The LTUE Report: Day Three and Finale!

Oh man readers, I am bushed. Stuffed. Sapped. Exhausted. Wrung out. Conventions can take it out of you.

But it was so worth it.

Still, I’m just flat-out bedraggled. So there may be some typos in this post? Probably? I’m riding a bit of a sugar buzz at the moment, but I am also really tired. Like I-can-feel-this-pressing-at-the-back-of-my-eyes tired.

But the report must be done! While the memories are freshest! That said, by the end of the last day you could tell it was the end of the con. I wasn’t the only one in the audience that was clearly pushing the limit. But we all soldiered on, because it’s LTUE!

So, hit the jump for the last day report. Panels await!

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The LTUE Report: Day Two!

Whew! If I thought I was tired after day one of LTUE (by the way, after I finished yesterday’s report, I fell asleep on the floor of my living room), day two has seen me even more tired.

But what a day! And as tired as I am, there’s no way I’m not putting up the day two report, letting those of you who couldn’t make it what was going on and what it was like.

A Dragon and Her Girl - Cover

Oh, by the way, do you like the featured image? That is the cover art for A Dragon and Her Girl, the second LTUE benefit anthology coming out in February 2020, which A Game of Stakes will feature in! Looks great, doesn’t it?

So, what adventures did day two of LTUE bring? Well, let’s dive right in. Day two for me kicked off with a panel that was the counterpart of the first one I attended on day one. Naturally, this meant that rather than being on the evolution of Science-Fiction, it was on the evolution of  … Fantasy!

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The LTUE 2019 Report: Day One!

Good evening readers! Welcome to the LTUE Report for Day One!

First things first: For the last few weeks, I’ve been keeping something secret. Something that, after the official book launch for Trace the Stars, LTUE’s first benefit anthology of short stories, I can finally talk about, since it was announced at the launch.

Remember a few months back when I was excited about a short story I’d written called A Game of Stakes? One that I submitted to an anthology collection? Well, that anthology collection was next year’s LTUE anthology, titled A Dragon and Her Girl, and my story?

It’s going to be in it. That’s right: A Game of Stakes will be published in A Dragon and Her Girl, launching at 2020’s LTUE.

And I’m pumped. I mean, look at the names of some of the folks published in these collections. Kevin J. Anderson. David Farland. Brad R. Torgerson.

That’s pretty cool. I’m geeking out a little here to be included in a collection set that has names like that under its belt.

Trace the StarsBut speaking of the collection, you can take a look at the first release, Trace the Stars here on Amazon and order a copy if you can’t make it to the convention to grab it. It’s a benefit anthology, which means that no one gets any profit from your purchase. Instead, the money supports the LTUE convention, specifically the $5 ticket price for all students.

That’s right, attending LTUE is $5 if you’re a student, and sales of this book help fund the convention to keep it that way. That’s an absolute bargain for students of grade schools and colleges alike, and LTUE would love to keep it that way!

So yeah, check out Trace the Stars, then get ready for next year’s A Dragon and Her Girl! I’m in it!

Yeah, still happy about this. And relieved to finally be able to tell everyone!

Okay, I’m gonna stop geeking now. As awesome as that was, it wasn’t all that happened at LTUE. We’ve still got a recap of the day’s events (as seen through my eyes) and panels! Hit the jump!

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The Gears of War Tabletop Report: Finale

So, you guys may have forgotten about this, but once upon a time on this site I did a small series talking about my experiences running a custom ruleset tabletop game for, of all things, a game based off of Microsoft’s Gears of War. Ultimately I stopped doing the session reports because they were digging into my time a little too much (I needed to be writing more important things, like the next book and whatnot), but the sessions themselves didn’t stop.

Until this last Tuesday, that is. Tuesday evening was the final session of the campaign. I won’t say it was a great one, because it was my first time being a DM, and it was a completely custom system that I built and had to do on-the-fly adjustments to … but there were definite fun moments and our team did have some good times.

So how did it end? Well, the players managed to prevent a surviving faction of UIR soldiers from setting off an experimental heavy-metal bomb (atomics, something the Gears universe isn’t very familiar with) in the middle of the COG defensive line on the Jacinto Plateau. Basically, they almost died, but saved the day, and in the end, were rewarded with a ship—something they’d been looking for all campaign. Sure, they had to fight for it, but with a gratuitous selection of high-powered weaponry, the players were able to find it, defend it, and then lay waste to everything that approached while loading it up.

The best campaign ever? Not by a long shot. But … they did have fun. And I did too.

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The Tabletop Report: Gears of War Campaign Update

So, I doubt any but a few of you noticed, but there hasn’t been an update on the Gears of War tabletop campaign in a few months.

