KublaCon 2013

         This was my third year of attending KublaCon after a long absence. I was on my own this year, and got to play in a bunch of games. The games I was in were:


The Auction of Desires, Dreams and Damnation

Game system
L.A.R.P.S
Start time:
FRI, 6:00 PM
Category
LARP
Duration
6 Hours
Event ID
09001
Location
Sandpble-D
# of Players:
24
GM / Judge
GM Assists
Eli Black
Bill Whitmore
Lydia Richardson
Description
“The Nightside, that sick magical city within a city, London's best kept secret. It's always night in the Nightside, always three o'clock in the morning, the hour of the wolf when most people die and most babies are born. That part of the night where it's always darkest just before the dawn, and the dawn never comes.” Simon Green

Welcome to the Nightside's Great Auction Hall, where you can get anything for the right price! Need that certain special reagent? Want to own THE Maltese Falcon? Want to peruse the unusual, the weird, the uncanny and the deadly? Come to the Great Auction Hall this weekend and see all that we have to offer! Special this week, a unique one-of-a-kind item to be revealed at the time of the show. Come one, come all and, most importantly, come with money!

*This is an Urban Fantasy world, costumes are not required, but certainly appreciated. Beginners are welcome, Mature themes.

Knowledge of the Nightside series by Simon Green is not necessary to play this game. For those unfamiliar with the term Urban Fantasy, similar series include: Dresden Files, True Blood (Sookie Stackhouse series), Greywalker series and so forth.

For costuming purposes, modern day with fantasy flair is the best description of the world. Certainly the above series can be a guideline.
TROUPE:Gamer Eye Designs
C/E Rating
2/B    Complexity = Average / Experience = Some

This was a fun theater-style larp, set in the world of an urban fantasy series I was not familiar with. I played a hired assassin who had accidentally time-travelled from the Southern U.S. before the Civil War. I didn't have a lot of hooks other than one person who owed me money and an item I wanted in the auction, but I had a lot of bad attitude. I avoided the Southern accent, but otherwise had fun playing up the brash assassin convinced he was the toughest guy in the room. Some common plot devices to note:

Highlights for me were when some shadowy figures tried to steal items including Dr. Jekyll's perfected formula. I helped stop them, then immediately drank the formula. I took two contracts, the second on the first person who hired me. Unfortunately, the first turned out to be the toughest old lady in the world (secretly undead, as it turned out) - so I had to back down. In the end, I didn't get win my auction bid, but I sold my soul to a devil for more power to track down my targets.

Everyone who played was excellent. I liked being a bad guy, but I did feel bad about killing PCs - because that kicks them out of the game. I think this is a common problem in larps with violence, that you want there to be consequences, but it sucks to be kicked out of the game. I don't think there is a general solution, but it is something to ponder.

This used a version of the L.A.R.P.S. system used by a number of games in the area. It is a mostly straightforward system with three attributes on a coarse scale of 1-3. Resolution is by rock-paper-scissors, where a one-point stat advantage breaks ties, and a two-point advantage is an automatic win. I had 9 abilities, nicely printed up with their keywords and a 2-4 sentences of description on little slips of paper. That is definitely on the complex side to be sorting through in a one-off game. Also, unfortunately, the potion mechanically made me worse at fighting even though I was described as an eight-foot tall savage. I had massive brawn, but with decreased dexterity I was worse at landing a blow, and my punches still did less damage than my shooting, and I wasn't any tougher.


Guns & Glamour Playtest

Guns & Glamour Playtest
Game system
Guns & Glamour
Start time:
SAT, 9:00 AM
Category
RPG
Duration
5 Hours
Event ID
22013
Location
5052
# of Players:
6
GM / Judge
John Kim
Description
Play redcaps, trolls, pixies, and other faerie immigrants to 1920s Chicago, where mobster violence threatens Jazz Age ambitions. This is a playtest of a new Noir genre hack of Monsterhearts and Apocalypse World, currently being written by Mickey Schulz. A civil war in the summerlands ended with faeries of all sorts escaping as refugees to southern Wisconsin in 1922. As waves of immigrants on the bottom rung of society often do, many fae turned to organized crime. Characters could include a goblin moll, pixie bootlegger, redcap bartender, or various other newcomers to gangland Chi-town.

