Recap of my adventures at the Dreamation gaming convention in Morristown, NJ.
Dreamation has all kinds of games available to play, with a focus on indie games. I had planned to play a variety of RPG’s. I ended up playing in four LARPs and only one RPG.
Some of the indie games, namely MonsterHearts, Monster of the Week, and Lady Blackbird were signed up to capacity soon after the schedule went live. I initially signed up for Monster of the Week but gave up my spot because I could not resist playing a Scooby Doo/Cthulhu crossover LARP.
I was initially worried about playing in LARPs for three reasons. One: Many people at cons already know each other, and often stick together. I was worried about not having anyone to interact with. Two: Many LARPers have theater backgrounds which translate well to live action roleplay, and I have no acting skills. Three: I tend to be introverted/shy/socially anxious, which can manifest itself in weird ways in a crowd. Those traits don’t seem to lend themselves what amounts to basically improv acting. I am not sure why I am so intrigued with LARPs. I guess I just can’t resist spending time in a fantasy world. As HPL says “No new horror can be more terrible than the daily torture of the commonplace.”
Knight Realms: Catacombs of Argis
Knight Realms is a medieval fantasy LARP that has monthly gatherings in Sparta, New Jersey. Friday’s scenario involved a group of monks asking adventurers to clear out the catacombs of their monastery, which had been overrun by orcs and goblins. The only experience I have with LARPS is Cthulhu Live, where it is rare for a character to live for more than one game. Most of the players in this game have longstanding characters with large back-stories and elaborate costumes. I was worried I would be standing in a corner not knowing what to do with myself; however the organizers moved things along nicely. There was a tavern and three different adventures, one for fighters, one for puzzle-solvers and sneaky people, and one for diplomats. I played a dual weapon-wielding swashbuckler and was able to fights lots of goblins and orcs with my (boffer) dagger and long sword. I was able to collect mounds of treasure to boot. This game was wonderful. Everyone was extremely friendly and welcoming. Boffer is awesome. There was a good mix of roleplay downtime and action. I am hoping to make it to one of their weekend camping games at some point. The setting was great. It was minimal but the lighting and decorations were effective in creating the perfect environment.
Chronos: Neverwhere Mind the Gap. This was a murder mystery based in Neil Gaiman’s London Below. This game used the Chronos card system, which has rules for combat and skill use. The Lady Queen Door was missing and there was a struggle to see who would seize power. I played Lyra Spikes, a tough bodyguard for one of the Velvets. We were all stuck on a train as the murders piled up. This game was great. I loved my character, the setting, the other players; pretty much everything.
Chronos: Scoobythulhu: I could not resist this game and I’m glad that I went. I was able to get there early and help out, which allowed me to hear about the Cthulhu Live game Preacher Man that happened Friday night. I was lucky enough to play in Preacher Man at one of Cthulhu Live’s first games at NecronomiCon many years ago. I really don’t think that experience could be topped, but I was happy that to hear about how the DexCon game played out.
Scoobythulhu itself was awesome. I played Innkeeper Jones, and was able to seal off the entrance to Tsathoggua with an old family heirloom. I was one of the few survivors; surviving by being completely oblivious to the true horrors until the end, when I actually saw some miner/cultists kill someone in broad daylight. Like a true Lovecraft story: ignorance is bliss! Reality doesn’t set you free, it makes you insane! This game was really silly and fun. The Scooby gang was great. Mama Cass even made an appearance. I loved, loved, loved this and hope that this group, Eleventh Hour Productions, run some games at DexCon.
The Dresden Files: Judgment: I have wanted to try this LARP out for a year, and I was glad to finally get a chance. I DF lends itself well to a LARP. The struggles between factions, the interplay of light and dark, good and evil, and law versus morality all make great catalysts for role play. It was a strange game to come into, being what amounted to a season finale, but I was able to get a good idea of how the game worked and a synopsis of the events thus far. I played a changeling of the Winter Court. I’m not sure if it was the right character for me, but I have some ideas for a new character for DexCon.
Eldritch Horror: In my only foray into the board game room, I learned the rules to Eldritch Horror. I was too tired to stay and play, considering I had to get up in the morning for another game. It seems so much like Arkham Horror that I don’t know if I would buy it. I will hopefully have some time to play this at Dexcon.
Call of Cthulhu: Riding the Northbound
What can I say? Lovecraft is the reason I got into gaming. Call of Cthulhu will always hold a special place in my heart. Riding the Northbound was published by Golden Goblin Press. All of the characters in this scenario were street people, living in the 1920’s.
What was really cool about this game was the amount of research that went into it; bums, hobos, and tramps are each unique and have different skills sets. Clues were given in hobo cant. I got to play Nightcap Nora, an alcoholic bum. We had to rustle up some money to get to our friend’s mysterious wedding, where we were promised food, clothes, and plenty of booze. Nothing suspicious about that, right?
I was hoping to play an RPG called Call of Cathulhu, but it was cancelled. I did pick up a copy of the game and can’t wait to try it out.
All in all it was a fun weekend!