Friday, 30 November 2018

[December] Up Coming RPG Conventions

This is the December 2018 update for the UK RPG conventions for last of 2018 and into 2019 and far beyond.

Each has a website (though a few have Facebook pages) for information and details.

Quite a few are falling on the same dates so there are clashes.

If you know of any that have been missed please mention them in the comments below.

Dragonmeet 2018, Novotel London West, Hammersmith, London, UK
​Saturday 1st December 2018, 9.00am - Midnight

Winter StabCon 2019, Britannia Hotel Stockport, Dialstone Ln, Stockport, SK2 6AG
Friday 4th - Sunday 6th January 2019

ConTingency 2019, Searles Leisure Resort, South Beach, Hunstanton, Norfolk. PE36 5BB
Wednesday 23rd - Monday 28th January 2019.

Spaghetti ConJunction 3a, Geek Retreat, 38 The Priory Queensway, Birmingham. B4 7LA
Saturday 9th February 2019, 10.00am - 7.30pm

Beachhead 2019, Bournemouth International Centre, Exeter Rd, Bournemouth BH2 5BH
Saturday 16th February 2019

Concord 2019, Holiday Inn Bristol City Centre, Bond Street South, Bristol, BS1 3LE
Saturday 23rd - Sunday 24th February 2019

Dudley Bug Ball, Station Hotel, Castle Hill, Dudley, DY1 4RA
Saturday 23rd February 2019, 10.00am - 11:00pm

Revelation 2019, Garrison Hotel, 635 Penistone Road, Sheffield, S6 2GB

Saturday 23rd - Sunday 24th February 2019

Convergence UK 2019, Element Games, Hallam Business Centre, Hallam Street, Stockport SK2 6PT
Friday 1st - Sunday 3rd March 2019

AireCon 2019, Harrogate International Centre, King's Rd, Harrogate HG1 5LA
Friday 8th - Sunday 10th March 2019

Conclave 2019, Skylark Hotel, Aviation Way, Southend-on-Sea Essex SS2 6UN
Saturday 16th - Sunday 17th March 2019

Concrete Cow 19, The Old Bath House, 205 Stratford Road, Wolverton, Milton Keynes MK12 5RL
Saturday 16th March 2019, 9:00am - 11:00pm

Glorantha Games 2019, Geek Retreat, 38 The Priory Queensway, Birmingham. B4 7LA

Saturday 30th March 2019

TringCon 2019, Marsworth Millennium Hall, 1 Vicarage Road, Marsworth, Herts, HP23 4LR.
Saturday 6th April 2019, 9:00am - 9:00pm

UNCON 5.0, Heart Centre, St Georges School, Westwood Road, Broadstairs, Kent. CT10 2LH
Saturday 6th - Sunday 7th April 2019

Seven Hills 2019, Garrison Hotel, 635 Penistone Road, Sheffield, S6 2GB

Saturday 6th - Sunday 7th April 2019

National Student Gaming & Roleplaying Championships 2019, Glasgow University Gaming Society, Glasgow University, University Avenue, Glasgow G12 8QQ
Friday 12th - Sunday 14th April 2019

D6 Con 2019, The Rugby Hotel, 22-23 Sheep Street, Rugby, Warwickshire, CV21 3BX
Saturday 13th April 2019, 09:00am - 11:00pm

ConTRAPtion 2019, Chatsworth Hotel, The Steyne, Worthing, West Sussex, BN11 3DU
Friday 3rd - Sunday 5th May 2019

North Star 2019, Garrison Hotel, 635 Penistone Road, Sheffield, S6 2GB

Saturday 11th - Sunday 12th May 2019

UK Games Expo 2019, NEC, North Ave, Marston Green, Birmingham B40 1NT & Hilton, Pendigo Way, Marston Green, Birmingham B40 1PP
Friday 31st May - Sunday 2nd June 2019

Tabletop Scotland 2019, Dewars Centre, Glover Street, Perth, Scotland PH2 0TH
Saturday 24th - Sunday 25th August 2019

GamesCon 2019, Emsworth Community Centre, PO10 7DD
Saturday 31st August 2019, 09:00am - 10:00pm

