional, action oriented adventure. They did find some action and eventually got into the swing of things.

The girl who picked Prince Inga played him as haughty and overbearing, but it was fun because she kind of expected the trouble she caused. Between the encounters in the Winkie Country and the Gillikin Country, Prince Inga was such a mess that they were allowed to enter the Jaded City because they'd never seen a Prince who was covered in so many egregious substances.

One of the things about the Jaded City of Oz adventure is that it never really takes as long as I schedule. On at least one occasion, I've had a group clear through the whole thing in only 2 hours. The average time is actually closer to 3. It's just that the minimum amount of time I can request on the schedule is 4 hours.

So once the players completed the adventure after 3 hours or so, I checked with Game Registration to see what game I had gotten into. I had 2 selections that were at about the same time, so I decided to let the con's computerized Sorting Hat make the decision for me.

It was a Fate game set in the Star Wars universe. Even though I've got all the books and several sets of FUDGE dice, this was my first time actually taking it for a test drive. The GM was really awesome and the game was very visually and cinematically oriented. He had pictures of every character and background images for every place we went. He had Star Wars theme music loaded onto his tablet for background music, and even started off the proceedings with a title crawl.

The characters were pregenerated, but we were allowed to choose their gender. The GM had pictures of the character whichever choice we made. I decided to try playing the female version of my chosen character. There was a female player in the group, so I told her that this was my first time cross-playing (as I've heard it called), and I was relying on her to correct me if she found I was doing it wrong. (I don't know if I've told you any of my horror stories of when male players have tried to cross-play in games I've run, but I do have a couple.) She told me that the fact that I was worried about doing it wrong meant that I was very unlikely to do it wrong, which made me feel much better about the proceedings.

We also got to fill in some of our character's backstory. Most of it was already established and we were given a sheet that laid out the major formative moments of our character's lives, but also leading questions about the specifics of how those moments went down and what they meant to us. It was the first time I've had to put that kind of thought into a con game, but I think it did help the experience a bit.

One of the characters was a really exotic looking alien (an Ithorian, for those who know the Star Wars universe) and whenever the player spoke in character, he would speak so that the air blew over the top of his drink bottle. It was a really cool effect, making him sound a bit like he was using Stephen Hawking's voice synthesizer, but with far less technology.

The GM's cinematic focus came through not only by the way he described scenes and scene transitions, but also how we required us to roleplay. Rather than simply letting us say things like "My character is suspicious of that guy" or "I think about it, but decide against it" he would make us describe our character's internal monologue as if we were characters in a movie. "Okay, you're suspicious. What does that look like?" "How can we see the decision process? Tell us how that decision process would play out visually so the audience can understand it."

It was an interesting and exciting challenge. The GM has apparently run the scenario several times, and might do so again, so I'm not going to go into detail on the plot, but I had a lot of fun.

That started at 6 PM and we kept at it until about 2 AM. Everyone was having a blast, but we were all pretty wiped out near the end of it. On top of that, I knew I would be facing a busy morning. The last day of the con, we would have to be packed and out of our hotel room, while making the last sweep of the Dealer's Room, which would only be open for a few hours.

It was rough, but we managed to get out and catch the transit bus and then the BART very smoothly. We did run into trouble at the Greyhound station, however. It seems that with all of our purchases, our checked baggage wound up exceeding the weight limit. We juggled some things and packed them into our carry-ons so that our luggage would be under the limit.

Finally, last night and about 10:30, we arrived home, safe and sound. And after such a full day, it was pretty much straight to bed for me.

And that's why I didn't write this until now. But there you have it, folks.

1 comment:

Jimster said...

Hello! This is Jimmy. I was apart of your game in the teen room and wanted to say that it was extremely fun and easy and I plan on GMing a game or two in the future using the Adventures in Oz system and hopefully if I have any questions I can contact ya.

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