Sunday, 31 August 2008

Contributions sought for Furnace 2008 Con Book?

Furnace 2008. The Garrison Hotel, Sheffield. UK
Saturday 18th - Sunday 19th October 2008.

Furance is a small two day convention for 70 attendees held in a former gaolhouse of Hillsborough Barracks in Sheffield, UK.
Call of Cthulhu, HeroQuest, RuneQuest, Savage Worlds, and plenty of other game systems will be played at this convention.

A colour Convention Book will be produced and given free to all attendees on arrival.
As well as information on the convention, venue and games programmes there will be articles on gaming and role-playing.

The Furnace 2006 Con Book contained articles on convention GMing by Evilgaz, an introduction to Gwenthia by Tom Zunder, a Gloranthian HeroQuest scenario by Newt, 'Hunting the Marsh haggis' by Jane Williams, Serenity:HeroQuest by Darran Sims, a Kallyr story by Jane Williams, an intro to 'Red Star' for Evilgaz's game, along with information about the games, the venue and the favoured charity, Wateraid.

The Furnace 2007 Con Book contained articles on convention playing by Evilgaz, Aggar Homeland for Glorantha HeroQuest By David Millians, Tal’Vorn a Game World for D&D By Joshua Binks, The Shattered Lands a RuneQuest Setting By Newt Newport, A Gloranthan Story By Jane Williams, ‘Love, Honour & Obey’ a DitV Scenario By Ric Baines, UK Roleplayers - a Brief History By Dave McAlister, Nemesis Madness Meters in Call of Cthulhu By Dom Mooney, Mob Justice Introduction By Iain McAllister, Game Design 101 By Iain McAllister, Kadvalla - A Saintly Order for Mythic Russia By Mark Galeotti, ‘Dragonewts!’ by Darran Sims.

We are looking for contributions for this year's Convention Book, whether it is artwork, maps, articles, non-player characters, scenarios, encounters, gaming or GMing advice, settings, stories or anything else you can think of.

We can not pay you but all contributors will receive the heartfelt thanks from the Furnace Committee, the joy of seeing their work in print and a free copy of the Con Book.

All copyright of any material we use in the book remains the authors or artists, so you can use it again elsewhere.

If you can send all submissions to darransims AT googlemail DOT com.

Thank you for your time.

Monday, 18 August 2008

[Actual Play] HeroQuest 2.0: Air & Motion

So I ran the next instalment of my Air & Motion campaign yesterday using the new HeroQuest 2.0 rules.

Most of my regular players were unable to attend this time due to Real Life getting in the way, which is a shame, but fortunately my brother Russell was able to attend still and I got two brand new players to corrupt!
The first new player is Rob, who knows the setting of Glorantha well having played RuneQuest in the past, attended past Convulsions/Continuum conventions as well as having GMed Hero Wars back when it first came out. He read all my background notes I have posted up on the internet and wrote out his 100 words for my in advance for his character. Marvellous!
The second new player is my baby sister Amy [not that much of a baby as she has a child of her own], and she hasn’t even played a role-playing game before, never mind HeroQuest.
So all three of my players are new to the latest system, though two have some experience of Glorantha.

The players Rob, Amy and Russell.

I had updated Russell’s character sheet by removing all abilities associated with keywords out so he was just left with keywords as direct abilities [occupation, homeland, clan, and religion], abilities derived from his 100 words and any abilities he brought or spent points on during play. Magic wise, he still had his three Rune Affinities derived from his Yinkin religion keyword as I removed all listed feats. The character was a devotee at the start of the campaign but has now been demoted to an initiate [barely as well!].

Making Rob’s character was a little bit easier as he had a good solid 100 words written. Again I gave him his keywords as direct abilities so he had his homeland, clan, occupation, and religion down. I managed to pull quite a few abilities out of his 100 words so he had plenty to draw on. His character wanted to become a Devotee of Orlanth; it was part of his 100 words and a good clear goal as well as being a direct ability. Note this is to worship Orlanth directly, no minor sub-cults getting in the way. I gave him the Runes of Storm, Mobility and Hunting; Storm because he is an Orlanthi male and they get that automatically, Mobility due to him wanting to worship Orlanth at a higher level and Hunting as his occupation is a hunter anyway. Rob was happy with them even though I did give him the choice of changing them.

