My Indiecon Experience

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A convention for independent RPG publishers.

Re: My Indiecon Experience

Postby Kimau » 7:15pm on 10 Nov 08

The smaller crowd meant I actually got down to talking to some very cool people and had a great time. Also Mick you forgot to mention on Friday you did get a great time of whipping and killing in Poisoned.

It was a really fun con. Different for me as I normally run every slot and drive myself into the ground. Where as this con I slept in socialised, and actually played games. Very nice.
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Re: My Indiecon Experience

Postby oreso » 8:35pm on 10 Nov 08

I agree with what's been said about the atmosphere. Quiet at first, but friendly, and still plenty of games.

Mechaton was fun but I need to buy some more Lego so I can run the game properly, not just six bots.

Playtest/muck-about with Warriors: Old War Stories was just a big drinking game, rather than a game with drinking (bah).

A short and brutal game of Poison'd run by Graham was funs (system-wise, I'm thinking its maybe a bit more fiddly than necessary, but it does its job awesomely). But I think, as with DitV, the Pompey crew jump into blood, gore and nastiness too quickly so it doesn't have as much impact. Probably because we're drunk.

Trollbabe in the morning went not great. For the first time, characters started in the same place, and so things were brought to a climax far too quickly and without much impact. We hadn't explored the world much before we started ripping it apart and more importantly, the players hadn't settled into a single tone for the game. Not going to allow that again.

Contenders by Rich Stokes was awesome. If only we'd had just a little longer to spend more time on the climax is all. Sweaty Bob's gym of misfits and their rise to boxing super-stardom will go down in 80's Las Vegas legend. Well, it would if more than one of us had made it. :D

Capes was good. A little shallower than usual (didn't really add any kind of dramatic spin on the usual action), but it flowed nicely enough.

Dread was meh. Went for a war angle, with some mysterious alien presence but it didn't work. The PCs were too empowered, the horror just wasn't there. The Jenga was doing its job to add tension, but I wasn't. I even did the crappiest thing ever: I did an exposition dump at the end of the game because I failed to reveal the mystery throughout. Bah.

3:16 by Gregor. Fantastic. Played three times. First was the was best game of the con. The second game was bitchy, but wasn't as grabby. Third was run by Graham and while still fun, he didn't know the game so well and didn't have that aggressive flair. Gotta run it hard!

'Let's Kill', a card game of being a serial killer, with Trey and some random guy was funny and fun, but was tactically flat and didn't sell me.

Sundered Space demo by Mat "Omnifray" West. Enormously and pointlessly crunchy.

Also, throughout the weekend intense games of Jenga were had.

In the raffle I won £60 to spend in the trade hall. Which was very nice, and now I'm buried in indie games. :D

Then I got a lift all the way home by Chaz Wyng, whom I proceded to preach to about teh awesome of indie games.

All in all, some awesome gaming was had, and plenty of lessons learnt for running my own games better.
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Re: My Indiecon Experience

Postby Tylorva » 9:03pm on 10 Nov 08

Well, I had fun! I played a couple of games of LFR and ran one game of Ubiquity/Hex Roman Gladiators.

I also ran two games of Landston, both of which were totally awesome as usual and neither of which really involved rolling any dice, although the second game did have girlie lesbian sex between the evil lady overlord and the paladin. I really thought that in all the times I have run that scenario that I had seen pretty much everything that could possibly happen, but you guys proved me wrong! :shock:

Many thanks to Chris and co for running the con, to the new members of the Landston fan club, and to the Pompey crew for letting me get sleep! :D
Landston Victorious!
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Re: My Indiecon Experience

Postby GoblinBoy » 10:01pm on 10 Nov 08

the second game did have girlie lesbian sex between the evil lady overlord and the paladin.


I keep telling you, we were just bathing. Together. Closely. Though yes, it did indeed wear the soap.
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Re: My Indiecon Experience

Postby GoblinBoy » 10:36pm on 10 Nov 08

Highlights for me included:

The above-mentioned Landston game which combined my favourite hobby of military strategy gaming with my other favourite thing - politics. And I got to seduce a Paladin too, bonus!

Grim's L-45 game where I got to play a silverback gorilla with a robot head and a rock n roll fetish. Lots of deep jazzman voice and asking where the white women were at. And I got to blow up the Queen of Them.

