Monday, October 21, 2013

DC Gameday Recap

Just over a week ago I once again had the pleasure of participating in the bi-annual DC Gameday. Held at the generously provided AFT Building near Union Station, DC Gameday is two full days of gaming with one of the best RPG communities that I know. Many thanks to the organizaers for allowing me the opportunity to catch up with old friends, meet new ones, and play games that I don't normally get to play.

The Nautilus Sanction

First up was some playtesting of Pelgrane's upcoming TimeWatch (written by the super-awesome Kevin Kulp). Jody Kline's Nautilus Sanction scenario had our band of TimeWatch operatives jumping back and forth through time like crazy as we tried to avert the annihilation of a our timeline by Captain Nemo-like terrorist. Yes, there was a hijacked nuclear submarine. Yes, we blew up the Liberty Bell. And yes, we pushed Jules Verne into the ocean and left him for dead (well... we knew he'd survive).

This was my first Gumshoe game that I've ever played. I own and am much impressed by Night's Black Agents but I'd never completely warmed to the Gumshoe system. This scenario erased any lingering doubts. The system is perfectly suitable for these types of games. And this particular variant did a great job of capturing the headache-inducing madness of a game where individual player characters have the power to time travel at will. Madness! All my previous time travel games (and I've played many) have usually been of the "jump in and jump out" variety. Not this game. We practically needed a four dimensional timeline diagram to avoid erasing our own existance. That was the best part.

Aeon Wave

On Saturday afternoon, it was time for Mike Shea's Aeon Wave, A Fate Core scenario that is currently being KickStarted. Fate is my current RPG crush but having never run it before, I was hoping to get one more game under my belt before my Sunday morning session. The system once again met or exceeded my expectations and I expect we'll be using for my own's group's upcoming game (to be determined).

But the scenario itself... Mike really nailed the William Gibson/Bladerunner atmospherics of this cyberpunk scenario. I knew I had an itch for some old school cyberpunk but wow, I hadn't realized how bad I needed it. I was able to play a stim- addicted net-runner and I had a blast hitting all the requsiste cliches. I just hope I didn't dominate play too much.

The Masks of Silverlode

My first Fate Core game went extraordinarily well. Always a good sign when you're the loudest table in the room. But I'm going to circle back around and write the game summary in a forthcoming post.

Know When To Hold 'Em

I concluded Gameday by sitting down for game of Firefly RPG with its author, Dave Chalker. I didn't know anyone at the table and coming off my racaus Fate game, it felt very mellow at the start. But Dave is a fantastic GM with a wicked sense of humor and it was fitting end to an excellent con.

This was my thrid experience with a Cortex game and it finally came through for me. I know, I know. People that I respect kept telling me to keep at it. And I'm glad I did. Unlike previous attempts, this time it didn't feel "too gamey". It felt much more like Fate feels to me now. The dice pool wasn't too hard to manage and resource creation started to resemble the way situation aspects and boosts feel in Fate. I was also pleased to see the Marvel Heroic initiative system, which was always my favorite rule from that Cortex iteration.

I played a Farmer from a backwater world who was looking to bring his wayword son home from a poker tournement in the core before he blew the family savings. So I was completely lacking in traditional sci-fi abilities. But I was still able to contribute meaningfully as we faced what we thought were kidnappers of the first ever poker-playing dolphin. I won't give away the end for those of you who might play the scenario again, but it resembles something very much like this: