OSCon 5.5

This past weekend I attended the nascent at Wilmar Heights Event Centre in Toronto with .

I believe that this startup has some roots in OSRCon however I do not know the details of any connections except that I somehow gained contact with an organizer of OSCon 5.5 through something OSRCon related online. That is if my memory serves me much at all in this case.

The organizer that kept in touch with me was generous and friendly. He once again drove home my feeling that the gaming hobby has some of the most genuinely nice people in the world. Considering the stress and anxiety that organizing such an event can produce, the staff and organizers were awesome.

The Con was almost a four hour drive away from us and I offered to run a game in the morning session. It took me awhile to decide what system to run and then what adventure. It was really who advised me to run Lejendary Adventure. She knows I love the system and am intimately knowledgeable with it's bits and pieces. I had really wanted to run however I was concerned that I no longer knew the system as well as I once did. The adventure I ran is pretty system independent and next year I hope to run the same adventure (well similar anyway) utilizing SCHWA.

My impressions of OSCON 5.5 (January 2016)?

The timing of the convention was perfect. Certainly it comes up quick after what can be a very busy December for people and weather can have an impact. There were freezing rain warnings for this very weekend of gaming, however none actually fell from the sky. Despite those potential dangers, it's a month of freedom for a lot of us; a month to recharge and enjoy ourselves. Gaming is a great way to do this and I applaud the organizers for picking this past weekend. September is probably the next best month for a convention in my opinion.

The location of the convention has a lot of pros with the one con being that there really are not any nearby hotels and some of the ones within reach, are not that nice. That said, traffic was very light that day and despite construction, the hotel we chose (Days Inn - apparently the hotel with the worst breakfast and most comfortable beds) was only 10-15 minutes away along Highway 2. Since it's on the East end of Toronto (the suburb previously known as Scarborough), the convention is very Eastern Ontario friendly. You don't really have to drive into Toronto. The event space is nestled halfway between Eglinton and Lawrence - two major streets with tons of food options. It is a little closer to Victoria Park than Warden which are filled with suburbia. The actual building had enough parking and some really nice space for gaming. The high ceiling in the main room worked to your advantage if on an outer table however the inner tables were a slight bit noisier. There was a platform area for VIP tables as well as a separate room to contain the noise of X-Wing Miniatures games. I even talked to a staff member at the building and they were tickled pink to be helpful. We had access to a kitchen, fridge and microwaves. They even loaned us some silverware.

If the convention grows, there is a second (basement) level which contains a hall for OSCon to expand into. This time it was rented for a little girl's birthday in the form of Sophia the First. An incredible thing is that if the doors are closed between the two levels, nary a sound can be heard (they had some heavy base music).

The tables were a wonderful change from what I've seen before. There was ample space for 7 people at a table with things like coolers and gaming bags with room in the middle for maps and such. The chairs were high quality and padded. The Convention had neat little art on the bases of the number signs designating each table.

Registration was pretty smooth. I've never seen an event go seamlessly. Usually there is confusion and difficulties even at the best and most experienced of conventions. This convention wasn't exempt from a little bump in the form of door prize tickets, but they did really well and overall it was soundly organized. They always appeared to be on top of things. even won a Star Wars bow tie!

The organizers provided some snacks and drinks which was very nice. There were also near life-size cutouts of Warduke and a wizard along with other decorations for gaming.

I implied above that I selected Lejendary Adventure to run. Here at this small convention being birthed I was able to run an obscure little RPG and enough people played to make it work! It may be the culmination of E. Gary Gygax's gaming wisdom, however it never really received any market attention. Unfortunately when he left us, his wife yanked the rights from the publishers and seems to have buried all his work.

The session length worked well at four hours a piece with fourty minute buffers in between granting you extended gaming or time to venture out for some food and return.

In our second session, we played Empire of the Petal Throne. This was a first for me as the game wasn't available in my area back when it came out and I've ignored it since (sort of wish I'd jumped on when Guardians of Order published it). It was neat to see the alternate D&D and the setting of this game. We didn't realize that we'd be creating characters at the table and wasted away 90 minutes of the time slot on just that. The adventure had a small mystery and a quick dungeon crawl well suited for convention play.

After some McDonalds we played Classic Traveller (so, y'know, 1e). This table of distinctly different personalities came together and flipped a mission sideways with gusto and many laughs were had. The mechanics were mostly irrelevant to the adventure (similar in feel to the one I ran in the first session). Likely a common denominator in the group was the enjoyment of rules-light - or the opposite of the thought that we need a rule for everything. The GM had mentioned the example of the 'investigate' skill. The idea being that if you don't have the rule, it's just general roleplaying but with long specific skill lists, one suddenly sucks at it unless they happen to have that particular skill. Yes, others may disagree however we played rules-light and fun ensued without any real rulebook checking. As well, none of the players required any knowledge at all of the system to play effectively.

There wasn't a big wrap up at the end of the day. Few tables used the full time allotted to them. We went exactly four hours in the one I ran (being the last table running) and while we were the last table running in the evening, we still ended about 15 minutes early. There were the occasional announcements (read door prizes) but not much else official. We went back to our hotel, watched some TV, washed up and went to sleep.

Final thoughts;

Some people may enjoy making characters, and heck, I often make them in my spare time. When under the time constraints of a convention slot, I would prefer to use pregenerated characters unless they can be created fully in under 3 minutes (the whole table of players) with no knowledge of the game. My suggestion is that each RPG slot should note whether players will be using pregens, should bring a character, or will be making characters during the session.

It might be untenable, however I'd like to see carafes of coffee and decaf coffee offered (hot chocolate would do as well). The badges were economic and appropriate for a Con starting up, but I hope to see something more collectible down the road.

Great timing, solid location, good layout, well organized. This was a great convention and I hope they take the time to grow slowly. There is a lot of potential here for a lot of enjoyment.

It is my hope to return next year and watch fun ensue once again.



It was nice to goto a con during a slow time of the year, weather worked out well too!

I agree about the pitfalls of having players create a character at a convention. I find character creation sucks the life out of me on a good day.

They did a great job running the con, I really hope it continues.

Best part was winning my bow-tie!! The force was strong with my ticket.

Next time, better hotel, as long as we can take the beds from the other one :)

Thanks for running Lejendary Adventures. I can cross that off my gaming bucket list now/stop wandering if it is a great system / particularly Gygaxian / reminiscent of teenage good times etc.

It is an OK system (as was 1e), it is Gygaxian, and reminiscent, and I can't go back for keeps - but it is nice to visit once in a while.

Kersus's picture

I'm glad you enjoyed it. The adventure was pretty system independent however the basic mechanics are pretty modular. Excepting Activations/Spells, it's a system that the player doesn't, in any way, need to understand in order to sit and play (which isn't for everyone as there isn't much crunch).

I'd say it hearkens a little more to OD&D but certainly allows for 1e style crunchiness if wanted. That said, I guess if you used all the plug and play rules, it would feel very 1e. The system itself is really completely genre ambiguous - meaning it works for horror, wild west, ww2, space opera, hard sci-fi, etc... In fact a combination of LA and Silhouette would probably make for the most dynamic system IMO - however the speed in which ORE executes combat impresses me even more.

...and yes, the game is exceedingly Gygaxian and written in his very high Cant which can be disturbing to some and beloved by others.

Thank you for the comment! Hopefully you visit the game someday in the future.

Oedipussy Rex's picture

"I had really wanted to run SCHWA however I was concerned that I no longer knew the system as well as I once did."

If you once knew it you're better off than I am. Does anyone really understand that hot mess?

Sorcerer Character Has Warrior Adventure

Disappointing Mom since 2010.