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Last week, Terry @kaladin and I met up in Layton, UT with Randy Weivoda @randyweivoda (and his lovely wife, Sarah), Katie Koppelman @katiekoppelman, OmegaPaladin @omegapaladin, and Rupert err.. Ruder err.. Rooster err.. Rudert @jasonrudert.
Most of us were attending SpikeCon, which was a collection of several different nerd conventions all rolled into one delightful convention. There were a variety of panels, an art show, a cosplay show, book signings from several of your favorite authors, and my favorite: beer. The convention was located at the Davis Conference Center inside the Hilton Garden Inn. There were several items up for a charity auction, both silent and not-so-silent, including books, art, and a few other things, such as a chance to play a tabletop RPG with none other than Larry Correia.
The RPG had originally been listed under the silent auction, but as it was the top 6 bids who got in, they ended up redoing the auction with a not-so-silent one. Terry and I managed to score two spots for us. We felt extra good about the donation because the proceeds went to Big Cat Rescue out of Tampa, FL. https://bigcatrescue.org/
I was super nervous about meeting one of my all-time favorite authors. Nothing a couple beers couldn’t handle though!
The RPG was called Gritty Cop RPG, and Larry is currently alpha testing it before he releases it into the wild. If you’re familiar with tabletop pen & paper games, it’s a very simplified character creation that I thought was similar to a few other games I’ve tried, but a considerably more entertaining process, and very well done. We were able to get the game explained to us and have our characters created well within an hour. We got such perks as “Cut the Red Wire”, which gave +1 to Explosives, “Brute Squad”, which gave +1 to Hand to Hand, and “Too Old for This Sh-t”, which I do not remember what it gave. Terry took the last perk and every time I would be impulsive, he would throw his hands up and yell “I’m too old for this sh-t!” in his most exasperated tone. This happened frequently. There were also disadvantages that you could take one of in order to gain an additional perk. Terry took “Dirty Laundry”, which Larry promised would come up later in the game, and I took “Good Is Not Nice” which gave -1 to my public relations.
Game play was mostly D6, but the stress level mechanic required a D20, and decisions or counts got a D8. Very easy to pick up for people who aren’t familiar with tabletop games, and I imagine a great way to break someone into them.
Larry’s daughter, Hinkley, was there to hang out with us and had previously played the game. I was tickled to meet her as she’s a witty, clever, fellow gamer chick. She related stories to us about their previous gaming sessions. She’s an up-and-coming writer herself, and I have no doubt that anyone who is into more nerdy literary adventures will be seeing her name soon if they haven’t already done so.
Our party of six was comprised of Rock Steele (a Gray Man who blends into his surroundings and is able to infiltrate any group with ease), Sherman Washington (a pretty boy from a wealthy family with the most punchable face you’ve ever witnessed), Lizzie Hammer (a bat-out-of-hell greenie driver who vomits at the sight of dead bodies), Sgt Ted Roberts (a grizzled older officer with nerves of steel and a take no BS attitude [also a real life officer]), my partner Jack McConnell (an old guy with dirty laundry in his past who is too old for this sh-t), and me, J.D. “Grumps” Grumpowski (a crabby, mentally unstable forensic specialist with an itchy trigger finger and a shotgun). We had a couple of NPCs, played lovingly by Larry: Lt. Winters (our super awesome and dependable superior), Hamish “Fox” McCloud (our intern who would never bring beer to poor old Grumps), and several crooked cops.
Our adventure began with a call at 2AM for a multiple homicide at a greasy diner called the NightOwl. Five bodies lay in the bathroom, riddled with shotgun holes, with a blood trail leading to one of the bodies: a retired officer. Because he was “one of ours”, we set off to solve the mystery of his murder, finding a corrupt police force and following all the tropes of a classic gritty cop movie along the way.
My first action was to pick a fight with a suspect’s mother, gaining us valuable information about the location of the suspect and his buddies. We showed up to a gun fight, lost a CI to some bad guys, raided an evidence room, almost screwed up our PR with the media, scared a victim’s mother half to death in a squad car, infiltrated a crime ring, found a friendly judge who gave us fill-in-the-blank warrants, attended a fancy party, and murdered an entire platoon of bad guys during a set-up. My last action was to give a cheesy one-liner before shooting an RPG into two Suburbans surrounded by bad guys, killing all but one, who was willing to turn over state’s evidence. We managed to get two of the ringleaders tossed into prison, the third was killed right before I blew up the SUVs.
Terry and I made it back to our hotel room around 2 AM, exhausted and excited. This was the most fun tabletop experience I’ve ever had and I will most certainly be purchasing this game when Larry releases it. I can’t recommend this game enough! It was also a great memory for Terry and I to build together and we’ll be talking about this for years to come!