DragonDaze 2019, Newport Centre
1 Kingsway, Newport NP20 1UH
Saturday 5th October 2018, 10:00am - 5:00pm

OddconUK XIII, Park Inn, Forge Gate, Telford TF3 4NA
Friday 11th - Sunday 13th October 2019

Furnace 2019, Garrison Hotel, 635 Penistone Road, Sheffield, S6 2GB
Saturday 12th - Sunday 13th October 2019

JenCon Seven, Garrison Hotel, 635 Penistone Road, Sheffield, S6 2GB
Saturday 26th - Sunday 27th October 2019

Continuum 2020, John Foster Hall, Manor Road, Leicester, LE2 2LG

Friday 7th - Monday 10th August 2020

Continuum 2021, John Foster Hall, Manor Road, Leicester, LE2 2LG

Friday 6th - Monday 9th August 2021

Continuum 2022, John Foster Hall, Manor Road, Leicester, LE2 2LG

Friday 5th - Monday 8th August 2022

Dice Cup Nottingham Tales... Game 2

I ran my follow up scenario for my Tales from the Loop game at Nottingham’s Dice Cup Café on Tuesday night, Atomic Butterflies and Feral Buddleia. My intention was to run it for the same group of players from my previous game ran at the Dice Cup just over a month ago but two of the players couldn’t make it. Fortunately we had two new female players wanting to play as they were intrigued. They both were new to roleplaying, a little unsure how to go about it but I reassured them that they would have a good introduction to the hobby playing Tales...

The RPG Room at the Dice Cup Café set for my game.

I took them through the 'Principles of the Loop', which is a great start for new players anyway, and described how the session would go. They generated two great characters.
Victor a gender-swapping Weirdo who is a troubled artist with his drawing pad and a love of strange things (loves Souxsie and the Banshees ‘Happy House’ too).
Maxine, or Max to her friends, is a shy Bookworm who is driven to find the answers to the big questions with her dog Colin. Nana’s ‘99 Red Balloons’ is her favourite song.
They joined the established character of Jono, the Young Farmer with his multi tool and his desire to see the world.

Having the character generation at the start also helped for the new players as they were very creative and inventive with their choices and there are plenty of plot hooks for me to use at a later date too. Then there was the working out of the relationships between the Player Characters, the two new ones with the other player’s character too.

We also learnt that all the Kids had run afoul of the family of bullies, the Winfields. Poor Max has had a football repeatedly kick at her by them, she now hides in the school library where the Winfields never set foot in. Victor is constantly bullied by the Winfields, especially by the girls, and they call him some horrible names.

We used the same Hideout but the new Kids added their own touches to it. Maxine added a bookcase with a comfy chair and reading lamp. Victor added posters of 80’s goth bands, Halloween decorations and left the spider webs up!

We started with brief scenes from their home life and Jono went first. He had managed to do all his chores earlier in the week so he was ducking out for the day to avoid the Government Inspectors who were auditing the farm. He had made sandwiches and had a bottle of pop to take out with him.
Max has to help get her younger brother, Nat, up whilst her mum is working two jobs to make ends meet. She makes herself some snacks and a flask of sweet tea and selects several books to bring along too.
Victor is ignored at home by his parents making him almost invisible. He doesn’t take anything out with him as he will no doubt pick something up along the way.

The Kids meet up at the Hideout before heading out for the day.
They meet Leslie, the Corona Pop delivery man with his duel fuel delivery van full of bottles of pop, on their travels. He offers them a bottle of American Cream Soda and asks them to keep an eye out for his pet Toucan called Guinness who is missing. Of course Victor steals some sweets of the van whilst Leslie was distracted my Max and Jono.

It was their first bit of Trouble they had encountered so far so I took them through the dice mechanics of the game. Victor was great at Sneaking, he had a Body of 4 and a Sneak of 3 giving 7 dice for the dice pool. He got +2 dice for the distractions that Max and Jono were doing against Leslie. The player rolled 2 sixes getting two successes. The player had a choice whether to carry one of the successes over to another but of Trouble along the line or gain a better success. She thought that Victor would take extra sweets and drink to share with his friends so that is what happened.
I also showed the players the different ways of getting out of Trouble if they failed to roll any sixes in their dice pools.
They could Push the roll, re-rolling their dice pool but gaining a Condition. Gaining a Condition means they will get one less dice in their dice pool next time they roll.
They could spend a Luck Point to re-roll their dice pool. They have a limited number of Luck Points.
They could use their Pride an get an automatic success. They can only do this once a session.

