Category Archives: Conventions

Mr Newt does 7 Hills

7 Hills was a laid back, but strangely perky con and everything I wanted out of my first con of the year, banishing the last of the winter blues. Paul and Graham had efficiently organised the con, which ran like clockwork and purred like a satisfied pussy cat 🙂

Friday Night
I arrived straight from work, courtesy of Guy Milner. Despite being stuck behind red lorry and driving through thick fog over the tops we would not be stopped. Quick check-in then food, booze n chat at the social. Perhaps bit too much booze, but ooooooooh the Bombardier was on form [For real ale lovers despite being a hotel the Garrison has a decent selection now]. Note to self: “can no longer drink like its my 20s”. Awesome to see friends old and new, but don’t ask me to remember what we talked about 😉

Saturday
After a typical but satisfactory Garrison full English with concessions to veggies breakfast it was time to game. I was expecting the lack of numbers compared to Furnace to really show, but everyone was up for it so their natural exuberance spilled out all over the place during the very quick opening speech by Dr Mitch.

Then on to game.

Sat Morning: Operation Mudbrick (The Company)
A game of two Johns (Ruddy & Ossoway) who along with the rest of Assault Group Maximum #5 hub nobbed with archaeologists from the British Museum, dug out ancient secrets in the Mesopotamian city of UR, and when confronted with the ‘strangeness’ at the heart of the adventure decided a tactical withdrawal was in order. Classic moment alone in the desert “Where is everyone?”. Great stuff. There was always a chance with this scenario it would turn into a bad Cthlulhu adventure, but the players helped me keep it on track for being a good little Ufology mystery, with the Company’s trademark Military action underpinning it. Which is exactly what I wanted. I’ll stop there since its a contender for a re-run at Furnace. Big thanks to the two Johns.

Sat afternoon: Out of Step (River of Heaven).
This was a “big ideas” type of sci-fi scenario and thanks to the players for running with it and making it work. The adventure is very much an ensemble piece, but I ran out of time to write up characters that I had originally intended to use who were tightly bonded to the adventure. So I used a group of pre-gens from one of John Ossoway’s scenarios, who had a very tight group relationship but no ties to the place were the adventure is set. Which meant part of the player’s entertainment was watching my face as I reacted unconsciously to them taking the adventure in different directions to what I had intended. John was also tickled by who the scenario went, which seeing as he created River of Heaven is a good thing for me.

Saturday evening: Zarth Wars (Crypts and Things).
This was me pulling inspiration from John Carter from Mars, Flash Gordon and even Prometheus (watch it with the attitude that the characters are a typical D&D group and you’ll get where I’m coming from). There’s always a chance with OSR stuff that players won’t take to the setting assumptions or nature of the rules, but Alex, Andrew and Richard took it and ran it out of the ball park. A game that was never in danger of dragging and had some excellent fun Roleplaying. It will definitely get a write up and be published in the near future 🙂

Post gaming there was more chat and booze, and perhaps a bit too late to bed.

Because…..

Sunday
…I was spent, so I had a nice restful morning pawing though my pressies from Patriot Games (who were nice enough to run a stall, even though the number of customers was so small), before gleefully floating back over the hills with John O back to the ample bosom of my family unit.

Definitely up for it again next year. Well done organisers and attendees for such an Awesome con so full of Win!

Furnace 2013 a big box of FUN!

I’ve done 7 out of 8 Furnaces, missed one due to birth of Newtlet #2 did 1-3 as Games Tzar, and its all now so familiar its like a day or two before I turn up a big box of fun with the Furnace logo materialises in the air before me with a big red button on its side marked “Fun”. I press it then I’m pulled into a vortex of last minute printing off, gathering of books, dice and clothes and then off with my designated driver (the sublime Mr Guy Milner) from the wilds of Oldham via the beautiful bleak of the Pennines to the urban hillplex of Hillsborough in Sheffield where the venue The Garrison hotel sits proud on a hill.

Friday
Slot 0. A Game of BEEEEEERs!
Arrived in good time for once and after booking in at the Garrison it was time for an evening of chat after food. A feeeeeeew too many beers, but nothing the Gods of Gaming wouldn’t let me get away with (well until I got home and the adrenaline wore off 😉 ).

Saturday
Mmmmn Breakfast was a bit slow arriving,  We sauntered down at 8:15 to find the breakfast room well packed, and the kitchen was struggling to fulfil orders.  Good chat with AndrewW and the GowBear as we waited.

Slot 1. The Company: Project Camphor
Fast furious and D100 🙂  This was everything I had hoped for. Kinda Call of Duty the RPG. A fast moving thriller, with twists, that thundered noisily (with stealthy bits) to a satisfying ending.
Big thanks to the players: Barry, Martin, Jemma, Michael, Andy and Tony

Then PIE TIME! courtesy of the annual pilgrimage to Morrisons across the parade ground.

Slot 2. Project Darklight: Take me to the Moon.
Project Darklight is my Wordplay powered Cyberpunk game. It works on three levels. First its a straight forward Punks in the Sprawl game (think Cyberpunk 2020). Then it opens up into a Punks in Space game as the players encounter some of the more out there aspects of the setting (23rd Century with officially no FTL or nano-ware, but it gradually opens up that the Corps are a bit more advanced technologically). Finally it all could go a bit over the top gonzo as the deeper secrets of the setting open up. Take me to the Moon is deliberately a Level 3 PD game, since I wanted to test if the game worked at this concept level, and the players really played along with it swimmingly (although there were some great moments of role-playing the utter shock and disbelief that the characters were feeling as they went ‘further down the rabbit hole’).  The ending caught me a bit on the hop. After an hour or so of relentless weirdness I felt a bit like the ending of 2001 where Dave touches the Monolith, but with the players indulgence I managed to pull it back. Thanks to Ravi, Andy, Richard, Keith, Jason and Garry for bringing it all to life so magnificently.

