FridayFriday Afternoon: The Lost Temple-City of Xtylos (Dungeon World; Christopher Stone-Bush)
In the first game of the con, The Glorious Barbozzar, slayer of the pacificist King Ironheart, forger of the pacifist king's heart into a weapon of strength, wise man from beyond King Hadrian's ice wall, and a teacher of unknown ways to the sowers of wheat (Barbarian) ventured forth with his faithful companion Singeon the Fighter, the creepy wizard Nyar, and a strange and confusing teller of the deeds of others, Broth, searched for a lost companion in the southern wastes, finding instead a massacred caravan, a race of men of the second age long since lost, an lost city arisen from the sands and crowned with a golden dome, a cult of animal-masked second-age zealots led by samite-clad prophetesses, until finally, side-by-side with his faithful companion Singeon, he bull-rushed an evil warrior into a demonic, blue, sacrificial flame, and faced the head prophetess. Freeze-frame-leaping-charge finish.
I love Dungeon World.
Friday Evening: The Dark Zone (The Sprawl; me)
Prank (Fixer) was contracted by a fellow fixer to find a defecting security executive who had gone to ground in The Slice, a corporate no-go zone. He in turn brought in Zeta Tovar (a cyber-wired Killer), Rook (a Hunter with prosthetic eyes) and Shammi Kapoor (a fiercely independent Soldier with cut-price cyberware) for the mission. The asked around The Slice, identifying the little crew the executive had put together, a general area in which she was hiding, and a hint that something weird was going down. After a firefight at a nightclub, half of her crew was dead, but she was still hidden. Prank sold a 40% interest in one of his operations to a local drone tech in exchange for some more solid intel on where she was. In the raid on her hideout, Shammi was killed, Zeta was hospitalised, Prank was badly fucked up, but Rook managed to put a bullet into the target and send photographic evidence to their employer.
Friday had been a long day, so this wasn't my best game, but it went pretty well despite that. I don't think this playtest inspired any changes in the rules, but there's still a bit of a list from when I had a chance to play for the first time on the previous Sunday.
SaturdaySaturday Morning: Mission Boston (The Regiment; me)
This may have been my favourite game of the con. I love The Regiment! It's such great nostalgia for my primary and high school days of WWII wargaming. In this run through John Aegard's playset the stick went south and encountered the German forces at the airstrip, engaged the tanks successfully and secured a landing zone for a couple of gliders just before daybreak. A pretty successful operation, even if they lost half the stick doing so. No PC casualties though, so maybe I was too easy on them! This one will definitely be in some sort of rotation in my roster!
Saturday Afternoon: Monster of the Week (Christopher Stone-Bush)
Chris started us off in media re chasing a vampire through a parking building and finished off with a fight against a vampire in a tiny underground crawlspace. In between there were suspicious sorority girls, a campus murder, a creepy New Jersey forest, and punching a campus rent-a-cop. All in a day's work for Julian the creepy, burlap-stocking-masked Initiate of the ancient Brotherhood of Constantine; Agent Smith, the untrusting and untrustable Professional; his neice Tamara, the Chosen one foretold in the Brotherhood's prophecies; and Trenton the Expert, lay-member of the Brotherhood and some-time employee of the Agency.
Saturday Evening: Bad Publicity (Spelljammer/Fantasy Heroic Roleplaying; Mike Olson)
In the Plate Mail Games sound room, Mike took us on a journey through space and time to the world of Spelljammer, the first TSR product I owned, as seen through the lens of Fantasy Heroic (Cortex). I was Sneef the Faithful, the Invisible, the Lung, the Colourless, the Licker, the Tongue, mechanic, tinker and crafter on the smalljammer Mirza, the fastest, finest, and best ship in all the Crystal Spheres (+1xp). Between bantering with the Captain about the Qwandrell job (ship damaged by asteroids, +1xp) the Samson Sphere Caper (we didn't get paid, +1xp), the Tanis Job (the ship was covered in elf goo, +1xp) and the Bostin Job (for which we still owe the Beholder crime lord One Eye, +1xp), Sneef found time to attach a mining drill to the ship (+3xp), brag (+1xp), complain (+1xp) and express concern about (+1xp) the ship, suck the Helm connections clean (d12 asset) and prevent the evil elven mage from stealing her while we plundered an ancient Dwarven ghost Forge Ship (peeing on the Helm circuitry, d10 asset). A (series of) job(s) well done!
Cortex is a bit slow when no one knows the rules that well, but this was a fun game anyway. The ability to constantly whore oneself to the story for XP is right up my alley.
SundayI stayed up late at Barcon and skipped the Sunday morning slot. Instead I wandered the dealer room, cast my eye over the rest of the con, and prepared the room for my game...
Sunday Afternoon: Call Me Brede (The Silver Seas, a Dungeon World hack for the world of Conquering Corsairs; me)
This time it was my turn behind the controls in the Plate Mail Games sound room as I took my new Dungeon World hack, The Silver Seas, out for a spin. The Silver Seas is a pirate-themed hack of Dungeon World with playbooks inspired by our deck-building game, Conquering Corsairs, and drawing inspiration and playbook moves from Apocalypse World, Dungeon World, Asterisk World, Geiger World, The Sprawl, Inverse World and probably more.
