Tag: MEPAcon

Dark Heresy Dossiers: Introduction

Courtesy Fantasy Flight Games

I’m planning on attending MEPACon Fall 2011, and while I’ll be doing demos of both Maschine Zeit and Amaranthine, I’ve been interested in starting a new ongoing campaign. In light of Honor and Blood’s potential return during the convention and my interest in a long-running Legend of the Five Rings game that will also be there, I thought there might be some interest in adding a grimdark sci-fi horror-adventure to the mix.

Rather than simply saying “here are your characters, let’s go” or “okay, here’s how you build characters, we can start playing in two hours,” I’m going to opt for a mix. Players interested in joining the campaign will have a choice of nine different Dossiers, each describing a character on a different career path. Instead of just laying down stats, the Dossiers will instead give a vague notion of a character’s background and set up a few baseline numbers, from which players can build their avatars in various ways.

I think this approach will save time, add intrigue and facilitate storytelling. Getting some of the basic stuff out of the way and focusing mostly on what players want to do to make characters their own, rather than starting from scratch, will help the group get right to the action, especially if someone doesn’t get to the table until others are settled in. But not all of the interesting stuff is limited to that gaming table.

You see, after the initial events that bring everybody together, the events of the adventure as well as aspects from the Dossiers will be brought up to players via email. Players will be encouraged to keep in touch with the Judge and each other. When players gather again in person, the idea will be that much has gone on behind the scenes between meetings, giving them stories to tell each other that will build and enhance their characters even further.

Everyone will have secrets, ties to their pasts and people they’ve influenced, be they enemies or allies. Views on the Imperium, the Inquisition, the Calixis Sector and one’s fellow Acolytes are bound to change. And all of this information, these events and the choices players take, will be added to their Dossiers by the dutiful servants of the Inquisition.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting the initial Dossiers here. I’m looking forward to MEPACon, and I’m hoping this notion will have others looking forward to it as well.

Surviving a Convention

Dice

It’s been a while since I’ve attended a convention of any kind. Gaming and other geek conventions differ from writing conferences and business convocations in several ways. They tend to be a bit more fun and free-form. It’s easy to lose track of time, belongings or personal needs & hygiene in the encapsulated environment of a hotel ballroom converted into a parlor for the celebration of geekdom. And when you’re away from it for a while, as I was, it’s easy to forget a few of the basics.

Hopefully, this will be helpful for others as it could have been to myself, say, yesterday. Hindsight is 20/20 and I’ve got my butt-shades on.

Bring Your Own Food & Water

A few dollars spent at a grocery story can go a long way in extending your convention enjoyment. A few bottles of water, some snacks and the means to make easy food like sandwiches or maybe a salad will likely cost you the same as a meal at the local fast food joint. Not to mention the greater degree of control over your consumption means you can make healthier choices.

For the record, the next time I come to one of these shindigs, I plan on picking up a six-pack of water bottles, some baby carrots and almonds, a bag of chips or pretzels, a loaf of bread, peanut butter, jelly and marshmellow fluff. Because fluffernutters are awesome.

Be Prepared

Gamers can be a fickle, impatient lot. Go over the convention schedule, know what you want to do and where you have to be at what time to do it. Otherwise, you may find yourself administrating an empty table.

If someone else failed their time-comprehension check or they have a loved one hacking up a lung, it doesn’t hurt to bring some entertainment of your own. A laptop or portable gaming system can amuse yourself, but conventions are supposedly social occasions. For the sorts of conventions I’m discussing, bring card games: Fluxx, Chrononauts, Three-Dragon Ante, etc. Feel free to toss a couple Magic decks in your luggage as well, just in case another planeswalker appears.

For Cthulhu’s Sake, WASH

This hasn’t been much of a problem of late, but I remember attending a few conventions where someone decided to keep the fun going all night long and neglected to take ten minutes to wash some of the funk off in the shower. It’s common courtesy to not stink up the joint, after all. I tossed a stick of deodorant in a plastic bag just in case I found myself rooted to a table for hours and completely lost track of time. That didn’t happen, but it falls under the “Be Prepared” rule.

Tomorrow I’ll give more thoughts on my current con experience, and Tuesday we unbox the Dungeon Master’s Kit before I subject my victims players to its contents.

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