Owlbear and Wizard’s Staff Con 2021

In the lead up to #OBaWS I was expecting something to go wrong; we’d go into another lockdown or I’d test positive for Covid. It was with true joy and relief that a couple of weekends ago I arrived in Leamington Spa and walked from my digs to meet fellow Grognards at the Royal Pug, one of the town’s finest pubs.

Having a beer or two with gaming pals, brilliant stuff!

The Friday evening of the weekend was spent catching up with folks I’d not met face to face since Grogmeet 2019, firstly in the pub and then in a fantastic Indian restaurant for the now traditional Friday night curry. I don’t know about anyone else there, but I had a fantastic time before making the sensible decision to head back to digs for a good night’s sleep. With a game to run on the Saturday morning I’d need a clear head.

The sun may have risen, but I couldn’t see it as the Saturday morning was quite foggy. I did easily find the café a few of us had arranged to meet in for a bit of breakfast before heading to the Band Factory, the now familiar venue for the con. It felt great to be back there, it’s a fantastic functional space with big tables, loads of room and a kitchen. Before setting up for my game I had a chance to catch up with more Grognards and grab a few old TSR AD&D modules, an unexpected bonus.

The Witch Queen’s Ire

I plan to run this again at Grogmeat in November so I don’t want to give away too much here. This is a homebrew adventure which I was just a little nervous about running, but I’d done a ton of prep and had great players at my table – @Sam0Vail, @PaulFricker, @filmfan68 and @chrisesharp.

Barbarians of Lemuria is perhaps one of the easiest games to run at a con with a light system that captures the feel of Howardesque swords and sorcery, and I’ve always found the players buy right into it. It was no different this time, the action was flowing thick and fast and the players quickly got stuck in to their heroic roles. My initial nerves quickly faded away and before I knew it the session was over.

Another #OBaWS tradition is the Samosa’s provided by Matt, these are truly delicious and there was a ton of them.

Champions of Titan – Assemble!

With such a fantastic range of games on offer picking one is always tricky, but the nostalgia pull of @theGROGNARDfile‘s Advanced Fighting Fantasy game was too much to resist. Again, I don’t want to give spoilers in case @theGROGNARDfile runs it again, but the adventure saw four of the great heroes of Titan, survivors of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, Deathtrap Dungeon, City of Thieves and Forest of Doom take on an evil villain. It was a fast paced, action packed rollercoaster of a session with barely a moment to catch our breaths between scenes until we dealt the final blow to the bad boss. Great stuff.

Taken back to my teen Fighting Fantasy years…

I did run Advanced Fighting Fantasy a few years back but haven’t touched it since. As a system it stands up quite well and hits a good balance between features, system and flavour, and of course the basic rules are familiar to all those who have played a Fighting Fantasy gamebook. Recommended.


And with that the Owlbear and Wizards Staff con was over for another year, but the weekend still had more to offer. @Asako_Soh had booked some tables at a local pub, the White Horse, and myself and a load of other Grognards had a cracking night recounting tales of the weekend, comparing notes, talking nonsense, drinking lots of beer and generally having a good time well into the night. Sunday morning the remaining handful met at a local cafe for a hearty breakfast before setting off back home.

All in, it was a brilliant weekend. A huge thanks to @Asako_Soh for all his hard work in pulling this together, it really is appreciated. Next up (for me at least) is Grogmeet… roll on November!

2 thoughts on “Owlbear and Wizard’s Staff Con 2021

  1. That looks like a fantastically fun time! I spotted some Barbarians of Lemuria, very cool! I wish we had more small conventions here in the US (that also ended in pubs)!

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    1. It was a great weekend, plenty of great games on offer. We’re very lucky in the UK, there’s a vibrant scene for small RPG cons, most just a few hours drive away. Most do involve pubs!

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