This weekend brought the fourth iteration of Revelation, the 'powered by the apocalypse' themed convention which we originally threw together as a spur of the moment 'wouldn't it be good?' thought.
Although the convention is completely pre-booked, Elaine, Graham and I rendezvoused in the event room of the Garrison Hotel around 0830hrs to set up, and we were finished before nine. We enjoyed catching up with people until the kick-off at 1000hrs.
Slot 1 saw me running 'Shark Tank' for City of Mist. This was the basic investigation from the 2019 version of the starter set, and I used the same pre-generated characters that come with the set, printed and laminated at A3. With the slot being a short one, we needed to focus to bring the investigation to a conclusion in the time, but the players delivered in spades. My highlights included Graham's heavily combat orientated monster hunter trying to negotiate and threaten a smooth-talking loan shark and instead of walking out with a gift of $20,000 to 'keep his DoJo afloat and help the neighbourhood. I also loved Andrew W's teenager using her imaginary friend to drain the room of water, thwarting the plans of the shark god rift who had plenty of water-based moves. The system worked smoothly, but feels more like a traditional RPG because of the case structure.
Slot 2 I sat out, as our GM was ill, but only Keary and I were affected so we had a good old natter and some beers. We took some boardgames but mostly ignored them, which was good as Elina muttered dark words about them being inappropriate. The Moonshine from Abbeydale was pleasant as ever. Dinner was a trip to KFC with Graham and Keary.
Slot 3 brought a different case, 'Killing Her Softly', for City of Mist. We had five players rather than the four in the earlier game, and the party was a bit more disjointed, at some points almost splitting in two in the same location! There was a definite clash of styles of investigation. However, the climax when Penda's Father Job took the full brunt of the main threat's attack knowing it would likely kill him (and God would resurrect him to face the Devil again) was awesome. The final explosion into violence and overkill from the Monster Hunter, left the party shocked, with issues to resolve, as the curtains fell. Another fun game. I do like the system; it nails noir and Marvel Netflix style gaming. This scenario embraced the supernatural far more than the previous one. It is the first of one of the threads in the forthcoming 'Nights of Payne Town' campaign.
A brief stop in the bar was followed by bed and a good night's sleep.
Woke early and was in breakfast at the start, then returned to my room to do some preparation for The Sprawl in Slot 5. This was mainly pulling questions together to ask the players as I'd opted for a more co-creative route than the game usually offers. The setting was Mars, in the future, in the main colony on Valles Marineris. The UN had arrived to audit the incumbent colonial authority and things were about to change. I was a bit nervous in the fact that I was going to have to wing it, but I wanted the players bought in.
Slot 4 was my only session as a player, with Guy Milner's second run out of Masks at the convention. I'd been a bit nervous of this when I booked, as I feared it may be too close to City of Mist, but my concerns were unfounded. The game is wonderfully built around the relationships of teenage superheroes. I'd picked 'The Beacon' as an option, and the first power visible was a bow and trick arrows, so I had to create Lila Barton, Hawkeye's daughter. My fellow players were great, generous and creative, and we had great fun. Steve's character was enamoured with the villain thanks to mind control, and that gave us plenty of fun with the texting between the hero and villain, and the conflict and doubts of the team as to whether he'd join us. We told Nick Fury to eff off when he disbanded us, and had a crazy teenage party in Clint Barton's abandoned flat. The powers of the characters were almost incidental and my poor knowledge of Marvel's canon beyond the MCU and Netflix didn't let me down. Kudos to Guy, fantastic game.
Lunch was followed by an impromptu raffle with kind voucher donations from Cat Tobin at Pelgrane Press and Fil Baldowski at All Rolled Up, as well as Declan with some books. We'd originally pulled the raffle as we'd not enough funds to do that and free coffee/tea, so it was great to be able to add some fun. There was the usual kerfuffle over the Golden Ticket for Furnace (Lynn and Elina, I'm looking at you)!
Slot 5 arrived and we journeyed to Mars. The questions worked well (but took a bit of time) and the character generation was marred by my printer having issues making some of the playbooks less clear. We took around an hour to do this stage, and I was a bit worried that we'd struggle with time. However, I threw in the kicker (the UN arrive, the comms and section of the colony go into lock down and BluePrime, the incumbent colonial government, start to deal with unfortunate loose ends before the UN land) and the players leapt into action. Without any legwork, they escaped the section of the colony with their bar's owner (sometime patron) and staff. Connecting up with their contacts in the independence movement and the Familias Andes, they soon planned a raid to find out what BluePrime had that was causing the brutality. The legwork on this went badly wrong when the attempt to hack in externally was discovered and a team sent to kill the group. They failed,messily, and the team ended up with an armoured ATV and three usable security uniforms.
A near textbook infiltration into the server room happened, with incriminating data being stolen and dumped publicly to damage BluePrime. There was nearly a problem when they exited due to a fire alarm they'd deliberately set, but some quick fast talking made it look like they were assessing the management's response. Unfortunately, the employees then got sent back into a burning building as the team told them that it was a false alarm. The end result was turmoil as the UN Peacekeepers took control of the colony and the advancement of one of the corps that the characters were associated with. I really enjoyed running The Sprawl, and I'm glad it worked out. I didn't get any of the setting questions you usually get because the players had all been invested in it.
And then the convention was over for another year. We've already agreed it will return because it's so different to the other conventions we organise, and dates will follow soon.
Thanks to the attendees for making it a fun weekend.
23 February 2020