Then they go to the Meadow, a piece of wasteland left to go fallow after some developers started to build some planned homes there. All that’s there is an abandoned works shed, dug trenches for the utilities, and weeds growing in the spoil piles.

There the Mystery starts with appearance of the Winfields acting suspiciously and the complete absence of insects or birds. With a pushy mother trying to collect butterflies, Lola her daughter leading the Kids to sneak into the Facility, animal bones scattered in the grass, weird tracks in the grass, and elusive green and blue butterflies along the way the mystery deepens to an investigation of the abandoned farm in the Facility grounds.

They managed to shutdown the Atomic Butterflies and avoid the deadly Feral Buddleia in an alternate 1984 in Derby.
Or did they?
They left it to a robot to finish the mission but what could happen in the second part in the next session?

The players had great fun and are keen to play again. I have included their messages straight after the game as well as a picture of the RPG gaming table at the Dice Cup.
The next game will continue on Tuesday 16th October at the Dice Cup in Nottingham.


Ludorati Café Nottingham Actual Play Part 1.

Tales from the Loop Actual Play
Nottingham is proving to be getting better and better as far as getting players for my games is concerned, far better than my attempts in Derby.
I had another success running my Tales from the Loop game, ‘Bigtrax and Magic Tricks’ at Ludorati Café Bar on Saturday afternoon. I had four players signed up for my game, all keen and ready to go.

The Cube at Ludorati Café with the table set ready for my game.

We were allocated the Cube, a beautiful glass panelled room with a great table set up, air-conditioning, Bluetooth speakers, TV, flipchart, and a host of other goodies too. It is such a great place to run, and no doubt play, role playing games in. To top it all we had table service from the bar as well.

I went through the ‘Principles of the Loop’ with them and began to make our characters.

We had a young Troublemaker called Jojo (Josephine) Jones with her iconic hover-board. She suffers from Dyslexia, has dreams of becoming an Olympic Hover-boarder, and loves ‘Ant Music’ by Adam and the Ants.
 Her older brother, Chad Jones, is a Jock and plays Ice Hockey with his ever-present hockey stick. His teacher hates him but he will always do the right thing as “It’s the right thing to do.” His song is the seminal ’99 Red Balloons’ by Nena. Their dad, Eric Jones, is one of the MoD guards at the Facility.

Billy-Bob is our Hick with his trusty canine companion, ‘Dog’. He is anxious as someone has been poisoning his animals on the farm but wishes to better than the clueless ‘townies’ by taking pride in building machines. He just appreciates the vocal simplicity of ‘Born in the USA’ by Bruce Springsteen.

Last, but by no means least, is Analise, our Weirdo who is a curious girl who thinks that nobody loves her (it might have to do with the razorblade she carries?) She has a dazzling charm that disarms all that go against her and she adores Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Time After Time’ song.

Their Hideout was a hayloft on Stocker Flats Farm decorated with posters and magazines about hover-boarding, tools and toolkits are littered about the place, there is a selection of protective hockey gear like masks, gloves, and other armour. The copious amount of Vodka bottles provides that homely touch that finishes the aesthetic. The Kids know that they are safe when in their hideout.

As usual I took them through my own setting for the Loop, Derby in the spring of 1984. That April had been one of the coldest and wettest on record. Miserable weather that kept everyone indoors. To top it all the main concern at school was the revision for mock exams and the time that the pupils would choose their main subjects in ‘Options’. Lots of pressure.

Yet now the sun was shining and it was the May Day Bank Holiday weekend. The Kids have seen a flyer about the BigTrak (British, Independent, Gravitron-powered, Titanium-armoured, Radium-Laser equipped, All-terrain Krawler) being on display at the Elvaston Castle Transport and Steam Rally this weekend. They loved the BigTrak toy when they were younger so they were keen to see the full sized tank version.

