Last year I apparently never actually posted any sort of post-convention report for The Black Road, so this time around I’m going to do it before I forget.
Further details on the games I mention below can be found here.
Slot 1: Sons of Liberty
GM: Jack Gulick
Since this slot took place on the afternoon of the 4th of July, it was particularly appropriate that we were playing a session of Josh Roby’s Sons of Liberty. It’s a game which is described as “a roleplaying game where the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen play Dynasty Warriors during the American Revolution.”
None of us had played Sons of Liberty before (except perhaps the GM), and that may have effected some of the decisions we made while setting up our characters. I played Thomas Payne (who flies around on an ornithopter), and the other players chose Abigail Adams, Rachel and Grace Martin, The Marquis de Lafayette and John Stark. The actual adventure itself was created using a madlibs style form that resulted in some pretty odd objectives.
As for the system itself, I think the problem I (and some of the other players) had with it was that the card game aspect often got in the way of the storytelling. In order to play the most advantageous combinations of cards (something all of the Patriot players must strive to do in order to defeat the Tories) we had to come up with some rather contorted actions to match those cards, which led to ignoring the things that our characters might actually have done in a given situation.
Despite that, I think everyone had a good time, and the over-the-top Revolutionary War setting certainly was fun.
Slot 2: Nine Princes in Spaaace: Star Patrol vs. The Moon Baron
GM: Carolyn Lachance
This was the second installment of a game that takes the Amber archetypes, sets them in the world of serials (such as the original Flash Gordon films), and uses Spirit of the Century as the system.
I played Rick Random, the eternal sidekick, who was actually shockingly competent in a variety of useful skills. He also said, “Golly!” a lot.
More so than the last time we played, I think SotC got in the way, mainly because the GM was so disenchanted with the idea of actually playing through the combats that we mostly avoided them. This resulted in the game being rather short.
Slot 3: Fortune’s Fool: Jumping at Shadows
This was the third installment of my pirate zeppelin game, which uses Spirit of the Century as a system. Or at least it did this year. If I run another round of this game next year, I’m probably going to switch to something else, as I’m apparently just not cut out to run SotC. I think the idea of Aspects is great, and I don’t have a problem with being a player in a SotC game, but there’s just too much crunch hidden under there for me to be able to run it effectively.
The session itself involved pirates, airships, ninjas, the Royal Air Navy, clockwork armor, and a giant steam-powered robot! It seemed like everyone had a good time, which is the point, really, though I wasn’t entirely happy with my efforts.
Slot 4: Roanoke: The Other Side of Fear is Freedom
GM: Jennifer Jackson
An interesting take on the fate of the Roanoke colony, using Clint Krause’s Wushu-inspired Roanoke system. The players go into things knowing that the colony is doomed, with the only question being the manner of its end.
In this game I played Cecily Barton, a 14-year old girl who was in an arranged marriage with a much older man, and was also pregnant by him. She wasn’t entirely happy about this. The other characters included the son of one of the colony’s leaders, a transported criminal, and two natives.
I enjoyed the fiction we created, but wasn’t entirely enamored of the Roanoke system, perhaps in part because sections of it seemed under-explained in the rulebook. Still, we managed to save the majority of the colonists, thanks to the brave sacrifice of Ezekiel Finch. Apparently even criminals can be redeemed in the end. My character didn’t even end up being burned for being a witch, which was good, since she in fact wasn’t one. She did, however, get to hit a demon with a stick.
Slot 5: Nine Princes in High School
GM: Jack Gulick
It was the third or fourth time I’d played in this game where Teenagers from Outer Space meets Amber, and it was as silly as ever, despite the amount of meetings and office supplies that ended up being involved in things. I once again played Caine, leader of the Pirate Club, who triumphed despite having his ship burned. By “triumphed” I mean that he got a new one, as he wasn’t really much help with the actual plot. Fortunately, there wasn’t very much plot anyway.
That was my con for this year. It was great seeing both those folks that I only see at TBR and those who I see more frequently, and I hope everyone will be back for TBR 2009. Next year will be the 10th anniversary of The Black Road, and likely my fourth year as con chair.