I always meant to write up a review of my con. It just slipped my mind. Now, my memories of the con are faded, but not so much I can't write a quick review.
Slot 1: Enigma Society Reflections-
This was my second and last year in Enigma Society playing Doc Holliday. Last year, the immortal and constantly suffering Doc got a Holy Grail. It wasn't THE Holy Grail, but a grail given to him by an angel. It could heal the wounds of the sick, but not him. He used it at the end of the game to offer another dying character a chance to heal. The character died (he was given an option to go instantly to heaven). Doc had never been given that option before when he tried it, but thinking about the peace the dying character showed in those final moments, he drank from the grail again and took the plunge. RIP Doc. The game was fun, although a bit slow at times. This is generally the feel I get from Jack's games. They are a series of kick-ass moments cut apart with a bunch of slow parts. The kick-ass moments pay off, but you have to wait for them.
Slot 2: 1871: La Commune-
As 1870 began, Paris was the center of Europe; the font of culture, fashion and invention. A long, disastrous war with Prussia and months of siege have left the city broken. Parisians have been reduced to eating dogs, cats, and rats. Now,the new National Assembly has arranged a cease fire with Bismarck and the Prussians march proudly through the streets of city, adding further humiliation. You would think that things would be returning to normal in the city, but the mood remains tense. The National Assembly must sense this, for they are relocating to Versailles. A revolution is coming! Paris has suffered greatly during the siege, but it survived. It will not now suffer under the rule of the French government! History is at hand! The future of Paris is up to you.
Wow, I was nervous about this game. After years of puttering with the idea of running a completely historical scenario, I finally decided to submit one. The Paris Commune of 1871 gave the perfect set-up for a roleplaying game. It was chaotic, scary, and obscure enough that few players would know the details of how things really went, so they can't use "learned from history" to change events. It turns out, I had no reason to be nervous. I got a fantastic group of players that leapt fully in to the setting and moral questions of the events. The PCs played various members of the Montmartre socialists, anarchists, and leaders. Each character had one super-special schtick. For example, the artist could make paintings and art that stirred people's emotions. One character was a fantastic writer. Another character was able to get the instant trust and respect of soldiers (being a veteran himself). None of these "powers" were gamebreaking, but all of them moved the story along. They were there at the beginning of the Paris Commune when the citizens of Montmartre chased the French Army out of the city and were there defending the city when the army came back with Hessian Military. I don't know if any players read up on the events, but they made one key move that the real life Commune missed. They seized money from the banks. Historically, the money in the Paris banks was smuggled out over the months and used to fund Hessian mercenaries to take the city back. The players seized the money early and later was able to use it to pay off some Hessian mercs, not to fight for the Commune, but to not fight for France. It bought them several more months before the fall of the Commune and changed history a bit.Slot 3: Savage Fires of Amber-
Ancient prophecies warned of the day when the ground would shake and Mt. Kolvir would be crowned in fire. The day has come and who could have predicted that Amber's greatest threat would not come from shadow or from the royal family? Day will turn to night as death comes from below. Only an expedition in to the core of the world itself can unravel the mysteries behind Mt. Kolvir's fire.
After the hit of Savage Skies of Amber the previous year, I decided I wanted to run another pulpy Amber game using Savage Worlds. I also had just learned a lot about Volcanoes and Pompeii and thought the signs that Kolvir was actually a volcano could be a good start to a game. This one was not as much of a hit as the previous Savage Amber game. I kind of ended up pushing the players along on an adventure and I don't feel like I gave them the freedom to make their own plot as much as I like to. The basic plot: The Pattern was stolen! Really! The characters end up tracking in to the earthly shadows of underground Amber in to molten center of the universe. They ride in The Professor's trump powered digging machine. They met mole people. They ran around a lot. It had some cool moments, but was not a big hit, I think.
Slot 4: Harbingers: Crisis in Hypertime!
