Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Roleplaying Aotearoa Style

In the past I've posted about New Zealand Roleplaying Products (Feb 2011) and the rise of New Zealand Roleplaying products, (Aug 2013) highlighting some great products authored by New Zealanders.  Now it's time for the 2015 edition, covering more RPG products by Kiwi authors:

We begin with a new edition of a title featured in the last instalment; Monster of the Week a new and revised edition of this best-selling monster-hunting roleplaying game powered by the Apocalypse.  Michael Sands teamed up with Evil Hat Productions to produce this slick product, packed with new art and containing some new material including an introductory mystery; example monsters like Balkan vampires, ghouls, and spore trolls; and hunter types like the Crooked and the Spell-Slinger.  Mike's also made available all the handouts and created a bundle of extra playbooks.

Next up is The Idea from Space by Simon Carryer.  This is an adventure suitable for low-level characters for use with Lamentations of the Flame Princess Weird Fantasy Role-Playing and other traditional role-playing games.

Also by Simon is Nod, a game about a barbarian from the Shivering Steppe, hunting human quarry within the walls of the city. One night is all that is given to find the quarry and flee the city. But Nod is a place of dark alleyways, strange rituals, degenerate worship and corrupt rule. The barbarian's journey will have many crooked turns, and will never end where you expect.

Steve Hickey has recently released Left Coast: the Short Story edition a role-playing game about a science fiction writer in California (and her weird friends, family, fans and nemeses).  Steve also has Soth, a game about cultists just trying to do what cultists do, coming soon.

Jenni Sands recently published Quiet Day in the Library, which is an existential live action roleplaying game about memories, relationships and coping in a crisis.  Jenni has also authored Four Things, a simple, systemless game about ordinary people that examines the quirks and foibles which form our personalities and how we relate to each other. Inspired by games like Grace, Silver and White and a team building exercise.  She also published the horror sequel Four Spooky Things, which sets the self reflection on the backdrop of a player-chosen horror scenario.

True Love Match is a free game of romance and reality TV by Morgan Davie. You’ll need six people, a couple of rooms, and a few hours. It might mess you up a little....

Stepahnie and Catherine Pegg published Tesla's Wedding,  a giddy roleplaying game based on the steampunk genre, designed in a spirit of celebration and to evoke a feeling of joy; the story of how Tesla von und zu Drakenwyrm and Pierre de l’Eclaire, having Conquered the forces Arrayed against them and Founded a little town of their own in the Black Forest, are about to get married good and proper. 

Catherine Pegg also authored The Face of Oblivion,  a science-fiction chamber larp for 6-8 players, designed around a hard choice.  Disaster is coming: will you save a large group of people that you are responsible for, or a smaller group of everyone you ever loved and everything you ever cared about?

EPOCH scenario publication has continued apace and continues to showcase some great NZ talent with Andrew Millar, Liam Jones, Marcus Bone and Michael Sands and I all contributing scenarios to War Stories, which was nominated for an ENnie Award for best adventure. Morgan Davie and Andrew Millar also each contributed a scenario with proceeds donated to charity - Silent Night was published in Christmas 2013, White Wedding in Christmas 2014.  The EPOCH companion The Experiment Continues also features original scenarios by Donna Giltrap, Liam Jones, Alasdair Sinclair and I.

I also recently released Wicked Lies & Alibis, a whodunit roleplaying game set in the age of Art Deco enabling you to recreate murder mystery stories in the finest tradition of the goden-age of detective fiction. 

New Zealand writers also feature in the RPGgeek Dramasystem contest, in  particular Monster's Brawl by Morgan Davie and Grapes of Wharekaka by Eric Dodd.

Looking back over the last lists all the way back to early 2011, there has been a lot of growth.  Some names have appeared with regularity, their writing credits growing steadily, while there has also been an influx of new talent.  All in all it seems to be a vibrant and diverse community of writers, publishers and gamers. Perhaps we should all get together sometime?

