Monday, November 28, 2011

Stuffed COWS '11

     I find it hard to motivate myself to write a full post about anything in the wake of spending 34 hours running and playing Pathfinder Society Organized Play at Stuffed COWS – a local gaming convention hosted at the College of DuPage for (I believe) 13 years now.  That is much longer than my involvement with it, but I have been a regular for a few years now.  I started as a die-hard Arcanis player, but when that world changed rules systems, I was more interested in sticking with something similar to v3.5 than the (mostly) well developed world of Onara.
     So I am just posting this as a kind of filler.  It also seemed to make sense to write about this as soon as possible – The Descendants (2011) can wait a day or two.  Sorry if anyone was expecting something insightful today.
     I had a good time at the convention.  Two players told me that I ran the best table at which they played – at least up to the point they told me – and I felt good because I went out of my way to make sure I could manage the challenge for the PCs without risking it being a death trap.  None of the players who blitzed through an earlier scenario (under two and a half hours) seemed upset about having a lot of extra time on their hands; I did everything I could to make the experience memorable because of what they had their characters choose to do to overcome minor obstacles.  Yes, I felt very self-conscious running a scenario with a player who had already run it for me (he knows where I'm changing the mod or breaking rules on-the-fly), but I think the table enjoyed it and nobody told me I was doing it wrong.
I can across this picture and had to make a character for it.  The end result is Hedda Gørsyn, an Andoren Magus (Kensai)/Bard (Arcane Duelist) who is – at present – all utility, no AC, and little HP.   I just had a better sense of character for her than I did for the Tian Oracle, so it was another female character (and now they outnumber the males).
     I only was able to play three scenarios – this the curse of going up to Wisconsin to do Pathfinder at DCV (see The RPG Table Tent at Work and Play and The Problem Player at the Con posts).  My weredragon got to assert that she is the Sewer Dragon of Absalom.  I got to play a sadistic, but not unintelligent, goblin sneak-thief.  And I got to break out a new character – and had to choose a faction at the table – who was so far out of her element that it was scary.  Actually, that table didn't sit particularly well with me.  There was a teenager who brought real immaturity to the table (not the adult immaturity to which I have become accustomed), and I really don't care for that.  There was a revisit of the theme of a player demanding that all of the spotlight falls on him and not playing well with others (still not me), and of leaving my underpowered PC to fend for herself.
This is a modified piece by Adam Majka with the Pathfinder logo under it.  I used a different version in one of the table tents I brought for players.  I like how this image came out so much, but I wasn't going to drain the ink on the color printer to print it out.
     I got to see some of the table tents I designed in use with other players.  I got to take some pictures of other tents in use.  I was told I won over one player to the use of the table tent, and another commented on how he had shared my laments with a certain bad player with some friends.  I was just really stoked to know that they had ever read anything on the blog.
     I actually didn't hear much in the way of complaining this year.  But the attendance was well beneath where I would have liked to see it.  I think the high water mark was running 10 tables in a slot.  Four years ago it would have been around 18, which means another 40-50 players.  It worked out for making it easier to organize, but I missed the bustle a little.  I did get to see people I have not seen in quite some time (including a pair of brothers who I just assumed weren't gaming any more), and that was cool.
      Here are some pictures I took.  I know that nothing about them conveys the fun or the action we experience while playing PFS.  Sorry about that.
Timothy Bailey's tent for Dr. Wogglebug.  I saw him in action multiple times.
Timothy Bailey's tent for Huang-Fu Zheng.  I did not see him in action.
Hawthorne Candlewood, Jenissa Halvarek (the weredragon), and Dr. Wogglebug after defeating an opponent in Sewer Dragons of Absalom.  Tim Tjarks did an awesome job judging us.
Two witches, a barbarian/oracle, and my magus/bard escorting some goblins (the Snapple lid represents the cage that one of the goblins was put in). 
The table tent and character sheet I used for Hedda's first time being played.  I completely forgot that she would be 2nd level before she actually saw action.  But a second level (no BAB) character like her should not have been thrown to the wolves in a 4-5 tier.  I blame the witches.


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