Con of the North 2015, part 8: Wrap-up

A compass roseFollowing Lady Blackbird, I finally met up with Adam of the Side Project Podcast. We’d been trying to get together all con, but the con’s schedule grid — four hour sessions with no transit time — doesn’t allow for much socializing except within games. Once we got together, it was good to chat about our various projects.

Then I wandered around to enjoy the last remnants of the con: some folks tearing down the front desk, others playing CCGs at it, a gathering of players all still engrossed in some long historical boardgame in the main hall, some people carting out trolleys full of supplies. I checked out the Artemis room, sans computer equipment. I also tried to get a little better oriented to the hotel. Then I headed out and home.

Divider illustration of a sword

A few general observations about this year’s Con of the North:

  • John and I ate at the hotel restaurant Sunday night. The food was decent, but the service was pretty confused, like they were all operating on too little sleep or too few people on shift. Seems like I’ve seen this sort of thing before: hotel restaurants desperately unprepared for the onslaught that is a fannish convention. Do hotels and convention center managers ever schedule enough staff for conventions? Do they even know how many people are going to be in for a given convention? Seems like the management often doesn’t plan well for this kind of thing. Or there are other factors I don’t understand.
  • I was still feeling under the weather Saturday and Sunday. I brought hand sanitizer and tried to use it frequently. Hopefully no con crud was spread!
  • This is a secret I hesitate to reveal, but… The chili at the concession stand was really quite good. It isn’t that runny chili dog stuff, but rather hearty and filling. A bowl of it completely hit the spot.
  • The ceiling above the main corridor is this slatted thing that goes at a 45° angle and produces headaches upon sight. It’s like Azathoth’s own pinstripe suit. And, I noticed this year, the front desk directly faces it. I wonder if front desk staff get hazard pay?
  • I somehow ended up with five drinks tokens, through generosity of others and forgetfulness on my part (I kept buying drinks and forgetting to get them from the Con.) Well, hopefully I’ll be able to use them again next year!
  • For only being at the con two days, I met a lot of really cool people. It was nice to chat with Adam, it was also great to re-meet Kailey, and I got to play a game with Melissa, whom I first met in high school. Neato!

It was a shortened con for me, but still a great one.

Con of the North 2015, part 7: Sunday night and Lady Blackbird

Sunday evening, I had dinner with John, who then headed out. The con was winding down and lots of people were already gone. I decided to stick around a bit longer, to soak up a bit more Con atmosphere, and I’m glad I did. I ended up meeting with Adam from the Side Project Podcast, and playing a whole new game.

Hopefully you know about the Games On Demand folks. They’re one of the two groups who make it a point of running indie games at Con of the North1. They’ve been running games at Con of the North for a couple years now, and they run a huge variety of cool indie games: Fiasco, The Quiet Year, lots of others that I can’t even remember. And they do it pretty much the entire con. A lot of the people running the room forgo such desirables as joining other games and eating, all in order to keep Games On Demand going.

By Sunday night, the Games On Demand crew were very tired, but were still going — among the last at the con. And I hadn’t gotten to talk to any of them, nor to play anything with them, so I hung out for a bit. Someone suggested playing a game, and next thing I knew, we were playing Lady Blackbird.

Steam enginesLady Blackbird is a short game (16 pages) that implies a lot. It has a brief sketch of a setting that looks entirely like a steampunk version of Joss Whedon’s Firefly: a crew of semi-legal adventurers, all trying to evade the Imperial forces in their free trading ship. The characters are even more specifically tied to Firefly, with the hard-as-nails fighting woman who’s bent on revenge against the Imperials, the captain who’s an ex-Imperial, the engineer who’s also intensely loyal to the captain, etc. There are some significant differences: Lady Blackbird herself, obviously inspired by Inara, is capable of magic; and there’s a goblin who could be read as a combination of River, Wash and Jayne, or as a fairly new character. Still, if you only have two words to summarize Lady Blackbird, “steampunk Firefly” is the way to go.

An aside: I know the game is very brief, and heavily based on Firefly. Still, it’d be nice if the characters weren’t so set. Only two of the characters are women, and there’s an explicit heterosexual attraction between the captain and Lady Blackbird. I don’t really see any reason this has to be the case, unless the game is deliberately trying to resemble Firefly. It would be easy enough to give all the characters gender-neutral names, or even no names. I kind of wish the game had been designed that way.

