June 16, 2010

Late Night Castles & Crusades at StruebCon IV

My C&C session at StruebCon IV started around 1:00 AM. I was very pleased that nearly all StruebSquad members participated, despite the late hour. I think only two attendees (myself included) actively play RPGs (although I think a couple guys played their share of D&D back in the day).

It was Saturday night (err.. Sunday morning) and the last night for gaming. DohJoe was wired from winning the game of Battlestar Galactica in Machiavellian fashion, but the rest of the group was hurtin’. True gamers, they bellied up to the game table anyhow.

Genius that I am, I decided to grab their attention with a PowerPoint presentation. I had C_C_StruebConIVgood intentions. When I ran C&C at StruebSquad III, I was geeked out and more or less just threw the players into the game without really explaining the rules. It went okay, but I wasn’t pleased with my performance. This time I had vowed to myself that the players would get the rules and actually know what the hell they were doing. I had envisioned some big screen to present this on (I’m not sure where I got that idea), but ended up showing it on a laptop which I hassled out of Polymythic Steve. I’m sure at the time he was thinking, “Dude, seriously?” (understandably so), but I was determined. I got about half-way through and realized “Uhm, yeah, this is freaking boring” and just grabbed a character sheet and walked them through the essentials.

Anyhow, you can find the PowerPoint (and the half-ass jokes within) at Google Docs: link. You can preview it at Google Docs, but to get the full effect (i.e., transitions and graphics), you’ll need to download it. I should note that the “subtraction” method I used for SIEGE checks is an alternative to the traditional way of handling them. I haven’t gotten enough C&C games under my belt to determine if its the easiest way to go.

winding stair I ran Dwarven Glory III: The Winding Stair, which is a nice short module. I provided miniatures (mostly pre-painted DDM ones from Wizards of the Coast) and I had pre-drawn the dungeon on large, drafting graph paper (with 1 inch squares). That saved me from having to halt the game to draw rooms when combat kicked in.

In hindsight, I should have done without the miniatures. While they do help with visualization, I think the minis kept the players in “board game” mode. One of the perks of C&C is that, due to lack of Attacks of Opportunities and such, there really is no need for miniatures and a battle grid. The game likely would have gone faster and I think it would have really driven home how an RPG is different from your standard game.TSR92035_lg

Regardless, I had a lot of fun and I think the guys did too. At the end, I had them all vote for the player they thought played the best. DohJoe won the vote, given the zest with which he took to his rogue character, and was awarded a set of “official” D&D dice.

Time to start planning for next year… this time without a PowerPoint presentation.

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