Spring Sheffield Conventions

I’m out and about in the next couple of months at my familiar stomping ground of The Garrison Hotel in Sheffield, for two conventions run by the familiar faces behind the epic long-standing Furnace.

First up, next weekend is 7 Hills (because you know just like Rome, Sheffield is built on 7 hills 😉 ), where I shall be running the following:

Guard Dogs
System: Beyond Dread Portals.
Players 4
GM: Newt Newport

It was your job to guard the Dread Portal to Erebus, but somehow, someone slipped through on your watch last night.
This security breach is bad news. Erebus is a particularly foul world that the Empire of Ys withdrew from after a disastrous colonisation attempt. They kept the portal, closed and under guard by ex-members of the Explorer’s Guild, just in case of emergencies. As as far as you’ve been told, there was no emergency last night. Someone is up to mischief. Now the various Noble Houses are up in arms about the breach, fingers are being pointed in your direction, and you’ve got the sinking feeling that you are going to end being scapegoated while whoever snuck through the gate gets away with it.

Time to dust off your membership of the Explorers Guild, which gives you temporary immunity to whatever court action the Nobles bring against you and the right to prove your innocence. As well as the power to go world hoping to Erebus to bring the real criminals to justice.

Beyond Dread Portals is Paul Mitchener’s take on D&D. Which initially started off as Paul’s homage to Planescape, but mutated into its own thing. It’s a large fantasy setting, where a magical city-state of Ys sits at the centre of an empire of other worlds connected by magic portals (hence the title). Its also a ruleset – which I’m tagging as post-D&D. It takes D&D as its starting point and then cuts and adds to it to make the ruleset match the setting. The nearest analogy is I can make if that second wave of AD&D settings (Planescape, Dark Sun, Ravenloft etc.) had been self-contained games with modified D&D based rulesets. Bear in mind Paul also takes into consideration 30 years of games design on top of that, although he does so in a way that isn’t jarring to the starting point.

Tags: Dimension hoping Fantasy, post-D&D

Then for the rest of the convention, I’ll be running three slots of Monkey.



Then almost a month on is North Star (28th-29th April) – a convention dedicated entirely to Science Fiction RPG’s. So you’ve got everything from Traveller, Tenra Bansho Zero (a bonkers Japanese RPG), Star Wars, Star Trek and a few other games in different settings spun up using Fate and the Cortex system.

My three games over the course of the weekend:

Slot 2
Game: HOPE
System: River of Heaven
Max Players: 4

“The space station was offline. The Caretaker started its daily routine of checks to see if it was time to reactivate the station. One by one the parameters of the Station’s primary mission objectives were ticked and as they were the lights went on in the modules responsible for delivering those goals. Eventually, the station was a sea of lights in the darkness of space. A beacon of HOPE for the shattered system that it was situated in. With all the lights on, the Caretaker automatically started The Call, to pull suitable personnel to the station, who would be responsible for achieving the station’s goals.

Your motives match the HOPE’s mission parameters, so you answered the Call. You now wait in the main hanger bay, along with others who also answered, waiting to be taken up to the briefing room to be formally inducted into the station’s staff.”

HOPE is set on a space station in a solar system with issues and problems, that its staff are responsible for solving. It takes its cues from TV shows like Babylon 5, Deep Space 9 and Space 99. it uses the River of Heaven game system, based on OpenQuest a straightforward D100 system.

Then on Sunday, a retro-Cyberpunk two-parter: Cyber Crash.

Slot 4
Game: Cyber Crash: Tell me why I don’t like Loonies?
System: Fate/Fortune
Max Players: 4

Manchester 1984, five minutes into the future….

SafeCorp NW regional HeadQuarters, briefing room 101.

“Right Ladies and Gentlemen, here’s your next assignment. You know Anna Rose, that presenter off Treasure Punt on Channel 23? Yeah, the one with the designer jumpsuits (no sniggering at the back). Well, she’s off to do a film a documentary about a bunch of charmers, called the Happy Loonies. They’re a new street gang, who to put it mildly are a colourful bunch. Your cover will be acting as a media crew for Miss Rose so you need to dress appropriately and follow her every move and make sure she stays safe. Oh yeah and she’ll not only be wanting to follow them around the nightclubs of the city centre, but also the after-hours party scene in Mosside, so make sure you’ve got appropriate weapons AND licenses. Remember if its no point having a licence to kill if you don’t carry on your person to show the boys in blue.

There is a bonus, from our friends in the Organised Crime Unit. The Loonies as well as being world class party animals are also into peddling a new drug called Joy, that the OCU would like to know more about. “

Part 1 of Cyber Crash, a retro-Cyberpunk game using a quick simple version of Fate called Fortune (by our own Dr Mitch). This scenario introduces the alternative history setting of 1984 Manchester and the men and women of SafeCorp’s Cyber Veterans Response Team.

What do I mean by ‘Retro-Cyberpunk”? Think Max Headroom, not Bladerunner, with a soundtrack that is more Joy Division, not techno. It uses an alternative history setting where cyberware emerged from its use during the Falklands War of 1982 and is seeping onto the street as beaten up army surplus. There is no virtual reality, but instead, a text-based network carried through the analogue TV signal called “The Oracle”. Where Hackers break into secure computer clusters to use green screen terminals to access private information stored securely or clunky armband PDA’s with wireless connections that are constantly dropping.

Slot 4
Game: Cyber Crash: Shadowplay
System: Fate/Fortune
Max Players: 4

Manchester 1984, five minutes into the future.

SafeCorp NW regional HeadQuarters, briefing room 101.

“OK team, get your guns and vests ready, and head out to the roof and jump in the Spinner.

We’ve got a hot lead that the IRA gang who were responsible for last year’s bombing of the Arndale Centre are back in town, and in one of the pubs run by the Salford Boys. We’ve got a limited time-window to catch these bastards. They are currently being held down in a firefight by civilians on our payroll. The Head of Greater Manchester Police has agreed with the boss, that there will be a ‘Delayed Police Response’, but the same can not be said of MI5 if they are aware of the situation.

I need not remind you that these men are on SafeCorp’s most wanted list and their apprehension ALIVE will help our legal department dismiss the case brought by the victims of the bombing against SafeCorp that is currently going through the courts. I’m sure management will be reward anyone involved with a large cash bonus”

Part 2 of Cybercrash, a Fate-based retro-Cyberpunk game set in an alternative 1984 Manchester. This game continues the adventures of the Cyber Veterans Response Team, and from its explosive start explores the deep dark secrets of the origins of cyberware within this alternative reality. No need to have played part 1 to join this game.