I don’t typically do a write-up following conventions. I’ve never felt like I had anything interesting enough to say to put the time into doing so.
But this year some really exciting stuff happened, so I wanted to share. This will be roughly chronological, but my memory is also bad.
When RPGBOT first started going to cons, it was because we wanted to build relationships with the content creators that we liked and meet new ones whose work we could cover on the site and on the RPGBOT.Podcast. Ideally, we wanted to get early access to content so that we could have content ready for release day (optimization guides, reviews, etc.).
We learned almost immediately that the way to do that was to be “press”, and since then we’ve been working to build a press relationship with a bunch of companies. This year at Gen Con was the first time that we could confidently say “Yes, we are press and we are doing press things.”
Welcome to Gen Con 2023
We got to the con bright and early Thursday morning and needed to hit Will Call so that we could collect the paper tickets for events that day. Gen Con uses a paper ticketing system, which means that you need to purchase event tickets 2+ hours in advance. A tiny handful of events use e-ticketing, but they’re in the minority. Everyone must pick up their own tickets in person and must present photo ID, which means that nearly everyone attending the con needs to wait in this line at least once.
Naturally, this meant that the line stretched the full length of the convention center. The con staff are very good at this, so it only took about 30 minutes to get through the line, but I was worried about making my first event.
I was going to write here that you should deal with Will Call on Wednesday if possible, but apparently that’s bad advice. I’m told that Wednesday night’s lines took multiple hours. Maybe Wednesday morning is better? We walked past the Will Call line Sunday morning, and it was so long that it extended from the Will Call stands to the opposite end of the convention hall, bent around, then went all the way back to the booths.
If you need to hit Will Call, do it as infrequently as possible. Ideally never. Plan your ticketed events well in advance (again: 2-hour minimum time for them to have your tickets). If you plan things very early, you can have your badge and event tickets mailed to you ahead of the convention. If you need “generic tickets”, which are used for board game demos, the pinball hall, the arcade, and the board game library, get them at the ticket stands inside Lucas Oil Stadium and the board game hall adjacent to the Exhibit Hall.
If you must hit the Will Call line, wait in line with friends. Bring water and maybe a snack. In fact, consider bringing breakfast and eating it while waiting.
The Free League Showcase
Free League announces upcoming projects at this panel every year. Last year they announced Lord of the Rings Roleplaying 5e, which I reviewed and loved. This year they didn’t announce any new systems, but they announced enough products that I have two pages of chicken-scratched notes that I can mostly still read. Mostly.
On track, and Free League is very excited about it. When asked about future content, they said that they’re not ready to announce anything before the core rules are published.
Walking Dead RPG
Anticipating a public release later this year.
Blade Runner RPG
Blade Runner claimed several Ennies this year, but we haven’t gotten around to reviewing it.
Free League announced two new products: “Fiery Angels”, a new book with 6 case files (adventures, scenarios, whatever), and the “Replicant Rebellion” source book. Replicant Rebellion promises to support a different play style from the methodical, mystery focus of the core game, instead support more short-form improvisational play.
The new “Building Better Worlds” source book is behind schedule.
Tales from the Loop
New published campaign called “They Grow up So Fast”. It will be in 4 parts and set in the UK.
One Ring 2e and LoTR RP 5e
One Ring is getting a new adventure called “Tales from the Lone Lands.” LoTR RP 5e is getting “Tales from Eriador” in November.
The big announcement here was “Mordor: The Long Dark”, a major expansion to the game. Both the One Ring 2e and LoTR RP 5e versions will kickstart together later in August.
The Throne of Thorns campaign will receive its sixth and final chapter, concluding a story that has taken a decade to tell.
The new “Lone Mountain Saga” source book is coming soon.
Limithron’s Pirate Borg is a massive success story, built using the Mork Borg public license. The author was on stage with the Free League team, and announced an upcoming expansion called “Dark Caribbean”.
I talked to the Limithron team later in the con, but I’ll address that below because there’s a fun story.
CY_BORG is getting a huge new expansion called Waste 20X4, coming late 2024. They’re advancing the in-world timeline by one year, and the new book comes with rules for vehicle combat, chases, and several new classes, factions, enemies, hazards, and scenarios.
