Forge Midwest: The Rocking

Monday, April 10, 2006

Oh man. It was sooooo good. Mad props to Matt Snyder for putting together an awesome event.

UPDATE: Actual Play report for Stranger Things FM game is here:

Freebooters actual play is here:

Nine Worlds actual play:

Friday night was hang-out time. First, I spent some time with Matt Wilson and The Deuce, who I haven't seen in ages. It was so good to reconnect with them. Then I got to meet Matt S, Andy K, Ron, Luke, Keith, Thor, Paul Czege, Paul Tevis, and a bunch of other Forgies for the first time. They're wonderful folks. We hit several bars (they allow smoking in the midwest, the cretins) and much good chatting was had, along with lots of bourbon and Guinness.

Ron told me about his new spy game thing, which sounds very cool. Ron and I also talked for a long while about the Forge and this whole "new gaming thing" that is happening all around us. I don't always agree with everything Ron has to say, but it was nice to be able to connect with him as a fellow human being as opposed to words on a screen. The same goes for the other Forgies I met.

I also got to see a color-printout of Luke's secret project -- all 600 pages of it. It rocks. Wil, I'll tell you all about it at game night. Brandon, you're gonna love it.

I woke up late-ish, and got down to the game rooms around 10. No hangover, though -- which was incredible considering that I had a cold and drank more the night before than I had in months.

I wandered around a bit, and it looked like most people were already playing. Matt Wilson was playing the new Dust Devils, and he gave me a thumbs-up from across the room. In the other room, I saw Ron chatting at a table with Andy K and some other folks, so I sat down. Ron fixed me with a look, and said, "So, where's Stranger Things? Can I make a character?" My heart swelled to three times its normal size, Grinch style.

I busted out the ST stuff, and people oohed and aahed over the map tiles. I gave Ron a sheet and we started going through character creation. He made this cool spy-master Stranger named Mustav. A little later, Matt W and Tim Kleinert finished their games and wandered over. They started making charcaters, too, along with Andy K. Ron pushed us to go ahead and play some scenes, so I got out four dream sheets, and we did full-on game prep for all four Strangers. We used the GM-full approach, where each player is the director for the player on their left. Once again, this worked very well, and we had time to play an intro scene for each Stranger.

Then it was time for lunch. The ST table went together, and we were joined by a couple that had found the Forge recently and were looking for the indie-rpg experience. It was good talking to them and getting their perspective.

After lunch, I played the new Dust Devils with Matt S. and SIX other players: Jason Blair, Jared, John Jenskot, Mayuran, Paul Tevis (who does an awesome Jayne impersonation), and Cav. Since we had seven players, we decided to take the seven deadly sins as our devils. I was Greed. Favorite moment: I got the final narration and everyone died in a big ol' shootout. It rocked. Also, Jared's corrupt mayor and his catch-phrase, "It is very hard to run a town..." He was Sloth, and the character managed to never get up from his chair for the whole story.

After Dust Devils, I ran my TSOY-based Freebooters one shot for Matt S., Matt W., Paul Tevis, and Andy K. We had a really good time, but I think the adventure needs some tweaking. It did produce the single coolest TSOY moment ever, though. I need to post actual play about that.

We grabbed dinner, and then I dived into a playtest of Galactic with Matt W., Daniel, and Sarah. We were all about to fall asleep, so we got off to a slow start. The game showed off much coolness, however, and by the end I was hungry for lots more. The game is fast and fun, but still has many layers to explore and dials to turn. It's gonna be so cool when it's done. Plus, I got to play Omar, the character attributed to me in the example text in the game. And yeah, he's just the right kind of character for me.

I played Nine Worlds on Sunday with Matt S., Paul Tevis, Paul Czege, and Danielle. I have loved Nine Worlds from afar for a while, and it did not disappoint. Favorite moment: Paul's terrorist sucking up all the power in the aethership to teleport away at the last second. So cool. Also, my James Bond-type character hurling himself into the aether with a rocket pod in one hand and an arc-welder in the other.

(Nine Worlds is a seriously awesome game. It delivered in a big way. I know my group wants me to run TSOY next (and I will) but Nine Worlds is tempting me badly. You really, really should check it out.)

Then we all went for lunch and Luke and Thor tried to tempt me and Matt W. to move to New York (not a hard sell). After that, everyone had planes to catch and the event came to a close.

It was a huge success. The gaming and game-talk was awesome, and I feel like a made a few new friends. It's a shame that I can't see these people more often.


Blogger rafial says:  

"Wil, I'll tell you all about it at game night."

*quietly puts away car battery, jumper cables, burlap sack, dog, and waterboarding rig*

Keen! I'm looking forward to it.

Anonymous Anonymous says:  

The next "Forge Midwest" should be in Columbus. No smoking in bars or restaurants here.

I keep seeing stuff about your upcoming game all over, and I've started following this blog to keep up with it. We want Stranger Things.

Blogger J. Andrew says:  

Hey dude!

Freebooters was incredibly awesome, and the character sheets were some of the most awesome I have seen. It totally inspired me to get off my ass and put together some TSOY/1Q worlds of myself, including a Japanese High School Sports Drama world.

We had a really good time, but I think the adventure needs some tweaking.

I definitely felt like a lot of the challenges were pretty... er.. challenging. Perhaps too much so. Also, I don't think there were any simple task rolls ("Roll your ability; get 1 or higher and you succeed"), but rather EVERYTHING somehow snaked back to "another person who is involved against you", which is cool and all, but I think that about 30-50% of the conflicts should have just been a simple skill roll.

Also, I think some of the BDTP went on a little too long: I mean, literally, according to the rules, an enemy can only "stay dead" if they are ultimately killed/ultimately defeated with BDTP. However, the tone is that you can still "defeat" enemies with BDTP: But if they're "dead", they can always "come back" later in the adventure (or not at all if the GM wants). If they're "defeated", then they still have a chance of coming back to fight again.

In requiring the players to use BDTP to "kill X for good", it essentially overrides the rule that Only the Player Invokes BDTP, because they do it when they fight someone that they WANT to be involved with, and ignore the small beans folks that they don't really care about.

In a one-shot, it's always a hard line to balance, but if the players just drill through every antagonist by bumping up their rolls with friend dice and pool points, and saying "No" when the GM asks if they want to go to BDTP, then cool, they're defeated. They appear dead...

...But guess who shows up right outside the ship when the players return to it, after having blown through about 5-7 baddies without BDTP? Oh, it's all the antagonists! Together! In a giant hells-bells smackdown that the WWF would make people pay to watch.

Otherwise, it was awesome. Maybe it needed some bits to tie the "Sailor Side Quests" together a little tighter, but overall it was great I loved the handouts, the "Secret Upgrade Idea", etc. Great, great stuff.

It did produce the single coolest TSOY moment ever, though.

Which one was that? Was it the "kill you as I fall in love with you" moment?

My favorite was definitely the second Bringing Down the Pain that I ever had with the game, which was with Ben L: We Brought Down the Pain in an Art Contest... To The Death!

Blogger John Harper says:  

Thanks for the feedback, Andy. I'll put Freebooters together into a finished package some time after GenCon, probably.

Yeah, the coolest moment ever was when Matt succeeded in killing the witch at the exact moment that her spell worked and he fell in love with her. Teh cool.

Blogger Unknown says:  

jealous. :( We better set some time aside tonite just to gab about Forge Midwest!

Blogger Unknown says:  

Also on the jealous-wagon.

I'm practially turning blue waiting for Origins & GenCon!

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