Frequently Asked Questions (and their answers!)
- What does NASCRAG stand for?
Len Bland coined the name NASCRAG back in 1983 when Gen Con changed its reimbursement rules to favor Gaming Groups over individuals. Traditionally the Acronym has been shrouded in mystery. It stood for whatever you wanted it to stand for. Officially in the Gen Con Event registration system it is listed as the National Association of Crazed Gamers. There have been times in the past where signs and flyers were produced that showed “National Society of Crazed Gamers”, though.
So which is right? What does NASCRAG REALLY stand for?
It stands for fun. And not taking yourself too seriously.
- What makes NASCRAG different from other tournaments?
The module itself is written to have a good mix of roleplaying (not ‘roll-playing’), character subplots, action, and puzzle solving. You don’t need to be a rules lawyer to do really well in this tournament. Scoring is very story and role oriented.
Also, the module is written far enough in advance that each of the rounds is playtested extensively by judges and rewritten and adjusted until it makes us cry laughing (I mean because the module is fun, not because we like torturing authors).
The judges are all highly experienced GMs and players, usually recruited from winning teams from past tournaments.
- Are you really the oldest tournament at GenCon?
Nascrag was originally created because a group of players couldn’t get into the D&D open in 1979 – it was sold out. In 1980 a group of friends, headed by Len Bland and James Robert, set up their own tournament and we’ve been going strong ever since. The D&D open gave up on GenCon in 2013; it’s now run at Origins. We know that Game Base 7 has been running tournaments at GenCon for a long time, but their earliest games were in 1990. Chaosium has a long running Cthulu tournament, but they didn’t even incorporate until 1982.
Examining the available event lists, there aren’t any other old-timers running RPG tournaments any more. We feel confident in our claim that we are the Oldest, continuously run, RPG tournament at Gen Con. There isn’t anyone else that is even close. Randall Porter, the official Gen Con historian agrees.
- How do I become a NASCRAG judge?!
That’s not so easy. Win the tournament and impress the heck out of us. Then ask Carole.
- They always screw up the listing for NASCRAG. How do I find you?!
We know. It’s bad. But we compensate by sending pressgangers all over the ‘Con and posting information on the GenCon Forums. You can also check here, where we’ll be posting our location and slot times.
And NEVER BELIEVE THEM if you’re told that we are sold out. We will find a table and a judge for you. Don’t you worry.
- How many players do I need to play in your tournament?!
You can bring a complete team of 6 if you like, but we will also match single players and partial teams at the marshaling area, so just show up.
- Do you really accept bribes?!
Heck yeah. It won’t help your score any. But a happy judge is a happy judge. (No money please. Chocolate is nice. Clever and funny is even better.)
- What do I need to do to win?!
It’s really not about the winning – its about getting into the characters and having fun with the adventure. So, even if you never advance to the next round, you’ll still have a great time. But for those of you that really, really need to know, role-playing separates the winners from the losers, especially in the final round.
Here’s how the score sheet works:
Each player gets a SECRET role-playing score between 1-9.
The judge rolls a D10 – oops… the judge uses the following scale:
1 – Disruptive. Recover points for killing this character.
3 – A do-nothing slug. Feed more caffeine. Please.
4/5 – Good player (stays mostly in character, plays several role-playing options from the character sheet)
7 – All Star (stays in character, plays most role-playing options from the character sheet)
9 – Role-player of the year. Any judge that gives this score to a player must fill out all the requisite paperwork in triplicate and get a signoff from Peter Adkison.
And, no, don’t bug us for your score remember it’s a SECRET!
In addition there are objective points per character. Sometimes they are round specific. Other times they are character specific. Use an accent if your character has one (we had one player use an Irish instead of a French accent because he couldn’t do French, that was fine!). Read your character sheet and interact with the other characters when appropriate!
- And most importantly, HAVE FUN!