Maid RPG Update: GenCon Indy 2008

I am so out of it right now, and very relieved that I’m done with conventions for the summer. ^_^;

This year’s GenCon was the launch of Maid RPG. We shared a booth with Khepera Publishing and Aetherial Forge, so the booth’s main offerings were Hellas, Ninja Burger, and Maid RPG. Three very different games, but all of them are awesome. Also, Jerry Grayson is a really awesome guy, and hanging out with him, Andy, Renee, Mike, and everyone else at the booth helped make the con for me.

Selling Maid RPG was one of the more amusing things I’ve done in a while. People would walk by the booth, eye it, and as soon as they started to comprehend what they were looking at, they would either be drawn closer like a magnet, or be repulsed like one. The word of mouth and internet buzz apparently paid off, because as this small press/indie stuff goes, it sold like hotcakes. We had a grand total of 70 copies to sell, and they were gone by the end of Saturday. I wish we could’ve had more, but we’ll hopefully have the online orders up and running soon enough, and Andy didn’t have to carry any home.

I ran two scheduled Maid RPG events. One was a purely random game where the Master turned out to be the son of Satan (Special Qualities: Demon, Evil Emperor, Family Hate, in a Post-Apocalyptic world). It was a very random game that sort of hilariously shambled along. Then on Saturday I went to run the Maidenrangers scenario I had so diligently prepared for, and found that I was running it for a familiar bunch of guys from Kentucky who proved that perverting the situation in Maid RPG does not require any random events if you’re determined enough. It was seriously amazing. And one of the tape-recorded everything. Be afraid.

Another cool thing about this project is just that I got to meet a bunch of RPG designers and other people big in the hobby. Several indie game designers stopped by the booth, as well as a good number of podcasters and whatnot. I lost count of how many people came by with Adept Press exhibitor badges (i.e., people who were part of the IPR booth), and I was routinely bumping into people whose names I know from online and from indie games. I also got to chat a little bit with Christopher Clark of Inner City Games, and when I went by the Arc Dream Publishing booth for a copy of Wild Talents they congratulated me on the game and were going on about how jazzed they were about it.

All in all, I’m extremely happy about how things turned out for us at the con. Admittedly I now need to stay home and curl up into a ball for a day or two, but it was easily the best convention experience I’ve had this summer, and for that matter in quite a while. Our friends from Kentucky want me to come again next year, but I really have no goddamn clue where my life will be at next year. If Maid RPG 120% or an English version of Yuuyake Koyake, or something else of mine comes to fruition I could well wind up feeling obligated to do that, but who knows. Andy will definitely be there with Tenra Bansho Zero and Maid RPG for sale, and if my finances permit that’d be enough of an excuse to come to help out.

Up Next For Maid RPG
As happy as I am to have Maid RPG out into the world, I’ve already spotted a few errors. We’ll have to put together an errata file in the very near future, and try to fix as much as possible in time for the next printing. We did as much as we could, but we also wound up giving ourselves tight deadlines for GenCon. If you have a copy and you catch something, please don’t hesitate to let us know. We’re kind of new to this whole “being an RPG publisher” thing, so I have to ask for you patience. The next one will be better.

There’s also the matter of doing the layouts and PDFs for the remaining scenarios that didn’t get into the book, and getting the full website up and running. I don’t know when that’s all going to happen, but it’s definitely on the to-do list.

I’ll be poking at my own original material too, and I intend to give all of it a decent amount of playtesting. However for the time being life is hectic, and I have no idea when I’ll really be able to commit the time needed to it.

One thing I am definitely going to do in the near future is put together a packet of all the stuff for my expanded version of the Maidenrangers scenario, complete with pregens, character sheets, etc. If the scenario sounds neat to you, I’d suggest waiting until I get this stuff ready, since I have a few important additions based on having two runs through it under my belt now.

I didn’t take that many pictures, but here’s what I did get. Mike (the Ninja Burger Mike) took some pictures of things I missed, including this unbelievably cute girl wearing bunny ears and holding a copy of Maid.

Non-Maid RPG stuff after the cut.

Other Japanese Games
It worked out so that all of the games I played at the con were Japanese ones. On Friday I participated in Adventure Planning Service‘s demo game of Meikyuu Kingdom in English. The three APS people at the game session had some difficulty speaking English (not that I’d do any better if I was trying to GM in Japanese), and I would up doing a little bit of interpreting. I also wound up exchanging meishi/business cards with the designer of the game.