The mechanics remind me heavily of Danger Patrol, where you generate a pool by appealing to particular aspects of your action. In Danger Patrol, it’s by laying out all the ways in which your action is dangerous. In Lady Blackbird, it’s by appealing to aspects of your character. “Well, I’m trying to clothesline a bunch of Imperial soldiers to protect Snargle, so my ‘Combat Tested’, ‘Living Weapon’, ‘Brutal’, ‘Fast’, ‘Hard’ and ‘Strong’ tags should all apply.” The more tags from your Trait you can apply, the more dice you get.

In Danger Patrol, the dice pool can start to become almost repetitious when you’re listing off dangers that you’ve said in a previous round. “Okay, so, just like last time, I’m facing lava, my low sense of self-esteem and Martian wave-guns.” In Lady Blackbird, listing the same personal aspects through multiple actions can start to feel a bit repetitious. “Yep, I’m still ‘Fast’, ‘Hard’ and ‘Strong’.”

Still, the mechanics play quickly and do a good job of getting everyone immersed in their roles. You get direct mechanical benefits for playing in character. It’s a nice, elegant design.

Playing it Sunday night was great. We only barely got out of the brig, but we had a lot of fun doing it. There was a lot of goofy action that I now don’t remember very well. At one point, Lady Blackbird’s spell misfired and everyone near her ended up looking like my character. This caused some great nigh-Shakespearean identity comedy, with various Naomi Bishops running around fighting with other Naomi Bishops. A great last game of the con. I’m very glad I stuck around to check in with the Games on Demand folks — well worth while.

In fact, the game was so much fun that I tried it with my weekly group. The first session was full of barked orders, a tyrannical NPC reduced to a vomiting mess, the sounds of groaning metal, and many gouts of steam. I’m looking forward to the second session!

Footnote: The other group who run indie stuff at Con of the North is House of Indie Games, which I’m a part of. When you’re deciding what to register for, keep an eye out for our events!

Con of the North 2015, part 6: Microscope

Following InSpectres, this was the second game I ran at CotN 2015. After last year’s game, I thought a longer, more in-depth palette would help clarify things somewhat, so I let the declarations go on until everyone was satisfied, not just until the end of a round where someone had passed. So our palette did indeed end up longer:

Palette from Microscope at Con of the North 2015

Unfortunately, I think the longer palette didn’t really help much. There were still a lot of definitional questions left hanging: what did “computers fail” mean? What did “jokes must be tragic” mean? What did “no dictators” mean? (One character eventually declared themself to be a dictator, in spite of this ban, and the tension between the factors of “player declaration = truth”, a possible unreliable narrator, and Minnesota nice made the whole situation almost unbearably vague.) There were also a lot of crucial terms left dangling, necessary but frustratingly vague, by that palette. It was unclear what “magic” even meant, for example. (New age woo-woo, D&D style fireballs, a general sense of the connectedness of all things? Still not sure.) It felt like starting grad school, where the first thing you get hit with is the difficulty in pinning down what exactly we mean by all these concepts that are so central to our pursuit. And unlike grad school, we only had a few hours to create our dissertation.

We created a future history of the world where computers fail, but we eventually work towards a Great Equality where everything is basically hunky-dory. Interestingly, cards towards the end of the history were almost entirely positive.

History from Microscope at Con of the North 2015

We had some pretty good scenes, with a lot of good roleplaying in council debates. Somehow our history ended up mostly being about the programmers, who were a cult of people devoted to their now-failed computers, and the mages, whom not many people trusted. Sentient whales played a major part in the conflict, eventually teaching humanity the power of song in bringing unification.

However, looking back over that history, I’m reminded of how disoriented I was by so much of it. There’s a lot of it that implicitly, though not explicitly, contradicts stuff already established. The biggest example: the Programmers and Mages apparently reached an early agreement of principles that was deep and lasting, yet they continued to disagree later on about the things they’d already agreed on. Also, there’s that Event card, “The Programmers’ Dilemma”, that I simply never understood. What was it? Some programmers were shaken to their cores by existential questions (which questions?), or they didn’t know what to have for lunch?

There were, in spite of the longer palette time, some strong disagreements in tone and purpose. Some players kept wanting to make it a goofy, gonzo, punning-til-pain comedy; others wanted it to be an epic history of profound Meaning. Some players wanted it to be crystal clear history as written by documentarians; others wanted everything to be Subject To Interpretation. That last, especially, kept veering the game towards vagueness, and ended up frustrating me a lot.