Death in Space
The Stockholm Kartell team announced the upcoming “Dead Flag Contracts”, a book of scenarios set in a post-war planet struggling to recover. Slated for release in 2024.
Impromptu Paizo Press Conference
In the last few minutes of the Free League Showcase, I glanced at my email and saw that Paizo had announced Starfinder 2e. When the showcase ended, I called my team, and made a bee-line for the Paizo booth, which was conveniently across the hall on the floor below. I found Paizo’s marketing director, Aaron Shanks, and waited politely for him to finish a conversation. Well, mostly politely. I eavesdropped a lot.
A couple other folks were arriving with similar questions, at least one of whom had actually planned to meet Aaron, so he gathered us around and declared a press conference.
The Starfinder 2e playtest will run for roughly 2 years, is in very early stages, and will be Paizo’s most open playtest to date. Currently there’s some early content for the reworked Soldier class available for download. Starfinder 2e will be fully compatible with Pathfinder 2e, which means that content from one could be ported directly into the other.
This has some interesting implications for character optimization handbooks because Starfinder 2e will launch with several years of PF2 content. I’ve been planning a dive into Starfinder for a while, so 2e gives me a good excuse, but the mountain of content is going to take some climbing.
When we returned to talk to the marketing director again on Sunday, we had some follow-up questions. With the promise of backwards-compatibility, he’s excited to see what people do in the playtest. Randall and I immediately landed on the idea of running Kingmaker in Starfinder so that I can become a wizard king in space. Paizo really does cater to everyone’s most detailed and specific fantasies.
Some of the below is mixed in from our follow-up conversation on day 4, but it’s all mixed in to consolidate the info.
The remaster is on track. Cover art was on display in hollow hardback covers, and it looks gorgeous. Aaron discussed the effects of the OGL controversy, and we all politely agreed that it had been massively impactful.
The Paizo team is also working on their pre-existing content schedule alongside the remaster effort, so they’re putting in a lot of work right now to keep things on the rails.
Tian Xia’s setting book and player options book have both been delayed due to the OGL controversy. Current timeline is Q1 of 2024, but they don’t have specific dates yet. We confirmed with the product lead, who was conveniently a few steps away when we brought it up.
United Paizo Workers and Paizo’s First Union Contract
Paizo very recently signed their first union contract with United Paizo Workers. Aaron expressed that the union discussions compelled Paizo to have some difficult but important discussions, and he said that leadership was happy that they could arrive at an agreement.
Among other changes, Paizo is now an all-remote company. Previously they’ve been based out of Redmond, Washington, which is an increasingly expensive place to live. Full-time employees were required to live locally, and on TTRPG-industry salaries, that’s a difficult prospect. Moving to all-remote is a big step, and I’m excited to see Paizo embracing change.
Attendance at conventions has also become opt-in for staff, which means that the individual attendees representing Paizo at conventions will be a bit less predictable. But I know how incredibly stressful convention travel can be, and I absolutely support this change. I’m not even there running a booth, and I was exhausted by day 3.
Paizo is expanding their content offerings. In addition to their RPGs, they’re releasing their first in-house board game in several years, Elemental Stones, and a new novel which may lead a full line of novels in the future.
They’re also working on a new website, which was announced recently on their blog. Paizo’s dated website has been a long-term complaint, so change is exciting.
Randall and I also discussed marketing materials at length with Aaron, and I think we’ve convinced him to make some improvements to the exclusive preview process so reviewers get more helpful material to work with and so that players get to see better previews. It’s great that Aaron was receptive to constructive feedback, and I’m hoping we’ll get to do more exclusive previews.
We also talked to several of the Paizo creative team, and we’re hoping to have them on the podcast in the near future to talk about various upcoming projects. High on the to-do list: an episode discussing the SF2 playtest process.
Lucas Oil Stadium
We had time to grab a quick lunch before our next scheduled event. The Gen Con Block Party has a ton of food trucks with food that smelled amazing, but the lines were long and we didn’t have time to wait. I absolutely love a food truck, but now wasn’t the time.
