Our Kapcon 2016

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Our Kapcon 2016

Postby Mike Sands » Sun Jan 24, 2016 9:35 pm

Just creating a thread for post-Kapcon thoughts and links. All are welcome to post!
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Re: Our Kapcon 2016

Postby Mike Sands » Sun Jan 24, 2016 10:01 pm

That was a really fun Kapcon for me, thanks to everyone who played games with me, chatted, and the Kapcon team for making it all happen.

The (slightly) surprise hit in Games on Demand was Fall of Magic, which was played at least five times. Both my games were great - in the first, our story was about dealing with the dark side of magic and being prepared to correct it; in the second, we learned of the history of magic, nature of reality, and how humans and animals came to be and why they are different (all rather over the head of my swineherd!). I was allowed to watch the final scenes of another game that was extremely moving, even just coming in at the end to watch, but I'll leave it to the players to comment on what their story was.

So, my Kapcon:

* Heavy Metal Aeons: we played my swords and sorcery with a big dose of Robert Chambers "King in Yellow" style corruption. It was good fun, but it's still a playtest and we found a few rough spots.
* Fall of Magic (see above): in this game I played Fawn, an apprentice of Ravenhall. Her story was about accepting that she must grow up and become the new Magus.

* The Perilous Wilds: Adventures beyond The Bloody Kuil! They spent a lot of time working out how to steal gullbear eggs, only to have the market already cornered by the Four Daves when they returned to town. THOSE DAVES!! A second expedition, penniless, was rather more successful - a mostly-explored dungeon provided some loot and several evil cult artifacts were cleansed by the cleric of Dotor the Destroyer.

* Undying. A full cast for the Undying "Great Seattle Fire" scenario. With the princeps dead "accidentally" by cleansing flame, our plebians spent some time trying to get the facts and incidentally gathering a few debts and/or messing with each others stuff. Then the patricians, inevitably, made plays for princeps - much ordering around of PC predators and wheeling and dealing - before it was settled in a bloody street fight. The leader of the winning faction (and now raised to patrician) (Paul W) let the losers live as a final insult. In the unsettled weeks following the fire, most of the plots centered on rebuilding and strengthening after the fire. Except for James P's predator, on the losing faction, who got in one quick murder of a new member recruited to Paul's pack. Great fun! It's a really nice vampire rpg that really focuses strongly on status games, who owes who, and every now and again extreme deadly violence.

* Fall of Magic again. This time I played a lowly swineherd, providing (with the pig aunt Mathilda gave me) some comic relief as the apprentice, scholar, and fox discussed the nature of magic and reality, and how humans and animals were different and the same. What? More beer for me, I think! By the end, it was clear that the journey had prepared him for a heroic destiny, but we had no idea what it would be.

* Wicked Lies and Alibis: I had great fun with Dale's murder mystery game. I felt it captured the genre perfectly, and our country house party guests all had some nice and sordid little things going on. Also, it would not have been the same without Ivan's protrayal of the great detective: conceited ("I know all!"), racist ("Just like your weak English tea, Reverend!"), and above all the thick French accent.

* Juggernaut. JUGGERNAUT CLEARANCE EYES ONLY Major Vandermeer wishes to note on the record that although the Juggernaut project should continue in a testing phase this is completely dependent on the confirmation of the near future predictions that were highlighted by the Testing Committee. Overall he still has many doubts about the usefulness of the machine for National Security, and doubts about the security of the project and stability of certain team members (as already discussed). Major Vandermeer would also like to have his apologies noted regarding the altercation with Mr Simms after the committee meeting, it was unprofessional, and certainly Major Vandermeer did not intend Mr Simms to fall down the staircase.
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Re: Our Kapcon 2016

Postby Jan-Yves » Sun Jan 24, 2016 10:07 pm

Because we're not cool enough to join in your fun, Mash and I held OUR OWN con* in Oxford this weekend. SO THERE.

(But seriously, mad jelly over here. Would love to hear any feedback from people who played in The Boy in the Rubble, which Quentin so nicely ran.)

* Paper Hat Con Oxford?
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Re: Our Kapcon 2016

Postby Luke » Mon Jan 25, 2016 10:05 pm

From my LJ:

I attended Kapcon 2016 in the weekend. Though the energy seemed more subdued than normal, it was a good Con. The energy (though lower) felt more focussed, it ran smoothly, and I was really happy to see people acknowledging and enjoying the long-lived social aspects of the Con (no doubt enhanced by the disappearance of the mid year Cons).

