August 23rd, 2012


Now Available: a Living Dungeon World PDF

We interrupt this stream of GenCon reporting to bring you some breaking news.

Living Dungeon World 0.1 has been officially released!

This document contains several modifications of the basic Dungeon World rules that we have used successfully in running dozens of con games over the past year, and of course the Living Dungeon World events at the Los Angeles Strategicon conventions (Play Living Dungeon World III at Gateway in a week and a bit!). The core of the document is the latest development of the alternative XP rules that had come a to be known as BBC XP.

As the version number indicates, Living Dungeon World is an ongoing project (Ryan's project page is here). In order to produce this booklet for GenCon 2012, we left out a section on running LDW events, a section on between adventure moves which needs to be examined and developed in light of the more recent versions of Dungeon World, as well as a short list of additional GM advice topics to write up (thanks especially to Marshall Miller, of Dungeon Starter fame. If you have suggestions or comments, you can leave them here or on Ryan's blog, or tweet us.

GenCon 2012: The Climactic Finale

Day four. Sunday. The End.

Spoiler alert! It was awesome and I wished I'd arranged to head back to LA on the Monday instead of Sunday evening. Ah well.

I had arranged with Mark to play Technoir at 10am. I was early to Games on Demand, and when I arrived I saw that there were a couple of games of Monsterhearts on the board. Dilemma! But I really wanted to try Technoir, so I took the chance that there would be more games of Monsterhearts in the midday session. Character Generation for Technoir seemed to take longer than it should have, and our game was quite short, but it gave me a good chance to see all the mechanics in action. Technoir uses setting starters called Transmissions not dissimilar to cut-down and focused Fiasco playsets. The players position themselves relative to certain contacts and the GM makes a web of relationships into which they insert a crime or mystery. Noir happens.

Mark explains something during character creation.

I played Tone, an ex-military pilot with an armed chopper and rippling blue cybereyes. The other characters were an obsessive doctor, a sneaky cyber-criminal and another ex-soldier whom I knew from my service time. I'm not sure where my character sheet ended up or I'd say more about the other characters. Lance played the soldier; his write up is here, about halfway down, right under a description of a Monster of the Week game. Lance also has some nice things to say about the people he met at GenCon, including me. I also have nothing but good things to say about Gregor, Steve and Joe.

Then it was lunchtime, but there were two Monsterhearts games on the board and this was the last Games on Demand slot of the convention. One game was being run by Chris from San Diego whom I regularly game with and the other by John Stavropoulos (Jenskot) whose game hadn't finished as I neared the front of the line. I don't recall exactly how it happened, but Joe Beason (whom I'd seen around, but I don't think I'd met), said he had a free slot in a six player game. Six players now vs 4 players whenever John finished. Many of you will know that I hesitate to sign up for games with more than four, but I opted for what I thought was going to be a full two-hour slot rather than one that was probably shortened by 15-20 minutes. By the time I got to the overflow room where Joe's game was to take place, there were six players, but Joe ushered me in anyway. I probably would have left them to it if I hadn't had a brief conversation with some of the players at the table at the beginning of the previous day's Games on Demand about The Gentle Ladies Tea & Monstrosity Destroying & Quilting Circle Auxiliary and if, as I had left the main Games on Demand room to run my Monster of the Week sessions, one of them had not given me her spare copy of said game, by which point I had rather embarrassingly forgotten her name. By Sunday morning, as I began to ponder this eventual blog post, my memory lapse had me feeling rather guilty that I wouldn't be able to thank her except as an anonymous benefactor. Fortunately, this group of Midwesterners turned out to be Games on Demand regulars rather than so many of the other people with whom I had fleeting interactions over the weekend, who in a sea of thirty-thousand plus gamers, were washed away never to be seen again.

This is all to say how unlikely it seemed later that I would end up playing a seven-player game of Monsterhearts for four hours between noon and when I had to leave to catch my bus to the airport. In fact, just a month ago, if you had said that very sentence to me, I would have laughed. No way.

As you have no doubt guessed from this ridiculous build up, this game was awesome. Of course, it was too many people, and I didn't have enough screen time, and it went too long, but despite all that, it was one of my favourite games of the con and it thoroughly converted me to Monsterhearts. It may well have been that by early afternoon on the last day of a four-day con, that kind of leisurely game was exactly what I needed. It was a perfect storm of players, GM, creativity and slow-burn intensity that hit all the generic buttons. As Joe said: "A couple orgies, the murder of an innocent mortal, a pervy dad, an evil school nurse. Pretty much a typical session."

I got my Lestat/Angel on as Lucian, the ancient Vampire, of course hanging creepily around the high school, seducing football-playing werewolves and sea-dwelling shapeshifters, and bookending the game with the initially failed but ultimately successful seduction of the most popular girl in school. You can read about the game in detail in Michael's game report, and in brief in Jenn's con report. So thanks to Joe and all the players, and especially Jenn for her spare copy of The Gentle Ladies Tea & Monstrosity Destroying & Quilting Circle Auxiliary. You're all legends.

So that was how it ended. I ninja'd into the dealer room to attempt to spend my IPR voucher, but failed to find anything on their rather cleaned-out shelves that I both wanted and didn't own, rushed back to the hotel, caught the bus to the airport, and that was Indy.

As well as the Illinois peeps who made the last game such a lasting impression, I'd especially like to thank the Riddles and the Las Crucas crowd, the Games on Demand organisers, all my players and GMs, and the various far-flung friends whom I knew before the show, as well as all the new friends that I made at the show, for contributing to what was an awesome experience, both gaming, and beyond gaming.

Because that right there... that is why I love being a gamer.