Rules Tinkering

Folks who know me know that I am a tinkerer when it comes to rules and game design: I love to play around with different ideas for how something can get done in the context of a game, and I have notebooks and digital files full of ideas and random thoughts jotted down about particular rules and system concepts to try out or experiment with at some point. There are two particular Green Ronin areas of interest with my rules tinkering manifested recently.

Modern AGE Powers! Coming Soon!

Modern AGE Powers! Coming Soon!

The first is in getting to work on sub-systems for extraordinary powers for the AGE System, particularly Modern AGE. Anyone who knows my work gets that super-powers of various sorts are a particular interest, so naturally I jumped at the opportunity to work on power systems for AGE, starting right from the design of the Fantasy AGE and Modern AGE Basic Rulebooks. I wrote the Powers chapter of Modern AGE game, adapting the magic system of Fantasy AGE to present systems of spellcasting and psionic in the core game. Then I got to expand on those systems for the Modern AGE Companion and particularly the Threefold setting, which offered setting-specific examples of magic and psychic powers, along with expanding upon extraordinary powers.

From there, I got to build-out both psychic and extraordinary powers even further for the forthcoming Modern AGE Powers sourcebook, and adapt extraordinary powers and the augmentations sub-system from Threefold for a more general cyberpunk style. That material, it turned out, was useful for The Expanse as well, since we know there are some cybernetics and body augmentations in the setting, so we were able to adapt the core of that material for another AGE System game as well! Most of this development and tinkering went on with manuscripts that haven’t yet seen print, so there were also opportunities to go back and apply later developments to some of the earlier stuff. If you’re going to be working under pandemic conditions where product releases are delayed, at least take advantage of the longer development times!

Similarly, our conversations on Mutants & Masterminds Mondays sometimes inspire the desire to tinker with particular aspects of the game rules. That’s where an article on what I called “Challenge Points” came from for the M&M Patreon: We discussed the concept of first edition’s “Villain Points” and some similar mechanics introduced in more recent M&M adventures to provide Gamemasters with different balancing tools to make encounters sufficiently challenging and interesting. I summed-up a lot of what we discussed in writing, added a few extra details, and presented it to our patrons for their feedback and use. Seems to have gone over well, so chances are we’ll look to share some other rules-tinkering ideas on the Patreon in the future. Who knows? Maybe some of those ideas will find their way into official game releases at some point. I know that both M&M Developer Crystal Frasier and I have already written additional articles along those lines and have some ideas for others.

Do you like to tinker with the rules of your favorite RPGs? Do you enjoy designer speculation and ideas for variant rules or optional systems? Drop us a line at letsplay@greenronin.com and let us know about it or about the sorts of things you’d like to see. You might well inspire us to go in and tinker with something new!

Flight 1701: A New Modern AGE Missions Adventure!

Flight 1701 for Modern AGE!A routine flight turns into a challenge to survive and humanity’s first contact with extraterrestrial life, as the plane somehow crashes on another world. The passengers and crew must work together to discover what happened, represent all humans while struggling to communicate with an alien people, and figure out a way to get back home. The decisions they make may alter the course of human civilization forever.

Written by Hiromi Cota and developed by Meghan Fitzgerald, Flight 1701 is a new adventure for the Modern AGE roleplaying game, designed to be suitable for characters between levels 5-8, showcasing Modern AGE in a low-tech science fiction genre. It provides multiple paths for the Game Master to follow, allowing it to stand on its own or fit into a larger campaign. Therefore, it requires the Modern AGE Basic Rulebook.

Flight 1701 is part of the Modern AGE Missions adventure series. These adventures aren’t tied to any detailed setting, though they sometimes loosely imply a setting. This makes them ideal for one-shots, as a campaign kickoff, or as a break from your game’s primary story arc. Check out the other two Modern AGE Missions:

Warflower

Alchemy, drug dealing, corporate intrigue, and medieval sword fighting combine in a modern-day murder mystery with a side of action and a little mysticism—or is it just strange chemistry? Warflower is an adventure for characters of levels 1-4.

Feral Hogs

After civilization fell apart, and the people of ‘Murica retreated to desperate villages and the enormous walled distribution fortresses of the Bozos clan, a new threat arose—no, not the rise of strange mental powers triggered by energy drinks, the other threat: feral hogs. In case the adventure title didn’t give it away. Whether in squealing hordes of 30-50 or in singular mutants of towering porcine glory, they stand in the way of recovery. Feral Hogs is a lighthearted adventure for characters of levels 1-4.

