With my bags packed I settled down to watch a movie (given the usual AK Time Delay) and wouldn’t you know it, Kenners turns up on time shocker! So we were off and down at the Drunken Lodge within four hours. Cool beans, an all time record. It should of course be referred to as the Healthy Lodge, as we had a veritable banquet every night of only the finest cuisine and nary a bag of crisps was opened. We did have booze, but a man’s got to live… and I needed something to fight off the impending cold that loomed large (both outside the lodge and in my sinuses).
First game was Hellfrost, which I thought The Red might try, but no such luck. As it turns out its probably just as well as I’d not made the plot meaty enough. It was kind of a couple of players to say they enjoyed it, but I marked myself for flagellation all the same. Weak sauce on my part, but it was an okay session.
Next I dabbled in some Dungeon World (Apocalypse World D&D hack). Ably run by the ever effervescent Indie Pete, I tried to narrate appropriately but wasn’t sure if I was expecting a different game to the other players. I just didn’t seem to riff that much with anyone, but you know, horses for courses. I’ll try AW again, but play it straight I think. There’s a lot of love for the retro clone and going old skool these days, but I don’t think that’s where I want to head. I want to like AW too, but at the minute the jury is out.
Thursday night was Space 1889. I stole some stats from the book and did my own thing as I don’t think the recently released Red Sands is much cop. All the players got stuck in with gusto, accents and everything and it was a jolly romp. Everyone got back in time for tea and cake. Apologies to the next table for my terrible German accents.
We appeared to have had several bottles of milk, Kahlua and vodka stolen for the second night running. I wish people would stop doing that. Also, the beer fridge had been emptied by some stealthy ninja. I could tell from my grogginess that he’d also poisoned us.
I had Friday morning off to cook for the Healthy Lodge and was pleased with the sign up system meaning that I’d got something lined up for the afternoon slot without any trouble. Played Jaws of the Six Serpents with the very pleasant Brenda. Nice way to spend an afternoon, but I confess to being bemused as to the popularity of Jaws. There’s not much to it and if you’ve got Fate, Savage, HEX or something like that you use already, you’d probably be as well reading a Conan novel and going from there IMNSHO. Still, I wouldn’t be averse to another game if I was short of something to do and am generally of the opinion that there should be more lady GMs. Especially ones the players can make blush. 🙂
That evening and it was another outing for Tight Purse Harvey. A strong showing from the players and many piratical shenanigans ensued. A real bodice ripper and filled with rescue and redemption, treachery and gold. Tight Purse Harvey will return…. apologies to Jacques du Pointe and Hop Head Harris down the far end of the table as I missed some of what you were saying in the noisy main hall and, I’m reliably informed, some of it was comedy gold.
Novalord kept good on his promise and stalked me with his reprobate Derby crew that evening. Our lodge became the Drunken Lodge again and where the party was at. I don’t know what happened to the Pompey Crew this time round, but they were largely short of perky puppies and big on sleepy Susans. Maybe the party atmosphere will return next year and they’ll liven up? Thankfully, on the gaming front there were some good moments from an array of the team…
After three or four hours sleep it was time for Feng Shui and butt-kicking action. I’d had disturbing reports of this been run and being heavy on plot exposition and a bit boring. Another person asked if he was allowed to shoot people because he’d been told off in a previous game for being too violent. WTF? Bring it dudes! Our heroes kicked, stabbed, shot, exploded, ninja’d, JCB’d, window throwed and other things ending in “D” through three time junctures and countless bad guys, before destroying the RAGE virus factory of the kitten-shredding Architects of the Flesh. Awesome sauce. Thanks to the players for stepping up on my Hippy manoeuvre of making them do some of the narration – my voice was giving up that morning and I worried if it would last… Schnupfen Haben.
Saturday afternoon saw a game run by “Burnt Out” Gray, who’d at least managed to get the characters half made, so well done to him for pulling through 😉 Jolly little romp although the session was fast and loose with the rules, its got me thinking about doing Pendragon again as a con game, as its still got it after all these years. Good call on ending the session when the natural end occurred, I’m happier with a 2.5 hour games that lasts that long, than it being stretched to 4 to get “value” out of it. Word.
Th’evening was our Dorward Memorial night and we cooked chili to his hippy recipe in honour of our fallen comrade in Belgium. It was a collaborative effort, although there was a GM. Then I stormed the trenches of Europe in an imaginary sense to run the supernatural WWII Savage game DP “I’ve double booked” M wanted to play. Rockhard and the dirty half dozen played up to the hilt and somehow went through my baddies like a hot silver-coated bowie knife through wet dog. In playtest the PCs were under the cosh but not with Rich (non Indie) from Pompey leading the way. Leaping into a truck full of Heer Soldat seemed a bit brave even for a pulpy game, but that was nothing to the grizzled veteran. Good set of playing from the chaps involved even if it was first game of the day for Jonny “Do what with the baked potatoes?” Gray.
There seemed to be no Hot Bar Action after the game, which was weird, I was eager for more pintage but I guess everyone is getting old…
Sunday morning I wobbled into the main building to an unnerving and uncharacteristic silence. That is until someone declared “He’s here” and a rather unexpected cheer/jeer sounded from the crowd. I checked to make sure my flies were done up. Typical isn’t? One of the last ones to get called out all con and minute you’re not there exactly on time…
And so we began the traditional Sunday Morning Hangover Slot Monsters and Other Childish Things Game. I’d dispensed with the character creation stuff as its too hard for Monsters really, although the drawing and colouring-in was missed. Having the kids and monsters split out between players (rather than everyone having two characters) worked a treat though and really brought out that special bond between those Monsters and Kids. Duncan was hypersonic as Jethica and provided comedy gold by describing the pink dress he likes to wear while his (real life) child looked up bemused. Yarn Ball was great with the fists too (was it Cathy? Damnit, I even wrote everyone’s name down, but foolishly on the back of the sign up sheet which I handed in…). In fact everyone was awesome sauce, even when the game went to some very dark places. Didn’t it Neil? Didn’t it?
A heartbreaking speech from Mr Rust at the closing ceremony caused even these Evil eyes to well up. You could have heard a pin drop in that room. Another £12k to charity from this year’s event and a very touching a brave reminder of why its important. Very moving.
The wrapping up of the ceremony was pretty slick, better than in previous years and then it was off for me and Kenners. Farewells to people I won’t see for another year probably and many that I hope to see sooner.
Another good, solid con and well worth going to. Good to meet some of you “new” guys. Thanks to all players and GMs for putting the time and effort in. It was great to see a doubling of Dutch Invaders and other Europeans, especially as there were plenty of games run by the same.
A few people griped about games and the ability to get in one, but funny thing, most people said there was no issue. Especially people who’d run one themselves.
Stayed clear of the food apart from one breakfast, the beer was pricey though – and I drink in city centre Nottingham – don’t know what can be done about that, but it seemed a bit of a hike.
From a games point of view I tried with most of the Savage games sticking a Fan Mail style bunch of Bennies in the centre of the table for the players to self regulate. Not sure how I feel about this yet, but I’d be interesting from people in my Savage games as to whether they thought it worked or not.
As always, any constructive feedback on the games from anyone, feel free to ping me and let me know how you think it could have gone better.
Big thanks to the welcoming and friendly organisers. A funk ton of gaming, stack of cash for charity, good times and good people.
Roll on 2012.