Convention Prep: Return To Sangawa

Also known as: My Return To Drunk Con.

After last year’s event, I was wary of returning to Sangawa. Too much booze, not enough non-drinking events, few gamers (I had a 75% run rate, and 50% of my games only had the minimum 3 people needed to run), and not many cosplayers. As someone who is limited in what I can drink (medical reasons), it was really just a walk around and do next to nothing convention.

When you factor in the number of drunks and the lack of security (even security was drunk and would not remove aggressive drunks for the events), it didn’t seem like a good con to return to.

As I was staffing, they asked for my input afterward. Someone must have been listening (or the conversations I had with my department head were relayed to the higher ups), because the staffing e-mails I received promised more non-drinking events and better security.

My department head reached out to me and asked if I would be willing to return to be The NPC and one of their GMs again this year, as they lost a few regulars due to unforeseen circumstances. Between the promises of a better run con, the need of reliable staffing, knowing that I’m helping a friend, and possibly having the chance to get an autograph from Krillin’s voice actor, I thought I’d give it a chance.

==My Schedule==

This year, I’ve been asked to run three games, one on each day (instead of the four I ran last year). The schedule for the Table Top Games Room can be found here, but for those of you curious about what I’m running:

Friday, 6:00-10:00pm – Power/Rangers: Uprising. This is using a homebrew mechanic I’ve been working on since Tekko earlier this year.

Saturday, 5:00-10:00pm – The Emperor’s New Holocron. This is using that mechanic from FFG, and there are characters from each ruleset.

Sunday, 9:00am-1:00pm – On Darker Tides. A return to 7th Sea. Odd that a pirate game is taking place at 9am, but who am I to argue?

==My Prepwork==

Most people preparing for a con put together a costume (which can be a massive undertaking in and of itself) and trek out. Me, I’m making some repairs and replacements to my costume (a few will have to wait for the next con), getting my quest cards in order, and reading EVERY FREAKING BOOK IMAGINABLE!

My homework, at least the physical forms. Everything from FFG's Star Wars and my growing 7th Sea Collection.
My homework, at least the physical forms. Everything from FFG’s Star Wars and my growing 7th Sea Collection.

Okay, not that bad, but it feels that way. My badge is being paid for by my running of tabletop RPGs yet again (if only someone would comp me a badge for NPCing. . .), and as I’m not one to slouch on the duty, I’ve been doing quite a bit of work.

The Star Wars game idea relies on using at least two, if not all three, of the core rulebooks. Sure, I could have gone with one, but that would have meant all Jedi, all Smugglers/Scoundrels/Bounty Hunters, or all soldiers in the Rebellion. I figured a mixed bag was the way to go, so I spent about a week and change rummaging through books for races, classes, and equipment. That is now set up and ready to go, at least as best as I can (more on that later).

The Power/Rangers session I scheduled is based off of a homebrew mechanic I cooked up after Tekko, when I realized that we don’t have a game that really gets into the combination of grit and over-the-top action available in a Tokusatsu series, I decided to make one. Sure, a superhero game (like Marvel Heroic) could handle the over the top, but it felt lacking. Therefore, to the creation process!
After a month of writing, I had some rules, but no testers. Sangawa will be my first attempt at running a game I’ve written since my college days. Hopefully it pans out, as there’s plenty of work and revision going on here.

The biggest game, for me, is 7th Sea. As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m a fan of the game line, and have been acquiring physical copies of the books over the years. I ran a session inspired by The Princess Bride (the movie, of course) last year, and it was met with massive success.
This time, I’m sticking with in-canon to the setting just to try things out, and we’ll see how they pan out. Of course, making characters in-canon makes it difficult for me, as I’m always tempted to just start reading every rulebook I find for rules and, of course, the setting (which is amazing and worth the read).

In addition to all of the reading and writing, there’s the obligatory NPC madness, such as quests, candy, and anything else expected of an NPC.

==What I’m Expecting==

A part of me is expecting failure. Even though I am as prepared as possible, there is no guarantee that things will work out. Sangawa is a smaller, more “casual” con, and I don’t get many people asking for quests. Last year, only about 50% were finished, as people became too intoxicated to complete the tasks.

I’m also not expecting much from the games. For those of you who haven’t done so, attempting to run a game at a con is a fresh challenge, as you don’t know who will show or even if you’ll have enough people. This means that every game has to be run on the fly, and designing encounters because a matter of scale. For example, in a D&D game, if the Rogue isn’t selected, I have to decide if I’m keeping the traps (and gimping the party) or just replacing them with another combat encounter.

When you combine this with copious amounts of alcohol, this can get ugly, fast. A number of people who have joined my games have either never played in an RPG or they are curious about how a specific game works. When you take a game with a narrative system and odd dice, it’s a challenge to teach with a sober group. A drunk group just might be out of hand.\

By the end of it all, I’m hoping for a fun event with some good people (running into a few familiar faces) and some laughs. Even so, I’m still expecting a lot of wasted effort on the gaming side, but hopefully things balance out.

Expect a report on the insanity sometime next week!

Packed and ready to go. See you there!
Packed and ready to go. See you there!
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