Other Adventures

More Modern AGE Missions are on the way, providing further support for your campaigns. In addition, the Threefold setting also has a ladder of adventures called Five and Infinity, capable of bringing characters from Level 1 to 16! To get full use out of these, you need both the Modern AGE Basic Rulebook and the Threefold setting book.

Order in the Court! Danger Zones: Courthouse Now Available!

Danger Zones: CourthouseWhile superheroes are often involved in stopping crimes and capturing criminals, how many times have the heroes in your Mutants & Masterminds had to show up in front of a court? The latest release in our Danger Zones series, the Courthouse, raises just that question and provides plenty of resources for the answers.

 

As the Danger Zone notes, heroes may end up in court for a number of different reasons:

  • Heroes who are lawyers in their secret identities may try cases all the time. A hero could end up prosecuting—or even defending!—a villain they captured in their heroic identity.
  • Any hero’s secret identity could be called for jury duty. If the hero has a connection with the case, do they look to recuse themselves and how do they do so without entrusting the court with their secret identity?
  • Heroes or hero teams might get sued, depending on what the legal protections in the setting are for costumed vigilantes. A lawsuit could be genuine or a set-up of some sort.
  • Heroes may be called to testify in criminal or civil cases, with opposing attorneys interested in discrediting them or arranging an incident that does so.
  • Some heroes may be involved in precedent-setting legal cases concerning things like the civil rights of aliens or artificial life-forms like androids or robots, the legal ramifications of certain powers, or even the rights of costumed vigilantes in general.

Courthouse has its own mini-system for handling courtroom dramas and legal cases, letting you run trials for the heroes captured foes to see if they are convicted and to determine the severity of their sentence. There’s also information on courthouse security measures and building structure, for those instances when a super-powered slugfest breaks out at the courthouse, often in conjunction with an actual break-out!

Of course, like all Danger Zones, Courthouse offers a detailed map of a typical example of the setting, stock characters found there, sample non-player characters, and a selection of ideas for Capers involving the location.

Danger Zones: Courthouse is also available on DrivethruRPG!

Weapons and Tech in the Expanse RPG

Amos Burton has some thoughts on Weapons in the ExpanseThe Expanse RPG is designed to tell stories in the universe of The Expanse novels, not to be a tactical simulator.” I can’t count how many times I’ve written or uttered this phrase since becoming the line developer.  It’s the best answer I can give when people ask why The Expanse RPG doesn’t have a more detailed space combat system, long lists of the different guns, or pages filled with wonderous technological devices. The AGE system and The Expanse novels are focused on the narrative and characters, not the tech. The tech is there to support the story, not the focus of the story. I discussed this in a previous RRT Here. So today, rather than going on further about that, I’m going to offer a few ideas on ways you can bring the tech to the foreground if that’s what you want for your campaign.

First, lets talk guns. This is an easy one. If you want to track ammo, you can certainly do that. All you need to do is look up some basic gun types and list the ammo capacity for each. The rulebook already states that reloading a gun is a minor action, so that’s already covered. If you decide to track ammo, you may want to ignore the Weapon Capacity rules, although you could still use this to indicate that the weapon jams. Then you need to decide how many rounds are expended for different stunts. Probably four for a short burst or suppressive fire and maybe double that for a long burst or spray and pray. Ultimately this is up to you and what works best for your campaign, but if you’re going to track ammo, you’ll want to set something definitive so that players know what to expect.

There are plenty of resources online for how many rounds different types of weapons carry. Also, some other sci-fi and futuristic RPGs have extensive lists of gun types. They often even have cool names that you could easily co-opt for your Expanse game. The core rulebook provides all of the tools necessary to create unique weapons and ammo.  The Item Qualities and Flaws and Weapons Qualities and Flaws sections in Chapter 4: Technology and Equipment can be used to flesh out individual weapons to make one pistol different from another.

Weapons aboard Ships of the Expanse

These guidelines work well for Ships and their weapons as well. Even the Qualities could be applied to different ship weapons or ammo to create a wider diversity for the players to choose from and something for characters to spend their Income on. For ammo, it is up to you to decide how many PDC bursts a ship can fire and how many railgun rounds and torpedoes they carry. Some details are mentioned in the novels, and real-life naval ships can also be used as a guide. Modern submarines generally carry from 12-38 torpedoes, so that can give you a starting point. Keeping PDCs and railguns somewhere in line with that makes a certain amount of sense. (Although PDCs fire thousands of rounds per minute so ites probably best to just determine how many “bursts” they can fire rather than worry about the exact number of rounds.) The important thing to remember if you decide to track rounds instead of using the narrative system is to make sure that it adds to the fun and doesn’t diminish it. Limiting rounds should be used to enhance the tension but never to punish players. It also adds another step of bookkeeping that many players might not find enjoyable. Read your table and make sure everyone is having fun.

