Sunday, 10 July 2011

Baby's first US Con.

Okay, okay. By baby I mean me... Of course, given the games I lean towards I usually am the youngest player so -technically-... ANYWAY. As it's all the rage, and thoroughly fashionable, I figured I'd toss up a few words about what I did, how it was and what I brought home from Dexcon. 

Thursday was my first trip into the dealer's room.  From that voyage came four 1e modules. Originals of Against the Cult of the Reptile God, the Secret of Bone Hill, the Isle of Dread and the Keep on the Borderlands are all now mine!  I also picked up an original copy of Grimtooth's Traps for the princely sum of $1. Thursday also brought a game of Nuclear War, actually two, because we blew through the first in about 20 minutes...  I was crushingly destroyed both times, alas!  After the game, it was decided to get an early exit as nothing seriously called enough to make a stay until midnight worth it, especially considering the busy next two days.

Friday began with the Old School Revival seminar, which was very enjoyable, although with it's timing being horribly placed against every other morning event by the con organizer, it lacked a large assembly. The fact that it had been incorrectly advertised on the con handouts as being Thursday night didn't help any either. That was no doubt some evil sabotage by the 4e crowd.

Nevermind though, as the dealer's room called once more and two new sets of dice (one Game Science set in amber and one lovely polished solid pewter set) became mine. I'm a dice fiend, and I didn't have the like of either, so they rather drew me in.  I also snagged a fill-in at the end of a game of Ghost Tower of Inverness almost immediately after leaving, by virtue of luckily coming across the game which already had a good friend of mine playing in it who asked if I could take over the role of the MU who had departed just minutes earlier.  It was run by a really great DM, though I swear he had the powers of Graviton when calling for 1's on our saves (and kinda looked a little like him too, hmm...).  Needless to say, we suffered a humiliating TPK against a medusa, with my mage (being the possessor of Stone to Flesh) being the first to go with the aforementioned roll of a 1 even before initiative had been rolled. Curses!

After food and a wander with friends, I sat in on a generously gifted 'over number' spot for I6 - Ravenloft run by the same DM that had been so merciless with that medusa...  All ends well, though, as we paid back his devious ways with a thoroughly brutal slaughter and thus victory over Strahd!  Woo!  Just before the decapitation and victory in Ravenloft my wife finally arrived and caught up with me at the con - I'm quite certain that it was this fact that changed my luck, because my dice almost miraculously improved at this point. No, I'm really not kidding!

The third game I squeezed in was a minis game; Battletech: Operation Little Hammer. Though as TEN players showed up, it wasn't so much a "Little" game after all. The planned scenario was expanded, and a full 35 'mechs took to the field of battle in a massive brawl.  I was placed in command of a Steiner "Recon" lance, including a Rakshasa, a Hercules and a Maelstrom. Typically, I forget what the fourth 'mech was. Despite being all 75 tonners, I was the lightweight on the field. Thanks to some fortunate initiatives and the ridiculous luck of my dice brought about by my wife, I was able to cap four enemy 'mechs, including the first and second kills, and was elected MVP of the victorious Steiner assault force. As has been said on Solaris: "Not bad for a rookie!"  By this time, it was after midnight and I headed home for a night of not getting any sleep...

Saturday dawned bright and early for me... On Friday.  So, Saturday felt a little like the longest day.  Still, it was a good time!  Dashing in at something like 1:58pm, I made my spot for Ogre - good thing too, as I was bringing terrain for it.  The game was a Combine assault on Pan-Euro defending forces.  Without going into a deep breakdown of tactical choices and such, I will say that I managed to win (again, with astonishingly lucky dice rolls) mostly due to being able to concentrate my Ogre III-B with my wife's III-B in one spot and ruin the enemy as they came at us one by one. Two III-Bs firing at a regular model III can really ruin it's day, and we stripped the enemy III and the Fencer of all weapons in one turn each. 

Following game cleanup and a trip to the dealer's room... Again... (whereby I came out with a cheap copy of the Fiend Folio, two FASA-era Battletech source books, some minis and a couple pieces of terrain) Myself, my wife and three fellow Grognards made their way to a little Columbian place a block away from the convention for a real sit-down dinner... It was AMAZING.  I think the place is called "Casa del Pollo", and damn. My recommendation is if you go to Dexcon, you MUST go there at least once during the weekend for food. Seriously.

With full bellies and a song in our hearts we returned to the con for the last game of the day (and, for a few of us, for the con). The game was White Plume Mountain, run by the Greyhawk Grognard.  Now, while we didn't manage to get too terribly far through the mountain, we did manage to avoid being completely destroyed. The group was good, but I think fatigue helped make a few of us less than imaginative when coming up with solutions to problems.  Thus, with one party member sadly deceased, and only a minor haul of gold, electrum, gems and what we suspect was magic chainmail, we made our way from the mountain to end the game.

Overall, I had a fantastic time and I am sure as eggs are eggs that I'll be going back again next year.  With all the positive feedback that all the "old-school" games I was in got I'm sure the OSR in general will be back in force, too.  I have tentative plans to run a few games myself, but it's a year away, so let's not get counting chickens just yet.

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