BurritoCon4 is go!

Following hot on the heels of BurritoCon3 is the new kid on the block, BurritoCon4.

If you seethed with envy at missing BurritoCon3, now is your chance to make others jealous. Come and join us for a friendly mini-con with top games to play and the most wonderful gamers on this earth. With four tables and 8 games on offer there’s going to be something to tickle your RPG fancy.

Saturday 19th October, from 10am – 5.30pm at the UK’s best game store, Fanboy 3, Manchester.

It’s £3 per player per game (so £6 for the day) payable to Fanboy 3 on the day. GM’s get £1 store credit for each player at their table.

If you’re interested in coming along get in touch on Twitter @OldScouserRPing

Update

I can’t quite believe the interest in BurritoCon4 and how the tables have filled up so quickly. Just over a week after announcing BurritoCon4 we’re two players short of 5 full tables, and I’m considering a 6th!

BurritoCon3 been and gone

After many weeks of organisation (which wasn’t a great deal) and looking forward, BurritoCon3 finally came along, and last Saturday 27th July, twenty or so gamers gathered in Manchester to play some great RPG’s. In the lead up to the event I was delighted by the response of gamers on Twitter, with plenty of GM’s offering their services and players eager to join in. Last year there were two BurritoCon’s, both with two tables, so this year being able to scale up to four tables felt great.

Like the previous events this was held at Fanboy 3, a venue that has great facilities, shelves full of gaming goodies and a great attitude to small events like this. If I had one criticism it would be that it’s not in Liverpool…

After dropping my daughter and her friends of at ComicCon I headed up towards Hilton St; my plan was to grab a coffee and bite to eat in the cafe across the road from Fanboy 3 which didn’t open until 10. Turned out most folk had the same idea and so a load of us gathered there first; it was a great to catch up with gamers I know and put faces to Twitter handles for those I didn’t. All in a great bunch of people.

When the doors of Fanboy 3 opened at 10 we headed over to get games set up and get things moving. I didn’t have any kind of sign up for games; previously I had avoided it and trusted the players would more or less be happy to try any game, but was just a little worried it might not work with more attendees. Everyone was great about it though, and when players weren’t able to get their preferred table they happily jumped on another one (at least that’s how it seemed to me). For future events I may go for a more formal game sign up with something like Warhorn.

Morning Games

Marvel FASERIP: Escape from New York

The Code of Steam and Steel: The case of the missing Prince Albert

Shock photo of @squadronuk without gaming persona cap

Monkey: Peaches Fallen From Heaven

Old School Essentials: For the Honour of the Tribe

In my photo taking frenzy I forgot to take a photo of my table… an amateurs mistake I know. I was running a classic Imagine magazine adventure, a proper old school affair where the tribal heroes @BudsRPGreview, @daveygriff82, @jaje7406 and Tim set off to retrieve the holy mace Iron Lure from the evil wizard Bayn Tamarind. It’s an adventure I’ve ran before using other OSR systems, I felt it worked particularly well with Old School Essentials. The players were great, throwing themselves into the adventure, with all but one of the characters surviving.

Afternoon Games

Dungeon Crawl Classics: Frozen in Time

@mcdie88 holding the players attention so much they didn’t even pose for a photo…

WEG Star Wars D6: Everyone Comes To Squig’s

You must remember this… @fechtbuch‘s Casablanca inspired Star Wars adventure. I hope we can… play it again, Andy

Project Cassandra: Ich bin ein Berliner

Seems I also can’t play games and take photos. Apologies to the GM @whodo_voodoo and the players, no photo for this one as well. This was a cracking cold war, psychic agents save the president adventure with some really nice set pieces and some great GMing. @whodo_voodoo was testing out his own system, Project Cassandra, which is perfect for one shot play – easy to pick up and get into.

HeroQuest Glorantha: Wyrmghost Ruins

@ian_h_cooper cunningly deploys his giant hypnotic dice while he gems up on his adventure

@squadronuk and @whodo_voodoo both blogged about BurritoCon3:

Finally, a huge thanks to everyone who turned up and made BurritoCon3 a great day – I know quite a few of you travelled some distance to get there. Extra thanks to the GM’s who put the work in and ran great games.

I’m starting to think about BurritoCon4 already…

UK Games Expo 2019

A week after the event I write this with tears in my eye, tears of joy for Expo was truly awesome, and a tear of sadness now that it is over. Friends, games, food, beer and a single game of footy made it a weekend of epic proportions. Just how did it go down?