Ultimately it is up to you and your players to decide what works for you. We’ve designed a game that we believe is fun to play. And while we occasionally add some more detailed optional rules, our focus will always be on the story. Speaking of story, look for the PDF adventure Secrets of Lemuria, coming soon!

IT CAME FROM THE INTERNET! VTT material on Roll20!

Today we have a special guest post by none other than Ahpook from the Green Ronin VTT Team!

Lightning flashes and thunder crashes!

Inside the VTT Lab at Green Ronin HQ, something moves…

“It’s alive! Alive I tell you! ALIVE!”

Happy October everyone!

I have a Halloween miracle to share with you all. There once was a lonely, disembodied entity known as Troy who had a dream. A dream of a brilliantly creative team of fun, dedicated, passionate gamers who wanted to help people play Green Ronin’s games online. He went on a quest to find these people, and I was lucky enough to trick him into letting me come along! Being part of the VTT team has been an amazing experience, and after nearly a year of hard work from everyone, we are finally here!

It’s no trick! We have a treat for you all! Several treats actually!

We are excited to announce the debut launch of our first VTT material for Mutants & Masterminds on the Roll20 platform! The mad scientists over here in the lab have been hard at work piecing things together, and now it is time for our creations to RISE! This first release will be spookily-themed bundles to match the season and include the following adventures and supplements:

Today’s Release:
Astonishing Adventures Bite Club!Danger Zones LighthouseM&M Condition Cards

Fall Launch Bundle: $9.99 

  • Astonishing Adventures: Bite Club (Normally $5.99)
  • Danger Zones: Lighthouse (Normally $4.99)
  • Bonus: Mutants & Masterminds Condition Cards (Normally $6.99!)

Astonishing Adventures Nothing to Fear Danger Zones Museam

Only Treats Bundle: $9.99 

  • Astonishing Adventures: Nothing To Fear (Normally $5.99)
  • Danger Zones: Museum (Normally $4.99)
  • Bonus: Mutants & Masterminds Condition Cards (Normally $6.99!)

Products include full adventure and supplement text, tokens for all NPCs and Villains, to-scale maps with dynamic lighting, GM and Player handouts, integrated card decks, and fully statted sheets for all characters using the new Official M&M Sheet for Roll20!

How can you get these terrifyingly fine products you ask? Just shamble on over to the Roll20 Marketplace and check out the brand-new Green Ronin store! A lot more material will be coming out soon for Mutants and Masterminds, along with all our other lines, including Return to Freeport, The Expanse, Blue Rose, Fantasy AGE, Modern AGE, and more!


Ahpook

Ahpook is a member of the Green Ronin VTT team and a Mutants & Masterminds super-fan. He is also the founder of the bustling Freedom City Discord server devoted to all things M&M and the home of the Freedomverse, a shared world where community members can develop their heroes and create their own heroic stories.

Player or GM, the Modern AGE Mastery Guide is Here for You

Modern AGE Mastery GuideI’m so pleased to announce that the Modern AGE Mastery Guide has gone to press, which means you can preorder the print version, get the PDF now as a $5 add-on with your preorder, or get the PDF on its own in our webstore or at DriveThruRPG. In case you’re curious, we’ve chosen a printer in Europe to keep shipping challenges to a minimum. This is the latest hardcover release for the Modern AGE roleplaying game, and joins the Modern AGE Basic Rulebook, the Modern AGE Companion, and Enemies & Allies as one of its “core rulebook” releases, as opposed to the game’s two settings, the World of Lazarus comic adaptation, and our flagship multiverse, the Threefold Metacosm.

Great news, right? But what is it? Is it a GM’s guide or player’s guide?

It’s both.

I have always hated the idea of separating advice for players and Game Masters, as if one side needs a bag of tricks to use against the other. That’s not how you should play Modern AGE, so that’s not how we do it in this book. Beyond being able to peek into the advice given to separate roles, we’re able to integrate it so the guidance is consistent. This format also makes it natural to provide the high-level advice GMs are used to getting, to players as well.

