AcadeCon Round-Up: Dungeons and Dinosaurs
Huzzah, it’s another post!
So continuing on the theme of AcadeCon, we wanted to talk about some specific things, the different games that we played, and what they are like. The first game that Kristen and I play, you might have heard of the system, it’s Dungeons and Dragons. But this time it was with a twist, we were anthropomorphic dinosaurs who were trying to stop the end of the dinosaurs. Now, I’m not saying that this is how it actually went, a meteor crashing to the ground, a quack researcher leading a team of adventurers to their certain death, and then saving the world at the very end (despite the quack researchers best intentions), but that’s probably how the dinosaurs lasted a little bit longer.
But, why am I writing more about Dungeons and Dragons. Clearly I’ve written a lot about it, and it’s something that I enjoy writing about it, but why give it a special AcadeCon themed post?
This was the first game where I was a player.
So that was a unique and new experience. We’ve been running Dungeons and Flagons for over a year now and we’d been playing for maybe two-thirds of a year prior to that, but I had never had a chance to play as a player. Now, this experience, run by Ryan Porta (@Teleporta) of The RPG Academy, was something different than I’d ever run as well. Not only wasn’t it your normal fantasy tropes, we were also level 10 characters (I believe), so we had a lot more abilities than we’ve gotten to in Dungeons and Flagons.
My initial thoughts on it (and I was supposed to play in a more normal D&D game as well before the con exhaustion took me out for Sunday), was that it was a lot of fun, but very different than what I kind of what have expected (in some ways). Sure, it was D&D, and my dinosaur was an awesome monk that could punch stuff really well (which I did repeatedly), but there were elements that I still haven’t experienced.
Now, this isn’t any fault of the game itself, it comes from the fact that this is a con game, they are meant to be pretty straightforward, or on the rails, leading down one path and kind of expecting you to follow it. And Ryan did a very good job of not making it seem like that, we always had a lot of options as to what we could do, and while there was always an option that seemed the best/most logical place to go, we could have totally messed around with it and headed back to our dino village instead of trying to find out what was going on. But in a shorter game, you generally are going to have less dialog going on, and it’s more about that action and moving it forward.
It was fun to see what was on the other side of the table as well, just to see how easy it was to remember a lot of things. Especially with level 10 characters, I doubt I used everything, but I had a lot of fun with the things that we did use. Sometime I’m going to find a campaign to join and then I’ll be telling a longer character arc as well as having all of these fun things like we did in that game. I think something else that was interesting and something that I hadn’t realized a ton of group dynamics. And I can talk about this in every game, but I think that the Dungeons and Dinosaurs game had the most interesting/unbalanced group dynamics. I’m very fine injecting my two cents worth into stuff, but we had a couple of louder players and a couple of quieter players with myself right in the middle, so it just seemed to hop around not as smoothly as the Dungeons and Flagons game where it’s hand picked players who know each other. This is just an off-shoot of it being a con game again and you have a wide variety of people there who may or may not pick up on dynamics of a table as quickly.
Ryan did a very good job though, for not being told he was running that game when it was scheduled, keeping everyone involved and allowing us to have our hero moments. I think that is what is good for a game, especially a game where you play once for four hours and then it is complete. Have those hero moments so that everyone can feel like a star, and it makes it a really enjoyable game. And I think it’ll help a lot for myself as I DM, it showed me where I might be missing some things as a DM for creating better story points, and will help me find creative ways for it to be more interesting for my players.
Like I said, now that I’ve been on the other side of the table, I definitely want to be a player in a campaign. I don’t really want to stop running games, but being a player and helping create and tell the story that way has it’s own bunch of fun. We’ll really see why as we talk about Nefertiti Overdrive and Star Wars (Fantasy Flight) systems coming up in the next couple of weeks.
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