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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Michicon Weekend Report: Day 2

It seems fitting (albeit late) that I should wrap up my Michicon report a month after the con ended.

The day found me up early and heading from home down to the con.  I had to make sure that I was there early to get set up for my 9:00 A.M. game, running a Castles & Crusades conversion of S1: Tomb of Horrors.  To my dismay, I was running against the D&D Next playtest.  No one who was going to play TOH showed.  Most went to D&D Next.  One kid, and I mean "kid" showed up.  He couldn't have been more then 10.  Still, I waited for about twenty minutes after the start time, in case people were straggling in.  Nope.  One kid.  One kid, and Harry Schurr.  Harry didn't play, however.  I figured, "OK, lets still have fun with this."  Harry was still intent on watching most of this game.  Instead of scrapping it due to lack of players I figured I would give this 3.X kid a trial by fire.  I let him pick out four of my pre-gens that he liked to form a party to control.  I also allowed Harry to coach, just a bit.  Amazingly the kid's party survived the Tomb.  Mostly without Harry's help, too!  I think a big part of his  survival had to do with NOT having a lot of preconceived notions about how to play the game.  He played very cautiously with his rogue.  He also completely avoided ANYTHING that he thought was suspicious.  In the end he made it all the way to the demilich, and defeated it.  Technically the cleric of the party was soul sucked.  That kind of upset the kid, so Harry found a "loophole" for the cleric's survival.  The party had beaten the demilich anyhow, and the kid played great.  So, in the end, it really wasn't the loss I thought it would be.

After I wrapped up and cleaned my table off, I only had a few minutes left until the highlight of the weekend (for me) was going to begin.  I hurried to get to my table to play OD&D run by local GM  Herb Diehr.  This was the con's description:

Title of the Game: The Place of Evil
Game System: Original Dungeons & Dragons
Max Players: 4-6 Players
Difficulty: Designed for adults. No experience needed, but this is not Advanced
D&D or later! Experience in later games not a plus... New players welcome!
GM: Herb Diehr

The Adventure:
The elves have broken into a place of great evil. They must cross from where they
are to a place of greater evil and enter secretly, without being detected (or killed).
Many possibilities exist for both.

At my table I met four players, who I knew I would get along with, as we were all there to play some OD&D.  I soon found out that all four wanted to play my TOH game that morning, two slept in past the time that they needed to make it down and the other two played the playtest.  The two playtesters confessed that they would have preferred to have played TOH, as they were disappointed with the system.  So the only thing missing was our DM.  We waited, waited and waited some more.  Alan approached the table to find out what was wrong.  We explained and he promptly made a phone call and found someone to sit in and run a game of D&D.  We were approached and asked if we had characters made, which we did not.  The sit in DM promptly left the table to retrieve her materials.  We all presumed that we were going to be playing an old edition of the game (if not 0E) since we were asked if we had characters made for an OD&D game.  She returned with 4E materials.  No one wanted to be rude, since she was being put out already, so we sat and played a quick session of 4E.  Still not a system that I dig, but it was a bit different than other 4E games I have sat in on, as everyone there came to play a 0E game!  The game lasted all of an hour and a half as it was, since both the GM and a couple at the table wanted to get in on a 4:00 P.M. demo of Miskatonic School for Girls.  That was fine with me, as I hadn't eaten since breakfast.  We were then told that the DM for the OD&D game just ran a bit late and we would be able to play in the 6:30 session.  I was ecstatic over this!

I went out and decided to sign up for the 6:30 make up game first, then get lunch/dinner.  I also figured I would check my raffle tickets to see if I had won anything.  For each game played or GM'd a raffle ticket was given.  I figured I didn't have a very good chance, seeing as how I hadn't bought any extras.  How wrong I was!  I had actually won a "Tier C" raffle.  Sitting there, with some other games that I hadn't heard of, was a copy of Dos Rios from Mayfair games!  Being a Catan fan, I figured that this was the one to get.  I also got a copy of an old board game I had owned as a kid called Screaming Eagles. Screaming Eagles sort of akin to Battleship in the air, except that your planes take orders from a command center represented by a random deck of cards.  It was fun as a kid, but I have yet to play it since acquiring it at the con.



On my way out, I ran into my OD&D DM for that night.  I learned that the game I was about to play in was actually a part of an ongoing convention game that would span over the next few Michigan cons this year, and had gone back a few already.  The gist was that it was a behind the scenes Middle Earth game, taking place during the war of the ring.  I was now extra excited!  I hurried to get dinner so as not to be late for my game.  

I had a short bit of a wait before my game started when I arrived back, but I was fine with that.  I talked with Harry and later Herb a bit more.  The game did not disappoint.  The gist was that we were essentially a military platoon of Elves, Dwarves and Men sent from Rivendell to thwart the enemy.  We were at a point where our platoon were entering the Dead Marshes.  There were nine characters among four players, so we divided the platoon as needed.  Our first encounter was near instantaneous.  We were attacked by a giant snake over thirty feet long.  My cleric was the first to see it  and managed to wrap the chain of his flail around the serpent's neck.  This was a lucky blow, as we took fairly minimal damage from the creature while it was constricted.  Still it nearly broke free and got in a lucky bite on the cleric, who spent the remainder of the game below 5 strength.  We managed to avoid a Barrow Wight, by not entering it's lair.  We also avoided what were apparently crocodiles by swinging across a river of fresh water moving through the rest of the marshes.  After crossing the river we were (remarkably) able to to dodge a patrol of Uruk-hai that had been tailing us the whole way.  In the end, we made it to our destination across the marsh.  This was actually the goal of the game, to survive and make it across.  As I remember it, the next session will be held a U Con in October, and will feature the players attempting to sneak their way into Mordor.  I greatly look forward to this.

All in all , I had a pretty good time at Michicon, and intend to keep touch with both Harry and Herb for possible gaming outside of conventions.  If you're in southeast Michigan, I would highly recommend that you attend Michicon next year.  It is a small con, but a goody nonetheless.