Continuum 2014

Well, I made it back from Continuum 2014 in one piece, which is always good, apart from the multitude of insect bites from the Lists of Avalon freeform.

This was probably the most enjoyable Continuum/Convulsions/Conjunction that I have been to, even going back to 1990, so thanks to everyone who helped out.

I managed to fit in 3 Freeforms and 4 Table-Top games, which is a record for me. For once, every one of them was good – I did not play in a bad game through the whole convention, another record.

Resonance

I wanted to play in different types of Freeform this year, so an experimental freeform sounded just the ticket. I turned up with no expectations, except that I wouldn’t mind if it was rubbish. Fortunately, it was very far from being rubbish. The confusion at the start was well done, as it reflected the confusion in the game. The flashbacks were really enjoyable. When the characters arrived, they seemed to work and the ending was good. The only thing I might have an issue with is that I had no real investment in my character, which is unusual for me in a freeform, but was not unexpected considering the type of game. I would definitely play another such game.

 

Lists of Avalon

An Arthurian freeform inspired by the excellent Rising Tsar? Sign me up, please. I am glad that I played it, as it worked really well. My costume was ok – a knight’s armour, a handmade shield, a couple of swords and a few printed bits of jewellery, but it didn’t look too bad, if you squinted a bit. It was hot on the field and we were accosted by swarms of flying, biting ants and I have the scars to prove it. I was a bit concerned at the number of things Sir Bors had in the character writeup, but I needn’t have worried. Most of the plot points came around quite naturally, with enough overlapping other people’s characters that they helped me with my plots without me having to ask. I did ignore a few plots, but they were very minor ones. I also failed abysmally in one of my plots, even though it was blindingly obvious in hindsight, so much so that I can’t believe that I missed it. I got my daughter made Queen of the May and Queen of Albion, got the son that I never had made King of Albion, fought and won a duel, was defeated in the lists by the future king and defeated one opponent in the Tourney, forged an alliance between Anglia, Mercia and York and managed not to be exposed as a bungling, tax-stealing moron, which was good.

 

Old Nick’s Game

I went into this having only listened to one of the episodes of the radio show this was based on, without a real costume and without much idea what would happen. My character was awfully nice and saw the best in people, being an eternal optimist, even in hell. It turned out that he had a secret that explained why he was never given any torments, no matter how much he messed up. Highlights of the game included pissing on Leo to put him out, as “they said I wouldn’t cross the road to do it”, but not doing it to Maggie Thatcher; working out what was causing global warming, but almost causing a volcano to erupt under Norway; Agreeing to be hypnotised by the obvious villain to “do him a favour”, as we psycho-analysed each other – I thought he was going to wet himself, as he was giggling so much at the lucky break he had just got. Much fun was had by all, no goals were given nor met, nothing really happened and it was a great laugh. Finally, the franchise to run Hell was won by – Maggie Thatcher – who else?

 

 

Outbreak

At least that’s what I think it was called. This was a horror zombie game using the 6D6 system, which I hadn’t heard of before. Normally, I wouldn’t use a new system, but I thought I would give it a go and I am glad I did. We drove a bus out of town to avoid a zombie outbreak; had an accident; walked to a deserted house; saw a cheerleader kick a zombie’s head off; fought a zombie maid; watched the cheerleader kick the maid’s head off; saw an 8 year old girl chop off the arm of one of the PCs as she had been infected, which was truly horrific, only for someone else to rush in, grab the cleaver from her hand and say “What are you doing, girl?”, then a pause, then “That’s not how you stop someone becoming a zombie, this is …” before slicing off her head; fought off a pack of zombie cub scouts and getting killed by a zombie squirrel. It was a really good game using a very interesting system.

 

Gloranthan HeroQuest2

I was signed up to a Discworld game, but the room was changed, so I joined in a Gloranthan HeroQuest2 game. The character generation was interesting, but a little hidebound for my tastes, I would loosen a lot of the things that were not allowed, if I GMed. But, it was quick, easy and simple. The scenario was excellent, fast-moving, easy to follow and very atmospheric. Our Orlanthi was killed on a HeroQuest, being a hero; my Hon-Eel priestess became pregnant by an elf and lost her Crecent-Go Moon Rune; our water-man lost his water rune and his genitals, but got his genitals replaced; our dark-man became a toll, made love to Kyger Litor and became a human again; the Captain empowered the Golden Dolphin figurehead on our ship and our sorcerer gained some new magic. The HeroQuest was done in pretty much the way I’d do it, except that HeroQuest Challenges seemed to be too much “All or Nothing”, which doesn’t fit with the Marginal/Minor/Major/Complete defeats/victories. All in all, a good time was had by all.

 

Demon-Strata

A fantasy adventure using the 6D6 game. I wasn’t sure how the system would work with fantasy, as it worked very well with horror, but it worked pretty well. We had a mercenary, a bard, a Halfling thief, a dwarf and a human archer. Everyone had a part to play and everyone was surprisingly effective. The bard was sufficiently annoying, the dwarf sufficiently predictable, the thief sufficiently thiefy. My character got to be both fighty and magicy, which was good, as I sent 1,000 ancestors to buzz a sorceress’s  head, which was fun. Our archer was devastatingly effective; our dwarf was mighty in combat; our bard was martial arty and helped save us on a couple of occasions; our thief was excellent at sneaking around and overhearing things. This was a good, fun scenario that everyone enjoyed.