Thursday 30 May

Invited to Bean Gaming in Leicester by @M0RT75 for a Dungeon Crawl Classics session with DCC master Judge @BrendanJLaSalle, I was very much looking forward to this. The spiritual if not actual start to my Expo weekend, plus it would be much quicker to get to the NEC the next morning compared to driving direct from Liverpool.

It’s the second game I’ve played with @BrendanJLaSalle and as expected he delivered in bucket loads. His boundless energy is infectious and draws you into the colourful scenarios he creates; even with a table of 8 players he keeps things moving and the adventure keeps flowing. On this occasion we were playing The Inn of Five Points, one of Brendan’s published adventures – without giving spoilers we fought foul beasts, took a wild ride and battered a big bad, all living to tell the tale. Gordo Ironarm will fight again!

Friday 31 May

A very early start saw me on the way to Expo. The prepayment for parking meant I didn’t need to queue and before too long I’d met up with gaming chums @OrlanthR and @Lintillaz. We visited the trade hall with our own individual quests; what games would we buy, what surprises lay in store. Maybe it’s because I’m an old hand (my 3rd Expo) I wasn’t too overawed by the scale of the thing and was able to focus on the stalls I wanted to visit. The highlights for me were F-Side Games (the best little game store in town), Soul Muppet, Mottokrosh Machinations, LotFP, Melsonian Arts Council, but there were many other worthies including All Rolled Up/Just Crunch and Squarehex. I love these smaller publishers and the materials they produce.

After a locating my hotel and dumping my goodies I returned to the Hilton for some RPG goodness. I was running my tried and tested Barbarians of Lemuria adventure, A Heart for Madness; as expected the players were great and really got stuck into the Swords and Sorcery vibe of the game – cutting down swathes of rabble to take on the evil villain and his band they were victorious. It was the fourth time I’ve ran the adventure and it always seems to go down well… keeping it simple really seems the way to go for con adventures.

Despite trying to move things along I ran over slightly (I always struggle for time, something I’m working on) and so only had a little time to grab a bite to eat and catch up with a few Grognards before heading off to my evening game, Ironsworn with GM Graham S. This is a narrative game inspired by PbtA, not the kind of thing I’d usually go far – I couldn’t get my head around Dungeon World, so I hoped this might make this type of gameplay clearer. Plus the setting sounded fantastic.

Graham ran a cracking game and the other players threw themselves into the setting. There are some interesting mechanics that dictate the flow of the game such as journeying; there was an endpoint we had to reach, and based on rolls of our guide degrees of progress were marked on the journey track each day, with various encounters also stemming from the rolls. When combat breaks out there are no rounds as such, just a narrative flow; if a character can trigger a Take the Initiative move in response to an enemy attack they get to act. Then you can Enter the Fray to join the fight and so on. I think a good grasp of the mechanics would be useful for players (a couple were already familiar with it), but overall it made sense.

The adventure itself was very good, our band of Ironsworn had made an Iron oath to help out another village many days travel away. The land was mystical and dangerous, our characters primitive and superstitious, decisions had an impact. We were victorious, although as with all great stories the nature of our victory was somewhat ambiguous, we knew this was likely not the end of this tale. Unfortunately as the evening wore on I was becoming increasingly tired and I don’t believe I gave the game my best (apologies to Graham for that, he was a top GM); maybe I will avoid any evening games next time and just head to the bar.

Saturday 1 June

An early start to the day saw me at the table of another great DCC Judge, @LeeJNeilson  to play the classic Sailors on a Starless Sea. It’s an adventure I’ve heard great things about and wanted to GM myself; however before reading it I wanted to play it through. Once more a group of peasants roped in to carry out an impossible quest, we took on monstrous challenges and as we progressed our trusty band of heroes lost comrades, one by one meeting a grizzly death. The death stamp is so much fun! Another bonus was catching up with an old work colleague I’ve not seen or heard from in over 10 years, he was playing in Lee’s game. Unfortunately I didn’t get his contact details as I had to leave the game before it finished… maybe I’ll bump into him next year.

With another trawl around the trade hall I picked up a gifted copy of Best Left Buried Deluxe (for my editing contributions), Mothership and Winter’s Daughter. Then it was off to the afternoon game.

According to Expo I had six players signed up for The Road to Hell by D101 Games which I was running with Lamentations of the Flame Princess rules, however only four players turned up – something I’ve not experienced before at Expo. I had clearly flagged the game as 18+ as there was some dark and twisted content in it, and in the lead up to the session I had the controversial incident of the previous day at the back of my mind… I hoped nobody would be offended by the game. As it turned out I had a great group with @carlclare who I have gamed with for a while now and three Scottish chaps; John, William and Alex. Investigating the mysterious goings on at the Inn of the Cock in a weird and mystical Elizabethan England, they really threw themselves into it, it was a great session that left me exhausted and elated.

