Monday, 7 October 2013
SYDCON 2013 & Psychon play sessions
So SYDcon is a smallish con apparently 10 years ago there was a huge scene which collapsed from in fighting and about 6 cons then. Now SYDCON in oct, EYECON in april, Canberra con (technically interstate) Bathurst several European counties distance away by train by still in same state and Gamers Get Together held week before other major cons. Brisbane and Melb events get some travellers and I was in contact with South Australian guys but they didn't respond to my last email otherwise I would go.
I guess con had about 400 participants. I popped into one off street a few years back and played Cthulhu where GM just killed us all and ended with no rolls when we touched Corbits coffin in the basic Cthulhu scenario I have run and played about 30 times. Another freeform story telling game was probably most modern game Id played then and I didn't even know then my game taste 20 years out of date then.
So many of us Exiles club crew all were running games. Some members like Herb been doing for 10 years and running weird LARPS, inter planetary airship race free forms (this game ended many year long game with only 3 factions and most of solar system destroyed and 2 big factions horribly corrupted by evil). He also ran the Cthulhu game where we were all cultists trying to save mistress from normalizing influence of town. Very funny and horrible and how I like my games. My friend Andz ran 2nd ed DnD game which was quite classic. Conan and Grant ran wild west game where party actually 4 horsemen of apocalypse and other were agents of heaven and hell. Con was lotsa fun. My octopus cardboard characters were enjoyed and ate well and gamed lots.
I avoided playing as I find harder than being a GM because I have to fight urge to be crazy murderous bastard evil player which is a strain and not so good in a con (Ive been kicked out of several games and am notorious for murdering style and defiling dead). I will do con again but will keep the Sunday free as Newcastle Zine fair a good chance to make cash, sell old stock and meet my zine pals.
Planet Psychon Gamelog
I will produce this as a free PDF in style of 2 colour adnd modules of early 80s soon. Needs some editing of handouts, and to get an artist to draw of get friends to dress up to make portraits cards so no copyright issues and also modify one monster. Will need a legal open license nerd to help too. Will be adults only so I may as well get some adult art done too. Strangely thief characters kept player handouts the most. I learned lots and realize the game aids I did were invaluable and making more really help in events lie this. Especially when I had 24 odd NPCs to manage.
Adventure Basically consists of:
10 pregenerated zero level band members cards
10 transmogged version of above as 3rd lv Psychonians
20-30 portrait cards for touring company ID cards
12 page adventure
2 hex-crawl maps with encounter tables
temple and tower and some bunker maps
passenger manifest for SKYEYE airlines
DM version of above with transformation notes
Cards for other passengers
I realized on last session cards for other passengers speed things up and made paper tokens for them I could tear up as they died. They are mooks the party must recruit followers from to help group survive. Act as meat sheilds and people for players to seduce or rescue.
Am gonna buy 10 ISBN numbers for next 9 months schedule including re releasing my zines and a street art book or two.
Basic adventure involves plane crash in Bermuda triangle of plane with 70s band (intro from con book here). They must rescue survivors, cross alien desert, get food, water, shelter and travel to a highly visible location. Recruiting followers from group is an important step. There they find a temple guarded by a robot and priestess and talk to god Colossus who sends the "champions of tribe" on a quest so all aloud to less hostile land beyond. Party kill or capture a wizard and kill his beasts that Colossus dislikes.
A major feature is each night zero level persons transform 3rd level DnD heroes fit to survive on Psychon if they fail a con roll. This seemed to be amusing and my flavour table I rolled for every critter they killed seemed to be amusing. Those changed could no longer understand the unchanged. Most had skin colour changes and weird cosmetic changes. Several had random weird sexual characteristic changes they chose not to mention to peers.
So I ran four sessions each quite different. Some funny coincidences and other oddness turned up too. I am impressed I stuck to time well but third part a bit more no nonsense and stuck fast to script and time even though started late and one player who was kinda problematic. He set up a kitchen and prepared food with his own appliances and ate in front of players in game. Interrupted basic information from me then wandered off and missed information. Pretty incredible. Apparently he has been asked to not bring appliances and do this in game or in the school rooms we rent.