Playing Stewie Griffin in Claire Blackshaw's cartoon game. I've been meaning to try one of her cartoon-based games for ages and this was well worth the wait. Not only did I get to interrupt the head of the Evil Genius Organisation in full monologue by plaintively crying out that I'd pooped, but I also got to machine-gun Invader Zim and The Brain too before Eeyore shot me with a Railgun. Oh, and also using a bazooka as a Surface-to-Air missile in order to take out a Care Bear, that was even better!

Alex Thomas' Fly By Night, which was a double parent and daughter (and Martin after some cajoling) experience with myself and Amber joining Joy and Jasmyne Mussell to be all batty for a morning. We survived kestrels, owls, nets, humans with a Bat Soup fetish and as many nasty elements as we could all think of. A really good cooperative play game which is apparently going to be released for charity.

The sofa. Damn that thing is relaxing.

The raffle. I thought Chris was incredibly generous with prizes and the whole thing was conducted in a spirit of great geniality.

Lowlights:

4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons. Oh my this game sucks. There are no words to describe just how mind-numbingly dull the experience of playing this game is. If it hadn't been for John Amos manfully doing his best to make things interesting for us and the occasional cuddle from Amber I honestly think I would have fallen asleep. If I want to play a miniatures wargame I'll go and buy one, but when I want to roleplay I will try an actual roleplaying game instead of this desperate munchkin rubbish.

This is the third time I've tried 4th Ed. There will not be a fourth.
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Re: My Indiecon Experience

Postby andrew_kenrick » 10:56pm on 10 Nov 08

I had a blast at Indiecon! I'll be honest, I wasn't really sure what to expect, but I had just as much (if not more?) fun than at Conception, which is really saying something! I played or GMd in almost every slot. Let's see, what did I play in the end?

GMd: a fantastic game of Dead of Night, getting through 7 characters over the course of the adventure (and killing Mick twice too!); a great game of Duty and Honour, which turned out way better than it should have considering I'd never run it before; a fun playtest of Ordinary Angels; and a messed up game of Polaris, which ended with the end of our civilisation.

I got to play too! I played Scott's excellent game of Hot War on the sunday as well as a messed up game of Poison'd on the saturday (is there any other kind?!). I survived Hot War, even if nobody else but Julian did, but got killed by Rich in Poison'd - but I did chop his hand off with my hook in revenged for his botched amputation of mine so that's sort of a win.

My only complaint was the weather! Less wind and rain if you could help it next year please - I'm sure Chris can sort that out. Oh, and I forgot to buy anything from Angus, but there's no one to blame for that than myself!
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Re: My Indiecon Experience

Postby Spon » 10:21am on 11 Nov 08

What a great Con!
I love conception, but I spend most slots there either running games or recovering from them. Also,
I'm part of the yellow fleeces, so I'm always "on call" as it were in case there's an emergency game to
run. At Indiecon I was able to play in every slot I wanted to. A con full of great games, great people,
expensive beer and great laughs!

Thursday:
Arrive early with Max, pop to tesco, stop off for a rather nice (if expensive) curry, find the bar closed,
meet up with Mick & the Pompey crew, drink lots of rum during a "game" called warriors (Either drop the rum,
or drop the game!) and spend the evening chatting, having fun and playing a certain game whose name will
not be mentioned.

Friday:
Ominfrey in the morning, interesting, with 2 great mechanics and a "different" background. Too much extraneous
rolling or stuff but at its core a nice system. Enjoyed the game - although it did lead to "rule 4: no in-game sex. It's too dangerous."
being added to our "RPG rules list".

Afternoon:
Played the non-CCG wars of Edahd (or whatever it was called). Interesting and fun, Pre-ordered a copy. Already planning on
using it with figures and real terrain!

Evening:
Impromptu game of freeform capes, featuring Galactus, a squirrel and Aunt May. Brilliant! I believe Max may be writing up some
"rules" Poker with Whitt, Max and Al before turning in around 1.

Saturday:
Morning game of Cursed Empire. Enjoyed this a lot, although we seemed to be incapable rolling normal successes
or failures. Crits and fumbles were the order of the day. Enjoyed the game lots - especially fumbling my first aid and
killing Whitt's character. Jez's ranger being skewered to a wall by a ballista was cool too! And Max his moleskin boots back.