If I run Microscope at Con of the North again, I think I may just have to dictate a few things: general attitude (serious or silly), how specific our cards have to be (maybe a rule that if anyone at the table is unclear, we need to define it better?), what genre we’re playing in. It might be good to solidify the social contract more, through direct means. I might, in fact, just step out of my collaborative role and enter my role as event judge more, and simply state things such as “Sorry, no, that’s confusing. This needs to be better defined.”

Microscope is a great game with deep and amazing potential. However, sharing narrative control with a group of (mostly) strangers is difficult. It requires a huge amount of player agreement before play can begin — and that is very hard, when you haven’t even established fundamental things like what genre the game is.

Con of the North 2015, part 5: InSpectres

Cover of InSpectres gameMy first game of Sunday, and well worth getting up a little early for. I was in one of Heather’s InSpectres games last year, so I was enthusiastic about getting another chance to play.

Heather again did a great job of GMing. The story seed was that a family’s domestic bliss was being disrupted by some nasty hauntings. I don’t think she had much of a story planned out beyond that; most of the rest was determined by her skillful ability to weave player improvisation into a hilarious, dramatic whole.

Pretty early on, I directly asked Heather what level of realism and narrative control we were operating at. She made it clear that the level of realism was basically, well, pretty realistic — our game was set in Richfield, if that tells you anything — but Heather also made it clear that we players had a ton of narrative control. This helped a lot.

InSpectres has a ‘confessional’ mechanic, drawn from ‘reality TV’ shows, where one PC gets to step out of the action and reveal an additional wrinkle to the plot. In last year’s game, this barely got used at all. This year, though, I think three of us ended up using it, and all to good effect. I used mine to save two of the team from potential breaking and entering charges by having a mummy burst through a window instead.

The game ended up being about a pretty average family who’d buried emotional conflicts about their long-lost child in dangerous eldritch magic and ancient relics. Also featured: a CareBear turned into an electrical tape mummy, an iPhone app to communicate with ghosts, the Book of the Dead as wallpaper, a Groupon for cult training, and performance reviews. We finally confronted the 3½’ mummy, who turned out to be the family’s long-lost son. Domestic bliss was preserved, the day was saved, the franchise managed to avoid prosecution for any felonies!

This session, like the Hârn game, also had a large number of players: I think there were eight of us. But Heather encouraged us to work together, and appreciated and reinforced player inventiveness. Also, it didn’t hurt that the overwhelming majority of us players were women; players didn’t get talked over or ignored nearly so much as in that Hârn game. So even with a large table of players, I think we all felt like we got to contribute and share the spotlight, and like we had a good time. I know I did.

Overall, this was a great way to start my Sunday. I highly recommend playing in one of Heather’s InSpectres games, if you get the chance.

Con of the North 2015, part 4: Artemis

artemis_icon11_0_150Unfortunately, after that disappointing HârnMaster game, this was disappointing, too.

I’ve raved about Artemis plenty of times here before. I still think it’s a completely new kind of game, one that we’re still just beginning to explore. And I still think the game is blessed with amazing possibilities.

However, the game itself seems to have become bloated with poorly implemented features, and the setup this year was (in my opinion) lacking in execution. Hmm, where do I start?

  1. The team running it seems to have assumed that everyone who signed up knew all the ins and outs of the current state of the game. As a result, when I said I knew the basics of how to play, I was given no further instructions. And I do know the general principles of the game, but there were so many new bits and bobs since last year — two starships playing simultaneously, new controls, a headset-based communication system for talking to the other ship including a mute button that I didn’t know how to operate — that I needed significant updates. Rather than asking “Do you know how to play?”, they should’ve asked “When was the last time you played?”
  2. There was simply too much noise and activity in the room. They were, as I mentioned above, running two different starships at the same time, in the same room. There were big dividers between the two sides, but these dividers did little to stop noise spillover. So it quickly became that escalating game where side A projects louder to talk over side B, then side B gets louder to be heard over side A, then A gets louder, then it keeps getting louder until everyone’s eardrums burst. And the game itself has added a bunch of little fiddly things to do within the interface that made it take way too much attention, constantly.
  3. I was the communications officer, because I’d had so much fun with it the first time I played. Well, they have found a way to make it just as pointless and redundant as Gwen Marco complained in GalaxyQuest. There were two teams of us playing in the same room, and the comms officers on the two ships were supposed to keep communications going between the two ships. However, no one introduced us or gave us time to figure out a protocol, so how to do it was pretty murky. Plus, with the inadequate noise blocking, both ships’ crews could just hear each other anyway! As a comms officer, it’s hard to feel useful when it’s your job to relay a message that the captain can just hear directly. So while I think that the comms position could be amazing, and the idea of having two teams working together in the same room is also pretty dang cool, this year’s implementation of it made it a dud.
  4. The program itself seems to be in a “bloat + poor UI” phase. It was hard to visually, instantly tell who had issued a comms order, for example. This could easily have been solved with a “this color for orders you issued, this other distinct color for orders issued by other ships, and different colors for orders from other teams”, but it wasn’t. I had to rely on the name of the issuing ship being given in tiny type — especially hard when many of the NPC ships had inspiring names like “G33″ and “X09″, and when there’s all the other noise going on. And the system seems to have suffered from some bandwidth problems, as our screens (main and personal) would sometimes glitch or hang. Not sure if that’s the game or the particular setup that was running at CotN.