Apologies for misnamed or memory errors of my recollections.
Band1: Manly Man Incorporated
These guys were the best at playing a horrible vice ridden rock band who burst into music performance and drug abuse constantly. All chose hairy guys with big mustaches. Black leader named Afro thunder stood out as leader and another cool named guy Psychedelic Haze (changed to Purple Haze when skin turned purple later). Thump the Drummer was cool too. I chose them as winners because they most acted like horrible rock dudes and played music the most times and to resolve problems. They quickly recruited the most attractive females first and managed to lose a few followers on the trek.
These guys looted their dead band members stashes first then secured all the booze before trekking aross waste to avoid monsters. Met sand worms, WW2 Pacific GI skeletons, blue skinned evil morlocks and managed to get distracted by underground tunnels while looking for water. I fudged slightly to get them back on course and they popped up across desert. They camped and a few changed and they med a red skinned hunter who guided them the way to the temple. Found some mines and avoided most other creatures. There they met guardians and accepted Colossus's quest. They waited till most changed exept for journalist. He insisted on remaining objective and took many stunning images with his Polaroid camera. Party drugged whinning children and drove fundamentalist family into the wasteland.
Went to hunt the wizard and his rust monster variants. Met his tower and called him out and he abused them and went inside. They played heavy metal till he attacked and set his beasts on them. A few more followers died and band manager turned theif climbed tower and knocked out the wizard while his beasts killed. Returned to temple and recovered party they left in desert and took to the promised land after a massive party. They revealed in new bodies and happily selected mates and flunkies from survivors. These guys were big fun and party mostly drunk and high. At one point journalist unsure what to do so he too heroin and passed out for a day. About half passengers survived.
This girl band with manager who degenerated into infighting, bitching and stealing followers off each other as the back up singer tried to vie for lead singer spot and constantly hijacked party agenda with selfishness, meanness and egoism. Im glad most of them knew each other as they were pretty horrible to each other. I thought the female in the group was being trashed a bit but she proved to be a black widow crazy in her own right. One band member Alex Sliver was an ambiguous gendered Bowie-esque who proved pretty fun too. Morgana Steel, and Triballz fueded on lead singer roll. Triballz was horrible vain jerk who wasted all the camera film on selfies. She also kept recruiting new followers starting with prettiest girls on plane then dissing them for petty things like being too fat, disagreeing, liking someone she hated and other reasons. Everyone she drove off became Morganas friend and she ended up with a huge enterage united in hate for the sulky Tribalz.
After some time just infighting the hispanic-jewish manager Hershel Esparo, the bands only male convinced them to get on with quest for survival as Crystal oozes pretending to be water had eaten a few passengers. Met lots of skeletons and avoided most encounters. Trabalz demanded Colossus turn her back to her perfect old human body and whined at the god. Party fully transformed had battle with mutant variant rust monsters and wounded wizard who surrender. At that moment Triballz who hid every fight had managed to climb up the wizards tower in secret jumped out and pushed wizard to death and proclaimed she was the greatest. Back at the temple Triball offended Collosus enough he turned her back to a 4hp zero level ancient who nobody could understand her ancient speech.
The only female player managed to recruit the evil hippy serial killer on the flight and totally encouraged him with hippy bushit which was funny. Alex made best friends with the ape and kept collecting fabulous costumes and changing several times a day. Killed plenty of followers also. Not the finest cross gender roleplaying ever but very funny bunch of guys.
Band3: The Gold Tops
These guy got straight down to business without in game distraction once lateness and cooking crap ended. Jack Flash, Banger, Ruby Tuesday, Powerchord and Skank Slutley the Australian Journalist where pretty efficient and managed to lay waste to skeletons, giant lizards and more. Guys got on well with other passengers managing to save those almost killed. Found abandoned but safe bomb shelter and rested when found savage grey grey aliens dragging cattle into their lair in complex and party captured them. Found red man lookout tower and were led to temple. Once again while party battled monster a thief managed to climb up and knock out wizard. Managed to turn to temple and all went to live in citadel in new land. Guys lost most time but caught up and resolved everything fairly efficiently. Crazy journo Slutley tried to inject a business suited business man with drugs and got punched out for her trouble but mostly pretty well behaved. She also developed additional breasts while another hid his secret shame.