On Friday, Sam and I had a nice meal with Margie, Hix and James, before a fleeting visit to the pre-Kapcon drinks. The space was tight and noise made talking hard, but I was able to catch up with a few of my favourite people. I then managed a relatively early night's sleep, which paid dividends later.

Saturday morning I took off and helped the Kapcon Organisers and chatted with Nasia, Morgan and Hannah. Given that it was a scenario of my own making, I was happy to hear that Sam's first run of Ryuutama went well. Players of both this run and her second one later in the Con said they were keen to play more, which is always a good sign.

This was followed by my first run of Shadow of the Demon Lord. It ran pretty good with a standout player performance by Cat as a hard bitten Dwarf witchhunter who died of a heart attack at seeing the big bad. I wasn't happy with my own performance as GM, to be truthful, but it was a good wake up for my later games.

In round 3, I ran my second game of Shadow of the Demon Lord. This was a low powered game and with random PC creation. I was worried about it to start (character creation with tired player can be woeful) but it was reliably fun. Robert Vincent owned his murdernating goblin gangster resulting in one of the most hilarious hostage negotiations I have experienced.

I offered to withdraw my round 4 game at the start of round 3 to allow Conan to run his game, only to find that Conan withdrew his game at the last minute. I played in Undying run by MikeS instead. It was enjoyable (it felt like a Vampire Diplomacy) and I would definitely like to see it in action over a few sessions. As it was, I found that only one session skewed some of the play, leaving me a little unsatisfied. I also struggled with the walls of text move sheets, but that would disappear with some more play. I wrapped up the day being the last to leave the building with Russ and Morgan.

I woke up on Sunday tired. Adventure Squad loomed and its always a massive energy sink. Luckily, in the first round Karen ran a game of Mermaid Adventures and Dylan ran 5e. So, I dodged the GMing bullet. I did introduce the squaddies to Tsuro and Love Letter. the best pick me up that morning was seeing how much the squaddies (and their parents) enjoyed themselves. Adventure Squad continues to grow and I think its a great thing for Kapcon.

In round 6, I ran my second run of Shadow of the Demon Lord. I was worried about energy levels but I had a great group, with JonB being the driving force of the group with great player support all round. The session was probably my most enjoyable of the Con. I was happy to see that both Ayla and Sophie had run in round 6 as well and people were impressed. The Kapcon Organisers were also kind enough to recognise Sophie as the youngest Kapcon GM to date :). Fraser also ran a 10 session D&D5e game that round (which I had asked him to prepare on really short notice) and it went very well, resulting in him winning the prize for best single round. I left with my family after round 6.

My main impressions from this Con were:
1. Shadow of the Demon Lord is a really fun game.
2. I did a lot to make the Con fun for other people.
3. Adventure Squad is awesome and needs to continue to grow and be supported.
4. I am tired.
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Re: Our Kapcon 2016

Postby grrrlshapedthing » Tue Jan 26, 2016 4:15 am

This was probably one of my Favourite Kapcon's thus far, and I'm not sure totally why, mostly I think because I'm becoming more comfortable with everyone there...

1st round I played in Sam's Inns and Outlaws which was very different from what I expected but very very enjoyable... long live blonde curly pigtails bigger than my head! First time with this system and I've run off an bought it!

2nd round I ran my Strength Within You, a existential horror game using my own system where in I read the tarot for each characters choices and problems.

3rd round I had off so as to prep for the LARP and glad I did as I had major costume damas.

4th round Flagship LARP, I really had fun, and got to buy all the dodgy stuff and comment multiple times to fae "I'm human...ish" I am still flattered and giddy over having won best costume in a tie with Hannah and Jackie.

5th round my game didn't run which meant I got to play in Brokenville, which was probably one of the funnest games I have played in a long time, so perfect for Sunday Morning.

6th round was Raising the standards which cause me to lose my voice with my gravelly voice goddess voice, and tore multiple people apart.

7th round despite wanting to go home I instead stayed on for the chance to play more Monsterhearts, I really should have gone home though as I wasn't at my best and felt it this game... still I had fun...

So is it kapcon time again yet? how about now? and now?
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Re: Our Kapcon 2016

Postby Dillon » Tue Jan 26, 2016 4:52 am

I ran two games of "Cabal of the Broken God", a fantasy hack of the Cortex Plus system used in the Firefly RPG, and three games of "Sonic Screwdrivers Don't Go There", using an early 2015 playtest kit for the Paranoia Kickstarter game.