I was toying with the idea of giving Amy a pre-generated character but I decided against it with it being her first role-play experience. Instead I went for ‘As-You-Go’ character generation, as that would allow Amy to have her own character as well as keeping it simple for her without piling on all the information at once. It would also allow us all to start the game without having to wait to do all the character generation first.

First I wanted her to think of a character concept, something simple but with enough to build on with more detail later. I gave her a few examples and then got Russell and Rob to introduce their characters to give Amy an idea what she could do. Amy wanted to have her character to be a witch, to be a magic user. I asked if she wanted to evoke spirits or to emulate the acts of a goddess directly? “Oh emulating the goddess directly please!”
So I tried to think of an Earth Goddess that would be suitable. “Could I make earthquakes and throw rocks about?” asked Amy. Maran Gor it is then!
I was a little bit shocked as Amy didn’t know anything about Glorantha at all and yet picked quite a dark goddess, one that isn’t normally one worshipped by player characters. I thought, hell lets run with it as that might be fun and would certainly be something different, a Maran Gor worshipping player character would be fun.
I gave Amy a list of runes with descriptions; I said her first rune would have to an Earth Rune anyway as the character was a female from Orlanthi society and they always have the Earth Rune. However she could pick her other two runes. With a little help from the others she picked the Disorder Rune and the Magic Rune.
With that we came up with her character’s name, Platonia Earthshaker based on the plate tectonics of earthquakes. Good eh?
Everything else about her character would be added later.

With that we were good to go and start the game.

Me in action!

I started slowly to ease the new players into it and started with a murder mystery. After that it changed genre and moved to a CSI investigation, then a black comedy, a soap opera, a farce, a tactical battle, a gritty horror and then back again! A nice spread and a good game.

One of the better aspects of the game was the quicker augments. No bean counting and shopping lists of augments now that slow down the game. Also the new extended contest work well. They are a lot quicker and there is not that strange shift into a gambling system that brings the game to a halt that the old system had.

All the players had a great time, it’s good that the new player enjoyed the game, Amy even sent me a text this morning to say what a fun game and “when are we playing again?”
A new convert me thinks?

What scares me though is that me and my brother have been role-playing for over twenty-seven years, longer than my sister has been around.

I hope to get the podcast up soon so you’ll be able to hear how it went.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Orlanthi Village.

Here is the home settlement of the White Rams Clan, called Swiny, the player characters home base.

Swiny Small

It is quite unusual, as it has round houses based of the Storm Rune instead of the common square or rectangle long-houses the Orlanthi normally have. Only the Loom House, the main domain of the clan's women is built the more common way.
The large roundhouse is the chief's hall and in the centre is a local spring, the main source of water for the settlement.
The defences are the cliff on the western side, eight foot high dry stone walls, a steep walkway, gate tower and watch tower. Earthworks are raised further out from the settlement in two rings, the inner ring protects the settlement itself and the outer ring protects the farmland and is topped by a palisade wall.

Monday, 11 August 2008

Continuum 2008 report and appreciation

Continuum 2008 report and appreciation.

Just a report on the convention for those that didn’t get a chance to go and an expression of gratitude for those that contributed and made it possible. It is a repeat of what was said at the closing ceremony as many people were still gaming or socialising during it and generally having fun.

On behalf of the Continuum 2008 committee [as well as my own personal gratitude] we would just like to thank you all for such an excellent event. With you all it would be nothing.
Just seeing friends, old and new, just having a great time has been fantastic!
Everyone made that extra effort to enjoy themselves and spread that delight with others. It was starting to get contagious!

First off we would like to thank those attendees that had issues with the accommodation, the venue itself or the services we provided for their patience in those matters.
We hope that we managed to sort them out to your satisfaction. If not all I can do is humbly apologise and endeavour to make our next Continuum a better experience for you all.
The room allocations were partly our fault as we relied on the University of Leicester Conference Management to do most of the work on that and unfortunately things were missed. Fortunately the on-site staff worked really hard to help sort the issues out for us and I hope that we were able to get you where you wanted to be.
Next time we’ll work on the room allocations ourselves and get those groups of you who want to be together into accommodation together.

The other thing is that all the room keys were handed in at the end of the convention; this is a first as at previous conventions several keys have been taken home by mistake. I even did it myself last time!

In all we had 226 pre-show bookings and an additional walk up of over thirty unique day tickets. Several of the walk ups had come in off the street without knowing the event was on before hand.
We also had quite a few people new to role playing as well, not just RPG conventions.
So we probably had our largest attendance of the Continuum conventions and getting close to the golden age of the Convulsion conventions as well.
We hope that all the attendees had fun at the convention and they will over-look our short-falls. Without you all there wouldn’t be a convention.

