Geek Unleashed at Gen Con 50

 

   Although we will be attending Gen Con 50, it will be as attendees. Every year we search for new tabletop RPGs and board games to play at our home game nights. This year, we begin the search to add content to our page and live stream channels. Exciting!

   Attending the largest (and now sold out) gaming convention in the world can be a bit overwhelming. Gen Con hosts several gaming events, play areas, workshops, seminars, spouse activities, and much, much more. This year, Gen Con has even more events to celebrate its 50th anniversary! It’s best to decide ahead of time what experience you want from the best four days in gaming.

   Most years we set out to play roleplaying games we can’t normally get to our table. As these games take up a large block of time, it’s important we built a schedule that appeal to each of us, and set aside time to enjoy the exhibit hall, costume parade, and the many food truck options. This year we landed on the following games:

Dungeons & Dragons 5e

 

  My first experience with Dungeons & Dragons was at Gen Con 2014 with the release of 5th edition, published by Wizards of the Coast. The lack of D&D in my life was only due to starting tabletop RPGs so late in life. When we decided to play Adventurers League that year, I became hooked. Dungeons and Dragons 5thedition is by far my favorite RPG setting and system. It has become a tradition to play D&D at Gen Con every year since.

   Dungeons and Dragons, originally published in 1974, has seen many editions of the game, has been the setting of many novels and video games, and is the most synonymous name with the term “roleplaying game”.  The game was just recently inducted in the National Toy Hall of Fame, and the love of the game does not stop there. Dungeons & Dragons has seen a influx of mainstream media and online live streaming shows, including but not limited to Critical Role, Acquisitions, Inc., and Dice, Camera, Action! In June 2017, Wizards of the Coast hosted a two-day event called the Stream of Annihilation, announcing the new product line centering around the land of Chult and the Tomb of Annihilation. Several D&D streamers met in Seattle, Washington to play with one another in this strange new land.

   This year at Gen Con for season 7 of Adventurers League, we as players will travel to Chult to either find fortune and glory for ourselves or suffer some terrible curse, the unrelenting jungle, or the wrath of dinosaurs. Growing up with movie franchises like Indiana Jones, the Tomb of Annihilation speaks to me more than any of the 5th edition storylines yet. I hope we can survive what is to come!

Predation

 

   And speaking of dinosaurs, we will be playing Predation by Shanna Germain and Monte Cook Games. An interglobal conglomerate created time travel sending scientists back to the Cretaceous period to discover scientific breakthroughs. Ten years later, time travel shut down stranding those in the past. Your story begins a hundred years later, trying to repair time travel in order to avoid the impending doom of a cataclysmic asteroid that would end everything you know.

   Predation uses the Cypher System created by Monte Cook and creates a setting of far-future-past post (read: pre-) apocalyptic world. If you are familiar with Numenera or any of the Cypher System titles, the game has the same concept behind character creation: I am an (Descriptor) (Type) Who (Focus). While Predation does offer new Types, Descriptors, and Foci, you can choose from the several options available in the Cypher System Rulebook, also available from Monte Cook Games. Predation is a setting book and does require you use in conjunction with the Cypher System Rulebook.

   The biggest feature of Predation is the addition of Dinosaur Companions. That’s right! Each player character has a freakin’ dinosaur companion!!! The companions also aren’t played by the player who owns them. Nope! The player sitting next to you plays as your dinosaur! How cool is that?

   We are super excited to be playing this one for sure!

Night's Black Agents

  

   Night’s Black Agents is a unique roleplaying game written by Kenneth Hite and published by Pelgrane Press in 2012. The game utilizes the GUMSHOE system which was created for a better investigative gaming experience. GUMSHOE isn’t about finding the clues, but interpreting the clues that are found. Among the several GUMSHOE games that are available, Night’s Black Agents puts the players in the role of a secret agent who discovers and confronts a vampiric conspiracy.

   Wait. Secret agents vs. vampires? Yes. Night’s Black Agents is a vampire spy thriller. You are a spy that has been “burned” and brought back into the fight as you’ve learned that the strings of the world are being pulled by vampires. Whether you want to play as a Jason Bourne or a Jack Bauer, set up a Mission Impossible theme, or take it deeper and make give the story a John le Carré feel, you can set up your game in any spy style via the game’s various modes.

   This is one game I have been trying to join at Gen Con over the past five years. The entire system coupled with playing a spy intrigues me. When Pelgrane Press later published the Dracula Dossier, I was further pulled towards this game. The actual Dracula Dossier players’ guide is an unredacted copy of Bram Stoker’s Dracula novel with his field notes as an agent. Pelgrane Press released two free RPG day adventures that tie into the Dracula Dossier: the Harker Intrusion and the Van Helsing Letter. The latter is nominated for an Ennie Award this year, and also is the adventure we will be playing. I cannot wait to check it out!

Star Wars RPG: Edge of the Empire

   Star Wars RPG: Edge of the Empire saw its release in August 2012, and I have run three of the Beginner Games for family and a short-lived campaign for friends.  However I finally get the chance to play it at Gen Con! Due to its popularity and being Star Wars, getting into a game was near impossible to join at Gen Con.  Those who know me understand my love for Star Wars goes deep.  I am just a little excited. #NerdGlee!!!

   For those unfamiliar with Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars roleplaying game line, the line consists of three different standalone games, and each can be played in conjunction with the others. In Edge of the Empire, players take on the roles of smugglers, bounty hunters, splicers, etc. and find their way of life around the time shortly after the destruction of the first Death Star. In Age of the Rebellion, players may join the Rebellion around the time of Empire Strikes Back. In Force and Destiny, players take on the roles of different types of jedi shortly after the death of Obi-Wan Kanobi. Last year, Fantasy Flight Games released a Star Wars: The Force Awakens Beginner Game.

 

  In all three games, players choose from a multitude of iconic alien species which will provide the character’s starting attributes, and then choose their career which will provide skills. As characters gain experience, players may choose to buy up attributes and skills, but most importantly they may unlock talents from their career’s specialization tree. Later, players may buy multiple careers and other specialization trees.

   The beauty of these games is the custom dice. At first look, the dice can seem a bit overwhelming, but once you learn what symbols cancel each other out, they are a fantastic tool for a complete narrative Star Wars experience! If you a fan of Star Wars, you definitely need to check out these wonderful Star Wars roleplaying games.

There you have it. We are really looking forward to attending Gen Con this year and see what we can bring to you in future shows.

Are you going to Gen Con 50? What are you playing this year? What experience are you looking for at Gen Con 50? Comment below and let us know!

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