Cancon retrospective

29 January, 2012

Well, that was that. Good times had by all. What I did get out of the event, apart from level 17, was an insight that has made me break my new year’s resolution.

There were a number of dudes there rocking the untrimmed beard, and I realized that it was really not a look that I wanted for myself. So, #4. Looking sharp.

I will definitely retire Jerimiah II at level 21. The epic rules are just not that nice. Instead, I will got Githzeri Monk. By the Con rules, I can sacrifice 10 levels to negate the +2 level adjustment, and 6 levels for a +3 to Wisdom. A githzerai gets +2 Wis and +6 Dex, so it should be survivable.

BT did well, afaik. And recieved the “best vendor stall” award! Nicely done. Perhaps raised the bar a little, which is great. I had a chance to show off my roadie skills, such as they are.

Manda’s game tomorrow, Serpent’s Skull on Friday, then Paranoia. I am running a LARP – One of the 3 games at RokCon. Even if it’s not as worked out as I would like it to be, it should still be good. Or at least ok. Hope I don’t disappoint.

CanCon day 0

26 January, 2012

We set up the Bunyip Toys stall today – hauling stuff, moving shelves around. Good times. Andrew has set out his stall, looks great.

Ran into Salvatore. Told him I shall bring my minis. It seems the rumours of a theft were true. The hard thing would be to know that the thieves probably threw the minis out, or had their joyride and set fire to the car. On, the polymerantity!

MilSims was set up and already taking people’s money. Some total, total, total bastard swooped in and bought all of their D&D miniatures booster boxes: of which they did not have many. Meh: $300 and a bit. One and a half roots. Totally worth it.

They still have heaps of starter packs, Drizzt scenario packs, and a couple of Orcus boxes which, I must admit, look fab. Thinking about it … I’m tempted. He’d set off my colossal Red Dragon nicely.

They also have those dragons collectors boxes, which is great because my order from Wizards got cancelled due to limited stock. So now I have both the beholders and the dragons collectors boxes which is great. The dragons have all five colours. I already have a couple of blues, and the one in the pack is that same old crook looking mini with the wings bent over to one side. It must be in the mould. But now finally I have an adult green, red, white, and black.

I have already packed the minis for Sal’s game – not really sure I want to unpack it and put the new minis in the right boxes. But can’t hurt to open a couple, right?

8 Lords of Madness (huge) boosters. I’ll open two.

Hmm. A triceratops. Meh. But might come in handy for Serpents Skull. Huge blue dragon. Good looking. A Volcanic dragon! Pretty. Small scorpion – wouldn’t mind a few more of them. I have a couple of large ones. An Arcane Portal. Nice. It will go in with the scythejaw trap. Some humaoids. Meh. Hey! A gnome with an orb! I have plenty of halflings, but not enough gnomes. A stone giant. Meh. Rotgrub swarm! That looks … faintly obcene, actually. It goes in with the spider, scarab beetle, and rat swarms. Wouldn’t mind a couple more of those, either.

12 Demonweb boosters. Opening two again. Another fucking blue dragon – ok: this is starting to get on my tits. An mushroom! Now I have two. One mushroom is a mushroom, two is an encounter. Humanoids, a mummy. An infernal armour – again: I have a couple, now. More fun in groups. And a dude with four arms. Meh.

And 16 Dangerous Delves. Two more. You can see the L mini in the bubble pack. A shade dissapointing – another goddamn Aboleth Slime Mage. WTF am I going to do with half a dozen Aboleth Slime mages? Oh yeah. That’s right. I was threatening to run a pirate-themed campaign at GG for season 5. Bwahahahaha! I want to see brown on those seats when they explore the undersea have and find out what they are up against.

Giants, trolls. The bubble packs are sealed, so out comes the blade.

Ripped off! One large mini, and four more. Undead, undead, another arablest.HUman, goblin, Snake swarm, Yuan-ti. The Yuan-ti might be handy for Serpents Skull.

Nope – the Dangerous Delves packs are disappoint. No wonder they sealed ’em.

Anyway. At some point in the not-too-distant future, I shall have to spend a pleasant hour or two sorting them and counting them. I unpack ’em – I am not a “collector” in that sense. I use ’em for games.

But that’s in the future. For now, I intend to be at CanCon 8am. Crap – must fix up my character properly. Last Con I wound up rooting the dryad and I’d like to do her as a cohort. Druid levels, of course … except that summoning is a pain. The minis are packed and will stack precariously on the bike.

(Fuck, I have got to get down and write this thing for RokCon. It’s next week!)

Manda’s Game

25 January, 2012

GG Season 4 is starting in a few weeks, but in the meantime I’m dropping in on Manda’s game. The idea would be that it would be nice to have an experienced player along.

I’m not 100% sure it’s working out well. On a few levels.

First, she is running Age of Worms, which I have DM’ed in the past. So I have to be careful to not give the game away. But this means that I can’t really play the game fully.

She has a table of new players and one copy of the pathfinder rules. This means you have new players playing spell casters, which is always a bad idea but there’s no help for it, really. After last week, however, I think that you are better off with a party of fighters and one rogue than a balanced party played by newbies. Just so long as the DM gives the party a wand of Cure Light that’s been finessed so that UMD is not an issue.

Compounding the spellcaster issue is that the standard character sheet provides these annoying, bitsy little boxes for your spells. Paizo ought to take the spell casting slots off the standard character sheet and release supplemental sheets for the various spell casting classes. Something that makes the distinction between prepared spells and your spell book clear.

What else? My character is a bard – which is supposed to be good at low levels and a good 5th wheel. But my character was useless in the big fight of the night – tieflings with Darkness. My habit of playing DMs pet is also not going down well. I don’t think the person stuck with the cleric wants to be a cleric.

And it’s noisy. I think that bothers me more than other people – I don’t cope will with noise.

So. If I was attempting to run Age of Worms with a table of new players, what would I do?

Core rules only
Manda is doing this, and I agree that it’s the right way to go.
I would not run Age of Worms.
It’s 3.5, not pathfinder, and that means continual rule modifications every step of the way. If I am using Pathfinder, I’d run a campaign written for pathfinder. It would be terribly nice of Paizo to update AoW.

No spellcasting for newbie players.
Everyone starts as a fighter, barbarian, ranger or rogue. You can start taking caster levels after the first module, or just build a new character from scratch. Sorcerer rather than Wizard, unless the player can explain in their own words how spell books and spell slots work.
Free Wand of Cure Light to start with
I think it’s on the ranger spell list, or the Rogue can use it. Or just make it a special one-off that anyone can use without UMD. Or a “charges per day” special item.
No goddamn animal companions
Unless the player is competent to manage the other stat block and to play the companion as an animal. Rangers do not have a telepathic link with their companion.
Spellcasters have a copy of the descriptions of their spells
Self explanatory. Even experienced players can be guilty of not knowing what their spells do
Ties in with the above. It calculates, manages prepared spells vs spell books, and gives you a summary of the effect. I (sigh) just cannot get it working with the new at a sets, but for core rules it’s perfect.

Yeah – looking back on what I have written, the spell thing is the major issue. And it’s not an incidental part of the game, either. But for newbies: Fighter, Barbarian, Ranger and Rogue. Maybe sorcerer, but they suck at low levels. Be generous with magic items, but talk them up. Make magic, well, magical. A low-magic environment would be a good way to go.

And finally: I was ok first week. Sucked second week. If I suck next time I play with this group, or even seriously start to suck, if I were Manda I’d kick me out.