Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Highlights from Con of the North 2024

This year's convention was a lot of fun. There was one weird hiccup, about which I am still waiting to hear, but I also participated in four fun rounds. Here are the highlights, in reverse chronological order.

Sunday's Treasure Hunter Adventures Session

This was the hiccup. On Saturday night, while I was playing in a D&D Epic, I saw an email that my round for Sunday had been cancelled. That seemed odd, since I as the GM had not asked to cancel it. I went to HQ and inquired, and they created a new event for me. The players had also been emailed, however, so they did not know to look for it. Uncertain, I headed over for it on Sunday, and one of the original players—who had not checked his email—did show up for it. We chatted for a bit and then he headed off to find a game with more players.

The D&D Epic

I played in one of these last year and did not love it. That scenario was a combat meat-grinder, and not a lot of fun for me playing a new 1st-level character. This year's scenario included more options that featured roleplaying and exploration, however, which was nice. Although the DM seemed nervous, thinking that he didn't have much experience, he did a good job keeping the action moving. All in all, it was a good session!

Junk Racers

I had a chance to be the fanboy at this session. It was DMed by Matthew Hanson, who organized the Kickstarter for Graveyard of the Gods, which I backed. This was part of a scenario from that book, which can easily function as a mini-game in its own right. We played kobolds who were scavenging junk on the corpse of the dead god Annihalia in order to build our own junk racer and enter the big race. We had some solid combat encounters, and then joined the race.

That was a blast! Matthew used notecards to represent the track, and it worked well. There was plenty of maneuvering, some crashes, and a few boarding actions, and in the end the kobolds won the race!

Treasure Hunter Adventures Session

I am always a little nervous before I run a convention scenario for the first time. This was the case on Saturday, when I would be premiering The Dead Man's Tale, a direct sequel to last year's Infernal Devices.

I needn't have worried.

It was a pleasant surprise that all five players at the table had played in one of the two sessions from last year. All had enjoyed it enough to come back again this year, which was a good sign. Some of them even had the handouts from last year, including the one that provided a cliffhanger clue for this scenario. They deciphered the markings on the cross, realizing that X did indeed mark the spot. That led to a trek through the mountains in southeastern Germany, with the villains from last year in pursuit. Linh shot down an enemy drone, drawing a Joker and blasting it before anyone else could even react. Vaughn then modified it so that they could use it to spy on their foes, covering their backs as they ventured into a lost World War II treasure cache.

That proved fortuitous. The heroes figured out another clue, revealing the hidden vault, before recognizing that the enemy was making their move. They caught the neo-Nazi mercenaries in a wickedly bad choke point and made quick work of them. Sometimes I'll try to stretch out a combat if it seems to be going too easily, but in this case the players seemed to appreciate that their solid tactics were winning the day.

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