(Above: One of the reasons why RPGs are awesome, by Luke Crane.)
This was the first time in years that I didn’t run any games. My old friend got wed on Saturday and I wanted to see Luke Crane, so there was little time. It turned out to be a good decision: I got to play in very good games, talk with people (some of them new), and hang out with no tight schedule to keep. This is an overview post, and more thorough analyses of interesting stuff will follow.
The available RPGs were, I think, the best in years. I remember the time when D&D3.x and White Wolf dominated the games (and World of Darkness was its own category among Scifi, Fantasy, Horror, Modern, and so on) and it was very hard to find a game that wasn’t either of those. Now I think there was a whole lot of variety to cater to all sorts of tastes, not just mine: Mentzer D&D, HeroQuest, Pathfinder, NWoD, Dread (the Jenga version), DIY stuff, freeform, Mouse Guard, Hillfolk, multiple hacks of Pyöreän pöydän ritarit (Knights of the Round Table, a Finnish game), tremulus and other Apocalypse World variants, Deathwatch, 3:16, various versions of Cthulhu, Shock: Social Science Fiction, and I’m really forgetting a lot of stuff. Especially the slots beginning at 8 p.m. were full of equally compelling stuff. And then there was the 45 minute scenario competition which Aki won.
Unfortunately I couldn’t participate in non-RPG stuff. I’ve wanted to try out some arty larps for a year or two, and now the schedules just didn’t allow it. And between the talks of Mr. Crane and the games and the friend’s wedding, I didn’t hear anyone else talking, either.
What I did walk away with was many pleasant conversations, two mighty good horror games—Trail of Cthulhu and Dread—, one stump of a game (I had to leave before Pyöreän pöydän ritarit had even properly started, but I made it clear to the GM prior to the game and she said it was okay), and three talks by Luke Crane. His enthusiasm was infectious and there was ample time for questions from the audience, which unfortunately ran out of them and I’m not arrogant enough to keep up a dialogue with the presenter for a whole hour.
This was also probably the first year that I didn’t buy anything from the ‘con. I didn’t walk away empty-handed, though, because Fantasiapelit gave away literally metric tons of stuff for free, including Kromikirja 1 (Chromebook 1 for Cyberpunk 2020) and issues of Seikkailija magazine from way back.
I’ll write more on Trail of Cthulhu (and the Kenneth Hite School of Playing a Cthulhu Investigator), Dread (the only horror game that has managed to twist my guts), and Luke Crane’s pentagram of decisionmaking in RPGs. And now I have set myself deadlines!