Back from HonorCon, and a recap of the MHI RPG charity game

I just got home from HonorCon in North Carolina. I had a good time. It was a great bunch of folks, and it is always fun to hang out with David Weber. It was also good to spend time with authors like Marko Kloos, Mark Wandrey, and Chris Kennedy. I also got to drop by the Baen offices to see a bunch of the people who I have worked with for years, but who I’ve never met in person before.

This year’s charity was  which gets rescue dogs, teams them up with vets who’ve got PTSD, and gets them trained as service dogs. Even though HonorCon only has like 500 people, they raised around $11,000! That’s crazy good.

One of the things I did for the charity was to donate a game, as in Saturday night, I’d run six people through an MHI game session. I used the MHI Savage Worlds rules that we’ll be kick starting next month. Since people bid for a spot, I wanted to make sure I gave them a good time. I pregenerated a bunch of stat blocks creating different character archetypes with different advantages/disadvantages beforehand, and on Saturday night the players picked one, and they became the MHI newbie class of 2017.

And of course, they got drafted for a super easy guard duty job way out in Montana, because the excavator had seen a little, probably not very dangerous, critter. Dorcus gave this cake walk assignment to five talented newbies and an orc, and then surprisingly they wanted to ask Melvin for help gathering intel (a bad roll on monster knowledge resulted in one of the PCs trying to be kind and diplomatic with the internet troll). Then they raided the armory, and flew to Montana to pick up their rental cars.

Then things got really interesting when they stopped at a gas station in the middle of nowhere (a random die result indicated that it was their orc who really needed to go to the bathroom super bad). So some of them are gassing up and scrapping bugs off the window. Others are buying snacks and talking to Glenda the proprietor, while Ollie the Orc is in a stall. Only in the stall next to him is a guy who takes a phone call (humans are gross and annoying). Only the call turns out to be from his boss, Lucinda Hood, high priestess of the Church of the Temporary Mortal Condition, and he explains that they are almost at the site, and not to worry because they brought the heavy artillery. She says that they need to hurry, because every cult in the country is going to be converging on this spot to try and claim the artifact that just got dug up…

When the Ollie the Orc realizes that this dude works for the people who burned Skippy’s village, it is on! He pulls his pants up, kicks in the guy’s stall door (the cultist’s final words were OH SHIT!) and stabs him in the forehead (Ollie’s super orc power is throwing things, like knives, axes, hand grenades, etc.)

The bang and death scream is when the hunters inside the convenience store realize they left their orc unattended in public… And now they’re thinking Ollie just murdered some dude and they’re all going to go to prison.

Only at this same point outside, a big old cargo van has pulled up to the gas pumps too, and when some seedy looking types get out, the hunters outside get a whiff of decay coming from the back of the van.

So then the cultists who were inside buying snacks and sodas hear the crash, they go for their guns. Including the lady who came out of the girl’s bathroom and hosed the place down with a subgun. Hilarity ensued.

The Hunters outside realized something was wrong when they heard gunfire, promptly followed by the front window shattering and a cultist falling out dead on the sidewalk. So at this point, the Hunter (our McGyver) eyeballing the suspicious guy realize they are on different teams, and as the cultist goes for his gun, our guy sprays him with the gas nozzle.

Which is when the big hideous stitched together automaton made out of various farm animals and old pets, roars, and crawls out the back of the van. (it had a horse head, and a German Shepherd stuck to the back side, which kept barking the whole time). And all hell breaks loose.

One of the things I did at the beginning while people were making up their character’s backstories is get what kind of monster was their first initial encounter with the supernatural. So if they came across that same kind of monster again, they had to do a spirit roll. Pass, and they rise to the occasion (with bonuses! Take that evil!). Fail, and choke (as in they are shaken, and freeze on the spot).

Our Doc is the other Hunter outside, and when she hears something huge fall out the back of the van, she grabs the gas hose, and bravely runs around the back to soak it and set it on fire… Only to see it is a hideous undead thingy (which was, unfortunately, her first monster experience, and she flubbed her spirit roll) so she freezes (with the gas still squirting everywhere). The gibbering madness splashes over to squish her with its big meaty hooves.

It was about then the PCs realized the whole fire thing probably ain’t for the best, since both of their vehicles (and all of their big guns, armor, and explosives) are parked there too.

There was another bad guy in a parked car, taking a nap in the back seat, while all this is going on. So he wakes up, and being a cultist, promptly starts shooting at everybody. But our martial artist went out the back, flanked around the side, and kicked the living crap out of the dude (we named him Nap Time). And he finished by tossing Nap Time into the kill switch to shut off the pump, so if they did set things on fire, at least they wouldn’t blow up a big chunk of Montana.