We had a few quick scenes of home life for each Kid before they all made their way to their Hideout. Their plans were knock awry when they heard the Dixie horn from an American style truck stuck trying to get down the narrow Elvaston Lane. The driver, Milo using the worst Cockney accent, asked them for help to get to Elvaston Castle as they had to set up for a televised Magic Show at the County Fair. The Kids were reluctant at first, but the promise of a ride in the truck, free beer, and a tenner for helping them set up clinched it. They all piled inside the cab. Of course the Kids struggled to actually direct them the correct way as none of them knew the route (quite a few failed dice rolls there) so the truck pulled up later than planned.

The Kids got to see the construction robot, A-FIL-08, in action setting up the auditorium and stage truss and then were drawn into the Mystery by the scientist in the white lab coat taking control of the robot to move and position an Echo Sphere by the stage. They then proceeded to investigate and were hooked into a world of secret tunnels, strange Echo Spheres, duplication of hover-boards, Gravitron Loop, running afoul of school bullies, the discovery of the Kid’s father as one of the MoD guards, flame-throwers and fireworks, and escaping the tank-stealing spies.

The Kids (and the players) were very excited about driving the BigTrak tank and were ecstatic when they did. Again the Kids take the BigTrak tank home with them rather than return it back to the stage, it must be a Nottingham thing as all the other groups that have played this scenario have always driven it on stage to the audiences’ applause. 
The spies were also caught and stopped from causing any more harm. A triumphant end to the exciting Mystery and a few scenes from the Kids home life toned the mood down somewhat.

The players celebrate driving the BigTrak!

A great way to spend a Saturday afternoon and the staff at Ludorati Café Bar were very helpful. A big thank you to Damon the Games Coordinator at Ludorati for allowing me to run the Tales from the Loop RPG at the café and no doubt I’ll be running more there soon.

Me running the game. Photo by Damon Mitchell.


Thursday, 29 November 2018

Dice Cup Nottingham Tales... Game 1

So I ran my Tales from the Loop game ‘Bigtrax and Magic Tricks’ at The Dice Cup, Nottingham on Tuesday night, 14th August 2018.
I had three players sign up, either via the café or through the East Midlands Meet Up group.

I went through the 'Principles of the Loop' with them and introduced the setting of alternate Derby in the spring of 1984.

We got straight into char-gen and we got three great characters.
We had a young Troublemaker called Dennis (the Menace) with his fags and lighter who was very protective of his friends as they are the only things he has. His mother is alone and drinks a lot so he needs to get out of the house. He loves ‘One Step Beyond’ by Madness.
The Computer Geek is Neil, a mere slip of a lad with his trusty customised computer. He is constantly listening to ‘Space Oddity’ by David Bowie whilst he is on his computer ignoring his nagging mum. The tough guys pick on him but woe betide for when the shit hits the fan...
Our Hick, or Young Farmer, is Jono. His is independently minded and wants to see the world rather than be stuck on the farm. He idolises his older brother who is away at Agricultural College and he always carries his hand-sized tire-iron multi-tool with him wherever he goes.

Their Hideout was an old camper van, was luxurious but is worn and battered, in Neil’s back garden on some waste ground. Jono has hooked up the mains power and plumbing to it, as well as providing farm produce to eat. The camper van was overgrown with plant life on the outside and littered with computer and robotic parts on the inside from Neil’s experiments. Dennis provides the protection and the magazines that passes for entertainment.

After a few quick scenes of home life for each of the Kids they started looking at the flyer for the Elvaston Castle Transport and Steam Rally that was going to be held over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend. Of course they were excited about the fact that the BigTrak tank (British, Independent, Gravitron-powered, Titanium-armoured, Radium-Laser equipped, All-terrain Krawler) was going to be on display.
Their plans were interrupted by the sound of a loud car horn, sounding like the Dixie car horn from the ‘Dukes of Hazzard’ TV show. They rush outside a see a large American style truck stuck on the road. Of course they help out (except Neil who is hiding) with getting the truck to Elvaston Castle and help with the set up of the stage and auditorium for the Magic Show.

What follows is a hacking of large construction robot, scientists in wire lab coats, weird echo spheres, tunnels under Derby, dodgy MoD guards, bad magic tricks, school bullies, and a failed promise of ice cream.