If you know of a product I've missed, comment below.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Designer's Notes - Wicked Lies & Alibis

I recently launched a new game; Wicked Lies & Alibis, a whodunit roleplaying game set in the age of art deco.  I thought it might be interesting to briefly discuss how this game came about and the thinking behind some of the key design decisions that were made.

Inspiration
It all started when I was playtesting a new EPOCH scenario - Harvest - which was subsequently published in The Experiment Continues.  One of the suggested setups for the characters in the opening scene is that they are old friends who are travelling together to sprinkle the ashes of a recently deceased friend from the cliffs of her remote, coastal, hometown. This background served no purpose to the scenario beyond being a reason that the characters travel together to the town where the scenario begins

EPOCH is designed to encourage the players to construct interesting backstories for characters with a specific flashback mechanic.  As my playtest progressed the players began to focus on the story of the deceased friend, and created a Tarantinoesque story involving a drug-deal gone bad, double-crossing and finally death.  Each player used their flashback to show a different way in which the friend was badly injured during these escapades, but concluded with the friend being alive when they last saw them - implicating the other characters.

So engaging was this story of betrayal it came to compete with and even eclipse the scenario plot.  That led me to conclude that EPOCH worked pretty well to support this kind of a game. But what, I wondered, would a game that was explicitly designed to generate this kind of story look like?

I have always found it interesting that in most murder mystery stories the crime itself is fairly straightforward; the bulk of such stories are the lies, obfuscation and twists that the guilty, and not-guilty, weave in order to hide their secrets.  It seemed to me that there was a neat game experience to be had in recreating this kind of game for the tabletop, focussing on the human drama and secrets of the suspects, rather than the procedural aspects of following clues and deduction.


Characters
I started with character creation; EPOCH does a pretty good job of supporting the players to generate interesting concepts from a few card-based concepts which could be fleshed out in much greater detail over a single session, so I borrowed these mechanics - but there were a few tweaks I wanted to make.  For example, in the past I'd observed players complain they simply couldn't reconcile two randomly dealt character creation cards, and sometimes players would even agree to swap cards.  So, I decided it would be important to give the player several options so they could pick a combination of cards that suited them from the outset.  I also added a motive card which would have obvious importance for later in the game.

In EPOCH I suggest using a group relationship to help players establish an identity relative to one another.  For Wicked Lies & Albis I wanted this relationship to have a mechanical effect, so during the opening scenes each character can play a connection (which they specify) on another character, and both players look at each other’s secret motive and circumstance cards, binding them together in a way that enables them to help or incriminate one another later in the game.  During playtest this had the greatest impact when players established close relationships, particularly immediate family.  It also means that some characters might end up being heavily connected (and knowing a lot of other people’s secrets) which I think helps reflect the reality the way social groups actually work in real life.

The game itself is split into two parts.  The opening scenes serve to ease the players into their characters, and to interact in order to establish some basic relationships.  Another EPOCH device that I’ve slightly refined this is also where the GM does the scene setting and introduces the future victim, and at the conclusion, the means of their demise.

The System
The second part of the game is perhaps the real meat of the game experience.  I wanted the characters to be able to tell stories of the victim’s demise, and ultimately accuse each other – but I needed a way to balance the different skills and experience that players bring to the table, and create a story framework that was constrained enough that it could evolve over the course of the game, and where the key elements could be remembered by the players. 

My solution was to create a deck of accusation cards.  Each has an element that incriminates another character somewhat (for example the character has a violent temper or previously threatened to kill the victim), and a player draws three such cards in each of four rounds and choses one to play on another character at the table in order to incriminate them as the potential murderer.  Played cards remain on the table as a physical reminder of the story and where the weight of accusations sits. 

