Monday, March 27, 2017

Jim & Jen & Gary Con

Our Trip to Lake Geneva

Gary Con... wow.  So many amazing moments and emotions.  So much planning, preparing, fretting, organizing, traveling, and before we knew it we were there.  It's really hard to put this all into words, so I thought I'd do it with pictures.  

Let's start with the packing!  Here's our pre-Gary Con organization area.  Lot of good it did me!  I ended up forgetting some of my monsters for Star Wars DCC.  No worries though, as I was able to access Google Docs during the game.  Very grateful that the Grand Geneva had WiFi!

A little pre-Gary Con iced tea with +Jennifer Walls' stress relieving wizard.

If I was going to hold the wizard, I was holding my special d20 as well.

The view from our hotel room balcony.

This one was hard to look at and not get emotional.  A table of honor for Dungeons & Dragons creator Gary Gygax.  All of these items could be found at his table during gaming sessions with friends and family.  A touching tribute to an incredible human being.

It wasn't hard to find after-hours gaming.  I managed to get in on a little of +Doug Kovacs' Inferno Road DCC game.

I made sure to bring my silver cake mist so that someone could get shiny and chrome during the adventure.  +Marc Plourde considered it, but it would be +Craig Stokes that would go all in.


+David Baity's Dark Trails session was a weird western roller coaster of awesome!  I got to play an Occultist and +Jennifer Walls was a spirit talking Calavera... not sure if I spelled that right.  But wonderful classes!  Really hope to see more of this... and maybe buy a shirt off of David.

Jen working out her character sheet.

My character, Doctor O, lopped his hand off mid-session and replaced it with a goaty hand.  This was me doing the goat hand with +Craig Stokes.

The Growing Up Gygax panel with Gary Gygax's children was informative, touching, and warmly humorous.  So glad that there are people who can tell Gary's story.

Just me and my legendary buddy +Marc Plourde being badass together.

I brought stuff to run a quick, one-hour player vs. player session of DCC Roman Gladiators. This turned into four straight hours of battling in the blood and sand.  

Believe me, this game was off-the-charts crazy!  Expect to see more gladiators soon...


The DCCRPG community really knows how to take up some room in the bar!

Friday morning began with +Harley Stroh's Warlords of the Purple Planet.  This game needs to become something that I can spend a ton of cash on!  Play a roving band of wasteland kith collecting green shards and battling worms?  YES PLEASE!

I became quite the worm killer!  No one killed as many worms as me!

Okay, this worm did me in.

The banner of the "Loathing Purplish Breeze."  Note the three worm kills on top of the three "C's".  Each one of those reflected me killing one of Connor Skatch's warbands.  Dude, that kid can PLAY!  I was lucky to keep the same warband until the end of the game.  Then I died.

Running DCCRPG Stormtroopers of the First Order.  Special thanks to +Sean P Kelley for the picture!

What a great table of players!  Two of the gamers even kept their original character the entire game, never succumbing to PC death.  Pretty epic for a funnel!

While I played Star Wars +Jennifer Walls and +Marc Plourde explored the Caverns of Thracia.

I don't know why Jen wanted to do Marc in... 

In downtown Lake Geneva you can find a tiny plaque to Gary Gygax.  A poignant and touching monument from the friends and family of Gary.  Lake Geneva needs to do more for this man's memory.

+Doug Kovacs teaching the rules to Dogstorm.  Imagine a miniatures combat game in a post apocalyptic world where dachshunds and rhinos can rain from the sky.  That is Dogstorm.

Ready to weather the storm!

 Holy crap, it's +Jarrett Crader!!!

My warband of elves led by Luke Skywalker.

Check out this terrain!

Check out +Jennifer Walls playing a miniatures wargame.  What the heck, Gary Con!  How did you turn Jen into a mini's gamer!?!

Got to spend a little time with +Jason Hobbs of the Hobbs & Friends of the OSR podcast.  Got some podcasting tips to help my new "career" on Glowburn.  Jen and I listened to Jason's podcast during our trip home, and really enjoyed it.  You should check it out too, just follow this link.

Doug quizzing Joe Goodman on Lankhmar at the What's New with Goodman Games seminar.  Joe didn't do so well, but fortunately he still kicked off the DCC Lankhmar Kickstarter for everyone!  Go check it out and pledge today!

