GenCon Preview (Part 1)

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on June 10, 2009

Although it’s only the beginning of June, GenCon doesn’t feel that far away. I’m betting the 9 weeks will fly right by and before you know it GenCon will be upon us. Until then, here are a few of my thoughts and some announcements about GenCon 2009.

D&D Seminars

Wizards of the Coast seem to have finalized their GenCon seminar schedule. I attended a few of these last year and they provided me with a wealth of knowledge. I got to meet the people who created 4e D&D and they in turn shared their insights about the game, upcoming products and clarifications on the rules. The seminars are free to attend so keep it in mind if you’re still putting together your GenCon schedule.

Ennie Awards

The submission deadline for the Ennies was June 1. Dungeon’s Master barely made it in under the wire with our nomination. Good luck to everyone who submitted their blog or product for a nomination. Recognizing the best only gives the rest of us something to strive for and measure ourselves against.

RPGA 4e D&D

Moving on to the games themselves, I’ll admit that I’m a D&D snob. Although I’ve played a lot of other RPGs over the years, my relationship with D&D has been monogamous since the release of 3.5e. The release of 4e last summer was like getting a second honeymoon in Hawaii. So it should come as no surprise that my GenCon calendar is full of D&D seminars and RPGA sanctioned LFR D&D games.

When this description for this year’s list of LFR games was released two immediately jumped out at me: ADCP 1-1 Jungle Hunt and SPEC 1-3 Ghosts of the Past. The game descriptions weren’t anything special, but there were two sentences in each of these games descriptions that grabbed my attention.

  • There are four versions of this adventure, one for each level band.
  • Characters at the same table must be within a single level band
    (1-4, 4-7, 7-10, or 11-14).

Last year the only LFR games offered for 4e were for characters level 1-4. Since 4e was only a couple of months old this made sense. After all, we were all still getting used to the new rules, the new races and the new classes. But this year they’re offering games that straddle four level bands covering the heroic and paragon tier. So if my favourite character is any level below 15, I can play him at GenCon. How firggin’ awesome is that!

For the past few weeks I’ve been trying to figure out which character I want to play in which game at GenCon. In some cases I’m simply going to create a level-appropriate character and start fresh. In other cases I’m going to go through my folder of LFR characters I’ve already played and dust a couple off. Since these two adventures provide opportunities for characters spanning 14 levels, all the PCs in my LFP folder are fair game for GenCon. I don’t have to shelve a PC until August so he doesn’t go over a certain level and I don’t have to try and squeeze in a bunch of games in order to get a character up to a minimum starting point.

My compliments go out to Wizards, the RPGA and GenCon for providing two games with this kind of flexibility. I must admit that I am curious to see how these games differ from level to level. I suspect that each band contains similar encounters with increased DC for skill challenges and tougher monsters. But I assume most of the other details, like maps, will remain the same. After all, it’s not fair to have the DMs (who are doing this voluntarily) prep for four completely different games.

That does make me wonder just how they’re going to determine who plays within each band. If there are 40 tables does that mean that there will be only 10 for each level band? That would suck. Especially if you’re late to the party, have a level 13 character ready and have to play at a level 1-4 table. I think many will agree with me that this scenario is akin to being trapped in a circle of hell for four hours. I’ve played a lot of low-level 4e D&D so I’m not really interested in playing in the 1-4 range. I’ll gladly jump right in to any of the other bands.

Here are the descriptions provided for the two adventures referenced above. I’m already signed up to play both at GenCon: SPEC 1-3 on Friday and ADCP 1-1 on Saturday.

ADCP 1-1 Jungle Hunt

A great hunt has been called in the jungles of Chult. The Amnian trading coasters of Port Nyranzaru are competing to see which one can bring in the biggest, rarest beasts as trophies, and they’re looking for adventuring companies to do the hunting.

SPEC 1-3 Ghosts of the Past

Every year coronal Ilsevele Miritar, ruler of Myth Drannor, hires a group of adventurers to cleanup one of the many dangerous ruins within her forest kingdom. This year she is looking for several groups.

Are you going to GenCon this summer? Are you playing in either of these two adventures? Do you think presenting these with four level bands to choose from was a smart move or do you think it will just create confusions?

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 GeekBob June 10, 2009 at 11:51 am

Unfortunately, I shall not be going to Gen con yet again. Come to think, I’ve never been to Gen Con since it moved from Milwaukee. But, as has become a tradition, I shall buy a new set of dice from my FLGS come Gen Con
[rq=512,0,blog][/rq]The Fellowship of the Broken Bonds Session 2

2 Ameron June 10, 2009 at 12:29 pm

@GeekBob
Last year was my first time at GenCon and I can’t wait to go back again this year. I look at last year as a test-run and this year I’m going to learn from my experiences and have an even better time.

3 newbiedm June 10, 2009 at 12:38 pm

I will be going this year to gencon, my first time! I can’t freakin’ wait!

4 Feeroper June 10, 2009 at 4:22 pm

I truly wish I wish I could go, but alas! too expensive for me at the moment to travel out that way. Ill have to settle for the FanEx in Toronto (of which the gaming is pretty minimal).

5 Ameron June 11, 2009 at 8:19 am

@newbiedm
I think all the blog authors attending GenCon should make an effort to meet while we’re all in one place.

@Feeroper
There’s a rumour that a summer SpellStorm conventioin is in the works for July 24-26 in the GTA. If I hear anything more definate I’ll be sure to post a notice on the blog. In the mean time 401Games on Yonge St hosts LFR games every Monday night if you’re looking for a regular game.

6 Feeroper June 11, 2009 at 9:11 am

I would definetly be interested to learn more of the Summer Spellstorm.

I wanted to join the LFR game at 401 on Monday nights, but sadly my work schedule gets in the way, as I am finished work right at 6pm, and I believe that is the time that they start.

However I do DM a (semi) regular game with a group of friends who are new to D&D, so I cant complain! Thanks to 4th edition, it was much easier getting everyone interested in playing.

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