#RPGaDAY 15: Heroine at Forge Midwest

I’m going to start with the best convention game that I wasn’t actually part of. It was Con of the North, many years ago—I think before Dread had actually been published. So people had heard of Dread—it was part of why we were invited to the con—but it wasn’t yet known, and our games weren’t yet swamped. One of the games that Eppy was running only had 3 players, which is pretty much the minimum for the game to really be fun, and he nearly lost 2 of them when he was doing the scenario introduction and they realized that they would be playing rabbits. Not anthropomorphic rabbits, not rabbits with magic powers, not people transformed into rabbits—just rabbits. [We had thought this was clear from the event description, but apparently not.] And that this was nonetheless a serious game. He nearly lost them again when he busted out the Jenga™ tower. Luckily for all concerned, they decided to give it a go. 

Con of the North is the best convention for playing Dread that I’ve been to. At least half the gaming space is in cleared out hotel rooms with just 1 or 2 tables in them, so you don’t have the dull roar of a large convention hall, and at most you have one other group making noise. Luckily, for this game it was just them in the room. So as night fell on the rabbits they turned the lights down in the room. I had finished running my game, so I had come by to sit and watch. As the rabbits tried desperately to escape the owl stalking them, they all were hiding, verging on tharn, which would’ve made them easy prey. Eppy told each player that they would have to pull for their rabbit to keep their wits about them. One of the players volunteered to go first, and started examining the tower. Then, with no warning, in a silent room with just the light spilling from beyond the door, he smacked the tower, sending blocks everywhere, almost-shouting “I bolt!” at the same time. Everyone, Eppy included, jumped, and that rabbit became owl food, but gave his compatriots a chance to get away. 

 

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Gen Con, pt 2

The first game of Thurs was Starblazer Adventures: Return of the Star Kings, pt 1. Starblazer Adventures is a massive tome, an extension of the Fate system based on an obscure 80s British comic. The comic itself was, as near as I can suss out, a pastiche of all the space opera that had come before. As such, it seems to have a lot of unique names and details, but the broad strokes look a lot like all the other space opera, both before and since, and thus rings very familiar. In both good and bad ways.

I’m not entirely sold on the setting of the game. It’s distinct enough that, to play in it, you would need to learn the setting. But, after all that effort (it’s a big book), you wouldn’t be using a particularly distinctive setting. It seems to me that a better way to do it would be to create your own pastiche, based on whatever settings the people you were playing with were already familiar with. You’d end up with roughly the same thing—a not-terribly-distinctive setting, evocative of larger-than-life space opera—but with much less effort, and probably greater familiarity. And, for that matter, it wouldn’t be at all hard to just take Spirit of the Century and adapt it to space opera.
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