Eyecon 2011: A Retrospective
Well, I survived. I wasn’t as tired by the end as I thought I would be, and my voice managed to survive intact to the last session of Paranoia. I managed to watch away with a few goodies, so lets take a look how the very long weekend went…
Well, it took a little doing but I managed to get out there. The bus wasn’t that hard to find, and I wasn’t the only one on that bus going to the con, so it was no problem knowing when to get off. (Until the next day, as I wasn’t paying attention so I didn’t know where to get off the bus.)
The venue, St Scholastica’s, was great but the school is so much like a maze that you’d need Dungeoneering checks to navigate it. However, I was the very first to be registered. Despite this I made an epic fail in that I did not bring my dice with me. I brought them up from Tasmania, but they were still in my suitcase at my grandmothers, where I was staying. Not a bad start, you could say.
The shop wasn’t set up yet, so myself and two other players (also without dice) had to share the GMs dice for the first session Rapture. Even if the GM hadn’t given us a discount for his system (though I am plugging it off my own back, seriously try it if you like Hunters) I’d still be getting it as it’s rather interesting and I’ll be passing it on to a particular player who is making a d10 based system. I might even give it a review after closer inspection.
Though I think in our play we forgot about the story and just worried about killing each other. And speaking of that…
Yes, I did take Paranoia to the convention. Yes, I did run four games there that were fully-booked. And yes, I did manage to run the same module for four days in a row without losing my voice or my mind. Though I was really motivated by curiosity, curiosity at what the next lot of players would do. I’ll take a look at running my game in more detail at another post, as I think it deserves it and here I’d rather look at the systems that I tried.
It was on the first day that I met the guys from Saga Cast and did the interview that should be up on their site soon. I guess the fact that I was wearing a Celebration IV t-shirt that kind of gave the game away.
Well, as second session every day was my game, third session on day one was ODAD, which I think it the other name for 1st Edition Dungeons & Dragons. We played gamers going to Gen Con in 1976 that didn’t end up playing any games. I played a tech from ILM taking an illict vacation that George wouldn’t notice along with other sterotypical characters like a punk, a geeky kid, a jock and an academic. The plot involved Gary Gygax being kidnapped, a kid’s blanky, a visit to the Playboy Club with Fritz Leiber, a robo Hugh Hefner and the entire plot was manipulated by William Shatner. We managed to save ourselves from being fed to Shatner’s crocodiles by disturbing his rug when the jock threw a football at it, but none of us wanted to kill Shatner.
Yeah, it was a bit odd that game but we got a good reward out of it, at least in-character: Gary took us back to his house and ran a game for us. If only that last part were real…
Well, even though I was getting better at navigating my way to the con by the second day (get off the bus at the Downing Centre, walk around to George Street to get the 431), I slept late. I intentionally kept that session free as I talked with the organisers beforehand that I could run a fifth session of Paranoia if there was demand. Well, there was demand that night as people kept telling me they wanted to play but couldn’t get in. And I don’t doubt that if they had written on the whiteboard at registration that there was another Paranoia session running the next day it would have filled up. But they didn’t and there wasn’t, so I got to sleep in on Saturday and keep another set of character sheets to throw in the trash when I was packing Tuesday morning.
I had plenty of time to arrange my stuff in my room and just left it all there so I could wander up at one o’clock. That night we had what could have been one of the best games at the con I played, the Law & Order game where we played cops who happened to have mutant powers. I love Law & Order, I have the computer games so I can listen to the dulcet tones of the late and grate Jerry Obach whenever I feel like it. It was done using the Mutant City Blues game from the GUMSHOE System, d6 based and another rules set I’ll have to get as I was very very impressed with how it was run.
What I was not impressed with were the actions of my fellow roleplayers that ended up with our case getting thrown out of court. My character, she had psychic and mind trick abilities that I never used, was chasing the “episode’s” red-herring. So I was not able to prevent another character breaking into a car to rearrange evidence so she could photograph it. I told her that what she was going to do would have consequences, that anything she found as a result of her actions would be inadmissable in court but she went along with anyway. Our case ended up resting on the evidence that she broke into the car to get, the criminal wasn’t convicted (though she did get locked up for having a non-registered dangerous mutant power) and her character was reduced back to uniform with six months on half-pay. With of course, me saying “I told you so”.
Day Three was my 4th Edition RPGA Living Forgotten Realms game. They were also running Pathfinder in the main hall and were rather loud, so we went up to my Paranoia room as that was only going to be used from one until four that afternoon. Now, I like 4th Edition, all but converted this blog over to it, but I don’t think it’s the best game at the con to run sessions. At least, not the ones that have quite an emphasis on story. 4E is very combat-centric, even from the story-heavy games that I play, all you have to do to look at the modules made for the game. But we were supposed to do three encounters, we only got to do two because of time pressures and those weren’t even completed.
This has made me reconsider taking 4E to a con myself, to be honest. But I haven’t made a decision.
After my Paranoia game, I had 3.5 and managed to get a lift back to where I was staying. Now, I’ve heard all sorts of stories how 3.5 isn’t combat-centric: this was. All we pretty much did was fight monsters, a dinosaur and a bullete. It wasn’t bad and I had fun, but I couldn’t stand to sit there and do nothing else all day for all of the con like those guys were. And when I told my players about it, more than one was interested.
It was also this day that I learned that as a GM I’d be giving out trophies on the last day. Way to tell me, guys. It’s a good thing I had the GM’s list from the organisers, as well of my lists of which player had played which character or I would have been lost.
Last day of the con, and also ANZAC Day. I don’t mean disrespect for anyone or anything, but it was a drag trying to get out there. I had to get off my bus on the other side of Hyde Park and walk down to George Street where I usually got the bus, only it was nowhere to be found. In the end, I got on the light rail and walked up from there. Did I mention it was raining? And did I mention that I had left my umbrella on the bus the previous day? It was a wonder I didn’t come down with something.
That morning I had Mass Effect, which was played with Gamma World. We had a choice of missions and we chose to save the passengers of a cruise ship…and more or less had disregard for the minions we were supposed to save. I really should dtop being in charge, as I was the officer and I let quite a few people die as we decided to storm the bridge. What was also interesting was how he had modified Star Wars minatures for Mass Effect. I kept on picking them up and seeing what they really were as it was rather impressive.
And then, after my last Paranoia game was the prize giving. Some of the work I had done the night before, but my final list was done while waiting for my turn. I’ll have more details in the Paranoia post itself, but I have to say that I got a big cheer when I came up to present them. I did manage to pick up a few goodies, got a trophy from the Mass Effect game and a book voucher from the ODAD game, the latter I’ll have to go out to Parramatta to spend.
Summing up the convention, they’ve got me convinced. I am definitely going back next year and quite a few of my players have expressed interest in joining me. I’m not sure about Sydcon in October though, but I was asked a few times If I could run Paranoia then as well. If I do decide to go, I will be running Paranoia again as that game is so much fun to take to a convention.