Our next event was inside Lucas Oil Stadium, so we headed there. The food stands near the entrance were open, selling typical stadium fare: hot dogs, cheeseburgers, chicken strips, and nachos. Whatever your expectations are of stadium food, we got exactly that. We also picked up Gen Con commemorative cups because they’re refillable and they have the gorgeous art from the Gen Con program cover.
After eating we had a few minutes, so we got to explore the floor of the oil stadium. Every year it’s set up as a board game play space with a game library and tables filling the stadium floor.
Alexandria RPG Library
On the floor of the oil stadium, we found the Alexandria RPG Library, which we’ve encountered at previous conventions. They have a wonderful collection of TTRPG source books new and old, and I got to show the team some really cool books and talk to the proprietors. The library is growing, and they’re expanding their ability to be at multiple conventions nation-wide.
Randall found a copy of the Mistborn Adventure Game based on works by Brandon Sanderson. Randall is a fan, so he was very excited. We haven’t looked into the game at all, but it’s fun to know that it exists in the wild.
D&D Round Table: Deck of Many Things and Planescape
This one was big for us. Like, “I am three kids in a trench coat and I’m not qualified to do this” big. We were invited to a round-table discussion with a trio of folks from the d&d design team to discuss the upcoming Deck of Many Things and Planescape products. We were joined by folks from The Gallant Goblin and from DDOPlayers. We rode the elevator with Todd Kenreck, which was neat.
We met with Jason Tondro (former Paizo, worked on Keys from the Golden Vault), Makenzie De Armas (Keys from the Golden Vault, Wild beyond the Witchlight, MCDM’s Kingdoms and Warfare, Islands of Sina Una), and Wesley Schneider (Co-creator of Pathfinder, worked on Tasha’s, Fizban’s, Strixhaven, Van Richten’s, Radiant Citadel, and many of the UA documents over the past several years). These folks are serious designers with great work under their belts. The discussion was moderated by Greg Tito (Co-host of Dragon Talk, the official D&D podcast, and author of Welcome to Dragon Talk).
Some highlights from what we learned:
Deck of Many Things
The box set includes 66 cards and two hard-cover books: The Book of Many Things, and the card guide.
Among the cards, there are 44 new cards in addition to the 22 classics. New cards fill functional gaps, such as new cards to get magic items of more types since currently you can only get a wondrous item. Some of the classic cards have been renamed (ex: “The Idiot” is now “The Puzzle”), but their effects remain unchanged.
The Book of Many things is organized by card, and includes player options. The options include one new feat, “Cartomancer”, several new card-themed spells, and 70+ new magic items. The designers brought up Gambit unprompted, so I think everyone is on the same page about what we want here. Among the magic items, several are decks of cards, including a lesser version of the Deck of Many Things which has much of the fun but won’t absolutely wreck your campaign. The designers also discussed throwing cards as weapons, so I think at least one of the items supports that capability. I didn’t have time to look at the items, unfortunately, so we’ll need to wait for more specifics.
The card guide includes DM advice for using the cards as story points in your game. It includes a full system for using the Deck of Many Things to perform a tarot-style card drawing to randomly generate story elements. This has been approached by a few folks, including Decuma (which just won the Gold Ennie for Best Aid/Accessory Non-Digital), but every take on the concept is a little different, and I think the one included here is exciting. For some reason, this book is published in a landscape format instead of portrait format, which won’t be problem as long as you keep your box set together, but otherwise it’s going to make your book shelf look weird.
Like other 5e products, the book has a sort of “narrator”. I have unfortunately forgotten the character’s name, but her story is fantastic. She’s the first autistic character presented in an official DnD product, and she’s written based on Makenzie De Armas’s personal experiences with autism. She’s a princess-turned-paladin, and parts of the book detail her quest to find Euryale, the medusa character featured in the original Deck of Many Things, and the narrator character’s partner. It also details the canonical origins of the Deck, which has never been canonized in official DnD products.
The Cartomancer feat gives you Prestidigitation, but limits it to “close up magic”, and allows you to put one spell with an Action casting time into a card so that you can later cast it as a Bonus Action, similar to the Quickened Spell metamagic.
