This was the first Nerdly Beach Party gathering after a long break, organized by Joshua Bishop-Roby. I again attended with my son Milo (now 13). It was again at San Simeon State Park, as has usually been the case. This time we had twenty adults, one teen, and three small children.
I facilitated this game, using pre-made characters and situation - my Shajar-al-Durr scenario. The idea was to preload relationships and conflicts.
Milo participated by asking questions, but dropped out before taking his turn at storytelling. I started with Zara's story about a lonely lion (Cassim), and a baboon (Wahid) and beautiful hippo (Ismalia) who guided him when he was lost. It turned into a test of whether he would respect and defend his new flock as his pride arrived to attack - and he eventually did, though it was close.
Ismalia told her story about a far-away kingdom where the stars lit up dark things beneath. The king (Wahid) there had a pious wife (Zara) and an ambitious vizier (Cassim). Eventually, the king turned bad - and the vizier was locked in a tower, and the stars began to wink out as darkness took the land. Wahid told his story, but I've forgotten the details except that it was quite military.
It was late, so we ended after only three stories, although no one had achieved their ambition or freedom. Still, I hope it was a decent taste of the game for those who hadn't tried it yet.
Saturday morning was unfortunately full of fog and drizzle. There was a lot of chatting over breakfast and post-breakfast, and I also got in a game of Magic: The Gathering with Milo and Cameron.
In the afternoon, I played a game of Fiasco with two new players and two experienced players. We used the basic set Main Street playset, and ended up with a story centered on a man cheating on his wife with another man - and his father-in-law who was deeply in debt and planning to rob some drug money.
The basic story was Leslie was cheating on his wife with the ex-con. Meanwhile, I was playing the father-in-law who hired the ex-con at his used car lot, but was secretly deeply in debt, and planning to rob the local drug dealers. Gretchen's hoodlum was looking to blackmail me over this. I played the father-in-law as a total scumbag and rabidly homophobic to boot.
The end was rather unusual for Fiasco. I think all of us liked Cameron's slow ex-con, and he had four or five white dice and no black dice. In turn, Gretchen and I had mostly black dice, and Morgan had a mix. From rolling, all the characters had good endings except for Leslie, who went to jail for his wife's murder - when really she survived her fall off the damn and ran off with the hoodlum with the drug money. My character lost his business, but didn't get into trouble for his dabbling into crime, and ended polishing his Employee-of-the-Month picture at the car lot - now owned by the ex-con.
This was a straight run of Sagas of the Icelanders run by Colin. The players and/or characters were:
In our setup , we determined that the matriarch was mother to Magnus and grandmother to Thordis. Bjalfi was an old friend and neighbor who had come to Iceland.
Osk / | \ Bjalfi Magnus Stein Sigrid | | | Ragnhild Ingrid Thordis
The unusual thing about our setup was that there were four unmarried women - Ingrid, Thordis, their young aunt Sigrid, and Bjalfi's daughter Ragnhild. It was an interesting setup, althought it seemed a little odd to me, because I was used to vikings having large families, all living together in their longhouses.
The start of the conflict was when the brothers Magnus and Stein quietly moved the markers to work some of Bjalfi's land as their own. Then Thordis' aunt Sigrid ran off for unclear reasons. Thordis sought her at Bjalfi's - and there met a rich new settler, Skallagrim, who came to Bjalfi's temple and demanded that he buy it. Thordis duelled with him and defeated him, and he left in humiliation.
We learned that Sigrid was going to run off with an outlaw, Surt, who was with another outlaw neighbor, Skeggi, who had tried to kill Bjalfi over his judgement. Magnus argued with Bjalfi that he wasn't working his land and should put it to good use, so Bjalfi swore to work his own land. Bjalfi tempted fate in working his land, and ended up dying. That time, Skallagrim returned to raid the farm. He and six men came out - Thordis used her berserker fury to chase them off. Magnus helped as well but was killed. Thordis chased Skallagrim, and was stabbed by him, but survived. He left in his boat carrying Sigrid and Surt.
Played a few rounds of the storytelling card game Once Upon a Time with Cameron, Milo, and myself.
During Saturday, Milo played Dungeon World in the afternoon, and Beat to Quarters in the evening.
As usual, this was an excellent time outside of the gaming - including the endless supply of bacon in the morning, wandering the park with Milo, sharing drinks with everyone, and trivia games and other talk around the campfire.