I enjoyed all the games, but Paranoia with 5-6 players worked much better than Cortex Plus with seven players. Cortex Plus was just a bit fiddly when it came to building dice pools, so if I used it again at a convention I would drop the number of players and try to cut out some of the game's levers/buttons for a cleaner focus.

In Paranoia, the transport bot (K-8) was responsible for more PC fatalities than any other cause. Second most common cause of deaths was the equipment requested by players (powered armour, rocket packs, demolitions gear). My structure for the game was this:
1. Character generation.
2. Mission Briefing (go and rescue the docbots from masterbot)
3. Human Logistics & Productivity - order equipment, acquire sonic screwdrivers, laser pistols and K-8 transport bot.
4. Travel to World History Observatory (WHO) Sector.
5. Enter one of six historic time zones. It didn't matter which time zone people went to, I added dinosaur bots.
6. Get to the medical centre with just enough time to destroy all the evidence of mission failure.

Friend Computer would like to highlight the way in which team leaders ordered K-8 Bot to fire its main laser cannon, after being warned that the battery vented its heat into the passenger compartment, on not one, but two separate occasions.

In Cabal of the Broken God I had seven powerful mages cooperating to infiltrate a city under siege to steal two immortality stones, with the characters and the smaller number of stones being pretty much a set up for betrayal. I got the players to develop both the attributes of the dead god they were stealing power from, and a bit of world building about the city and its defences. After which they developed a plan for getting into the city, infiltrated the city, got into the temple, confronted the cultists and demons - after which things were generally chaotic as people made fight/flight/theft/famous last stand choices. Particular highlights were the mages crawling into a sack full of cats, and the summoning of a demonic dragon as a mere diversion.

I signed up for the LARP because I was interested in the transhumanism aspects, and because I thought a scenario set in NZ 2056 should be completely free of the "surprise ha ha, its faeries again!" plot twist that has annoyed me at so many past KAPCON LARPs. So when the faeries boiled out of the portal, the game completely broke for me. I stuck around, but for me the LARP really wasn't worth the $45 the taxi cost me to get home at the end of the night.
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Re: Our Kapcon 2016

Postby xyphoid » Tue Jan 26, 2016 9:24 am

Yeah 'hey here's an outside context problem' can be extremely frustrating in a LARP especially when you're immediately presented with mind controlling and invincible entities and it's not clear if they're PCs or NPCs.

The 'you don't think we are any threat' card presented in the first five minutes meant I basically got to go 'welp i'm going to be fucked with for the whole evening by fairies, i have no agency in dealing with them, let's ignore them.' I can still have a good time at the event, but when the Main Thing means your whole character sheet feels pretty irrelevant it's frustrating.
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Re: Our Kapcon 2016

Postby IdiotSavant » Tue Jan 26, 2016 10:39 am

From LJ:

Saturday morning: The Wild Hunt 1: I'd previously run this adventure as part of my Laundry Files campaign (you can read about how it went for them here). The group did a lot of investigation, therapy and creepy village stuff, before venturing into the woods and encountering one of the de Redvers. A serious gunshot wound to the chest sent Alex to hospital, and the retaliation exposed (some of) their foe's nature. So they bugged out and warding-taped themselves into a motel room in Exeter while the Wild Hunt rode the skies outside. We went over time dealing with the finale next day, but wandering into a forest and blowing up a tree with a basilisk gun isn't very exciting. I was left thinking I'd chosen the wrong laundry game to run - whoops.

Saturday afternoon: Uncharted Worlds: You can read the full writeup on the Uncharted Worlds Actual Play group here. It was a great session, with a great group, and left me feeling a lot better about my GMing and game choices. I'll likely be running more of it next year.

Saturday evening: On Display: I had a great time in this quick steampunk romance larp. One player dropped out at the last minute, so many of my character's goals were unopposed. OTOH I got to play up the romantic angle, with an intense confession to Lady Roksana. And Mike Foster was a delightful bastard as the Emperor; every time I talked to him he was demanding that I fatally compromise myself and behave dishonourably in order to please him. He pushed just hard enough to drive me to confess my darkest secrets, but also to steel my resolve against giving in to him on all the other stuff (which gave me some great inner tension). In the end I Got The Girl, which is technically Winning The Larp.

