Concrete Cow 16.5 games

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The games below will offered at the Concrete Cow 16½ convention on 10 September 2016. If you have something you'd like to offer, please drop us a line via the UK Roleplayers forum or any of the other places where we publicise Concrete Cow. See the Concrete Cow 16 games page for what was on offer last time.

The Bit.ly link for this page is http://bit.ly/eiw4wQ.

Game Slots

To keep some sense of organisation about the day (ha!), this is the approximate timetable for the day.

Doors open 9.00am
Morning game sign up 9.40am (ABCDEFGHIJ)
Morning games 10.00am – 1.30pm
Afternoon game sign up   2.10pm (JIHGFEDCBA)
Afternoon games   2.30pm – 6.30pm
Raffle draw 6.30pm
Evening game sign up 7.10pm (EFDGCHBIAJ)
Evening games 7.30pm – 11.00pm
Close 11.00pm

Sign-up process

Allocating games to players is by sign-up sheets on the day, but with a staggered call to sign up. This should prevent unpleasant, jostling crowds around the sheets while also not penalising those who can't get to the venue at the crack of dawn.

  • Everyone gets a tombola ticket (sealed) when they arrive.
  • Signup sheets go out as-and-when, but without player names on them. This gives people a chance to see what's on offer and decide on preferences.

Keep your ticket! You'll use the same number for all three slots.

Twenty minutes before the game slot starts, we start allocating people in waves.

  • I call out a digit. If your ticket ends with that digit, you get to sign up in that wave.
  • Repeat until everyone's in a game.

If groups of two or more people want to get into the same game, pick one person to represent the group. When that person's number comes up, they can sign up everyone in the group.

We'll use this system for all three slots.

Whatever the calling order happens to be in the morning (e.g. ABCDEFGHIJ), signups will be in reverse order for the afternoon (e.g. JIHGFEDCBA). The evening games will be called in a completely different order (e.g. EFDGCHBIAJ). This should insulate people from the bad luck of getting to sign up last for all slots.

I also want to help newbies and under-18s, and reward GMs. Every newbie and under-18 will get one Golden Ticket. Every GM with a game listed below will also get a Golden Ticket. (Only one ticket per person for the day.) The Golden ticket allows the holder to jump to the front of the queue and get first dibs.

In any case, every newbie and under-18 will, in every slot, be able to take a buddy with them when they sign up.

Offering games

You can download blank sign-up sheets as sign-up sheet (MS Word) or sign-up sheet (PDF). (If you're offering a game, please note that you're still responsible for writing your own sign-up sheet; we don't create them for you.)

Send us your game blurbs via the UK Roleplayers forum or any of the other places where we publicise Concrete Cow and we'll put them here!

Note for GMs

If your game has pre-generated characters, please take a look at their demographics. If the pre-gens are mostly straight white men, ask yourself why. If that's what's required by the scenario, fine. If not, please include more diversity in the characters.

If you game involves content that some people might find upsetting, please note that in the game blurb.

If you don't want someone at your table, you have every right to ask them to leave, at any time. You don't have to provide a reason, but please try to remain civil. Ask an organiser to step in if it's needed.

During a game, if you notice that one person's behaviour is making someone else uncomfortable, please don't ignore it. Do something about it. Take note of the harassment policy.

The GenCon Games on Demand advice and parts of How to Run Safer, Accessible, and Inclusive Game Conventions go into much more detail, even if it is rather US-centric.

The Games

Note that, depending on circumstances, not all of these games may run on the day.

(Please add games in alphabetical order)

13th Age

The Wedding Party

Prince Cerych of the Winter Wood and his companions are on their way to the city of Evanstown to meet his betrothed, the Princess Genarra. On the way they've stopped for the night at the rather squalid town of Restholme.

It turns out that someone important doesn't want Cerych and his not necessarily merry band to reach Evanstown. Restholme is where they're making their play...

GM: Ashley Munday
Players: 5
Slot: Afternoon

Apocalypse World

Metro 2033 - Begowia Station

Apocalypse world starter set based on the Metro 2033 novels. A desperate life in the ever decaying tunnels of the Moscow metro, the surface world a toxic wasteland filled with monsters and impassible by night, while factions of fanatics and the ghosts of the once living plague the world below. Very few remember the world before all mankind was condemned to eternity in the tunnels. Begowia station and surrounding area will be generated at the table and scenario based on playbooks selected.