Slot 3. Warriors of the Dragon Empire
This is my ‘hack’ of my own game Monkey: The Journey to the West. When Baz announced that he was going to be running four slots of Dungeon Crawl Classics, I decided to drop my traditional OSR Saturday night game so not to clash. But part of me didn’t want to drop the Dungeon Bashing (I don’t crawl) action and I’ve wanted to use Monkey to power a more straight forward Wuxia Kung Fu heroes game for some time now. So why not combine the two? Hence this ‘hack’. As well as rules for mortal characters Warriors WDE has a more striaghtforward central card mechanic, which I’ll be writting up for Monkey and making avialble for free. Pig Faced demons and Serpent men were fought as the Underworld beneath the 23rd Emperor’s tomb was explored and Bad Monkey was stopped in his nefarious plot to steal forbidden lore.  Thanks to Barry, Tony, Martin, Jules, Steve(?) and Another who’s name I’ve forgotten (bad Newt!), for bringing the Kung Fu action and graciously allowing me to finish the game early as I was beginning to flag.

Sunday
Its official Furnaceers break the Garrison’s breakfast system! Spotted by Elaine on the wall by the kitchen: “Furnace Gamers will all come down all at once 35 at a time!” 😀 Lesson learnt from day before we got the 8 before the rush and delay.

Slot 4. Angry Ducks
I was showing the new lovely OpenQuest 2 full colour hardcover off, so it made sense to run a game of it. I wanted to inject a bit of fun since I know from experience its all getting a bit fuzzy by Sunday Morning. So into the culturally rich milieu of Duck Swamp, with its detailed culture, myths and religions, came the intelligent Ducks of the title (the player characters) pig faced orcs, lost human catapults and other fantastic elements inspired by my four year old son’s obsession with the tablet game Angry Birds. It worked swimmingly. It could have been so badly a crass comedy game (and it did have elements of that), but it also had the grit of old school RQ (streamlined by OQ’s modern approach to that hoary old ruleset) which got me buzzing 🙂

Lunch = MOAR PIE! Thank choo Mr Morrison 🙂

Slot 5 Slack time
After running 4 games back to back time for my traditional lazy Sunday afternoon. Chatted about the state of the industry with Jim from Patriot games, enlightening as usual 😉

Then humped the remaining stock from the D101 Magic stall which popped up on my table between games. The stall had done very well, since I had brought a modest amount of everything (no more than 5 of each item was the rule). Sold about half which is a nice lump sum into the D101 bank account 🙂

Had a fantastic time. Lovely to see all the familiar faces and get to meet some new people 🙂

Big thanks as ever to the committee: Elaine, Graham and Dom.

Here’s to 2014! 🙂

Knuckling under

Conpulsion 2013 was fantastic, and while I was only able to stay one day fully the mad awesome fun I had Friday-Sat means that this going to be my annual “break out of Winter” con. Hats off to Phil Harris and Greggor Hutton for refining last years format and taking it forward. Cast solid gold recommend from me 🙂

One of the highlights of Conpulsion was Friday night when I got to sit down with almost the full membership of the Collective Endeavour. I’ve spent the last year or so in a mental locked box of confusion about where D101 is going, so it was glad to get more than a few things straightened out from these chaps who have a fair weight of publishing experience behind them.

Unfortunately Conpulsion was cut short by issues at home and I’m gutted my planned visit to UK Games Expo (which is on like now) fell victim to this as well. With the house extension done I was hoping for things to return to ‘normal’. I’m now once again rolling with the changes and fitting D101 alongside that, which is a more realistic way of looking at things.

I’m now in a period that I’m firming up D101. First order of the day is working solid on the games that have to go out. OpenQuest 2 is the absolute priority, with River of Heaven coming next. Getting better at business is also a big aim. Getting a web store up and running for direct sales (I’ve still got a pile of stock from last years Continuum!) and making print editions available at Drivethrough for a start.

This and getting my home group back up and going for playtesting and fun are my priorities until I hit the last quarter of the year where I get to be out and about again. Furnace in Sheffield Oct 19-20 is up first (if you haven’t signed up yet, get in now last ten or so places last I looked) , this is more about me kicking back running games. Its followed by Dragonmeet in London on 7th December, where I’ll be in full sales mode with the D101 stall 🙂

 

Conpulsion 2012 con-report

Teviot Union, Edinburgh
Look its Hogwarts!
(aka Teviot Union, Edinburgh Uni)

A bit of a quick review here, mainly as a bit of positive propaganda on my part to publicise this VERY VERY fine convention to folk outside the region.

The Quick and the short. Conpulsion is a two day gaming convention held at Teviot Union, Edinburgh University , traditionally over the Easter Weekend (although this years is week after 12-14th). 2012’s incarnation covered RPGs, LARPS, Boardgames and games for kids. It was attended by young perky student types and old crusty Grognards like myself. A gaming con for everyone!  Despite being under new management, it was very well organised and atmosphere was very friendly.

The Long and the drawn out…..(with Pictures)…..read on.

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