31 May 2021

grodog's post-GaryCon-XIII Repose - Part 2

Being as I'm about to head out to the North Texas RPG Con in a couple of days, I'd better get my GaryCon Report Part 2 concluded! ;)

Continuing from my now-too-long-in-the-tooth Part 1 summary, after running my games on Thursday and Friday of GaryCon XIII, I spent most of the rest of the connvention playing in games (Sunday afternoon excepted).

Saturday, 27 March

1-6pm:  I played in Les "OblivionSeeker" Reno's "Death Master's Gambit:  Dead Men Tell No Tales" AD&D 1e adventure---although they do blackmail with some regularity, it seems.  Our PCs will seek to eliminate the blackmail at the source, somewhere in the Wild Coast....

Les crafted a supremely-cool scenario in which our PCs were pulled into a rather Machiavellian plot:

Your recent adventures began in Safeton. Slanarus Zaal, a prosperous merchant, gathered you together. He felt he could trust you. You’d done work for him in the past, and each of you had proven yourselves to be honorable, in your own fashion, and discreet.

Almost a year ago, letters began to arrive at the man’s office under mysterious circumstances. They seemed to *materialize* on the desk or between a ledger’s pages when the man turned his back for a moment or left and locked the room. To the casual reader, the contents would seem banal—details of a journey, as recorded by a business associate; a jesting but flirtatious inquiry from one of the widower’s former lovers; requests for forbearance from some debtor or other. At first, Zaal was irritated by the intrusion and gave little thought to the texts. Then he realized that the letters were all written in the same hand. He studied them and discovered that mathematical calculation based on the date indicated the number and spacing of written characters to be counted, and each letter’s signature revealed the substitution cipher to translate the letters into a message. When some of you expressed surprise at his ability to decrypt the messages, he smiled and told you that merchants whose business involves transportation of goods often must resort to such tactics to avoid unwanted, official attention. What’s more, the letter followed a method he’d adopted early in his career. No one could know the secret, because all those who had shared the knowledge were all dead....

Things merely got more interesting from there, as Les wove that backstory and our explorations into a twisted scenario with multiple layers of deceptions and betrayals afoot!  I've attached scans of my notes, pregen PC, and gameplay map (which is as much notes as it is map, too; I had captured 3 stages of the map during our game):


I had a great time playing, and look forward to gaming again with Les (and the other players in the round, in the future! =)

8pm-Midnight:  My then 12-year-old-son Henry and I were players in Eli Elder's "The Dream of Oudvarr" for Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea.  This was also great fun, since Henry and I are playing in the game together!  

Our PCs entered the mind of an ice-bound sorcerer (what could possibly go wrong!) in order to try to awaken him back into the real world.  As you can imagine, the setting, encounters, and game rules/environs grew even-more surreal than ASSH's usual blend of REH, HPL, and CAS!  Eli did a great job painting the picture for this dreamy landscape and its inhabitants, including creating some illustrations to show us during the game, which really helped set the scene!:

Islands - by Eli Elder
Islands - by Eli Elder

The Castle - by Eli Elder
The Castle - by Eli Elder

Eli's game was a highlight among so many good games that weekend, and I really encouraged him to try to publish his scenario =)

Sunday, 28 March

8am-1pm:  Player in Gaetano LeFavi's "Unhallowed Halls of the Sorcerer King"---we'll be exploring an alt-lair of Acererak's before he settled into his final digs in the Tomb of Horrors---what could possible go wrong?  (Have you noticed a trend yet? ;) ).  

Gaetano ran a great game that was solidly grounded in the Greyhawk setting's lore (no surprises there!), as well as Gaetano's version of Greyhawk, of which you can see Sunndi as we explored it during the course of our session:

We spent most of the session doing the prep and investigation for our mission (with probably only the last 90 mins or so at the Tomb of Horrors, where our dungeon excursion began), but it was time well-spent!   My notes don't really do justice to the immersive play from the session:

And, like Carlos' game earlier in the con, we all discussed getting back together to complete the rest of the scenario as well!

1-5pm:  I DM'd Paul Stormberg's "Legends of Roleplaying" tourney again this year, and for 2021 it was "Into the City of Brass" by Rob Kuntz.  This is the continuation of the "(To the) City of Brass" tourney I played in 1987 at DragonCon #1, when I first met Rob, so it was a treat to revisit the setting from behind the screen this time!  
As I expected it was a tough challenge to complete in four hours, and the PCs were able to get through nearly all of the first half of the scenario in the session.  (We had a few technical glitches, so we ran a bit long to allow them the full four hour slot).  

Since Paul plans to publish Rob's adventures, I won't go into much detail about the game, but we had a great crew of players during the session who discovered some very interesting solutions to the challenges posed in the scenario! 

7-10pm:  After wrapping up the tourney, I grabbed a quick dinner, then joined a cornucopia of guests with
Jay Scott, Anna Meyer, and Mike Bridges in the "Greyhawk: Ask the Experts & Campaigns" livestreamed seminar.  Among the other guests were Denis Tetreault, Eric Boyd, Erik Mona, and Gary Holian (and likely some other folks since I arrived a bit late as I recall).  The Sunday seminar has capped-off the Greyhawk track at GaryCon the past two or three years now, which is a tradition I'm enjoying!  
The replay from the seminar is available on Jay's LordGosumba YouTube channel, so you don't need my scrawled notes for this one :D 


I took Monday off from work to recover and rest-up =)

Many Thanks!

A big Thank You to Luke Gygax, Dave Conant, Skip Williams, and the rest of the GaryCon crew and the volunteer staff for making GaryCon XIII such fun!

And special thanks to Jay Scott who coordinated the Virtual Greyhawk Con-within-a-Con again this year, and made it even more successful than last year's events! =)



  1. Thank you very much for the kind words! The next Greyhawk "Ask the Experts" will be the final Event of Virtual Greyhawk Con; Sunday, October 3rd, 7:00 PM EDT.

  2. Thank you, Allan. It was my pleasure DMing for you. Watching you taught me a few things, and I will be taking those lessons into my future games.

  3. Thanks for the nice write up! It was great to have the opportunity to DM you and Henry in my game. Love seeing your notes - I had forgotten about the elaborate court attire!

  4. Thank you, Gaetano and Eli!

    Gaetano: it's always fun to play in Greyhawk when someone else is behind the screen, and I really liked the way you brought that broad Greyhawk tapestry to life in your version of Sunndi!

    Eli: it's a always a treat to get to play together with Henry (and Ethan, but not this time) on the same side of the screen! And you really should work on publishing your scenario =)


  5. When I first saw the map w/o reading the text, I thought you were under White Plume Mountain! I can't wait to play some Greyhawk myself.

    1. Good eye!---I did play through WPM earlier in the year, and it does have that same tri-forking branchway :D



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