GM: Robin Poole
Players: 5
Slot: Morning

Bastille

An oppressive regime in an alt-near future state controls the media, suppresses freedom of speech, seizes its citizens assets without appeal and polices every aspect of their daily lives. Revolution is inevitable and as the nation descends into bloody chaos, crowds descend on one of the most hated emblems of the regime, determined to free their friends and relatives from the grip of the Pan's Wood Political Correction facility. As protesters clash with guards over the rights of those detained within, you'll have to choose your side, but beware of what happens when you have freedom without security...

This game will use the Primetime Adventures system to tell the tale of the last days of a brutal, dictatorial regime in a near-future setting: you can play a revolutionary overthrowing the state; a representative of the state trying to hold order together among the chaos; a detainee inside the Pan's Wood facility trying to survive long enough to be released, or any other role in the situation you can imagine. There will also be terrible revelations about the atrocities committed by the regime that might cause any of the characters to question which side they are on...

GM: James Mullen
Players: 3 to 5
Slot: Morning

Beyond Our Walls

by Robert Bohl In this game, you play living-technology-using aliens who reside in the walled city of Sonorous, and are part of the city’s Corps. The Corps is an organization found in each city, tasked with keeping people and goods safe in the extremely dangerous wilds between cities. They also venture into the wilderness to save people (especially those who live nomadically or in unwalled settlements) or retrieve lost things.

This game requires 4-6 players, each of whom will play a member of the Corps and take turns embodying the Wild between and within walls. There is some drawing but no huge amount of artistic skill is required. This game won the English language leg of Game Chef 2016.

GM: Piers Connolly
Players: 3-5
Slot: Afternoon - please note I'll need to leave early so the game will last 3 to 3.5 hours.

Beyond the Wall

Black Mantle

An OSR game about youngsters in an isolated dystopian City who reject their life of toil in their birth-assigned "work phyle" and instead choose the dangerous job of piloting mecha-like Mantles on specialised missions in the mysterious Outside on behalf of corporate sponsors. Do the mission right and you get experience rewards which bump you up the internal social ladder.

It's mechanically based on Beyond the Wall and there are playbooks for Citizens and Mantles. This scenario will be all about the Exterior exploration-type mission.

GM: smiorgan
Players: 3-5
Slot: morning or afternoon

Call of Cthulhu

Lord, Help My Poor Soul

Professor Henry Reynolds is a world-renowned expert of Gothic Literature. Every year he throws a lavish Christmas party for a select few from the academic community at his home in rural Oxfordshire. This year, the theme for the party is Edgar Allan Poe. The guests will dress up as characters from his stories, play party games and revel late into the cold, snowy night. What better way to spend Christmas Eve?

GM: Matt Sanderson
Players: 4-6
Slot: Afternoon

The Way of All Flesh

Reverend Cobb and his family have just moved to the small town of Boreham, in rural Massachusetts. The First Congregational Church has been without a rector since the disappearance of Reverend Winthrop earlier in the year. However unfortunate the circumstances, this may become a time of renewal for the Cobbs and the people of Boreham.

The reverend has challenges to overcome, however. Winter is here, and with it, long, dark nights and heavy snow, cutting the town off from the rest of the world. The townsfolk have become reclusive, and attendance at the church has dwindled. Surely the arrival of a new rector will bring the congregation back. Or maybe the problem is not that the locals have lost their faith, but that they have found a new one…

GM: Scott Dorward
Players: 4 (adults only)
Slot: Evening

The Code of Steam & Steel

The Great Martian Tripod Race

Franklin is the first human competitor in tripod racing history, but his team has hit a few problems.

His corporate sponsor is tied up in a hostile takeover bid, so the money has dried up. The Martian tripod racing clan is out to stop him, to keep tripod racing for Martians only. Who knows what dark deeds they will resort to?

As the members of Franklin’s race team, can can you overcome all obstacles and get him to the start line?

A game of Scientific Romance and Steampunk adventure, set on the Victorian colony of Mars.

Original scenario by: Martin Pickett
GM: Simon Burley
Players: 3-6
Slot: Afternoon

The Cthulhu Hack

An Old School-style game of investigation and battling the sanity-shattering horrors of Lovecraftian gods and monsters. Based on The Black Hack, it uses a rather elegant dice mechanic and fast, player-focussed gameplay to keep the investigation flowing and the threat of unnameable horrors ever present.