Afternoon:
Mick's HEX game (or HEE as Whitt would call it). A complete hoot! Great game, great players, interesting characters and
we got to kill the Monkey!! Mick's "German running around with a Monkey biting his ar5e" impression has to be seen to be believed!
We got so into the game, I think Mick was slightly annoyed at us using style chips to see who could impress Elaine most, rather than
to move the plot along! :)

Evening:
Cursed Empires (again - this time will backing music)
Enjoyed this (although I was a little tipsy) and got to reprise my roll from earlier in the day. This time
I knew the system so I was happy to wade into combat rather than avoiding it!

Sunday:
Played Duty & honour with the Pompey crew. Great little game - (so good, I bought a copy), easy to pick up,
everyone knows the background (assuming you've seen Sharpe) and with a nice system. Had a good time,
survived and even managed to complete my personal mission!

Afternoon:
Alex's Landston scenario. Jeez this is great. Alex is the most evil, twisted, treacherous and sadistic GM ever
to walk the face of the earth. And I mean this in a good way! I had a great time in this scenario, with a bunch of great players
and lots of decisions to make. Just when you think it can't get any worse, it does. I heartily recommend this scenario. Just
make sure you have some means of calming down afterwards! No dice rolls at all (none were needed) but I did get
to push a VIP (I won't give the game away by saying who) into a latrine and then plunging the entire continent
into war. Top stuff!

Evening - poker. I had a small amount of luck and won all the games. Gained the title "Mr Pocket Pair" ...

Then Monday morning it was back to reality, saying goodbye to some new friends (and old ones!) safe in the knowledge
that I'd be back to do this all again (from behind the GM screen) in 2 months time!
Thanks to all who GMed the games, and thanks to all the players I played with too.
A special thanks to the organisers and volunteers who made everything go smoothly - you guys (& gals)
are the real heroes.
See you all soon!
Cheers,
Spon
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Re: My Indiecon Experience

Postby DigitalMage » 11:08am on 11 Nov 08

IndieCon was definately a lower key affair than Conception, and I worried whether there would be enough games to play in (when I arrived on the Friday afternoon I signed up for anything so I would get at least some games). In the end it seemed that most people arrived Friday evening / Saturday morning and that was when more games went up.

I enjoyed every game I played in, thanks to the GMs and players.

I played in a cartoon evil villain game which was fun even though I had no idea who Invader Zim was (though strangely I recognised Mojo Jo Jo even though I have never seen an episode of Power Puff Girls).

Dying Earth was a fun game too - I think we all enjoyed playing vain, conceited nobles and the game was one where finding just the right hat to buy was quite a challenge :)

Saturday afternoon I finally got to play in Alex's Landston game and it was great, there was some great roleplaying between everyone and the final scene was very dramatic with my character having to make tough decisions over who to trust. And we actually got to make Alex roll some dice (although to be fair it was only to determine who one an inconsequential game of chance :))

Saturday night was when I ran my first ever game of Don't Rest Your Head and I felt it went rather well - all the players portrayed their characters well, there were some shocking scenes (the policewoman springs to mind) and it ended with a bang. Hopefully I managed to ullustrate the madness of the Mad City. I was especially impressed as one of the players had never done any roleplaying before, and DRYH is quite a weird game to make your debut with :)

Sunday morning was when I ran a Pathfinder Society game - apologies to all my players for overrunning - I have learnt some lessons (make all pregens fully statted including faction) and get as much paperwork filled out beforehand. Still I enjoyed the game and hope everyone did too. If you want me to report your results please PM me and I can send out log sheets to those who didn't get them.

Finally I had to leave, a little sad as it went so quickly. However if it goes ahead again next year I will strive to make it again - and this time I will prep more Indie games to run (I still want to run a New Gods of Mankind game and play in some Lacuna, InSpectres and Cold City games).

Thanks to the organisers for making everyone feel welcome and arranging a great con - hopefully it will go from strength to strength.
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Re: My Indiecon Experience

Postby Kaiserjez » 1:52pm on 11 Nov 08

Jez's Indiecon adventure continues....

Friday
After mooching around for a bit Indie Rich said he would run a game of Mechaton for myself and Trey. As always it bought the awesome, I really like this game and will have to add a big bucket of Lego to my christmas wish list.
Last slot of the day we managed to cajole the Stokemon into running a game of Contenders for me, Indie Rich and Trey. This was frickin' unbeleivable and was probably my fave game of the con. I've had people ask me how Contenders could be fun before "That's the one where you all just play boxers right?" Indeed you do but the focus is what brings the awesomeness together in my opinion. Everybody got into their character really quickly and proceded to tell a tale of tragedy and woe where our characters pitifull attempts to rise up from the streets were thwarted at every turn by petty backstabbing and brutal street brawls. Did I enjoy this game so much because my character was the only one who succeded in his dreams and got money, girl, cash etc? Not really, it was all down to the awesome roleplaying and the tension that builds up due to the excellent fight mechanics! And the fact I kicked Stokemon's ass when his character picked a fight with mine in the toilets of a nightclub. Eat porcelain bi-atch!!! :D
Went back to the chalet for snuggle time with Mick.

