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You Meet In A Tavern
Gen Con 2008


   SinisterForces is an RPG that I am designing using the Fudge system. Like Fudge it is a universal system that allows you to play any genre. I like to think of it as a Fudge “filter” in that I'm specifying a few general rules and the basic character design system, so that people interested in Fudge have a starting point to work from.

   SinisterForces is also a community project. I will soon be opening up the forums and the wiki to allow others to contribute their own materials to the project. My goal is to not just give away an RPG, but also to make a canvas available for others to paint out their ideas upon.

   The site is still under development. I've learned that game design is a lot of work! Yet I keep chipping away at it and hope to have the site completed and the community opened to the public sometime before Gen Con this year.

You Meet In A Tavern

   You Meet In A Tavern is a forum that I run for GMs. Originally the forum was part of Treasure Tables and that site was a blog written by Martin Ralya for over 2 years. Martin decided to stop writing the blog and was preparing to shut the forum down as well when I asked if I could migrate the forum to its own site. Martin agreed and it has worked out great for both of us, because now Martin's new project is a mulit-author blog for GMs called Gnome Stew and it is a great site just like Treasure Tables was! Of course, I like it because I'm one of the authors, but that doesn't mean that I am biased or anything. No, not at all...

Gen Con 2008

   Every year I try to attend Gen Con. Gen Con is a four day convention for gamers and it is a lot of fun. I've ran games and presented seminars at Gen Con before. Below are the events that I am planning to run this year.


   My seminars this year are pretty diverse. I'll be dealing with gaming issues in general, tips and tricks for GMs, and my own take on the strengths of the Fudge system.

"How To Ruin Your Next Gaming Session!"

Description: Join us for a discussion of what you can do as a player, GM, or gamer in general to ensure that your next session is awful! From showing up late to the game without your character sheet to railroading your players into situations that only a pet NPC can save them from, our presenters will cover it all followed by a Q&A session. Of course you could use this knowledge to learn what to avoid and how to improve your games, but what fun would that be?

Additional Info: I'm presenting this seminar with my friend Kurt Schneider. Kurt and I both want to help others avoid the kinds of things that take the fun out of gaming. The key point of this seminar is that gaming is a social activity, so if your actions are rude and antisocial whether as the GM or as a player you are going directly against what gaming is all about. We'll be providing handouts and opening the floor to Q&A so that others can ask for advice or share their own tips.

Proposed Date: 8/15/2008
Proposed Time: 10am-12pm
Event ID:  SEM00008

"Fudge: An RPG For Storytelling"

Description: Are you a GM who hates when the system rules inhibit the story that your group is weaving together? Come learn about the Fudge RPG system, and how one GM uses it to keep the focus of his games on the characters and the events that unfold around them. Fudge uses adjectives instead of numbers, so you determine how a dice roll enhances the game instead of crunching numbers behind a GM's screen. Best of all, with Fudge you design the game yourself!

Additional Info: Fudge is an RPG that requires a different mentality from other RPGs because the mechanics require personal interpretation of the dice rolls. This gives the GM a great deal of freedom with how events transpire in game. I've developed a few tactics over the years that make GMing Fudge easier for myself, and I look forward to sharing these with you as well as learning what works for others.

Proposed Date: 8/14/2008
Proposed Time: 10am-11am
Event ID: SEM00067

"Improvising: The GM's Backup Plan!"

Description: As a GM we've all been there. Your players do something completely unexpected that makes all of your prep work useless! What's a GM to do? Improvise! Learn how you can resurrect your adventure with a few quick behind the scenes adjustments and keep the action rolling at the gaming table. Plus learn one GM's secret: improvisation is always planned in advance. Once you learn these tips and tricks you'll never be stuck behind the GM's screen again!

Additional Info: I've heard a lot of GM's claim that they can't improvise an adventure on the spot. The truth is that anyone can learn how to do it by understanding what improvising truly is. Improvisation at the gaming table isn't the spontaneous creation of a story or adventure, but instead it is the adaptation of other existing materials to fulfill an unforeseen need.

Proposed Date: 8/17/2008
Proposed Time: 10am-11am
Event ID: SEM00068


   All of my games will be done using the Fudge system this year, because I've found it the easiest system to get games moving quickly with. I consider that a very important detail with convention games since you usually have only four hours for the entire session. I'm also going to be using adventures from one of my favorite gaming publications – Polymancer. Polymancer covers every genre of RPG, and I like using pre-designed modules for convention games that I can tweak to my own tastes. As always though, I believe that a good GM should be ready to improvise!

"Dark Hallways"

Description: The Vane Estate is a condo complex located in the downtown area. Modern, sleek, and elegant it is the hottest property around. It also is at the center of 7 missing persons cases. You are part of the Occult Crime Division, a special task force called in when supernatural forces are suspected to be involved. Must be something more to The Vane Estate than the views. (Characters provided. Adventure taken from Polymancer Magazine Volume 2, Issue 1.)

Additional Info: When the OCD is called in trouble isn't just expected, it's already here. With jurisdiction over the entire city manpower is limited, so for the chief to put six OCD officers onto one case the risks must be worth it.

The pay isn't the greatest, and OCD officer's don't have long life expectancies. Let's face it, the only reason that you even do this job is because you've seen what lurks in the shadows, hides under the bed, and goes bump in the middle of the night. It's better to be underpaid and in constant danger than to let those things run free...

Proposed Date: 8/14/2008
Proposed Time: 7pm-11pm
Event ID: RPG00540

"Breaking an Arrow"

Description: They called it “Artificial Intelligence”, but that ain't right. The AI is more than just intelligent, it's ruthless. It's more human then they gave it credit for. That's why AI let loose with smart bombs and bots. AI brought us the apocalypse. Let's return the favor. Recon knows where a working nuke can be found, and we need volunteers to go get it. Any takers? (Characters provided. Adventure taken from Polymancer Magazine Volume I, Issue #2.)

Additional Info: A post-apocalyptic adventure where it is man vs. machine, man vs. nature, and man vs. man! You are a soldier of Legion, the closest thing left to a modern government/military. Your job is to retrieve a working nuclear warhead from an abandoned desert facility and to keep it out of the hands of the "Humanists", a rival organization at odds with Legion. If AI's bots don't kill you, the desert still might. So keep your head together and go get that nuke!

Proposed Date: 8/15/2008
Proposed Time: 1pm-5pm
Event ID: RPG00541

"Mystery In The Valley of the Kings"

Description: Egypt, 1920's. You are part of an archaeological expedition looking for lost tombs of the great Pharaohs. So far your team has had no luck, but one night you come across a stone cap covering an ancient stairway. Could this be a lost tomb? Maybe, if you live long enough to actually explore it! Pulp action meets ancient Egypt in this adventure of survival! (Characters provided. Adventure adapted from Polymancer magazine Volume 2, Issue #3.)

Additional Info: This adventure is all about cheesey two-fisted action and pulp cinematics! Classic high-adventure and no-holds-barred encounters! Over the top villains and damsels in distress (or are they femme fatales?)! The plot is simple and the premise clear – find the tomb, face the dangers, and get the fame and glory for it!

Proposed Date: 8/17/2008
Proposed Time: 12pm-4pm
Event ID: RPG00542

copyright 2008 Patrick Benson