15 August 2014

#RPGaDay: Day Fifteen - Favorite Convention Game

I don't get to play in a lot of games in the role of a player. When I've gone to GenCon, I've made a point of getting into a game or two, generally those run by friends. When my friends are running games, it's generally by invitation only and I'm definitely a lot more comfortable with the turn-out. Even if I don't know everyone at the table, I'm generally satisfied that my friend's friends are going to be good human beings who won't ruin the game for everyone else.

I'm not a huge fan of random convention games because they're sort of like boxes of chocolates--you never know what you're gonna get. I've had some bad experiences with the kinds of players who show up for such games, so I tend to be gun shy about them. That's not to say all players are bad! I've been in some good games, too. It really comes down to how the GM handles his players and whether or not he allows them to walk roughshod over everyone else at the table.

I could tell you stories about some really horrible convention games, but that's not what this is about. No, dear reader, this is about convention games I've enjoyed.

The Executor is big. Damn big. Like, super big.
Chris Witt (of the Order 66 podcast) ran a Saga Edition Star Wars game at GenCon 2009 that I remember fondly. That particular GenCon was the last with Saga Edition in print, as Wizards would announce the following January that they had chosen not to renew the license. If I recall correctly, there was some last-minute RPGA support, and an official adventure, "Murder on the Executor," was provided. Chris had a copy and decided to run it for myself and a few others.

I won't spoil the adventure, but I got to play a nerdy sort of Imperial computer technician. We were ordered to solve a murder, which resulted in few run-ins with bad guys, bad droids, and some intrigue. During the final battle, I recall running into the bad guy's ship and closing the entry hatch, then hacking it so he couldn't open it from outside. He was wearing heavy armor, which made him a pain in the butt to hit, but it also kept him from beating me to the hatch. I almost felt sorry for him. Almost.

I've also run plenty of games at conventions. My first was a Cyberpunk 2020 game I ran for R. Talsorian at GenCon 1997 in Milwaukee. I've also run a game or two for Green Ronin (Thieves' World) and Fantasy Flight Games (Midnight). I suppose if I was to pick one of those games, I think that 1997 Cyberpunk game would be my favorite.

The players took the roles of KGB agents sent to Night City to track down an escaped Soviet hacker. I had some good groups for that game, including the 2-3 groups of playtesters I had prior to running it "live" at the convention. I printed photographs of Russian soldiers I'd found in National Geographic Magazine and attached them to player "dossiers" in manila folders. I wanted the experience to be memorable for the players, and I let them keep the dossiers after the game.

It makes me wonder if any of those players remembers it or not.

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