Karl Gallagher (selenite) wrote,
Karl Gallagher
selenite

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Traveller at ConDFW

I only daytripped to ConDFW this year--things are a little too tight for me to splurge on a hotel room. I drove out Saturday morning, a little ahead of schedule, which always worries me. If I'm early I must be making some other mistake such as going to the wrong hotel. But when I parked there I was right next to a car with the Nevada license plate "JHEREG". So I was in the right place.

The early start gave me time to meet friends and put up a few flyers for my game. theturbonerd was the first guy I ran into. macgyvergal and Robyn have lots of sympathy for celticdragonfly. Tamisan talked me into browsing the used book sale, so I have a couple more RPG books now. And Jonestein was working to publicize the Lone Star Shindig.

I went to the Mars panel as one of tygerr's groupies. Nice discussion, better signal to noise than the average con panel. It was clear pretty fast that there's a lot more worries about political support and funding than the technology required. The dust problem will require some new tech, though . . . and I think in future games I run long-time lunar or martian prospectors will be distinguished by the symptoms of silicosis. This was also my first chance to meet lolleeroberts in person.

After that I had time for a quick sandwich before prepping for my first game session. I managed to get through the windstorm without losing my badge, though I did put it in my pocket to be on the safe side. I'd staked out a table in advance with the ship deckplan so there was no trouble finding it, so anyone interested knew where to go.

This time I was running a Traveller game, not Firefly. Doesn't make much difference in the plots--which I recycled unchanged from the prior games--but I had to print a new deckplan and change most of the names. Most of the players had played Traveller before in one version or another.The Interstellar Wars period is different enough from the "standard" Traveller setting to keep them on an even footing with the newbies. One player, John, had also been in my Fencon game. Lucky for me I wasn't planning on running the scenarios I'd used then for the first session.


That's John in the hat.

We opened with a classic bar brawl, with the crew fending off some stevedores who resented competion for the barmaid's attentions. They made a very satisfying thump when they fell. Then we went into the first full adventure, which for the first time out of three times I've run it went the way I'd expected it to. Lots of tense skill roles, almost all the "good luck" chips spent, and a dramatic command decision later, all ended happily. Except for their ship, which needed a few weeks in the body and fender shop.


The passengers were confined to their rooms when things got hairy.

We wrapped up a little early, which gave me some time to visit the Dealers' Room. A bit disappointing, but I did find one book celticdragonfly wanted so it wasn't a total loss. I ran into Todd and Charles who I used to play Call of Cthulhu with and caught up a bit. lolleeroberts and starcat_jewel invited me to dinner. We all had good "insane boss" stories. The food was good, but the service gave me just barely enough time to set up for my next game (sorry to duck out on you, ladies).

John didn't make the second session, and I was damn glad. He's a great player but having him and Lyndon (sp?) in the same game would be a problem. Lyndon was in the Akon game and betweeen the two of them they've seen all the scenarios I had worked out in detail. Sure, I've got a few ideas but that's working without a net. A couple of guys from the first session came back, and Todd and Charles joined in. So there was only one guy (Michael) I hadn't played with before.


Todd, Michael, and Lyndon (The cargo counters are thanks to the CMA CGM Group, who have some nice aerial photos of their shipping containers on the web).

I tossed out a "teaser" encounter to kick things off. Serious role-players can get a full hour out of buying a crate of beef. Then we went into the main adventure, with a lot of detailed planning . . . we actually had the captain going over the star map to pick courses. A bit more detailed than any Firefly game of mine has been. The caper got accomplished without any violence at all (one injury from man vs. nature), and they even talked their way out of the chase scene with some good Fasttalk rolls.


Charles is on the right. The guy standing is Richard, making another proposal for violent action. He finally quit after not being able to hit anything all session. Not a good adventure for mad slashers, I'm afraid. But after all the stuff I've read about RPGs just being an excuse for acting out anti-social behavior it's nice to have a game where the players get through the whole evening without committing any illegal or immoral acts (if you don't count use of excessive force in the bar brawl . . . ).

We wrapped up shortly after the three-hour point. Could've gamed more, but we'd had some major distraction from the local con circuit belly dancer troupe, who'd set up next to us for a late night performance. We, ahem, multitasked. Well, most of us . . .

I'd been thinking of hitting room parties after the game, but by the time I had everything packed up I was too tired to party, so I headed home.

This game session was the first time I'd run my free trader adventures in the Traveller setting and they worked fine. I also had a chance to test the "simple space chase" rules I developed. Didn't have to check the books except to look up some setting info ("So what are they exporting in this system?" is one of those Tactician-type questions GMs always need to check the book for). I've worked out some other frills to make the games go smoothly--a one page rule reference, equipment cards, Cardboard Heroes for the characters and major NPCs. So I think I've got the routine for GMing at cons down.

Now I just need to come up with some good new adventures before fencon.
Tags: cons, gaming, gurps
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