The Derelict

When the last chip falls and the champagne has run dry, the eternal socialite has to sell up and literally ship out - heading from Liverpool to New York to sell a yacht in the hope of staving off the burden of debts. With a small group of friends, their situation little better, the final cruise across the Atlantic seems like it might prove a farewell to bad times.

Then the captain receives a faint distress call from a stranded cargo vessel and the obligation to render assistance at sea doesn't seem so bad in light of the possible bounty from salvage opportunities...

Chaosium's Free RPG Day adventure run with new hotness Old School game The Cthulhu Hack

GM: Paul Baldowski
Players: Up to 5
Slot: Afternoon

Hacked Off

I need to leave early in order to catch the last train back to Birmingham. So this game will last two and half hours exactly. I'll be consulting about whether to offer The Black Hack, The Cthulhu Hack or my own The Super Hack and will firm up the details before the day.

GM: Simon Burley
Players: 3-6
Slot: Evening

Don't Rest Your Head

Your insomnia has been getting worse. Sleep has gone from difficult to rare to just not an option any more. And that was when it clicked. You began to see things as they really were. The dream had ended and you became one of the Awake. The Mad City and all its nightmares were suddenly visible to you—and now, you are visible to them. You'll need all your new-found abilities to survive. Just remember: don't fall asleep.

Don't rest your head.

GM: Sue Savage
Players: 2–4
Slot: Any/all

Hot War

Greaves & Woodhouse: Shimmering Aquatics (A Cthulhu Farce)

Keen to put behind him the death of his brother and that unfortunate incident at the Hillingdon-Shaw estate last year (they apparently have to gag Sally poor thing ,as her constant screaming keeps the rest of the sanitarium awake at night!) Percy Woodhouse and his manservant Greaves have traveled to the South Pacific island of Pohnpei for a relaxing holiday.

There the pair run into Percy's Aunt Margret, missing since the Hillingdon-Shaw debarcle and clearly up to know good! At her insistence Percy accepts an invitation for a private party on the yacht of American billionaire Anton Merriweather in order to meet his beautiful daughter Marion and admire his spiffing new mini-submarine.

Now several G&T's and one huge storm later, a handful of you find yourselves trapped miles from land lost in the ocean near a point that the ships Captain fearfully calls "The Point of Inaccessibility" Percy is now wishing that he had listened to Greaves and had gone to Blackpool instead!

GM: Matt Nixon
Players: 6
Slot: Evening

I Dream in Neon and Dust

An esoteric cyberpunk world building game. A playtest.

A thousand spires rising on a forgotten world, choked with the lifeblood of humanity, crawling like ants across my metallic husk.

Where flesh melds into machine and machine knits flesh. Where the real dissolves into electronic haze and the unreal forms in fire, plastic, thunder, neon and dust.

I will sing of these people and these dreams which never die

unGM: Michael Such
Players: 3 to 6
Slot: Afternoon

Itras By

Itra-Troll

“We are the dreamers who dream and then live in the dream.”

Nothing has been heard from the scientific personnel at the research station Itra-Troll since they reported seeing the face of Itra in the lights of the aurora itralis. This is a story about their rescue party.

You’ll learn more about the innermost desires of your character on entering Itra-Troll than you might ever have suspected: you’ll draw cards to represent the hopes and fears of your character, watch as they come to life as dreams made flesh, despair as the other members of the collective make an unholy mess of them.

Will you dare to turn on the dreaming machines?

GM: Abstract Machine
Players: 3 to 5
Slot: Morning
Playstyle: Norwegian Surreal; player narration, card-based resolution.

Warning, Will Robinson: this is a playtest.

Manifold

Renegades of Dark Space (Season 1 Episodes 1 and 2)

Wherever you were going, whatever you paid for at whatever level of comfort, when you were sealed into your cryo-sleep pod for your interstellar joumey, you didn't expect to wake to this!

The reeking hold of some battered old space tub piled high with cryo-tubes disgorging their cargo of scum and villainy - all seeking revenge for being hijacked.

Worse still, there's the distinctive scream of failing shields and foul smelling bodies are hurled across the dim chamber, crushed under toppling cryo-tubes as the ship's internal dampeners fail to cope with what's obviously a sustained attack upon the ship.

If this hulk's even GOT escape pods, there ain't going to be enough for all of you. Between you and survival stands a mob of the galaxy's worst thuggery and a fully armed strike-ship of some kind.

Thank fast! What are you going to do?