But it’s not all essays—it works out to less than half the content. The Modern AGE Mastery Guide also contained countless new recommended and optional systems, making it a counterpart to the Modern AGE Companion. Do you want simplified characters? Classes? Diceless play? Numerically rated personality traits? Do you want us to admit Stunt Attack is a little weak? Well, we have you covered.

Look at the table of contents here.

Conflict resolution in Modern AGE Mastery Guide

Character conflict done right, from the Modern AGE Mastery Guide

Done? Here’s a high-level summary:

Chapter 1: Playing Well

A guide to finding your preferences and improving your performance playing a Modern AGE character. This includes devising a backstory, searching for a role in the party, and how to play with consideration for others’ feelings.

Chapter 2: Variant Character Creation

A rules-focused chapter that presents multiple alternatives to standard character creation. This includes non-heroic characters, simplified characters, and character classes. Rules for quirks and personality traits round out the chapter.

Chapter 3: Playing With the Rules

Chapter 3 presents a host of new rules options that are especially relevant for players. This chapter starts with recommended new and revised rules before presenting options for everything from detailed injuries to streamlined encounters.

Chapter 4: Welcome to The Party

An advice-focused chapter covering the ins and outs of playing in a character party. This includes a further exploration of character roles, collective growth, and how to manage intra-party conflict.

Chapter 5: A Player’s Miscellany

Chapter 5 introduces additional rules and advice relevant to players, beginning with rules for customizing equipment, using explosives and other major threats in a low-rules, high drama context, and how to make extraordinary powers come alive in the campaign.

Chapter 6: Mastering Modern AGE’s Rules

A dive into using and customizing the rules. Aimed primarily (but not exclusively) at GMs, this chapter starts by exploring Modern AGE’s dice mechanics before discussing alternate criteria for target numbers, mixing success and failure, and rules for diceless play.

Chapter 7: Modern Adventures

A comprehensive guide to designing adventures based on scenes, sites, character relationships, and more.

Chapter 8: The Art of Game Mastering

Chapter 8 continues the high-level Game Mastering advice in the Modern AGE Basic Rulebook, delving into GMing styles, practical techniques, and the primary directive for all Game Masters: Be kind.

That’s the Modern AGE Mastery Guide. Get it and add another core book to your arsenal—but there’s still more to come. The Modern AGE desk has another softcover, hardcover, and several PDFs awaiting release—and that’s before a significant Modern AGE-adjacent announcement (which is probably not what you think!) next year. Overall, it’s a good time to get into what I will, with some arrogance but also some accuracy, call the premiere any-setting modern RPG. We got books!

Fantasy AGE Core Rulebook Cover Reveal

New Fantasy AGE Core Rulebook!

As Fantasy AGE fans know, we’ve been working on a Core Rulebook for the game for a while now. We decided it was time to bring together Fantasy AGE and Freeport, our signature fantasy city since 2000. More than that, we’ll be exploring many new lands in the world of Freeport through a setting concept called Stranger Shores. Once we had decided to put Freeport in the mix, there could be no other choice for the cover artist: Wayne Reynolds!

Tales of Freeport from the 3rd edition eraDenizens of Freeport from the 3rd edition era

Wayne has been the signature cover artist for Freeport since 2003, when he painted the covers for both Tales of Freeport and Denizens of Freeport. Wayne just gets the look of Freeport and his previous covers helped to define it. We wanted the Core Rulebook cover to illustrate that Fantasy AGE and Freeport were coming together. My idea: take characters from both and have them fighting side by side in the city. Art director Hal Mangold worked with Wayne to make it a reality.

Freeport: The City of Adventure for Pathfinder 1eFantasy AGE Campaign Builder's Guide

 

All the Fantasy AGE covers have featured a trio of iconic characters in perilous encounters. I suggested we take our iconic warrior and team her up with the pirate captain Wayne painted for the cover of Freeport: The City of Adventure. The foes had to be serpent people, a major element of the Freeport setting. You can see the results for yourself. As always, Wayne knocked it out the park. This is a cover worthy of our new Core Rulebook!

The Fantasy AGE Core Rulebook is scheduled to release in May of 2022. If you’d like to learn more about how it has been developed, check out episodes of ThursdAGE (also available on Youtube and Twitch). Each week the disembodied voice of Troy Hewitt chats with Fantasy AGE developer Owen K.C. Stephens, who gives advice about the game, the Adventure Game Engine that powers it, and answers your questions. Leading up to May, we’ll also have a series of articles exploring the Core Rulebook, so stay tuned.