Saturday
Decided to ditch the refreshing morning walk into town with Mick due to the force 9 gale that was raging outside - only one thing could persuade me to get out of bed this morning - and that was some hot indie roleplaying action!
First up was Cursed Empire ran by Chris. I've had a look at this before and thought the setting looked really nice but the rules! There's so many of them! I must admit I was a bit dissapointed by this slot, not enough was made of the setting in my opinion, it was a bog standard go here get that and bring it back kind of game. Combat rules that are clunky and slow requiring 6or so dice rolls to resolve one hit! If you like crunch in bucketloads and have shares in Bob the diceman's stand then Cursed Empires is for you! However I reckon I'll see if Rich Stokes Savaged version is any better, perhaps a game at conception? :D
Slot 2 went to SLA Industries, ran by the amazing Bantleboy. SLA was one of the first RPG's I really got into but haven't played it for years. And I'm a hopeless fanboy of Max's GM'ing so this one was a no-brainer for me. I think the adventure itself suffered a bit with a few to many bit's that were very SLA specific, if you had no idea about the setting then you probably wouldn't pick up on them. I had a blast though playing a stormer and promptly bought myself the nice shiny hardback edition of the rules.
I wasn't planning on having a game in the last slot - thje days excessive alcohol consumption was begining to take it's toll but I was cajoled into playing another game of Cursed Empire by Max, I think his reasoning went along the lines of I couldn't be sure I didn't like it after just one game. Plus thios one was part of the sound experience or something and had live background music as we played. Once again Chris GM'd. Sorry to everyone involved but I really hated this game, it quickly devolved into nothing more than combat encounter after combat encounter. Followed by a dungeon crawl. It was everything I hate about D&D but with even longer combat sequences. Again no real depth of setting, just straight to the battle map and mini's. Due to tiredness and not having fun I left the game early. I did like the music though, it was a bit distracting at times but I thought it was a good idea overall. Chris, if you run a political intrigue scenario or something that concentrates on the setting of the game then I would give it a go at conception but as it is CE isn't for me at all.

Sunday
After snuggle time was over all to quickly, a quick walk into town for breakfast (hmmm, fresh jam donuts for brekkie!). I was only going to be around for the first session due to my epic train schedule so I was determined to make it a good one. As it was Gregor Hutton was forced to run a game of 3:16! Joint best game of the con for me - another very focused indie game, everybody plays Marines in space out to kill all non-human lifeforms in the galaxy. Lots of laughs, loads of gore and a special personalised rule written in my rulebook by the author of the game!

Overall I had a thoroughly enjoyable weekend - put some faces to names and made some new friends. This con was well run, had a great atmosphere and deserves to go from strength to strength. If it comes back next year I'll definately try and go. :mrgreen:
"And, when the doctor said I didn't have worms any more, that was the happiest day of my life."
Pompey Crew Achievements; Arse Like A Japanese Flag, Harry Redknapp'd, Pompey Social, Crash At Mick's, Spend a Penny, Safety in Numbers, Pass The Arse Gravy, The Jonny Gray's Brother Maneuver, Make Mine A Guinness, The Third Troll, Broken!, Gash Tats, Hello Sailor, Informed judgement, Dedication's what you need, The Fly, It's not trolling if..., Thundercats! Ho!
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Re: My Indiecon Experience

Postby Max Bantleman » 2:22pm on 11 Nov 08

Not got much net access today, so quick post:

Summary: Fookin great :)