And the Kids escaped in the Bigtrak and haven’t returned it!
A marvellous end to the one-shot though all the players are keen to play again on a fortnightly basis.

The Dice Cup staff were excellent, helpful and informative.
I will hopefully be running more Tales from the Loop games soon, watch this space.


Continuum 2018 Con Report

Continuum 2018, John Foster Hall, Leicester.
Saturday 21st July 2018.

It was just a just quick hop on the train down to Leicester early on Saturday morning, returning back to John Foster Hall after a long absence.

So the first game slot of Saturday morning I had scheduled my Firefly game, No Power in the ‘verse.
I had a full sign-up sheet so eight players with a reserve too. The sign up sheet had the individual Serenity crew as sign up choices, so that the players could choose who they wanted to play before the game.

I set up in the middle of the main hall, three tables together, so I had enough space for all the players. We had a full crew so all the Firefly characters with the exception of River Tam.
I handed out the character sheets and introduced the system to the players, covering the dice pools, plot points, and the consequences system. I even encouraged the players to add or change additional Specialities (Kaylee having ‘Celebrity Gossip’ as a Know Speciality seems very wrong somehow) as I went off to change.

I put on my tie and waistcoat over my Blue Sun T-shirt, put on my Flamingo badge, and wore my Bowler hat; with my (poor) Cockney accent and was transformed into Badger.
Returning to the game table the players faces dropped on realising they were dealing with Badger.
Badger gave them the deal of a lifetime, the lost ship, Far Horizon, was famous for surveying the ‘verse 200 years ago before it was all terraformed. No one knows where it went down. But the stories have all been retold in the comic books, lazer-vids, and Cortex-plays ever since. Now an opportunity has presented itself as data-crystals from the ship are up for auction tomorrow. They will reveal the last location of Far Horizon and all that survey data that we make everyone rich!
All they have to do is get the right data crystal and the only data-crystal reader on the planet at the Auction House. Easy eh?!!?

The players hit the plot running, Inara, Book, and Simon (with Zoe acting as bodyguard) went to the current auction as high value guests to scope out the site. Wash and Kaylee hacked the computers and ran interference and Mal and Jayne (Jayne got a sweet sniper nest set up) covered the outside. They all learnt the different ‘players’ behind the scenes (two ex-Registered Companions) and the fact that 47 Tong ran the auction house with a paramilitary group looking after the security.

A tough nut to crack but with some risky pick-pocketing (dropping bugs on factions) and calling the Alliance down on another rival. After the triple-switch and a bit of shadow play they got the prize, the right crystal.

Jayne got to use his various ‘flavours’ of grenades at the goons closing in and the whole crew pulled together to escape with the correct data-crystal. Next would be heading out into the black after the lost ship with rival crews after it as well but the game slot came to an end.

Great players and all very good at sharing the spotlight between each other. It was a full team effort to get the results. Had some great portrayals of the characters too, the player of Inara was the only player at the table who hadn’t seen the TV show but the way he acted as Inara was spot on.
A shorter game due to the shorter game slot in the morning.
I forgot to take a photo of the group.

I had a game scheduled for the afternoon slot but there were so many games on offer that I didn’t get any sign-ups. I spend a nice leisurely afternoon in the bar catching up with people and caught two seminars; Historical Gaming and Mark Galeotti’s Organised Crime in RPGs. I learnt so much on the Russian Mafia, the Vory.

A quick dinner from the canteen, salmon on spinach in a creamy sauce- nice!

The last slot on the Saturday started at 20:00 so I had time to set up my table by the open windows in the main hall and get my full set of players seated comfortably. I had six players, three I knew from Derby, the others I have ran games for before.

I was running my Tales from the Loop game Atomic Butterflies and Feral Buddleia.
I covered the *Principles of the Loop* and introduced the setting of alternate Derby in the hot summer of 1984. One of the players had played in my previous game at UK Games Expo but the other five players were new to the game and system.

