May 9th, 2012


Day of Games

Wellington's annual Games on Demand con, Day of Games, was on Saturday. This time it was in Brooklyn so the food options were better than the usual spot in the business district on a weekend. I even managed to find a market with a couple of decent beer options.

For the first session, I almost played Psi*Run, but a couple of latecomers turned up, so I grabbed a set of Dungeon World character sheets from surrealfish and ran that for four players (all new to DW). I had the players all write down a monster and a location and wove together a quest that saw a wizard, a cleric, a bard and a ranger sneak, run and battle their way through a haunted fungus forest, over a treacherous sea bridge guarded by a manticore to the island lair of a medusa on a quest for knowledge. The game ended with the cleric persuading the medusa to release the bard, select other of her victims, and as much of her treasure as they could carry in exchange for her life. The game was as reliably awesome as usual.

After lunch I played Microscope (which I hadn't played, but was interested in doing so), facilitated by Steve Hickey (whom I had only played with once, years ago). Microscope is Ben Robbins' GM-less and mostly character-less game of epic history (which he talks about it a little in this PAX panel on GMless roleplaying that I just listened to). Essentially, it takes the "lonely fun" of world generation and makes a social experience of it. We played out a history of "humanity moves the stars", a sci-fi future which spanned the age from the discovery of evidence of Jupiter's stellation to humanity's establishment of an intergalactic empire. The three threads that we followed in the 3 hours of play were a cult dedicated to Jupiter, the theme of interstellar mobility, and Robots! This was our tableau (squinting may be required...). I'm keen to try this as a setting generator for a GMed game of something else.

After dinner I ran The Sprawl for Steve, surrealfish, Dan and confusiontempst. We had Ritter was a broke Hunter who had scavenged and saved to but the cybereyes that were now destroying his optic nerves; Grit the company Soldier and team leader, owned by the military tech corporation Therma AG; Zero the Infiltrator, grown, along with her six sisters, in a Nissan-Disney vat; and Kennedy the monofilament-wielding Killer, hunted by Fox-Warner and owned by a underground drug cartel-cum-investment scheme. Their mission was to extract a corporate asset from a semi-secure facility before a corporate counter-espionage arrived to relocate and interrogate him. The run turned a little hairy at the end, and I should have pushed more at the end to make it more skin-of-the-teeth, but it went well anyway. My prep for this one was definitely better than on previous occasions, although I still forgot a bunch of principles. Thus there are many useful things to contemplate and incorporate into the game's procedures. It also got me back into thinking about The Sprawl, after a bit of a lapse.

In the final session (a condensed two hours) surrealfish ran Dungeon World. I played something of a reprise of my regular Elven Fighter from the Glendale game, but in a game with a very silly tone and a PvP ending. The pace was frenetic as surrealfish pushed us through the ideas we'd provided in search of the mythical DRAGON BEARS!

After slaying them, the thief tried to sell us out to a sorceress we'd previously encountered, attempting to blow up the paladin with an explosive chest. The paladin had the last laugh, but then (shades of Get John Carter here) my Fighter was ensorcelled by the sorceress and killed the Paladin before the spell was broken. The game-slash-social contract threatened to go pear-shaped for a little while there, but I think everyone enjoyed themselves in the end.

So that was Day of Games. Great location, pretty good timing (all of my games finished on time, and I'm the four hour advocate!), and great games. Thanks to all my GMs, players and interlocutors!