I had kept the evening clear to catch up with gaming friends in the Hilton bar, and as it turned out there was also the Champions League final and we know how that turned out. All in it was a fantastic day.

Sunday 2 June

My final game of the con was a Lyonesse adventure called Coddifoot’s Stipule, GMd by top Grognard, @theGROGNARDfile. The Lyonesse RPG isn’t due out for a little while yet, but the Design Mechanism sent a copy of the rules to @theGROGNARDfile and put together the adventure for the event. What an honour! Not wanting to give any spoilers I’ll just say that the adventure captured the feel of Lyonesse as I understand it from my recent reading, full of charm (and food) and no small measure of humour (and food), wrapped up in an easy to understand d100 system (with food), and pleasingly served up in tasty portions of adventurous fun by our masterchef GM.

A bit of lunch and a final potter around the trade hall with @theGROGNARDfile, @sjamb7, @DailyDwarf and @OrlanthR saw the day out. A little sad that it was over, yet still buzzing from the event I headed back home, although sadly not in time to catch LFC’s parade through the city.

And finally…

To sum up, I had a great time, everyone I talked to was having a great time. We talked, we gamed, we spent money, we ate, we gamed! Catching up with the folks I game with online and chat with on Twitter was a huge pleasure and a great part of the overall experience; these games would be nothing without great people to play with. Saturday night in the Hilton bar was amazing for so many reasons…

So my mind turns to future cons. There’s BurritoCon3 in Manchester, 27 July, Owlbear and Wizards Staff in Leamington Spa, 21 September and Grogmeet in Manchester 8-10 November, with a few Go Play Manchester‘s thrown in between that lot. Hope to see you at one…

Hold my hands up to this one – I’m pretty rubbish at taking photos at events, so while some of these photos are mine I’ve nicked others off Twitter and MeWe…

A Heart for Madness

I’m running a Barbarians of Lemuria adventure, A Heart for Madness, at UK Games Expo. The characters start the adventure in the employ of the merchant Rustus in the old trading city of Oomis, acting as guards for him and his family.

The heroes are a hard as nails ragtag band of adventurers. Like all such heroes they have blown the fortune from their last adventure on carousing, and now find themselves in gainful employment. They are:

Barbarians of Lemuria is a classless system, in addition to their attributes and combat abilities characters are defined by careers. The titles above are there just to give an indication of the careers the characters have and perhaps their archetype when I created them.

Barbarians of Lemuria is a simple system, the key elements are:

  • Roll 2d6 + attribute + career (if any) vs target of 9 to succeed
  • Roll 2d6 + attribute + melee/ranged – targets defence vs target of 9 to hit
  • Every roll is against a target of 9
  • Bonus die; roll 3d6 rather than 2d6 and drop lowest
  • Penalty die; roll 3d6 rather than 2d6 and drop highest
  • Boons give good stuff and often a bonus die on certain actions
  • Flaws are bad stuff and often give a penalty die
  • Heroes start each session with 5 hero points, these can be spent on cool things in the game

That’s about all you need to know to get started, the rest is so easy to pick up in play. Can’t wait to run this!

BurritoCon3

Saturday 27th July, 10am-5pm, Fanboy 3, Manchester

Wasn’t sure that it was going to happen, but the happy circumstance that lead me to organising the first BurritoCon last year has happened again (my daughter wants a lift to Manchester ComicCon with her mates and I’m on taxi duty; rather that driving to Manchester and back to Liverpool twice I thought it’d be nice to get some gaming in).

As at previous events it’ll be held at the fantastic Fanboy 3. I really love that store, they have a great attitude towards small events like this and also have a load of great gaming stuff to tempt you while there. If only they’d relocate to Liverpool…

The event be held on 27th July and will run from 10am to 5pm with two three hour slots (10-1 and 2-5), maximum 6 players plus a GM per table. That’s space for 21 to attend, and I already have quite a few names on the list. The only cost is the regular £3 per game for players to Fanboy 3, GM’s get £1 store credit for each player in their game (at least it was last year, I’ll double check with them). The store is only 5-10 minutes walk from Picadilly station and there are loads of food options nearby (including but not limited to Burrito’s).

