Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Report from Chupacabracon V



Well, that was a weekend and a half.

Chupacabracon V has come and gone—and I am exhausted. Part of this this is due to the fact that I had to go on a liquid diet yesterday (the Monday after the con) for an endoscopy and colonoscopy today in order to get officially tested for celiac disease. Part of this is due to sleeping very badly in hotels. Much of it is due to the weekend being a whirlwind of events.

Since I’m having a hard time stringing things together narratively, let’s just bullet point this sucker:
  • Robin decided to start a new Chupacabracon tradition by hosting a drinking tour of Austin-adjacent boozeries on the Thursday before the con. The only people able to join us were Nicole Lindroos and Chris Pramas of Green Ronin, but we had a great time. We visited two of the absolute best places in the state (Texas Keeper Cider and Andalusia Whiskey), commiserated about recent troubles over great booze, and finished off at Pecan Street Grill in Johnson City. It was great to make new friends outside of the Savage Worlds circle.
  • Speaking of friends, Ross Watson told us that night that he’s hoping to find more work for us soon on Warhammer 40,000: Wrath & Glory. Have I mentioned that Robin and I edited most of the corebook? We did; it was fun and challenging.
  • I watched most of John Wick: Chapter 2 while trying to wake up on Friday. I hadn’t been able to talk Robin into seeing either movie in the theater, renting them, or buying them, but I think she’s now intrigued by their slick setting.
  • Friday segued into surprising (yet also, sadly, expected) news from Shane Hensley and Jodi Black, asking us and Sean Roberson to pitch ideas for the third set of Rifts® for Savage Worlds books. We were also given permission to speak more openly about what’s coming up in the second series, leading Roberson to suggest we host a panel to replace the missing Freedom Squadron panel.
  • Friday afternoon allowed me to test out a new The King is Dead adventure, taking a more espionage-focused tack than usual. Everyone had a good time; Roberson and I actually got to game together. Like everyone who has ever played the character, Roberson had a blast playing Illuminated scoundrel Walther Leigh; I never really planned on having “iconic characters” for TKiD, but Leigh has definitely earned it.
  • Robin ran Savage Rifts®. She might well be the only woman to receive a writing credit for that setting (so far). Her game previewed some of the vampire content from Blood & Banes. I made her some Chango the Chupacabra minis. 
  • Friday night was the charity game. Ed Wetterman stepped in at the last moment to run game designer John Wick’s least-favoriteadventure. I was in the audience while Robin joined Ross, Cam Banks, Steve Muchow, Wendelyn Reischel, Jack Norris, and Brandon Peterson in a very slaphappy jaunt through the dungeon. The highlight for me was Robin and Ross deciding their elfin characters were perfectly happy getting spat out of the Tomb of Horrors naked but alive, and then wandering off to frolic in the forest.


  • We went to the Green Ronin panel at some point on Friday or Saturday. There’s a city book for Aldis in Blue Rose coming up; we’ll definitely give the setting another shot after we buy that. Pramas announced a Dungeon Masters Guild-type setup for the AGE System is in the works. I’m looking forward to Modern AGE, and I hope the terms of Green Ronin’s community content platform allow me to make something a little more R-rated than what Pinnacle prefers for Savage Worlds. (Maybe a stylish crime setting?)
  • Saturday morning, Robin, other Sean, and I hosted our Savage Rifts® panel. Jeffrey Gordon livestreamed it on Facebook; I think you can still find it there. In short, the next three books are in final edits but don’t expect them until after a few more Pinnacle Kickstarters, there’s lots of cool stuff by us and other authors, and the line will continue onward. Also, none of us can agree on what the worst threat to Rifts® Earth is.
  • Saturday afternoon, I stepped in to GM one of the Savage Worlds VIP games—a position I felt far more confident about qualifying for than I had when I volunteered on Thursday. I talked the players into letting me run Lupin III: The Revenge of Mamo, and it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. Since it was a VIP game, I got to run it in a secluded conference room—which meant I got to play Lupin music during the game! Everyone had a great time, the personalized Adventure Cards worked great, Freedom Squadron’s Planning and Operations rules worked perfectly for the setting (and gave the players a taste of what they missed when the original GM had to drop out), and all the props and craziness was just perfect. Damn…
  • Meanwhile, Robin hosted a "Women ON Gaming" (not "Women IN Gaming") panel with Jennifer Baughman and surprise panelist Nicole Lindroos. I'm sorry I missed it.
  • And then on Saturday night, I turned around and ran the adventure again as part of the Savage Saturday Night block. Because of the random, improvisational nature of the missions, it turned into an almost completely different yet no less exciting and fun game. I only wish that group had gotten to enjoy the music too. This is definitely turning into one of my regularly-scheduled con games.

  • Robin was right next to me running Savage Simpsons vs. MST3K, but I have next to no idea how that went because I was too wrapped-up in my game.
    I know Gamera was in it.
  • Sunday morning, John Atkinson ran Freedom Squadron for us and I got to play my utterly ridiculous character. Since posting about building him with FS’s Vocational Frameworks, Catamount has morphed from “Snake Eyes knockoff with knives and a mountain lion” to an unfrozen cryogenics patient from the 1980s who decided to become a ninja (and befriended a mountain lion) after he discovered his whole family was wiped out in WWIII. He’s a little more Deadpool than what I intended, but—honestly—that’s much more the kind of character I enjoy playing.
  • Also, Wally the Mountain Lion took the lead (and succeeded) on an Interaction Challenge because he had Intimidation and no one else had any social skills.   
  • Also, thinking up new Agility Tricks every round is exhausting. Bringing a knife to a gunfight is hard.
  • Also, if someone specific is reading this, stealing Pirates of the Spanish Main’s Close Fighting Edge for Freedom Squadron would really help out Catamount in the future. Knife-fighting techniques are a much more common part of military training than katanas.
    Catamount is the pawn trying to stab the woman with fire powers.
    Robin's mystic, Black Cat, is played by Santa's Little Helper.
    Wally is, of course, the only character with a proper mini.
  • Finally, Sunday afternoon was The Savage World of Jane Austen, once again in the conference room. It went really well for the first half and proved to me that my social combat rules work, but it went kind of off the rails (in a hilarious and entertaining way) during the second half. Admittedly, I was strung out on green tea and lack of sleep. I should write more about this game, but I’m still processing lessons learned.
  • I met Tuxsen!!!
  • We finished Sunday with a party hosted by Mark Carroll and Jennifer Baughman. It was great. Robin and I get to spend so little time physically with members of our tribe that nights like that really make us feel human.

More thoughts to come, I’m sure.

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