Inscriptions on the Aqualith

A documentation of aquatic ponderings for tabletop roleplaying, after action reports, and product impressions. Dive in with the Consortium: aqualith.media

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Con of the North AAR 3/5 | Volunteering some thoughts

Ryan Heck aqualith.media
United States
Minnetonka
Minnesota
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Microbadge: TULIP: CalvinistMicrobadge: WW1 WargamerMicrobadge: Cypher System fanMicrobadge: Water elementMicrobadge: Cooperative worldbuilding fan
Back in February, I started a five part after action report detailing my first attendance of Con of the North. I had to put that on pause for a bit while a lot of real life priorities unfortunately took me away from contributing to this blog. That was not to say that work on Aqualith slowed down. Quite the contrary in fact. I am pleased to announce that development and pre-production on my first release has begun. It is too early to give a release window at this state, but I'm blown away at the interest and support I am getting just from casual conversation regarding it. Stay tuned, true belie...er-hydromancers!

Now, lets get this series of AAR's back on a roll. But before I do, I gave Pts 1 and 2 a proper remaster, so do take a look at them again if you forgot or never read them. It's been awhile: Pt 1, Pt 2


Volunteering your time was something strongly suggested in the Con of the North handbook and website, so I thought, why not give back some time, right? It was a great way to meet the leaders and acquaintances. Also, I got to go home with a few more CotN-branded d6's to add to my collection, which is never a bad thing.

Friday night after my Numenera one-shot, I got a bite to eat, then headed to the registration desk in the lobby and just up the stairs from the corridor that lead to Pathfinder Society. For about an hour or so, I got to stand behind the desk and help late Friday arrivals get there folders containing event tickets, badges, and the like. At first a little intimidated that I'd possibly have to work the storefront, thankfully other more qualified volunteers addressed my concerns quickly and I simply got to smile and help direct people to their next game.

Saturday afternoon, directly after my BattleTech grinder, I was given the honorary "pick up tickets" duty for that time slot. So when you go to Con of the North and you signed up for an event ahead of time, your aforementioned envelopes included a ticket for that specific event. This is pretty standard for a lot of conventions from what I understand. GenCon 2009 had something similar, but I've not been back since. When you arrive at the event, the coordinator, gamemaster, referee... whoever is running must retrieve this ticket from you so that the runner of that slot can swing by to pick them up and put them in a container for record keeping. I was that runner. And I went everywhere. This hotel has the weirdest set up. I can clearly tell it was designed over time. To add to the confusion of the place, there's the 2nd floor which runs over the top of the level 1 with the lobby. Then there's the basement or ground floor below it. Except there are two separate ground floors. On the same level. Read that again if you need to. I'll wait.

Yeah, that confusing. I think I got it down by Saturday evening, but I'll likely have to relearn it again. To me, it's the most confusing when you need to search for the restroom. Now that I think about it, for tabletop roleplayers, figuring out the labyrinth that is Crowne Plaza Minneapolis West may just be part of the gaming experience. Regardless, it was cool to wave and give a nod to those I got to play with or volunteer with up to that point. I love small cons for that as you begin to form bonds over the weekend.

Next post in this AAR, we get a little old school.


Steady tides be with you!

Ryan
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Thu May 30, 2019 2:00 pm
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Con of the North AAR 2/5 | Into the #BattleTech grinder

Ryan Heck aqualith.media
United States
Minnetonka
Minnesota
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Microbadge: TULIP: CalvinistMicrobadge: WW1 WargamerMicrobadge: Cypher System fanMicrobadge: Water elementMicrobadge: Cooperative worldbuilding fan
Previously on Con of the North AAR... Pt 1


Rompin' stompin' mecha! That has been the central focus of a now thirty-five year intellectual property, steeped in lore and unfortunate lawsuits by greedy real estate companies. Yes, real estate companies. But that is now all behind us (for now) as we look onward at the current tabletop version of BattleTech.

When the video game developer and publisher Harebrained Schemes announced a Kickstarter campaign for a new turn-based strategy game set in the original 3025 era of the BattleTech universe, my attention, they got. I have long seen this old game on the game shelves... but didn't give it its proper due. Much of that for my part has been because of complications and handling of the tabletop franchise. I won't go into that as its multifaceted, but I will say it hasn't helped the average tabletop enthusiast's perception these last few years. I much prefer the aesthetic, however, of that universe over Warhammer or the like, so I've kept an eye on it.

