KublaCon 2012

         This was my second year of attending KublaCon after a long absence. I didn't do any real evening gaming because I was with my son Milo (age 12 at the time), and I ran two events. Thus, I was there mostly as a game master and parent, rather than as a player. The games I ran/played in were:


Young Players Room

I spent a little time in the Young Players Room, and my son spent a bunch more. It was well-attended, well-run, and had a pretty good selection of games.


"Shadow Centurions Assemble"

Game system:

Homebrew LARP

Start time:

SAT, 11:00am

Category:

LARP
Duration:
4 Hours

# of Players:

16

GM / Judge:

John Kim

Description:

In the 1930s, the Shadow Centurions are a secret society of pulp villains. They are meeting on an uncharted South Seas island to plot their upcoming plans, and different factions will vie for the backing of the league. This is a live-action game for all ages in the spirit of the pulps and Dr. Horrible.

This was an original LARP I had come up with, inspired by the pulps and loosely based on the background of the Spirit of the Century tabletop RPG. Most of the characters, though, were taken directly from original pulps.

I thought this run went very well. We were missing 5 of the original 16 characters, which changed the dynamic - but not in a bad way. I introduced some additional tension by the intrusion of The Shadow as a mostly-invisible NPC. The game broke down as the factions turned on Doctor Methuselah using the Crystal Skull, but Professor Moriarty and Methuselah escaped in the end through a secret tunnel. Gorilla Khan pounded on Fu Manchu for a bit, and I can't quite remember who came out on top in the end.

I thought it went well for my first run. There were interesting takes on the different characters - everyone did a good job, I think.


Marvel Heroic: Runaways and More

Game system:

Marvel Heroic RPG

Start time:

SUN, 10:00am

Category:

RPG
Duration:
4 Hours

# of Players:

5

GM / Judge:

John Kim

Description:

Try out the new Marvel Heroic RPG with new teenage heroes - beginners and kids welcome! The Runaways are the kids of supervillains, bonded by fighting their parent's evil - plus other young heroes of the past decade from Academy X. This is a kid-friendly event and an introduction to the system, with characters different from the old slugfest stars.
CHAR: Provided    LVLS: --   

This was my run of the newly-released Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Game. It was only my second time GMing it. I had signed up to run a game of this before the book had actually been released - because my son was a big Marvel comics fan, and I thought it would be interesting. Once I got the game, I ran the sample adventure ("Breakout") off the cuff with my son and some of my friends. I was quite disappointed in that game design. We felt that for superheroic action, the action was too slow - due to fiddly mechanics steps and choices. As a result, I hadn't run it again with my friends. Instead, I planned how to do things a little differently on my own. This was my first attempt to retry.

I had stated that the game would have Academy X characters - but making good characters was rather tough, so I stuck to just the Runaways. I had picked the Runaways because they're a contrast to decades-old heroes like Captain America and Spiderman. They have less slugfests, and more teenage angst. Also, mechanically their characters sheets are a little less busy than the big-star heroes. The players and their characters were:

I thought everyone was excellent - but especially Kristin who was picked for the prize at the end, for her super-cynical Gert. As noted, the Runaways are a girl-dominated team, so most of the guy players were playing cross-gender.

This game we good use of emotional conflict mechanics - which were hard to do in the Breakout scenario. The game was based on an alternate version of how the team fought their parents, by a switch where their friend Alex's betrayal was revealed earlier. So it started with a big fight with a SWAT team (physical) and Alex (emotional). The remainder went basically as well as I could have hoped, but the action scenes were still rather fiddly. I am running this again at Gen Con, and I'll be considered some house rules to streamline the action.

Spoilers below:

At the start, the Runaways defeated the SWAT team, then stole a SWAT van (putting the Deinonychus Old Lace inside). They holed up at a beach house of Karolina's family, and there interrogated Alex. There was a neat moment when Chase sent out Molly and Karolina to get some food - because those were the two most likely to object to harsh interrogation. Alex then explained that those two's parents were planning to kill all the others - to which Gert curtly replied, "Good!" They eventually found their way out to the beach, and with a great success on her spell made it down to the underwater lair and thwarted the summoning.


