Sunday, February 12, 2017

OwlCon Report

Friday and Saturday were this year's OwlCon (Or "Superb OwlCon," as the ad copy said) and it was pretty freaking great. As is typical, my son (C-Monster, now 17 and a seasoned veteran) attended. Unlike the past few years, we decided to give today's festivities a pass, so as to get in some recovery time.

Friday night, I ran "The Eaves of Mirkwood," a demo for Cubicle 7's Adventures In Middle Earth, that I fleshed out a bit to fill my allotted time. I had five players (out of a maximum of six available PCs) and I felt it went really well. The game does a terrific job of taking 5th edition D&D and turning into something that is much less that style of fantasy and much closer to Tolkien. I'm not going to talk too much about the specifics because I may run it again and I don't want to spoil C7's excellent adventure. But it rocked.

Saturday morning started poorly. I'd had a lot of trouble winding down and getting to sleep, so I woke up groggy and we got out the door a little late. To make matters worse, we clipped a curb while driving in and suffered a flat tire. Worst of all, I discovered my jack was missing. Fortunately, we were rescued by a passerby and we got to the con only about fifteen minutes late, just in time to make our games. C-Monster went off to play "Cthulhu Wars", and I rushed over to a "Star Trek Enterprise" game that used Savage Worlds.

I'd love to say it was a good time, but honestly it was a mess. Despite having a decent plot (which I may well lift for Far Trek), the GM really didn't prepare for this game. Her pre-gens consisted entirely of PCs she uses for a "Fallout" game, with zero modification. So my "Tactical Officer" had, among other things, the Illiterate hindrance. Also, due to the nature of the plot, a heavily-armed, bloodthirsty killing machine was sidelined for a lot of the adventure. I did get to blow up spaceships, but it was pretty much a disaster.

Speaking of disasters, there were problems at the con regarding food options. You see, OwlCon is held on the campus of Rice University in Houston. When classes are in session, there are multiple eateries open. Unfortunately, all of them rely on student labor and Saturday was the start of their mid-semester break. With no students to staff them, they shuttered early or completely all weekend. On Saturday afternoon, the one place I planned to hit for lunch closed early for a "private event," something I didn't figure out until 2:15, with 45 minutes to my next game. This necessitated a mad and expensive (parking isn't cheap on campus) dash to Taco Cabana to stock up on enough sustenance to get C and myself through the rest of the day and night. Bean and cheese tacos, the Iron Rations of Texas gamers.

I managed to get back just in time for my afternoon game, a Savage Worlds dungeon-crawl run by none other than Shane Hensley. I've known Shane for many years, but this was my first chance to actually play a game with him, and it was absolutely terrific. My character ended up committing magical suicide to take out the big bad and one of his lieutenants, which sucked for the PC but totally ruled. Also, it reminded me of how great SW is with the right GM.

After downing the remaining tacos, it was time to run my other game, "Young Justice: Apokolips Now," for DC Adventures. It's got a bit of a history. I originally wrote it for Chupacabracon 2015. Unfortunately, only two people who signed up for it actually showed, so I couldn't run it, which was kind of depressing, and I filed it away on the Island of Lost Games A little while ago, I posted a link to it here, and it got some really nice feedback, so I decided to take another stab and try to run it at OwlCon. For the past month, I've been super-nervous about whether or not it would "make," and I didn't actually hit the minimum number of players (5) until Friday night. So even on Saturday I was worried that a no-show might scuttle things.

As it was, I had five players, and the game came off beautifully. I'll post up a an actual play summary soon in its own thread, but yeah, it was everything I'd hoped for. Great players who got the material, fun dialog, and some excellent dice to end the action on a high note. Absolutely perfect.

How was your weekend?