I know, like you need another jack-wagon writing about how awesome Fear The Con was right? Well, I do this for two reasons. The first reason is that I feel like there are some points that haven’t been brought up that could make for some decent reading. The second reason is that I found out that Paul has IdeologyofMadness business cards and I don’t. My only conclusion is that there must be some kind of ‘post count’ on this site that I have to get to unlock the achievement ‘business card’ (I need to know if Debora has these as well to prove it) so I have to wrack up some more time on this virtual pinball game.
Anyway, how was FTC4? Find out after the magical jump…..
The drive from Wisconsin with my friend Chris was a seven hour experience, all but 2 of it through Illinois. I remember texting Paul, telling him to have fun at his brewery tour, and that I still had 3 hours of Illinois to ‘defeat’. Illinois did put up a good fight in the last 30 miles or so, when it seemed to realize that we were slipping through it’s grasp, and threw up road construction and 20 mph traffic for about 5 miles, but Chris and I are not new to this rite of pilgrimage, and so we made it to the Quality Inn with enough time to shoot the breeze with all the Funnybooks hosts, sans Wayne who was still at work and with enough time to go to the airport and pick up Joe from California.
World Wide Wing night was a lot of fun, though I will say that it was greatly improved once we hit the patio. Two new phrases came out of WWWN, “Thistledown!” was crowed when we finished an alcoholic beverage (Andrew was banned from doing it for his Sprite), inspired by new
found friend Thistledown John of ThistledownAP.com, as he acted as a Fake Wayne for 90 percent of the con, as Real Wayne had a lot of responsibilities (and B*tch Wayne was nowhere to be found, she must have smelled the nerd rage). The second phrase that I’m sure we’ll hear is “Tell them it’s Paul.” which was Paul’s way to persuade our way to the patio and to get a server out there.
Cigars were smoked by everyone but me. Chops were busted. Honestly, it was like our banter pre-show amped by like 30 percent the whole con once you got more than two of us together for more than a five minute period. It was awesome to laugh and share Listerine Shots with the boys. Already the Con was worth the drive, and I hadn’t played in anything yet.
Day one was upon us way too early and it was earlier still because I had to be there early to set up the puzzle booth. I missed out on Denny’s breakfast 1 but made the sequel on Saturday.
My first game was Nightmare Games by Joe Rossi using Don’t Rest Your Head. The general idea is that your character hasn’t slept in so long that he starts being able to see into a different reality. I played Damion Juarez, star pitcher for the high school who took a line drive to the temple which snapped me into the nightmare realm. I can’t say I have a full grasp of the game, but I did garner enough knowledge to understand escalation, and so did Chris. We didn’t just start fisticuffs or try to sneak past teachers, we started riots and exploded security officers. The mechanic is that we need hope to be able to buy off some of the problems of doing escalated maneuvers but we mostly were just filling up the despair bucket with our chits, to power up said ridiculousness. We did have a split party though, and had two different games going on. Overall, it was a solid game and I enjoyed it.
Second Slot was my Savage Saturday Morning game. We had two no-shows so it was just Andrew, Paul and a guy named Pete from Ohio. I’ve run this one in last years game and it ran somewhat short because most of the time is filled up with character interactions, but with two less people this was bound to not take as long. The highlights were watching Paul (who played Love-a-Lot) finally snap and attack an actual person with a gas powered potato peeler, Andrew realize that the sword of Omens is something that you have to coax into being longer (insert joke here) and Scooby-doo discovering that Zombies taste like Teriyaki Jerky. I do have some thoughts about how I thought Paul did, but I’ll save that for the end.
Third Slot was Aron’s game “And a Little Child Shall Eat Them”. This one is actual played, so as a survivor of the game (read: winner) all I can say in my defense is that I didn’t care when the suicidal guy decided to wander off, and I didn’t care when the 15 year old kid (Tresi) ran across the street, Home Alone style arms in the air, but Andrew and Paul did. I’d ask for their side of the story, but they never made it back to the safety of the truck, though Tresi did, which doesn’t seem fair, does it? We accomplished primary and secondary goals with a new hope for the fifth installment of this pillar of Fear the Con (and two boxes of Zagnut bars).
Fourth slot was the Hair Metal Band game, which Wayne, Paul, Scott (from Thistledownap actual play recordings) and my friend Chris were in. This was another actual play, but again I had some no shows (though one guy did at least tell me he wasn’t going to be there, which I was grateful for). Resolute, we liberated a spot in the basement and our four heroes did save Ozzy from certain death and symbolically killed crummy 80’s music for all time. There were a lot of bennys being passed out for the one liners zipping back and forth. It was fun to actually see Wayne for more than a minute at a time, and just from the way that he started in on the ball busting, I can say that he stepped in without missing a beat, even though the rest of us had been doing that for a day in advance.