The Planescape box set includes a setting book, an adventure, and a DM screen. WotC heard the feedback following Spelljammer, and when everyone said “larger books, please”, they took that feedback to heart. Spelljammer’s biggest shortcoming was the small amount of content relative to the physical size of the box, and it appears that there is much more in Planescape.
The book which includes player options has 8 new feats. It follows the same design direction as Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen, so there are backgrounds which offer 1st-level feats, plus 4th-level feats which have those feats as prerequisites. I didn’t have enough time to memorize everything, but one of the 1st-level feats grants a cantrip and permanent damage resistance to one damage type, both of which are paired and tied thematically to one of the planes. I believe it was called “Planar Scion”. The other feats are similarly themed around the planes.
The designers didn’t want to spoil the adventure too much, did share some details. A talking skull from previous Planescape content named “Mort” appears repeatedly. The adventure starts with players awakening in a morgue. The multiverse is a heavy theme throughout. Players are functionally immortal; reappearing as a different version of themselves upon death following specific rules which we didn’t have time to explore. The adventure runs from level 3 to 10, then takes a jump up to level 17 for the climax of the adventure.
We asked about the practical parts of how the level jump worked. The designers explained that most players never get a chance to experience high-level play, and that high-level play comes with a lot of complexity. By level 10, players fully understand their characters and their mechanics, so jumping to level 17 was seen as a gap which players could comfortably bridge without being overwhelmed. The design team knows there is almost no official high-level content, and they were excited to offer something in that niche.
WotC brought back the original Planescape artist, and it shows. The new art fits perfectly alongside 2e-era pieces, and really captures the same weirdness which has been the visual signature of Planescape. Among the art pieces, there is a train with a mustache and lips, and the art of said train was met with mixed opinions in the room ranging from “terrifying but hilarious” to “this is the pinnacle of locomotive technology.” The DM screen art features a githyanki, a green slaad, the lady of pain, an anxious-looking human woman, and a few other characters, and the whole thing has a wonderful, odd, cartoony feel that I’m very excited about.
Following the round-table, the designers had a few more minutes, and both Makenzie and Wesley stuck around to look through the products with us. Wesley talked to Randall and me about Planescape, and pointed out that the DM screen was the first time that they changed the art for conditions. Rather than the classic art of an ogre, there’s now new art including an unconscious modron. The screen also features quick reference information for the planes and for Sigil which will be helpful while navigating Planescape.
Wesley, Randall, and I also shared our enthusiasm for Shadow of the Dragon Queen. Our weekly game is in the middle of a portion which Wesley wrote and which he’s very fond of. It was great to talk to a designer and say “hey, we’re really enjoying this thing that you made” and share genuine enthusiasm about the game.
D&D with Makenzie De Armas
Following the round table, we were invited to play a short adventure run by Makenzie De Armas. We hiked over to the gaming area in one of the local hotels, and hung out for a bit while a couple other folks joined us. We spoke very briefly with Justin Arman, and he and Makenzie shared an in-joke called the “Sigil Wiggle”, an imaginary Tik Tok-style dance themed around the iconic Planescape location.
We proceeded to a table, sorted out characters (mostly pre-gens, but Randall had an appropriate bard built and ready to go, so he used that), and got started. Mackenzie pulled out the new Deck of Many Things and used the included content to perform a card reading and generate an adventure.
We helped a local tavern owner deal with a vampire situation. Many jokes were told, monsters were slain, property was damaged, and I threw olive oil on the vampire with Fast Hands because I’m cursed with thorough knowledge of how that class feature works. The vampire was then crit into non-existence by our party’s second rogue, so the oil never paid off, but we all made jokes about thoroughly-seasoning your vampires.
Mackenzie was an absolute delight as a DM. She improvised a fun story with great characters, she used some cool monsters from Glory of the Giants and from Planescape, and she rolled with the player shenanigans so well that we didn’t even notice she was adapting on the fly. Her enthusiasm is infectious, and I sincerely hope I get to play in one of her games again.
Renegade Games Media Night
We stumbled into this one totally by coincidence. One of our friends is on the Renegade Games newsletter after backing their Kickstarter for Werewolf: The Apocalypse, and forwarded me a link to a signup form for their media night. We had basically no idea what to expect, but knew the location and time, neither of which were listed on the Gen Con event schedule.