Games on offer:

Morning (10am – 1pm)

  • Table 1:
  • Table 2:
    • System: The Code of Steam and Steel
    • Title: The case of the missing Prince Albert – a Detective Inspector Rabbit mystery Her Majesty Queen Victoria’s IronClad, the Prince Albert, is missing. Last evening she was tied up at London Dock’s. This morning she was gone! Disappeared into thin air. Time for Detective Inspectors Rabbit, Mabel Wisbech, Strauss and (3) other characters from the recent TV series to investigate.
    • Tags: Turn of the century, Victoriana, Gritty East End Police Procedural Romp, Dockyard language.
    • GM: @squadronuk
  • Table 3:
    • System: Old School Essentials
    • Title: For the Honour of the Tribe (from Imagine magazine Issue 2)The tales of your ancestors tell how your tribe has lived forever in harmony with the land. Even when the wizard moved into his nearby tower many years ago a status quo was established, with your natural distrust of magic ensuring your people kept their distance. However the recent theft of a tribal relic is blamed on the sorcerer and you are tasked with recovering it – for the honour of the tribe!
    • GM: @OldScouserRPing
  • Table 4:
    • System: Monkey
    • Title: Peaches Fallen From Heaven
    • Chang’an is the cosmopolitan capital of the great Tang Empire. Here Chinese citizens, brush shoulders with Turkish traders, and Buddhist Monks discuss the finer points of religion with their Taoist counterparts. All while an invisible department of the Celestial Bureaucracy made up of diverse immortals, such as yourselves, ensure the smooth day to day running of the city.Today is an unhappy day. Peaches of Immortality have fallen from Western Heaven and one has landed in the city. Your department’s initial divinations are not good. They indicate the involvement of Triads, magical secret societies, a high risk of Kung Fu fighting and even Demonic interference! Nervously your boss the City God looks to you to find the missing peach and restore harmony to the city.
    • GM: @Newtus

Afternoon (2pm – 5pm)

  • Table 1:
  • Table 2:
    • System: WEG Star Wars D6
    • Title: Everyone Comes To Squig’s
    • In a town at the edges of an increasingly totalitarian state, the arrival of a fugitive freedom fighter and his partner causes a cynical bar-owner and a corrupt police chief to question their loyalties and perhaps take a stand. Casablanca 1941? No – a galaxy far away…
    • GM: @fechtbuch
  • Table 3:
    • System: Project Cassandra
    • Title: Ich bin ein Berliner
    • June, 1963. With the Cold War at its height, the subjects of Project Cassandra foretell of a perilous moment for the future. A tipping point on the scales that holds in its hands the fate of the West. With reports falling on deaf ears within the sprawling bureaucracy that controls the intelligence services the Projects risks everything with an unauthorized black-ops mission – Airlift the subject into West Berlin and ensure that President Kennedy survives long enough to tell the world Ich bin ein Berliner…
    • GM: @whodo_voodoo
  • Table 4:
    • System: HeroQuest Glorantha
    • Title: Wyrmghost Ruins
    • GM: @ian_h_cooper

I’ll post more details about the games on offer as they come in, if you fancy getting along contact me on Twitter @OldScouserRPing or in a reply to this post.

DevaCon 3

Now in its third year, DevaCon is the same small friendly con with a big heart held in the super posh Crowne Plaza in Chester. Stephanie McAlea has done a great job pulling the event together with everything you need for a full day of gaming in one place (ok, food and drink can be a bit pricey being in a big hotel), and everyone there out to have a good day.

In my mind the fun starts when I leave the house, giving a lift to gaming pals Tony, Andrew, Dave and Cliffy. The gaming banter starts way before we get to the venue. We arrived in plenty of time which gave me an opportunity to catch up with some other great gaming mates I’ve got to know in recent times and get to meet some new faces. Unfortunately the start of the event was held up slightly due to a technical issue, but we were soon underway not long after the official 10.30 start time.

This year I had offered two adventures; The Road to Hell by D101 Games, a nice adventure for Lamentations of the Flame Princess and Swords & Wizardry Complete (I picked the LotFP version), and my homebrew Barbarians of Lemuria adventure, A Heart for Madness (yeah, stupid name I know, but you have to call it something). I have already ran the BoL adventure twice before at cons and so while I knew it was a good adventure, I was worried about the timing; it took 4.5 hours at Convergence and 5 hours at Virtual Grogmeet – could I fit it in to a 3.5 hour slot? I had the same concern and a few others with The Road to Hell

Slot 1: The Road to Hell is a fairly lengthy adventure with 4 main acts; while I’d like to go into considerable detail here I don’t want to drop any spoilers. I’m hoping to run the whole thing at some point, but for this 3.5 hour con I knew I’d have to strip it right back; Newt Newport the author had sent me some advice on doing this and so I came to the day well prepared but still not sure of a couple of bits and pieces (I have read the adventure a few times including proofreading for Newt, so I knew it pretty well). I was pleased to have a full table, so characters selected we were soon underway. I could tell the players were experienced and they quickly engaged with the adventure, but I had to work hard to hold their attention, at least for the first half of the session. As things moved forwards they became much more involved in the tale and we ended with a fun and interesting ending. The big takeaway for me for this adventure is that the ‘happy path’ for the players needs to be more clearly sign posted, I have an idea about this for Expo.

