Derik Badman's Journal

2019-12-09 08:48

Went to the Pax Unplugged show in Philly on Saturday with some friends. It was an overwhelming number of people and stuff and we only went into the one giant room at the convention center that had the vendors and the open gaming tables. There was a whole other floor for scheduled gaming events. We just walked around the vendor area looking at stuff, most of which looked pretty boring or redundant. There seem to be a ton of variations of a limited set of games/styles/genres. There are also a number of the kind of high end gaming accessory vendors (really fancy gaming tables, really fancy dice, etc). On the whole for me, I ended up just tired and bored. I don't need another role-playing game in some genre I already have a game in. I don't ever have the time or opponents with time to play any of the miniature games I have. Hell, I haven't even ever played the copy of Catan I bought... probably 2 years or more ago now.

I ended up buying one book Hamlet's Hit Points by Robin Laws which looked like it might be an interesting book about game mastering.

Sunday we had our in person session. I continued running _The Cursed Chateau_ which [we started back in October](/entries/2019-10-27-09:01), uses the "we'll make up the characters as we go" method, which isn't turning out too bad, except in the first combat everyone basically had to figure out a number of attributes, so it probably would have been faster to decide some of those all at once in the beginning anyway. I guess it really wasn't much of a time saver. Maybe if we had at least just rolled attributes before starting.

The party had just entered the chateau and moved into a covered walkway at the back of the middle wing of the house. Three armchairs and two armoires animate and attack and that combat took way too long for how unimportant it was. There were some good ideas from the players, though, like sitting on the chairs and riding them like bucking broncos, or pushing over the armoires into an oil puddle on the floor and lighting it up. After awhile I not so subtle suggested that running away is always an option (this group has never really done that), so they moved out of the walkway, which causes the furniture to stop attacking.

The actress PC spied into the kitchen and saw the two servants in there, but did not enter. The party went up the stairs (it was a literal toss-up to decide on going up or down). In the library they met one of the insubstantial maids, and the dashing lord swashbuckler PC at least helped her in tidying up the place a bit. The maid was also questioned a bit, and the party did learn that the master bedroom is in the west wing of the house (they were in the east wing). They also learned that the master has other books in the study, after searching for anything of interest in this room. Someone thought to look for a family bible, which seemed like a logical thing, so I left them find that and discover how the current lord's parents had died when he was very young.

Crossing over to the southern wing, lookig for a way to the west they found the winter dining room, wherein one of the footmen was found. He offered to show them somewhere, but instead they convinced him the staff in the kitchen needed his attention. The next room to the west was a gallery overlooking the main dining hall. A dessicated corpse stood in front of a stained glass window. The dragoon captain looked at the window and managed to pass a save against its (unknown to them) magic (which was disappointing as the results could be pretty hilarious). The nun used her sling to break the window.

At a dead end for getting west, the party went back downstairs and tried the room below the winter dining room, this time a servant's quarters of some kind, empty of any inhabitant at the time. The next room over was the pantry, wherein one of the other maids, this was looking very ghoulish and crazy, was looking for... something... the party directed her one direction, she went the other.

The combat took up too much of the time. The random table you roll on when the party enters each room is... often pointless. Little things that have no significance, don't add much to the atmosphere, and have no real interaction to them. At least once it actually came up with one of the servants (all the other cases were ones where the servant was in a specific room x% of the time). But in all cases the servants disposition and interaction was pretty clear, which goes against the adventure's instructions about how the servants disposition should be randomly decided with a reaction roll. Maybe I was just finding specific ones that contradicted that.

We decided after we stopped playing that Ian is going to take over DMing next. He's going to run us through one of the 5e adventures (the one that takes place in Waterdeep). He had started running that for a different group (including me) earlier in the year, but we never got very far. So I'll get a break from the DMing for a bit, though maybe I will instead try again to start up a game for some of my work colleagues, as we have a lot of people who have or do play rpgs.

All in all it was a busy weekend and now it's Monday and I don't feel like I got a lot of rest or anything (being on my feet at the convention for like 3 hours was a lot).