Our brawler and our negotiator are shooting cultists left and right, and then start shooting the big scary thing. Only handguns are barely scratching the paint on this floppy thing. The orc caps the female cultist with a hatchet. Our doc spends a bennie, makes a run for it, gets in one of the rental trucks, throws it in reverse, and rams the monster. Then the orc comes out and plants a hatchet right in the horse head and puts it down.

Two of the cultists are wounded, but survive (Nap Time and Neck Tat), so they get questioned. (it turns out the client lied about the size of the problem, and in actuality the excavation was of ancient Indian artifacts. When one of the local workers took a picture of a golden goat demon idol they found on Facebook(!) various cultists saw it (and hit Like!) and then promptly scrambled their forces to steal this nefarious goody.

Poor Glenda gets her phone taken away before she can call the cops. The bodies are thrown in a big pile inside the van and parked around back. They call Dorcas for advice (which when she discovers that our morally ambivalent Hunters have kind of just casually offed Neck Tat) she helpfully explains that they should leave that part out of their report they give to the MCB.

The guy who the orc stabbed to death on the toilet still has his phone, and there have been five missed calls since events kicked off. So they call Lucinda Hood back and put her on speaker phone. And also call the MCB office in Boise at the same time, and they tell the agent that he is in a conference call with MHI and Secret Enemy #1 (and the poor junior MCB agent thinks the whole thing is a silly prank, because nothing ever happens in his region, and the agent is really sick and tired of his buddies screwing with him, says “Not funny, guys” and promptly hangs up).

So they taunt Lucinda (who it turns out is Labor Party, not a Tory, and doesn’t give a damn about the Queen, thank you very much) and I really can’t do a British accent to save my life. Only Lucinda tells them that they are basically screwed, because she just heard that another rival cult has sent a Servitor to claim the golden goat, and it is going to eat their souls. Have a nice day, bye bye.

Okay… Whew. All that was just the first encounter.

I don’t have time to write it all, but it got way harder after that, and we ended up with our heroes being hunted through the forest in the dark, by a thing that is like if Cthulu and the Predator had a baby. Since it was a one off stand alone game, I fully expected to kill most, if not all of the party. BUT they did something so cinematic and awesome that it totally had to work (Rule of Cool is Rule #1) And I don’t want to say what it was, because the move will probably end up in a book someday because I could write the shit out of it.

Luckily after they beat the Servitor, saved Snuffy the Grad Student, and got the golden goat to the MCB, they remembered to disable the IED booby trap the McGyver had put on the idol just in case the cultists got it. (because for a second there I was thinking it would have been hilarious when the MCB chopper was flying away and everybody was all like Yay, We Saved the Day, for there to be a giant fireball in the sky as the MCB opened the bag. Like WHOOPS) 😀

The game was a whole lot of fun, and more importantly it raised money for a good cause.

Humble Bundle including all of my Warmachine novels
New Monster Hunter International RPG using Savage Worlds rules

19 thoughts on “Back from HonorCon, and a recap of the MHI RPG charity game”

  1. I have never played these types of games – never really had the desire to – but this sounds hilariously fun, and being in the MHI universe with the ILOH as dungeon master must have been EPIC!

  2. Please, oh please, let us know when/if you use parts of this in a book. First, it sounds awesome. Second, I’d be very interested to know how it is adapted from one medium to another. Seeing the behind the scenes tinkering would be both educational and entertaining.

  3. My prediction: MHI Savage Worlds is going to be a huge hit and sell like hotcakes. Easiest part will be when people want to start playing the game and ask for some backstory on the universe. I’ll just throw them one of my copies of the original MHI and say “prepare to be blown away…..”

  4. “it turns out the client lied about the size of the problem, and in actuality the excavation was of ancient Indian artifacts”

    It seems to me that, much like your doctor, lawyer, and computer tech, you should never, ever lie to your monster-hunting security guards.

  5. i am currently reading posts from 2012-3 and i thought that this was one. i spent the last 5 minutes thinking about where i read it.

  6. I had so much fun playing in this game, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the system to play it again! Thank you so much for donating your time and talents to our convention and our charity, Saving Grace K9s!

  7. The best RPG adventures are not rules-fests, but rollicking good stories about near brushes with death. The experience you relate sounds like a great time was had by all!

  8. Wow. That was an amazing charity you guys supported. There’s a moving story (a mystery/thriller) called Suspect about this kind of pair-up between vets w/PTSD and rescue dogs. Though in Robert Crais’ books, Maggie, was a vet, too.

    Really good thriller, but if you’re a dog person you’ll need a gazillion hankies.

      1. Sorry about that! I swear on my towel, I don’t reccy books where the dog dies.

        But you will still cry buckets 🙂

  9. Heh. Wish I had made it, and I wish I knew a good barbeque place closer than Parkers in Wilson (which is about an hour east of Raleigh) to recommend the next time you are in town.

  10. Sounds awesome. Having fun and supporting good causes? That’s a definite twofer. And congratulations to HonorCon for their generosity.

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