Dr Dee’s employees. Yet to travel The Road to Hell

Slot 2: Signups for the afternoon session where a little all over the place. By the time I’d packed my GM stuff away and grabbed a bite to eat most of the afternoon tables were booked (some of them had been filled up before the first slot!) This bit of the con could definitely use some improvement – signups on the day is fine, but it has to be well coordinated so everyone has a decent chance at a game they wanted to play. As it turned out I was happy with the table I ended up on; there was a final slot left for Dragon Age. I’ve played and enjoyed all of the Dragon Age video games so had a passing knowledge of the setting; I was particularly interested in the Age system it uses. I’ve often considered grabbing Fantasy Age, so I was looking forward to getting a taste of it.

The session had been put on as a last minute filler and the GM by his own admission was running an adventure that he last ran/read four or five years ago. I don’t know how he managed it, but he ran the whole adventure from a PDF on his smartphone! The adventure saw us investigating a farm, finding the residents slaughtered and a wounded Dalish Elf the only apparent survivor. We followed the trail of the perpetrator, another Elf who had been corrupted by a demon from the Fade, finally confronting him in a nearby town. It was a nice adventure, but I wasn’t impressed by the system – it felt a little flat to me. Perhaps that’s due to the nature of a one shot; it could be a system that requires more time to get the best out of.

Slot 3: Now more than a little tired I set up the table for my Barbarians of Lemuria game. Like the previous times I’ve ran it we all had a lot of fun. I was much happier with the timing – it took 3hrs 45 mins, so that should be perfect for the 4 hour slots of UK Games Expo. One big take away from this is not to GM for the last slot of an all day con with a bar; I like to keep a clear head when GMing so tend to avoid booze, but fully endorse players enjoying themselves with a drink or two. There are limits though…

Barbarians! Run Away!

A cracking day all in; it’s set me up perfectly for UK Games Expo as I’ve now had a run out of the adventures I’ll be GMing there. Bring on DevaCon 4!

Virtual Grogmeet 19

After only running a single game VG18 I’d decided to step up this year – still running one game, but joining in some others. My initial plan for Virtual Grogmeet was:

Friday evening play in @Sam0Vail’s Pendragon adventure, The Jewish Gene, set in 1963 and using Sam’s homebrew rules.

Saturday morning I was running a Barbarians of Lemuria adventure, A Heart for Madness which is super tropey, but a lot of fun.

Saturday afternoon I had signed up for The Strigoi Taint, a Savage Worlds adventure written by @DailyDwarf set in the 2000AD Rogue Trooper universe where we would play a team of Nort commandos (the original baddies in the early comic strips). However this was postponed, so while gutted not to be playing it Virtual Grogmeet weekend, it is something to look forward to in the future.

I signed up late to @doc_griffiths‘s Something from Down There, a Down Darker Trails adventure for 7th Ed Call of Cthulhu, but unfortunately I had to cancel.

I had great fun with the two games I did get to play.

Sam’s game was set in 1963 where a hidden Arthurian world coexists with our own; fae, magic, sorcerers and of course vile nazi’s are day to day for agents of Excalibur (myself, @kitch66uk and @awdscrawl), charged with defending the realm from magical and occult threats. The game was pacey with twists and turns full of interesting (and some very odd) characters… I don’t know when Sam is running this next but I would advise playing it if you get a chance.

When I ran my BoL homebrew adventure ‘A Heart for Madness’ at Convergence earlier this year I exceeded the 4 hour time slot by half an hour. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to fit it into the 3.5 hour slot that Virtual Grogmeet gives; I have a bit of a habit of taking too long at cons and it seemed likely I wasn’t going to fit it into the 3.5 hours this time either….

With 5 great players (@dracowie, @HobbsTheGamer, Ian E, @jaje7406 and @LaticsExile) who really engaged with the adventure it was easy to see that the time would be eaten up, luckily they were all available to extend the session by a further hour and a half. Just like at Convergence I had a cracking time running this game, and it was great to see the heroes prevail in true Swords & Sorcery fashion.

A huge thanks to @theGROGNARDfile for organising Virtual Grogmeet and to all the folks I played with over the weekend. Roll on Grogmeet 2019!