Indiecon08 – Con Report
Max Bantleman

Well, Indiecon.
Originally there was some confusion as to what ‘indie’ games were, and whether ‘trad’ gamers (like me) would be welcome or catered for.
A lot of stuff and nonsense as it turned out.
The silly ‘them and us’ thing re trad and indie turned out to be pretty much non-existent and there were games of all types from all systems to suit anyone who went.
A lot of indie games are simply not for me. There is no right or wrong about it: their style, content and gaming mechanics (or lack of) simply do not appeal to me, they do not offer me the opportunity to have a good gaming experience. So I pretty quickly had to put together a cunning plan for why the hell I was going to Indiecon in the first place.
My aims were simple: to not allow hear-say and rumour put me off trying some indie games, to see what all the fuss was about and to give myself a chance to get in to some games that I’d previously heard (and read) a lot of bad things about. Basically to get some real, solid experience which I could then base my opinions on.
(There was also a Plan B to drink a lot and play a lot of poker.)
I ended up playing Cursed Empires, Omnifray, Savage Worlds (Savage Empires?) 3:16 and a lot of poker. I missed out on playing Hex (Hee?) and 4th Ed (Living stuff) and would liked to have played some Spirit of the Century and someone else’s SLA, so still a lot to go back for next year…

Cursed Empire – My previous experience of this (Crimson Empire) had not been good. I wanted to understand the game a bit better to get a final verdict clear on it. The game was run by Chris (thanks Chris) and it was a good solid adventure that suited con play, so we were off to a good start. The mechanics are simple and easy to get at, and from the character sheet I could clearly see where the numbers came from. Applying them when needed was easy as I’m familiar with d100 rolls and it’s a d100 based system. My overriding impression was it was Runequest, which of course it’s not, but that was my clearest and best understood nearest equivalent. The background for Cursed Empires is fantastic and is clearly its main strength. I’m not sure you can really do it justices in con play, but it came across well and we found it easy to role play stuff that was important to us. I felt combat was a bit drawn out, something needs to be put in to allow the character to take a greater chance to break the deadlock and actually hit past a parry. Combat offers a lot of opportunities to fumble / critical, which drastically changes things and makes it feel a bit more opportune than the skills use would suggest it wants to be. Not sure of a ‘fix’ for that, but feels like it needs a tweak. Would I play it again? Yes: it has enough things that are different and unique that it has its own feel and style, yet it is easy to get in to through the rules and is familiar enough to attract a lot of gamers from other systems who’d get in to it in ten minutes flat.

Omnifray – Matt kindly sent me the core rule book and the Expert Manual to review (thanks Matt) and was running the game (thanks Matt ). I had found it hard to get in to the rulebook for a number of reason, most of which I wont go in to here, but I have now managed to write the review, so if you are interested you can read stuff there…
From a con game point of view, it was excellent to have Matt run it: he is clearly so close to it he doesn’t need the rules, yet is a competent GM so can illustrate them through use and explanation. Thing is, there are a lot of rules in Omnifray. A lot. And a lot of tables. Really, a lot. Matt knows his way round the game so we got in to it with relative ease. The scary looking character sheets, with their multitude of things to take in, use and absorb, became familiar as we soon realised there were in act a few ‘key’ stats that were what we needed to focus on. Skills and combat resolution is really simple, using one table that is fast and easy to understand: check one for the ‘yay’ box. Combat has a really clever initiative and ongoing action mechanic that I know is going to be used as inspiration by at least three of us at the table for other games (flattery in the form of, well, I wont say it, but you get the picture ).
Omnifray is set in the Enshrouded Lands, which are incredibly well detailed and full of stuff to explore, the theme of the setting is very good for evoking atmosphere and as a campaign would offer a GM a very wide stage to play on. I found the mechanics a little bit clunky, and got lost with the tables and options / rolls for so many things: felt like it should have been quicker and more flowing for a GM. And I suspect it will be for any GM that uses Omnifray: first thing any GM I know will do is focus on the core mechanic and trim down table use. Feats play such a huge role, as do temporary fate points and energy points, again, they may be among the first casualties in most GMs running of the game.
Omnifray felt like a system that was trying to do too much, when in fact it didn’t really have to try very hard at all: the core bits are very good and would work stripped down…
Would I play it again? Yes. Now I know the core mechanic is as easy to use as it is, but I’d want a more role playing intense game, exploring the background: less combat.

Savage Worlds – Savage Worlds was played as a conversion of Cursed Empires, Savage Empires indeed! Rich ran the game (thanks Rich!) and is the driver (as far as I know) in writing and converting the Cursed stuff to Savage. I have no experience of the Savage stuff, but found it very, very easy to understand and get in to: dynamic system to support dynamic role playing. I sensed a bit of a win here: Thargos (the superb Cursed Empire background and world) with a simpler, more dynamic system: genius!
Great scenario, well GM’d by Rich, that offered all the things a good con game should. We used pretty much all the rules, well, all the key core stuff, had a good chance to explore the characters and the setting, and killed some ninjas… really good stuff. 
This seemed to me to be a good example of where games can cross fertilise: adding in a different yet still viable and interesting mechanic in to a game to make it more user friendly and more prone to dynamic action.
Would I play it again? Yes. I’d go out my way to play and will be buying as soon as is available to run a few games.

