Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Conception by the Sea

Last week Dave and myself took the trek down from Nottingham to the Conception roleplaying convention near New Milton on the south coast. Arriving at the Naish Holiday Village in Highcliffe on Thursday afternoon we settled in to find out what Conception was all about.

Conception is a big annual roleplaying convention that attracts hundreds of gamers form all across the UK. Primarily focused on rpgs and larps it offers a huge variety of games. Each day is divided up into a number of slots with boards advertising which games are on offer for each slot and players simply put them name down for the games they want to play.

With the aid of our volunteer GM Andy Kybett (who had been at the convention since Wednesday afternoon enthusiastically running games of WFRP) we set about posting our scenarios on the boards for people to sign up to.
Dave ran ‘To Hell Pit and Back’ (downloadable from the website) a scenario he has written himself, full of Skaven nastiness and general ratty mischief.

Andy also ran a game of his own, ‘Sweet Meat’ that details a settlement in the Border Princes with a very dark secret.

While I GMed the dungeon from Lure of the Liche Lord, inviting tomb robbers to try their luck in the dark domain of the Death Scarab.

Much to our delight all our games filled up quickly and over the 4 days we were there we did not want for players (thanks to all those that signed up for our games).

I had loads of fun running Lure of the Liche Lord for various groups, and thoroughly enjoyed watching the players test there wits against the ancient tomb king’s dungeon. Some of the more memorable events included:

The group’s Scholar foolishly slipping away during a battle for fear of getting hurt and retreating back down a trapped corridor. Then falling down a pit the group had just bypassed and disappearing much to the bewilderment of the rest of the group who couldn’t figure out where he had gone.

One of the group trying to lasso a piece of gilt-work armour from the arm of a giant statue that turned out to be an Ushabti before being dragged off screaming into the dark because he has tied his lasso to his wrist!

The Dwarf tomb robber who was fed up with always opening doors and checking for traps so when the group went to investigate a chamber told them he was staying right here and sat down on a convenient stone bench. This promptly set off a trap which caused a block to come crashing down on him from above.

Special mention has to go however to the group that through a combination of luck, skill and extreme caution made it to the treasure chamber and through the use of lasso’s snagged a few 100 gc’s worth of items before beating a hasty retreat!

Both Dave and Andy also reported that there players were equally enthusiastic, from groups of Skaven players that were trying to backstab each other 5 minutes into the game to such memorable events in Andy’s game as a character trying to ride a Chaos Troll bare back!

All in all it was a fantastic few days with a really warm and friendly atmosphere. The venue was also well suited to roleplaying, with many of the games being run in the lodges and chalets where people were staying (many times as I was walking back from the main hall at night I would hear the yells and laughter of gamers in the midst of some adventure).

So thanks to all the organisers and players for making it one of the best cons I have been to and we will certainly be making an appearance next year.



Friday, February 09, 2007

Heresy Update

So, how is Dark Heresy going? Well, we're all disgustingly excited by the career sketches that have just come in. Some cracking work by Andrea Uderzo!Somehow it just makes it all the more real- here are all those characters we've been slaving away to design careers for.One of the cool things about Dark Heresy is the careers stuff we've worked out- think WFRP but customisable. They're a real pig to design and balance, but are a joy to play. Get your XP, decide what route you want to take and bam! All the exciting 'shopping' hit you get from planning a WFRP career, but with the ability to link it to what's actually been happening to your character.Ah, but we can't talk about it any more until we come to officially introduce you to each of the careers (what an exiting couple of months that will be!) So, Instead we'll have to sign off and leave you slightly tantalised...

How to make Roleplay more popular

Today we have mostly…

…been discussing how we could make Roleplaying games more popular to 'the youth of today' (not that we feel old or anything)

Here is our action plan:

Older brothers
Almost everyone blames their older brother for getting them into role play in the first place. Whether it’s because he sneered and said ‘you can’t play, you wouldn’t understand’(meaning, of course, you’d do your damnedest to play, just to stick it to him) or whether it’s because his Dungeon party was one man down and they needed a meat shield (“Why do I have to stand at the front all the time? When do I get a sword like you guys?”) Cloning older brothers, and issuing one to every home is a sure fire winner.

Mandatory choose your own adventure books

Even before we were roleplaying, these babies were there, corrupting us to the way of the die and the hit points, the fudging of rolls, and the Fate Point like act of keeping your thumb on the page you’ve just left, just in case turning to 97 leads to certain doom. From the Warlock of Firetop Mountain to Return to Brookmere, Fighting Fantasy to Endless Quest- reading these books should just be the law. Put ‘em on the National Curriculum and we’ll have less ASBO’s and more Dice Rolls.

Bring back Knightmare

For our Trans-Atlantic readers, Knightmare was a game show where a group of kids got together, nominated one of their number to wear the ‘Helmet of Justice’ (a bucket with horns on it) and then pushed him into a computer generated/dodgy blue screen dungeon.

The advisors (who were nice and safe in Dungeon Master Tregar’s castle) would then look into a magic pool (TV Screen) and shout instructions to the hapless adventurer. The kid, blinded by the Helmet of Justice, would wander around encountering gypsies, goblins, elves, puzzles, giant spiders, bombs and various other types of death.

Inevitably, the kid would mishear his advisors shouting “one step to the left…no, left!…LEFT!” and would take a step to the right…and end up falling into spinning saw blades of death. Then, huge gloomy bells would toll, a massive skull would appear on the screen and the team would be out of the show.

Despite sounding a bit ropey, it was, in fact, ace (or ‘top smart’ as we said at the time) and was the perfect introduction to role play. Done today, with CGI and special effects, it would wipe the floor with other Kids TV.

So, those are our theories (well, the printable ones anyway) What would you do to promote Roleplay?