Sunday, January 19, 2014

Kapcon 23 - Part One

This Kapcon I had coordinated with several other GMs to ensure that a game of EPOCH was offered in each round.  I liked the idea that players might be able to play EPOCH for the whole ‘con if they so desired, and I also thought it was a good chance to showcase the diversity of scenarios published over the last 12 months.

Family commitments meant that night games were out for me this year.  Accordingly I planned to run 3 sessions of EPOCH on Saturday and play 2 other games on Sunday.  At the time I registered few of the blurbs for games on offer captured my interest, but I pre-registered to play in 'Flyover Country' (a Laundry game) and 'Incident at Talos' (an Ashen Stars game) on the strength of their blurbs. 

However, as it turned out I was to have even more involvement in EPOCH than I planned…

Round 1: Road Trip
Road Trip is a favourite EPOCH scenario of mine because in the later phases, the threat to the characters is generated by the characters themselves which provides a neat pay-out for the work of establishing relationships and linked back-stories between the characters.

Road Trip focuses on a group of people who travel to an isolated cabin to spend some quality time together, and get a lot more than they bargained for.  The players created a group of school friends reunited after the graduation of one of their number.  A good and diverse range of characters were created, from high achievers and budding politicians, to jocks, activists and loners.

My favourite scene played out in the final phase.  Two of the characters were suspected of being infected by the horror and posing a threat to the world.  The others armed themselves and resolved to settle the matter once and for all.  They all drove out together into the wood at nightfall, but only two returned…

Round 2: Mass Destruction
Mass Destruction (published in War Stories) is both easy and tricky to facilitate.  The opening scenes place a fairly high descriptive load on the GM, but the setting and the role of the characters in that setting (reporters covering the 2003 invasion of Iraq) are familiar enough that there are usually strong characters created to experience the harrowing events.

In this run there were some memorable characters – Penny Prescott with Time Magazine (played by Hamish A.) had a terminal brain tumour and evoked plenty of audience sympathy with tearful conversations with her daughter living in the USA, while Lachlan Loader, blogger and founder of blog ‘Lock-n-Load’ (played by Ciaran) was unrelentingly patriotic, occasionally ridiculous, and ultimately heroic.

My favourite scene in this scenario featured the ruthless Edward Thompson of the BBC (played by Ruth) who had already used one of the characters as a human shield.  As the horror overwhelmed the military, desperate soldiers tried to climb into the helicopter the characters were escaping in, and Edward was pushing them off to ensure the helicopter got enough lift.  A few moments later the helicopter climbed into the sky, Edward tumbled out and plunged to his death – shoved out by one of the other characters.

Round 3: Red Gold
I was scheduled to run Shadows of Yesterday in round 3, but I was a little surprised to learn that there wasn’t enough interest to go ahead with the game.

As a result I was actually planning on heading home early when Igor confessed that he had to depart soon after the round 3 began and he was scheduled to run Red Gold with a full schedule of players.  I had edited Red Gold so I proposed that we co-run Red Gold.  Igor would do the initial description, opening scenes and run the first tension phase, and I’d take over and finish facilitating the game.

This actually worked fairly well, as Igor was able to return in time to facilitate the final tension phases and end scenes.  This was a fairly memorable game and many scenes were stolen by Mike Foster’s character Rhineheart, the body-builder with the Austrian accent and penchant for one-liners.

My favourite scene in this game occurred when Cyrus (played by Damon) revealed through a series of flashbacks that he had been a host for aliens all along, and killed his character in an attempt to pass the alien into the body of Todd (played by Theo).  In a final effort to deny the aliens a host, Todd shot himself in the head.

To be continued…

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