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RetCon 2014: Day the Second – Spaghetti Dinner


Saturday night was time to play the All Flesh Must Be Eaten game that I had been anticipating since RetCon 2013.

For those who don’t know, last year I had the extreme pleasure of playing a vital role in the Saturday Night AFMBE game.

“See? I have this patch right here! Do you know what this means boy?”

N7 - 'cause I'm hard core

It means “I’m a paint-balling wannabe soldier with no authority whatsoever, and a Firearms Skill of 1.”

“You think you have the right to ask me to turn over my gun because you *claim* to be an officer of the law? Well where’s your badge, law-man?”  I wait a beat to glare meaningfully at the individual in the hospital gown standing before me. “Well that’s what I thought. I am the one with the gun, and I am not stupid enough to turn that gun over to you because you asked. You didn’t even ask nice! What’s that? You think you have more skill with this here firearm than I do? Would you care to be a demonstration of my shooting ability?”

For the record – the person playing the alleged law-man was being a big jerk.

For the record – I am capable of playing an even bigger jerk.

I may have died that night, but I died so that the hotties might live. I died secure in the knowledge that, had I lived, I would have gotten laid.

Since that time I have been told, in no uncertain terms that I must play in the Saturday Night AFMBE game at RetCon 2014 and, if possible, play an even bigger jerk.

challenge accepted

 

This year I got to play a trigger happy gun toting maniac with a wide variety Firearms Skills of either 4 or 5 (very nice for AFMBE) , and a slight Cruel Streak (1). Welcome to a “Fistful O’ Zombies”!

We started off the evening at the local saloon, which a group of banditos had just walked into.  This looked like an opportune time to start polishing my shotgun while consuming my whiskey.

One of the banditos was giving the waitress a look that did not sit right with me, so when a different bandito (there were three) flipped a card table over I took that as a good excuse to blow a whole in the chest of the rude guy with the lewed eye. The preacher-man in our party decided to try to heal this poor unfortunate soul who had done nothing to deserve getting shot in the chest (giving that waitress the stink-eye was what you’d call “ill-advised”), but when he laid his hallowed hands on the guy the body shot backwards through the chair he had still been sitting in and fell on the floor in a smoking heap. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who hated banditos. I figured maybe it was time I started goin’ to church regular again.

In other news, shit was about to get real.

We managed to put down two of what we now knew to be zombies at the bar but the third escaped. We tracked him, and discovered that a whole zombie gang was headed straight for town! We acquired a map of the town indicating the day (tomorrow), and a name, but not much else. The sheriff was drunk, the townies were in danger, and after we cleared those three undead gang members from the saloon we pretty much had an all-you-can-drink-buffet goin’ on for us here so we were NOT going to let that saloon go down without a fight!

We fought zombie horses, we fought a whole gang of zombie a*holes, we fought a demon straight outta Hell and somehow or other they all wound up with lead poisoning by the time the evening was through.

Was my character a big jerk? Yes. Yes she was. She shot people in the face with a shotgun just for lookin’ at other people funny. She was rude, loud, obnoxious, and certainly better than any hombre! I could go into detail, but I’m pretty sure you had to be there.

When the game was over there would be only one day left of RetCon 2014.

It always ends too soon.

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RetCon 2014: Day the First


Ran “Adrift” as an “All Flesh MUST Be Eaten” module tonight. Never having run AFMBE before I was a little nervous, but it ran very easily and I had a blast!

One highlight (of many) was how easily the biologist whipped up a super deadly poison, and used it to kill a creature who was cooperating with them. The team then came close to accidentally poisoning a community of amphibioids by dumping the poisoned amphibioid’s body into the lake. I did specifically state that the level six success meant that the poison would work far more effectively than they could have imagined. Let me tell you, they would have brought down a lot of messy amphibioid death on themselves if they hadn’t argued about it and wound up burning the body instead.

And when that same biologist performed an autopsy and declared himself not guilty of killing the creature, who must have had a bad reaction to something he ate, I was amazed by how he managed to not lie at all during it. Well done, sir.

For the record, they poisoned the creature because the physicist (who left Earth to get away from the aliens that had been patiently awaiting the perfect moment to abduct her) was convinced that it was highly intelligent and playing possum until the perfect moment to strike. How she convinced the others of this I’m not quite sure, as I was working with the medical doctor who was trying to teach it to speak English.

The medical doctor was not pleased by the rather sudden and unanticipated death.

I was also impressed with how close to the lake they choose to be despite the fact that most of them couldn’t swim.

One poor redshirt NPC (Codename: Alpha) almost drowned in the lake except that the medical doctor jumped in and saved him, and the team contemplated trying to transplant the poisoned amphibioid’s gills into his chest so he wouldn’t drowned anymore. Remember that super poison? Yeah, I remembered it too.

The medical doctor wound up stumbling across the planet’s big nasty secret, but I won’t post any spoilers here because it’s time for me to catch a few winks before “RetCon 2014: Day the Second” begins!

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What I Really Need Are Minions


It’s never a dull moment for the GM. Last week my computer decided that I had to replace the CMOS Battery, the power supply unit, and the hard drive. This wouldn’t have been so bad had the hard drive not taken a good 12 hours to format, and had I not needed to install about a bazillion software updates.

The good news is that I now have a fully operational battle station with about 10 times the capacity to store crap I find online.

I can now download all the things!

The bad news is that I’m behind schedule with writing my RetCon modules, but never fret. I will work tirelessly to get them done on time because that’s the kind of good friend I am. Also because I know I will thoroughly enjoy watching people’s faces as events unfold.

