Well, to be quite honest, I have not gone at all. At least, not since they’ve left the Milwaukee area years ago. Given my unfortunate budget constraints as well as an unforgiving time-off policy at my current place of employment, I’ve been forced to just one convention a year. And that has been Anime Central for the past 5+ years.
But, that’s not to say I’ve forgotten about a convention that was my first great con and a hobbythat still holds sway over my free time to this day. This week is somewhat of a great gaming week for me none the less. Today I honored my annual Gen Con tradition as well as started setting myself up for several days of gaming.
Now, I can’t say what truely makes something a tradition. Is it time spent doing that one certain thing over and over? Or is it passing down that activity to another generation? Whatever it is, I’ll be sure to pass this one down when I can no longer sling bones with the best of them.
I’ve made it a habit, when I actually went to GenCon, to buy myself a new set of beauties from the Chessex booth. As if to let the previous year’s dice take a breather and let some new ones take their place. Sure, to some this may seem like some silly gamer superstition. But it’s something I started back in my gaming youth and, though I don’t often subscribe to the “lucky dice” theory, I chose to continue to this day. Besides, you can never have enough dice.
So, this year’s lucky dice of the year title belongs to Chessex’s Black/White Nebulas. Unfortunately, the picture in their description does them little justice. The clear form with the black tint gives it almost a blue-ish look in the right light. A very pretty set and one that will finally get to see the light this Friday.
My Non-GenCon Gaming Schedule
I do hope, some year, to make my way back to that gaming mecca known as GenCon. There’s something to be said about spending long evenings slinging dice be it for an amazing dungeon delve, to march ones armies across the fields of battle, or even just to get that bloody Candyman to the finish line (Truth be told, I’ve never played Run for your Life, Candyman!, but there just seems to be something fiendishly fun about it). Instead, I get to spend the remainder of the work week doing just that; working. But, come that Friday night, the weregeek emerges.
These past few Fridays, I’ve been fortunate enough to intoduce several new people to the hobby that is Role Playing Games. Unfortunately, I’ve made the error of starting them off on a game that I both love and hate; Battlelords of the 23rd Century. to me, there’s just something entertaining about this game of space carnage that boarders on the primal. But it seems every time I try to start a game, the rules remind me of why the game infuriates me so.
Using what’s billed as the d100 system, the rules generally focus on blowing away your opponent first. Combat is the primary focus of the game and the rules are very detail oriented in that direction. However, I usually find myself perplexed when the game gets going and end it all in a bit of a frustrated ‘hrumph!’.
However, this Friday, several of my usual players, including one of the two newbies, will be AFT (away from table) and the remaining two (Plus a third who expressed interest but has yet to attend) still wish to continue with gaming. Since I billed these sessions merely as introductions to various RPGs for the new folks, this gives me the opportunity to switch gears and run myself a little 4e, my current obsession in the world of Dungeons and Dragons (Now where’s that little red-robed guy?)
Last Friday, we had the opportunity to start rolling up characters, introducing the lone newbie to the rules as they went. Given that this is a new campaign, I decided to curb my geneosity when it came to stat generation (I am HORRIBLE for that) as well as incorporate the new Background rules from the PHB 2. We taught Erin, our newbie, to think of rolling a character not just as putting together a series of numbers on paper, but to begin to develop the character’s personality and background as you put them together.
I’d recently been inspired by a series of articles from the Roleplaying Pro blog titled Building Memorable D&D Characters (Link is to first of 4 part series). In it is a series of tips and suggestions for making your character come alive. It recommends a number of possible questions you can ask yourself as you make the character to make them more than a numbercrunch on paper.
Also, something I saw someone mention as a reply to Article 4: Goals and Motivations (I believe) was a suggestion for encouraging players to write up backgrounds. Namely, allow the players to type out a backstory and award bonus XP at 1 XP per word (Max 1000), GM’s discresion of course. I think this idea is great and may couple it with my all time favorite 20 Questions/3x3x3 that I’ve used in other games (Perhaps more on that later).
All in all, with a fresh batch of minds, I’m doing my best to encourage character creation during…well…character creation. But anyway, it seems I’ve digressed in a huge stream of concious babbling.
So, other than introducing my Friday players to my current, in-the-works, custom world of Ameryka (Yet another possible topic for the future), my Saturday gaming group gets to return to the World of Faerun, 4e style. I have to say, I was always leary of the new version of the world, having grown up playing in the marvelously detailed setting that came before. My opinions on the new world have waxed and waned. There are times where I can say that while the world has pogressed 100 years, much of what is, still is. Yet, there’s always this little nagging in the back of my mind that feels like something was lost when the new books came out. Something that made Faerun a magical place that I would get myself lost in in years past.
Perhaps I just need to see more material produced. More fluff for such a fluff-filled world.
But again, digression.
In this latest campaign opener, I tried to veer away from the typical “You all met in a tavern” reason for the group coming together while looking for a good reason to bring such a motley lot together. In this case, I went the way of slavery, having the group be a batch of escaped slaves on the run from Calimshan. The campaign started with them making their way into Tethyr, having eluded the Pasha’s hunters, and, in search of coin to aid in their travels farther north, they’ve accepted a job from a nobleman to clean out some Orc rabble that has taken over a newly purchased manor outside the city.
I have plans to expand on that plot should the campaign actually take off. But we’ll just have to see how things go.
So, all-in-all, a remaining week of work ending in gaming. Not exactly the enjoyment that is GenCon. But, I’ll make due with what I have and enjoy gaming none-the-less.
To all you folks heading to GenCon today, have fun!
For those of us who cannot, are you doing anything to celebrate GenCon where you’re at?