Tag Archives: Artemis

Missed Adventures: GenCon Day 4

So concludes our 4 days of GenCon coverage. Day 1  Day 2  Day 3

Coming up on the last day of GenCon, TJ and I decided to sleep in. We skipped our first scheduled event, Zombie Dice, and arrived a little too late for Munchkin. While I’ve never heard about Munchkin before, Zombie Dice is something TJ tells me is kind of a big deal. Wil Wheaton covered it on one of his shows for Geek & Sundry, so I’ll let the video speak my peace.

While the game does look pretty cool, I’ve come to terms with sleeping in until 8:30am on a Sunday.

Yeah, that’s Robert Baratheon about to murder Rhaegar Targaryen at the battle of the Trident.

We did, however, find some time to play the the Song of Ice And Fire Roleplaying Game, and I have to say that Green Ronin really has its shit together. While Artemis was the single most fun I’ve had at GenCon… ever, both DC Adventures and SoIaF are produced by Green Ronin Publishing. Hands down DC Adventures is my favorite genre/system, and this game was just as much fun.

We started the demo by selecting characters. I chose to be the bastard son of a minor noble beholden to a lord that was, himself, beholden to the Tullys. Seeing my decision, TJ chose to be the young heir of the house. Upon selecting our characters, we decided to christen ourselves members of House Johnston. Our banner was a great ape, arms outstretched, falling from the sky. Our family oath: “Ours is the banana.”

Our first assignment, my half-brother and I were sent to Lord Wisend to appear on behalf of our lord father and discuss some issue. As it turns out, Lord Wisend was seeking our father to explain why a large cart of grain and gold hadn’t arrived at his hold. Upon seeing our father’s decision to send us in his stead, Lord Wisend decided to… entertain my brother as a guest while I went back to our father to explain the situation.

Engaging the intrigue system, we argued with the lord until his Maester got nervous and sided with us. At that point we asked for a handful of men so that we could seek out the cart and get to the bottom of the situation. From there we had at it with some bandits in the name of the great ape of our house.

Truly this was a fun game. Combat was pretty standard, but the intrigue system is far more than rolling a bluff check or doing an opposed insight contest. It was very engaging, and I suspect our DM was dumbing it down for us. Actually, I haven’t played a single game based on George R. R. Martin’s book series that I haven’t enjoyed. I proceeded to buy all the books. Our DM for the encounter, who happened to work on the game, Joe Carriker, was kind enough to sign my books.

We also played a little Castle Panic and Bears! Both games were pretty fun, although I preferred Castle Panic. They had the kind of artwork and game mechanic that would be pretty friendly to children learning to game, and both enjoyed a cooperative element that I really like in multiplayer challenges.

After that we wandered The Con and made our way back to the car. The convention ran until 7pm or later, but we decided we had enough. Most of the events were winding down and that feeling you get the day after Christmas was settling in.

Observing The Madness

I had a pretty great time at the convention. There were some ups and downs, but overall it was another great year. Observed a few interesting trends during our weekend.

1. Are You Hot Or Am I A Pedophile?

I’m of an age where the difference between 15, 20, and all the numbers in between is getting harder to distinguish. Luckily, I don’t date 15 or 20 year-olds so it’s not much of a factor in my day-to-day life. However, throw hundreds of cosplayers into a gaming convention and it quickly becomes a Where’s Waldo of appropriate dress.

2. Sweat Pants Cancel Corsets

Pretty much any convention is an excuse for ladies to whip out corsets for their costumes. That makes sense, given the popularity of steam punk and Victorian-age settings. What doesn’t make as much sense is seeing someone wearing a corset with sweat pants and sneakers. Or a corset with shorts and a t-shirt. I could take a couple stabs at why this happens, but I’ll leave it to the readers to decide.

3. Disproportionate Hotness

For whatever reason, normal, plain, or fugly looking guys can and do end up with beautiful women… if they are gamers. We saw dozens of instances where a beautiful girl was hanging on the arm of someone we’re pretty sure hadn’t bathed for the entire weekend. Maybe it’s personality, true love or that gender equality is especially lagging in the gaming community, but, however you slice it, it’s proof anything is possible.

Wrapping Up

What happens at The Con stays at The Con

This was a great weekend, but we have to make it better next year. TJ and I realize that just two of us isn’t cutting it anymore. We need to engage The Con with a sizable force. With that in mind, we will be inviting all of our friends while excommunicating everyone that turns us down. You’ve been warned.

We will also be looking for housing closer to the event. Expensive – yes. Worth it – hell yes.

Finally, we’ll be arriving earlier. Some events begin as early as the Wednesday before and we’re ready to make almost a week of it.

Are these goals realistic? Given the hours I work and the number of children TJ has, probably not, but GenCon is a magical place where dreams come true; if you’re smart enough, brave enough, and lucky enough anything is possible (see: Disproportionate Hotness). While we’re sad to go, we’re already scheming for next year.

 

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Con Men: GenCon Day 3

I’m just going to get this out there and say it.

If you knew about Gen Con, and you didn’t go, you lose. Plain and simple. You lose.