Being a superhero isn't easy. It's a violent life and for far too many, it is cut short. You have sadly become one of those statistics. You were fated to be one of your world's greatest heroes, but a senseless death robbed you of your destiny. Instead of creating a legend to be retold for generations, you will be forgotten without even a small footnote in history. Only limbo awaited you....
The magic of the multiverse has given you another chance at life and another chance to prove your worth. Teamed with heroes from other Earths, you find yourself leaping from universe to universe, facing perils on Earths not your own, and fighting to make right what could go horribly wrong. The mysterious being known only as The Monitor assures you that your eventual reward for facing crises on multiple Earths will be a return to life in your own world. Until then, you are a Harbinger.
I was trying to come up with a setting for an ongoing series of "elseworlds" games where the players would keep the same characters. Unfortunately, I did not handle power balancing very well and had a few very annoyed players complain through much of the game that "Super-Batman" was overshadowing their characters. I think the concept of the game still worked pretty well, but I used my KEY system, and I think the system breaks down when you use it to try and create JLA level superheroes more than I expected it too. I may try doing the series idea again sometime. (The basic idea that the heroes are dimension-travelling troubleshooters like in Exiles.) If I do, I will go completely points-less like I usually run my superhero games.
Slot 5: The League of Quantum Gentlemen and the Curse of the Cosmic Caveman
Adventures through time and space with the Doctor can be fun...if constantly findng yourself chased by things that want to kill and eat you is your idea of fun. Your team of motley heroes have been working hard to fix the holes in reality that keep depositing creatures from other dimensions in to poor unsuspecting cities.... like Cardiff.
So, the Doctor has suggested a break. He's been talking all day, with a wink and nudge, about this little rock and roll club he knows in 60's Liverpool and this band he thinks you'll like...as if you didn't figure out when and where you guys are going already. It should be a nice fun break from running all across the universe. Certainly, you guys can take one little trip without some universe-threatening problem coming up. Right?
I actually came up with the title of this game before I had a plot. I liked the sound of it. I also came up with the description (suggesting a trip to see the Beatles play in Liverpool) before I really had a plot. So, I had to come up with a plot that involved the Beatles and a "Cosmic Caveman." What I came up with: While in Liverpool and visiting with the Beatles (whom the Doctor already knows and had apparently travelled with the Doctor on an adventure before (so they already knew about the Tardis, time travel, etc), a fleet of ships arrive on earth in the past, changing the present and only the PCs and The Beatles were unaffected. Travelling through time, they find that the "Cro-mags" (from Sliders) had learned how to travel time as well as dimensions and conquered this world before humans had the tech to resist them. The players eventually found a world where their previous accomplice, Vandal Savage and some Cro-Mags had been marooned and when they calmed the angry Cro-mags down by having the Beatles play music, they discovered that the Beatles had a soft-spot for the Beatles. So, the PCs and the Beatles went on to stop the invasion with the power of music. (All they needed was Hostess Fruit Cakes to really save the day!) The game was a lot of fun, but I also decided that I want to stop running so many series, and decided that it would be the last year for the LoQG. It frees my time up for more one-shots!
Slot 6: Free Latveria!
Doctor Doom, Monarch of Latveria, has agreed to hold open elections in his homeland for the first time in recorded history. He has even invited the Justice Society of America to ensure a free and fair election. By a quirk of Latverian election law foreigners may run for office. If you win, the most feared nation in Europe will bow to your will, and the JSA will have no choice but to enforce your victory. Plus due to the lack of any extradition treaties the JSA can't arrest anyone there for crimes not commited on Latverian soil. Free Latveria? You'll take it.
I had a ton of fun with this game. The right selection of characters can make or break a game like this and this game had a perfect mix of PCs and NPCs. I played Jimmy Olsen. In a game where almost all of the PCs were supervillains, I chose to play a guy with two powers: "weirdness magnet" and "a really powerful pal." Of course, it is bound to happen that Jimmy Olsen ends up with superpowers at some point, and sure enough when Jimmy Olsen bravely went off to fight the invasion of the Fantastic Four, he ended up with Reed Richard's elastic powers. I don't know if they ever became useful, but Jimmy did manage to use the footage he got of his single-handedly facing The Thing and later wrestling with Mister Fantastic to great effect in the campaign.
