Archive for the ‘HuntCon’ Category

Gamers doing what gamers do best–HuntCon the Reanimation   2 comments

Last Saturday morning, Feb. 15, I went to a quarterly gathering of gamers called HuntCon. This is actually what my friends and I used to do every Friday night back 40 years ago when I was a young troll, but now once every two or three months is plenty.

So, this is not a very exciting blog, but consider it a slice of life, gamers in their natural habitat.

A nice home in the northern suburbs of Phoenix is the scene of a 2 day gaming party.

A nice home in the northern suburbs of Phoenix is the scene of a 2 day gaming party.

So nobody has to answer the door.

So nobody has to answer the door.

Gamers spotted.

Gamers spotted.

Jesse Foster, leader of the Steve Jackson affiliate in Phoenix--the Men in Black--invited me to play Chupacabra with him.

Jesse Foster, leader of the Steve Jackson affiliate in Phoenix–the Men in Black–invited me to play Chupacabra with him.

The place was well provisioned.

The place was well provisioned. I ate a lot of those nuts.

Video games happen in the den. It is only midmorning. Nothing is happening yet.

Video games happen in the den. It is only midmorning. Nothing is happening yet.

Chupacabra comes in a can. Steve Jackson Games is doing very well with its dice games that come in a can.

Chupacabra comes in a can. Steve Jackson Games is doing very well with its dice games that come in a can.

A tip of the trollish hat to Morgan Hunt. He owns the castle and hosted the event.

A tip of the trollish hat to Morgan Hunt. He owns the castle and hosted the event.

Shadow Hunter was my second game of the day. I was one of the winners. The Hunters won and so did I.

Shadow Hunter was my second game of the day. I was one of the winners. The Hunters won and so did I.

My last game of the day was Tikal, a German resource management game with tiles.

My last game of the day was Tikal, a German resource management game with tiles.

By noon the place was getting kind of crowded. In the background Jesse Foster was running his Troll Hunter game. Oddly enough, though I am a Trollish champion of sorts, I have never managed to get into one of his Trollhunter sessions. i guess I don't want to be hunted.

By noon the place was getting kind of crowded. In the background Jesse Foster was running his Troll Hunter game. Oddly enough, though I am a Trollish champion of sorts, I have never managed to get into one of his Trollhunter sessions. i guess I don’t want to be hunted.

2014-02-15 03.10.29

Although most of the games being played were very current, there were some really old ones availbale also.

Although most of the games being played were very current, there were some really old ones availbale also. I took the picture to show the jar of money where attendees could contribute a bit to help cover expenses for the party.

And now farewell to all the games I didn't get to play at HuntCon. This is a fairly modest gaming closet. You should see mine some time. :)

And now farewell to all the games I didn’t get to play at HuntCon. This is a fairly modest gaming closet. You should see mine some time. ūüôā

After a little over 3 hours of gaming and hanging with my friends, and with about 40 people in the house, all talking loudly, I wearied of the scene and took my leave. I had a great time while I was there, and I thank Morgan Hunt and Jesse Foster for giving the gamers of Phoenix, another great get-together.

If you know any of the people in these pictures, or have ever attended a HuntCon, or would like to, why not leave a comment?

–end

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Posted February 19, 2014 by atroll in HuntCon, Jesse Foster, Morgan Hunt, Uncategorized

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My Favorite Editorial   6 comments

That Frisson of Disgust, That Tingle of Fear

I haven’t been very good about doing blogs lately. ¬†Either I’m not having that much fun, or I just can’t find time to write them. ¬†I have been working on a fantasy art calendar for Tunnels and Trolls, and I hope to have that published in the next week. ¬†Meanwhile, tho I’m sure I’ve run this editorial before, probably just last year, let me run it again, and I’ll stick some new art into it.

Two weeks ago at HuntCon, a friendly gaming get together here in Phoenix, I got to run A T & T adventure for 4 gamers. ¬†We did, as far as I know, the first ever adventure in Dwarf World. ¬†My players all had new characters. ¬†I started them out in the frying pan–being chased by the Black Dog people (I invented the Black Dog people on the spot because there were two big black dogs at the party, pets of the host, who were hanging around with us gamers on the back patio) who simply wanted to kill them all, and they swiftly jumped out of it into the fire.