Jen witnessed the Judge's Guild Strongman contest.  I still don't know how +Tim Deschene didn't win, after all those bodybuilding posts he puts up on Facebook.  Shame!

The highlight of +Jennifer Walls' con experience was Mall Maul, the Crawling Under a Broken Moon tournament funnel with Judge +Jarrett Crader.  I hope the foam wizard behaved itself!

DCCRPG Wrath of the Gungan Horde on Saturday.  A perilous game, as this was the one where I forgot the monster stats!

Tamara named her Bounty Hunter "Sean Spicer."  It drew a few looks from other tables throughout the game.

It was a game full of PvP action, double crosses, zombie gungans, and Jabba karaoke.  Thanks for playing!

Although you can't tell from this pic, while I was talking with +Reid San Filippo+Jennifer Walls got to play with Ernie Gygax's super-sweet dog.  They had quite the game of fetch!

Got to play a halfling in a quick, 7th level pickup game with Judge +Michael Thompson.  Sorry if I was in and out, dude!  Thanks for the game and letting me experience higher level play for the very first time!

Speaking of this game, it was the first time I ever witnessed a PC break open a mech's cockpit and then take a dump on the pilot.  You can guess who the player was... 

... it was +Marc Plourde.

+Jennifer Walls and I enjoyed the alcohol based "Cultural Exchange" late Saturday night.

Goodbye Gary Con, Lake Geneva, and the Grand Geneva Resort...

... we'll see you next March!

PS:  Thanks Gary... 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Numenera - The Devil's Spine - Session 6

The Devil's Spine Campaign Log

Welcome to our group's campaign log for The Devil's Spine, a mega-adventure by +Monte Cook for the Numenera campaign setting.  

Originally this was going to be a pure and simple campaign log.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Just a record for me and my friends to keep track of what was going on in the game.  But I've decided that, as we progress through the adventure, I'd do some commentary and/or reviews on different parts of the adventure.  So... SPOILERS!


  • Belmodan, a Resourceful Seeker who Wields a Whip, played by +andrew lyon 
  • Keane, a Rebellious Glaive who Likes to Break Things, played by +Craig McCullough 
  • Nero, a Mad Nano who Travels Through Time, played by +David Howard 
  • PL4T0, an Artificially Intelligent Jack who Resides in Silicon, played by +Marc Plourde
  • Ruun, an Exiled Glaive who Gazes into the Abyss, played by +William Keller 

Previously on The Devil's Spine

Session 6:  PL3T1

Okay folks, I'm calling last night a success.  This past weekend I was oh, so close to 1,000 followers.  So I made a promise:

Now I wasn't clear which character I would kill, only that one of them would die.  But since Numenera was my next adventure, the odds were good that it would happen in the Ninth World, and that PL4T0 would be my gruesome victim.  

Commitment made, but could I get there?

Made it!

Our session began on the lowest level of the Insidious Choir Tower.  The PC's ascended a level and found a room full of all kinds of junk, including a small piece that warbled as it moved across the floor.  Uncovering the small device, the party was surprised to see a nearly identical twin to PL4T0!  

Once scanned by the party's PL4T0, an instant connection was formed.  PL4T0 was able to simultaneously exist as himself as well as PL3T1 (Pleti).  PL3T1 had all of the same skills and abilities as his "brother", but sported some weird add-ons.  The first was a plaque bolted onto his side that looked like the Pioneer spacecraft message.  Two naked figures, a spacecraft, some planets, you get  the idea.  

But instead of naked people, there were naked spider-people.  Eww.

The second add-on was a strip of virus infected flesh.  It glowed green, so obviously virus-stuff.  The party didn't seem to mind.  

So I decided to "let" Marc play PL3T1 as his own character - a second character to be played alongside PL4T0.  So now he had two characters.  

Around this time Belmodan tried to touch PL4T0's hat, and the tiny bot stuck the seeker with a dagger.  No touching PL4T0!  Incidentally, I've noticed that Cypher System player vs. player rates have skyrocketed since I started introducing Numenera fans to Dungeon Crawl Classics.  I totally blame the Perucchini School of Gaming Excellence.  

Just sayin'.  

