Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Free Hugs
BASHCon was fun. I got in on some great gaming with lots of familiar faces and enjoyed a relaxed atmosphere with nerf-gun soldiers and zombies wandering around. I needed a weekend like this.

...except for the part about forgetting my camera and having to fall back on my phone for the whole trip. That's why some of these pictures kinda suck.

A quick bit of packing and a fairly short road trip to Toledo, and we were unloading the car and crossing the creek by the UT Student Union before we knew it. Tom called up Ken (did I mention Ken? I'm sure somebody did but, long story short, Ken St. Andre was there as a special guest) and found out that we weren't going to have an exhibitors' table after all (again, long story, not very interesting). I was, I admit, relieved. I had never been convinced that selling here would be worth it, and this would leave a lot more time for enjoying the con.

Anyway, we found Ken and chatted a bit in the registration line. Tom ran off, muttering something about not wanting to lose any more fingers, and came back with fried mushrooms and cheese sticks. Somehow we got separated and I overheard BASHCon people frantically looking for Ken. I thought Ken would probably be with Tom, and I knew Tom would go where there was beer. Sure enough, I found them at Phoenicia. Turned out that the BASHCon folks thought Ken was running Tom's T&T game, Lair of the Snow Dragon. I'm guessing that's why we got the awesome private room with four tables. Tom took me, Jerry, Liam, Alex, Ken, and Paul through the hills and a newly-marshy valley (after an eternity spent talking Ken out of attempting to make some kind of marsh-snowshoes out of scrub brush) to a cave in a big rock formation where Alex charmed some fairies with his singing and Ken talked to the dragon.

After the game, several of us met up for a late night snack & nightcap, then went back to our respective hideouts to crash.

Tom got a ride over with Alex. I slept in a bit and delivered Ken to the convention. Jerry's zombie game was still in progress, so Ken and I played Magic. I never think to to bring a deck. I imagine my poor old collection is pathetically outmoded by the super-science of modern munchkinry, anyway. Luckily, Ken had a spare, and it was a killer. The man knows his Magic cards.

Over lunch at Phoenicia, I found out that I had been eaten by zombies in Jerry's game. I played in the one last year, so I guess my character's absence needed to be accounted for. Ran into John from previous Peryton RPG and Gamma World adventures, and put together quite a large gathering, Good food, good conversation, blah, blah, blah, I know - you don't care.

So anyway, Ken did a couple of T&T seminars in the afternoon. His hat stuck around to pimp the merchandise when he stepped out. Tom, Jerry, and I wandered in and out of these and took some time to chill in the cozy student center. I'm not sure what happened to the others. I'm sure they had stuff to do. I took a few turns around the exhibit hall, toyed with buying an Eclipse Phase book, a 20-sider that lights up when you roll a 20, or a piece of steampunk jewelry, and ultimately decided that I would have just been buying stuff to buy stuff. I think we popped back over to Phoenicia a few times too.

Eventually, evening came around. Tom's massive three-GM Ragnarok event was really filling up. I had a Peryton RPG event at nine, so I had to wander off while they were still making characters. Checking in at the desk, I found that there were only two players signed up for my dungeon crawl, Shrine of the Mantis.

My game was a little off. Part of it was that my heart wasn't really in it, even though I was unusually well-prepared. Also, I only had two players, one of them in an argumentative mood. Normally, I'm pretty good about finding a way to let people do the cool, unexpected things they come up with in play. I'll even bend the rules if it doesn't seem unfair to the other players. It's a lot harder to be open-minded, though, when you have a player who will run over you if you show even a moment's hesitation. I think I even missed some opportunities to use cool options that were already in the rules, just because I was being worn down by anti-d20 propaganda and lectures on the psychology of giant metal insects, and couldn't think past "it's not your turn!" anymore. I don't want it to sound like it was all that way, or even most of it. There were some great scenes. Anyway, whatever excuses I might come up with, I felt bad about my performance, so I gave the other player a copy of the rule book.

Leaving the common-folk gaming hall around midnight, Ken and I wandered over to the Royal Suite and found that Ragnarok had just wrapped up as well. After a bit of post-game chatter, we headed out. The UT Student Union is a bit of a labyrinth, so we paused to consider the best route. Tom noticed the direction the hall was going and was convinced it would take us where we wanted to go. I remembered the path to the best of the known exits and wanted to go that way. Tom was not to be swayed and, though our trek took us through unlikely nooks and dusty storage stairwells, it ended in a door that opened at the best possible location for us to exit the building. It didn't even set off the fire alarm.

Damn it.

(This picture of the secret exit was obviously not taken that night, but I'm putting it here anyway.)

We said our farewells to Paul, who was on his way out, and then it was time for our traditional Saturday-at-BASHCon treat, late night tacos!

Despite the early morning, I was looking forward to Jerry's AD&D game, and it was great. We invaded a slaver fortress, where the Diminutive Death-Dealers (a pair of halfling thieves, one of which was my character) snuck in and took out the wizard while the others fought his giant henchmen. Then the archer got to show off in a fight that ranged across a series of tree-houses connected by raised platforms in the woods, and the barbarian got smacked down. Perfect conclusion to the convention.

