Session 1, The Tree of Souls, Dungeon World.
In the first session, I re-ran my Big Bad Con game, The Tree of Souls (for those in the LA crew, this is the infamous camping game). Kapcon sessions are only 3 hours, but despite an hour or pregen, we wrapped up a pretty satisfying game only a little over time. The basic plot is that Aiya, the daughter of the Mayor of Redvale, has been kidnapped, and the mayor is offering a reward. The party was:
- Zorica (Rose), the Cleric of Zorica, checking on her few worshippers personally, the only local such worshipper being Aiya.
- Alacar (Matthew), the slight elven mistress of alchemical magics seeking to marry Aiya.
- Lux (James), Paladin of S’Tharg the Punisher (a Lich who rules his holy order with an iron fist, and iron nails...) who has sworn to the mayor that he will recover Aiya on his honour!
- Throndar the Barbarian, from the Bear tribe of the frozen Northern Mountains, seeking revenge on the mayor by making off with his daughter.
The game starts with a chance for the players to use some discovery powers before a likely fight with a band of Orcs and Goblins, but the Paladin managed to convince the Orc leader that S’Tharg might be a worthier leader than his own warlord. Thus Lux decided to challenge said warlord to single combat to prove the strength of S’Tharg and conquer the orc tribe. If we’d had another hour, this would have been the next thing they did after burning down half the forest in failing to rescue the mayor’s daughter. Only having three hours reduced the amount of atmospheric description I could insert, so I don’t think the game was as creepy as it could have been.
Session 2, White Rabbit, Karen Wilson.
I wasn’t sure if I was in the mood for Karen’s dark exploration of love and family in space, but I warmed to it over the first hour or so and had a great time. My character was the ship’s co-pilot; a widower who had made a series of poor decisions in his personal life and had brought his estranged kids on a routine transport mission. So when shit finally went bad, I spent the end of the game trying to talk to my kids. It was pretty dark, and lots of fun. Karen didn’t like the degree to which it became a LARP (it was 9 players with multiple areas of the ship marked out around the room), but the ability to have private conversations with other characters introduced a nice fog of war that really made the game.
Biggie ups to Karen for another great game, and to all the players, especially samnotluke and Hannah(?) for doing a great job playing my appropriately sulky and somewhat abandoned children!
Session 3, The Bloodstones of Dungeon World, Dungeon World, Russell Andrews.
I was excited to see a Dungeon World game on the list, and I would have liked to chat with Russell a bit more and maybe run a game for him, but unfortunately he wasn’t around the con very much other than in his games, but then neither was I. The on-site food options were sub-optimal, so I spent most of the time in the breaks seeking out better options.
His game was The Bloodstone Idol from the Red Book. I might have read it, but only once and I’d never run it, so I don’t really remember much of the written adventure and thus I’m not sure if he changed the scenario at all. I returned a little late from lunch, so I was assigned the Fighter, possibly my favourite class (it’s close with the Cleric). There were six players, the last of which arrived after me and played a second thief. In retrospect I should have offered to give him the Fighter and play one of the AG playbooks. C’est la vie.
I hadn’t played the Bloostone Idol before, so that was cool. It felt very old school dungeon crawly in a way that Colin and Andrew’s games (and probably my own) don’t, as we approach it more from a pulp action angle. There was lots of damage and resting and the thieves going off alone and getting in trouble while the rest of us fought off goblins. Falling staircases, ghosts in arcane laboratories and the like. I’m not sure when Russell was advancing the impending doom, but we encountered Grundloch and his summoned demon as they were leaving the Dungeon to wreak havoc upon the land. We were pretty badly beaten up from sequential fights with ghosts then giant fireflies but we cut down Grundloch pretty quickly and came painfully close (1hp) to killing the demon and saving the world, but alas, we all died in the attempt. Good stuff!
I’d never considered doing this, and it started me thinking about whether I think it’s a good idea, but Russell had pre-generated characters, except for name, look and bonds. Unfortunately, I didn’t have an eye on the clock as I do in my own games, so I’m not sure how long it took before we were ready to play. I’m sure it saves time for first-time players, but it detracted a little from my investment in the character, I think. That probably enhanced the old school feel too, now that I think about it.
The other thing he did, which I’m more sure of my opinion of, was have the person to our left highlight one stat. Only. As a result, there wasn’t much levelling which detracted from my experience a little. I had CON highlighted and I reached level 2 relatively close to the end of the session. I was the first to level but I only levelled at all because I pushed Defend at every possible opportunity and thus hit my alignment a few times, which felt like a bit of a waste of my badass fighter-itude. A couple of other players dinged near the end too.
Flagship LARP, Achaean.
The setting of the LARP was Aulis, before the Greek fleet set off to Troy to recover Helen and generate the Iliad. I played Odysseus, King of Ithica, as I sought to gain kleos, avoid the war, and in doing so remove probably my greatest source of kleos, the Oddyssey. I succeeded... I guess? It was fun, but I don't think I have much else to say about it except that I very much enjoyed being a Greek hero and hanging out with other Greek heroes, although I would have liked to do some questing along with it. There were a lot of great costumes, as you'd expect, and a lot of great portrayals. I very much enjoyed inserting dramatic ironies into as many of my conversations as I could.