March 25th through 28th, the special lady friend and I ventured out to beautiful and scenic Livonia, MI, for the 21st annual AmberCon. (This is commonly referred to as AmberCon US or ACUS.) Here’s my recap.
Our most recent installment of our one-shot-o-rama had me in the hot seat with the swashbuckling fantasy game from the mid-90s, 7th Sea. This game was a cornerstone of my one-time mancrush on John Wick. Elements from this system tie into my usual house rules for my games.
The last time I tried running this, I co-ran it with my then-wife. We blended in some elements of Kushiel’s Dart, The Scarlet Pimpernel and Holy Blood, Holy Grail. She and half of the players were pretty rules averse, so after the first session we mostly ran it diceless. I was left with the feeling of, “I didn’t get a feel for the rules” and “I hate teaching rules to people.”
This is another game that was inspirational in me wanting to do One Hit Wonders. One of the first steampunk games that came out, it seemed like it had a flash of cult popularity (enough to get a GURPS adaptation), and then fade from view. I dimly recall that it’s been re-released, which makes me feel better about the world.
I’m a little torn regarding where to place this game in the grand scheme of things. It was originally run as a Call of Cthulhu one-shot at some big con Not Near Here. GenCon? Origins? Something like that. The GM wanted to playtest it before hand, but we couldn’t get a firm enough RSVP going for it to be viable. So this was a repeat of the game she ended up running at the convention.
We barely interacted with the rules, so it was more playing through the scenario than playing with the game itself.
I wrapped up the Dragon Blooded game. I had very mixed feelings about it. This isn’t to say I was unhappy with it. It’s still one of my favorite games I’ve ever run. But it did highlight some stuff for me. Continue reading
Blue Planet was sort of a poster child for why I wanted to start doing the One Hit Wonders. It is the pinnacle of “games bought because it sounded neat but no one ever actually wants to play.” And we played it, oh yes.
Many game lines will put out the “adventures with water” sourcebook. Shadowrun had Cyberpirates, oWoD had Blood-Dimmed Tides and Changing Breeds: Rokea. There were a few different things that came out over the years for D&D, I think.
Invariably they seem like a weird marketing choice, because they seem to be loathed by many people I talk to. And they are a little useless, because you really have to want to run an all-aquatic game. And not many people are really jazzed by an all aquatic game. Otherwise you can’t really make a character based off that sourcebook in many games. Being a cyberpirate in the Redmond Barrens is as useless as a fish on a bicycle.
It takes a special sort of dork to really want to play with these weird little settings. And I am that special sort of dork, my friends. I buy these books, put them next to my copy of Shadowbeat and practice my contrived slang from Shadowrun. (“Hoi! What the frag is up with all this hoopy drek, chummer?”)
I’ve wanted to play this for… over a decade at least. I also learned a fun fact when I went to run it. Paranoia “5th” Edition, which is the only version I own, is apparently reviled by die-hard Paranoia fans. One of the players brought it up at the session, and Wikipedia confirms it. And if it’s on Wikipedia, you know it’s true. SRSLY. It seems that the absurdist, slapstick “kill each other because everyone is secretly a traitor” is not the original setup for the game. It was meant to be more of a dark humor game with complex satire.
I find this extra amusing because I have always loved the 5th Edition rules and it was what made me want to play Paranoia in the first place. Huh.
For reference, there was never a 3rd or 4th edition. I guess it was a joke. Ha. Ha.
Hey, only took me a couple months.
April 16th-19th, I flew out with the special lady friend for four days of roleplaying at the 20th anniversary AmberCon US in beautiful, scenic Livonia, MI. For those who haven’t attended one, these cons are relatively small (ACNW and ACUS have 80-100 attendees each year) and lack some of the features you see in larger cons. Like a sprawling dealer room and such. Instead, it’s just solid gaming from Thursday night through Sunday night. And by gaming, I mostly mean “roleplaying.” Like serious, immersionist, actor-stance, honest-to-Buddha roleplaying. There’s a bit of indy gaming that goes on. Fringe weirdos like Amber players tends to have some overlap with the indy game crowd. But there’s also some people who staunchly hate indy games. Especially the story game, roll-for-narrative control sorts of games.
The con definitely has a different feel from ACNW, which is the con I spend most of my time at. It was started by Erick Wujcik himself and has about seven years on ACNW. The median age often feels older. It seems like there are more ongoing campaigns than there are at ACNW, some of which may very well have started in the early years of the con. This is, and has been, the major stomping ground of many of the people I got to know through the old Amber Mailing List. When I think “Amber Community,” I think of this place.
Last of the horribly past due OHW posts before I do my AmberCon US recap. I’m only a couple months behind. Seriously. =P
For this one, we had a rousing session of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. I’m not sure which edition the GM was using. I believe the newest.