Furnace 2016 (Furnace XI) - The Great Plague

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Once again, the seasons turned and Furnace was upon us again. Of course, as the junior committee member, my main concerns were making sure that the badges were printed and the raffle tickets ready to use. There was a moment of panic with this when someone observed that the Facebook post that I had shared with the badges in had people who weren’t going to be there. Fortunately that turned out to be a simple failure to clear a few cells in Excel, so I didn’t have to spend a second evening preparing the badges again.

I’d taken the easy route this year for GMing, opting to run two games that I had rolled out earlier in the year at TravCon.

Day 0
I arrived at the Garrison around nine thirty in the evening to discover a murder mystery evening going on. At least, that’s what the signs said, as some of the costumes wouldn’t have been out of place in Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut”. A quick pint at the bar, and some chat about Marillion, gaming and more. I managed to dodge the Brexit moans, but it was great to catch up face-to-face with people I usually play with on Google Hangouts. Shout out to the One Ring gamers, and the Esoterrorists!

Day 1
Graham, Elaine and I met when the breakfast opened, and were quickly back into the routines that we had in place. Graham and I got the rooms ready, while Elaine made sure that the Games sign up and signage was all in place. Main issue this year was in the Armoury, which was lacking in both chairs and light. Fortunately, this was quickly solved. We activated the reserve GM for Slot #1 as we knew that a few GMs were missing. Unfortunately this backfired a little, but we quickly adjusted.

Graham did the kick off speech (see the Facebook page for this if you want to), and we were off. The backfire was that the reserve GM pulling out of the game he was in led to that game not going ahead due to lack of players. It was at that point that we realised that - as well as a GM shortage due to the large - we also had a number of players missing. Main change was that we reduced the call up of reserve GMs after Slot 1 to make sure that we had filled games. We also deliberately didn’t get the ‘big bag o’games’ out of the car, as we felt it may discourage people joining in some of the games.

I don’t usually play in Slot 1, so I’m on hand for stragglers and/or issues. There weren’t any as such so I headed to Morrisons in the company of John O and Newt, and we caught up as we bought lunch and supplies.

Slot 2 came around soon enough, and I was running. This was Traveller, and I had been tempted by the new shiny of the second edition by Mongoose, so I quickly opted to use the bane/boon dice, which worked well. The new book is well laid out and easy to reference, and I used it throughout[1]. The scenario was set on a border world outside the Imperium, in the Vargr extents, and the characters were the two grandparents, and four kids (15, 13 3/4, 10, 10). A carnival run by Vargr came to town and event ensued. As of that game, Goober is now “Princess” in my mind, as that’s what Max (playing “Gramps”) called his 15 year old cheerleader throughout the game. I think everyone enjoyed themselves. It ended with a suitable set of explosions.

Slot 3 had me in my pre-sign of Matt N’s Delta Green. I was curious about which rules; turned out to be the 7th edition which flowed very smoothly. We played British PISCES agents, and the game had mild PVP and some nasty elements. I enjoyed this a lot. We ended up playing late, being urged out of the upper room by the Garrison’s supervisor. I had a quick chat in the bar, but went to bed soon after.

Day 3
Early breakfast again, and a bit of amusement; we went to book the Garrison for Furnace XII next year, and found it had already been booked and someone had put a room reservation in place. Now, Graham swears he hadn’t booked it, and we had gone down with three potential dates. By late afternoon the hotel was pretty much booked out!

Slot 4 saw me in Andy S's fun OpenQuest based “Guardians of Gloriana”. I was just getting into this when I got a call from home from Jill, my better half. She’d been called into work on an emergency, so I had to go home to look after the kids. I was gutted, but needs must. Handed over the raffle, apologised to my pre-booked players for Slot 5 and to Elaine and said my goodbyes. Furnace was over all too quickly for me.

Swag: Traveller Core Rules (Mongoose 2nd edition), Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu and The Cursed Chateau (LotFP).

Next Con: Dragonmeet.
Next Garrison Con: Revelation.

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[1]: Although it was only starship combat and the tables that I really needed.

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