Know what I did today? I hung out with Green Lantern. I sang my way into battle alongside a warhammer-swinging Paladin. I served with Captain Malcolm Reynolds and a sexy assassin aboard the mighty starship Artemis.
The day started early. John and I got up around 7 o’clock (after about 4 hours of sleep), and headed out to the Con. We walked nearly the entire length of the Indiana Convention Center to get to the JW Marriott hotel, where our first event was being held. Let me say that every gaming session that happens should be in a meeting room of a fancy hotel: comfortable seating, hard candy, ice water, big tables, pens/paper provided.

Anywho, the game was called “Dead End” and was built using Mutants & Masterminds/ DC Adventures. We got the opportunity to play as many of the members of the Justice League, but mostly all the players picked B and C-list heroes. Our team consisted of Green Lantern, Batman (played by John), Dr. Light, Plastic Man, and our only D-list hero, Booster Gold (played by me, because I think he’s hilarious).

The team had their work cut out for them. Lex Luthor, Clayface, Sinestro, Deathstroke, and Gorilla Grod had all teamed up to build a dimensional portal… but our terrible Justice League team managed to fight them and send them to jail… except for that slippery Lex Luthor… he jumped through the portal. On the other side… we found Marvel Zombies.

Hands down a great game. I wish I could remember the DM’s name because he did an amazing job. He was part of North Coast Gamers from Ohio. If you’re reading this, DM, email me. I would love to ask you some questions about your DMing style or just chat. And I will definitely look for your event next year.

Next up came some Pathfinder Society action. This one… was a little disappointing, I have to say. The DM was really, really tired. And we had a really loud, jerky power-gamer incarnate sitting at our table. The guy couldn’t relinquish control of anything.

Other than that awful, harassing person, the other people at the table seemed legitimately cool, and I mostly had a good time. I felt bad for the DM, though. He looked like he needed a nap. I wonder how many games he had to run that day.

Pathfinder Society is a lot of fun. I’m going to be looking for ways to play nearer to home. I’m pretty sure there is a group in Columbus that plays. I need to start leveling up my character!

Next came the movieMisfit Heights.It’s a zombie puppet musical that we went to see because we liked that Vampire Puppet show fromForgetting Sarah Marshall.I don’t consider myself much a film critic… but I was a little disappointed. It’s ultra-low budget, and you can really tell. The picture was OFTEN too dark to see. The singing wasn’t really great. The sound editing seemed a little off. It also seemed a little overly long. However, I did laugh out loud more than a few times, so I suppose it was certainly worth seeing. And it was free, so the price was hard to beat.

Finally, the highlight of my day. Artemis, a starship bridge simulator. I’m going to try my best to adequately describe to you how amazing I think this game is.

How it works: Artemis is basically a program that runs using a LAN or internet connection. 6 displays are linked together, and each display represents a different station on a starship: Helm, Tactical (John got to shoot the bad guys), Communications, Science, Engineering (this was my specialty for the evening), and the Captain.

The Captain has the job of overseeing all the stations and giving orders. He’s the macro-organizer of the ship, and you mostly have to depend on him to organize all the stations to work together. The guy who volunteered to be our Captain was pretty amazing. He seriously took to it instantly, and by the end, we were all calling him “sir” or “captain.” Pretty impressive.

The Helm steers the ship by controlling the maneuvering engines, the impulse engines, and the warp engines. Our Helmsman started off a little shaky, but by the end was controlling the ship like a pro.

The Comm officer monitors communications throughout the star system and relays them to the Captain. Our comm officer was played by a cosplayer dressed as Malcolm Reynolds. It was weird to have the Browncoat hero sitting in the comm, but he did a great job. Comm officers are also able to get enemies to surrender and can also taunt the baddies into attacking us rather than one of our allied ships or space stations.

The Science Officer is responsible for keeping tabs on approaching ships and scanning the many anomalies in the darkness of space. Our Science Officer was played by the girl hanging out with Malcolm Reynolds (wife, girlfriend?) who was dressed as a sexy assassin. She did a good job keeping tabs on the bad guys.

The Tactical Officer is responsible for shooting bad guys and defending the starship. John was our guy, and he was the king of setting off nukes in such a way as to kill 3-5 ships in one fell swoop. After learning how to manually control the lasers, he basically became the boss of killing bad guys. Seriously.

Represent.

Finally, my part the Engineer. I was the guy responsible for shunting power into various systems, making sure those same systems don’t overheat, and sending engineering teams to fix any damage to the ship. I don’t want to toot my own horn too much, but I think I did a pretty excellent job of Scotty-ing (I’m giving her all she’s got, Captain!!) my way through the game. By the end, I was a master of repairing shield damage and shunting enough power into John’s lasers to cut enemy warships into ribbons.

Basically, everyone should play Artemis. Now, I’m trying to figure out how to turn my shed into a starship bridge. I was so impressed with the game, I’m even considering getting an Engineer’s badge to show off my love for both the good ship Artemis and the lonely Engineering station.

After that, we headed to BW3s for some chicken wings, and we got to watch this woman at the bar have a terrible date.

All-in all, a pretty awesome day at the con.

Editor’s Note: John ended up remembering the DM’s name.

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