Tags: Action Sci Fi, motley collection of characters, survival against the odds, Dark Matter, Killjoys, Pitch Black, Supernova

GM: Simon Burley
Players: 3-6
Slot: Morning

Monster of the Week

Something Grimm

Your play a group of monster hunters and things have been quiet for a while near your base. Just as you are thinking of moving to a new hub location, things in the neighbourhood start to change.

GM: Katie Bennie
Players: up to 5
Slot: Evening

Network Notes

The return of last year's popular game of tv pilots and the souls crushed in their making. Cards, Creativity, Humour, Light roleplay elements Network Notes is a game for three to four players (or, if you have more players, it works even better with teams). You play talented TV writers with a hot new show to sell. Your aim is to have your show taken on by a studio and then bought by a network. Trouble is, at each stage you'll have to change your show to meet their demands. The other players will act as your potential Studios and Networks and you'll do the same for them. At the end, you'll have a new tv pilot fully financed and ready to go, but will you still want to make it?

UnGM: Epistolary Richard
Players: 2-12
Slot: Evening (note approx. 1 hour run time)

Powered by the Apocalypse

The 5-Second Rule

A lazy summers day around the old chalk quarry is interrupted when a stranger throws something into the water; when a few kids dive in to recover it, they set in motion a chain of events that will affect everyone they know and uncover a secret, personal tragedy at the root of it all.

Inspired by films, TV and books featuring child protagonists, including but not limited to Super 8, Stranger Things, Bridge to Terabithia and The Jonny Maxwell books by Terry Pratchett, Troublemakers is a PbtA game about children who go on remarkable adventures and save the day despite the intervention of the adults around them, in the process uncovering things secret & wondrous and maybe even growing up a little in the process.

GM: James Mullen
Players: 3 or 4
Slot: Afternoon

Star Wars Apocalypse World: Special Second Edition

Even under the Empire, Mos Eisley was a town where you could cut a man's arm off in a bar and people would barely look up from their drinks. Now the Empire has fallen, but the fledgling New Republic is yet to impose control on backwaters like Tatooine. There are no authorities, just scum and villainy. Speeder bike gangs vie for supremacy with ex-Imperial veterans and the heirs to Jabba's crime empire. Will you wind up in a palace with your own house band and pet monster, or in pieces on a cantina floor?

This will use the rules from hot-off-the-Kickstarter second edition of Apocalypse World, the highly influential game of fast-moving, player-driven sandbox action. This game will use character playbooks slightly edited and bowdlerised to replace some of Apocalypse World's sex and profanity with blasters and droids. You don't need to be familiar with Apocalypse World or with obscure Star Wars arcana, though it probably will help if you have at some point seen a Star Wars movie.

Tags: 18+ even though I've toned down AW a bit, mild player-vs-player elements

GM: James Torrance
Players: 3-4
Slot: Morning

Savage Worlds

Britannia Arcanam

It is 55 BC and the great General Caesar leads a force over the Channel and onto British soil. Once thought just a myth, this mysterious island has been the subject of many a tale of terror. Lurid tales of magic-wielding druids and giant barbarians are rife around the campfires. The Tenth Legion is not scared of these children's stories, at least that is what you tell each other. Secretly you long to leave this place of mists and shadow, ever since you first stepped on its shores you could feel something was very wrong here, as if the land itself knew you as an interloper. You feel ever uneasy, the air tastes foul, sleep is fitful and when it comes dreams are dark. There is a tension in the air, as if a great storm approaches, perhaps the greatest storm ever known...

Play as a Roman legionary invading a hostile, twisted Britain where legends walk, spirits dwell and magic is all too real.

GM: j0rdi
Players: 4
Slot: Afternoon

TMNT: Heroes in a Shell Game

It ain't easy being green... or a teenager... or a six foot mutant turtle. Unfortunately you're all three! Luckily you've got your brothers to keep you company (even if you do sometimes fight). No matter how bad things get though, you know you'll always have each other's backs. And the Ninjutsu skills you've learned under your sensei, the mutated rat Master Splinter. It's just as well, because if the world discovered you it would hunt you, catch you and study you in a lab. There are a few humans that know the truth, channel 6 reporter April O'Neil and the sports-mad vigilante Casey Jones for example but you can trust them. Unlike most humans. That's why you live hidden in the sewers under Manhattan where it's nice and quiet, until one day...

Play as a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, struggling to get by in modern day Manhattan.

GM: j0rdi
Players: 4
Slot: Saturday Morning (Cartoons!)

Shinobigami

Shinobigami is an original Japanese tabletop role-playing game, currently being translated into English.