Following a map found by the elven First Mate Cayla Red (a smuggler and lookout), the swashbuckling buccaneer, Southerner Captain Indique Fasir, and the disciplined crew of the Fool's Venture set out for the Seas of Gold and Jade following the migratory trail of the famed silver whales. Along with Calya's keen eye, the keen sailing of ghostly undead navigator Grace O'Malley (also a buccaneer and sawbones) allowed the Venture to out-maneuver the ship of a rival Northern pirate, running it aground in a treacherous reef. Navigator Gray Pete, a free islander, mage and general wise old codger, brought them safely to the distant archipelago where they encountered a trading port populated by undead! After many weeks at sea, the crew were eager for plunder and the hitherto lazy and rim-sodden Quartermaster Black Jack ran up the colours of mutiny, but Captain Fasir stared him down and laid him out, and a few lashes from Calya sorted out the rest of the trouble-makers. As the mutineers had slain several undead merchants, the Venture struck out for another island, and finding a much larger island marked with large, foreboding, wicker cages in the shape of men and covered in deep forests, they dropped anchor. Leaving a few men to effect repairs on the Venture (damaged when she strayed into a pod of silver whales), Captain Fasir led a party inland seeking to trade chickens for gold as the rumours had told. A strange zombie witch directed them inland to a once-elven King who accepted their chickens and bad them recover all the gold they could carry from his mine. They soon discovered that the mine was the centre of a terrible curse which fed their greed and slowly drained their life force. They fled with what gold they could carry! But not before Grace gained a small semblance of solidity and Gray Pete lost all vestiges of life, becoming a shadow-walker. They sailed back to the Silver Seas richer, though not as rich as they would have liked, but nevertheless satisfied thanks to their retention of life's sweet breath, and forthwith sold the treasure map to an eager young northern captain last seen buying up the island's stock of chickens.
This game also went really well. In particular, the sound loops were awesome, really enhancing the mood I set with the narrative. I'm eager to use these again, probably in my Regiment: Colonial Marines game at Big Bad Con.
Sunday Evening: Cthulhu Mythos (tremulus; Denys Mordred)
I was the psychic, Hellena Hollingsworth, trusted companion of the Dilettante, Clive Clavill IV. The game opened in the house which Clavill had rented for me where I was conducting a seance to contact the deceased daughter of one Alice Williams. In attendance were several friends and associates of Clavill, including Sebastian Wood, an actor of the silver screen, Perilous Wilkins, an amateur, a charlatan and a dreamer, Dr M. Harmsworth, a monstrous so-called-Alienist who had once attempted to inflict electro-shock therapy upon me after my parents had had me institutionalised, and Montana Chiriaco, an adventurer and explorer of Central American jungles. When Dr Harmsworth broke the circle, Mrs Williams disappeared from among us, leaving frosty residue and several mysterious signs of spiritual presence. Clavill bade me repeat the seance, having foresworn Dr Harmsworth not to repeat his error in most strident terms. We made contact with an gang of otherworldly creatures who gave every indication of presence within my very house. We explored the modest grounds, but soon exhausted all possibilities bar the unused cellar, accessible only through a chained exterior door. Or so I thought! Sebastian sent his man down the steep and rickety stairs, but when he and Montana followed, the stairs collapsed beneath them. They found a most frightful room, filled with strange skeletons, bones-saws, and a dumb-waiter into my very living room! Sebastian's man had been struck with a most unnatural sleep which resisted all attempt to rouse him. I touched his dreaming mind and saw visions of him pursued through the woods near Hollow Hill by ghastly exotic children with fierce teeth and malevolent intent. The party was unable to decide on a course of action until Dr Harmsworth precipitated events when upon revealing his knowledge of our shared past in a most frightful manner, and having been slapped for his ill-manners, he had the un-gentlemanly gall to slap me in return. In fled to my room. Perilous came to my to offer me comfort and we set up remaining in the house with Dr Harmsworth no more and going at once to the Hill. Montana had spied our conversation and followed us to my car and when the other men heard the sound of our departing engine, the took up the pursuit at once. We were soon at the accursed hill itself, where we discovered the ghastly children in physical form, draw, and perhaps spawned from, a terrible stela, emanating an sickly green light. Perilous and I attempted to bind the fell magicks, but the children devoured Sebastian and would have done so the rest of us also, had not Montana chanced to bring a stick of dynamite to the seance, with which he was able to destroy the stela. As we fled the blast, Perilous fell, and I could have saved her, had not Clive, with attempted, but misplaced gallantry, swept me from the scene and from the grip of woman who had given me comfort in my hour of need.
This was my first outing with tremulus. I backed the Kickstarter, but haven't yet had time to read the book. The game works fine for Cthulhu, but seems to suffer a little from some inelegant application of Apocalypse World principles. I'll reserve final judgement until I've read the book myself, but I suspect if I ran it myself I would want to make some tweaks to the rules.
DenouementI didn't play anything on Monday, but I did feel like I could have got up a bit earlier and made it to a 9am slot. Mook's D&D cartoon D&D game looked fun. This was also the first time I'd been aware of a 2pm slot on Monday, which would allow for potentially 10 games over the long weekend. That would make for a pretty epic OrcCon.
In the meantime, the wheels turn for the games I will run next...