Indiecon 2015 - one of my most successful conventions

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Indiecon 2015 - one of my most successful conventions

Postby simonpaulburley » 12:52am on 09 Nov 15

I'd been down on my bended knee to my boss to be allowed out of work early and she'd agreed. Didn't tell me it was a training day, though. I was able to leave even earlier than intended, got an earlier train down and arrived the earliest I've ever arrived. I had time to get changed out of my work clothes and grab a bite to eat.

I arrived to find that the wonderful Pete Cakebread and John Keyworth had set up the UKRPDC stand. The marvellous Duncan Rust had passed along some of my books, which were already on display, and printed out my sign up sheets. These were already up and already my first three games were fully booked!

Friday evening was supposed to be a continuation of my Swords and Sorcery game from OddCon but only one player returned to reprise his character. It was the second time I'd run the Fantasy iteration of the Manifold rules and the first time using the narrative combat ie. without the figures and the maps. As I'd expected, this gave more time for Roleplaying and we got through loads of story. The character system seems to work as four new characters were created of all different story sorts - Healer, Smith, DragonKin etc. In the the climax the characters were bearding the lair of the evil giant spider Queen. They repulsed her attempt to take over their minds and actually turned the attack against her. She lost control of her spiderlings, who lost control of their DragonKin hosts, who lost control of the giant blue trolls they were dominating. Cue slaughter of DragonKin. Cue tribes of trolls suddenly remembering how much they hated each other. Cue a mass bloodbath. A carefully constructed evil plot, brought down by a single thought.

Manifold seems to work for Swords and Sorcery but the world I've created and the adventures I'm running in it seem a bit constrained. I need to be a bit more flamboyant.

Saturday morning - I bumped into Andrew (plane sailing from the UKRPDC thread) who'd come to test his new Sci Fi game and was able to show off my knowledge of Indiecon and help him get sorted. We swapped games designer chat.

In fact, throughout the convention I kept bumping into people I know from other conventions and had loads of great little conversations. I feel like I'm beginning to make some great friends.

My first scenario was manifold Superheroes. As this is the scenario I am intending to run at Dragonmeet, I can't go into detail here but - again - I used the narrative combat system and we had a high old time. The players seems to spot all my superhero tropes - and one even "solved" the scenario with his first outburst (luckily, he thought he was just messing around). The players got further through this adventure than anyone ever had before and I had to use all my additional plot lines.

Saturday afternoon - Grave of the Fireflies. Jubal Early, Saffron, Badger, Atherton Wing and that double-dealing lowlife captain, who once shot Mal and tried to steal Serenity, were all tasked by Adelai Niska to hunt down the Serenity Crew. Again I'm running this one at Dragonmeet and can't go into details. However, all the players were Firefly fans and knew their characters. If the conclusion to the scenario at Dragonmeet is half as satisfying and involves half as much double-dealing as this one, I'll be pleased.

Favourite moment: an old farming couple might have some useful information. Jubal Early shoots the old guy in the leg and drags his wife down the road saying "Look at that. The sky is blue. They terraformed these worlds. They could make the sky red, or green or purple but it's always blue. Does that seem right to you?

"Woman - your husband's bleeding out. Tell me what you know and you might just get back to him in time to save his life...."


Back at the UKRPC stand, I sold several "Code" books with two people buying the whole suite. Had some marvellous chats with Pete - helped Keary try to bully him into coming to Continuum next year.

Evening - the first try it of Manifold Horror. I'd done a run through of this adventure at Concrete Cow using a quick and dirty adaptation of the Code rules and Matt Nixon said it was "good enough to run using Dead of Night" so I thought I had a good scenario but would the rules that worked for Superheroes also work for ordinary humans?

Guess what? I'm hoping to offer this in the evening at Dragonmeet so I can't go into details here. However, the players were simply superb. The athlete (well, cricketer) and IT nerd were great but props go to Charly's horrendously SENSIBLE district nurse and Martin's annoying teenager. In a late comfort break I caught Martin moaning to his mate about "it's tentacles again!" so I may lose those before Dragonmeet. Though I say so myself, I thought this scenario ran really well with a slow psychological torture of the characters - watching the slow unravelling of the sensible nurse and fomenting the nascent fratricide was my favourite - ending in a slam bam climax with only two characters barely making it out alive.

The evening finished with a debate about what I could use to replace the tentacles and exactly which illegal drug would have been most appropriate for the plot. I learnt a lot.

So Manifold narrative rules tested - and working - in four genres and nearly cleared out of "Code" books. Things couldn't get any better. Or so I thought.........

Sunday morning - Manifold Dr Who. Testing the multi-genre nature of the beast. Alas the players kept things a bit straighter than I'd hoped. No Superheroes or really wacky types. Just a Ninja, Silurian, Ood and an enigma called James What. Not Who. What. His player kept catching me out. "What's flying the Tardis." "I thought YOU were." "That's what I said."

All the characters were superb. I've run this scenario several times using my Code of the Spacelanes rules but it seems to work fine - possibly better - with the new system. The Ood player was spot on, but everyone was great.

THEN Mike of Leisure Games decided to stock up on ALL my Squadron UK titles. Even the ones I thought weren't selling. Between him and people buying my Code books at the stand, I was almost cleared out of stock. I took enough money to almost (ALMOST I said, Mr Taxman) cover my costs of the convention. And remember, I'd been refereeing games and just keeping a vague eye on the stand.

So five fully booked games. All great fun. A new game system thoroughly tested. Loads of books sold. And lots of great chats with good friends. Special thanks to Pete Cakebread. We both enjoyed it so much - and did so well - we're considering bringing the UKRPDC stand to Conception. No promises though (they've already got enough on their plate). Watch this space.

Life simply doesn't get any better than this!
"People don't stop playing because they get old. They get old because they stop playing."

Been around since original D&D
Author of Golden Heroes, Squadron UK, The Comics Code,The Code of the Spacelanes, The Code of Steam and Steel, The Code of Warrirors and Wizardry and The Super Hack.

I attend lots of RPG conventions in the UK. I Attend non-RPG "geek" conventions to promote The Hobby using my "Choose Your Adventure" set up. I blog about both of these things here: .
simonpaulburley has received thanks from the following for this post:
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Thanks: 836 given/1594 received
Playing: The odd game at Conventions
Running: "Code" books - Comics, SciFi, SteamPunk, Anime.The Black Hack.
Planning: Manifold multi-genre RPG. More Code Books - Fantasyand Horror next

Re: Indiecon 2015 - one of my most successful conventions

Postby Plane_Sailing » 1:38am on 09 Nov 15

Hi Simon,

Thank you so much for helping me find my feet at Indiecon, and for the various chats about both past and future - as well as for introducing me to other nice people too.

If I could offer one clarification though, Plane Sailing = Alex, (not Andrew) :)

Location: Hertfordshire
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Playing: indie games at conventions
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Planning: production and release of Starguild RPG

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