But in either case, tabletop wargaming was a genre I avoided because of financial and spacial restrictions. There's ways around it, like with X-Wing Miniatures, but that style of wargaming-lite can still eat your pocket book if you aren't frugal with your budget. And we here at Inscriptions on the Aqualith 100% support you in having an appropriate budget! [/wink]

Oh yeah, this was an AAR, wasn't it?


'Mech SMASH
At Con of the North this year, I had the opportunity to sign up for one (or more) 2 hour blocks to try out either classic or Alpha Strike variants of BattleTech. I went with the former as, while it's more complicated, oft needlessly so, I wanted to get to meet the guys who locally play and gauge where things were around the Twin Cities area.

A Catalyst Game Labs rep, who I unfortunately forgot his name, was managing the table of this eight player 'Mech grudge match. The objective was to pick a light 'Mech and survive. If you died, you'd get a medium, then a heavy, and so on. If you know anything about BattleTech Classic, 2 hours won't get ya far, especially with newbies. So I think we saw maybe two mediums hit the table before the next slot had to start.

I ran with a Stinger, equipped with two medium lasers. He surprisingly held his own and didn't get too beat up, even after a successful Death From Above hit in round 3 which could of crippled it pretty quickly. There was another well placed hit towards the end that did a lot of internal damage, but it still remained standing.

Unfortunately we ran up on time before more than five or six rounds could be done, but it gave me a good taste of the rules. I got lost in the bonuses and penalties, but I have the PDF copy of the BattleMech Manual to consult and study before I play again (whenever that happens).

Aside from asking questions of the game runnner, I had the pleasure to meet Joey, a guy sitting to my left who gladly helped me with the rules. He told me about the local group which mustered on Facebook. I told him that in regards to the group which I would of gladly joined for info's sake, but I ditched Facebook for certain reasons and happily signed up for MeWe instead. He's since joined MeWe and created a mirror group there. I highly suggest joining if you are in the area and want to try the game out.

Next I'll be sharing my take on the con as a whole, with two more AAR's to follow. Stay tuned and thanks for reading.

Steady tides be with you!

Ryan
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Wed Feb 20, 2019 3:28 pm
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Con of the North AAR 1/5 | #Numenera is weird ya'll

Ryan Heck aqualith.media
United States
Minnetonka
Minnesota
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Microbadge: TULIP: CalvinistMicrobadge: WW1 WargamerMicrobadge: Cypher System fanMicrobadge: Water elementMicrobadge: Cooperative worldbuilding fan
Over the next series of posts, I present a series where I unpack the highlights of a fun-filled weekend of exploration, and some personal triumph!

For those unitiated, AAR is short for After Action Report. As far as I know, said report can be done anyway you like for reporting your games. Please correct me if wrong, but this will be high level, mostly for time, but I'll definitely be diving in for the finale post regarding my return to Pathfinder Society. Stay tuned later this week for that.

Today, we delve into the weird.


Into the night
On Friday, I joined the second event of my Friday schedule, featuring a Numenera adventure called Falling Into Golden Skies gamemastered by Jenifer Doll. As far as I know, this was her own adventure, but again, correct me if wrong.

This particular adventure focuses on a planetoid, or more accurately a star called the Swarmstar. This is described in the fantastic setting book, Into the Night, which I strongly suggest those running Cypher System games in space to grab, including the upcoming The Stars Are Fire supplement.

Numenera is a setting that I'm not entirely on board with, and I think the devs would be okay with that. I've seen it described as a setting that always cranked up to 11, with the intention that you as the GM can crank the dial back down to where you're comfortable with. That is where I personally am with sci-fantasy. I like pulling it back down to more of a Star Wars-like volume, as it were.

All that said, the descriptions of places and things is impeccable. You cannot knock the setting for not being descriptive enough, yet it leaves enough alone for you to fill gaps for the story you need to tell. So the fact it does get really weird lets the imaginations of gamemasters and players alike to run truly wild. I thought as our adventuring party moved from room to room, Jenifer did a fine job describing each and every POI, making the puzzles and situations we found ourselves in believable enough to not feel confused or too-limited to know how to progress. If she chooses to run it elsewhere or you get a chance to play it, I put my stamp of approval on it. It's quite fun!

Tune in tomorrow morning for pt 2 of my AAR.



Steady tides be with you!

Ryan
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Tue Feb 19, 2019 5:52 pm
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