Monday, March 7, 2016

Gary Con Thoughts, Part I

This past weekend was Gary Con, as many people already know. We arrived Thursday night, ready to jump into gaming Friday morning. After a nice dinner with friends, we had a hiccup during check in at the hotel which created some negative financial consequences we will be dealing with this week. But we got to our room, which was decent, if a bit overpriced, and settled in.

Thursday morning my daughter and I didn’t actually have a game scheduled until 10:00. My wife was running her first Dragon Age game at 8:00, so the kid and I just wandered around, getting the lay of the land, and checking out the dealer room. The kid is a budding artist, and was completely enthralled by the cool artwork. And she had a long, animated conversation with Terry Pavlet, who is a helluva guy. We ended up buying a print from him for her before leaving on Sunday.

Anyways, much of my scheduled gaming was in the Adventurer’s League games, leading up to the Curse of Strahd release. I readily admit to not being all that big of a fan of Ravenloft. Horror just isn’t my thing, personally. But I am aware of what it is, and who Strahd is (I read Knight of the Black Rose, because I love Lord Soth). Still, it didn’t dawn on me the purpose of these little adventures until the second to last one.

Still, I had fun playing in them with my Dragonborn Paladin. Met some interesting players, and saw some cool characters and concepts (though overall, there seemed to be a lot of rogues). However, I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe these could have been done better.

Essentially, each episode was scheduled for a 2-hour slot. But, none of mine except the very last one lasted that long. Most of them were done in an hour or less. And that was with a lot of table-talk, and interruptions. And the DMs seemed to range in their ability to adapt to players going off-script. It didn’t happen often, and for the most part they kept things on track. But there was at least one instance where the players did something unexpected, and caused the whole adventure to get cut short, though we still succeeded in reaching the objective.

It was basically a missed opportunity, and I immediately saw how I would have handled it differently, in order to give the party the fight they were supposed to have without any leaps in logic. But, it turned out ok in the end. Honestly, my only complaint was that I think all five episodes of the initial arc could have been done in one, 4-hour sitting. Which is pretty much the standard for Con games. But I do understand the reasoning behind handling them this way.

Outside of those adventures, I did have a lot of fun with other games. I’ll talk more about those later. So, overall it was a fun Con, despite some personal hiccups that were both expected and unexpected.

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