There was some fun: I got quite a few enemy ships to surrender, for example. But overall, this game wasn’t nearly as much fun as Artemis has been in the past.

Hopefully, the problems this time are just a passing phase. It’d be easy to both make the comms position useful and make the noise problem nonexistent, for example, by the simple fix of having the two teams in two actually separate rooms. And hopefully as the people developing the game work more on it, they’ll get rid of some bloat and implement better UI design. Overall, I’m still looking forward to my next opportunity to play.

Con of the North 2015, part 3: HârnMaster

Caravel at seaYou may know that one of my favorite fantasy RPGs is HârnMaster. I’m not much of a completist, but Hârn is one of the series that I have tried to get a lot of. I ran a long campaign using HM in college (though using my own campaign world), and I played in a campaign for a year or so from 2006 to 2008. That campaign ended less than pleasantly, but it didn’t dim my enthusiasm for Hârn much. So when I saw this on the schedule, I jumped on it. I think I ended up having ticket #1.

Unfortunately, the game left a lot to be desired, in a bunch of different ways. I think it comes down to two major categories: it being a travel game, and it being GM-centric.

What’s wrong with a travel game?

The basic scenario was this: we were all passengers on a ship, plying the sea routes all the way from Tarkain to Golotha and beyond. Wow! If you know your Hârn (and Lythia), you know that’s a huge distance — like, from Tripoli to Dublin. Easily enough for an entire campaign.

And, I think, way too much for a single-session adventure. We were covering entire swathes of continental Lythia in the space of a “make another Piloting roll”.

This is, I think, a fundamental problem for games that involve travel. If the point is the traveling, then the GM has a lot of impetus to keep everyone making speedy progress. But that means that there’s no actual adventure, beyond “you’re in another port, just like the last”.

I’ve been in other games like this, where for some reason our overall purpose seemed to be “see the entire world”. Unfortunately, if your goal is to cover ground speedily, you end up doing and seeing nothing in detail. There’s a Chinese saying that describes this well: 馬上看花 mǎshàng kàn huā, or “viewing flowers from horseback”. You cannot stop and smell the roses when you’re charging through the landscape at a gallop.

Probably the worst example of this kind of travel game I’ve experienced is a Traveller campaign I was in about 10 years ago. At the most boring points, we were breezing through entire star systems with nothing more than “not much to do here”. How is that even possible?! As I’ve said elsewhere, there are interesting things going on even in the smallest town, so for an entire star system to be devoid of adventure seems not only boring in the extreme, but downright impossible.

This HârnMaster game wasn’t quite that bad, but we were breezing through ports — sometimes quite huge cities — with little more than “make another Piloting roll”. Not fun.

I’m still not convinced that a travel game is innately boring. I’ve run The Gift Map, the campaign seed included in Blade & Crown, as a travel game, and I think it went pretty well. And my current B&C campaign also includes a lot of travel. And John’s Diaspora campaign was also basically a “see the universe” kind of campaign.

What I think all three of those games share is, they aren’t focused on getting the PCs through the setting as fast as possible. There’s room for exploring, admiring the landscape, and smelling the flowers. Travel serves as a backdrop for adventure, not as a distraction from adventure.

GM at the center of everything

All the PCs in this game had competing, secret goals. Most of the players were new to the system, and the GM didn’t really explain the system. In one case, he even flagrantly contradicted the rules-as-written. Also, there were about eight of us players.

These factors combined to mean that pretty much all the action flowed through the GM, often on little pieces of paper or in secret conversations. And that was pretty terrible.