The AGE of Wonderful (and Misfit) Toys

So, backstage, we developers have been talking about the different properties of AGE as a system, and how they might be tweaked, expanded, streamlined, and generally fooled around with. This is a conversation that builds up when it interests us, or when various projects demand it, and it’s responsible for a lot of the work we do with the Adventure Game Engine in its various forms: Fantasy AGE, Modern AGE, The Expanse, and Blue Rose—and of course these evolved from concepts devised by Chris Pramas for the Dragon Age roleplaying game.

Modding AGE games is half the fun!

If at first you don’t get the gameplay you want, mod, mod again. From the upcoming Modern AGE Mastery Guide

The wonderful thing about this process is that everybody has their own interpretations of how and why the rules work, and this sometimes helps with creative logjams. I may have talked about how it happens before, but hey, I forgot if I did, so why not talk about it anyway in the perishable blogging medium?

Churning Collaboration

Take the example of the Churn, devised for The Expanse—sort of. When I was working on the Modern AGE Companion, I got a look at the initial draft of the Churn. I liked it a whole lot, but I was also aware that as a game without a setting intended to serve a broad set of players, my “Churn” needed to generate more specific challenges from a rules perspective, because the GM couldn’t necessarily pull something from a well-defined setting. I renamed it Complications and added a bit of specificity in terms of the adversity it generates, and associated game systems like target numbers.

Then, of course, it turned out that Steve Kenson wanted to nail down the Churn a bit more. Handily, I had my draft in hand and sent it to him. So that’s how the Churn bounced between two games and came out with a redesign in both.

Another example of this is the invention of what we call breaching tests in Modern AGE and challenge tests in The Expanse: advanced tests that may have specific requirements and can impose special consequences for failure. As breaching tests, these were originally invented by Crystal Frasier for the World of Lazarus supplement, not the Modern AGE Basic Rulebook (both were written and developed at the same time). But the rules were so great I asked for them to be ported into core game systems. Steve Kenson picked it up for The Expanse, renamed it, and integrated it with the chase rules sourced from Modern AGE to streamline the latter.

Dubious Notions

However, not everything we produce makes it all the way to print or public pixels, for assorted reasons. The first is that the idea doesn’t really have a home in a new or upcoming game or supplement. They’re just free-floating notions. For example, at the time of writing we’ve just bandied about ideas for utilizing breaching/challenge tests where characters accumulate degrees of success with the ordinary combat system. Is there a place for it? Not yet, but much of the time we’ll keep these ideas in our back pockets, so to speak, until the right occasion comes up.

Then you have ideas which are great on paper but would just be too weird or dismal looking for people to get into. Here’s one I came up with. Hard Mode Stunts.

Hard Mode Stunts: Instead of setting the Stunt Die apart with a distinctive design or color than the other two of your 3d6, the Stunt Die is always the lowest die you roll. If you tie where two dice have the same number as a die with a higher result, it doesn’t matter which die you pick as your Stunt Die, since they’ll have the same value.

(Don’t know AGE? In our system we roll 3d6 + bonuses against a target number. One die is distinctive, and if any two dice have the same number on the face, that special die—called the Stunt Die or Drama Die—generates the number on its face in stunt points, which can be used to buy special effects like knocking an enemy down or getting your way with a particularly clever quip in social interactions.)

Now this seems like a logical rule. Stunt point totals tend to be high because matches happen in the set of rolls that are successes, and successful rolls will naturally be higher. With Hard Mode Stunts, you’re more likely to get fewer stunt points unless your entire roll is high—in fact, since you can’t get 6 stunt points unless 6 is the lowest die, you can only get that when you roll a natural 18 on 3d6. So logically, scales consistently, and…is no fun. In Modern AGE you might use it for the grittiest of Gritty Mode games. But AGE thrives on stunts! So, no—with one exception.

If there was a version of the AGE system that provided powerful tools to alter dice rolls or generate stunt points without relying on doubles, Hard Mode Stunts might work, with the understanding that you’ll usually be buying the big stunts, perhaps with something like The Expanse’s Fortune system. There’s a thought—but is there a place for it? Hmmm….

Old Games Never Die: True20 Revised Rulebook available for Print On Demand

True20 Revised Edition available for Print on Demand!I’m certainly dating myself, but long ago, I loved to haunt the aisles of the games auction at Gen Con and to visit shops that had older and out-of-print games. It was how I got to see products that pre-dated my entry into the tabletop gaming hobby, or that I missed somewhere along the way.

