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Terrifying Tales of GenCon 2013, Part 1

Last weekend I attended GenCon in Indianapolis. It was sort of a last minute decision so I didn't get to go all out with time off or lots of events. Mostly I went to help out where I could, run a few games of Transylvanian Adventures, and generally do what I could to get the word out about this book.

It was pretty much all of my "marketing budget" for all time. As evidenced by the total lack of Transylvanian Adventures movie trailers all over the net.

Cool Stuff

My first impression of GenCon was that it was really big. I had never been before. So it was all new to me. It was altogether exhilarating and overwhelming at the same time. I got to see a lot of neat things people were working on. And we all got to talk shop and compare notes. That was a lot of fun. Some of the more interesting things I got to check out were:

  • This supplement Jim Wampler is making for DCC RPG. It is seriously, awesomely cool. It's kind of a hush-hush thing at the moment. So I won't say much more about it. But it looks legit.
  • A card game called "Shinobi Clans" that was being pitched by a guy named Jurgen. It looked like a lot of fun. I wish I had gotten the chance to play it. It was a big hit at the DCC RPG meetup.
  • Impact Dice's Dice Farm game. The game looked fine and all. But what caught my eye was the fact that $20 got me three d4s, d8s, d10s, d12s, d14s, d16s and six d20s and six d6s. Oh, and three coveted d18s! Holy moly. I'm not a huge fan of the odd dice (d5s and d7s), although the RPS d3s do have a special place in my heart. I have plenty of d30s. Rarely use the d24s. So this bag-o-dice was an unprecedented value in a pouch.
  • I got to see the "I guess it was life-size?" L'loth in the D&D area. That was cool. It was one of those things I'd like to have in a garage or something so the next time a player complains about a failed Sanity Check or something I could put him in the garage with L'loth and turn off the lights. Just to clear up the debate.

People I Met

Thanks to Doug Kovacs and everyone at the Goodman Games booth, I got to meet a lot of people. First  off, I don't think there are nicer group of people than the Goodman Games crew. Harley, Joseph, Michael, Jon, Doug, Dieter and Jobe were all most excellent. That also extends to Rick Hull, Adam from Kickassisstan, Wayne Snyder, and the many, many others who make up the extended family of Goodman Games and DCC RPG. Oh, and another Adam (the guy who wrote Dungeon World) was super-nice as well.

I hope I didn't leave anyone out. It was a pleasure meeting all of you and I hope our paths cross again in the near future.

0-Level Game

On Friday afternoon, I ran a Transylvanian Adventures 0-Level funnel. It played out the way most TATG funnels have. A little more than half of the characters died gruesomely. Most everyone seemed to enjoy it. I've run a bunch of funnels for both DCC RPG and TATG. The experience is very much the same with the exception that players get only two 0-Levels in a TATG funnel. Playtesting has shown that those 0-Levels are moderately more survivable than their DCC RPG counterparts.

One thing I haven't tried is running DCC RPG 0-Levels through the 0-Level funnel in Transylvanian Adventures. I have a feeling the death toll would be memorable.


As with most Transylvanian Adventures games, things got pretty wild. Here's a few highlights...

  • In the first 20 minutes, a character murdered his nemesis (an NPC) by pushing him down a well. The nemesis proceeded to haunt the character for a little while at the start of the adventure.
  • Once again, the hunchback rolled a "1" when attempting to ambush the party. Eventually, he did take one of them out. But if, in the future, you ever need a sniper, don't get a hunchback. Apparently, they are clumsy at range.
  • After a couple of fatalities in the first quarter of the funnel, the party got simultaneously more cautious and more reckless. One of Dr. Frankenstein's experiments got the better of a 0-Level. But then a Local Hero PC decided to go all WWE on it. We also had one electrocution, which did not result in a fatality.
  • Pointless Near-Death Award: Goes to the Riverman. Who blew poisonous dust off a piece of parchment in order to be able to better see what was written on it. The catch? The Riverman couldn't read. 
  • Best For Last Award: One player was playing a Bodyguard whom he had named "Meatpie". Meatpie was nigh-unkillable. Although I do believe he was crushed beneath rubble at some point toward the end of the adventure. In any case, Meatpie had been dropped 3 times in the funnel. TATG features a kind of death mechanic that I'll talk more about in a later blogpost. But suffice to say, he had a very high probability of dying on his fourth close call. Something in the range of "only 5% chance to survive". Unswayed by the odds, Meatpie made an improbable roll and lived to die about 25 minutes later. Sometimes Luck is a lady, sometimes she is a kitten with a ball of yarn. Swept up in the moment, however, Meatpie's player exclaimed "Meatpie Forever!". Which explains why that appears now at the top of this blog. Because that moment was truly awesome.


  1. When can us randos give you money for this project?

    1. I've been circulating October of this year as the release date. It's in layout at the moment. About 2-1/2 chapters in.

      So I'd say no later than this Halloween.

    2. What an awesome time to release it.

    3. If you haven't done it yet, you can get TA: The Winter Home from rpgnow.

    4. Hey, Scott, it was awesome meeting you, too. I'm already really looking forward to October (my favorite month - Fall, my birthday, my GF's birthday, our vacation, post-season baseball) and now the release of TA, too --- can't beat that!

  2. Glad that you liked Shinobi Clans!

    Somehow I missed the Impact Miniatures booth. Why did nobody tell me?! ;)

    1. Jurgen! Hi! It was great meeting you.

      Shinobi Clans looked like a lot of fun. Thanks for bringing it by. I'll definitely be looking to pick it up when it's out.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Seems like you had a lot of fun in there (way to go Riverman and Meatpie).

    Is that hunchback + Frankenstein's minions adventures going to be in TATG, and were you going to release two or three books?

    These movies made me think about TATG: Rare Export, Abraham Lincoln the Vampire Hunter, and Hansel & Gretel Witch Hunters. :)

    1. The hunchback/Frankenstein adventure is included in the first book. There will be a total of three books. The first book are the character classes and a ton of other things to make a game if TATG fun. The second book is the hex map, monsters and adversaries like Dracula and Dr. Frankenstein. The third book is the magic, spells, alternate settings and how to play a vampire or werewolf. I haven't seen Rare Export but TATG is very much like the other two. I'll check out Rare Export soon.


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