Join us for NASCRAG's 45th consecutive year of zany fun, puzzles, riddles, and role playing.
As a thank you to our players, each of you will get a code you can use to get a copy of all THREE of the events that NASCRAG is running at Gen Con in 2024. (After the convention of course). That's right, we'll be doing the Tournament, the Charity, and a new Call of Cthulhu event.
Tournament - Oxtail's Mythological Zoo
Some of your fondest childhood memories are of the hours you spent at Oxtail’s, but now the zoo is closing under mysterious circumstances and the creatures are in danger. Can you save the zoo in time?
Some of your fondest childhood memories are of the hours you spent at Oxtail’s Mythological Zoo. You walked the roads of the Heroes and learned of their feats that made them legend… wait for it… DARY. You also marveled at the amazing mythical creatures from days of old. But now the zoo is closing suddenly under mysterious circumstances and the creatures are in grave danger. You have until dawn to save the creatures from a gruesome fate. Join us for an adventure of epic proportions and daring deeds that just might land you in the history books. Do you have what it takes to be True Heroes and save the zoo?
This is a competitive two-round D&D 5E tournament. The best teams will advance to the Final Round on Saturday to compete for HONOR! GLORY! and PRIZES! Join us afterwards for our prize ceremony and celebration.
Thursday 1 PM and 7 PM
Friday 1 PM and 7 PM
Saturday 1 PM
Final Round (by advancement only):
Saturday 7 PM
11 PM (all are welcome)
Horror - One Round (for charity)
Seemingly normal Forgotten Hollow harbors a dread secret. A handful of misfits locked in detention at FH High stumble into the Horror. Trigger warnings for horror, death, and cheesy movie tropes.
The seemingly normal town of Forgotten Hollow harbors dread secrets. Cults chant unholy words in the forest. People are disappearing, and those that remain are getting very strange. Blood and entrails cover classrooms. Mean girls humiliate most of the school, but that part is just normal! What's the shortest way to get to the thick of the Horror? All-day detention in Mrs Anderson's classroom, naturally! Intense role playing, puzzles, and laughter. Expect characters that are deep and inclusive, including queer and disabled. Trigger warnings for horror, death, and cheesy movie tropes. PG13. D&D 5E event for 5-7 players
This is a standalone game, just for fun! All proceeds to be donated to Charity.
Thursday - 8 AM, 1 PM and 7 PM
Friday - 8 AM, 1 PM and 7 PM
Saturday - 1 PM
A Feast at Five Forks Mall:
A Cautionary Tale of Fear and Food
Call of Cthulhu (7th edition)
People are vanishing without a trace after visiting Ipswich’s hot new food spot; the Cosmic Market Food Court. Your mission: Investigate the eateries, unravel the mystery, and resist the free samples!
Sir Reed Charles of Miskatonic University’s Department of Gastronomy has assigned his students a special group project: investigate and uncover the reasons for the recent meteoric rise in popularity of the Cosmic Market Food Court. What is NutriMeat and how is it linked to the mysterious disappearance of noted Ipswich food critic, The Ravenous Roberto? Something stinks in eldritch New England and it’s up to you to sweep (and chop and peel and scrub) away the stench. The sanity of the world (and your grade) depends on it! Be the first to experience the challenge, excitement, and madness of Call of Cthulhu as only Nascrag can offer. 45 years of puzzling, pun-tastic RPG fun and counting! TW: regrettable foods, deep innuendos, and cosmic horror turned on its tentacle. 4-6 players/Teen 13+.
Thursday - 1 PM and 7 PM
Friday - 1 PM and 7 PM
Saturday - 1 PM
NASCRAG is a group of independent game masters who have been putting on Dungeons and Dragons tournaments at Gen Con since 1980.
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 Dave.
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!
NASCRAG is a group of Independent Game Masters.
There are an estimated 6,605,259,115 members… wait – um, no – make that 302,232,970… uh – that’s not right either… Oh, here it is!
Over the years there have been somewhere between 100 and 500 Nascrag Judges… There are currently somewhere between 60 and 80 who keep in constant contact via the Internet… We’ve all made a major commitment of time and money to be members of NASCRAG.
We strive to make our event the most fun players will have at Gen Con, and we can do that because we rely on using our judges, many of which have more than 30 years of gaming experience.
Many of our judges also contribute their time and abilities behind the scenes as play-testers, reviewers, and organizers.
A profile of NASCRAG’s notable personnel:
Len Bland, Chief Lackey in Charge (Emeritus)
One of the founding fathers of NASCRAG, for many years Len was the driving force behind the direction and operations of the business end of NASCRAG. While Len retired from the C.E.O. position in 1993, he couldn’t escape completely. Instead, he has assumed a much less stressful advisory role.
Carole Bland, Squirrel Queen (Emeritus)
Carole took up the mantle of leadership from Len and led our collection of crazies until 2017. Her title reflects this: she’s the Squirrel Queen because she was in charge of all the nuts. In 2017 Ross Davidson and David Mitchard took the reins, wisely deciding that Carole worked too hard and splitting her duties.
David Mitchard, The Big Lebowski (Event Organizer)
Dave took over running the group when the Blands stepped back and Ross left due to health issues. Wrangling the judges, writers, and artists who create our adventures. He is the driving force that ultimately makes sure that we have a polished, presentable product year after year. Dave is also responsible for this website, Nascrag’s Slack page, Facebook page, Gen Con Forum presence, etc. Blame him if you see anything wrong here. And apparently he sometimes enjoys talking about himself in the third person.
Indiana Bill Cavalier, Artist and Illustrator / Man of 1000 Words
Indy’s illustrations set the entire tone for the NASCRAG visual experience. Players interpret their characters and their place in our event by the images Indy creates. He has illustrated almost every publication in the four decade history of NASCRAG (since FEZ III). Besides the 25-30 illustrations for our tournaments, Indy also creates the T-shirts and banners each year.
Kat Garon, Charity Artist
Kat picked up the job of illustrating our one-round Charity event this year. She's young and immensely talented. We're hoping she's around for many years.
Doug Moore, Master of Ceremonies / Marshal
Doug uses his skills as a public speaker from his years in politics to entertain the crowds while he gets them organized in the marshaling area. Without Doug, well, gosh, we wouldn’t know which tables to go to (of course *finding* the tables is still an uncertain proposition).
Buster, Goat Boy
At Gen Con, while Doug marshals the players into teams, Buster is the one wandering through the crowds, collecting their event tickets, and handing out the paper work. This activity has become known as “Bustering”.
Rei Kevin, Chief Cartographer
Rei uses her impressive Photoshop skills to prepare slick maps for Nascrag every year.
Zander Kevin, Master of Stuff
Zander has taken the lead in organizing the piles of swag for our award ceremony and selling t-shirts and copies of our adventures.
Scorecerer, Chris Houk
Chris is joining us this year and taking over the often thankless job of handling our complex and arcane scoring system. The tournament is a competition and without Chris we'd never know who won.
One of the hardest tasks we ask some of our staff to perform is press-ganging people who don’t know what they want to do into playing in our event. Gen Con is huge and there are so many choices that many gamers just end up wandering aimlessly. We figure if someone paid to get into Gen Con it’s our job to try to make their experience enjoyable so we try to direct these aimless souls to our event. Brian Chase leads this group these days. Paul Carolin, Bob Jeffries, and Mike Zwiebel are some of NASCRAG’s most notable press-gangers from the past.