Monday 11 November 2019

Another One Bites the Dust

I was determined to get October’s blog post out as close to the end of the month, but the best laid plans, etc.

As you might have guessed, October was once again pretty busy. There was a lot of work for Chaosium: the usual litany of paperwork, proofing, approving, and editing. And I finally (by the end of the month, at least) got on to updating and editing a book I’ve been trying to update and edit since I went full time for the company in June!

Some projects are just like that: the overlooked child, if you will. They’re good projects, but they never seem to be quite as high a priority as other things, so they frequently get shunted to the end of the queue, meaning that they don’t get picked up again until other things quieten down - relatively speaking, at least. Still, I’m on it now, so hopefully nothing else crops up in the next month or so to distract me from it again...

October saw the first We Are All Us Day, in memory of the late and much missed Greg Stafford, founder of Chaosium and overall gaming mastermind. Chaosium released a free short scenario for each of its lines, and the Call of Cthulhu contribution was The Lightless Beacon by Leigh Carr, which I edited down from its previous incarnation as a convention scenario. If you haven’t already picked it up and are in need of a short filler scenario as a change of pace from your normal campaign, then I recommend you go and take a look - it’s a fun one.

I also ran a game at my friendly local board games cafe, Meeple Perk, for Greg Day (as it was unofficially called). Not Lightless Beacon as I’d already playtested the cut down version there - plus, my feeling has always been that if you’re getting a free game, do you really want me to run it for you in a shop or cafe somewhere? Why not take it home to share and enjoy with your own group instead? Spread the love/joy, etc. But maybe that’s just me...

Instead, I decided to design a short scenario actually based on something Greg had written - and he never actually wrote anything for Call of Cthulhu, so I had to get a little creative. I asked David Larkins, line editor for the King Arthur Pendragon game, if there was anything that might adapt nicely to CoC, and he came back to me with a few suggestions from the Great Pendragon Campaign. One of them was perfect, so I adapted it. And it ran very well. There’s a really strong contingent of role players at Meeple Perk, and it’s always a pleasure to run something new for them.

And then there was the annual pilgrimage to Neuhausen and the Kraken games convention. I was there as a guest again this year, and it’s always a fun one. There’s a very particular atmosphere you get at conventions where there really isn’t anywhere else for you to go, and the Kraken is always exceptionally well catered. It’s pretty fair to say that it’s a few days of eating and drinking with some serious outbreaks of gaming between meals.

I ran Church on the Hill (the Greg Day scenario) again at the Kraken, but with a few tweaks to see if it would work in another setting. Happily, it did, so it’ll be getting a proper write up at some point next year to act as an introductory scenario for yet another book we’re updating to 7th edition. No, not telling you which one, but there are six people you might be able to bribe to tell you! And I’m not telling you who they are, either...

Church on the Hill was another one of those serendipitous scenarios where the seed and the research collided beautifully. I’d thought of a location to use as a model, but had intended to twist it so it wasn’t set in a real place. But, having gone away and researched the real place (the rather wonderful Church of St Mary and St Hardulph at Breedon on the Hill, a village whose name literally translates as “Hill Hill on the Hill”), I decided that it couldn’t really be set anywhere else. Now all I need to do is actually visit the church. We’ve driven past it loads of times on the way to UK Games Expo, but never been to it. Those of you who know it are aware of how striking it is, clearly visible on its little hilltop, but its history is even more striking and well worth hunting out if you’re interested in the Anglo-Saxon period.

The last game I ran in October was back at Meeple Perk on Hallowe’en, when the cafe allowed a full-on Hardy takeover. My lovely husband ran a follow up to his very successful Alien game, while I got to finally run Untold: Adventures Await with the Scooby Doo set of Rory’s Story Cubes, something I’ve wanted to do on Hallowe’en ever since the game came out. As you can imagine, much hilarity ensued and my four players (taking on the roles of Fred, Daphne, Velma and Shaggy, with Scooby as Shaggy’s animal companion) created two very daft stories that were perfectly in keeping with the property as a whole.

And then it was November, but more on that next time. Although you’ll have to wait a little bit, as the monthly switch over takes place on Dragonmeet weekend and there are museums and stuff to visit...

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