Don't Believe Their Lies
Tom's write-ups have become a pain to link to because he insists on posting them in a gazillion pieces, and it looks like Jerry might be succumbing to his perfidious influence. Here's the first installment of Tom's and here's what Jerry has posted so far (and the official one). You'll have to find the rest on your own. Paul has also written up his impressions.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

New Games to Play - Gen Con 2013

For me, the most exciting thing about Gen Con this year is that Peryton Gamers will be running several brand new or in-development role-playing games.

Qalidar: Resistance
Naturally, I'm going to put mine first, right? To be fair, it is the only one that will be ready to sell by Gen Con... I think. After over a year of playtesting and tinkering and I can't even guess how much time in conceptual development, I'm really looking forward to showing this one off in all its glory. Peryton Publishing will be selling a special preview edition of this game with an adventure exclusive to this event. Find us in the Studio 2 Publishing block in the exhibit hall. I'm also planning to have a quick demo handy for anyone who wants to stop by our booth and try it out, but I recommend signing up for one of the sessions listed here if you can.

Qalidar: Resistance 
10am Friday, 10am Saturday, 9pm Saturday
Try out a brand new insurrection-themed RPG in this introductory scenario. Take the role of a Wayfinder, a traveler who whose explorations have taken you far enough outside the tapestry of the scheming trions that you can see the pattern for what it is. Step into the secret places where the oligarchs spin their webs, and try to seal the recklessly-exploited cosmic flaws through which the substance of Qalidar bubbles into the daylit world. I'm running the two morning sessions and a fiendish semi-human assistant is running the Saturday evening one.

This set of horror RPG rules is evolving from a hybridization of Tom's previously released TAG Crawlspace rules and an unfinished monograph he's been tinkering with for years. It will use his new d10-based system which he's tentatively calling TROTT. I'm trying to convince him not to stick with that.

Bigger Than a Breadbox 
11pm Thursday
You were a college professor teaching Medieval folklore and Astrophysics at Dartmouth University when you went to sleep. Now you're a pizza delivery guy from Cincinnati.

Hopelessly Lost 
Midnight Saturday (which we tend to think of as Friday night)
The natives know that they are as likely to get lost as the tourists in the Lake Fohggihohxi swamps. Big Foot, aliens, or just plain evil?

Castle of the Moth 
Midnight Sunday (Saturday night, y'know?)
Welcome to Horsehead Crag, NY, the world's leading location for UFO sightings and the Moth Man.

Powerful Tales RPG
So, a long time ago, we announced a TAG variant called POW! which led to a fiction anthology called POW!erful Tales. The anthology did really well and got a lot of praise. The RPG kind of languished, and about 473 other people decided they liked the name and tossed up their own POW! RPGs. The Powerful Tales RPG is a completely different thing than the one we were working on before, though. This one's actually based on the Peryton System, and Mike (the editor of the anthology) has some wild ideas that I think will really make it stand out from other superhero RPGs.

Powerful Tales Playtest
11am Friday

I'm not sure what kind of scenario he has in mind yet. All we've got so far is, "Be among the first to try the new superhero RPG from Peryton Publishing."

Stay Alive! 
This is a set of zombie apocalypse variant rules Jerry is putting together for Tunnels & Trolls, but he's done so much work, clearing up ambiguities from the source material and coming up with creative adaptations for all the gory fun you expect from a good zombie flick, that I'm counting it as a new game here. He's been running a series of  adventures and even has a play-by-post game going, in which the zombie plague breaks out at the University of Toledo during BASHCon. I believe this adventure is connected to those.

Out of the Frying Pan
2pm Friday
The world has gone crazy as the dead have seemingly come back to attack and consume the living. You have escaped the campus and survived the night, but what about the day after?

Like Crawlspace, Spacers is something Tom's been running for years using TAG, and is now in the process of updating to his new TROTT rules. It's classic sci-fi adventure: rayguns, rocket packs, and space helmets with fins.

Attack of the Androids 
5pm Friday
Throwing ice chunks at Mercury can be tricky. Especially when the androids don't like suicide missions.

No-Dice RPG
I haven't been privy as much of the inside scoop on this one as the others, but I was at one of the playtests, and Scott has a really interesting set of playing-card based rules for his No-Dice RPG.

Psychic Cats and Magic Dogs Detective Agency
9am Saturday
A reporter for the New Atlantis News and Information Service (NANI) has been found dead in the Leo District. Can the eclectic employees of the PC&MD Detective Agency set aside their differences long enough to unravel the clues, expose the conspiracy, and catch the murderer? Each player will run an animal-human-hybrid pre-made character in the setting of New Atlantis. There will be a short lunch break during this game.

Not to be confused with the Glow World adventure for New Khazan, this is another prototype TROTT game made for post-apocalyptic sci-fi.

Out of the Bubble
9pm Saturday
You've hit 30 years old. The leaders of Bubble-City have decided no one lives beyond 30. This adventure takes a familiar premise and moves on to explore a post-apocalyptic midwest.

Other Stuff
Of course, it's not all shiny and new. We've got my Aqua Teen Hunger Force variant of Bean!, Jerry's Game of Thrones campaign, and several events under the same old T&T system, too. For a complete listing, go to