Revelation 2018

First Age

D&D h@ck3r and Hopepunk
Staff member
#21
This was a three hero, GM facilitated game, which we all really enjoyed. We did standard character setup at the table with me talking about the Ironlands, who the Ironsworn were and what set them apart. The asset cards, which print nicely such that they fit in the standard transparent card sleeves, are a great way of allowing the players to customise their characters providing the special elements that set them apart. My players took some considerable time selecting the mix of 4 that I offered them. Their Bonds were quite inventive, including a connecting with a river where they had ritually died and an ancestral knife that was made from star iron.

They were to take a journey From Stenheim to far Kraghaal in the Tempest Hills, where their kindred had awoken an ancient horror. Formidable journey: 1 progress per waypoint. In my facilitated play I had a number of pre-planned waypoints which the players navigated with great inventiveness.

It took the players about 10 minutes to get used to the dice mechanic, and how to burn momentum to turn a miss into some kind of hit. The combat moves were quickly mastered, with advantages sought, Enter The Fray in all sorts of ways and the use of the combat moves of Strike (with initiative) and Clash (without initiative). Soon they were hungry for hungry for momentum gains wherever they could get them!

One of the Characters had a Vow that they would die soon and had to find a replacement. At Kraaghal he picked out a shield maiden to take on his mantle and ready herself to swear on iron. The big boss fight was epic. Two were down to +0 Health, though the Endure Harm move never tipped them into anything worse than that. Prices were paid throughout with weapons lost, footing failed and plummeting into a crevice. When they got their strong hit to End the Fight and succeeded there were lots of high fives around the table (we're British, we don't do that sort of thing...).

Top session. We focused on some of the more obvious moves, Face Danger, Gather Information and Secure An Advantage in particular. I knew I could throw in some more Moves if I needed to.

We all left impressed. I'm looking forward to seeing some more Assets and should create some more of my own.

For Seven Hills, I might treat myself to an A5 spiral bound copy and leave the big A4 over print on the table for people to peruse during the game.

IMG_20180224_162306.jpg
 
#22
The Alas for the Awful Sea game went better than expected.

The three players chose playsheets and we quickly got underway. The plot, one of those fomo the KSed scenario book, involved whaling. I was a bit twitchy about this and labelled the game accordingly as I didn't want players to get upset over my descriptions of whale blubber being stripped off carcasses. The crew arrived at port where the Surgeon met an old childhood friend who was back in town. She was seeking her father who had sent very weird letters. Back to look after him she found him missing. The crew then chose to undertake to find him. Some talking to people in town had the friend's dark secret exposed, she been subject to spousal abuse and had left. The early/mid 19th century wasn't very sympathetic to her plight and townsfolk gave her the cold shoulder. Anyway after gathering information the crew set of on their ship to find the old man.

Loads of fun ensued but that would be major spoilers. Needless to say the game wasn't as much misery porn as it seemed when I read it and has some depth to explore social aspects of the 19th century in the British Isles.
 

Dom

Administrator
Staff member
#23
# Revelation 2018

So, Revelation returned for a second year in 2018. A small and bijou ‘powered by the apocalypse’ convention, based at the Garrison Hotel in Sheffield. This year saw around 30 people on each day, which puts it at a scale which is just over a third of Furnace and Seven Hills.

Somehow I found myself running three games, out of five slots, with a fourth game to prepare for TravCon the week after. Note to myself not to offer to fill in the gaps next time, as it was a stretch.

## Slot 1 - tremulus - “Derelict Adrift”
I backed tremulus back when the Kickstarter came out and was surprised that I never saw a game of it on the con circuit in the UK. I now know why. This was my fill-in game. Nominally, tremulus only needs minimal input into a playset and finalisation of playbooks. In reality, the rules leave much to be desired in the sense that they are disorganised and lacking in the summary cheat sheets that most PbtA games have for use at the table. Further, the playbooks seem unbalanced and dominated by particular stats (reason is the one that jumped out at me - if you don’t have it at a strong level, your character will be ineffective). Elements of the system don’t flow and also contradict. That said, the playset idea is great.

The scenario was a SF one from the Kickstarter called ‘Derelict Adrift’. The player’s choices put them into a combination of Revelation Space (Alastair Reynolds), Excession (Iain M Banks) and perhaps Event Horizon and Prometheus, with a pinch of the Mountains of Madness. They had travelled for 5 years in a failing starship to discover the source of the signal, and when they did, it was a test for humanity. We only selected the playset and made character choices before the convention, despite my setting up a Google+ community with all good intentions.