Renegade is mostly focused on board games, and so was their presentation. We were asked not to record at risk of being black-balled from their reviewers list, and much of the presentation’s contents were specifically marked as not public info until such-and-such dates, some of which were 2+ years in the future. They have big exciting plans!
I’m not the right person to report on board game stuff, unfortunately, so we didn’t get much out of the actual presentation. But they did give everyone a swag bag with a mysterious thumb drive in it. I don’t typically accept unsolicited thumb drives due to the associated security risks, but here we are.
We tried to get in front of the Renegade Games marketing manager all weekend, but kept missing him. I snagged his card, though. We’re hoping to review some of the World of Darkness products.
Day One Ends; Dawn of the Second Day
We managed to get some time in the exhibit hall before it closed for the day, then ran off to grab dinner with some friends.
Tales of the Valiant
We had some friends attending the con, so we split the group a bit, and Randall, two of our friends, and I went to play a game of Tales of the Valiant.
We needed a group of 6, so we joined up with two other players who had come together. A few moments before being called to the table, we learned that our two new companions were fans of RPGBOT, which was really exciting. We all decided that we wanted to play “oops, all wizards” and bring an all-wizard party to the adventure regardless of the scenario, Randall was smart enough to play a cleric in case of emergencies.
Our GM was wonderful, and was immediately on board for our shenanigans. She also turned out to be a fan of RPGBOT, so at this point I’m so overwhelmed that I had to stare into my spell descriptions for a few minutes to avoid literally crying. I’m not accustomed to this, but we wear RPGBOT shirts to cons specifically so people can talk to us, and it feels amazing that I’m getting to talk to fans in person.
We got to play with both the Luck mechanic and the Doom mechanic, both of which worked out fantastically.
ToV’s Luck mechanic (still in development) gives players a pool of luck points that you can trade one-for-one to increase a d20 roll, or spend 3 to reroll it. You get a point on failed attack/check/save. If you ever have 6, you lose them and roll a die to see how many you keep. The GM asked us to experiment with the ability to donate luck points to other players’ rolls, which we used to great effect.
ToV’s Doom mechanic is the GM’s answer to the Luck mechanic. The first playtest appearance of Doom was a per-monster resource, which I didn’t care for. I remember referring to it as “a hat on a hat” since most of the creatures with a Doom mechanic also had legendary resistances and/or legendary actions. In the current iteration, Doom is a per-encounter resource and the GM gets a pool of points based on the CR of the encounter. Once spent, they’re gone. They can impose Disadvantage on player rolls, allow the GM to reroll, and a few other spicy things we didn’t see in action.
The pregen characters all worked great, the tweaks to classes felt minor but impactful, and the new Lineage/Heritage system made the wizards feel very distinct from other wizards I’ve played historically.
The game itself was excellent. Our GM did a great job supporting all of our wacky ideas, and we claimed victory on the scenario without any loss of life of noteworthy property damage. I did get hit so hard that we had to look up the “Instant Death” rules, but pre-casting False Life kept me just barely alive despite being hit with Cone of Cold immediately before being run down by a steam hammer. It was fantastic!
I have a copy of the Alpha looming just out of sight right now. I’m planning to do a full write-up, so look for that soon.
The 2023 Ennies
If you haven’t been to the Ennies, go to the Ennies. It’s Friday night of every Gen Con, there’s a full bar with signature cocktails, a silent auction with some awesome prizes, and a lot of wonderful creators come every year. Some of our favorite con friends go every year, so this was our first chance to catch up with many of them since cons frequently involve a lot of meetings and seminars and little down time.
We didn’t get to talk to everyone we wanted to before the ceremony started, unfortunately. We needed to step away a few minutes in, but I watched the results on Twitter. Some of the folks I voted for won, others didn’t, but that’s how these things go.
Following the Ennies, we met up with Ben and David from dScryb just to hang out. We really love their products, and they’re both wonderful people who fit in with our group right away. We’ve never had the pleasure of meeting them in person, so that was a lot of fun for us.