3:16 – Greg was dragged out of a comfy bed to run for us (thanks Greg! ) and he went at it full tilt. I don’t know if he runs all his games with the same fervent energy he ran ours, I suspect he does: he wrote it and is clearly passionate about its themes and style. 3:16 is what I think of as a real ‘indie’ game: a core mechanic that is completely alien to me, with a rules light (to say the least!) system that relies on player narration for most things. Not normally what I’d see as my cup of tea. 3:16 is fantastic. Fast, simple, direct, a hell of a lot of fun and with room to be played more than once. There are enough rules and mechanics to make it ‘gamey’, yet not enough to slow you down or get in the way of the drive for the players to dictate the frantic pace of the game. There is real possibility for character development over a number of games and ‘campaign play’ is a real goal. Aliens, Starship Troopers (the book!), both were there on the tabletop for me, all via the simplest mechanic I’d seen and the skimpiest of playing ‘maps’. Brilliant stuff.
Would I play it again? Hell yeah! I bought it and will be playing and running it as and when opportunity presents.

As far as I can tell, the con was a total success.
There were a lot of people there, not sure of exact numbers, but it was far busier than I thought it would be, and bearing in mind that a few people had to drop out through unforeseen circumstances, there would have been far more.
The games on offer were varied: a good mix of the games that represent the ‘indie’ spectrum. The Living games drew their players, as I suspect they will at any con, and other ‘trad’ games were available as a fix for their players.
Chris and the organisers (is there anything Andrew doesn’t help organise?! ) did a fabulous job, it all went swimmingly for players. It may well have been a classic example of the apparent serenity of a gliding swan, but from my point of view it all seemed almost effortless.

So. Did I actually learn anything new from Indiecon? Yes. Did I have stuff I already knew re-enforced? Yes.
I learned that indie games are far more than a collection of ‘excuses’ for games. There are a lot of good games mechanics out there that are unique and push the players towards a much more intense role playing experience: we like those. There are some that are just an excuse to sit around and talk stuff out for a gaming experience: I don’t like those but can see that the fact they offer an opportunity and a setting makes them attractive to some gamers.
I already knew that any game will be a relative success if you get a good GM and good players at the table. Seems obvious, but I think a lot of people forget that it’s a shared responsibility of those at the table to drive the game to a good experience (a social contract you say? ).

So all in all, a roaring success for me. As it was for the vast majority who attended I suspect.
I drank far too much beer and scotch. Played a lot of poker. Got to play some very good games, pick up some stuff courtesy of the raffle (huzzar!) and met some people that made me realise why I’m so passionate about role playing.

Many thanks to the organisers, Chris, Andrew, John and all those that I’ve forgotten: the work they all put it was fantastic and made the whole con a tremendously enjoyable experience.
Thanks to the GMs, especially the ones that ran for me: they were all competent GMs with a great grasp of the rules they were running, made playing an engaging exploration of the game.
Thanks to those that played in games I was in: I felt there was a great awareness of the need for players to facilitate each others enjoyment, and I wasn’t disappointed once, everyone got in to it and played their socks off.
Thanks to those that played in my SLA game: hope you enjoyed it. There seemed to be many laughs as much as there was carnage and confusion: that’s SLA for you! 
Thanks to John and Whitt: the best people to attend a con with. Simply awesome drinking, poker and chalet buddies as well as good commentators and thought provokers on games played and run.
Special mention and thanks to Galactus, Aunt May and the Squirrel for providing the fodder for the con’s running joke (running joke you say…?)
Max BantlemanUser avatar

Re: My Indiecon Experience

Postby UberMunchkin » 2:46pm on 11 Nov 08

So, quick summation from me.

Awesome con, lots of good gaming and a fantastic atmosphere.

A big thank you to the folks who put it together and kept it running and I'm almost certain we'll be back for next years.
"If you stat it, they will kill it."
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Re: My Indiecon Experience

Postby Omnifray » 6:44pm on 11 Nov 08

Max Bantleman wrote:Cursed Empire – ... it is easy to get in to through the rules and is familiar enough to attract a lot of gamers from other systems who’d get in to it in ten minutes flat.


