Fear the Con – Day 2 (Paul’s Version)

Tim running Hair Metal Band Fiasco

The most frustrating aspect of my trip to this year’s Fear the Con?  The lack of a reliable internet connection.  The hotel that we’re all staying as has awful connectivity (I can’t connect at all from my room) and there’s little to no connection in the convention hall (which makes sense).  Basically, the only time I’ve been able to connect to the internet has been in the morning before breakfast in the hotel lobby.

Still, Day 2 of FtC started with pretty much everyone feeling pretty chipper after a successful first day of gaming.  My first game of the day was run by fellow Funnybooks host Tim…

Hair Metal Band Fiasco

It’s 1984 and the Hair Metal Bands are just about to destroy the bubble gum pop groups for good in an Uber Concert called The Devil’s Triangle.  However, the Prince of Darkness has been kidnapped.  Some metal all stars are all that stand between us and bands like Flock of Seagulls and Toto.  Can they save Ozzy and all our souls in this Scott Pilgrim-esque romp using the Savage Worlds rules?

Using a modified version of the Savage Worlds ruleset that I experienced yesterday, Hair Metal Band Fiasco had me in control of Tommy Lee (along with teammates Alice Cooper, Gene Simmons, and Slash) taking on The Go-Gos, Men at Work, gangs of one-hit wonders, and more in an effort to free a kidnapped Ozzy Osbourne.  The game moved extremely quickly and was a ton of fun.  The modified rules were easy to pick up, and the concept of band battles (thus the Scott Pilgrim mention above) was really interesting.  Though Tommy Lee couldn’t really fight during band battles (he was a healer), he could in a hand to hand fight, so I got a little bit of ass kickery in.  Overall, a really fun start to the day in a game that never dragged for a moment.

Trail of Cthulhu – The Dance in the Blood

ThistleDownJohn sets the scene in Trail of Cthluhu. Photo by Aron Head.

Run by ThistleDownJohn (of www.thistledownjohnap.com), the Trail of Cthulu game was very intriguing to me.  As described to me, the Trail of Cthulu system is entirely different than the previous games I’d played.  Whereas almost all of my previous games relied heavily on combat scenarios (with emphasis on getting to the next one) or rolling dice to do your investigation, I think I only rolled four times in the entire time I was playing Trail of Cthulhu.

The system itself is very based on investigation and, given the content and the lack of dice rolling, it almost felt like group storytelling – the GM (John) would set up the scene, and we’d describe what our characters did until it furthered the story.  I really liked the idea and felt like, out of all the games I played, this one would lend itself the best to a Skype-based gaming concept.

Before the game, John had talked to us about how he felt he wanted to go with a certain “mood” for his game , and felt like playing in the loud convention hall would hinder this.  Sadly, I’d have to agree.  While John did a great job GM-ing the game, this slot just happened to also be the loudest one in the hall, and the one with the most interruptions – the kitchen kept running out of food, people kept coming by, etc.  Not only that, the hall was so loud that we could barely hear each other, making it much more difficult to act as a team.  Still, despite all this, this is a system I’d love to play in again, and I’d really enjoy playing another game with John running it.  I hope the noise level doesn’t discourage him from running this again, because I’ll be first in line to sign up.  The best part?  The faked British accents! (mine was awful)

Hyperreality: Season One

Tim Rodriguez running Hyperreality: Season One

The last game of the night (and the Con) for me was the Tim Rodriguez (of Dice+Food+Lodging) game Hyperreality: Season One, a reality game show…set in the future with cybernetic zombies!

From the producers of Scareboat: Nowhere to Run…
Welcome to Hyperreality, the game show where your life is on the line, on-line. The internet age is over, it’s time for HYPERREALITY. Using Augmented Reality Technology, contestants participate in life-or-death games with the ultimate prize of an all-expenses-paid CYBERNETICS UPGRADE!

TOO REAL FOR TELEVISION
Available only on Pay-Per-View

The first thing Tim said about this game was that it would get crazy … but I think even we surprised him.  I played as Javier La Fuente, a ladies man and drug addict who…well, by the end of the game, he ended up having drugged up, drunken sex with a bodybuilding man and then dry humped an electrocuted zombie.  Another character had his head popped off while getting his bits chomped on by a zombie.  It ended up going all kinds of crazy, but it was an absolute blast and a fun way to end the con.

This system was entirely different than anything I’d played previously … Tim sets up scenarios, but the players create the game, and decide what happens, where everything is, and how the game goes.  I think it took the players a couple of minutes to get into the spirit (and boy, it’s tough for the last game of the con to come up with this stuff), but by the end of the game, we were all dying of laughter and having a blast … a real treat.

Overall Impressions

I was really worried coming in to Fear the Con — I thought I’d ruin everyone’s good time, and make an ass out of myself by playing for the very first time in con games, against experts.  As it turned out, almost every game I played had someone new to the system, and all of us were learning.  Not only that, each GM and player got into the spirit of their games and really made me feel welcome.  I had a blast hanging with my fellow podcast buddies (you’ll hear some of that in tomorrow’s special episode of Funnybooks), as well as meeting a bunch of cool new guys like ThistleDownJown, OgreTeeth, TonyMast (pre-show), WarrenLocke, James and “Whore Josh,” Chris and the whole crew (sorry if I left anyone out), especially our post-show cigar and beer sessions at the hotel bar.

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