There were too many players to build up any real camaraderie. With one player, I literally couldn’t figure out how many characters they were playing. (One? Two? I was never sure. And even worse, I think the player himself didn’t know!) We had too little interaction for it to ever get clarified.

With our secret agendas, we also didn’t know whom among the passengers and crew we could trust. And almost none of us players actually knew each other, so building trust out of character was hard, too.

And finally, with only one GM to funnel all the secret actions through, there wasn’t anyone to help us accomplish any more.

All that meant that for a large part of the game, we were pretty much twiddling our thumbs. There was a lot of sitting around waiting for something to happen, or for the GM to have a free moment.

I think each of us players managed to accomplish something. My character, a priestess of Ilvir, managed to set a bunch of poor, caged ivashu free in Golotha. But what did the other players accomplish? Presumably some of the events in the game were related to their characters, but with all the secrecy and GM-centric-ness, I never did find out what the heck was going on.

It ended up feeling like I was playing a solitaire RPG with a GM who didn’t have enough time to actually interact with me. Perhaps the GM mistook his own busy-ness for everyone actually having a good time.

All in all?

It didn’t help that there were only two women at the table, out of a group of nine people. We kept getting talked over, ignored, and generally experiencing the kinds of micro-aggressions that men throw our way all too often.

Luckily, the other woman was Kailey, the one who had been in my B&C game, just prior to this one, and whom I was very happy to learn is an RPG gamer. So we took advantage of the large lacunae in the action to chat more about our gaming experiences, life outside of gaming, etc. I’m really glad she was in the game — I think I would’ve ended up leaving otherwise. Our characters ended up working together a little, too.

It was good to experience Hârn again, even if the scenario was less than ideal. And I got to do some interesting things. Mostly, it was good to have some more time to talk with Kailey.

Con of the North 2015, part 2: The Dooms that Came to Chaegrae

A floating gold cube in the Tomb of GemenosAfter Heirs was my first game to GM: The Dooms that Came to Chaegrae.

This game was an experiment in high-powered Blade & Crown. Each character had Traits rated 4, 3, 2 and 1 — considerably higher than the defaults. I explained carefully (while hopefully not taking too long) what the different Trait ratings were capable of, and even made little stand-up table tents with descriptions of what the different ratings are narratively capable of. The players still mostly used their Traits for dice, rather than narratively, and I still saw a lot of beads left on the table by the end of the session. But nowhere close to all the beads, and there had been some exchanges in the form of negative uses of Traits, so overall I think the Trait economy was moderately healthy.

One player had gotten B&C through the Bundle of Holding. Neato! It was cool to meet someone who’d bought it that way.

With the usual rules explanations and setting description, then the additional high-powered aspect, it took about 45 minutes before there were meaningful player decisions. That is too long by my book — my standard is no more than 30 minutes before players are making meaningful decisions. But I think the experimental nature of the game justified the time.

I made the PCs all member of an adventuring company, the Company of the Kraken, named so for a giant beastie they’d all dispatched. I had the players describe ways they’d contributed to besting the monster. This was partly inspired by games like Spirit of the Century, where part of character generation is describing how your characters have saved each other in the past. Describing their contributions to the fight helped build a bit of cohesion among a group who were supposed to have been adventuring together for years.

Their defeat of the Kraken meant they should have trophies from the fight, so I created ‘item cards’ with four different prizes: a Kraken’s beak, ink, etc. Only four — less than the number of players. This was deliberate. The ones who selflessly didn’t take a prize ended up getting Composure bonuses instead. Unfortunately, the Kraken prizes didn’t end up getting used much. I think only one of the four actually saw action. But I think they helped build a sense of immersion and possibility, at least.

Actually, it feels like I could create a mini-game around these objects — some kind of story game where the players describe how they contributed to defeating the Kraken. Hmm, maybe a project for another time.

I won’t say too much about the actual scenario here, as I may run it again (perhaps at WisCon?). But I will say that it involved venturing into an ancient tomb and exploring secrets of Morensian history that I’ve never revealed publicly before. Some of the set-pieces seem to have stumped the players — there were some moments of awkward silence in there. But they figured them out all the same, sometimes using a Trait as a way of getting inspiration (one of the major narrative uses that the Traits saw). John, who played in the game, described it as “a trip”. There were equal parts mystery and danger, combat and negotiation.

One of the biggest themes of the game was that the characters were larger than life, with preordained fates. They all knew how they were going to die, so they were unafraid of things unrelated to their ‘dooms’. And I warned/coaxed them that it was entirely possible their characters would meet their fates through the course of the game. The players got to use this to good mechanical effect, and I think it helped as a guide to roleplaying, too.