This was the first T & T game ever for 2 of my 4 players. ¬†They were horrendously outnumbered, and in a terrible situation. ¬†Don’t you just love it when you can set up a game like that? ¬†Players really have to get creative when just running out and killing everything in their path isn’t going to work.

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Do you remember your first fantasy role-playing experience? Do you remember struggling to understand unfamiliar rules, the effort to fit your character into that of someone not yourself? Do you remember the dread with which you faced your first monstrous foe?

There has never been anything else quite like it, has there?

As you continued to play, you learned what to expect, and how to turn the tables on your Game Master. You learned how to balance a party of delvers to deal with all emergencies, how to anticipate traps, and trick monsters. You learned when to fight and when to talk. And as you learned all these things, your character found artifacts of power and grew ever more potent and dangerous.

And now that you are a 20th level wizard-warrior with a pet dragon capable of dishing out 6421 points of hit damage, spells capable of halting time or destroying a mountain, armor that can protect you from a nuclear explosion – now that you have achieved all your desires, don’t you find yourself looking around wondering where the next challenge will come from, and not finding any?

Wasn’t it better when you were just a first level wizard, agonizing over whether to throw a TTYF for 16 whole points of damage on that charging monster, and then hope the party can protect you until the combat is over, or whether to vorpal the blade of the best warrior and possibly strike a few blows of your own with the quarterstaff?

The truth is that we as human beings gain just as much pleasure from making small decisions and gaining small victories as we do from making earth-shattering decisions and saving the world. We are each our own world, and when you manage to elude that horde of MR-5 rats and scramble to safety, it is as good or better than causing the earth to open and swallow 20,000 attacking Ores. The first is just a personal triumph; the second example is history. But what do you as a person relate to more – personal triumphs or history?

There is no doubt that the longer you continue to role-play, the better a role-player you will become, and the more effective your character will be during the game. But when you can effortlessly wave your hand and destroy that hulking troll, the satisfaction is gone from the game. When you had to think fast, dodge, rig a landslide, lure it into a pit, the challenge and thus the fun was greater.

The Black Dog People probably looked like this.

Which brings me to my point – low level games are more fun than high level games. Being powerless and fighting for your life is more of a thrill than being godlike and annihilating the opponent. High level games turn into bragging contests, where players and Game Masters try to top each other with one super feat after another. Low level adventures are more the kind of thing you could see yourself actually participating in.

And that is why, in over 25 years of role-playing, I have never actually developed a character higher than 9th level. High level characters are like gods, and if I need a god, I’ll make one up (Gristlegrim, Lerotra’hh) when I’m the Game Master. Or. I’ll ask the current G.M. to do a divine intervention.

Then again, if a beginning character dies, you can always roll up a new one Рno great loss! But if a high level character gets toasted, then you lose months or years of role-playing labor. No wonder AD&D allows practically unlimited resurrection of dead characters. It’s a power trip, and once you accumulate a fair amount of power, you really hate to lose it.

The solution to having the most fun, of course, is to retire those high level monstrosities – turn them into NPCs. Perhaps someone will encounter old Drax the Demon Dodger and get his help on a particularly difficult mission that all those first to third level types had no chance with, but your emotional investment is not tied up in Drax. Instead, it’s with Itchy the Kid who’s just finding his first magic kazoo.

Turn your high level characters into Kings and important NPCs when you run an adventure for others.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. High level games can be awesome, but low level games are a lot more fun!

Oh, and I’m happy to report that my characters got a chance to do something heroic at the end of the adventure. ¬†They fought and killed an Obsidian Spider that was tougher than all of them put together, saved their Dwarf guide who had earlier saved them, and wound up with a fortune in rubies. ¬†Then, since we had been playing for about 3 hours, I used a Deus Ex Machina device to wrap up the adventure in a hurry and end the game. ¬†Everybody felt both tested and rewarded. ¬†I thought it was an excellent way to introduce new players to T ¬†& T.

If you’ve ever played Dwarf World, or have any opinion about high level vs. low level adventuring in frps, please go ahead and leave a comment.

–end

P.S. ¬†All the art in this blog was done by David Ullery. ¬†He has a massive new solo adventure available at¬†http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product_info.php?products_id=99174. ¬†And guess what? ¬†It’s for low level characters, and is lots of fun.

An elemental battle--delver versus hungry reptile.