Monday, March 14, 2011

BASHCon XXVI - Day 2 Saturday Afternoon

Dogs in the Vineyard
Cover illustration by Drew Baker
After a great start to the day it was time to take a quick lunch break. I wandered over to The Phoenician (also the name of the hotel I checked out of is morning before sitting on the flight home to type this recounting of my convention experience), a Greek restaurant in the Univerity of Toledo's Student Union. I ordered coffee and a gyro sandwich and settled down to look through the convention catalogue to see if I could sneak in another game before my late afternoon session of Dogs in the Vineyard.

I may have mentioned before that the catalog was printed with morning events listed chronologically after the afternoon and evening events. Also many of the Pathfinder events were double-listed. This made it a little challenging to see what was available.

Originally I had signed up for an all-afternoon session of Gamma World (run by one of the players from my Friday night game of Zombies!!!! Small world). When I realized there was a game of Dogs being offered, I changed my plans since the time for the two games conflicted. Unfortunately there were no other games that would fit between lunch and my 4:00 PM game of Dogs, so I had some time to kill.

After finishing my meal with some rice pudding, I wandered over to the Gamma World game to watch for a bit. It was fun to watch, but as I feared it was a might bit too silly for me. I felt I made a wise choice in opting for Dogs, given I wanted some serious RP (I had my share of Gamma World silliness in college when I rolled up a hyper-intelligent cat with opposable thumbs that rode a motorcycle; I love the game, but was looking for a different flavor of play at that moment).

As time neared, I wandered over to the table for Dogs and waited. There was a sign on the table indicating that this was the right place, but no GM. Eventually the GM, Joshua LH Burnett sat down.

Joshua was concerned that I was the only player to show up so far. We waited a bit and then he checked in with registration to learn I was, in fact, the only player to purchase a ticket for the game. I guess games about teenage Mormons with guns in the Mythic Old West are not very popular in Toledo.

We made the best of it. We chatted for a while and I finally put 2 and 2 together. Joshua is part of Hex Games who produce QAGS; I was familiar with them from the All Games Considered podcast. I also learned that Joshua had run his game, Leopard Women of Venus, on Friday night. I was disappointed for having missed it. To make a small world even smaller, Joshua had been neighbor to and gamed with a former gaming friend of mine, Bradley McDevitt, long-time RPG artist and game designer. Small freakin' world indeed.

After chatting for a bit I asked if I could at least make a character for the game. Joshua enthusiastically led me through the organic process of creating my first Dog, Josiah . This was very exciting; I loved the way character generation flowed. To top it off, the process ended with a one-on-one RP that illustrated the resolution mechanics of the game (I had to perform a baby naming ceremony, and before you giggle at the notion, it was one of the coolest RP scenes in my recent history, very close to some recent play in an online Skype game of The Shadow of Yesterday).

While the initiation scene was fun it didn't really bring to light the escalation mechanics that I've heard so much about in Dogs. I asked Joshua if we could do one more scene to help me understand it better. He suggested that I had caught another Dog talking smack to a the mother of the baby I just named.

All I can say is WOW! Not only did the conflict escalate from words to fist to guns, but this scene brought so much into play and rooted Josiah firmly in the fiction being created. What a radical counter point to the morning's Pathfinder play. Note, I'm not saying one was better than the other; both were fun in their own way, but Dogs was certainly the more intense of the two. I can only imagine what a full game session would be like.

We ended the scene and I thanked Joshua for a great introduction to Dogs. I told him about the two games I was running on Sunday and he was very excited to play in the Dresden Files RPG. I looked forward to being able to run a game for him and headed home, giddy with a full day of gaming under my belt.

Follow your bliss,

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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