Big Bad Con Recap!

Big Bad Con was lots of fun, full of geekiness and gaming.

So I went to my first roleplaying convention ever. No, Blizzcon does not count. While I’ve role-played before and play a lot of tabletop games, I’ve yet to actually go to one of these, not for lack of desire but simply not having the right place and the right time.

Big Bad Con managed to satisfy both those requirements, and so I went for it!

Organized by Sean Nittner, flanked by his staunch allies Kristin Hayworth and Eric Fattig, put together one hell of an event, and I was never left wanting. For me, Big Bad Con was a great introduction to the world of roleplaying cons, and I’m definitely down for more.

Now for the greater details and highlights for those curious for a look into the world of the roleplaying con.

I stumbled into the con late Friday afternoon and witnessed a game of Quirkle in action. I got the general idea, and would have loved giving it a try, but there was an offer I could not refuse…

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…A game of Fiasco with the creator himself, Jason Morningstar of Bully Pulpit Games!

It truly was a Fiasco of a game, involving cults, a dissolving marriage, a bumpkin hero and everyone ending up a little worse off at the least, which was entertainment for the players! Mission success!

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After a rather long wait and a rushed meal at one of the local restaurants with a new friend, I charged back to the con and was able to luck into another game with Jason Morningstar, and we were joined by the very hilarious Chris Bennett. We were also graced with the presence of Kristin Haworth who made some time to join us.

The game we decided upon was Archipelago, a storytelling game with a real focus on movement as an element of the storytelling. We bounced around a few ideas, with Jason Morningstar’s notion of Horse people (think Genghis Khan) really struck a chord with me, but when I brought up the notion of truckers as the central characters, there was a certain moment of magic that lit up all the eyes of everyone else at the table.

It was an incredibly flattering feeling to have my idea grabbed at like that by these other players.

A few character descriptions later, an explanation of the system and we were off on rollicking hard hitting adventure.

It is pretty fascinating how enthralling the lives of long haul truckers in the 70s can be in the hands of skilled role players. I can only hope that I held up my weight with these three. A gal named Holly joined us near the end of the game, and she added a fantastic dose of hilariousness in taking over the role of my character’s life loving cousin.

Massive props to Kristin for playing a major role in delivering the ending of the night for Chris’ character.

Well, that concludes Friday night!

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Saturday was a new day and got started right with Realm of the Fellnight Queen, using the Pathfinder system.

It was a full party and managed very competently by the incomparable Lady Benihime-Sama, Venus De Coy. With a rough and ready party of a fighter, gunslinger, sorcerer and cleric, we fought our way through evil spriggans and crossed planes to deal justice to the Fellnight Queen herself!

Excellent pacing, management and storytelling.

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The original afternoon game was cancelled, which was unfortunate because I really wanted to play a game using the FATE system.

Instead, the scheduled group played a game of Don’t Rest Your Head, which I wasn’t too sure about at first, but damn did we have a lot of fun. I won’t get too much into the details but the guys I played with were all great, it was expertly GMed by… someone from Evil Hat whose name I forget. He was super cool though, so if someone remembers who he is please let me know so I can give him credit.

For the record I played a high school star running back who was deathly afraid of being seen as weak and worthless, and could summon ninjas.


The whole thing was crazy, hilarious, chock full of enthusiasm and humor. Massive props for pulling this off to fill in a slot, a real testament to the quality of Big Bad Con’s staff and volunteers.

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The final game of Saturday night was Shadowrun – Living on the Edge, utilizing the One Roll Engine and GM’d by Ben Hartzell.

The other players at the table were great guys and everyone contributed to the badassery and hilarity of the five hours we spent together. They flew by all too fast.

I love the One Roll Engine, which uses up to ten d10s (ten sided die) in a unique fashion involving height and width to determine power, speed and accuracy, among other things depending on what you’re doing.

The party featured a cybernetically enhanced warrior, a troll street shaman, a ninja, a gun slinging adept, and a badass smuggler lady (played by me.) I love armored vans armed with turrets by the way.

Some might complain that we overpowered the adventure due to the GM’s rules being perhaps a bit generous to the players, but it was completely fun in spite (or because) of it, and I have to say that the Shadowrun game was the perfect end to my con experience.

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To be fully fair and not simply sing praises, I need to describe the “lowlights” of the event as well.

  • I was unable to make it to any of the events on Sunday due to family obligations. As a result I had to miss out on seeing Sandy Jacobs-Tolle!
  • I wasn’t able to hang out with my comrades-in-arms Jeremy Kostiew or Renee Ritchie as much as I would have liked. I’m glad they had fun though, and we will need to rectify the situation in future events!
  • I also was unable to hang out with Sophie Lagace or game with Edmund Menether, but I was glad to have spent a little bit of time with them, however brief!
  • While the venue itself was pretty decent, the food slingers near the con did not seem to have the staff necessary to deliver quick and efficient food to the horde of hungry con-goers during those hour-long breaks between sessions. I’ve got some ideas though….plotting, plotting…

Overall though, the positives hugely outweighed those negatives and I am already looking forward to next year’s Big Bad Con!

4 thoughts on “Big Bad Con Recap!

  1. The problem with an event like that is that it leaves me thinking: “Darn, a year ’til the next one!” ^_^

  2. Brian,

    I’m super happy that overall you had a great time. As for your very last concern, good food at the con has been hard to come by both years. So… if you can’t bring Muhammad to the mountain, bring the mountain to Muhammad!

    I’m negotiating with the hotel right now to try and arrange for food trucks to park in the parking lot behind the con. If they allow that, there are tons of amazing food trucks in the bay area and I’m sure we could find some delicious ones!

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