This is an adult game that includes dark sides of both gangster life and faery myth. Rules will be explained and characters created in the session. CHAR:Provided LVLS:
C/E Rating
1/A    Complexity = Simple / Experience = None

This was my third playtest of this game, played first with the author at AmberCon NorthWest, then GMed at DunDraCon, and GMed again here. It is derived from Monsterhearts and Apocalypse World, with the main added dimension that people mix choice of a Fae bloodline and choice of a 1920s gangster archetype. For this run, we had two pairs of bloodlines in the line up. The players and their characters were:

We established that this was a Fae gang - that Underhill was a cryptic boss, and that they hung out at the 5th Street Bridge Club, which had its entrance actually under the bridge, making it natural for there to be troll bouncers. We established various NPCs. As GM, I noted that Hagmar was absolute in his loyalty to the boss, and Mickey was also clear that her heart belonged to daddy. For my moves, I threw in a bit of mystery - that there were three out-of-towners coming in, but the instructions were highly unclear. There were these out-of-towners to check on, and then figuring out what they were doing here. There was various side trouble as well, like Mickey's jealousy of other women that Underhill was seeing.

In my previous two games, we had club owners who were acting as the boss - while here I had a lieutenant and a legbreaker working for an NPC boss. That definitely changed the dynamics. Still, the action was a ton of fun, and everyone was good in their characters - and the dynamics of the pixie pair and redcap pair were cool. It turned out that Underhill as a Sidhe was gathering forces to re-establish a noble Seelie court, with privileged place given to trolls and pixies, while tossing out the independents and putting other fae in their place. (This echoed the racial theme of the last game, and I wasn't quite as satisfied with it, but it worked as a device well enough.) Most of them split up and skipped town, except for Mickey who made up with her boyfriend Underhill.


A State of Flux

Game system
GM Fiat
Start time:
SAT, 6:00 PM
Category
LARP
Duration
6 Hours
Event ID
49001
Location
Sandpble-D
# of Players:
20
GM / Judge
GM Assists
Jarys Maragopoulos
Mike Fatum
Mae Linh Fatum
Description
Genre: nano-punk/Urban fantasy/conspiracy
A tense meeting at the White House between the President, an Interfaith council, and various nanotech companies is interrupted as a nanotechnological crisis strikes the nation. Will ubiquitous secret societies (Illuminati, Sangha, the Guild) allow for some salvation or will the eternal chess game be played onward as the world marches into a STATE OF FLUX.sealed chamber as nanite constructed apparitions rage across the continent, attacking everyone in sight. Will the ubiquitous Secret societies allow for some salvation to be discovered? Or will the eternal chess game be played onward as the world marches into a STATE OF FLUX. TROUPE:Ace of Geeks
C/E Rating
2/A    Complexity = Average / Experience = None
More Info

The Ace of Geeks Podcast and LARP troupe

This was a large larp structured around a near-future nanotech crisis, with the U.S. President and cabinet members as well as various business representatives, press, and observers. It had several conspiracies, and in the end turned out to have mystic elements as well as the sci-fi nanotech. It was structured into a few days, with short breaks representing night time where we were out-of-character. There was a fairly involved abstract currency of points that could be gained by powers or achieving goals, and could be banked at the end of certain days.

My character was secretly the head of the Guild - a collection of rich leaders seen by others as plutocrats, though my character was described as libertarian and secretly dedicated to the downfall of all governments. This was a position of responsibility, but a major part my effort was on keeping our activities secret - which I found less satisfying overall.


