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#RPGaDay - 15. Favourite Convention Game

CoS cover

I'm going to split this into a number of different categories, starting with my favourite convention game to run. It may surprise you, but it isn't 'Traveller'. Nor is it 'Singularities' or 'Wordplay'. It's a small indie game called 'Conspiracy of Shadows' which - while available - is no longer actively being supported.

The game is set in a dark medieval Eastern European style setting, and could best be described as a 'Medieval X-Files' with lots of guidance on building conspiracies and developing plot arcs for players to interact and investigate. As a game, it drips atmosphere, and the author is also an artist and nails the whole experience.

Now, the reason I love this game to run at conventions is a style of play that it has called 'The Blood Opera'. This is a scenario where all the characters are set up to conflict with with other for different reasons, and effectively the narrator's role is to light the fuse on a powder keg, or to give the row of dominos a push. I've run two versions of this repeatedly at conventions. The first is the classic Blood Opera where a noble family tears itself apart in the snows of winter after the death of a beloved wife. The second is one I built myself called 'The Fall of House Atreides' which does much the same but uses the start of Frank Herbert's classic "Dune" as the scenario. Anyone - including Paul Atreides - can be the traitor. Both of these seem to get a good response from players, although the first tends to develop silly accents which actually tend to add to the fun.

The game I most enjoyed running at a convention recently was a Savage Worlds game in the 'Runepunk' setting. 'Runepunk' is a science-fantasy setting in a metropolis separated from the rest of reality after some kind of incident. The technology is steampunk and clockwork and it has a feel of Stormbringer and Bladerunner placed in a blender. A couple of 'Furnace's ago I decided to run it, using an investigative campaign called 'DarkSummer Nights'.

The game itself was a delight to GM, with players really getting into character (and me as GM having too much fun interacting with Tom Z who was a clockwork automaton). Several of the players were regular 'Call of Cthulhu' players, and engaged the scenario in exactly the same way that you would play that game. The resulted in no combat at all during the adventure (something I never expected with 'Savage Worlds' as it is at heart a skirmish game) and the discovery that the game engine works quite well for general resolution. A great game in a great setting made memorable by some great players.

Games I have played and enjoyed at conventions are a bit of a challenge. First of all, I don't get to play that often. When I do, I often pick games to get an idea of how the should play because I am thinking of them.

So, memorable games include: Graham S running is Middle Earth games. The first one I played used a hack of 'Burning Wheel' (and was set just after the Battle of the Five Armies way before Cubicle 7's TOR written), and the second one used 'Wordplay' (and was set in the First Age during Turin's saga). Both were super games to play in, and Graham's love and understanding of the setting came through clearly.

Next up would be John Ossoway running 'River of Heaven', his d100 engined SF RPG. Playing this was superb, as John and I have a similar taste in SF and the game showcased the system and the feel of the setting to perfection. It's a style of gaming that I would love to do more often.

After that, I have to give @Evil Gaz a shout out. I played a 'Savage Worlds' game of his one 'Continuum' which involved a pulp expedition to Darkest Africa. It was great fun. I remember riffing with @Tom Zunder and others as explorers in a dangerous world.

I have to include the first 'Hero Wars' (aka 'HeroQuest') game I played. This was run by John Hughes, and it helped me to click what the whole HQ engine was about, and the differences in the style of play.

Finally, an honourable mention to Newt - I previously mentioned his 'Unknown Armies' game. This is one of my happy game memories from conventions past.

So - no Traveller here? Probably as I usually run it, and almost never get to play. Sad