Friday, January 23, 2009

Kapcon 18: The joy of being several someones else

Round 1: Shelter Me
GM: Marcus Bone

Like last year's "Fear of Dreaming", this game really was one of the highlights of my con! Interestingly, I found it a bit less intense than last year, probably partly cos I have been gaming regularly, and partly because my character's fairy obsession took the edge off the stress for me (while making it much more stressful for some of the other characters). Still, it was plenty horrifying, and our interaction with the dead Nazi psychiatrist "bad doctor" and his victim will stay with me for a long time! Marcus's GMing style gives really excellent scope for players to interact and develop their characters' stories, and this group took advantage of that... there's been a lot of comment on the excellent roleplaying in this game (which also ran in round 6) on NZRaG... I absolutely agree that Mash's creepy obsessive list-making was truly disturbing (and worryingly reminscent of some people I know and love) and I'd recommend the sequel next year (so long as you don't take MY place).

Round 2: FRUP: One of our dinosaurs is missing
GM: Ivan Towlson

Cool premise and great fun... I did a lousy job of roleplaying my character who was someone else's minion, and a muscle-bound fighter... Strangely, not my usual choice in D and D.... Enjoyed the rest of the party's roleplaying and all the humans dressed up as various monster manual beasties... Loved the reserve where new beasties were being "bred" and was delighted by the appearance of real live dinosaurs (only in the game, silly). Good, but a bit light
following Shelter me... would've worked better for me the other way round

Round 3: Sneaking off for a swim and putting kids to bed

Unfortunately J eavesdropped on me asking his Grandma if I could go for a swim, so I clearly failed my sneakiness roll... however, the double tantrum (if one starts, the other follows to get in on the attention) had subsided by the time I arrived back at my folks' place and they were all eating happily. I was convincing enough in the maternal GM role to settle two very demanding PCs. In fact, I came out from feeding and settling my littlest darling to find the other wee darling asleep on his dozing Grandma, so just had to carry him to bed... easiest ever! A busy day was had by all!

LARP: Mafia 2071

I enjoyed the LARP this year (and I didn't run away... yay!). I played Rhond1a, a Stanford business graduate who had fallen foul of a nasty sexually-harassing corporate boss, ended up running
on-line gambling sites for the Neo-Mafia to launder money, and was looking for a way back into the legitimate corporate world. I made a couple of pretty satisfying deals... one with the Malandrinos to open a joint-venture casino that would serve as an interface to attract new clients, and another working as a consultant for a corporation to help them minimise their visible profits... not quite the legitimacy I was looking for, but I like to think I played my part in making the head of our family Don of NeoSteelsburg...

From my POV, a problem with this Mafia wake scenario was that there was not much action to watch or tag along with... to get the most out of it, you really had to walk up and engage other people in conversation, and I wasn't feeling awesomely confident in my roleplaying abilities (having had a panic attack and run away from last year's LARP)... so it was hard work for me... but well worth it!

Round 4: Games on Demand-Covenant
GM: Malcolm Craig

Last year I had to play Games on Demand cos of never knowing when my 6-month-old would need feeding... this year I was determined to play one cos last year rocked. This didn't disappoint! Malcolm was a great GM...

Covenant is awesome too... you play members of a a cult that was preparing for an apocalyptic event that never came... the use of motifs (images that crop up repeatedly within the context of the game... ours were London fog, timepieces, crying babies, puddles and ? ) gives plenty of scope for beautiful cinematic imagery which I loved! I actually came away with pictures... my character and her lover with coffee on the steps of the British museum, an armed confrontation in an abandoned docklands warehouse... cliched, perhaps, but very very compelling in context.

Relationships are central to the game... and in this scenario, they were truly f**ked up (as you might expect). Combats allow you to draw on motifs, on the conventions of your cell group within the cult (core beliefs you share... Suffering can be avoided, science trumps art) and your own edges (attributes and relationships)... the game itself was very tense, with lots of ugly dialogue and action...

My character Leonie was sleeping with an arsehole called Trent (one of her edges) who actually tried to kill her! Talk about plumbing new depths of relationship nightmare through roleplaying!

This was definitely my other favourite game at this year's Kapcon. You can read about Covenant... and I bought the PDF for $10 at RPGNow (it's the 1st new RPG I've bought in years if that is any recommendation... but I have a copy now, so if you know me you can totally check it out)

Round 5: Breach of Containment
GM: Me

Not my best effort... the players felt there was too much science and I explained it badly and probably came across as an arrogant nerd.... and sadly I couldn't convince most people to score me so I had a better chance at a spot prize.
[I had a bit of a self pity wallow after I f**ked up my game... and I apologise to anyone I talked to while that was happening, cos really my life hardly sucks at all these days :-) ]

Round 6: For me, there was no round 6

Still and all, life gets easier... and nothing highlights how much easier it's got than trying to do something that last year felt like an almost impossible struggle, and finding it almost frivolously easy! I got to the same number of sessions this year (apart from my sustained LARPing effort), but overall my Kapcon felt more satisfying because of being able to hang out and chat, and not having to race away immediately the breaks began.

I'm already looking forward to next year and I have 2 ideas for games to run... and I promise... whichever one I go with... there's not much science in either! See you at Kapcon!

1 comment:

demonground said...

Hi Karen,

Thanks for the great Con write-up! I really appreciate the kind words about Shelter-Me... our session really hit me hard emotionally and physically!

Anyway, would love to catch up during the year to RPG, etc. so feel free to drop me a line at marcus (dot) bone (at) xtra (dot) co (dot) nz

I'm sure that between you, Donna and Malcolm I could arrange the occasional game in Palmy (as my parents live up that way!)