In the end, three of the characters met their fates. None were violent ends, though they may have been bittersweet. And though their fates were preordained, they had broad choice in what exactly that meant for their characters. This was as it should be. I think it made the game as poetic and dramatic as I had hoped.

I think all the characters got to contribute something meaningful. I didn’t track this as closely as I would’ve liked, but there were lots of compliments at the end of the game and everyone certainly seemed to have enjoyed themselves.

The game was set for five players, and I had six pre-gens ready. (I always want everyone to have a choice as to characters.) But six people showed up, and in the end, I allowed everyone. The last player was a friend I hadn’t seen in about ten years, so I think I had an excuse. And, it turned out, one of the other players, Kailey, is someone I’d met years prior in a totally different context. I knew she was a gamer, but I hadn’t known she was an RPG gamer! I kept marveling through the session at what a small world it is, and then luckily got to play with her again in my next game.

All in all, a good game. I think the players enjoyed themselves, and I know I did.

Con of the North 2015, part 1: Heirs to the Lost World

As noted, I didn’t go to the Con on Friday, so I missed a bunch of great games. The first one I got to be in was this, on Saturday.

It was Chad’s Caravan on the High Plateau scenario. We were all helping an Aztec caravan, carrying cannon and gunpowder, get from the coast to the interior to help the Aztecs lift a siege. A pretty basic caravan escort scenario, right?

But like always, Chad did a great job of setting the scene, and creating memorable characters, and maintaining a good narrative flow. The caravan leader was an incompetent fool; the porters didn’t know what they were doing (“Let’s set up the campfire near the barrels of gunpowder!”); and the high-ranking Aztec priest who clearly knew what he was about was somehow playing second fiddle to the leader. What was going on? We were all quickly engaged in the mystery.

Through intelligent action, we managed to avoid the first ambush Chad had set, but we still had to deal with a big pack of marauding Spanish troops at our camp. (Chad later said that he’d had to improvise a bunch, since we avoided the ambush, but the change was imperceptible to me, in any case.) And once we uncovered the cult who was causing all the mystery, we swept quickly into a final battle, fighting a giant spider demon-god of fire. Can you use cannon fire against a god of fire? None of us were sure — made the battle even more tense.

Chad’s Heirs system did a great job of enhancing the action. Heirs has, as I’ve said elsewhere, the best stunting mechanic I’ve encountered in an RPG. It really encourages players to do over-the-top, cinematic actions that help everyone have a great time. And for second edition, Chad made effort dice all refresh at the same rate, for all PCs. It was a pretty strong hindrance to not have a good refresh in 1st edition, so it’s a welcome change in 2nd.

It also helped that the players did a great job with Chad’s pre-gen PCs. There was an Aztec blood priest who had a natural mistrust with my pochteca merchant (which we eventually overcame); there was a player new to Heirs who had a great time with a jaguar knight, leaping about in jaguar form and taking out mooks; John did a great job with his voudoun priest; and there was a fun, rowdy pirate called Clyde Ankle (“Ye gotta aim fer their ankles!”). There was a fair amount of roleplaying, for what largely consisted of two set-piece combats.

Those stunting mechanics gave us a lot of great cinematic action, such as John’s voudoun priest making his mouth turn into a cannon, and literally shooting off his mouth at the invading Spanish; a rope bridge over a bottomless chasm, which naturally had to get chopped down just as the spider demon was beginning to cross it; and lots of fun with stalactites, crashing down into the spider demon. Everyone contributed to its final defeat. Even my character, basically a merchant, did something, when I and my four porter/guards simultaneously hit a dangling stalactite to cause the spider a bunch of damage.

Final fight of the Caravan on the High Plateau

In the end, the big nasty spider demon creature thing fell into the chasm, we delivered the cargo as we’d been charged, and the day was saved.

Echoing John’s report on the game, it’s been too long since I got to play Heirs. I hope it isn’t as long a wait for the next opportunity.

Con of the North: Short but sweet

A compass roseCon of the North 2015 is now, sadly, over. It feels like it came up in a rush, then happened just as quickly. Especially true because a cough I thought I was almost done with suddenly started turning into a full-blown cold by midweek. I ended up staying home from the Con on Friday to recover more and hopefully not give anyone my cold. So my CotN 2015 was only Saturday and Sunday.

But both days were very good, and jam-packed. I’ll be posting more soon.

For now, back to the recovery lounge!