The game itself is rocking fun. It takes place in a world that is nothing but dungeons, where rulers try to carve out little kingdoms (ours had only 50 people) by clearing out dungeon rooms that can become facilities and resources for the game. It’s not as random as Maid RPG, but there are a lot of tables for random events.

I also ran my first ever session of Yuuyake Koyake with my friends Elton and Mike, plus Tobias, who happened to be hanging out at the Embassy Suites and happened to be one of Andy’s roommates for the con. I put together a fairly simple scenario about a stranded time traveler and a girl with a beautiful singing voice (with the local god Old Turtle having a small role). This game plays even more wonderful and heat-warming than it reads. It took a little while for the group to really get into it and start fully engaging the characters and mechanics, but once they did it worked perfectly.

On Saturday I finally stopped by the APS booth, where they were selling some of their card games in English, and copies of Meikyuu Kingdom in Japanese. I was also introduced to Mr. Takayoshi (I think that’s how his name’s pronounced; I’m terrible with furigana for names), who was kind enough to give me a copy of his game Crash World (and a supplement for it called Frontal Crash). I’ve barely had time to flip through it, but it looks like some sort of gritty yet gonzo manga version of Gamma World.

Other Stuff
I spent too much money at the con, though I showed some restraint. (Hence I held off on, amongst other things, the new Tunnels & Trolls 7.5 boxed set, despite how awesome it looks, and picking up It’s Complicated). Other people have covered what came out at the show much better than I could hope to, considering. Anyway, here’s what I picked up:

  • 3:16 Carnage Among The Stars
  • A Thousand and One Nights
  • The Fisherman’s Wife (ashcan)
  • Darkpages (ashcan)
  • The Solar System
  • Harrow Deck
  • Under the Bed and Journeying West
  • Wild Talents
  • Some assorted dice. Rock-Paper-Scissors dice, alphabet die, 4e class die, treasure type die, and a d8 numbered 1-4. Also, tubes of 50 mini poker chips (one red, one black) from Koplow Games.
  • For other friends who couldn’t attend, I picked up L5R starter decks, another Harrow Deck, another copy of the Solar System, some dice, a dwarf miniature, and the new Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting.
  • My friend Mike got some of the stuff I wanted but couldn’t afford, including Jerry’s totally brilliant Hellas and Anima: Beyond Fantasy (which finally came out).

7 thoughts on “Maid RPG Update: GenCon Indy 2008

  1. Again: any chances of a quickstart or “fastplay” or “light” version of Maid RPG could be available? I’m really interest on this, but I’m brazilian and it’s very difficult to buy indie RPGs here (even with a internation credit card, what I don’t have). Even a quick start could be very useful to understand the idea.

  2. Again, it’s something I definitely want to do, but we need to find the time to put it together. I just got back from GenCon late last night, so I’m still recovering from the sheer exhaustion incurred. But I do have some ideas, and it would be relatively easy to do, at least on the writing end of things.

  3. Congratulations on the huge success of the new release. I hope that all of the contacts that you made at GenCon come to something worthwhile, such as translation work and publishing opportunities. This would be a huge boon for the Anime-starved role-playing community.

  4. Yeah, I definitely want to see more anime RPGs, and that’s why most of my own RPG projects are in some way anime-related. My financial situation is such that I really can’t do anything by myself, but believe me I have a long list of Japanese games I want to see in English.

    One thing I’m happy about is that the indie RPG community is starting to produce some games that draw on anime for inspiration. Ben Lehman already has Bliss Stage out there (though the final version is taking a considerable amount of time), and there’s stuff like Matt Gandy’s Seiyuu (which is meant to be like Prime Time Adventures for anime) and Tony LB’s Misery Bubblegum (for angsty shoujo manga type stuff).

    What I really want to see (and I’ve posted about this before at great length) is games that draw on anime, but do so with no self-consciousness, with no concern about “authenticity,” and just use anime as another source of inspiration like any other. Because, you know, that’s exactly what Japanese game designers are doing.

  5. I have also found that a lot of fiction coming out of the west are reflecting on a lot of the Japanese themes as well. Take the cyberpunk style Dante Valentine books. They blend high tech with high magic and the occult in general. It sort of reminds me of Tokyo Babylon.

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