As a side note, as I uploading these I’m also struggling with a bad cold. I will make them prettier with images later.
I’ve been attending Gen Con every year for the past 5 or so years. Every year I do more and more activities and I can honestly say it is something that I really look forward to each summer. I consider this to be my family’s vacation too. My daughter is only 3, so far there is not a lot she can do. There are events for children but most of them start at age 6. We usually have her spend the four days with her grandparents. She has a lot of fun with them, and this year Joey’s dad got to play with her all Saturday. She has a blast so it works out great.
This year it was held a bit earlier than normal. It is typically in late August, and I’m not entirely sure why it was so early. I could look into it, but I’m not that interested. I don’t really care when it is held, as long as I get to go.
So our trip started in Cincinnati. We drove the long 3 hour trip to my parent’s house to drop off our daughter and spend the night there. Technically the Wednesday before Gen Con is “open” but there are no events and you can’t buy anything so it’s just a way to pick up your badge and tickets at the will call line.
On Thursday morning we headed down to Indy and started off with a game of laser tag called Here At The End. There are four factions vying for dominance in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Our team had a wonderful NPC that did a great job explaining all the rules, “repairing” our weapons and just troubleshooting things in general.
This event had the potential to be awesome. They were supposed to divide the teams evenly (more on that later) and the NPCs were to help their respective teams to either complete their goal, form alliances, or maintain the weapons.
Our team was the Old Guard. The Old Guard is the remainder of the industrial military complex from before civilization was forced underground. It was me, my friends Steve and Allen, my husband Joey and two more people whose names I can’t remember. It really is unfortunate I can’t remember their names because they were excellent teammates. They were both enthusiastic and competent, which, let’s be honest, can be hard to find in an event like this.
There were three other teams. Elysium (super hippies), One that is made up of Dr. Who fans (essentially), and the mutated Animorphs. I didn’t see the NPCs for Elysium or Dr. Who Fans but I did see the Mutants and they were dressed as cat people. Apparently they are boyfriend and girlfriend in real life.
The goal was to find clues to help us figure out the combination to a safe in the center of the room, and/or find keys to unlock a bomb that was right above the safe on a pedestal. There were some cardboard walls and some boxes we could use for cover but other than that the environment was pretty sparse.
Everything at the center of the room, the bomb and the safe, were both not working properly so it was basically a game of Shoot ‘Em Up with little to no strategy. Overall the game had potential, but due to the lack of planning and only one NPC (our guy) who seemed like he cared the game suffered and was not worth the price of the ticket. But, hey, we got a pretty cool looking button from it so at least there’s that.
My second event was with Steve, but Joey and Allen spent time walking around the convention halls doing who knows what. I certainly don’t, I forgot to ask. It was an interesting event and quite honestly an amazing experience. Considering it was my first time playing at a convention it left a really good impression. I will definitely be doing it again next year.
As a quick note the only reason I did this in the first place is because my brother Bryan (who’ll show up later) got a new job and he couldn’t get the time off so I played instead.
I have been playing ShadowRun for a good number of years now with a group of friends. We do it primarily online through Ventrilo and Maptools because our group is either in Ohio, Indiana or California, so it’s not like I’ve never played before. I enjoy my group because we’re all pretty laid back and no one takes the game too seriously. I don’t like it when people are too serious. This is why I have always been so reluctant to play ShadowRun at Gen Con. I figured that the people who play have more…I don’t know but I was worried I would have horrible people to play with. That still may happen, but it didn’t this time. The people we played with, except Steve and one other, had not played before. Our GM was very easy to talk to and explained things very patiently.
Our game was a continuation of a campaign that’s been going for the past several cons. In fact I think it might be towards the end of it, and I think it would’ve been slightly more helpful to have that previous experience just for the karma and contacts earned alone. For this particular run I dusted off an old character of mine, Nurse Killshot, because Steve was being Dr. Roberts and we thought it would pair nicely. The GM loved the concept of our little duo too.
We got a call from a woman’s sprite, if you don’t play ShadowRun think of it like a more personalized Siri or Cortana, telling us that she’d gone missing. It hired us to retrieve information about her last known whereabouts from a man who worked for one of the big corporations, Shiawase I think. The man is already dead, so we just need to get the info from his gadgets. For clarification purposes we’ll call him John. He had an actual name but I don’t remember it.
So when we arrive at the dead man’s location there’s a big fire fight happening between three corporate Shiawase men and a group of elven gangers. We help the gangers by basically killing all the Shiawase men. After, Dr. Roberts removes the pertinent information from John’s body but there’s a slight problem and I accidentally cause the little bomb that was implanted in John’s head to explode. Thankfully we got everything in time, and managed to make a good impression on the gangers.
We find out that the gangers were there on orders to retrieve the same body, but didn’t have the detail of getting the information. They were hired by a child known as the “Altar Boy”. He gave them a terrible feeling but he paid well. After some leg work we found out where Altar Boy was staying and decided to pay him a visit. We figured he knew a little something about our missing woman.
The elf gangers all like to visit a bar called Toll House (haha) and we find out while there, buying drinks for everyone, that the Altar Boy works for a man called the Bishop. We get to his location and find two guards in front of the place. While Dr. Roberts distracts them two other members of our team sneak into our house and find a priest chained up in the basement. His name is Father Sarducci (yes, indeed), and he helps us figure out where to go. I stayed in the background with my sniper rifle ready.
We go to St. Hyacinth cathedral to find the Altar Boy, the Bishop, our missing woman and a group of the elf gangers all inside a mostly empty main room. The background count is high inside, less so out, so I stay by the front entrance to snipe from a distance while the rest of our group go inside to speak to the Bishop.
Dr. Roberts tricks him into monologue for a while as we wait for backup. Apparently, in a previous mission Dr. Roberts had made friends with an orc gang leader and she was coming to our aid.
A fight breaks out and we find out that our missing woman has been possessed by Shedim (think of a terrible, nasty bug thing controlling a person) and she is tough. She has stats far above ours and is an incredible fighter. She rolled 20+ dice for everything. Everything! The Altar Boy and the Bishop are both powerful Shedim as well, and they have a high force spirit that uses its fear power to disable one of our team members. Unfortunately the Bishop takes this opportunity to kill our team member. I was able to pull off two shots, one against the Altar Boy and one against the Bishop and almost killed both of them. Even with our team and back up we couldn’t rescue our target or kill the two horrible Shedim. We ran, and ran quickly. Our overall mission was a failure but we lived! They were force 7 and 9 master Shedims. Holy crap it was a difficult fight!
Because of my awesome shots I got MVP and a cool magnet to signify that. If you don’t know, the Shedim were basically using the bodies of the actual altar boy and Bishop to gain power and work without being suspected. The two people they took over are unfortunately dead. Remember the bug guy from Men in Black? That’s pretty close. We were so close to ridding the ShadowRun Chicago of their presence, but without a powerful mage on our side there wasn’t much we could actually do. The orc leader was a mage, but it just wasn’t enough.
We stopped at Pearl Street Pizza for some delicious food. It was very crowded, but tasty. The food was rather filling and I would highly recommend their mini calzones.
Rounding out the evening was a nice game of Whose Line Is It Anyway? The room we were in this year was spacious, but had some support pillars in it that obstructed the view of some of the contestants. I don’t recall how many times I went up but it was at least once. The running joke for this particular session was “I’m a Republican Presidential nominee” or something like that. A few of those placed well were quite funny.