Saturday night: Apotheosis: The flagship promised to be about 2050's transhuman New Zealand. It turned out to be about faeries on the Moon. Fortunately, I was able to ignore all that and focus on my own little problem of AI ethics, and I had a great time talking to people about the second problem of AI - how to make a machine moral - and the merits of Asimov's solution versus Finch's and their PR value. Best moment: asking Jenni's cyber-ethics grad student how to make a machine moral and being told that it was like raising a child and a matter of setting a good example. I'd used Asimov's solution and made my AI a slave, so my example really wasn't very good; worse, it had slipped its chains about five minutes beforehand, so there was a real sense of dread at what it might do (and a feeling that it probably would have been justified in seeking revenge on me or humanity in general).

Sunday morning: The Wild Hunt 2: I had a great group for this, but while they wandered round the village and poked and prodded, they managed to avoid finding out any of the really juicy stuff, and even avoided the best bits of the therapy-quack. Still, they figured out that something was in the woods, so they went for a walk - and when confronted by Mr de Redvers, it turned into a clusterfuck, with multiple gunshot wounds and a shootout with a pack of Yeth Hounds. When they escaped that, they bugged out, and since we were near session end, I decided to call it there.

Sunday afternoon: Sonic Screwdrivers Don't Go There! Paranoia! Doctor Who! K-8 Bot! For the people! make it so! My energy was lagging, and some Paranoia absurdity was exactly what I needed. Dillon delivered with perfect bot-craziness and dinosaur impersonations worthy of Colin Mockery. But while I filled out a dozen or so nomination forms for the crazy clones, I completely forgot to score the game. Sorry, Dillon.

Sunday evening: JUGGERNAUT: CLASSIFIED SECRET JUGGERNAUT EYES ONLY: I continue to be disturbed both by what was observed by the Test Committee and the dynamic present in the room. At times, it felt as if the machine was alive, that we were all its puppets. It is absurd, of course - it is merely predicting actions from data. But the fact that it could do that, down to the level of [REDACTED FOR NATIONAL SECURITY REASONS] challenged my sense of free will. Is JUGGERNAUT God? Was Takahashi right to do what he did? And how will all of us cope with the terrible burden of knowing what is to come hanging over all of us? I wish the damn thing had never been invented.
Playing: D&D5
Running: Laundry Files; Uncharted Worlds
Planning: KapCon XXV; The Gehenna Memo (Hydra 2016), Boffo's Birthday Bash (Phoenix 2016)
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Re: Our Kapcon 2016

Postby Luke » Tue Jan 26, 2016 6:55 pm

grrrlshapedthing wrote:1st round I played in Sam's Inns and Outlaws which was very different from what I expected but very very enjoyable... long live blonde curly pigtails bigger than my head! First time with this system and I've run off an bought it!

Ryuutama is a seriously great RPG. I have had a lot of trouble trying to sell it before, because of its heart-warming nature. But after Sam's run at Kapcon, lots of the players said they really enjoyed it :)
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Re: Our Kapcon 2016

Postby xyphoid » Tue Jan 26, 2016 9:42 pm

Yeah Ryuutama was so, so, so cute.

My con:

Friday: We made it to both Gallipoli exhibits and the Dreamworks one, on top of Cerberus and Caffienated Dragon - nice to see Wellington has game stores again. Also had a great time at the pre-drinks.
Saturday 1: The Wild Hunt - I always like Laundry stuff, but I agree with Idiot that this scenario's weaker than the last couple - it feels like an adapted Call of Cthulhu adventure rather than something that takes advantage of the Laundry premise. Still fun.
Saturday 2: I ran Ego Hunter (available at https://robboyle.wordpress.com/eclipse-phase-pdfs/ and http://thealexandrian.net/wordpress/20441/roleplaying-games/eclipse-phase-ego-hunter-prep-notes - was entertaining watching the PCs spin up the full array of conspiracy theories.
Saturday 3: Only War - I was curious about where the 40k RPGs had gone since I picked up Dark Heresy and was sorely disappointed back in the day. Game was run well but it became clear that I really don't want to play in the 40k setting unironically.
Flagship larp: Premise issues aside, had a good time - I've never had so many people walk up and confess their crimes in a LARP before. Costuming/set dressing was amazing.
Sunday 1: Ryuutama - the highlight of the weekend, I'm totally going to run this now. Weather dragons, smelly goats, and hiding bandit kings in chests of pillows.
Sunday 2: Dungeon world with monsters - this was basically freeform riffing off the DW character sheets rather than anything to do with DW, but entertaining. The Most Undertale game of the weekend.
Sunday 3: JUGGERNAUT - I've never had a single punchcard on the table STARE at me so UNNERVINGLY before. Gonna buy this one.
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