The players were great; they ran with the idea and pushed it hard, and the ending was suitably bitter-sweet. I enjoyed the play and interaction, but I think I won’t return easily to the game engine.

## Slot 2 - Cartel - “A Little Town in Mexico”
This was a great game, MCed well by Nigel. Cartel takes the world of Sicario, Narcos and more and puts you in the place of some unsavoury characters producing and selling drugs in Mexico. The saving grace is that the engine makes the characters very human, with family ties and vulnerailities. I played Armando, the chemist, drawn into a life of crime by his corrupt police officer nephew when his company failed. I had the problems of a lab that had been spotted, a rival cartel pressing me to work for them, and my greedy nephew trying to cut into my share. Andrew W was fantastic in his role, on the take, and like a shark, liable to drown if he stopped. Angel played La Sicaria, a hitwoman who didn’t like my character, but quickly became my closest ally. He did brilliantly not being offended by our mangling of the Spanish language.
What really worked for me about this game was that it had the feel of a TV series. I could easily imagine tuning into this on Netflix or another channel. I was disappointed when the game finished; I’d have loved another few episodes. This was probably my highlight for the convention.

## Slot 3 - Dungeon World - “The Cathedral of Light”
I really enjoyed MCing Dungeon World at the first Revelation in 2017. It gave me confidence in trying Apocalypse World based systems. It was also my gateway into PbtA; I’d picked up Apocalypse World itself several times to browse but that had never resulted in me getting that ‘buy me’ feeling. The opportunity of a more narrative and faster engine to delve down a dungeon had me returning to my youth willingly (and has led to me spending far too much on OSR books).

The scenario is pretty traditional in style; it’s a map, with keyed rooms, a mystery to unlock, undead guardians and a demon prince to confront. If you want a better example of how Dungeon World should be done, then check out ‘Servants of the Cinder Queen’ [http://www.rpgnow.com/product_reviews.php?products_id=137011&test_epoch=0 ] or Guy Milner’s blog about running the Forest of Doom with Dungeon World [https://burnafterrunningrpg.com/2018/02/27/the-forest-of-doom-a-dungeon-world-one-shot/ ] as both of these take a more effective approach with fronts and questions. That said, it seemed to work well enough and the players channeled their inner AD&D brilliantly.

The G+ group for this game worked best; characters were picked, and questions asked and answered (leading in one case to a pretty powerful artefact for the characters to find and use). We did bonds at the table, and then embarked on the adventure. Memorable points for me included Keary’s knife wielding ‘merchant’ managing to kill a shadow stalker with two throws, while some of the more tooled up characters struggled. Penda’s wizard improvised a holy water cannon once Sue’s cleric realised she could carry out a blessing and refill the holy water. This was after the classic lamp oil as napalm moment against a dendritic menace. This radically shifted the balance of power in the scenario. Perhaps my favourite moment was at the climax when Pete’s Paladin, blessed, on a quest, equipped with god-forged weapons and divine gauntlets of power ran away terrified by the demon prince’s roar, only to be turned around by a quick charm person spell wielded by the wizard.

The team overcame the opposition, and I went off to bed on a high, leaving Elaine in charge (Graham had already gone to bed)! I certainly enjoyed myself, and I think the players did as well.

## Slot 4 - Hobos without a Starship - Star Wars PbtA
This was my second player slot; Remi had brought Star Wars to the table, and it was one of the few single slot games available, so I dived in. I ended up with a Bounty Hunter who had ended up acting as a protector for force sensitive he’d been sent to kill. Now, we wanted to get off planet, and it seemed that the only viable option was to bust out a starship crew who we knew on the theory that they’d owe us. We started in media res, and it was going swimmingly, right up to the point when Graham revealed that his character was stoned. A stoned wookie. I saw a horrified look on Remi’s face at this point, as he had Mal Reynolds in his mind when he’d prepared the character and this was something very different. Anyway, it soon became clear that the captain had gone off the rails with the loss of his starship, and his crew were covering for him. We had a lot of fun - we kept on discussing turning the crew in for the bounty to buy passage off-world if the recovery of the starship didn’t work which added a nice bit of tension to the game. We had fights, schemed, and generally had a blast. Fantastic fun with great players.

I think the game emphasised the need to give the players scope to tailor some of the bonds themselves to get that engagement. Also, the importance of flipping some of the creativity back to the players with some good questions. If you’re used to a more traditional system, you have to let go and use your feelings, which is hard. Anyway, good fun.