Team4: Magnesium Sun
Final group kept the most NPCs alive and only ones to save the fundamentalist family. Had different challenges and if not for 1st teams rock antics they would have one. Black Fu, Lilly Stone, Jimmy Awesome, Max Noise and Jimmy Sixxx all performed well. In every other party the Doctor NPC killed the copilot with his drunken treatment rolling natural 20 three times but this time he saved pilot. But later was killed when trying to befriend weird mutants. One player tried to irresponsible rocker but rest of party too nice and restrained him after he gave family acid claiming it was asprin. This party had one of highest survival rates and best participation of NPCs and managed to have most fights. They did have most trouble with wizard of any group despite having plenty of spell caster. The nun was given a pistol and proved to be best shot in whole party.
After meeting mutants party wary. They did find a mining robot sucking up gold nuggets and several greedy NPC's restrained from trying to molest robot. Rescued an Eldren escapee from Morlocks, and battled deadly life draining faceless mutants who glided over land without moving legs. Found crashed hellcats and found extra pistol and managed to be well armed so shot their way through many encounters before meeting red men watchers who aided them. In the Temple one player acused god Collosus of being a monster sending them to be assasins. Had the longest conversation with wizard of anyone and learned most about Psychon of any party. The Monsters guarding the wizard managed to disintegrate the nuns clothes and another destroyed ladder several wre trying to reach the wizard with. A few followers disarmed and naked ran from Rust monster mutant who destroyed cloth, leather and wood. When the got the monsters the wizard webbed them all and magic missiled them and set web alight with a torch but did take some hits each time. Finaly when he popped out to bespell them a theif climbed up, wedged trapdoor open and players all finished him off so he fell down tower and impaled himself on Javelin.
One party member remained unchanged and insisted on remaining so despite near death. Party member turned Elren befriended the found Eldren and developed concern for Morlock members appetites rapidly. The Eldren were talking about living forever in their citadel and how sad humans all doomed to live nasty brutish short lives. Eldren player rolled twice on altered sexual characteristics and developed elephantine genitalia. Morlock only got this result once.
Did actually learn lots about Psychon and used time well. By this time i had made NPC cards which helped keep the organized. I would score these guys well and consider a best group to run again but first group most in spirit of being band.
Random stuff in psychon book like scents, random bunkers and underworld structure tables very handy and amusing. NPCs were all stars in own right especially the FBI agent with handcuffed hippie, super useful boy scout, latino revolutionary, the black air hostess and biff the AWOL army teen. One player described as most gonzo game ever. Good. Liked the transformation stuff too. Amused by colour changes and cosmetic mutations. Flavour table popular too. Some intrigued if this was to be run again and had some good gossip feedback after. Couldnt really mention why winners won at prize giving. One gamer from shop said he like me using NWP based skills with just stat rolls (half if unskilled) and for saves. I find modern skill systems too much maths and separate numbers and feel tacked on. Thieves liked having lots and lots of NWP skills. Thieves proved popular and fairly obvious from zero level versions. Found a few editing bugs too.
If I made a Psychon GM Screen would include basic colours, settlement generator, flavours and basic terrain generation, possibly creature generators too.
Was recomended I sell myself as DM first on program, then game. I might see if I can come up with sampler sessions of EMO DnD next time so i can sun more variety. Using Psychon encounters, random sandbox content and using a different hex map for beyond the temple helped keep game interesting for me. But If I was running more straight fantasy dnd would have been less fun for me. Id like to try something like this over 5 sessions next time:
EMO DnD sampler
1 Long stairs special forced vs DnD dungeon dimension
2 Rerun this or another psychon adventure
3 Exile Island possibly city adventure
4 Play octopus royalty on mission to surface where brutal humans try to abuse and eat them
5 Gamma world or my SF inspired by spacemen & spaceships
Id actually like to have some players twice which this would allow.
Some kids games at some other cons I would DM for too. But I was relieved nobody under 18 in my Psychon game. All fun.