Monday, January 17, 2011

Con Report: MagnaCon 2011

MagnaCon was a lot of fun. I ran five games (in four different systems) and met some awesome people. I'd like to especially thank Veronica Livingston for being a great host, and I'd like to thank Matthew Ward for getting me involved in the first place.

On Friday, I started out running Swords & Wizardry. I only had two players initially. They each ran two characters so we could run the adventure. Eric and Camdon were both good sports, and I think we all had a good time. Later in the session, we were joined by Matt, who managed to have two characters die on him. Finally, the last part was rounded out with the addition of my wife, Veronica.

For the Deadlands session, we had Wife Veronica, Camdon, Matt, Ed, Other Ron, and Lee. That game was a blast. I was going to go with a post-train robbery, Reservoir Dogs kinda thing, but at the last minute I decided to go with more of a From Dusk Till Dawn thing. My great friend Clint Black put that bug in my ear early last week, and by Friday morning, I'd decided he'd made a better call. It ended up being a blast.

Saturday morning, I ran Icons for Wife Veronica, Lee, and Olivia (11 years old--awesome!). It was a good time. The cheesy, in-character one-liners were hilarious.

Running two of the same story at MagnaCon turned out to be a mistake, as evidenced by the one person who showed up to re-play the S&W story I was running. So Camdon, my wife, and I put our heads together and decided to grab some Savage Worlds fantasy pregens from the Reality Blurs website and run something off the cuff. I consulted the excellent book, Eureka: 501 Adventure Plots to Inspire Game Masters, and had a story ready in minutes. It was relatively short, but I think we all had fun.

For the finale, I ran my Chicago, A.D. (After Dresden) story using the excellent Dresden Files RPG. We had Wife Veronica, Camdon, Ed, RP, Matt, and Chuck. Despite several factors--noise, group size, and mild food poisoning on my part--the game went pretty well. I have to say FUDGE dice hate me. I rolled multiple -4s and -3s in that game. This wasn't an isolated incident, either. It's happened every time I've played FATE. Unlike what the math fans will tell you, FUDGE dice really average -1, at least in my experience. I mean when I rolled high, the players were even celebrating.

So in my judgment, I am a little nuts for taking on as much as I did for MagnaCon. I won't put myself in quite that situation again--running so many games in so many different systems. That said I had a lot of fun.

But I have to say, "mission accomplished," on multiple levels. I ran five stories in four systems. People seemed to have fun. I had fun. Most importantly, potentially long-lasting relationships were formed in those two days. And that last thing is what this hobby is all about for me.

The only truly negative experience of the weekend (other than the mild food poisoning) was I missed my daughter terribly (as typically happens when we're separated for more than a day), so Vern and I have made the decision to take CaLeigh to Genghis Con Jr. next month. She was excited when we told her. I'm really looking forward to seeing how that goes.

Overall, MagnaCon is really a board game con, and they're trying to add RPGs. If board games are your bag, they had everything. The open library rivaled Pulp Gamer's, and Time Well Spent was there selling games at website prices.