RPG-a-Day 2018
RPG-a-Day 2018 Day 25: Name a game that had an impact on you in the last year.

You could probably count the number of games I’ve played in the last 12 months on your fingers so there’s not much to choose from. Memorable games from the last year include playing the Cleric/Wizard in a D&D 5e one shot where I managed to stun-lock the Big Boss for two rounds and playing the “bad guys” in a game of Pathfinder to teach the players a lesson . The game that had the biggest “impact” was actually two games that combined to create a horrible gaming experience.

Earlier this year, I was able to go along to the UK Games Expo in Brirmingham for a weekend of gaming and fun. I was part of a group of people going, and we’d carefully organised accommodation and what games we wanted to play. We managed to book four of us into all three sessions of D&D 5e The Lost Mines of Phandelver, one fo the few games of D&D being run over the weekend. We’d all played the adventure before, but were looking forward to playing together and it’s a good adventure. I had also booked in to play in a session of Starfinder because I wanted to try and see how the game worked in case I got a chance to play/run it in the future. It turned out that the Phandelver sessions and Starfinder were all being run by the same GM, so I was pleased there would be some continuity in the running of the games. It was a shame that the continuity inrunning of the game was at such a low quality…

The signs were there in the first Phandelver session on the first morning of the con, GM pitched up about half an hour late, moaning about how previous years first sessions hadn’t started until later. What followed was three hours of the players running the game as the GM provided little input or interaction as we tried to add roleplay oppurtunities into the game. Having played the game a few times and run it once, I’m well aware of the ins and outs of the early part of the adventure and the GM handled it in a very odd way as well as making some decisions that didn’t make any sense. Afterwards, three of the group decided they wouldn’t be returning to the second or third sessions, which was fair if they hadn’t enjoyed themselves. The consensus was we made the game passable between us, but the GM was terrible.

So I was left with a quandry, I had the Starfinder session later that afternoon with the same GM, and this was with a system I was much less familiar. I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and turn up, it was day one of the con, I was in good spirits, it couldn’t be that bad. Cue a wander round the main exhibitors hall, an impromptu chance to playtest Pathfinder 2.0 and picking up some grub before heading to the Starfinder session. All the players turned up, GM pitched up, we picked characters and one of the worst three hours for roleplay games ever happened. The GM didn’t know the system, hadn’t prepared to run the pre-written adventure, didn’t attempt to roleplay despite attempts from the players to roleplay, wouldn’t entertain any ideas that weren’t addressed in the adventure write up, turned one of the “missions” into a prolonged dice rolling exercise that killed any enthusiasm in the players are the table. I grew more and more frustrated as I’d picked a combat character who had little options in terms of skills or abilities that could be used for any of the missions we had to do. About halfway throught the game I’d pretty much checked out, I was struggling not to just pack up my stuff and leave. I persevered and left the table absolutely desolated by such a horrible experience.

I met up with the rest of my group, who I’d been messaging through out the Starfinder game (something I don’t often do at the table), and was consoled over having to go through the game. I made the decision to join the boycott of the other Phandelver sessions, and decided to head back to the hotel for the rest of the night, at this point I needed to disconnect from everything and take my mind off the disappointment of the day. Thankfully the rest of the con was great, I played loads of fun board games, explore the con, and chill out. Sure I was disappointed the my roleplaying experiences were terrible, but the rest of the con was great and really highlighted that there is more to cons that playing RPGs. I’ll be going to Tabletop Scotland next weekend and I haven’t booked any spots in any RPGs for the weekend, though I am tempted by the Adventure League Epic event that just sounds awesome.

Tomorrow’s question for day 26 is my gaming ambition for the next year.

What game have you played in the last year that had an impact with you, please feel free to share in the comments below. You can find all the previous RPG-a-Day articles here, you can follow me @bargtheogre on Twitter, or check out the Inside the Ogre’s Cavern podcast at @itocpodcast