NORTH TEXAS CON SUMMARY 2019

CONVERSATIONS
  • Talking with Matt Finch over the differences between old/new styles of DMing. As well as chatting about how he DMs 20+ players in a session after watching him do just that. Best part about said session was:
    1. GM Finch asking the group, "Who bows down to the shrunken' halfing head now possessed by a demon?"
    2. The 5 PCs that did immediately gained tattoos, teeth, horns, and one person- wings!
    3. Then GM Finch started offering 5,000 XP bonuses if the tattooed players would perform tasks for the demon. Not compulsory, just move this person to that staircase or temporarily blind another PC.

  • Talking with Greg Gillespie about Forbidden Caverns of Archaia. That man is very nice, low-key on social media, and very big. Like halflings would be an AC bonus in combat with him big. He also filled me in on the next big megadungeon- wizards, floating dungeons, teleporters. I think he has a nice inside about D&D and I hope he does more podcasts in the future.

  • Talking with David "Zeb" Cook was a real big delight, I also got my bound copy of B/X signed by him. But forgot to bring my Planescape box set! We initially had a short conversation but I met him later in the Dwarven Forge hotel party were we covered:
    • Magical realism & Italio Calvino
    • Russian fantasy movies on Netflix
    • How he wasn't on the team that did Planescape: Torment
    • A little of the origins of the Planescape setting
GAMES WHERE I WAS THE DM
  • Through Ultan's Door did not really garner much attention, but I did end up thinking of a new hook for it and running it through with my friends. The better idea I came up with is to start the highest CHA PC off as the new "chosen one" in a group of acolytes of the Cult of Sleep on the run after their cult had been smashed. Once through the door, the PCs have to find the demon to re-anoint the chosen one with the God of Sleep's favor. Three players with 6, level two, B/X PCs- two of which died in the first encounter and one that was sacrificed to gain the demon's favor.
    It worked out well and I want to develop this angle better and look forward to continuing using issue #2.

  • Zjelwyin Fall was the second game I ran, again B/X pre-gens all of level two. This module requires the players to travel to the Astral Plane and infiltrate a lich's phylactery and obtain the Quantum Crown. Each of the modules seven levels is a puzzle. Now, I thought this would be a good con module because its a unique setting, made for low-levels, and doesn't involve combat. However, what I realized is that the meta-problem with puzzle dungeons is that players solve them as players, not as characters. So that might have sapped some of the experience.
GAMES WHERE I WAS THE PLAYER
  • LotFP's Grinding Gears --again, a puzzle module that I started playing a player not really getting into it as a character. The DM was one of the folks that run The Long Con which is another small con in Texas. He ran a good game that kept us guessing, but still, I think the problem of puzzle dungeons stands.


  • The second game I played was a playtest of a new style of gaming that focused on encouraging RP by handing out tokens as the players attempted certain actions. The idea is that your character starts out with 0 attributes and skills. But as you perform actions the GM awards tokens that you use to buy, real-time, attributes and abilities. The actual adventure itself involved a band of dwarves separated from a war band coming upon a lost keep controlled by four factions guarding an evil power.
THINGS I BOUGHT
  • B/X Essentials Magic-User & Cleric Spells: Fantastic asset at the table.
  • Big Dragon's DM Screen: Nice heavy cardboard. And really great physical "master" character sheets on cardboard for scanning or copying.
  • B4 The Lost City & AD&D Player's Handbook (the demon idol one of course)
OTHER MUSINGS
  • Meeting both Larry Elmore and Jeff Easley and learning they are both from KY was pretty fantastic. I also got DARLENE to sign all the original Greyhawk maps I have!
  • Watching the Midnight Auction was hilarious- free booze- "Zeb" Cook produced the Honeymooners board game?!
  • Looking around you can tell the NTRPG CON is put together with a lot of love, but I do wonder when the old guard passes on to the mythic underground, what will become of it? Can this Con evolve into something new or encourage fresh blood?

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