Gil Trevizo (furrylogic) wrote,
Gil Trevizo
furrylogic

DunDraCon 2009

It was a good con, with only one game where I didn't have fun (and that was entirely my own fault). I picked up Pagan's new Mysteries of Mesoamerica in the dealer's room, and snagged a book on artifacts for the Masterbook Indiana Jones RPG system and the Weird Wars: Blood on the Rhine occult WWII game. Food was dirt-cheap, as the only time I paid more than five bucks for a meal was when I left the buffet table for nearby restaurants. There was an odd snafu where the power went out in the hotel just hours before my game started on Friday evening, but power was restored in time and I suffered no setbacks (though several folks got shafted as the game shuffler database was corrupted). Here's what I played:

Last Flight of the Cathay Clipper (Call of Cthulhu: Delta Green) - My game here, and it went well. Most of the players were in high spirits before the game ever began because they were happily talking about playing in Toteninsel, the Nazi zombie game I've run at previous cons: that felt really good. I don't think Last Flight is as good as Toteninsel (which is why I'll be trying to run both at KublaCon) but the players told me they had fun and I think it went pretty well for such a complicated scenario (if the characters realize who is behind what, things can get easily derailed). Much as I did with Toteninsel I'll be doing some more tweaking as I run this at future cons.

Midnight Train to Georgia (All Flesh Must Be Eaten) - I fucked myself up at this game. I was tired (3 hours of sleep after finishing so late the previous night), grumpy, and (due to personal reasons I won't go into) feeling very sensitive about playing my usual role of "marginalized buffoon". So when I fell into that role due to a combination of roleplaying my character's hindrances and my own personality, I got pissed and committed "suicide by zombie" by charging into the old folks' home full of the undead. It was petty and a disservice to the GM, who had created a solid AFMBE game. The low point of the con for me.

Bite The Hand That Feeds (Hunter: The Vigil) - Good game system (combat feels slow, but only in comparison to BRP and that's pretty fast), good GM, interesting story (mundanes, connected with law enforcement either by profession or personal relationships, encounter werewolves as part of urban gang warfare), and decent players. My only criticisms are minor and peevish: first, the cell structure and conspiracy nature of Hunter was hidden deep in the background, and this was more a generic World of Darkness game with mortals than anything else (but it was good, so who cares); second, one of the players, who was up till then planning to play an ultramacho violent ex-cop suddenly turned into a prancing and limp-wristed caricature right out of Queer Eye from the Straight Guy as soon as he decided to play his character as gay, which was slightly disturbing. That said, I like the mechanics and feel of the game, though I'd be hard-pressed to say it was better than the BRP system of Call of Cthulhu for this kind of thing... equal to, no problem, but not better.

Thoth's Dagger (Pulp Adventure) - Without a certain incident, this would have been a fine game and it was for the most part. The system was written by the GM, and it consisted of percentile skill checks with results divided between whether the roll fell into all, half, or one-fourth of the skill chance. The pulp mechanics used points that could provide +5% to the roll, which was not as exciting as the mechanics of Cinematic Unisystem, Adventure!, or Spirit of the Century, but it there was enough derring-do and crazy stunts to develop a proper pulp atmosphere. The adventure was taken from an old published Call of Cthulhu scenario, which worked so well I should try doing the same thing with Trail of Cthulhu or Spirit of the Century. However, all this was soured when the GM handed out characters: while he didn't put a gun to their heads, he essentially forced the one of the two female players at the table to run the single female character. This would not have been quite so bad if it weren't for the fact that said female characters seemed to have no appreciable combat skills, her sole special ability was to heal characters with her kiss, and she was (maybe played as, but more likely written as) a gold-digging slut. I still had a lot of fun hamming up my character, and people laughed and had fun at the table, but that one thing makes me feel uncomfortable when I think back on the game.

The Curse of the Enemy (Witch Hunter) - For some retarded reason, when I read the description for this game in the con booklet, I thought it would be a Hunter the Vigil game set in 17th century New England with two-fisted Puritans fighting Indians and monsters in the forests. And, despite getting it completely wrong, it actually kinda was - the game has nothing to do with World of Darkness, despite using d10 dice pools, Vices and Virtues governing Damnation that leads to an evil PC, and a wound track instead of Hit Points... in other words, it was WOD. And we did play puritanical monster hunters, but Russian ones in the California wilderness during the early 19th century. It brought the horror, as all but one of the characters had either gone evil or was left dead at the end of a very tough last encounter, and despite none of us knowing the rules, we had all pretty much mastered them by night's end. Good game, decent system, nuff said.

Always Faithful (Savage Worlds) - This game was essentially Starship Troopers mixed with Warhammer 40K, where the characters were Space Marines rescuing a missionary colony by killing every GA (Godless Alien) in sight. We were each assigned a squad of marines, engineers, medics, etc. depending on our speciality, and I pulled the infantrymen, who I named Fireteam Elminster as I was playing a Vin Diesel-ish muscle-bound geek with the quirk of "Always talks about their D&D characters". After "Diesel" and his NPC marines "Drizzt" and "Bugbear" got taken out in the second round, we promoted marine "Gelatinous Cube" to PC status and I carried on with my last two marines. I was impressed with how easily Savage Worlds handles large-scale combat, remaining relatively quick (there were eight players with each controlling a set of five NPCs, and the intro combat lasted about two hours) while giving enough tactical options to still feel battlemap-friendly. The game kind of petered out after that first combat, but it was fun.

Le Loot - Mysteries of Mesoamerica is as awesome as I suspected by skimming through it, with a significant amount of background material (which also nicely focuses on both historical facts for campaign verisimilitude and Mythos hooks to actually create the campaigns to begin with) and two decent-sized scenarios. It also helps that it's chock-full of Blair Reynolds' artwork, which, along with that of Trail of Cthulhu's Jerome Huguenin, really captures the decripit oppression of Lovecraft's work for me. The other two books I bought were okay, but mainly gotten because they only cost a couple of books and might be strip-mined for maps and handouts.
 

All in all, I had a good time, and got into plenty of decent (if not awe-inspiring magnificent) games. There is an Endgame mini-con coming up, and then there'll be my first and my favorite - KublaCon - in May.
Tags: all flesh must be eaten, call of cthulhu, delta green, dundracon, gaming, savage worlds, witch hunter, world of darkness
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