I would like to thank you all for spreading the word about Continuum as word of mouth is what gets people through the door. So to those of you that have helped promote Continuum by talking about it on on-line lists, forums or face-to-face pat yourselves on the back and continue to talk about your experiences at the convention to all you know.

We had seven freeform games running over the course of the weekend with one of them running twice. I saw some pretty excellent costumes and all the players took great efforts to get into character. The model this time was smaller number of players in more games avoiding the large epic 70+ player games that can draw many of the convention’s attendees away from the main site at once. The smaller games also give the opportunity of a more intense role-play experience.
At this point we would like to thank Graham Robinson for stepping in at the last minute to sort out on-line freeform signing-up forms and questionnaires. It was a god send and a very workable system. His work in casting Sandy’s Freeform games is also appreciated and his assistance throughout the event was exceptional.
We would also like to thank all the Freeform writers and GMs for all their hard work they have put into their games and our event. I hope they and their players had great fun and enjoyed themselves. My regret is that I didn’t get to take photographs of all the great costumes and the characters portrayed of every game.
So big thanks goes to all the Freeform GMs Sue Lee, Martin Jones, Tony Mitton, Graham Robinson, Claire Steyert, Sandy Petersen, Jeff Richard, Claudia Loroff, and Eini Einsporn. Sterling work!

We had approximately 85 tabletop games ran over the course of the weekend with several more delegate organised games being ran in any available space at any one time.
What was good to see was more delegate organised games, card games, board games, miniature or wargames being played in the main dining hall or around the venue.
So we would like to thank all the GMs that ran any kind of game at the convention.
It is surprising that we had just as many games as at previous cons but the demand this time was higher.
This is one area we’ll be seeking to improve for 2010. Quite simply we need to encourage more GMs to run more games at our convention. We do have some ideas how to work on that and some of the constructive feedback we’re getting is also going to help.
So without further ado I would like to thank the following GMs [not this is NOT a complete list, many more GMs ran games on the day and are worthy of more praise!]:
Newt Newport for running his D101 games all weekend, Evilgaz for his games plus his stint running a panel discussion [shy thing having to talk to all those people!], Steff Worthington, John Ossoway, Alex Helm, Keary Birch, Paul Fricker, Tim Bancroft, Marcus Rowland, Nathan Baron, Scott Dorwood, Neil Ford, Dom Mooney, Matt Harrison, Steve Dempsey, Malco Jones, Bazz Stevens, Declan Feeney, Simon Phipp, Alan Bligh, Ian Cooper, Graham Robinson, Sacha Ratcliffe, Elaine McCourt, Murgh Bpurn, SexyLemur, and all the committee members, gophers and Guests of Honour that ran games also. No doubt there are many more people I have missed off this list.

We also had a very good programme of seminars and panels this year and most were very well attended. As most panels were ran by the Guests of Honour or Committee members thanks for them appears later. A special thanks goes to Stuart Mousir-Harrison AKA Dr Moose for continuing his Role-playing and Religion seminar that had great applause at Continuum 2006. Evilgaz and Mike Mason ran a very informative seminar on ‘How to be a Good Convention Role Player’ that was very well received by an interested audience. Also to Graham Robinson for such a fine Pub Quiz ran in difficult situations in a very noisy bar! I would also like to thank David Scott for introducing many of the panels and being along side to assist.
Many of the panels worked very well as the audience members asked very interesting and challenging questions of the panellists. This evoked some fine responses from the panellists and made for a better seminar in all.

We would also like to thank Jon Hodgson, a very talented artist, for his very fine donation of his artwork for the cover of the Continuum 2008 Programme Book. A fantastic piece of art work that added greatly to the programme book and the convention as a whole. Snippets of the picture were also used on the name badges as well on the gopher and mentor badges.
Jon Hodgson is also doing the cover of the new HeroQuest edition and the same main character in the programme book cover appears in that picture as well, giving us a very strong link to that.