Fifth slot was called “Saying Goodbye” and was run off of the Smallville mechanics. It was a story about an adventuring party that had saved the realm 20 years earlier, but had scattered about and had to come together to bury one of their own. This was a very interesting game because of the rules. You build dice polls by tapping into your relationships, your reasons for doing something and any asset that you can work into the conflict and that opposes the other person’s same dice pool and then you set the stakes and roll for it. I signed up for this game because it sounded like a great drama and would be a fun challenge to roll play such a sombre situation at a one shot. I will say I did enjoy myself. The DM did have to sort of orchestrate more than what the system really is meant to do, but I did understand his reasoning in that when you have to pre-generate the characters and people have not played the system, a heavy handed approach is needed. I used an analogy when on the car ride with Chris, ‘The DM had to push the shopping cart, but after a while I thought the shopping cart could move a little on it’s own’. Still, it was fun to roleplay with Mikey Mason as a player this time, and I thought all of the people at the table were bought in to the story we were telling together.
Last year, our sixth slot was a game that I picked on a whim because of the blurb, “Scareboat: Nowhere to Run” and the blurb indicated that this was going to be a reality show type of rpg. As a fan of these types of shows (Real World/Road Rules Challenge, Survivor, Amazing Race, many more that you don’t want to know) Chris and I jumped in. Tim Rodriguez (Ogreteeth on the FTB forums, also of the ‘Dice Food & Lodging’ podcast) ran a game that we still talk about as being the game that I laughed at the hardest as a player. This year, Tim ran the sequel, “Cyberreality” which took place in the future. I played the same character, Jasmine Beaudoix though instead of being the annoying stuck up tart, was instead an annoying stuck up Joan Rivers, who’s face has a tendency to airbag because of the bad plastic surgery. I got to game with Paul again and Johann of Fear the Boot fame and his wife. I was pretty mean to everyone in that game, and the GM did tape the confessionals just like last year. I think Johann’s wife took the brunt of it though, as I pulled out her weave on national TV, gave her a double sized Jennifer Lopez backside because of nanite technology, jacked her in the back of the head and used her my little pony to keep my face together Pinface style from Hellraiser when someone took my tacklebox, er makeup case. Chris won the day when he elbow dropped Leroy, two time Heisman quarterback that we turned into a wheelchair bound blubbering idiot before the first episode was over, popped off his head and Pele kicked it into the camera. Tim Rodriguez stood up, dropped his notes and said, ‘You win. The game is over.’ with a look that was a mix of amusement, bewilderment and horror. As long as he keeps running these Reality TV games, I’ll try to find a seat at them. Again, I was laughing so hard I was crying at some points.
So, FBU 2 we talked about Paul being a newbie to gaming.
I GM’d Paul twice and was on the other side of the table with him twice and I can say he took to gaming like a bird to flight. Had I not known that he hadn’t gamed before, I never would have guessed. Sure, I could tell he hadn’t played certain systems, but I would have said that he had been slinging dice for years. Much ado about nothing, and I look forward to doing Knights of Reignsborough together with him (and everyone else). Paul gets an A-, and he only gets docked because of non game related incidents involving his lack of suaveness. Tell-them-it’s-Paul indeed (insert a George Takei ‘Oh My’).
There were some things that could have gone better.
Having my games fill up and then people no show was a real downer to me. I think I still ran solid games, but those could have been better with more people to have for the other players to riff off one another.
The puzzle booth didn’t go as well as I had hoped. I am very grateful for those that did buy a puzzle but I’m uncertain if I will do that again next year. I’ll have to think about that one, as there was information gathered on the positive side.
I’m also bummed I missed Mikey’s comedy act again. I thought it was going to be on Saturday and it was instead on Friday. I don’t begrudge the 45 minute nap I took though instead, but still it would have been nice to see him perform again, though we did talk about meeting up again in April and December when he’s in Wisconsin.
I’m writing this up on the Monday after the event.
I am in post FTC depression. Such was the awesomeness that was the last four days that I know nothing in the near future will match the brilliant shining light of Emerald City. I can see it in my mind, Wayne wearing his Dorothy outfit and ruby red slippers waving goodbye to me as I drove back to Wisconsin. It was a blast, much like last year. Gaming in our local group has been wavering for a while now. I seem to be the only one that runs consistently and I feel like I’m a much better player than GM. This con was a chance to re-ignite the torch for Roleplaying, and I will try to spread my enthusiasm to everyone else.
*Notes for the editor (reminder to post as Tim for me)
+1 for post count
Talk about new systems -Check
Discuss my personal experience -Check
Touch on things that could have been improved -Check
Pimp Knight of Reignsboro -Check
Shout outs to friends from other podcasts – Check
Take shot at Andrew -Check
Take shot at Wayne -Check
Take shot at Paul – Check, Check, Check
Take shot at Aron – hrm, forgot that one. Maybe if he had played in my games…