It’s not because the tabletop game stopped, or the campaign ran out of gas. No, it’s actually been moving along at a good weekly clip, with the players really getting the hang of things and figuring out the system. Which doesn’t mean that there haven’t been a few missteps: There have been a few systems I’ve made small changes to, and the system has turned out to be a little overly complicated in some situations. Some streamlining could be done.

At the same time, however, it’s proven fantastically flexible in adapting itself to a wide array of player choices and actions. Players needing to make multiple successful rolls to pull something off, for example, as opposed to just one make-it-or-break-it roll has led to a lot of interesting moments and tense countdowns among the players. Enemy encounters remain threatening as well, with the players often coming quite close to not making it out alive.

So why did the tabletop reports stop if the campaign has actually been going quite well? Well … pretty much because no one was reading it, so it wasn’t worth the time investment. Writing up these weekly reports about how the campaign was going was fun, but at the same time it was a fairly large time investment once a week on top of how much time I had to spend being ready for each weekly session, plus work and everything else … And when it was only garnering one or two views a week (yes, that few) it was clear that I should just focus on getting each week’s session ready rather than providing updates on the adventures of my gaming group.

That said, for those curious, no one has died yet … though they’ve certainly come close. They’ve also put themselves in some hair-raising scenarios due to underestimating the intelligence of their foes: The week before last they tried to set an ambush, not realizing that their ambush they were trying to pull was inside of someone else’s ambush … Theirs! Which they then escaped by, I kid you not, slamming the boom of a construction crane atop a skyscraper into another nearby skyscraper and running across it. With safety clips so that they wouldn’t fall nine hundred feet to their deaths if they slipped … which several characters did.

Their opponents responded to this by blowing up the base of the crane, which led to the players frantically running down the boom and into the next skyscraper over … and the boom twisting and falling away, leaving the last two swinging out into the abyss, connected only by their safety rope (yay for that!) before being pulled in.

Is it a perfect roleplaying system? No, there are definite flaws to it. It’s a little complicated in places for one; I’d definitely simplify a few things before doing a second run. And there’s a lot of pressure on the DM when it comes to leveling, unlike something like DnD.

But it’s working so far, and the players have been having a good time adventuring through the ruined world of Sera. Don’t expect weekly updates to resume, but know that it has been a fun weekly adventure thus far.

The Tabletop Report – Gears of War: Session 8

It’s time for Tabletop Report! For the uninitiated, Tabletop Report is a new series chronicling the adventures of my DnD group as I run them through a custom campaign and ruleset based off of Microsoft’s Gears of War universe.

Disclaimer: I don’t own Gears of War, and I’m totally not claiming otherwise. I just really love the universe, and have wanted to run a campaign set in it for the longest time. The system I built is entirely my own, and this game is a test-run of its viability as a full tabletop system.

This is the report summary for session 8! Prior sessions will be listed before the break if you need to catch up. Some knowledge of Gears of War‘s greater universe may be helpful. Now, let’s see what happened to our players after last week!


Session Eight – Act 1, Chapter 4 Part 1

This session was pretty much all roleplaying … but that’s not boring at all, as this group proved. In fact, there was so much laughter that not only did I nearly paint my GM supplies with my drink, but today my sides are sore and I’m pretty sure that feeling is shared across a good chunk of the group. Players were laughing so hard they couldn’t breath.

What happened? Well, we’ll start at the beginning. It was a shorter session because after last week’s combat, it was time for the players to level, plus we needed to wait for a late player running late to show up, since their character (the obssessively clean stranded) was the navigator and the group wanted to be sure he got the map copied down.

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The Tabletop Report – Gears of War: Session 7

It’s time for Tabletop Report! For the uninitiated, Tabletop Report is a new series chronicling the adventures of my DnD group as I run them through a custom campaign and ruleset based off of Microsoft’s Gears of War universe.

Disclaimer: I don’t own Gears of War, and I’m totally not claiming otherwise. I just really love the universe, and have wanted to run a campaign set in it for the longest time. The system I built is entirely my own, and this game is a test-run of its viability as a full tabletop system.

This is the report summary for session 6! Prior sessions will be listed before the break if you need to catch up. Some knowledge of Gears of War‘s greater universe may be helpful. Now, let’s see what happened to our players after last week!


Session Seven – Act 1, Chapter 3 Part 3

This session was pretty much all combat, with a little roleplaying at the end. But the group came out alive, thanks to some lucky rolls on their part, clever roleplaying, and some absolutely horrid rolls on behalf of the Locust (which really was just dumb luck, all part of the game).

So, when we’d last left the group, they’d made their way through the woods to a downed King Raven chopper in a gully and found themselves ambushed. When this session opened, we picked up right where we’d left off, with the group making reflex rolls for turn order and caught right out in the open.

Their ambusher, a Locust drone, rolled a perfect 1, and thus got to go first, which made things all the more panic-striken for the group.

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