In the hands of some players these cards support the framing of a detailed flashback scene which culminates in an accusation; for others less interested in exercising narrative control, simply making the accusation across the table is sufficient.  There are also alibi cards that allow a player to cancel an accusation played on another character by providing an alibi, rather than making an accusation.

The key is that the accusations can fit any context that the players construct – for example we know the character of the actor has a violent temper because it has been narrated in an accusation that they assaulted a theatre critic who reviewed them poorly – now that we know the actor is violent and probably ambitious, so a further accusation might infer that perhaps the victim was preparing to fund their next theatrical outing and reneged at the last minute, or perhaps they were a beneficiary of the victim’s will and needed a cash injection to promote their career... As the accusations are played, we learn more about the character and their motive to murder.

So while the accusation cards provide elements of a story framework, the players are the ones who really shape the story.  Playing multiple accusations on a character allows players to build on one-another’s stories, and ultimately each is a vote for which of the emerging narratives is most compelling.  This is an unusual experience for the players as they begin the game with total autonomy over their character, but in the second part of the game, they give up some of this autonomy and gain a level of narrative power over other characters, while still remaining in the skin of their character. 

During this phase the GM takes a formal facilitation role through the NPC of the Great Detective, who already knows the identity of the murderer, but will only reveal this once the secrets of the key suspects, and their attempts to obfuscate the truth, have been laid bare.

Playtesting the game yielded a further element – players wanted to have the opportunity to respond immediately to accusation made against their character, by turning them back on their accuser.  So I added the Prime Suspect card (given to the character with the most accusations) which allows this to happen once per round, providing some disincentive to piling accusations on one character, while also providing a physical reminder of which character is soon to face charges for murder.  This all comes to a conclusion in a formal end scene, where each player provides a conclusion for their character.

Conclusion
So, how does this all work?  In my experience Wicked Lies & Alibis supports an almost entirely player-driven story experience, and balances interaction so that everyone at the table has a fairly equal degree of participation.  It manages this without needing a 10,000 word scenario or the threat of character elimination that is the modus operandi of EPOCH.  All the GM needs is a deck of cards, a one-page case summary and to have some idea about the Great Detective they want to portray.

That said, much like EPOCH, I imagine this won’t be a game for everyone, it’s pretty non-traditional, dispensing with attributes, skills and characteristics, and my perusal of relative sales status of DriveThruRPG titles suggests that while investigation is common in many popular RPGs, dedicated murder mystery RPGs don’t seem to have a huge following.  There’s also the need to assemble the deck, which is obviously a much higher bar to entry than simply grabbing your trusty dice and a pencil.

As always, it took much longer to pull together all the material I wanted to include than I initially imagined.  Following on from the example of EPOCH scenarios I wanted to offer some detailed facilitation notes to explain how to get the most from each phase of the game, and some summary materials to make the GM's life easy at the table (as a regular 'con GM I am a big advocate of simple reference sheets).  Then there is the historic context - I wanted to set this during the art deco period (mid 1920's- late 1930's) to parallel the 'golden age' of detective fiction, so I wanted to add a few historical details, but as this wouldn't be the focus of the game, I didn't want to get bogged down in this material, so I hit on the idea of introducing selected historical themes in the same way you'd introduce an NPC - some general details to enhance the flavour of the game.

So, that's a high-level overview of creating Wicked Lies & Alibis.  It makes it sound a much more orderly and planned experience than it actually was - at it's heart this is a game that evolved from a tabletop experience, and was refined through further gaming and experimentation.  

[Cross-Posted to Wicked Lies & Alibis]

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Arkham Chronicles

I've started running the Arkham Chronicles for my gaming group.  It's a sandbox style Call of Cthulhu campaign which serves the purpose of familiarising us with the 7th Edition rules, creating some characters with real history, while also filling the time until we can begin Horror on the Orient Express (my copy still hasn't arrived) and I'm not inclined to begin the campaign proper until the 7th Edition Kickstarter has also delivered books to the table.