Jimmy Olsen won the election! Of course, I think it was the fact that people thought he was the least dangerous and most easily beaten if he becomes a danger.
Slot 7: Fast and Furious in the Dreaming City
"You think you can race? Race wars ain't just any race, humie. It's outside the city gates. You think Murias has some mean streets, you ain't seen nothing. Sure, you gotta nice set of wheels there. Watcha got under that hood? Let me guess. An Elemental SR420 with a nitrous injector? Am I right? No? Did you at least get some good enchantments? You gonna race a care with no magic!? You brave man....for a human."
Sometimes, I come up with a theme for a Dreaming City game that doesn't come in to play that much. The street-racing subplot of this game didn't come up a lot as the other plot I came up with ended up pulling all the PCs together pretty quickly. However, we did end up with an Angel-possessed hot rod at one point trying to run over the characters, so life was good. I decided that I wanted to shake up the comfortable life of one of the PCs this year. PF plays a Nephilim, Tristan, and I decided I liked the idea of a Terminator-like killing machine of an Angel coming to Murias to kill him. The only way to describe how this turned out: epic!
The most memorable part was how it ended. Since this was a pretty run and punch type of a scenario, the holistic detective, Diego Del Fuego had relegated to comic relief most game as he tried to talk to the Angel. (He isn't a fighter....at all.) He also had to deal with his love-sick magical cell-phone that has a huge crush on him. During the game, he figured out that the cell-phone had powers to do more than an ordinary cellphone if he was nice to it. (He had to sweet talk it.) He convinced it to help him get a phone call to the angelic host that sent the killer angel after Tristan. The angelic host, being mostly just about the acting on the will of God and not about about questioning his decisions, weren't very helpful. They only explained that it was HIS will. So, he asked to speak to their supervisor. After minutes of laughter about this by myself and the other players, he got connected to Metatron, the voice, speaking for the Heavenly Father. He convinced them to call off their attacks by convincing them that by sending their powers to Murias, they acknowledge it exists. If they acknowledge it exists, they have to explain where it came from, since it was not created by God or his people. So, God said he would pull out of Murias and pretend it does not exist. A perfect set up for this year's game!
Slot 8: Rebma Confidentia: Undercurrent
It rose up from the oceanic trench, a dark holdover from primordial times: Teeth the size of sabers, large eyes the size of saucers, an appendage tipped with a bioluminescent nodule dangled in front of its face. Smaller fish trailed in its wake. It didn't belong in water this shallow, but it also didn't care.
"Steve," it growled, its voice tinny underwater.
"F'Kilk," I said, using only its name as a greeting. "Long time no see."
"Not long enough. I got your message. I'm here. Start talking before I get hungry."
"I heard you found one of Caine's ships at the bottom of one of your trenches, from when Corwin attacked."
"Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t. What's it to you?"
"My patron thinks Caine may have left something valuable behind, and is willing to pay handsomely for its retrieval."
"Keep talking, meat. You've got me curious."
I LOVE this game. This was again my favorite game I played in and possibly my favorite game of the con. The GM and players ham up their roles. The GM is one of the best off-the-cuff GMs I know and because of this he rolls well with the craziness that the players hand him. I also play one of my favorite RPG characters I have ever played: Dr. Adolphus Bedlo, a back-street doc. He is a small eel-man who is not too brave, but awfully greedy. He also takes better care than most to help the good people of the neigborhood. He is not all slimy, after all. This character all comes out of one of the first Ambercons I went to, where one of the games was based on Casablanca. I didn't get in to the game, but when I signed up, I had my hopes on playing Peter Lorre's character (or one like him). This idea stuck with me for a while, and I finally found a game where a slimy eel of a guy like Lorre tended to play fits right in. He will talk bravely as long as he has the gun and you do not, but if the tables are turned....if it looks like he could die, he has no bravery.