When I'm writing for conventions, I often like to have scenarios that are linked to the place the game is being run. Lincoln was no exception and I did quite a bit of research to try and find a local hook for the story. Providence was again smiling because George Boole, the father of Boolean logic (and therefore of modern computing) was born in Lincoln and ran several schools there. The castle at Lincoln is also fascinating, having been used as a gaol during the Victorian period. And then, of course, there was The Lawn...
After a bit of cogitation, the seed for the scenario developed under its own steam. I also like to make sure that if I'm writing a detective style scenario, I have several people who could have done it. That way, I can reuse the scenario, giving it a slightly different twist each time. It worked very well for a scenario I used to run for Pelgrane Press at conventions; every time it aired someone different was the murderer, so you could actually play the same game more than once and still get something new from it. The Lincoln game was constructed to have three possible outcomes, all based on the same core background.
I ran the new scenario twice at Lincoln over the weekend, first for a group of experienced roleplayers and then for two newcomers (ably assisted by some more experienced hands we've gamed with for years in an LRP capacity). The version used for the first session was one of the two slightly more complex iterations of the story. There were quite a few technical challenges to running it that were beyond our control, but all in all it went well and proved that the idea was a sound one. The players quickly came on board with the system and seemed to thoroughly enjoy decorating their cakes before we got going. Not that the cakes had anything really to do with the story, but it was a fun thing to do (there was multi-coloured icing sugar, hundreds & thousands and silver balls!).
For the second session, I reverted to the first and much simpler version of the tale. The two young ladies who joined us were absolute naturals and really jumped into the game whole-heartedly. The technical difficulties of the day before were overcome by a change of venue and there was much hilarity, especially when the group decided that a well educated giant mecha chicken was probably responsible for all of the shenanigans in old Lincoln town. Well, that, or Professor Yaffle from Bagpuss. It wasn't, more's the pity, but it was a rather fun idea. Again, the group neatly solved the puzzle with minimum hinting from me.
The highlight of this game for me was that one of the young ladies wanted to set up her own group at home to play it because she'd enjoyed herself so much. You can't ask for more than that.