I've run a Call of Cthulhu sandbox campaign before, set in Kingsport, and found it to be a very rewarding experience, as the players really spend some time developing their characters until the whole group has a real feel for these people, which obviously makes for a more compelling time when they are faced with the sanity shattering dangers of the Mythos.

My approach is to select several scenarios and weave the key elements of each into the characters daily lives along with some mundane (and quirky) elements - for example one of the scenarios I'm using (Darkness Illuminated from the Island of Ignorance) mentions missing animals.  So, to put this thread into the path of the characters, the Mayor's wife hired PC Frank Cutter, a Private Investigator to find Mr. Pickles, her missing spaniel.  I also had a PC Sergeant Gatti of the Arkham National Guard witness a man being beaten by two mob thugs (and intervene) which is a reference to forthcoming elements from 7th.ed scenario Missed Dues and introduced some foreshadowing for the events from The Condemned in H.P. Lovecraft's Arkham.

The players then ultimately determine when their characters become more immersed in each scenario, which triggers the next series of planned events.  It works fairly well, as the balance of time at the table is spent on elements related directly or indirectly to horror, although the majority of each characters time is spent on the mundane tasks of daily life.  There is also an implicit sharing of authority with the players, as they can clearly see linkages between the things each character encounters, and can choose how their characters might come to realise such connections.

The only real negative (thus far) is that there is slightly more down-time for the players than I'd normally like (exacerbated by the fact I currently have 7 players!)  as each character has their spotlight time and moves through the events of their day.   Again there is an implicit suggestion that if the players want to have less downtime, they can work to have their characters link with others.  It's still early days yet, and it will be interesting to see how this game develops.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Kapcon 24

Over the weekend I attended Kapcon 24, a local roleplaying convention. This year I was only at Kapcon for Sunday (Rounds 5 and 6) but despite my short tenure I had a great time playing in one game and facilitating my new game 'Wicked Lies & Alibis'.

Round 5: Heroes of New Haven!
I've run my fair share of superhero games at Kapcon, so I was interested to see how Robert Vincent would balance securing player buy-in for superheroes created at the table, maintain realism while supporting an open story for the characters.  Robert didn't disappoint.  He used the 'Ladykillers' system to provide a really interesting moral overlay to the game, making it feel almost like a game of Dread, where each impulse to act had to be measured for it's moral value, and against potentially severe consequences.  On top of that the system generated a simple random resolution mechanic through the use of playing cards and the accumulation of power and pain points.

It was a very solid game, and we quickly developed characters from several templates and began balancing life as heroes (on probation) with the drama of being a teenager, in a world where the process of becoming a superhero is sufficiently traumatic to ensure a steady supply of villains.  My own character 'The Confessor' who had shapeshifting powers soon got the rest of the crew into trouble and ultimately had to be rescued -  an epic scene where the actions of the characters had such severe consequences that few of the heroes had a happy ending.  It was a gritty superhero experience, very well executed.

Round 6: Wicked Lies & Alibis
This was the third playtest of my new game; a whodunit murder mystery set in the era of art deco.  It went brilliantly.  The players created a cast of suspects and the wove a story of intrigue and murder focussed on a missing manuscript involving criminal family connections, ghost writing, the mysterious disappearance of a husband, professional rivalries and the simmering dissatisfaction of a butler.

Things came to a head in a memorable fashion when Ivan's character, the butler Seeples was unmasked as the murderer.  Seeple's confession was a thing of beauty, when his mask of professional disdain finally slipped and the rage poured out.  I suspect people in the adjoining rooms will speak in hushed tones of Ivan's bellowing for year's to come...

I had a fantastic time, so thanks to all the players for making a great game and putting up with my poor Poirot accent with good grace.