Also in the giant mounds of trash was another busted bot (PL1T7), and the carcass of a "Schmeeer" - a deer/slug hybrid that lacked legs and traveled on a small pool of a cream-cheese-like substance, leaving a cheesy trail behind.  Schmeeer eyes are hallucinogenic  so when Ruun ate one he had this crazy waking dream that he was actually a compassionate human being.  In game terms this GM Intrusion meant that I flipped the glaive's Might and Intellect Edges for an hour.  

Ruun's player, Will, commented that this felt a lot like Flowers for Algernon.  I have to agree.

A pair of virus people would attack the party at some point, but they were wimps.  

The next level of the tower featured a pair of Ergavores: hounds with six tongues that could cause damage to energy fields.  The Ergavores had a few things working against them when fighting the party:

  1. None of the PC's had energy barriers to deactivate.
  2. Belmodan used his whip to yank one of the Ergavore's tongues, causing the big Ninth World dog to bite it off.  Ouch!

After this battle the party met Dro.  Remember those NPC's from a couple games ago?  Well, this was the bro that they were trying to find.  Dro seemed pretty normal, except that he had glowing green nailbeds.  And if my players had learned anything about The Devil's Spine, it's that all green shit must die!  But for some strange, completely bizarre reason, the PC's didn't kill Dro.  Even after he kept making weird comments.  Even after he noticed that Belmodan was carrying his Dro's friend's Homing Volt Projector.  Even after he wanted to "touch" PL3T1, and remove his metal spider plaque to acquire the processing unit attached to it and use it to end the virus menace forever, somehow.

So... my players will kill NPC's that have no desire to cause them any harm, and speak with normal words.  But they will leave a psycho-bastard alive?  Well it worked out in their favor.

The players injected Dro with the catholicon cypher, curing him of his affliction.  The dude puked up all kinds of green crap.  He then gave the team a bunch of information about the rest of the tower.  Dro stated that the spire atop the tower had a weird probe attached to it and pointing east.  The same probe that was on the nekkid spider plaque mounted on PL3T1's back.  There was some discussion of planning around this time, but then an hour had gone by and Ruun charged upstairs.

An epic battle took place as the team neared the top of the tower.  Here are the highlights:

  • The party fought the battle next to two giant tubs of virus goo.  
  • A giant virus crab monster went toe-to-toe with Ruun.
  • A bunch of virus people were in a command station doing things to intestine-like controls.  
  • PL3T1, who had been sporting that weird virus patch, defected, and connected with the giant virus crab sort of like something out of Tranzor-Z.
  • Ruun and Dro kicked the crap out of the crab while Belmodan and Keane slaughtered the virus folks on at the control station.
  • PL4T0 jumped up on the giant virus crab/PL3T1 "Tranzor-Z" thing and destroyed his "brother" using Dro's sword!

Wait... did you read that last part?  Go read it again.  Remember earlier when I let Marc play both PL4T0 and PL3T1 at the same time?  They were both his characters... and he killed on of them.  One of them died.  So one of Marc's characters died...

That totally counts!

The adventure ended when PL4T0 grabbed the metal plaque, far stepped to the roof of the structure, found the spider-created spacecraft attached to the tower spire, and blew everything up.  Good thing too, since the virus hive mind was like SUPER close to bringing a bunch more of those virus crabs into combat.

But when all was said and done, and when all the dust settled.  When all was right with the world...

... I killed one of Marc's characters.

... totally counts.

PS:  Wanna be super cool?  Go follow Marc on Twitter!  Want to be even cooler than super cool?  Go read his blog, Inspiration Strikes!  It's fantastic!  Totes worth it!


"So, tonight Marc dies in Bloomington?" - David commenting on Marc being in Indiana.

"There is nothing worse than a warble in the junk." - Will being gross.

"I reject your human form biology!" - PL4T0 is species'ist.

"Marc has definitely moved on to the master class." - Craig commenting on Marc's admittance to the Perucchini School of Gaming Excellence.  

"All I'm going to say is Alex would've attacked." - Craig was right.

"Ergovore hounds give birth with a force equal to a Chevy Nova going zero to sixty." - I don't know why I said this... wait, yes I do.

"The floating ball face will shiv you with no provocation." - Ruun gave fair warning for all who approached PL4T0.

"We don't trust him." - PL4T0 and PL3T1 at the same time.  Damned creepy!