Dilly Green Bean Games Almanac

TotalCon 2016

Posted in Uncategorized by Administrator on the February 22nd, 2016

TotalCon 2016
There is only one convention Dilly Green Bean Games attends: TotalConfuzion in Mansfield, Massachusetts. Mostly because they know how to treat my wife and I and it’s the one place where I can see all my close friends in the industry.

This year we headed down on Thursday, after I finished teaching. Road trips with my wife are fun. We always have good music lined up and this time was no different.

Our arrival at the convention was seamless. We checked in, got unpacked and then chilled with friends. But the peacefulness changed pretty quickly.

Mike Pondsmith’s flight was running late and he had a Cyberpunk 2020 game scheduled for 7pm. My friend Mary was supposed to play in the game, but with Mike not there she went to another event. I was curious to see how many people were still at the table and found it FULL of waiting gamers. So I did something a little crazy: I volunteered to run Mike’s game for them. Now I have worked at R. Tal in some capacity for well over a decade, but I have NEVER played Cyberpunk 2020. I didn’t even know the rules.
I was lucky that Matthew Fournier, one of the players had a rule book for me to use. He also ran character generation so I could throw together an adventure. This whole time my wife was out front waiting for Mike. The scenario I created was simple with some plot twists: Vince, a black market broker wanted to trade some military chips for a mystery package, which he was going to in turn sell to European terrorists. The players would be Vince’s bodyguards. So I started the game going full on improve. Acting out the characters and the players did the same with the same energy. The mysterious package was a super virus that Roul Ripcord possessed, but he was actually there to kill Vince for a previous deal that left Roul’s sister dead. So we are in the middle of a standoff when Mike comes walking in with Cody Pondsmith. It was a big relief because shit was going south fast in game. Mike watched me run for a few more seconds and told me to keep going! So here I am, a guy who has NEVER played or run Cyberpunk 2020, nervous as hell already because I am representing the guy who MADE the game and then he is sitting there watching me run the game. When we got to a place where Mike could take over, I explained the scenario and the twists, which in turn landed me in the Cyberpunk division of R. Tal (so I’m told). As I went to leave, Mike made me sit down and finish running Vince….all while my wife was waiting out front for over an hour. After I left I heard that the game kept going full force and the players had an awesome time across the board.

Friday morning I started out hard with Mekton Zero. So this year’s DGBG Cocktail Hour theme was ’50 Shades of Swine’. So my Mekton scenario had Kargan troops working at a preservation bunker whose mission was to gather Giga-Fauna and store them in pens deep below the planet’s surface. So the game started out fine, the team went out into the ice storm to blow back ice shelves and gather fauna. That quickly got complicated when a Uri Killer ambushed one of the players. Another player used live ammo to try and subdue the creature and ended up blinding the thing. Then another one attacked and they blew an arm off of it. Now each player had taser rounds and no one was authorized to use live ammo. It got messy, but the team captured the two Uri Killers. After getting back to base, an alarm forced two players to go back into the snow where they were ambushed by Windscythes (Giga-Fauna Pigs with bio cannons and a super snout wind attack). The other players arrived to help and one pig got split in half and one was captured. But it wasn’t an easy battle. The engineer’s Crusher got messed up pretty good. To wrap up the session I launched a Windscythe swarm attack. The engineer’s Crusher got blown up by a massive wind blade attack as it shattered the bunker doors. And the PSI character got vaporized as he tried to use his Psychokinesisto blast back against a mega bio-energy wave (caused by several Windscythes going critical after their bio-cannons were shot). Everyone was left buried alive and had to start digging out.

Game two Friday was my G-Core powered Stairs of the Immortal. The table was PACKED full. I ended up giving two players NPCs for the adventure. Summed up Duke Crestfaul (a cursed knight) and Sir Chapin (a skeleton knight and the Duke’s best friend) arrived at Gwain’s Keep and took hostages. The players had to rescue everyone and defend the keep as a horde of skeletons attacked. The highlight was when a squire challenged Duke Crestfaul to a duel…and then called the Duke a coward. The squire player was one of my convention regulars (Duncan). The kid had balls. Sadly, the Duke, unarmed, beat the crap out of the squire and had to break the squire’s arm so the duel would stop. The game totally went away form that standard hack and slash. Stairs of the Immortal is supposed to be like that anyways. Another fun highlight was Sir Chapin actually treating the squires like squires, cleaning them off and fixing their uniforms. Even wiping soot off of one squire’s head.

Friday night was Blixapollooza (sp). This is when Blix from Mythwits and his trusty side-kick Mike Kafes host a night of game shows and talk shows. This year I dressed as Santa for part of it. I had a smoking jacket and a Hawaiian shirt. So as Santa I gave Blix crap for his Anti-Santa sentiment and even had to fend off Cosplay Pikachu with a chair. After that I changed out and came back to play Cube of Death with my buddy Don Higgins and Cody Pondsmith, while James Carpio threatened to take my phone (which I was using to take pictures over his shoulder so I could cheat)..LOL.

Later that night I sat with Frank Mentzer, Tim Kask, Cody and Mike Pondsmith and we all talked about all sorts of different topics. Frank pulled me aside and talked to me about something big he was brewing and then I took some time to try and learn more about Cody, who I had never met, but had talked to a few times on the phone.

Saturday morning I ran G-Core’s Marvel Files: X-Men 1950s. Another GM had swiped my table, but Tim Kask of Dragon Magazine fame let me use his tables. We had two tables PACKED FULL. There were so many players I had to split the tables so one played the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and the other played the X-Men, with another player as Tony Stark. Magneto was foiled when Quicksilver (played by my buddy Michael Thompson) lost his cool and accidently damaged a device Magneto was trying to steal. This was made even more complicated by Tony Stark who messed up the device even more. We had a family of four at the table too with little kids who totally rocked it with Angel and Beast. I want to thank the adults (my G-Core regulars) who really made the game fun for the new players.

The rest of the day I just chilled with my wife and had lunch with Mike and Cody. I attended The Witcher panel with Cody Pondsmith, who talked about his new RPG. Cody did a great job for his first time out on his own at a convention as an actual designer.

Saturday night I ran Swineship Troopers with Duncan and the adults from the Marvel game earlier. They even drafted another player. Each player had a Pig Marine and their mission was to survive 15 map sections. Well I made the players talk like pigs, so we had lots of squealing up on the stage. Duncan, who everyone swore to kill in game before the weekend ended, did himself in with his Lt. Dan style pig as he blew himself out an airlock while trying to stop a swarm of space mites. He also killed another player in the process. And I’ll add that the cannibal pig medic, who was dumping BBQ sauce on the point men, murdered the heavy weapons specialist…to be cooked for later. And no one stopped him…LOL.

Every TotalCon we end the convention with the DGBG Cocktail Hour. This is when Frank Mentzer, Tim Kask, Mike Pondsmith, Blix, Mike Kafes, James Carpio, Mary Lindholm, Michael Curtis, Jeff Talanian, Steve Wollet, Don Higgins, Ben and Jenn Gerber, Angelia (TotalCon liaison) and Brenden Hill, Dave Brewer, myself and my wife all gather for a few hours of catching up. This year we even had someone else from Goodwin Games join us (his name escapes me as I write this, but he fit right in). I handed out the 50 Shades of Swine art prints and toy pigs to each guest. After that I got to dance with Frank, who was powered up! We also gathered for our annual class picture.

Sunday morning we said our goodbyes and headed back to Maine (with a stop at Toys R Us).

I’m looking forward to next year’s TotalCon. Thank you to all their staff and all the players!

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