And indeed I got into it in ten minutes flat - the basic drift of the rules system was immediately apparent -

you have ability scores, with bonuses, very much like D&D
...(slightly more straightforward numbers, and 9 or 10 ability scores)
roll equal to or less than ability score for an ability score check, again like D&D
you have percentage-scored skills, like Basic Roleplaying, including combat skills
you roll to hit, have a randomly determined hit location, and your opponent has a % parry/dodge chance, like WHFRP
your hit locations have hitpoints, like Durham University Treasure Trap (or Labyrinthe) (LARP systems)
your armour gives you a separate deflect chance (not seen that before, but easy enough to understand)
your class gives you a list of spells, and you spend magic points to cast them
...(like Dragon Warriors, or Labyrinthe, or Treasure Trap)
CharGen I don't really know much about but basically I think you have points-based CharGen but you spend some or most of your points on your character class, and you get "cast levels" (class levels? spellcasting levels?)


Personally, I would prefer every action resolution check to be based on a combination of how good you
are at your stuff and how difficult the task is or how skilled your opponent is (i.e. "opposed rolls"
as some might think of them), but percentage skills like Cursed Empire's (with difficulty modifiers
for particularly easy or difficult tasks) are generally fine in play. Where Max mentions the
parrying chances being too high, that's what happens when you let people have non-opposed parry chances
and then let them have high % stats - my character had a 59% hit chance and a 69% parry chance or something like that; I think
Chris thought that was on the high side, but I was doing much less damage on a hit than the others
were.

Chis's system mitigates the high % parry problem by saying you have a one-tenth-of-your-skill chance
of a critical, and if you get a critical hit, it needs a critical parry to stop it. I think the maths works
out that if you have two opponents each with a 90% skill in attacking and in dodging/parrying,
then roughly one blow in six will land on target, and roughly half of those will be critical hits
which will often be knock-out blows. The trouble is, though, that there is still armour deflection
on top of that, which means that it could take twenty turns before one guy kills the other - perhaps
more. Now that's not unrealistic, but it seems a bit slow for a tabletop RPG.

I should say, I don't know if you can get 90% skill in Cursed Empires. I suspect you can't, or not
very easily. But the thing is, I like a system where the Yoris the Warlord Master has a far better than 90%
chance of hitting Guffy the Peasant in combat, so 90% or even 99% ought to be possible.

I should hold my hands up to the fact that in my own game Omnifray, with two equally matched guys with
shields, light weapons and heavy armour, many blows could also be traded before the fight ends, though
a very different picture emerges if you use double-handed weapons, even with plate armour.

What minor fixes would I propose, keeping Cursed Empires basically as it is?

Firstly I would increase the chance of a critical. Probably by +10% or at least by doubling it
to one-fifth-of-skill instead of one-tenth. Using the latter option, even if you had two opponents
with a 90% skill chance, roughly two-in-nine blows would land on target - so the hit
rate at that level of skill increases by half of what it is under the current system.
Moving down to a more realistic 70% skill, the number of blows on target would
increase by about a seventh of what they are under the current system. The critical
hits also do more damage.

To speed up chargen, instead of having a separately worked out chance of a critical
hit or critical miss, I would say this:- if you roll doubles on your % dice (11, 22, 33, 44,
55, 66, 77, 88, 99 or 100) or a straight multiple of 10 (10, 20, 30, 40 etc.), your result,
be it a hit or a miss, is the critical version. Job done. So I have a 70% hit chance, so if I roll
10, 11, 20, 22, 30, 33, 40, 44, 50, 55, 60, 66 or 70, it's a critical hit; if I roll 77, 80, 88,
90, 99 or 100 it's a possible critical fumble. That works out as a 13% chance of a critical
hit (up from 7% currently) and a 6% chance of a critical fumble (up from 3% currently if
I understand correctly). But also rig the critical fumbles table so that most of the time
nothing ACTUALLY goes wrong. You slip slightly, look silly, but immediately recover, no
actual penalty.

Also for me the armour deflection chances are just too high. Unless you're wearing
solid metal armour the chances of actually deflecting a slashing or bludgeoning blow
completely or stopping it dead should be pretty low. But wearing light armour should
not affect your chances of dodging or parrying by very much. Even in field plate a
maximum penalty of 9%; in chain maybe 4%; in soft leather, 1%.