End of Day Two; Dawn of the Third Day
The plan for Saturday was “exhibit hall” and basically nothing else. Saturday is the busiest day of the con, so it’s also the worst day to explore the exhibit hall in hopes of extended conversations, but the previous days were occupied by things I couldn’t control the scheduling for, so we did our best.
Darrington Press, Daggers, Hearts, Daggerheart
For those unfamiliar: Darrington Press is Critical Role’s game design outfit. They’re produced several board games which people seem to love, and following the OGL controversy they announced two RPGs: Candela Obscura, and Daggerheart. We reviewed Candela Obscura, and were very impressed.
I had missed their name on the exhibitor’s list before the con, but I saw a Darrington Press table in the board games hall and realized I had clearly missed something. I found the booth on the map and got going. We passed a prop weapons booth on the way, briefly considered one as a gift for a family member, then decided against it.
We reached the Darrington Press booth and Randall spotted the first person in a Darrington Press shirt not actively selling board games, which turned out to be their marketing director. We mentioned that we had reviewed Candela Obscura and liked it, which she was very excited about. I told her that we’d like to review Daggerheart, and everyone was excited to exchange business cards.
I’m hoping we’ll get to review the full rules of both Candela Obscura and Daggerheart in the near future.
The Gooey Cube folks are wonderful at conventions. We attended the Great Gooey Game Show at Gary Con 2023, and Tyler and Randall both ended up playing the on the show. This was both of our first times playing on a streamed game, and of course I had laryngitis from talking non-stop for three days straight.
This year’s Gen Con saw the Great Gooey Game Show sell out 250 seats, plus standing room. It’s a good time, and if you get a chance, I strongly recommend attending.
We stopped by the booth to say hi, and they were happy to see us again. They’re great folks and we’re hoping to do some work with them in the near future.
I have a weird personal history with Pirate Borg. We met the author’s brother (who is the other half of Limithron) at Gamehole Con 2022, and he sold us on the game. The book is gorgeous, and fits perfectly alongside Mork Borg, so we were excited to review it.
After digging through the book following Gamehole, we identified a bit of racially insensitive text in the book, and halted our plans to post a review. I immediately informed Limithron, and they informed me that it was in no way intentional, had slipped through the review process, and the book was already printed. Since this is a small indy product, getting a second print run was a long-shot, so I assumed that they were stuck.
But the Limithron folks surprised me. They’ve been selling the book with a sticker to correct the text, and after their unexpected success, Pirate Borg got a second print run with corrections! I spotted the book in the Free League booth, checked the page in question, and was absolutely thrilled to see the change. I asked for directions, and the Free League folks pointed me to Limithron’s booth, basically as far across the exhibit hall as physically possible.
I introduced myself, and both Luke Stratton (the author) and his brother Tyler Stratton immediately remembered our email exchange. They were both upset that the issue had slipped through to print, but had immediately set out to correct it. They were wonderful to talk to, and I’m very happy about how they handled things. They were called out on a mistake, they set out to fix it, and they were gracious about the whole situation. Bigger publishers could learn a lot.
Luke and Tyler gave me one of the stickers to show me what they were doing, and I asked if I could keep it as a souvenir. They asked if I was going to frame it, and honestly I think I will.
I’m going to dust off that Pirate Borg review. If you need a quick opinion: it’s good. The naval combat is solid and based on their equally solid naval combat rules for 5e. The new classes are really fun. The enemies are novel and terrifying. A perfect adaptation of Mork Borg.
Monte Cook Games Makes a Heck of a Book
At some point we found ourselves in the Monte Cook Games room. We first got familiar with MCG’s work at Gamehole Con of 2022, and we’ve done a bit of exploring since then.Randall reviewed their Core Rulebook, and we discussed their open license (announced at Gamehole Con 2022) on the podcast. Since then Randall has been itching to dig into more Cypher content.
The shop room had copies of their newly-printed Gods of Old Apalachia on the shelves, and Randall went straight for it. I opened up a copy and looked at the new characters options. One of the new “verbs” to describe your character is “does what needs doing”, and that was enough to sell me on the concept. MCG seems to always nail the tone in their Cypher books in a way that really pulls me in. I have a copy of Godforsaken waiting for me to finish reading it, and I had much of the same experience there.
