SMC at AmberCon NorthWest 2006

         The following is my con report and play notes from my second game of Star, Moon, and Cross, played as a variant set in Zelazny's Amber universe at AmberCon NorthWest 2005. This was the continuation of the Amber Shadows game in last year's convention, and we had 4 out of the original 5 players there.

"Amber Shadows - Continuation" Con Report

NOTE: The following is the excerpt of my overall report of the run of the game from my AmberCon NorthWest 2006 Report. The game was organized by Lee Short, and ran in Slot #4 on Friday, November 3, 2006 from 8pm to midnight.

         This was a continuation of a game started last year, with four of the five players: Emma, Lee, Pôl, and myself. It was using Lee's house system, called Star, Moon, & Cross, which is a rotating GM game using tarot cards for resolution. A key to it is using a "newsreel" phase where we draw tarot cards to generate scenario elements -- that we then go on to resolve.

         We generated some good material in the newsreel, but we didn't get very far in resolving them. The previous slot had been 7.5 hours, whereas this was only four. It took a while to refresh ourselves on what had happened before, and what the mechanics of the game were. In addition, I left slightly early because I was feeling sick. In retrospect, I think we would have gotten further if we had started fresh, because trying to hook up to the older continuity added complications in an already short slot.

         After some discussion, we found four open threads from the last session.

  1. Our cousin Prabha (daughter of Bleys) was still missing.
  2. The captain of the ghost ship had escaped to potentially cause further mischief.
  3. There was an unknown woman in the Hall of Mirrors who had escaped.
  4. The nature of a scroll we found last time was still unknown.
We then each picked a background item to add to our character, and framed a scene to illustrate it. We then started on the newsreel. After the four rounds, we established that the woman (Elke) and the ghost ship captain (Cullen) were coordinating an attack -- her via a disguised troops within Arden, and he by sea. Meanwhile, Ali (son of Fiona) was still in the throes of jealousy.

         Unfortunately, we did not have time to resolve that much. We went through five or so scenes, where our characters were starting to track down these problems. I did evoke some teasing by framing a scene to start out that Mio was making out with the handsome but secretly traitorous ensign Myles. It's also an example of establishing things through scene framing -- i.e. I didn't have to approach or seduce him, I simply framed that it was already done. However, at that point it was close to midnight and I was starting to lose my voice. So I called it in, and the game closed up incomplete.

         I very much like how the newsreel mechanic works, but I think that particularly for a short convention slot, there needs to be a punchy and simple setup that everyone can immediately grasp and build on.

Game Notes

The PCs were the same as last time, except that we were missing one player, Kath, who had played Aurelian, son of Julian. So our PCs for this time were:

Mio, daughter of Caine (played by John)
Fae, daughter of Flora (played by Emma)
Tancred, son of Deirdre (played by Pôl)
Jacques, son of Eric (played by Lee)

From the previous session, important points included:

There were also a number of points which we agreed were left hanging from the last session.

Background Items

Each player picked an item to add to the character sheet under "Items" which could grant a bonus in future resolution, and at the same time framed a scene to illustrate this.

Opening Newreel


There were two or three scenes after this which I don't have notes for. I know that in the next round of scenes, Jacques brought his ship to the Bay of Cabra where he knew there was a cave hideout of Cullen's. He then called Mio in via trump to sneak into it, she being sneakier than him.


John H. Kim <jhkim-at-darkshire-dot-net>
Last modified: Tue Nov 28 23:34:59 2006