We also had some excellent contributors for the Continuum 2008 Programme Book, so many in fact that I had to increase the page count to a hundred pages!
With such a great choice and high standard it was a real personal pleasure to lay out and get produced.
So we would like to thank the following people who sent me some great articles and artwork for inclusion in the Programme Book:
Evilgaz for allowing me to use his role-playing article and to do some of my wacky cartoons to accompany it, Mike Mason for his tremendous Tarot game, Jonny Gray for his outstanding artwork, Stuart Mousir-Harrison for his HeroQuest setting, Mike Grace for his scenario and article, Mark Galeotti, with able assistance from Simon Phipp, for his first-rate Mythic Russia piece, Mokkurkalf for his inspiring artwork and Yog-Sothoth cartoons, Andrew Peregrine for his wonderful Qin cameo and the work on the Victoriana wands with Adrian Bott, Gavin Newton for his artwork for the Victoriana article, Jane Williams for her admirable stories, Len Simpson for sharing his excellent D&D setting, Grégory Privat for his insight into the Lunar Army, Graham Robinson for his superb stories and for sending me plenty to give me a choice, Claire Steyert for her beautiful story, C.S. Barnhart for his impressive scenario with stunning artwork from Robert Schoolcraft, Matt Coote for his divine Earthdawn write-up, and to all the GMs, traders and Guests of Honour who contributed all the extra information that helped make the Programme Book such a useful item.

Speaking of books, it seems that Continuum is turning into a publishing house as well. We had not one but three special products on sale as fund risers for the convention.
First we had ‘Liber Newtus’, a collection of HeroQuest and Glorantha scenarios kindly donated by Newt Newtport. The layout was done by Tim Vincent and Mike Mason with artwork by Simon Bray.
The second book was the ‘Shreds Of Light And Reason’ or SOLAR Book that had donated articles by Greg Stafford, Jeff Richard and Lawrence Whitaker, artwork by Mike O’Conner and Simon Bray and the layout by Simon Bray.
We also had the boardgame ‘Trollball: This is Not a Fair Game’ on sale as well. By Grégory Privat with some excellent illustrations by Rolland Barthelemy this game is based on Trollball as appeared in the RuneQuest Supplement Trollpack. We even had two extra teams done especially for Continuum, one of the committee and one of the Guests of Honour.

We had a large Continuum Stall this time around, not only filled with the Continuum fund riser books and Continuum polo shirts but a wide variety of stock from Chaosium, Moon Designs, Greg Stafford’s Pendragon, Unspoken Word and the Bring & Buy stall as well. The Bring & Buy went very well with very little unsold stock left – many people bagged themselves a bargain! So thanks to all that brought items to sell and made it a success it was.
It was very busy with plenty of people purchasing some of the fantastic items we had on sale. The stall was staffed by the committee, gophers [Russell Sims and Dave Williams doing fine work!], and a few of the Guests of Honour.

We had a ‘proper’ trade hall this time that looked very impressive. We had Reaper’s Revenge – Dice and game seller extraordinaire, Pagan Angel – custom jewellery stall, Mongoose Publishing selling their own first-rate products, and Sceaptune Games selling their marvellous merchandise.
It is unfortunate that Leisure Games were unable to attend as advertised as they had spread themselves too thin with other commitments and had to drop out at the last minute.
Also we missed the presence of Tradetalk, the suppliers of Gloranthan books and fanzines. Unfortunately real life got in the way to prevent Ingo and Andre attending. They were missed but hopefully they will be back in 2010!

Thanks goes to all those of you that attended, bid and sold items in the auction. A special thank you to all that donated special items to sell that raised money for the convention.
We would like to thank the auctioneers Rick Meints and Mike Mason, ably assisted by young Harry Whitaker, for such a good show and to Eini Einsporn for keeping such excellent records and accounts for us!

There are a few special touches that some of our attendees do to make the event more distinctive and personal to us.
First off we would like to thank Maddie Eid and Jane Williams for all their hard work preparing and displaying the gastronomic and culinary delights of the ‘Eat At Geos’ buffet as part of the Hearts in Glorantha launch party. Assisted by Paul King and Dave Williams they all managed to excel themselves with such a fine display.
We would also like to thank Nick, Gemma and Brisen Davidson for including us all in Brisen’s third birthday celebrations. It was a delight to see Brisen running around [though tiring just watching –where does she get all that energy?], enjoying herself and having fun.
We would also like to show our appreciation for Claudia Loroff and Jeff Richard for including us in their Honeymoon celebrations and for bringing along such a wonderful free game for us to play. Such a fantastic turn out with costumes and some excellent characters. I would also like to thank them personally for being such great house guests and allowing me and my wife to show them a little bit of Derby and sharing a relaxing evening before the convention. Thanks!