We also picked up their Alice in Wonderland-themed Cypher book. Aimee (our Business Manager), is a big fan of Alice in Wonderland, and after I showed her the first art page she wanted a copy. We also grabbed No Thank You, Evil, which I played at Gary Con this year and loved. It’s a wonderful RPG targeted for younger kids, but we may try an all-adults game just to see what happens.
Yes We Also Play Board Games
After stepping away for dinner following the exhibit hall closing for the night, we still had some time to kill, so we made our way back to the stadium to play some board games. The board game library turned out to be alarmingly expensive ($12/person, and there 12 were of us), so we looked at the groups arranged around the edges of the stadium.
The first banner features a dragon colored like an american flag and wearing a tie and cufflinks. The banner read “Fairy Tail Campaign Trail: The game of ridiculous debating and nonsense arguments.” I was immediately sold on the premise, so we sat down.
The creators, Parakeet Griffin Games, were there demoing an early playtest of their new game. We were playing with printed and cut cards in card sleeves, most of which didn’t have art yet. But that didn’t stop us. The team explained the rules, and we were off.
The game plays like cards against humanity (one premise card drawn by whoever’s turn it is, then everyone else plays a response), but with a few wonderful added mechanics. The premises are all problems plaguing a fantasy society. The judge (whoever’s turn it is) also draws three “modifier” cards and picks their favorite. For example: one of mine was that the other players had to argue their answer as though the were the cause of the problem being solved.
Following everyone playing and explaining their cards, there’s a brief debate period. We leaned hard into the premise, and the arguments were absolutely wonderful nonsense. We all had a great time playing, and I think Parakeet Griffin has a winner here. I’m looking forward to the Kickstarter.
Dawn of the Final Day
We went into Sunday with a very short to-do list before we needed to leave the con.
We stopped by the Cubicle 7 booth. I’ve wanted to cover Imperium Maledictum since it was announced, but there was a turnover in their marketing department, so I haven’t been able to make it happen. Aimee has been eyeing their Doctor Who RPG for a while, but we haven’t taken the plunge yet. I met their marketing director, who was excited to meet us. We exchanged information, and we agreed to talk more following the convention.
We visited the Kobold Press booth so we could say hi to their marketing director, who we consider a friend. We were very happy to see her after missing each other repeatedly, and we caught up and exchanged stories. She put a physical copy of the Tales of the Valiant alpha in my hand which I’m very excited to read.
Next we hit the R. Talsorian booth while we killed some time. We got a rundown on the current lineup of Witcher source books, which we haven’t dug into yet. They handed me some free dice (con-exclusive freebie goodies), plus a mysterious business card with a logo and a QR code. I was told that it’s a secret project from Cody Pondsmith (the Pondsmith family runs R. Talsorian and writes Cyberpunk and the Witcher RPG). The QR codes me to a page for “Project Blue Moon”.
Finally, we stopped by for a scheduled meeting with Aaron Shanks, Marketing Director at Paizo, but I detailed that above and I won’t bore you by repeating it.
On the way out, we were discussing the podcast recording to occur that night, which was part 3 of our How to Play Vampire: The Masquerade arc. I had missed recording part 2 and hadn’t built a character, so we walked into the Renegade Games room and convinced them to give us a pregen character. I’m sure I confused the folks tending the room, but they were still kind enough to hand me a spare character sheet.
I will absolutely use this character for nefarious purposes.
The Long Road Home
With the convention behind us and a long list of to-do’s done, we packed our bags and headed for home. We’re all exhausted, but I am overjoyed right now.
Today coincidentally marks the 2nd anniversary of the RPGBOT.Podcast, and in the next year we’re hoping to talk to a lot of wonderful creators, many of whom we met at Gen Con. We’ll have new games and products to review, and with every new game we read, we get a little smarter about talking crunch on the podcast.
If you ran into us at Gen Con and said hello, thank you. It’s wonderful meeting fans, and it’s wonderful catching up with our convention friends. Next time around we’ll have goodies to hand out to folks we meet, so we hope to see you next time!
For now, back to reading this giant pile of source books.