Monday, December 1, 2014

'Tis The Season

It’s been a busy time as EPOCH celebrates its 21st;  that’s 21 scenarios of character-driven survival-horror published over the last two and a bit years.  These 21 scenarios have been written by 10 different authors and collaborators, and each has featured stunning artwork from Doug Royson, been carefully edited by Andrew Smith, and been fitted into the excellent layout template created by Marcus Bone.  I am very grateful to have worked with such talented folks, and I think the quality of the finished product is a good reflection of all the hard work that’s gone in behind the scenes.  Thank you all for helping to spread the horror.
 
Recently I published The Experiment Continues the companion to the EPOCH roleplaying game which has some new rules, more advice and also includes 4 new scenarios.  The companion had been in development for most of the year, and collects a variety of things drawn from my experiences in playing and facilitating the game, reports from others, and a collection of formal reviews.  Mostly this is in the form of advice, although one particular innovation I’m quite proud of are the Twist cards.  When I was first designing EPOCH there was some feedback that there should be more variety in outcomes for the characters, a degree of randomness which had a mechanical effect beyond the core outcome process.  At the time I stuck with the core idea of balance – that every player has an identical chance of  character survival, and that eliminations would be solely determined by collective decision making. 
 
However, the Twist cards add a layer on top of that mechanic, and have really enhanced the games in which I’ve used them.  There have been some extremely memorable plays of ‘Die Hard’, ‘Big Damn Hero’ and ‘In League With The Horror’.  One of my favourite plays was in a scenario which shall remain nameless. Igor had been dealt and then chose to play the ‘insight’ card.  Insight  lets the player look at one of the face down Horror Track Cards.  The card Igor peeked at read “Determine the entire town is gripped by homicidal mania’.  The look on his face was priceless, as were his characters, largely fruitless attempts to convince the others that they were in danger.
 
The scenarios are pretty fantastic as well.  My player were initially luke-warm about the premise of Donna’s scenario  The Tribute as they felt that playing characters in Ancient Greece would be tricky, but within a few minutes of getting started, they realised it was much more familiar setting than they had initially thought and they made it their own, invoking gods, heroes and pirates and having a great time.  Perhaps the best thing was hearing glowing reports of Donna’s run of the scenario at Fright Night, and seeing just how big the differences were between our respective facilitation of the scenario, but how both had delivered a gripping and entertaining experience for the players, despite being very different.
 
Mash’s scenario of gangster horror has an immediate and compelling setup, and I think it’s a scenario that will develop some very memorable experiences.  Our playtest was a lot of fun, and, as ever, the player stories were very memorable.  I was struck by just how many people have played some version of Death on the Streets when compiling the list of playtesters, it’s like a mini convention all by itself – which goes to show just how much thought and effort Mash puts into his craft.
 
Then there’s Liam’s scenario Slaughterhouse, which is deceptively simple, as the title would suggest, yet entirely perfect for EPOCH where character stories should be in the fore.  I had a great time playtesting the scenario, and I think Doug’s illustration perfectly captures one of the most dramatic moments.  Liam’s accomplishment is all the more impressive when you consider he wrote the first draft on an i-pad while overseas on a work trip in order to meet my deadline.
 
In addition to the Companion, I also recently released  White Wedding, the 2014 EPOCH Christmas Special.  Andrew pulled together this incredible scenario at short notice, which was amazing, as I was buried in editing the Companion for most of that time.  Andrew had a very clear vision of the scenario he wanted, and I think he’s created a really compelling and engaging piece.  Then there’s Doug’s stunning cover and fantastic interior art.  All in all, the twenty first published EPOCH scenario is one of the best yet.  If you haven’t yet, you should pick it up, and donate whatever you can afford to help children in need.   

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Fright Night 8

Last night I attended the eight instalment our local one-night horror RPG 'con Fright Night.  I know there were some volatility in numbers this year and some last minute sign-ups, but overall attendance was reasonable (if slightly down on previous years), with 3 fully subscribed tabletop games each round.  Local game designer Mike Sands also generously donated a copy of his well regarded Apocalypse World adaption Monster of the Week to every attendee, which was very well received.