We got started on char-gen and got some great characters with some very interesting relationships with each other.
So we had the Popular Kid, Kelly Leigh, with her bubblegum, the Computer Geek Lukas Smythe armed with his Sinclair Spectrum Computer, the big older kid was the Jock, Ben, on his BMX, his younger sister, Lena the Rocker, with her ghetto blaster (actually just a cassette recorder), our Hick is Stig and his trusty rough collie, Ruff, and the group’s Troublemaker is Pamela ‘Pam’ Greenwood with her fags and lighter.

The hideout was an old American style silver caravan with a ghetto blaster and loads of mix tapes, fresh food from the farm, a stack of ‘specialist’ magazines along with some ‘Smash Hits’ mags, a telescope, a pile of filled in Doctors sick notes, and the whole place was protected by traps, tripwire, and other hazards.

The character interactions started straight away as the Kids headed to the Meadow to play. They met the Corona pop man on the way and learnt about the missing pets. They offered to look for his missing Toucan Guinness. The players pushed through and past the plot hooks, heading straight for their objective, the Dark Wood.  After encountering the titular Feral Buddleia, Ben the Jock pushed Lukas the Geek into the plant’s tentacles whilst Pam the Troublemaker set fire to the plant. Panic ensues and the Kids discover the reason why all the insects, birds and pets have gone.
After smashing their way through the wood, being rude and abusive to an ethereal Lepidopterist, and discovering the burning hole in the chain link fence, the Kids encountered the school bullies, the Winfields!
Running away and avoiding any more plot hooks the Kids retired for the day.

They returned to the fence of the Facility the following morning with the comical moment as the rest of the Kids launched poor Lukas over the fence. More hilarity ensued as the players managed to get me into a fit of giggles due to their PCs antics. And more laughter followed through out the game.

Of course the scenario ends with arson but not before the Kids managed to close down the Atomic Butterflies with the Computer.

A quote from the game; “If you want to make it bigger use Lucas-aid!” Groan.

A great game with some great players adding additional complications and stepping clear of many of the plot hooks in the scenario. Good banter all around and made it a very enjoyable end to the day.
Photo below is of the group. I was still laughing about the game the following day.

With that I made my fair wells and headed back home to Derby.

My crazy notes below.


Wednesday, 28 November 2018

UK Games Expo 2018 Friday Con Report

First day at UK Games Expo 2018 Hilton Hotel, Birmingham
Friday 1st June 2018.

First slot was my Firefly game  No Power in the ‘verse with me dressed as the character Badger. Seven players so we had the full crew except Simon and River. They were a little shocked at seeing Badger on their ship armed with a comic book about the survey ship Far Horizon.

Me GMing dressed as Badger. Photo by Tom Zunder

A heist caper ensued with the crew upsetting the 47 Tong Gang as well as the Oryx Private Military Group. A high-profile prisoner released, an auctioneer’s heart broken violently, torture, double-switch, and the revelation of secrets best kept hidden. Lots of laughs, alternative ways of solving problems, and consequences quashed. A great game. Photo below of the players with their character sheets.

The players from my Firefly game.

The second slot in the afternoon was my Supernatural/Grimm/Sleepy Hollow game Headless in Rapid City. I only had three players for this game and I was considering pulling it. The players were keen to play and, boy, were they keen. We had Sam and Dean Winchester with Icihbod Crane stuck into a deep mystery in Rapid City. They were responding to news reports about a biker gang decapitated during a police shoot out, with additional news about strange lightning strikes, escaped tigers, stolen swords from museums, and sudden violence on the streets of Rapid City.
The players lapped up all the handouts and were demanding more and more; I provided ample more with dodgy characters to boot too. It got to the stage where they wanted to stick them all on the wall like a ‘murder board’ in a detective TV show with string attached to the different people and locations. The players noticed the patterns and additional clues within the handouts and then were making intuitive leaps about the mystery as it unfolded.
Great moments in play and the players captured the characters perfectly in their portrayals. The chap playing Ichibod wasn’t at all familiar with the TV show but played him impeccably. An intense yet fun game with the plot taken in huge chunks.
I could kick myself for not taking a photo of this great group of players.

Slot 3 in the evening was my Tales from the Loop game Atomic Butterflies and Feral Buddleia. I had six players who were interested in the Tales from the Loop game but none had never played it as yet. For one of the players it was her first time playing a role playing game. No pressure then.
So I started with the ‘Principles of the Loop’ and began char-gen.

