Owlbear and Wizards Staff Con 2022

Has it really been a year since OBaWs 2021? This one seemed to come around quickly, I guess that’s just life being busy with post-covid normality.

The drive to Leamington Spa took a little longer than anticipated, but I reached to the Royal Pug, greeted by friendly grognards and more as the evening went on. It really is a magnificent thing to be hanging out with all these great folks in our little corner of the RPG community.

After lounging in the pub for a while we headed out for the traditional curry which kicks off the weekend in fine style. The food didn’t disappoint and the company was second to none.

Saturday

You’ve got to start a day of gaming with a hearty breakfast as so a load of grognards descended on a local cafe for a proper fry up. It was pretty damn good and a great way to start the day.

This year the event had changed location to St Patrick’s Club, a cracking venue with a good amount of space and great facilities including a reasonably priced bar.

Incandescent Grottoes (Old School Essentials)

Oh what joy to be playing a proper old school game! @pauljbaldwin was GM and I was joined by fellow gamers @adrianbkelly, @FiveRapid, @jnrknight and Mark(?). After picking our hand-crafted pregens we headed off into the grottoes, our party of adventurers on the trail of gold and glory! Everything about this session highlighted why I love old school dungeon crawls; interesting environments, strange creatures, puzzles and traps – all of which lead to us approaching the dungeon in the right way. We were cautious, careful and for the part of the dungeon we completed, I would say successful (we all survived at least!) Great stuff, I’d love to finish this adventure sometime, but I suspect I won’t be able to hold back on reading it myself.

Demon Driven to the Maw (Cairn)

In the afternoon it was my turn to step up and GM. I’d had a practice run through this adventure with my Monday night group so I had a good measure of it. I may run it for Grogmeet so I don’t want to give any spoilers here, but in summary it’s a cracking horror dungeon of sorts with some real creepy touches. Cairn is a real tidy system, super light that does everything it needs to – the game felt deadly and brutal and rewarded player creativity and ingenuity, highly recommended. Thanks to the top players who gave it their all @adrianbkelly, @jnrknight, @niamh_brewer and @fabiovollono1


Socialising has always been a big part of this weekend and the tradition continued this year with many of the Saturday attendees grabbing a few pints and some grub from The White Horse, another fine pub. It was great to talk some more games and gripe about the world of software development…

Sunday

Usually a quiet morning of recovery and reflection with a big fry up for breakfast before the drive home, but @Asako_Soh had extended the weekend with another gaming session on the Sunday morning. After a (some may say lesser) breakfast from Cafe Nero it was back to St Patrick’s for for more gaming.

Worst Case Scenario (Call of Cthulhu)

If you’re going to play Call of Cthulhu you want to play it with an official bona-fide Chaosium GM, so I was really pumped to be playing this with @PaulFricker at the helm. Again not wanting to give much in the way of spoilers, I can say this adventure reminded me very much of The Haunted House, the first ever Call of Cthulhu adventure I played, both in how the investigation proceeded, the mystery unfolded and the overall atmosphere, particularly the finale. Another great group of players as well, thanks @WilloughbyWrite, @filmfan68, @Son_of_Albion and the other Neil.


And with that it was all over, OBaWS done for another year. Huge thanks have to go to the amazing organiser and host @Asako_Soh who puts in so much work to make it a fantastic weekend, and to the fellow gamers who it was a pleasure to game and socialise with. I don’t want to wish my life away, but I’m already looking forward to the next one (and there’s Grogmeet, Grogten, TOR Roadtrip, UKGE and probably a few others before then)!

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