Monday, February 25, 2013
Convention Report: Total Confusion 27
This past weekend I was fortunate enough to make it to Total Confusion 27. I was uncertain whether I'd be able to attend. Due to that, I didn't submit any events to run. Maybe next year, I'll be back in the GM's seat for the con. I've been going to TC long enough now that I'm getting to know some guys that like the same games I do. It was good to see them and hang out and play games.
I arrived on Saturday morning bright and early. It only took the con staff about 10 seconds to give me my badge and the tickets for games I had pre-registered back in January. I played in a game called Giant Monster Smash! This was a custom miniatures game featuring the Tokyo smashing giant radioactive monsters. The battles were resolved using a simplified version of the combat system from Champions RPG. Players scored points for smashing buildings and attacking the other monsters. The board had enough space for 18 players to crowd around. The referee did a good job of setting the game up. It was easy to learn and the combat interesting. The only downside was that the rounds took quite a while to get through. The fix here is probably just limiting the number of players to ten. There was a lot of sitting around and the younger boys that were playing became bored very quickly.
After lunch, I had a good time with Frank Mentzer. He ran his recently published adventure "The Quondam Fount." It took us a while to figure out how to get into the entrance of the dungeon. Eventually, we managed to get into the dungeon and fought some nasty little water creatures. The party struggled to figure out how to maneuver through the difficult surroundings. Near the end of the session we lost a character and I think if we'd gone much further into the dungeon we'd have had more casualties.
Saturday evening, I played in a very fun session featuring an old Judges Guild adventure "The House on the Hill" with DM Ken Marin. Everyone had a lot of fun with this one and we managed to kill the baddie that was threatening the ostensible "town at the bottom of the hill". Ken did something I'd not seen in a con game before and liked quite a bit. He introduced a slight random element by having us roll for magic items from the advanced party creation appendix in the DMG. Second, he gave us 20,000 gp to buy potions, scrolls and other magic items from a list he handed out to the party. We spent a bit of time getting this put together before going off on the adventure.
Generally, I don't like doing this sort of thing of in a convention game. Since convention games are one shot adventures I like to get adventuring as fast as possible. I liked that we were able to make some choices for ourselves rather than having the GM decide what we needed. Later in the session we had some options that proved to be helpful in defeating the big bad guy. I think I'm going to implement something like this for my con games in the future. Great job Ken!'
Sunday was a chill day. The schedule was more or less devoid of RPG's I was interested in. I think, I'll schedule myself to run a few Sunday games next year. It was OK though because I played Ticket To Ride with Frank Mentzer and Tim Kask. Frank likes to play the game on Sundays at conventions. He used to play it with Gary Gygax on the Sunday mornings of the various conventions they both attended before Gary passed away. It's become a thing Frank does in memory of Gary. I got my clock cleaned in Ticket to Ride, by the way. Right before I was about to tie up my big transcontinental ticket, Frank snagged the last route into Portland. That hit me for thirty points that I didn't recover from.
The attendance at Total Confusion has been growing steadily for the last few years. That trend held for TC 27. All the rooms in the hotel were filled on Friday and Saturday. I was told that there was good attendance on Thursday night of the convention, which is not usual for a convention of this size. TC is developing into a great event for old schoolers. Besides the great GM's putting together events, several notable old school publishers were present. Michael Curtis ran several games. Jeff Talanian was here running sold out sessions of his Astounding Swordsman and Sorcerers of Hyperborea game. James Carpio of Chapter 13 Press was running his adventures using Dungeon Crawl Classics. As previously mentioned, we had Frank Mentzer and Tim Kask running games. Eldritch Ent. sold quite a bit of product at the con. Jayson Elliot of Gygax Magazine also had a table in the dealer's room. It looked like he did a fair bit of trade. David Prata, editor for AS&SoH (hows that for an acronym!) ran a marathon session of AD&D that went at least 11 hours and had six players that hung in for the duration of the game.
The convention has a room with four tables running old school games all weekend. Last year, there were two or three games going on most of the time with sold attendance. This year, all four tables were going plus several in the general RPG area. On Saturday Night it was a packed house. I'm looking forward to finding out what next year brings.