This past weekend was The Black Road 2005, our annual Ambercon-like convention held near Boston. It was another good year, despite attendance being a bit lower than it was in 2004, and everything seemed to go pretty smoothly. I’m sure the fact that none of the con committee members were suffering from broken bones or the plague (unlike last year) helped with that.

Here’s my report on the games I played/GMed:

Slot 1: From the Ashes
GM: Kris Kunkel)

This game used Amberkind, the GM’s Amber-oriented version of Vincent “Lumpley” Baker’s Otherkind, as the system for a scenario that involved a group of younger Amber royals and nobles heading off to a Shadow on one of those diplomatic missions that always seem to get someone (or several someones) killed. The Amberkind system seemed to work out pretty well, though we didn’t push it all that hard.

My character, Alexander, got himself beat up while looking for guns to bring along on the trip, but ended up with a few crates of carbines. Then, once on the mission itself, he decided to kill one of the two contenders for the Shadow’s throne, in hopes that an unborn child who might be his son would be able to ascend to the throne when he came of age. This is the sort of plan that sons of Caine tend to come up with. Overall, it was a fun game, and a fine way to start the con.

Slot 2: Dogs in the Circle
GM: Bryant Durrell)

Bryant ended up getting sent to Europe on business, so rather than playing Dogs, I spent most of the evening working on the game I was going to be running the next morning.

Slot 3: The Mountain of the Sorcerer-King
GM: me

I think this one deserves its own in-depth post, so for now I’ll just say that the game went fairly well, though it could have gone better. Still, all of the players seemed to enjoy themselves.

Slot 4: Le Cygne: Ghost Ship
GMs: Ginger Stampley & Michael Croft

This latest installment in the adventures of Le Cygne saw us drift through a red fog to a scary little island where a demented necromancer lived. Fortunately, the brave bosun (Skate, played by me) was able to guide the crew safely through the danger, mainly by paying attention to the ship’s owner and ignoring the acting Captain. I was definitely more “on” for this adventure than I had been for the previous one (which ran at ACUS), and I had a darned good time.

Slot 5: The Puppies of Tijuana
GM: me

This was a sequel of sorts to Nine Losers in Akron, the kill puppies for satan game that I ran at both TBR 2004 and ACUS 2005. I don’t think that it ended up going as well as either session of the first game did, as the PCs spent more time screwing with each other than they did either killing small animals or paying attention to what passed for a plot, but most of the players seemed to have a pretty good time. Things that I as a GM could have done better on included being more prepared for the session, more evenly dividing my attention among the players, and paying more attention to what a couple of the players were trying to accomplish. I’m sure having less players might have helped with those last two issues, but I managed fine with a group of equal size at the ACUS session of Nine Losers, so I’m not sure exactly what was going on with me.

Overall, it was definitely an enjoyable con for me, and it was nice to meet some new people (Carolyn and Brian), see all of those folks that I generally only get to see at Ambercons, and spend more time with those people I’m lucky enough to see more often. I’m definitely looking forward to next year’s TBR.