Vikings & Skraelings - 1092

Young Player Friendly, Teen Room
Game system
Custom LARP
Start time:
SUN, 12:00 PM
Category
LARP
Duration
4 Hours
Event ID
79003
Location
Bayside A
# of Players:
12
GM / Judge
John Kim
Description
Icelandic settlers of the viking tradition long ago settled in Greenland and North America. In this alternate history, a few hardy settlers cooperated with some local people and flourished, and now their grandchildren are meeting with local leaders to chart their future. Hosted at the longhouse of an Icelandic elder, leaders from two local groups are meeting to discuss an allied attack on their mutual enemies.

This is a live-acton event for all ages, inspired by history and Icelandic sagas.
C/E Rating
1/A    Complexity = Simple / Experience = None

Unfortunately, this game didn't get to run. There were 11 sign-ups on the sheet, but I had four players a little after noon, which wasn't enough to run the game. I waited until about 12:25, then cancelled it. As it turned out, four others came by recruited by a friend about five minutes later.


Race to San Francisco

Game system
Showdown with Mars!
Start time:
SUN, 1:00 PM
Category
RPG
Duration
4 Hours
Event ID
72009
Location
3052
# of Players:
6
GM / Judge
Damon Gregory
Description
A mysterious device has been recovered from the Barton gang and they want it back. After two weeks on the run, getting away just ahead of the gang, the professor and his assistant have found a sheriff who has offered to help get them and the device to San Francisco. All they need now are a few good volunteers to escort them to safety.

This is a Play Test scenario for the forthcoming RPG, Showdown with Mars! CHAR:Provided
C/E Rating
2/A    Complexity = Average / Experience = None
More Info

Showdown with Mars! on Facebook

This was a playtest of a new RPG system still in development, run by the author. I had picked up a copy of the first draft playtest system a few months earlier in a package with two other Old-West-themed games, together called Project Sagebrush.

There were pregenerated characters, and I played the tough ranch hand, good with horses and guns. There were five or six attributes and binary skills, fairly standard RPG mechanics using 2d6. An interesting feature was how hero points were represented. Each player got a wooden cylinder with bullet casings. To spending a hero point to modify your roll, you took out a casing and tossed it into the middle of the table. This resulting in a satisfyingly thematic pile of casings in the middle of the table as the action got more difficult.

The scenario was fair, but could have used more threatening and interesting aliens. Other feedback went to the GM/author.


The Weight Of The Galaxy

Game system
L.A.R.P.S
Start time:
SUN, 6:00 PM
Category
LARP
Duration
7 Hours
Event ID
89001
Location
Sandpble-D
# of Players:
30
GM / Judge
GM Assists
Dylan Gregory
Aaron Lopez
David Oppenheimer
Jenny Grohol
Description
Sci-Fi Setting. The laws of physics have changed, throwing the galaxy into chaos. As the universe spins out of control, some report that even death has no meaning. While the politicians squabble about what to do, the Time Defense Initiative has taken initiative and gathered a group of individuals who can come up with a solution to the problem before it destroys all civilization. Costuming not required but greatly appreciated.

For those who played in Gamer Geekus's 2011 "Steam and Brimstone" or/and 2012 "The Price of Order" this is the conclusion to that story. TROUPE:Gamer Geekus
C/E Rating
1/A    Complexity = Simple / Experience = None

This was an intriguing larp set in a science fiction universe in the midst of a galactic crisis. One of the items that I thought worked very well was that people got to decide what their own alien appearance was - making for highly varied aliens. I played an ancient and powerful energy being with no manipulators, which I described as being a 7 foot tall column of red light. I was highly condescending towards material beings, and walked around with my arms under a suit jacket and with extremely stiff body language. In retrospect, this was perfectly suited toward being high status. I was trying to convince others that I was the only one suited to handle the vast energies involved in fixing the crisis. There was explicit time travel that was being investigated, but secretly there were also a number of supernatural agents who were putting together a number of artifacts, I think.

I tend to have trouble with genre mashing - throwing together sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and other elements. This one worked well, though, and I enjoyed playing a 7 foot column of light a lot.


John H. Kim <jhkim-at-darkshire-dot-net>
Last modified: Mon Jun 24 22:24:54 2013