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Old 03-15-2004, 02:35 PM   #1
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Arrow Some general thoughts on NaSCraG:

Hello all,

I figured that I'd chime in since I have a rather unique perspective on NaSCraG.

Twenty some odd years ago, I was reading the CWA events list, trying to choose an event to judge. I had never DM'd an event at a convention, but I needed to pay for attendance somehow, and judging seemed to fit the bill. A description caught my eye—stuff about riddles, puzzles, you had to think(!) That little paragraph had me hooked. So I came to judge Fez 1 as my first experience with NaSCraG. I knew they couldn't be all bad. They had this thing called THAC0, which made combat much easier to figure out....

I had so much fun, I made friends with this motley crew. Probably to his regret, Len Bland (the man behind the Scroll Queen) invited me to GenCon to judge Fez III, and being too young to know better, I went. I had twenty bucks in my pocket, and made it thought the convention with a judge's badge, semi-edible campus food, and over a dozen roommates in a single Parkside dormroom. I haven't missed a single GenCon since.

I've sort of done things backwards with NaSCraG. Most people play, get hooked, eventually earn first place, and then become a judge. I did the exact opposite.

To give you an idea of how NaSCraG operates: they never turn players away. And they go the extra mile to make sure players get their money's worth. I have the dubious honor of running the shortest team ever: from the start of the event, five minutes in, the team made a horribly stupid mistake, and killed themselves. Now I could have sent them on their way, and got a fresh team. However, that wouldn't have been the NaSCraG way. I offered to run the team through the rest of the adventure as if they hadn't made the faus pas. They only penalty was that they wouldn't be able to use their second try in terms of advancing in the tournament. They agreed, and they had a fine time playing for fun. Shouldn't players' enjoyment always come before the scoresheet?

I no longer judge. Now I play. I've been on the only team (Brown Cloud State University) that has won first place two years in a row, and placed second in the third year. I added a lot to NaSCraG over the years: typeset and bound modules before other tournaments could afford decent photocopies; professional buttons that the players could wear to identify their characters; color text highlighted for initial encounter descriptions; and occasionally, a magic show to pump up the judges before round three. I had a blast judging, but now my heart is in playing.

NaSCraG is a hell of a group. They even have their own mascot (Big Al! You better make it this year!). All of the judges have a blast, and really get a kick out of players having a great time. If you love roleplaying, puzzles, and a generous splash of goodhearted humor, you can't go wrong with their events.

So come on down! Hell, Brown Cloud State U. needs some fresh meat! :lol:

Jim
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