On Saturday afternoon I will be running a Savage Worlds Superheroes module called Excelsior! Will Stan Lee get to make a rousing appearance before thousands of adoring true believers at San Diego Comic Con? Will some nefarious plot unfold to spoil the day? Will anyone step up to the plate to help Stan make his appointed rounds? Will SDCC ever be the same? Only you can answer these questions, and more, during the Saturday Afternoon session of Savage Worlds Superheroes at RetCon: Long Island’s Gaming Convention!

What’s more: not only will this be an entirely “New-To-Savage-Worlds” friendly game (I firmly believe that gaming conventions are all about exploring new gaming systems)… there are fabulous prizes! The Crown Publishing Group has generously provided me with autographed copies of Ex-Patriots and Ex-Communication from Peter Clines‘s “Ex-Heroes” series!

Signed by Author Peter Clines!

Signed by Author Peter Clines!

Each book is a fully contained story set in a world where the Zombocalypse has happened, and now the heroes are struggling to save what remains of civilization. While I highly endorse reading them all, you won’t be lost if you don’t start with book one. (Which is always a plus in my humble opinion.)

Exheroes ExPatriots ExCommunication Books

Thank You Crown Publishing!

RetCon is 8/23 through 8/25 2013 in Plainview, NY.

Pre-registration is open until Sunday.

And of course you can also buy tickets at the door.

Fun Will Be Had!

I hope to see you there!

Mages Make Me Cry

Savage RetCon


Been getting some work done for RetCon 2013. I’ve decided to switch things up this time around and run me some Savage Worlds.

I have to say that the switch felt a bit intimidating at first. I’ve played a lot of systems, but I’ve only ever GMed World of Darkness. That said, I think Savage Worlds is going to be a win.

Once again I am writing my own modules, because it’s one of my favorite parts of GMing. I love getting all of the pieces into place, and then seeing what the players do with them. I have never had a module run the same way twice, and It’s always interesting to see how players interpret the characters they’ve selected and the evidence in front of them.

This year for RetCon I’ve decided to go with a Space Horror story, which admittedly sticks to my horror roots, a pulp adventure story (think Indiana Jones), and for the third I will likely run Super Heroes. Fortunately Savage Worlds has setting books that will accommodate all of the above and I have to say the prices are very reasonable which is fortunate considering as I’ve just moved and have no money left.

The Space Horror is the first one I’m working on. I’ve been playing a lot of Mass Effect and Dead Space lately so I imagine the influence will show. I’m envisioning this one to run pretty dark, but I won’t be in any way surprised when the players turn it into a SyFy Original Motion Picture. That’s the way these things happen sometimes (or most times) and I’m pretty used to it by now.

That’s just how we roll.

 

Mages Make Me Cry

Session Scheming


Tonight on #RPGChat* we were discussing the virtues of session planning, and how some of us like to go about it. This feels appropriate to me for two main reasons, this first of which is that I have a new chapter starting up soon for the Mages (the blog is behind the campaign’s timeline but we’ll catch up to them eventually!), and the second being that RetCon is rapidly approaching and I’m in convention game planning hell.

For reasons too asinine to go into here I committed to running three brand new adventures this year: Innocents, Hunter, and Mage. I have a vague idea of what these sessions will be, which you can check out for yourself if you click through the links. RetCon is in two weeks.

No good can come of this.

There is a lot of flying by the seat of my pants that I do with the Mage campaign. With seven players tossing around god-like powers I’m pretty much forced to. My convention games however are much more solidly put together. There are packets with background info on the characters and their basic attitudes toward life and the current situation to be put together. Naturally the characters all need to be fully statted. The packets also include a brief explanation of certain concepts so that if I have people who are new to the system they will know how things work, for example how the Virtue/Vice selections come into play. I am absolutely a fan of having things to hand out during game sessions and that all has to be put together too.

I like to give my convention players as much of a sandbox environment as I can, but the fact is that I’m running for people I don’t know and may or may not see again. This means coming up with specific goals for them that will keep them in a reasonably predictable area, and then giving them free reign to interact with that environment. I also love to give them free reign to interact with each other. This is where those character “attitudes” come into play. I make every effort to give the PCs things to argue about. Some will totally believe in the presence of the supernatural all around them, while others are skeptics. Some will be bright eyed, bushy tailed, and enthusiastic to learn something new from their team mates; while some of those team mates are just hoping they haven’t been saddled with some brown-nosing, over achieving, suck up. of course having a “Brainey Smurf” around is always good for inter-group tensions. When folks play up those personality types hilarity is sure to ensue.

The story has to be short enough to run in the time allowed, but it can’t run too short either. To that end, I try to plan out things that will be fun for the players to do yet aren’t necessary for the storyline to make sense. I plot out filler scenes. The trick is to make sure they don’t feel like filler scenes. I always give myself a way to trigger the finale in case they don’t get through all of the ‘necessary events’ with at least 30 minutes left in the session. I don’t want things to feel forced, but more importantly I don’t want the players to leave the table feeling incomplete. That isn’t good for anybody.

So, basically, I still have a lot of writing to do, and I have a rapidly diminishing amount of time left in which to do it. It’s all good though. I have my trusty coffee and the day off. I can do this! So, if you’re in the New York area I urge you to check out RetCon this year. There will be chances for me to kill your character! There will be prizes! There will be cake!!**

RetCon: Long Island's Gaming Convention

*It’s a Twitter thing, and if you aren’t there at 9pm on Thursday nights then… well… you should be there is all I’m tryin’ to say!

**The cake is a lie.

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