We had a Bookworm, Elizabeth Bellmount, armed with her signed copy of ‘The Indian in the Cupboard’, Timothy Lansden, a Computer Geek with his trusty Commodore 64, Tiffany Bell, a PopularKid with her diary of secrets, Alexandra Bell, a Victorian dressed Weirdo with her drawing pad, William ‘Billy’ Carter, a Hick with his faithful German Shepherd called Joey, and finally Walcot Preston, a Troublemaker with his fags and lighter.
Their Hideout was the Stocker Flats Farm old barn with power for the computer, broken machinery, piles of old books, an oil drum fire, a vanity table, fairy lights in the rafters, and lots of dog-torn soft furnishings.

These troubled young teenagers were living life in Derby in 1984 within the boundary of the MoD’s Loop. Escaping the humdrum of home life they grouped together to play in the summer sunshine. Playing in ‘the Meadow’ they discovered the absence of the birdsong and the missing hum of the insects and started investigating straight away. Discovering strange tracks and the scattered bones of small animals and birds they ventured into the ‘Dark Wood’. Contending with the school bullies acting suspiciously, an ethereal Lepidopterist, butterflies zipping away, a dodgy man approaching them inappropriately, a cute little robot, scary abandoned buildings, and the popular, clever, pretty, sporty, strange, troublemaker Lola.

Of course the adventure ends with several of the Kids exercising their pyromaniacal tendencies in a spectacular fashion and a careless disregard for characters suffering seizures.

Another great game driven by some fantastic players and I believe that the ‘newbie’ enjoyed herself and wasn’t put off from this weird little hobby of ours. There was lots of laughter throughout.
The photo below is of the group at the table watching the dice cast.

The players from my Tales from the Loop game.

I returned home on the last train filled with the after glow of happy games and players.

More to follow about Saturday at UK Games Expo.


Tuesday, 27 November 2018

North Star 2018 Con Report

North Star RPG Convention, Garrison Hotel, Sheffield.
Saturday 28th April 2018

So a good journey to the Garrison Hotel with very little fuss.

Just some of my game preparation.

Got there in time for the opening speech at the start of slot 1.

Graham presenting the opening speech.

I was running Star Wars Edge of the Empire called ‘Nerves of Steel on Dantoonie’.
So I had four players signed up on the day, the pre-booked players didn’t show up, and only one of them had played this system before.
They selected their characters so we had the Wookie, Saljacca, whom was dangerous not only at close quarters but at long-range too as he had a plasma-slug sniper rifle. Next up was Freya Farthen, the genius mechanic, who could fix and repair anything. Then there was Nash Doorna the smuggler, cocky and overconfident and oozes charm. Then finally there was Moria Sunfell, the sassy pilot who always carries her trusty pistol.

Me GMing my Edge of the Empire game. Photo by Tom Zunder.

They started stranded in the Dune Sea of Tatoonie next to the smouldering crater and the shattered remains of the ship they just raided. They had their prize, data crystals with a wealth of information on future tech and two grav-sleds, neither of which were functional. One grav-sled had its chassis wrecked but its engine was relatively intact. The other sled was structurally sound but its engine was splintered. Of course it would take all of them to work together to swap out the engines and get a fully operating grav-sled between them.
Then they decided that they would take the longer but safer route back to their spaceship, rather than the direct quicker but more dangerous route back.
So they managed to escape the dessert without incident (other than some poor flying by the pilot), and also traded with some Dessert Jawas for so drugs for Saljacca and a new Astromech droid they named RAVE-2.

They got to their spaceship without incident and were off-world, past the Imperial Blockade, and away to their homeworld, Ord Mantell. There they cleverly arranged to sell their prize to the highest bidder from amongst the most dangerous organisations in the Galaxy.
The auction would take place on Dantoonie, in the old rebel base there. The characters would only get a day to set up the place to receive their guests from the Black Sun Crime Syndicate, an ambitious Imperial Officer, a Republican Senator, and Teemo the Hutt!
They managed to cunningly hide their spaceship very close, get the shield generators to work to protect the base form orbital bombardment, set up the separate viewing rooms, and primed the whole base up with explosives.
After a bidding war between all the interested parties there was the inevitable betrayal and double-cross. After a furious fire-fight our heroes managed to escape in their hidden spaceship, leaving the squabbling factions behind.
They got their loot, their lives and their ship all in one piece. Now of course they are a mighty fine target for every single criminal group in the Galaxy!

