Virtual Grogmeet 2020

It was no surprise to see Virtual Grogmeet at it’s biggest and best yet this year, in part due to the cancellation of quite a few ‘before coronavirus’ cons, but mostly due to the great organisation of the hosts Dirk and Blythy and the great gamers who have come together to make this happen.

Initially I had planned to run a game on the Friday night as I had expected to attend DevaCon on the Saturday (a small, friendly con held in Chester that I’ve attended for the last couple of years that doesn’t usually clash with VGm), but with that event postponed until later in the year I put forward another game to run and signed up to play in a couple of other games. My VGm weekend went down like this:

Friday 17th Evening

Wanting to run a game that was low prep I had selected The Mad Queen’s Jewels which I’ve run a few times before, a homebrew set in The Midderlands using the Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells system. I’d written the adventure to be very open, starting with the PC’s on the verge of snaffling the jewels and having to escape through Leaningtown, home of the infamous spa, then having a set ending. In theory the journey could have been different every time, but each party selected the same route, so maybe I need to think about how I’m presenting those initial options…

I had a great group of players, many of whom I’ve gamed with before so I knew it’d be a good session, and they didn’t let me down bringing the enthusiasm, creativity and humour I’ve seen so often in recent times, making each game a treat to run. The Midderlands setting is fantastic, I really need to set more games there.

Queen Elspeth IV of the Havenlands, also known as the Mad Queen… for reasons

Saturday 18th Morning

Dungeon Crawl Classics has always been a treat to run, with level 0 funnels being a great fit for one shots and players seem to love it, so it was easy choice to put this forward for VGm. The adventure I picked was Greenwood of the Fey Sovereign, a highly flavourful adventure where the PCs are press ganged into service in the Earl of Nanch’s army and form a search party going into the mysterious fey realm of Greenwood. It’s railroady which is fine for a one shot and the players seemed to really enjoy it with quite a few of their hearty peasants surviving. Having ran the same adventure the previous week at Virtual Go Play Manchester it was interesting to compare how the two groups of players tackled the challenges presented. I’m a big fan or running the same adventure multiple times: you get twice the value out of the preparation put in and the experience is always enjoyably different with a fresh group of players.

The charming Sergeant Petrub and some weird encounters

Saturday 18th Afternoon

I played in Griff’s Five Torches Deep game Once More Unto The Grindcore. I’ve read FTD a couple of times, even contributing to proof reading on it, but I’d forgotten most of the system. It’s a credit to the game and Griff’s GM style that we’d all picked it up in no time at all. As we’ve come to expect from Griff the setting was bursting with character, set in a fantasy France where the nobility had shutdown the Grindcore (a monster generator buried deep underground) and fell on us to restore the nation… I won’t say anymore to avoid spoilers, but it goes without saying it was an excellent adventure. I’d really like to play FTD more now as well (too many games!)

A proper old school encounter with swarms of toads and giant frog demons

And that was my VGm, the weekend rounded out with Dirk interviewing Pookie online and a session of a regular game of Luther Arkwright the Sunday evening. Posts to Twitter showed others having great games across the weekend, the events going on into the Sunday night. I’d say VGm was a huge success, a massive thanks must go out to Dirk and Blythy and for all the great GM’s and players who took part.

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