Monday, October 20, 2014

Convention Report: Game Con South Bend

October 18th marked the return of Game Con South Bend, which was held at the Century Center in South Bend, IN. This was the first time I was aware of a gaming convention in South Bend since getting interested in RPGs, so I was extremely excited to attend and run a game of Dungeon Crawl Classics.

The convention was a small affair, but seemed to be well-attended for the relative size. There were a ton of people playing card games throughout the day and the Artemis booth seemed to be getting a lot of attention. The wargaming tables weren't very busy but the boardgame and RPG tables had a good number of people hanging out at all times.

There were a handful of vendors, including two local-ish game publishers, a booth selling general nerd supplies and games, and Impact Miniatures, which took much more of my money than I expected to spend. I grabbed a handful of funky dice (including three of their Roman numeral d3s and the new non-caltrop d4 design), a chibi Cthulhu mini and a copy of Impact City Roller Derby, which I had wanted to kickstart but couldn't afford at the time.

How could I resist this little guy?
I went hoping to play a session of the new Star Wars RPG, but when the GM was a no-show, I joined a session of Baker Street, the upcoming Sherlock Holmes RPG coming from Fearlight Games. It was my first investigative game and was a lot of fun. The system places an emphasis of deduction and logic when examining clues and leads. It seems to strike a good balance between games like GUMSHOE, who give you all of the clues upfront, and Call of Cthulhu, who gives you clues if you made the roll.

While at the convention I was able to meet and chat with two people I had only previously interacted with on Google Plus. It was pretty cool meeting these people IRL, and almost surreal to talk about G+ things with someone in the same room.

At 6:00 I ran my game of "The Sleeping Place of the Feathered Swine" in Dungeon Crawl Classics. It was attended by two teenagers in Homestuck cosplay and one of my fellow G+'ers. I had fun and didn't suffer any of the anxiety I was expecting. It probably helped having a semi-familiar face and two weird kids, because I didn't feel the pressure to live up to the expectations of some hardcore roleplayer. The scenario went pretty well and resulted in only one PC death, although another did become completely infected and remained in the cave waiting for food.

The only big boo-boo I committed during the game was forgetting to allow Fortitude saves to avoid infection. I feel bad about that, but then again the kid sent his warrior screaming into melee with a pile of four worm tumours. Infection was going to happen no matter what and stupidity should be punished.

I had lowered my expectations for Game Con South Bend based on the patchwork of sites used to promote it and the general lack of communication coming from the organizers even up to the day of the con, but I think it really went off very well. It was a good way to spend a Saturday in South Bend and I look forward to next year.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Feathered Swine Mini-Supplement: What Happens When You Eat the Mushrooms?

I don't know about your players, but when mine find themselves in a cave filled with strange mushrooms they will not hesitate to shove one of them into their mouths. This was one of the first course of actions taken when they arrived in area XII of "The Sleeping Place of the Feathered Swine." Because I plan on running the module again and I am pretty sure that mushroom eating will occur again, I have made the following chart for the effects of each mushroom on the humanoid body.

  1. Drooping Moonshade: Save vs Poison or DC 15 Fortitude Save. Failure causes 1d4 damage. Success causes shroud of unnatural darkness to obscure the body of the eater for 1d10 minutes.
  2. Deliquescent Bluecap: Will cause violent vomiting within 1d6 minutes after being consumed. The vomit will be a vivid green color.
  3. Inner Sea Veincap: Save vs Poison or DC 12 Fortitude Save. Failure causes 1 point of damage. Success results in faint glowing of skin that lasts for 1d4 hours. Natural 20 on saving throw results in eyes of the eater glowing bright blue and gaining perfect darkvision for 1d4 hours.
  4. Purple Hypnagog: See original description.
  5. Ruby Tears of Mercy: Results in a temporary immunity to ingested poisons for 1d6 days.
  6. Screaming Puffball: No immediate effects, however the bowel movements and flatulence of the character will have a floral scent for 24 hours.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Playing Sleeping Place of the Feathered Swine

In a few weeks I will be running "The Sleeping Place of the Feathered Swine" in Dungeon Crawl Classics at Game Con South Bend, so I thought it would be a good idea to run the adventure a few times so that I am intimately familiar with this terrible cave. The first of two play-throughs happened last Saturday with three players.

Here are the highlights and observations. Spoilers, obviously.

  • The players selected the randomly generated Warrior, Dwarf and Thief characters. This may have increased their odds of survival since the Warrior and Dwarfs came out as killing machines, even though they were completely random. 
  • I think I will skip the encounter with Felix Longworm as he doesn't provide much incentive to go into the cave unless the PCs are really hard up for cash. In a one-shot context, the promise of gold that can't be used isn't very motivating. I will attempt an info dump for my next play-though and see if that works better.
  • The players immediately picked up the resemblance of one cave feature to a part of the female anatomy. This landmark became known as "the vagina pit." I might note that this was my first time DMing a game for an exclusively male group.
  • The players found the mushrooms and armor before getting a good look at the feathered swine. They spent an awful long time looking at the armor, thinking it had to be booby trapped. It was not until one of them ate the bio-luminescent mushrooms and gained perfect darkvision that they were convinced it was safe to put on.
  • The Warrior did not seem too pleased when the armor attached itself to his body. The Dwarf immediately asked "How will he poop?" which I actually had an answer for.
  • The players essentially ran the adventure backwards and made short work of the Worm Tumors, luckily avoiding any infection. However, they were terrified of the things and would not go near the group of four of them.
  • Aspeth gave them her quest item and then hobbled off to become a suicide bomber. The players assumed that she killed all of the remaining Worm Tumors this way. They were wrong.
  • The Thief performed the surgery on the feathered swine as he was the smartest character in the group. He did manage to get infected and had his left arm cut off at the elbow and cauterized immediately. He then removed one more cyst before calling it a day.
  • The players decided that going up the vagina pit would be the best way out of the cave. The Dwarf and Thief have no problem scaling the walls. The Warrior was not so lucky and repeatedly fell onto the cave floor. Although his new evil armor absorbed most of the damage from the fall, he made enough noise to attract the three remaining Worm Tumors, charred and angry from their encounter with Aspeth. Although the monsters were quickly killed by the three PCs, the Warrior was still infected as the worms crawled through the plates of his sabatons. 
  • Tired of failing to climb the cave wall, the Warrior decided to walk the long way through the cave. By the time he got back to the rest of the party, the infection had taken hold and he was now a super-powered Worm Tumor in evil armor. Luckily for everyone, he could not pass the pit and remained in the cave.
  • The Thief and Dwarf left him to die and got paid. The Dwarf had an awkward sexual encounter with Felix, who he had developed a crush on.