 

Mongoose Traveller

I cannot remember the name of the scenario, but I haven’t played Traveller for many years, so I thought I’d give it a go. I am glad that I did. We had pregens and I fancied playing a doctor, so was pleased when the medic showed up. There was a fire-fight, a space-flight, a space-combat, some interaction with the natives, some jiggery-pokery and a successful outcome to the adventure. The GM emphasised the moral uncertainty of the result, but we didn’t care as we had saved a village, brought back our target and earned some money, with none of us getting killed. The Mongoose Traveller rules worked well, far better than I remembered Traveller working, and the scenario was well-paced, well-written and exciting.

So, seven games in total and not a single bad one, in fact not even a single mediocre one. I enjoyed all the games, which is a record for me, so well done to all the GMs and players.

Overall, this was a very good convention. I met old friends and, hopefully made new ones. The games were awesome. I didn’t see any seminars, but didn’t really miss them.

Roll on the next one!

 

Olympics

So, the Olympics is upon us, or has been for a week or so.

After being bored rigid by the media hype for years, unending countdowns and whatever, the Olympics has turned out quite well.

I do like watching sport on the telly, but am not that keen on going to see sport live in person. What’s the point of spending hours getting there, then standing or sitting in the freezing cold, getting wet without a good view? When I was a lot, lot younger, I spent some time on First Aid duty at Silverstone and my recollections are of standing in the cold and wet, watching cars whiz by without knowing who was who. So, there was absolutely no chance of me actually trying to buy an Olympic ticket for any sport. This means that it didn’t matter that the Olympics are in London, they could be in Timbuktu for all I care, as long as they are on the telly.

And, of course, they are on the telly, on two main channels and a host of red button channels. It is compulsive viewing, I must admit. I watched the kayaking, the beach volleyball, the rowing, some gymnastics and the athletics. Even my wife has been watching and she isn’t really into sport. Some of it annoys me, though. Focussing on individual members of Team GB when there are better athletes to watch, the jingoistic nature of some of the commentary, the fact that it is Team GB not Team UK (what about Northern Ireland?) and so on.

There haven’t been anywhere as near as many cockups as I expected. Showing South Korea’s flag against North Korea’s athletes was funny, but was also inexcusable from a programming/data point of view. The security debacle just shows that large companies often underbid for contracts then underdeliver or ask for more resources to fulfil their end of the deal. The transport system hasn’t gone into meltdown, which is a good thing.

I am particularly enjoying the success of Team GB at the moment. The Rowers and Cyclists have really done well, as have individuals from other teams. Winning 3 gold medals in the athletics was a turn up and made me very pleased. To be sitting third in the medals table is something I never expected to see in any Olympics. How much of that is home advantage, how much is the crowd and how much is the joined-up preparation, I don’t know. Clearly, the support the sportsmen/sportswomen have had in terms of funding, training and preparation has helped a lot.

So, well done everybody involved.

Part of me is thinking “I should have got a ticket and gone down”, but Nah!

 

Blog? What’s one of them?

I can’t really see the point of blogs. Somebody wittering on about what they are doing, what annoys them or what they like. Still, Yahoo provides an easy to use blog manager, so I thought “Why not?”.

My website contains roleplaying articles, but I don’t really have anywhere to put out news, my thoughts or other trivia that nobody would be interested in. So, I suppose I need a blog, in the same way that the Moon needs palm trees.

What is it going to contain? My thoughts, my feelings, if I want to share them, things about my life. I am by nature a private person, so I won’t be sharing everything, or even a lot, about my life, so don’t expect a rundown of my innermost thoughts.

 

Continuum 2102

Well, I went to Continuum 2012 a couple of weeks ago and, I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed it, despite being in sciatica-induced pain all weekend.

Friday

On Friday I played in the Pelorian Song Contest and managed to wander through it being awfully nice to everyone. The songs were truly awesome and the freeform was short but loads of fun.

Saturday

On Saturday, I had plans to go to various seminars, but instead played three RPGs, HeroQuest, Toon and OpenQuest.

I hadn’t played Toon for well over 20 years and enjoyed playing Minkey, my banana-wielding monkey.

The OpenQuest scenario was interesting, but I can’t see why I would choose the system over RuneQuest.

The HeroQuest scenario was interesting as well, with the ending being narrated by the players, helped by a few rolls.

I wasn’t very sociable afterwards and retired to my bed.

Sunday

On Sunday, I had planned to attend several seminars, but only managed the Maps one, due to intense pain.

I did have the questionable pleasure of being asked why I hadn’t vacated my room, due to an administrative mixup, but Darran Simms soon sorted this out, but it was irritating while is lasted.

However, the Maps Seminar was truly excellent, with more visual Gloranthan goodies that my poor brain could handle. I really cannot wait until these maps come out and must have them, no matter the cost. They really are that good.

In the afternoon, I helped to GM the Art of War Freeform, which was highly enjoyable. I now realise that freeform GMs are woefully unprepared and next time I need to prepare a sheet of all the plots, how they interact and what kind of things could come up. However, I will take one thing away from the game – the sound of Michelangelo saying “I am a genius” over and over and over again, especially in the masquerade ball “You don’t recognise me? But I am a genius!”.

The Auction was truly embarrassing, with very little on offer and very few bids. I remember auctions from the pas that were truly memorable, this one truly wasn’t.

For the first time attending conventions, I missed the closing ceremony as I admitted defeat and hobbled off to bed, but apparently I didn’t miss much.

Monday opened with breakfast, then finding my lift and packing up my stuff and hanging around saying goodbye to people.

Roll on next time. I might even make it to Eternalcon 2103 in Germany.