Gobble Boggle...

Game system:

Gamma World

Start time:

SUN, 10:00am

Category:

RPG
Duration:
6 Hours

# of Players:

8

GM / Judge:

Saul Morales

Description:

Gobble, Boggle! A rite of passage, the QuinRom will signify the first hunt of the year. The first day of Spring starts with the Gobbles, Gobbles migration to their mating grounds. You will be the first 8 members of the QuinRom to hunt the Gobble, Gobbles.
Ages 8+ CHAR:Provided LVLS:1st level GM: Saul Morales

I didn't play in this, but my son had a good time playing. It was his introduction to Gamma World. From what I hear, he was the voice of Reason, struggling to keep a crowd of other kids from attacking everything just because it's there.


Intro to Monsterhearts

Game system:

Monsterhearts

Start time:

SUN, 3:00pm

Category:

RPG
Duration:
4 Hours

# of Players:

4

GM / Judge:

Monte Lim

Description:

High school sucks. For most kids, their feelings are out of control. People treat them with indifference at best, with scorn at worst. But you have an advantage; you are a monster. A vampire, a werewolf, a ghoul, a fae; you are not like the others. You have power. / / Except if others found out, you'd be feared, hated, possessed, or destroyed. And you still won't be able to find a date to the dance. / / Yeah, high school bites. / / MonsterHearts is a teen, horror drama RPG in the tradition of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Vampire Diaries, Twilight, True Blood, Misfits, and Ginger Snaps. You play sexy, dangerous teenage monsters trying to survive high school cruelties and their own darker natures.
Mature themes expected. / M<3! 4EVAH! CHAR:Provided LVLS: GM: Monte Lin

This was my second game of Monsterhearts, a newly released game - a variant based on Apocalypse World in the genre of Ginger Snaps or The Twilight Saga. I had played previously at the release party for the game in Oakland, where the author had come down. In that game I had played a "Queen" archetype - in that case a popular bi boy named Raymond. (The GM was Jackson, with other players Colin, Sev, and Karen.) For this game, the players were:

We collectively decided that the setting was a small town in Rhode Island, Ansett, in a prestigious private boarding school. For my character Zed, I chose the origin "disturbed" - from which I made up that he had drowned in a shipwreck with his family decades earlier, and only lately broke free of the wreck to come to the surface. J created a selkie who had grown up in the sea but was rejected by her mother, sent to the land. JC created a warlock - a snotty rich kid whose real father had been a dangerous cult leader (the Cult of the Crimson Wave), and he looked to be folowing in his father's footsteps. John created the Molly, a damaged, clingy girl sent here by her rich, sweet family in New York.

One of the best things about both games was the setup, based around creating a bunch of NPCs marked by their place in a class seating chart. In this case, we also did a lot of setting up relationships to each other. I decided that Zed's parents were in the cult, and the shipwreck happened around when Anthony was born - while also Rianna had seen Zed come out of the sea. Finally, we set up an attraction between Molly and Zed.

A bunch of drama happened, naturally. I was taken by surprise by the Mortal's Sex Move, which I hadn't realized before. It is terrible and a strong commentary on the genre. Zed was scary to play as a flesh-eating monster, and everyone did a great job with their characters. I can't remember how it ended, unfortunately.


Giant Shadows Over Camelot

Milo and I played a version of the boardgame Shadows Over Camelot using a large 6' by 4' miniatures box, complete with artistically rendered 3D terrain for all of the paths in the boardgame. This was our first time playing this cooperative boardgame. It was a lot of fun, enhanced by the board. We did not have a traitor player, as it turns out, and we barely managed a win.


John H. Kim <jhkim-at-darkshire-dot-net>
Last modified: Sun Jun 2 13:18:12 2013