The players from my Edge of the Empire game.

It was a trip to the salad bar at Morrison’s for lunch and a catch up with some of the con-goers.

Slot 2 was another of my games I was running, Firefly ‘No Power in the ‘verse!’.

Table set up for my Firefly game.

I had six players signed up for this game so I got straight down to the player character selection. So the characters Inara, River and Simon didn’t make the selection. We had Jayne the hired ‘muscle’, Zoe the second officer, Wash the pilot, Book the shepherd, Mal the captain, and Kaylee the mechanic. I got the players to read through the character sheets and add a couple of Specialisations to their skills whilst I headed off and changed.

I hastily dressed up as Badger, one of the criminal bosses from the TV show, with a waistcoat, flamingo badge, a tie but without a shirt, and a bowler hat. I returned to the table in full character, proclaiming in the worst Cockney accent ever, that “I was in ruttin’ charge, I was the gorram boss and that I had a shiny job for them!” From that opening everyone was on board, with big grins across their faces, and we started the role-playing session in the full Firefly flavour. I stayed in character for the most part, only dropping out when I took the players through the rules as they rolled their dice during conflicts.

Me dressed as 'Badger' Photo by Tom Zunder.

The job was a simple one, get a couple of high-value items from the Auction House on Persephone that would lead to the location of the missing legendary spaceship, Far Horizon. Everyone knows of the Far Horizon the first survey scout starship of the ‘verse, made famous by the comic-books, laser-vids, halo-films, and cortex screenings of its adventures in space! If found it would be a mighty fine prize. It would contain the raw survey data of the whole of the ‘verse revealing the as yet untapped resources that Parliament has kept secret over the centuries. Also the value of the ship as an historic object could also be beneficial and there would be, no doubt, more valuables on the craft that could be sold off too.

Of course the crew had to get hold of the obsolete data crystals that were up for auction as well as an antiquated data crystal reader. Now they just had to come up with the right ‘caper’ to get hold of the items before the rival crews did!

Me GMing my Firefly game dressed as 'Badger' Photo by Dom Mooney.

What followed was a series of calamity events with consequences growing as the crew went through multiple plans, each one getting more and more outrageous, to complete the caper. Of course in the end it was the simplest plan (with the luckiest dice roll) that got the goods for the most part.
The climax was the trip out into the black to the revealed location of the ghost ship and the discovery of the huge secret that would change the ‘verse for ever.
A magnificent game with the players pushing their characters as well as putting up with Badger himself sitting in the Serenity, getting far too involved in their plans. A great deal of fun.

The players from my Firefly game.

A pre-booked meal in the Garrison bar with a couple of pints just hit the spot before I headed into my third and final game.

North Star has it's own convention beer!

‘Testing Times on Tarsus’ a Traveller scenario run by Dr Moose.
This was my first foray into Traveller (apart from some games when I was in the 6th Form where the GM did all the dice rolls for the players behind his GM screen) but all the other players were familiar with the game system.
We were trouble-shooters for a corporation tasked to check out the security and integrity of some of the corporation’s holdings on the backwater planet Tarsus. Our boss, Rev Landfill, had instructed us to get the layout, staff structure, and copies of the contents in the safe whilst testing the security ‘quietly’. Of course the job goes south almost straight away and there was some bloodshed.

Our boss fires us from the job and we do our upmost to track him down and deal him appropriately. More dead-ends and things going wrong meant that we were struggling to get anything achieved at all. By the time we earnt our spaceship we were definitely floundering and it was only by being the bait ourselves that we managed to draw out our old boss, Rev Landfill, and capture him with some help of some Imperial Shock Troops. A fun game with role-playing our desolate cause.

With that I headed back home on the train, forced to stop in Chesterfield and continue my journey home to Derby in a taxi due to engineering works on the railway lines. Grrr!