Tag Archives: story games

AmberCon Northwest 2012: The Recappening!

Once again, we ventured south for four days of spa, drinking and roleplaying games. For those unfamiliar with the convention, it is one of a few conventions that had started out dedicated to playing Amber Diceless roleplaying. That’s still the core of it, though there have been more indy games making their way into the weekend.

There’s no dealer room, usually no panels. Just gaming from Thursday night through Sunday afternoon with breaks for sleep. It’s less of a convention and more a sprawling family of people that have been gaming together for years. This year was a peak year of over 130 people. We almost entirely overran the McMenamin’s Edgefield, which has been the home of the convention for all of its 15 years.

There are seven slots of games, here’s how mine went.

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One Hit Wonders: Paranoia

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.

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I feel vaguely dirty.

I’m not sure how many Sandman fans read this, but for several years now I’ve been trying to figure out how to adapt the storyline from “World’s End” to a one-shot. The basic shtick is that an odd band of people from different times and realities all end up in an inn as reality is torn assunder about them. To pass the time, they tell stories. Each of the stories revolves around the character Dream in some fashion.

That’s always seemed like a great parallel to the giant Shadow storm in Courts of Chaos and so I’ve wondered how I could adapt it to Amber in some fashion.

My first attempt had revolved around players having standard Amber characters basically playing Baron Munchausen, while also trying to obtain from the other characters something that their character required but was in the possession of another character. I did a trial run of it locally, and it sucked pretty hard. It could have been re-worked, but it was pretty iffy to begin with so I shelved the whole thing.

Today it occured to me that it may work if each player were to essentially run a mini-game, each about an hour at length. So, each player would present the game as the story their character is telling, but the other players would play out the story themselves. I started to scratch that idea, since getting people to offer to GM is a pain in the ass in the first place. Getting people to sign up for a game where they would be expected to GM would be a failure from the get-go.

But then a devil on my shoulder cleared his throat and said, “Well, what if each player just had to come up with a concept, perhaps even at the game itself, and then the other players may just have to come up with simple, easily defined characters and the whole game was some player-narrated story-game?”

And that is when I knew there was no God.

Now I have to see if I have the patience or stomach to come up with a simple story-game mechanic. I could probably use something poached from InSpectres or PTA, but ultimately I’d want something that would allow players to come up with a broadly defined character in under a minute.

The earliest I could probably run this is ACUS, which would give me several months to try and do a trial run of it.