While a lot of games are often just books, bits of paper and our imaginations Grégory Privat brought such a wonderful visual display and game called ‘Race Around the Block’. With such excellent craftsmanship and lovingly put together, we couldn’t think of a better centre piece than that game. We hope you can share with us your next game that you are planning to build - the secret plans we have sneaked at look at make it look extraordinary.

Important to us during the lead up to the actual convention is the main website. Darren Driver did a fantastic job in getting us a working website. As an added bonus it just looked so stunning and spectacular with the different ages of buildings across the bottom and the glowing red eye of the Continuum Dragon. Genius!
He even managed to get the pictures of the committee looking good – a heroic feat in itself!

We would like to thank Tom Zunder for hosting our Continuum forum on the Gaming Tavern [], this is invaluable to us for keeping in touch with the membership of Continuum before and after the event.
Also we would like to thank Dave McAlister of UK Role Players forum []for allowing us to have a Continuum section on his site as well.
We would also thank all the forum and list owners and moderators for allowing us to ‘spam’ their sites with news and details about Continuum and for their patience with us in this matter.
A special thank you goes to Paul McClean and his team of moderators on Yog Sothoth [] as we did seem to take over the convention section there.

I would like to pass on all our gratitude to all the University of Leicester staff including the reception and admin site staff, technicians, porters, cleaners, catering staff, bar staff and the Conference management.

Our biggest thanks must go out to all the gophers who worked so hard setting up before the event and over the whole weekend. Without them we just wouldn’t have been able to operate at all.
So our eternal gratitude goes to Pete Nash, Dave Williams, Dave Ives, Eini Einsporn and Russell Sims. Russell also printed all the Con Books and the Trollball game for us, working late into the night. We just hope that you all have recovered by now!

We have had quite a few new members at this year’s Continuum and it is very important to include them to our fold. To those that have done such wonderful work in welcoming the new members to the convention and showing them the ropes we salute you all; especially Tressy Arts, David Scott, Lewis Jardine and Nick Brooke.

One of the big draws of Continuum are the Guests of Honour and all have done such sterling work over the whole weekend. All were approachable and amiable to the Continuum membership. They worked hard running games, attending seminars, doing special events, running stalls, and adding that star quality to the whole convention. Their generosity, not only of their time, expertise and effort but also for their gifts as fund-raisers to the convention is very much appreciated.
On a personal note they made the whole convention a far better experience for me and the rest of the committee. Such excellent companions during the set-up and during the event run. Key to us is that all the Guests of Honour had fun as well and enjoyed their time here with us.
Angus Abranson of Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd
Charlie Krank of Chaosium
Greg Stafford the Creator of Glorantha
Jeff Richards Guild of Calamitous Intent
Mark Galeotti of Firebird Publications
Matt Sprange of Mongoose Publication
Rick Meints of Moon Design Publications
Sandy Petersen the Creator of Call of Cthulhu

I would also like to thank the rest of the committee for putting up with me and my momentary lapses of concentration. I am happy to call you all dear friends.
Lawrence Whitaker for being such a force of nature yet an impartial Chairman. Without you this event would never be the success it is.
Graham Spearing for you total devotion to games, games and more games – you are definitely one of the gang!
Mike Mason for your utter commitment to the hobby and for keeping me on a level kneel. Your sense of humour and your wiliness to get down into the thick of it is astounding.
Colin Driver your work on the programme has been exemplary.
Simon Bray your continued support and your boundless energy have helped us all through the roughest of patches. You have shown extreme self control in the most trying of times and it is appreciated.

So finally to the past committee members of Continuum and Convulsions past we salute you all. We are standing on the shoulders of giants.

Here’s to Continuum 2010 – the 10th RPG Convention at Leicester!

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Continuum 2008 podcasts are up!

The first of the Continuum 2008 podcasts is up!

One Man and his Dice small
One Man and his Dice

'The Future of Glorantha'
This was recorded at Continuum 2008 at John Foster Hall, University of Leicester, Manor Road, Oadby, Leicester, UK on Saturday 2nd August 2008 at 10:00 in the Oakham Seminar Room.
Covering new and future products from Moon Designs and Mongoose Publishing plus a discussion on the current state of Glorantha as a game setting.
Panellists were Ian Cooper, Simon Bray, Jamie ‘Trotsky’ Revell, Jeff Richard, Rick Meints, Matthew Sprange, Greg Stafford, and Lawrence Whitaker. Addtional discussion points by David Scott.

Running Time: 01:27:32.