## The Raffle
We’d had enough players to make a raffle viable, and so people had their ticket numbers pulled out randomly to win PbtA goodness. The one in three chance seemed to go down well.

## Slot 5 - The Sprawl - ‘Message 8 of 47’.
I was nervous about MCing this one, but I’m so glad that I did. The Sprawl is a sweet, sweet game that captures its genre without breaking the game engine. This was Cyberpunk set in the UK in 2049. I ended up with three players rather than the four planned as Pete fell ill, and I think that this rather changed the whole scenario. Pete had the character who would most naturally have used violence as a solution, a Hunter (Detective, Blade Runner etc). Without him we had a Driver, their Tech and a Pusher (corporate fixer), all of whom weren’t really combat junkies. We played the whole scenario without a single combat. This is only the second time that this has happened to me - the other being a Runepunk Savage Worlds scenario back in the early days of Furnace.

I’d struggled a bit with coming up with the fronts/plot, but in the end the Augmented Reality generic supplement helped [http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product...ity-The-Holistic-City-Kit-For-Cyberpunk-Games] as it gave me my based plot; ‘a hacker needs to recover some body parts’.

The G+ group I set up had given me the directives for the players (the keys, motivations) and a number of corporations, which I wove into a sequence of events which would happen if the characters didn’t intervene. Needless to say, they did.

The system works wonderfully; there are two core clocks - one for legwork (the investigation and preparation) which affects the eventual pay out that the characters can get and also influences how alert the target is. The Action clock tracks the likely level of response as you start the mission. If you hit midnight on it, all hell breaks loose as the Corps come after you. This worked really well; the players mentioned they gave a big feeling of tension. The main moves are very standard, so it’s instantly recognisable (especially when you’ve had four sessions of PbtA before). Very smooth, very slick and great fun. Jon did fantastically for a man who was losing his voice, Debbie meshed the group together and was instrumental with her contacts, especially the gentleman working at the Sir Jeremy Hunt Memorial Hospital Trust (an NHSNuffieldBUPA partnership, ‘no fee at the point of delivery’) who she’d set up serendipitously and Graham did his best to channel Baby Driver. Some car chases, blagging, theft and a jaunt across the Channel, all while trying to avoid the wrath of United Dechant (and then their subsidiary, Dechant Uni). Great stuff - thank you to the players for a fun time.

## Conclusion

All in all, I enjoyed myself. The Garrison was as welcoming as ever, and I’m pleased to note that Revelation will return. Although I’m hoping it's not the week before TravCon in 2019.

PS If anyone has photos of the games that I ran or played in, please share!
 

First Age

D&D h@ck3r and Hopepunk
Staff member
#24
# Revelation 2018

## Slot 4 - Hobos without a Starship - Star Wars PbtA
This was my second player slot; Remi had brought Star Wars to the table, and it was one of the few single slot games available, so I dived in. I ended up with a Bounty Hunter who had ended up acting as a protector for force sensitive he’d been sent to kill. Now, we wanted to get off planet, and it seemed that the only viable option was to bust out a starship crew who we knew on the theory that they’d owe us. We started in media res, and it was going swimmingly, right up to the point when Graham revealed that his character was stoned. A stoned wookie. I saw a horrified look on Remi’s face at this point, as he had Mal Reynolds in his mind when he’d prepared the character and this was something very different. Anyway, it soon became clear that the captain had gone off the rails with the loss of his starship, and his crew were covering for him. We had a lot of fun - we kept on discussing turning the crew in for the bounty to buy passage off-world if the recovery of the starship didn’t work which added a nice bit of tension to the game. We had fights, schemed, and generally had a blast. Fantastic fun with great players.
The Wookie wasn't stoned, he was just much more relaxed than anyone was comfortable with. ;)

I wasn't expecting a PVP game and found that the rest of my loyal crew were, physically, at the other end of a Cell table, so I felt quite isolated from them, which was quite interesting from a dynamic point of view. After a while the incessant pressure that I was to be handed over to the First Order overwhelmed, so I found myself switching off from the session and was quite glad when it was all over.

Interested to look at the hack. It doesn't seem anything as good as Impulse Drive, but there might be some take aways from it.
 
#29
Derelict Adrift in twice, Cathedral of Light not there?
Cathedral's there: http://chronicleofgames.com/game/the-cathedral-of-light/

I think that may be the random order post listing. It's that way for encouraging game discovery, but I think it's probably causing more confusion than not, as sometimes a post appears again on the next page because of the probability reset. Yea, I think that's going on the drop-list. Random dropped.
 
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