D101 games at Continuum

Just came back from the mighty Continuum. Now that I’m back in the land of the living here’s a full run down of what ‘we’ did this con.

Background
Continuum is held biannually at one of the halls of residence at Leicester University. This time out it was at the brand spanking new ‘New Hall’ in Oadby. Decent enough University accom, even though I have a slight issue with the quality of the food on site.

This is the third Continuum, which is a continuation of the Convulsion series of cons that started in 92. Convulsion was originally a Chaosium fan con, so Cthulhu and Glorantha does get a strong showing in both the games and the seminar programme even now, although the Continuum series has widened the scope so that you can cheerfully ignore those games and play something else if that’s not your cup of tea. The only game that loses out is possibly d20.

I’ve been going since 2000, and running games since 2002. I’ve organised HeroQuest Demo teams in the past of six gms and tend to iron GM the event, running pretty much constantly except Saturday evening. To me Continuum is the antithesis of GenConUK which is why I enjoy myself so much and I’m prepared to do so much for it.

What D101games did at Continuum 2008
This year I decided to use it as a big launch for D101. Sure I’ve run my games of Monkey and SQ under the D101 banner at Furnace 2007, but this different because;

1. I had a product – Hearts in Glorantha a 60 page fanzine with colour covers printed from Lulu.com. This was sold for £5 on the Continuum stall which also sold various Gloranthan/HeroQuest products (including my Liber Newtus – a 88page collection of my HQ adventures I’ve run at previous cons)

2. SimpleQuest Zero Edition, a pre-release minus creatures, setting and adventure, available via d101games.com. Monkey is still an ashcan playtest. While neither we’re on sale at the con, we had print outs that were available at the gaming table for people to look at.

3. Yes I was running x2 games of Monkey and SQ, but I also drafted in my mate Ginger Matt running two games of Monkey and Neil Ford was a real star and ran three games of SimpleQuest (as well as two games of 3:16, which meant he ran every slot!!!!!). We had a room , which we had two games going on at all times except Saturday and Friday evening and shared with another GM who we knew. This room was christened Room D101.

So it was a much more organised and meaningful effort than Furnace.

How did it go?

Beyond my wildest expectations.

1. Sold out of my small print run of Hearts in Glorantha, about 40 copies, and best of all there was a good buzz around the con about it, which is excellent since I intend to carry on with it. We had a release party on Friday night which was well attended. People were very interested in how Lulu works and impressed by the quality of the ‘zine. Also lots of interest in SQ and Monkey with people pestering me to get them finished and out.

2. Every game was filled out. Partly this was because a large increase in numbers had meant that there wasn’t enough GMs, but also because there was a genuine interest in the games. Even in SQ which can come across as a dull version of RQ (which it isn’t).

3. Lots of leads for potential collaborators. I won’t go into detail here, but after SQ is out the door I’m looking to farm out the writing to others allot more. Also leads on the art front as well.

4. Got to talk to Angus Abranson, which was useful from the expanding distribution beyond Lulu for HiG.

5. We got a big cheer from the organisers and attendees of the con at the end of Con ceremony!

What could we have done better?

1. GM packs – print off of adventures and full sets of character sheets. I kinda did this and the GMs kinda printed off stuff, but there was a bit of confusion and mislaying of paper. In the future each GM will get an envelope with what he needs to run the adventure at the beginning of the con.

2. More product. This couldn’t be helped but I felt kinda sad that Monkey and SimpleQuest weren’t available. But this said Continuum has inspired me to get back to the grindstone and finish both books off.

Overall Continuum was a very very positive experience that has inspired me to go further with D101 and was certainly vindication of my efforts so far.

4 thoughts on “D101 games at Continuum”

  1. It was good to see you, and I was mightily impressed by your efforts.

    I was very pleased to get into one of the Monkey slots, and had a good time with it. As far as I could tell the game design was pretty much finished – it just needs the actual book finishing, which I know can be an unappetising slog. Not sure whether I’ve said this yet, but I strongly suggest that you get this on to Indie Press Revolution, where it would find a natural market. (And perhaps HiG would too.)

    I also tried SimpleQuest to see what it was like – seemed pretty solid, but not so much my thing, (Which is, of course, fine.)

  2. Cool 🙂

    Glad you liked Monkey. I kinda agree with you about the Game Design, me and Ginger Matt (my main rules Monkey) are going to have a discussion about Jokers and how they work in the game and it looks like we are having at least two dedicated groups for playtesting. Going to have to work something out with my home group, but one of the players have said that no offense its just not his cup of tea 🙁

    SQ is an odd one that its a niche product, despite its size and the work I’ve put into it, appealing only really to die-hard brp heads. I like it because its less crunchy, and its something that I can play and roll dice deducting hit points when I’m feeling overwhelmed by the Storytelling/Narrative games I tend to play myself. You know when you get a hankering for playing something where a sword does D8 damage and you have a nice number to roll equal or under to hit…

    Post con Jaws of the Six Serpents has been printed off, expect some feedback by the end of this week.

  3. Oh, I wanted to ask about Monkey: if a situation cmes up where you don’t have the relevant skill listed but ought to be able to have a try, what happens? Or to put it another way, is there something below drawing one card (skill level 1)?

    I’m not sure how it might work – best I can think of is drawing two cards and choosing the worst, which is a bit clunky, and then presumably adding on attributes/traits (whatever they were called). Drawing one card at random and using it would seem to fit, but then you’d have to bump everything else up a bit. Alternatively you could just have it as a lowish fixed number instead of a card draw, with the randomness generated by the GM’s cards, and the player able to use either yin or yang traits if they have them.

  4. Most of the time skills are streatched so that they can do actions, its recommended in the rules that you pick one Mind, Body and Spirit skill so you have a wide skill set. You would think that this leaves skills open to abuse, but the ‘the player must narrate the action properly’ rule works as the last word. If the description sounds totally implausable the Narrator doesn’t allow it end of story. So this means that a player who is stretching his skill must work damn hard to get it into play. You saw Nimrod who was playing Scribe, use his Scholar 1 as a figthing skill, he had to work very hard -describing how he was ‘throwing the book’ at his enemy to get that one past me.

    Mechanicaly if memory serves if you have absolutly no skill you draw one card and can not add attitude to your draw or swap the card with one in your fortune hand.

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