Contingency ConTingency 2020


Rune Priest
Only twelve days until the start of the five day RPG-fest that is ConTingency!

Last year I felt a bit overwhelmed by the end of the con, having run 8 different adventures using 5 systems my head was spinning. For this year I swore I was going to cut back, give myself some breathing space.

Obviously, that hasn't quite worked out as planned, my enthusiasm getting the better of me as it often does. I seem to have tried to make it easy on myself by running fewer games more often - I'm offering 9 slots of 6 unique adventures using only 4 systems, and only 3 of those 6 are all-new.

But I'm arriving a day earlier, so I've got 13 slots of gaming rather than the 11 of 2019.

Anyone else suffering from New Year over-enthusiasm?


Rune Priest
I've sworn off Morning slots this year!
I had a cunning plan of giving myself either the morning or the evening off, so I could either get to bed early or sleep in. What I actually did is offer a game in every morning slot, and then alternate afternoons and evenings, to ensure maximum confusion.

My mate and I have reserved Thursday evening for sitting around in the pub relaxing, so hopefully that will help.
So once again it's the day before I travel and I'm still furiously editing and printing. Every convention I pledge to be better organised and I rarely am.

It looks like my e-mail to the organisers never arrived so my games were not put up for pre-registration. I like to offer half-and-half pre-registration and walk-up registration. That way people who like to organise their convention ahead of time are catered for as are people who prefer to live in the moment.

Due to a sudden rush of blood to the head I have thrown together a "Romance of the Perilous Land" adventure. First outing with a new setting and new system barely a month in my possession at a convention. Just how stupid am I?

There's a Cyberpunk 2020 game because it seems churlish not to do something to mark the fact that we have arrived in 2020.

Anyway, this is what you can look forward to from me: (I don't know when any of this will run)

- Night City Network News, Special Report: Something Rotten at St. Wellness Clinic
- Cyberpunk 2020

Advertisers pay for eye-balls and nothing attracts eye-balls like a juicy scandal. That is why Night City Network have recently formed an investigative journalism team. Your position is a precarious one though: The corporations (including NCN itself) will silence you if you become an embarrassment. Will the goings on at St. Wellness Clinic create that embarrassment?

- The Athena Club Investigates: The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb
- Fate Accelerated (Gumshoe style)

There are rumours of rum goings on at an archaeological dig site in Egypt. Luckily there are a reliable people of substance who may be called upon in such a situation.

Can lady detective Mary Jekyll, her tearaway half-sister Diana Hyde, Poisonous girl Beatrice Rappaccini, Puma woman Catherine Moreau, Re-animated corpse Justine Frankenstein, Mesmeric house maid Alice and Neophyte vampire Lucinda Van Helsing get to the bottom of it?

Inspired by the novels by Theodora Goss.

- Outback Monkey Business
- Feng Shui 2

Addled prog rockers "Time Jester" have reached the Australian leg of their current tour. It's hard to imagine how they could make a mess of being driven across the Outback but as their long suffering support crew you gave up being surprised a long time ago.

Can you get to the next venue despite the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. Not to mention the bullets, tyre irons, grenades and blades of outrageous fortune.

- The Bunker, Case BN3049: The Dangers of Gentrification
- Mage20

Local news broadcasts suggest an area of the old Boston docks district has been cordoned off and there are reports of people in hazmat suits being seen. The problem with Boston is that it's in the U.S., a place where the magical cold war is hot, but the Oracle thinks there might be an artefact in play.

The two great powers tacitly suffer your existence as it suits their ends to do so. Meanwhile you are trying to protect both the mundane and magical worlds from destabilising artefacts of power. The Traditions know you as "The Guild of Artificers", the Technocracy as "The Artefact Disposal Bureau" but to yourselves you are simply "The Bunker."

- The Terror of The Radiant Wold
- Romance of the Perilous Land

Word has reached Queen Izolda that some dreadful creature issues forth from the Radiant Wold by night to terrorise the people and slaughter their livestock. Several doughty yeomen have already failed to return from attempting to vanquish it.

Thus has she formed a questing party of chivalrous knights, roguish thieves, wily rangers, magical cunning folk, wild barbarians and silver-tongued bards to rid her lands of this affliction.

