I posted previously about my pending trip to the Carnage Con in Killington, VT. I went this past weekend and can report that I had a great time. I played in four sessions total – two Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea (AS&SH), one D&D Next, and one AD&D 1e. My favorite games were of course the 1e and AS&SH games, one of the latter was run by that game’s creator, Jeff Talanian. He’s obviously an experienced DM, this combined with the fact that AS&SH is mechanically based on AD&D 1e, which I played a lot of when I was younger, helped alleviate my concerns about never having played this game before.
He ran us through an adventure of his own making, ‘Mystery at Port Greely’. We were provided pregens at fifth level, I chose a Viking-mix fighter named Gunnar. [SPOILER AHEAD] One of the highlights of the game was when Gunnar fell through an illusory bridge into a dark and foreboding pool of water, only to be enveloped by an aboleth’s tentacles. He managed to (barely) avoid drowning and fight his way free.
All told, a very fun game and one I’ll play again (I picked up the boxed set while I was there).
D&D Next I liked playing less, although it was still fun I can’t see myself ever playing it outside of a convention setting. I noticed the combats were far longer than in my other games, although I did like the advantage/disadvantage mechanic (roll two d20’s and take the higher or lower roll, respectively). As far as I could tell, there were a lot of rules about precisely when someone was advantaged or disadvantaged, but if I were to port this rule over to an old-school game I would just let the DM decide on the spot when to use it. One odd thing were the powerful cantrips – I played a 2nd-level magic user that had an at-will frost ray cantrip that did 1d6 + int bonus damage on a hit (at least you had to roll to hit). At-will damage-causing spells were not something I was used to, although I certainly made use of it.
The convention facilities at the Killington resort were very nice, and the convention room rates very reasonable (what is not to like about a ski resort?). I’ll definitely go back next year.