That was long before the explosion of online publishing, e-books, and print-on-demand, which transformed our relationship with those older products, and publishers’ relationships with their back-catalog. Now, old games (and old game books) need never die. They just “ascend” from their material forms to the virtual realm, where they can be purchased, accessed, downloaded, and even reprinted to add to some eager gamer’s collection.

All of that is a long introduction to announcing that Green Ronin is offering the True20 Adventure Roleplaying core rulebook as a print-on-demand product from DriveThruRPG. Since the original book was produced in black and white, it was a prime candidate for print-on-demand, allowing us to keep the cost reasonable for a non mass-market book, and making it easy to offer both softcover and hardcover editions.

Moving forward, Green Ronin will also be looking at offering print-on-demand editions of some of our other out-of-print titles, as staffing resources permit. Have a personal preference you’d like to see available? Please email letsplay@greenronin.com and let us know about it. Our focus remains on supporting and producing new material for our ongoing game lines like the AGE System and Mutants & Masterminds, but we want fans of our older titles to be able to replace well-loved books and to introduce them to potential new fans as well.

If you have never checked out True20 Adventure Roleplaying, now is a great time to do so and to get a package deal on both a print and PDF copy of the core rules. You can also explore the numerous settings, sourcebooks, and adventures using the True20 system on DriveThruRPG, also preserved for posterity. Old games never die, they just await new players to find and play them.

Gen Con Report 2021

Another Gen Con is in the books, and what an unusual Gen Con it was, in many regards.

Green Ronin booth at Gen Con 2021!As folks may know, this year Gen Con held a “hybrid” event, consisting of online and “pop-up” Gen Con events hosted by local game stores, in addition to the traditional in-person event at the convention center in downtown Indianapolis, where Gen Con has been hosted for over twenty years now. In-person Gen Con observed a number of restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including a cap on attendance, a mask requirement for all indoor and crowded outdoor areas of the con, and closing the convention center overnight for a complete cleaning. Along with reduced attendance came a reduced number of exhibitors: Many Gen Con stalwarts did not attend, and many others cancelled their plans to do so.

Green Ronin, like many exhibitors, reduced our presence at the convention: smaller booth space and minimal staff, just four of us, the smallest Gen Con staff we’ve had since I started working for Green Ronin back in 2003! We still managed to include our full lines of product on the tables that we had, and were pleased to be able to offer a limited number of copies of the new Ships of the Expanse, along with other new offerings like the Envoys to the Mount campaign for Blue Rose. We cleared out our remaining copies of The Expanse Quick-Start by giving a free copy with any purchase of $25 or more. They were all gone by Friday!

Ships of the Expanse was available in print for Gen Con!

While Gen Con 2021 was by no means an ordinary Gen Con, it was still a success. Sales justified our costs for being there and attendees expressed their gratitude at seeing us and having the opportunity to check out our products, both new and new-to-them. We saw lots of interest in The Expanse, Blue Rose, Mutants & Masterminds, and the AGE System, as we expected, but were also pleased to see to see interest in both our 5e products like The Lost Citadel, Book of Fiends, and The Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide as well as our older Pathfinder products for Freeport.

Mask discipline in the exhibit hall and within the convention was generally excellent. While I occasionally saw a few noses hanging out, I didn’t see anyone unmasked anywhere they weren’t supposed to be. We generally took a cautious approach, avoiding a lot of the crowded events and areas, and combining taking our meals in our hotel rooms and visiting less crowded restaurants, especially those offering outdoor seating. Hand sanitizer was our constant companion and Nicole implemented a barcode scanner for sales checkout to help minimize the handling and passing back-and-forth of products. Because of our minimal staffing, and ownership’s preference not to ask anything of volunteers this year, we didn’t run any in-person events or games ourselves. As it was, we barely got away from the booth to walk the show floor (although we did all manage it).

Gen Con classics from the AGE system games.In spite of all of the differences, the heart of Gen Con remained very much the same: People were excited to be there and happy to see us, and enthused about their favorite games, while curious about what was new and coming next. We even met more than a few attendees who told us it was their first Gen Con ever! Certainly, we’re looking forward to welcoming them back to the show under better conditions in the years to come. We certainly appreciate everyone who visited the booth and who shopped or took the time to offer their kind comments.

We’ll have an even smaller presence at the Origins Game Fair in Columbus, Ohio, in just two weeks: Two staff members are scheduled to be there, but will be there nonetheless. We’ll have a similar-sized booth and all of the same product and are looking forward to greeting our friends, old and new.

Chris Pramas also recorded a quick interview with 1-2-3 D&D History at Gen Con. Check it out!