I staggered blindly into the light and cold of a Sunday morning, trying to stay awake. I’d just burnt down an entire mausoleum full of evil but I needed fresh air before I passed out. It was just getting too hot…..
Behind me some yelled. I turned to the sound of the noise, bleary eyed and stumbling. A voice greeted me through my fatigue lifting my spirits.
“Oi! When are you running Call Of Cthulhu?”
That did it. I was awake again.
Stop Making Sense
What the hell am I talking about? Well this weekend in Nottingham, gamers gathered inside Chimera in Beeston at four in the afternoon and began looking at sign up sheets. Our mission? We had set up 24 hours of gaming – Saturday evening to Sunday morning. By the time I had to go out for air it was 8 O’clock on Sunday evening and I had one more session to run that started at ten.
Perhaps I should give this a little context. Chimera is a Roleplaying/ CCG / boardgames /comics store that has been open for around a year and has really had an effect on the local gaming community, becoming a focus for all of us to meet/game/discuss. During one of these discussions with Andy who owns the store it was decided that the game we run on a weekly basis were fun, but what happened if we wanted to run longer games, or more adult games in the store?
Eventually it was hit upon that the best way to do this was to set up a longer play session over the weekend. This kind of snowballed into an idea for a 24 hour gaming session that people could play through or drop in and out as they liked. In short, Chimeracon was born!
And what a con. People came from Derby, Nottingham and even York to attend and run games. What follows is an account of the night as I saw it with all the fun of the fair. Warning – Comedy/Death/Trauma and Santa all contained within.
24 – The Convention
4.00pm -The night kicked off with that con staple – sign up sheets after ten minutes of people working out a schedule and then somone else arriving with something else they wanted to add we gave it until 4:15 to settle down a bit.
4.15pm – The games begin! We start with four games. As one DM headed off to run a 13th level 4e game and another (Kieran from the 6d6 team) ran Star Wars. I began to gather a crew for my savage world adventure called Gremlins 3. I think savage world could be one of the ultimate ‘pick me up and play games’ as it’s character creation rules are really quite quick. Even with seven players it took me something like 20 minutes to get everyone to create characters that worked for the game. While not the weirdest game of the night (more on that later) it ranked as one of the more strange, I think helped along by my use of a gremlin cuddly toy and players who all realised that as the first game it was going to be really daft. Not only did it feature players being chased by a Piano full of gremlins but it ended with the staple ‘let’s blow everything up’ ending that tend to happen in a lot of my con games.
As I glanced over to the other table I noticed that Andy had begun running a Gamma World game. Little did we all know at the time what this meant….
9.00pm – Due to the ‘explosion ending’ the players cut the game short and we were kindly introduced to ‘Stone Age Superheroes’ by a player at the table which is great game in which you’re only allowed to use a few words to speak. It was a really off kilter game that was a lot of fun.
10pm – So first game over and we’d begun to really hit stride. We had less games running at this second group but with more players as the anticipated D&D ‘Return of the brotherhood of the golden skull’ game kicked off with much violence many players joined Andy’s huge Gamma World group that was still going.
Meanwhile, I got four players interested in a game I been wanting to play for a long time – Eclipse Phase – which I really wanted to run. Not only did I manage to get a player who KNEW about this great game but I had four players who took to it really well, killing their Egos and Morph several times over in an attempt to work out what the hell had happened on their tiny research station. What I was most impressed by is the fact that the game lived up to expectations of the vast and deep setting. In the end I was quite glad I’d done the prep on the game.
When the game finished at 3:30, Gamma World was still running.
4.00am – And so, to the witching hour. By now most of us had been awake for quite a while and were beginning to get tired. This however, lead to some of the games off this session being a little, er, unique. Tired of GMing I’d decided I was going to get some play in and tired the new Warhammer Fantasy Game. I found it really fun to play and VERY quick to pick up. We had the rules by the second round of combat even with it’s very unique approach to representing combat (something I’m going to be stealing).
I think one of the strengths of the game that isn’t immediately apparent was that because we had representations of everything it (from locations to abilities) in front of us, it was very easy to forget everything rules based and dive into character tangents and when we needed to work out where we were in the plot, we could just look at the table. It might not seem like much but when it’s 5:30 and you have trouble with your name, it’s pretty cool. Okay so one player was so tired he had to ask why he had the Golf skill on his character sheet (turns out it was GUILE) but it worked pretty well. we even managed to kill a tree that worshiped chaos. Maybe. It was looking at me funny.
If I thought our game had plundered into strange half-awake territory when we started digging up bodies just to burn the chaos out of them. I was unprepared for what was going on at Matt’s Exalted table. His cast of Young Dragon-Blooded had gone on a rampage against the Exalted universe’s version of Santa Claus when he took away their hookers and whiskey, inflicting vengeance upon his elves and generally destroying the holiday spirit of a years end. It also involved some kind of elf seduction dance. True contender for the ‘What The-?” game of the evening.
As the session ended I wandered up to the still running Gamma World game. By this point it was clear to me that most of the group had rejected reality and embraced Gamma Terra as they’re new home. 18 hours in one game will do that to you. I was greeted with cheers of ‘We just killed a Massive dragon in one turn’ and after inquiries realised they’d leveled up more in one evenings worth of play and gather more XP than our weekly gorup had since the game was released. And they were nowhere near finishing.
9.00am – Chris arrived to find the Exalted group madly recanting there tail and the rest of us trying to work out the Once Upon A Time game while really tired. As we greeted him he brought us bacon sarnies and tea. He is my new god. Forever shall we worship at his alter for this act of kindness. Once we’d sufficiently freaked him out. He left to run Mince Pies & Murder at another store. (Blatant plug moment – It’s on again this weekend at Chimera Beeston).
10.00am – With some players going home to sleep we had four games up and running again. Kieran ran another Star Wars game. Funnily at the start of the night he’d begun with a game that started with a big space battle and lots of action but this adventure was a lot more – weird. He ignored his planned plot in favour of something featuring depressed Stormtroopers, an entirely new type of threat to the Star Wars galaxy (that sounded interesting enough to feature as canon) and a generally more downbeat game. Meanwhile Matt began running a Postmortem Games’s Neverwhere: The Roleplaying Game which I really wish I’d had time to play because I (like most gamers) am a huge Neil Gaiman fan. The concept was so cool that it nearly tempted the Gamma Worlders from their wasteland.
As I said before, I ran Cthulhu. The joy was that I ran it for several people who have never played Cthulhu before! Rubbing my hand with joy I decided to throw in all the stereotypes, evening mentioned the nearby village of Innsmouth without anyone instantly running away. By the end of the game two of them were dead and another was so frightened of water he would bathe in alcohol until the end of his days. Classic cthulhu in every sense.
4.00pm – We all waited for Gamma World to finish and began stumbling towards the fading light of a Sunday afternoon. In summation it was a hell of a minicon that had hit just the right balances: New people vs Familiar faces, Comedy vs Straight games, Experiments vs Classics.
We’re all already talking about what we want to run for Chimeracon 2. Now we just have persuade Andy to host it…
After this great experiment, I sure Chimeracon 2 will happen. We will bring you news of it as soon we get it – Chris