The game is about goals, relationship and power, in the backdrop of a modern day Japan in the midst of a secret ninja clan cold war. 3-5 competent shinobi characters aim to take control of an object of power, meanwhile they pursue unique hidden goals that may lead them to cooperate or compete with each other. Forming relationships puts you at risk but also opens you up to learn more secrets and information. Everyone’s secret goal is unique and often puts the characters into conflict with some of the others, or perhaps drives them to protect or love others. Character drama is key; and since each story/”campaign” only lasts a few hours, incredible drama and twists can spring forth through play.

The other half of the game is a light but strategic “board game” style of play, involving a grid of skills, a battle/combat system of high flying action and tactics, and secret boost items and Ultimate Ninja Techniques will help the characters push the others out of their way as they reach for their goals.

The Dagger that Kills Gods

A tanto dagger has been found by archaeologists. This news has made some waves in academic, historical and collector's circles. It's currently being held in an underground bunker/cave underneath the grand Meiji shrine for restoration and analysis. Those in the know have heard whispers that this dagger is the legendary Kamikiri - the God of Mist - a dagger infused with the spirit of a kami, which has the power to slay gods. Those whispers have attracted the attention of every legitimate museum, shady black market collector, and of course the heads of all the ninja clans.

GM: Neil Smith
Players: Up to 5
Slot: Afternoon

Symbaroum

A Swedish fantasy role-playing game by Järnringen, recently translated into English and distributed by Modiphius in the UK. Players take on character roles in a setting of somewhat grim fantasy, not too dissimilar to that of the likes of Warhammer's Old World or Leiber's Lankhmar.

The Wheel of Misfortune

Since the Great War erupted months ago, life has become much harder across the roads and fields of Alberetor. What little news makes it out into the rural heartland hints at a slow pressure from the borders as the attacks of the Dark Lords grow more fierce and decisive.

You might be nothing more than common folk of the village of Djupa, but you feel a drive to aid your country and fulfil your destiny in the name of your King. With others from the village at your side, you travel on foot northward to Grimsgil to come before the local steward and give your oath to service.

A brand new adventure showcasing many of the themes of the core game.

GM: Paul Baldowski
Players: Up to 5
Slot: Morning

Teen Detective rpg

If you love teen mystery shows like Veronica Mars then you'll like this. Investigate your fellow class-mates, confound the police, nab the villains and explore your own family secrets in this ultra-rules light game.

Note that this game will use the introductory bike scenario from Bubblegumshoe (but not its rules).

GM: Epistolary RIchard
Players: 2–4
Slot: Morning

Trail of Cthulhu

Behind a Mask of Gold

South Africa , 1890. After the Witwatersrand Gold Rush four years ago, a handful of large companies dominate the mining operations in the region, but a number of smaller companies still claim territories. It’s hard work, but there are almost boundless riches available to those who have the money and power needed to bring it out of the earth. But what else waits in the depths of the earth, waiting for the greed of man to bring it once more into the light?

GM: Matt Sanderson
Players: 4-6
Slot: Morning

The Watch

The Watch is a low-fantasy game about women (and other female-of-center people) who are fighting to retake their homeland from the Shadow – a darkly sorcerous threat that has the power to possess men and use them for its own violent ends. So much has already been lost to the Shadow – land, loved ones, and traditions. But your people have come together, forming a new fighting force from those able to resist the Shadow, which they call the Watch.

The story of The Watch is structured around the military campaign against the Shadow’s forces. You will tell stories of war, love, and sacrifice as your characters fight to hang on to what they have left. … The military campaign is what will give structure to your story, from the early defensive days of the campaign when the Watch is just trying to dig in and hold the new border, to the final days when you are closing in on the stronghold of the Shadow itself.

That you will defeat the Shadow is never in question. What you are playing to find out is how much will it cost you? On the day of the Shadow’s final defeat, who is it that you will say should have been standing beside you? Which of you will burn bright and fast, and which of you will hunker down and see this thing through to the end?

GM: Neil Smith
Players: Up to 5
Slot: Evening

World War Cthulhu: Cold War

The Forcing Move

The World Chess Championship is an unlikely front in the Cold War. As Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky face off over the chessboard, a small team of SIS officers find themselves engaged in their own game of move and countermove over a potential defector. An already tense situation tips over into nightmare and madness as another, more eldritch threat emerges.

GM: Scott Dorward
Players: 4 (adults only)
Slot: Afternoon