Round 1 - The Woods
In the first round I had signed up to play Mike's game 'The Woods' which used another Apocalypse World hack Black Stars Rise.  We played characters in the small Southland town of Otautau who witnessed harrowing murders which echoed killings which had occurred in the town two decades earlier.  I have, perhaps, played too much EPOCH of late, so I spent a lot of time early in the game trying to develop interest in my character - a local reporter for the Otautau Advertiser, who was clearly living beyond his means and closely entangled with several other prominent townsfolk.  However, around half way through the game I realised there was an implicit expectation that all the characters should investigate the mystery and did my best to insert myself and follow the lead of Morgue's amateur detective Percy.

I had a great time, and the game had a high level of carnage for which the characters (particularly Stephanie's level-headed, if trigger-happy, farmer Andy) were responsible.  The final scene was suitably epic, if somewhat grim.  My other observations is that some of the characters basically stayed in the periphery of the horror, seeing no reason to risk their lives in the pursuit of a mystery which should properly be investigated by the authorities (I fell into this camp initially), and therefore I wonder if this is something the system or scenario needs to address given the specified setup for Black Stars Rise:

"The player characters are caught up in the setup, we're here to see how they come out of it. They may try to get out, try to get to the bottom of it, or just try to survive—whatever makes sense for the player characters"

Ultimately, if the players are not on the same page, it seems that this could lead to a fractured and frustrating experience where characters focus on different priorities (investigating vs survival for example).  That said, The Woods was a fun time and a compelling story.

Round 2 - Harvest
In the second round I ran my scenario for the forthcoming EPOCH Companion, Harvest.  The selected scenario setup framed the characters as a group of friends travelling to the remote seaside town of Hudson's Point to scatter the ashes of a recently deceased friend.

The characters that were created were fairly extreme, and not really, in any sense friends, but they create some amazing backstories, which pushed the tension and drama between the characters to the forefront (which is what the system aims to achieve).  Against this rich backdrop of heavily armed mercenaries, clandestine government operatives, drug smuggling, former child stars, cross-dressing, debts and tax evasion, and ghost riders, the actual horror story was somewhat eclipsed by the energy and enthusiasm of those at the table.

It was a great game, even if I was stretched to try and keep up with the plot twists and drama unfolding at pace around the table.

Final Thoughts
The 'con was well organised, and (from my perspective) seemed to go without a hitch, and I congratulate Andy and Grant on putting together an excellent night.  The communication before the 'con was top notch, and I think helped ensure people were thinking about the 'con in the lead-up to the night and probably reduced the number of last-minute cancellations.  The reports I heard from other games were also very positive. 

As for the future, I guess we'll see.  The fragmentation of the Wellington roleplaying community (for reasons I previously described here) seems to be continuing, with the active calendar of LARP events diminishing interest in tabletop events, leading to only a few remaining viable - however, it is possible that a new roleplaying store could rejuvenate interest in tabletop if it showcases new RPG releases.  In either event attendance at Kapcon in early 2015 should provide a further indication of the relative health of the tabletop RPG community.
 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Horror on the Horizon

Fright Night is almost upon us again, and there is a fantastic selection of games on offer!  It's a small horror themed RPG convention which takes place over one night of play – consisting of 2 three-hour sessions.  If you'll be in Wellington on Saturday 25 October you should sign up today by contacting the 'con organisers here.  The schedule of games looks like this:
ROUND ONE

The Tribute
System: EPOCH
Blurb: Every 7 years the city of Athens pays a tribute of 7 of its young men and women to King Minos of Crete. These young Athenians are then given in sacrifice to the Minotaur in his infamous labyrinth. This year you were one of the chosen victims. You must face the horror of the Cretan Labyrinth and the beast that dwells within.