But it is well known that Morgan Le Fey has proclaimed her love and protection of such night creatures. And Mordred's Order of the Black Lance have their stronghold in neighbouring Norhaut.
I'm worried that it's Tuesday and I'm already knackered. I'm pondering whether to offer any games in Slot 1 through 3; I've only registered intent for Thursday onward. I fear I might not survive if I run more...
So here we are, home after the best part of a week of gaming.

The Searles holiday camp continues to be a good venue. The caravan this year had the added advantage of all working radiators which, combined with slightly more clement weather, made for much less chilly nights. The comedy miniature beds were an issue until we realised we could just shove the twins together to make a slightly uncomfortable single.

As far as games were concerned, my goal was to run a game a day and play 2 a day. With the exception of Thursday evening which everyone in the caravan took off for socialising and the Sunday afternoon slot which we used for travelling in order to be home at a sensible hour.

So here we go, briefly: (To save you referring back to my advert post I've marked the games I ran)

(run) Cyberpunk 2020 - I wanted to run something a little closer to what I understand Mike Pondsmith's conception of his game to be, but with the cyberware and fights which people enjoy playing. It seemed to go well although "I haven't played this for 20 years" knew the system better than I did having revised it the previous week.

Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine - Or as I came to think of it "JPRG the RPG". Plenty of childlike fun to be had hear. A slight roughness in character generation which I never fully got to grips with but it didn't spoil our telling a somewhat dreamlike story. With a bit of practice I think this game could deliver a Studio Ghibli style experience. The shear thickness of projects funded through Kickstarter never ceases to amaze me.

Operation Lazarus - Run by and with some of the contingent who had come over from the Netherlands. Lots of second world war commando action and Nazi mad science fun. Got a chance to be the player who knows more about the time period than the GM. Hope I wasn't too obnoxious.

Black Code - Played this last year when it was advertised as "Cyberpunk" leading me to comment that it was more "transhuman." This year it was describing itself as "Transhuman Cyberpunk" so I feel vindicated. The setting continues to be full of interesting ideas and texture and this year we got to interact a bit with the overarching narrative whereas last year we were really just doing a heist. I used my GM tokens to discount the purchase of a copy of this game which is some sort of recommendation.

(run) Curse of the Mummy's Tomb - Based on the "Athena Club" novels by Theodora Goss and using modified Fate Accelerated in the Gumshoe style. Very happy with how this went. Everyone seemed to get into the investigation and more importantly into the characters. Catherine Moreau was a little more house-cat-like than her Puma origins might suggest but I don't think anyone minded. Diana Hyde went scally-wagging all over the place.

Avenging Angels - Teenage superheroes interning at the Daily Bugle. A Powered by the Apocalypse game which suffered a bit from the fact that each playbook is effectively its own system. One I did not have time to really soak in and comprehend and thus didn't really play to its full advantage.

(run) Outback Monkey Business - Feng Shui 2 continues to provide fun gaming. This is the second outing of this adventure (previously run at Conpulsion) but quite heavily retooled. Ran much better and now follows the traditional 3-fight model.

The Schooling of Tomomi - Sports Day - The second outing for one of my caravan-mate's magical girl anime setting. Our bunch of geeks and misfits were surprisingly successful at embarrassing the school top-dogs and put in an unexpectedly good showing at the sports day. But then Lord Black-balls (not has actual name) had to mess everything up and force us to obliterate everyone's memory of our success.

(run) The Dangers of Gentrification - Character sheets? Check! Setting details? Check! Adventure? Crap! Managed to wing it all the way through without it being too obvious, I think. Had the advantage that this scenario was adapted from a campaign I ran last year so at least I know what was going on. Struggled a bit with the system, am considering moving it to Fate. I think it could handle the magic system pretty well.

Era: Balam - Spaceship combat game. Satisfying fun but much more a board or wargame than the roleplaying game I was expecting. Heavy on the tactical movement and light on story beyond "We came, we saw, we kicked their arse." Although some might argue that were story enough.

Things from the Flood - The teenage version of "Tails of the Loop". Suffered a bit from emotional whiplash when everything went from teenage slice of life to something rather darker. Still plenty of fun to be had with a GM who has an eye for an American teen TV series style of storytelling.

(run) Terror of the Radiant Wold - So the interest shown on these fora for "Romance of the Perilous Land" caused a sudden rush of blood to the head which found me trying to run this thing having created characters, written an adventure and crammed the rules since New Year. Obviously it was a bit rough in places but it seemed to go pretty well, all things considered.

And that's that for another year, or at least until Concord next month.