Sunday, September 02, 2007


GenConUK 2007 - report #2 - RPGA

Thursday-Sunday this week has been GenCon UK 2007, held at Reading university.
I'll put my thoughts down in type over the next few days.
Here's my comments on the RPGA events that I posted on the GenCon UK website today.
The website forum really annoyed me as the first draft - which took nearly an hour - disappeared into the ether when I accidentally hit the Escape key. No "did you mean to do that" pop-up. Just gone forever...

The Undermountain sessions at GenCon this week were the first encounter I'd had with an RPGA event and I'd like to discuss my experiences to see if they are typical or I was just plain unlucky.

I managed to play "The River Sargauth", "The Citadel", "Belkram's Tomb" over Thursday/Friday with different GMs and players and had different amounts of enjoyment each time. I'd written up a Chaos Gnome priest (luck domain) in the same way I would for a campaign at my local club (i.e. focus on trying things out rather then min/maxing).

"The River Sargauth" (written by Chris Lindsay) went well. The environment felt "real" - we could visualise what the place looked like (good GM descriptive skills, caverns and passageways that made sense, monsters that had personalities (again, down to the GM)). We completed the objectives and felt we had put in a good few hours' work. This obviously set me up for a fall.

"The Citadel" (written by Eric L. Boyd, Ed Greenwood, Chris Lindsay, and Sean K. Reynolds) was an appalling example how to write a rail-roaded hack-and-slay scenario. The flow went as follows: arrive, fight random monster, find random magic item on monster, move to next location, fight random monster, rinse, repeat...

"Belkram's Tomb" (also written by Boyd, Greenwood, Lindsay, and Reynolds) was an equally appalling example of a tricks/traps/monsters dungeon crawl. There was no rhyme or reason to it - how it needed four people to write it is beyond me. Maybe one person had the squared paper, another the Monster Manual, a third had the Magic Item Compendium and the last made the coffee. Which of these guys decided that magic items should be randomly scattered on the floor for the characters to find?

Maybe I would have had different experiences with different DMs? The first seemed to be enjoying themselves but the second, though, didn't seem to be (hadn't prepared as much, got irritated by the poor adventure editing...). Or is it me? Am I expecting too much? Are the modules deliberately dumbed down to make them easy to run for GMs and accessible to novice players?


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