The Woods
System: Black Stars Rise
Blurb: The woods have always had a spooky reputation – stories amongst the kids, probably due to those murders back in ’95. Still, it’s a park and you use it for normal park stuff – walking to work, exercise, taking the dog out.

Today, though, something strange is happening…

Flyover Country
System: The Laundry Files
Blurb: On a dead plateau, under unfamiliar stars, behind a wall of impaled, watchful corpses, an alien god sleeps. If they wake, the Sleeper in the Pyramid will set in motion a chain of events which will bring about CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN, the end of the world.

Now, a small band of intruders has breached the plateau, presumably with the intention of waking the Sleeper. And it’s the Laundry’s job to stop them.

A Quiet Day in the Library
System: LARP
Blurb:The workers at a small community public library on what appeared to be an ordinary week day. Only, as they pause for another cup of tea they realise that it’s even quieter than usual. Mr Brockton hasn’t been in to read the paper, and he does that every day at 10.30 am, that young mother hasn’t brought her loud child in to play with the toys in the kid’s area…. and the news reports on the radio are a trifle concerning….
A game of existential horror, self-reflection and books.

ROUND TWO

Dead Horse Corner
System: Trail of Cthulhu
Blurb: The death and suffering on the Western Front provides of the backdrop for many dark and unsettling mysteries. Most of these are dismissed simply as the fears of scared men, but others seem to take on a life of their own.
 
When the British forward observation post at Dead Horse Corner suddenly falls silent, it’s up to the  brave men of the Royal Fusiliers to reinforce the post and work out what has happened to Lieutenant Somerset and his twenty men.
 
However they will soon find that there are far worse things than snipers, gas attacks and artillery strikes to worry about in the desolation of no-man’s land.
 
Silent Night
System: EPOCH
Blurb:I'm dreaming of a white Christmas...
"...shutting down as blizzard conditions come out of nowhere..."
with every Christmas card I write
"...there's a lot of passengers facing Christmas in an airport terminal Chuck..."
May your days be merry and bright
"...please if anyone can hear us, help, please, there's something out there... Please help us! It's coming!"
And may all your Christmases be white
 
Harvest
System: EPOCH
Blurb: "Every year the good people of Hudson’s Point celebrate the bounty of the land with a spectacular Harvest Festival.  This year is no exception; scarecrows are beginning to show up on street corners, in front of homes and stores and just about anywhere you can put a stake in the ground.  It’s all part of the fun, which culminates in a costumed torchlight parade.  This Fall, Hudson’s Point is the place to be!"
 
The Face of Oblivion
System: LARP
Blurb: 2277, May 17, Asteroid Habitat Aoraki Mountain, Captain’s Address to Crew: “People, we’ve done this before. The system newcomer Oblivion, whatever it’s mass, is just another flying rock. Killing rocks is our trade – we have the technology, the manpower, and the will. Earth will not fall on our watch.”

2278, April 4, Asteroid Habitat Aoraki Mountain, Captain’s Address to Crew:
“… in light of Oblivion 3′s failure due to catastrophic equipment malfunction, technical crews will be inspecting Aoraki’s infrastructure early this year. We trust that our crew will behave in the spirit of Aoraki as Oblivion passes through our orbit…”

2278, April 4, Captain’s Private Log
“This isn’t over.”

For more than a hundred years the people of Earth and its surrounding space habitats have been fighting the Rock War – a collection of solid masses are passing willy-nilly through the Solar System, many of which could profoundly damage the mother planet. Most have been neutralised – humanity is winning!

But now the largest planet-killer of them all, code-named Oblivion, has defeated the last three attempts to divert it. Soon it will pass through the orbit of Asteroid Habitat Aoraki Mountain, almost close enough to see, and the Captain has one last desperate gambit in mind…

But oh – this will cost. Join the habitat’s officers in the last two hours before an irrevocable decision is made. Sometimes there aren’t any good choices.

What compromises will you make, in the Face of Oblivion?