Maybe those ideas will help?

Max Bantleman wrote:
Omnifray – Matt kindly sent me the core rule book and the Expert Manual to review (thanks Matt) and was running the game (thanks Matt ). I had found it hard to get in to the rulebook for a number of reason, most of which I wont go in to here, but I have now managed to write the review, so if you are interested you can read stuff there…
From a con game point of view, it was excellent to have Matt run it: he is clearly so close to it he doesn’t need the rules, yet is a competent GM so can illustrate them through use and explanation. Thing is, there are a lot of rules in Omnifray. A lot. And a lot of tables. Really, a lot. Matt knows his way round the game so we got in to it with relative ease. The scary looking character sheets, with their multitude of things to take in, use and absorb, became familiar as we soon realised there were in act a few ‘key’ stats that were what we needed to focus on. Skills and combat resolution is really simple, using one table that is fast and easy to understand: check one for the ‘yay’ box. Combat has a really clever initiative and ongoing action mechanic that I know is going to be used as inspiration by at least three of us at the table for other games (flattery in the form of, well, I wont say it, but you get the picture ).
Omnifray is set in the Enshrouded Lands, which are incredibly well detailed and full of stuff to explore, the theme of the setting is very good for evoking atmosphere and as a campaign would offer a GM a very wide stage to play on. I found the mechanics a little bit clunky, and got lost with the tables and options / rolls for so many things: felt like it should have been quicker and more flowing for a GM. And I suspect it will be for any GM that uses Omnifray: first thing any GM I know will do is focus on the core mechanic and trim down table use. Feats play such a huge role, as do temporary fate points and energy points, again, they may be among the first casualties in most GMs running of the game.
Omnifray felt like a system that was trying to do too much, when in fact it didn’t really have to try very hard at all: the core bits are very good and would work stripped down…
Would I play it again? Yes. Now I know the core mechanic is as easy to use as it is, but I’d want a more role playing intense game, exploring the background: less combat.


Eager to see the review, where is it?

Basically Max all you need to do is spend a couple of weeks solid playing Omnifray and you'll be sorted ;-)

Let me know if you have the time, as I am keen to start the Church of Omnifray. My Will Be Done. :-)

There are only two tables that you really need to look at which I would really call "Tables" in the proper sense. OK there are a few boxes and things but mostly they're just full of set-up info for when you write out the character sheet, like weapon stats, etc. It doesn't seem right to think of them as tables! But then, I'm biased, obviously.
Looking for playtesters for the Implodarc Tabletop RPG. If you'd like to playtest it and post public feedback or an AP thread, ask me for the private link to download it, or I can e-mail it to you. At least compared to my usual stuff, it's meant to be simple and quick to play with quick CharGen.
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Explaining Omnifray

Postby Omnifray » 6:53pm on 11 Nov 08

P.S. maybe it would help people "get" the Omnifray concepts if there were
a question-and-answer thread on ukroleplayers.com forum or something
like that - what do you think? For instance, you start by asking a question,
I try to explain it, and if you don't understand the answer, ask again.

- Matt (feeling evangelical about Omnifray)
Looking for playtesters for the Implodarc Tabletop RPG. If you'd like to playtest it and post public feedback or an AP thread, ask me for the private link to download it, or I can e-mail it to you. At least compared to my usual stuff, it's meant to be simple and quick to play with quick CharGen.
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Re: Explaining Omnifray

Postby dpmcalister » 7:02pm on 11 Nov 08

Omnifray wrote:P.S. maybe it would help people "get" the Omnifray concepts if there were
a question-and-answer thread on ukroleplayers.com forum or something
like that - what do you think? For instance, you start by asking a question,
I try to explain it, and if you don't understand the answer, ask again.

- Matt (feeling evangelical about Omnifray)

If you want your own sub-forum for Omnifray, just let me know and I'll get it arranged :)
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Omnifray forum?

Postby Omnifray » 7:15pm on 11 Nov 08

That would be very cool, if there are people who are willing to post the questions!

Max? Mick? A.N.Other?

Cheers

- Matt

(P.S. thanks!)
Looking for playtesters for the Implodarc Tabletop RPG. If you'd like to playtest it and post public feedback or an AP thread, ask me for the private link to download it, or I can e-mail it to you. At least compared to my usual stuff, it's meant to be simple and quick to play with quick CharGen.
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