Concrete Cow 16 games

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The games below will be offered at the Concrete Cow 16 convention on 12 March 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 15½ 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 (ABCDE*FGHIJ)
Morning games 10.00am – 1.30pm
Afternoon game sign up and cake   2.10pm (JIHGF*EDCBA)
Afternoon games   2.30pm – 6.30pm
Raffle draw 6.30pm
Evening game sign up 7.10pm (EFBGC*HBIAJ)
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. ABCDE*FGHIJ), signups will be in reverse order for the afternoon (e.g. JIHGF*EDCBA). The evening games will be called in a completely different order (e.g. EFBGC*HBIAJ). 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-16s, and reward GMs. Every newbie and under-16 will get one Golden Ticket. Every GM with a game listed below will also get a Golden Ticket; other GMs running a game will get one Silver 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. The Silver ticket allows a GM to jump in half-way though, if they haven't already been called. Golden and Silver tickets are both one-use only.

In any case, every newbie and under-16 will, in every slot, be able to take a buddy with them when they sign up.

I think that's about as complicated as I want to make the sign-up system.

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. Again, ask an organiser to step in if it's needed.

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)

Blades in the Dark

Blades in the Dark is a game about a group of daring scoundrels building a criminal enterprise on the haunted streets of an industrial-fantasy city. There are heists, chases, escapes, dangerous bargains, bloody skirmishes, deceptions, betrayals, victories, and deaths.

We’ll play to find out if the fledgling crew can thrive amidst the teeming threats of rival gangs, powerful noble families, vengeful ghosts, the Bluecoats of the City Watch, and the siren song of the scoundrel’s own vices.

  • You play scoundrels on the streets of Doskvol, an industrial-fantasy city. There’s primitive electrical technology, the printing press, strange alchemy, and simple gunpowder weapons.
  • You and the other players create a fledgling criminal enterprise—your crew—and then take on illicit jobs to improve your assets and status.
  • Game play focuses on the moments of daring action during a job (with occasional flashbacks) and the downtime between scores when you recover and pursue personal interests.

The War in Crow's Foot

The fragile peace in the Crow's Foot district shattered when the leader of the Crows was murdered. Now the feud between two other gangs, the Lampblacks and the Red Sashes, has once again exploded into open war on the streets. Your crew of thieves is poised to profit from all of this, or be swept up in the chaos and destroyed. Who will you side with? Do you have loyalties and friendships in the mix, or are you detached outsiders coldly exploiting the situation?

When we open, you're in the cramped office of the Lampblack's leader, Bazso Baz, overlooking the coal warehouse floor below. Several of his bravos hang about, sizing you up. Bazso wants your answer. Are you with them, or against them? What do you say? Will you side with the Lampblacks? Will you just pretend to? (Good luck, Bazso is very sharp). Will you tell him to fuck off? Are you actually here to kill him for the Red Sashes? (If so, do a flashback and pick a plan for the assassination.)

GM: Neil Smith
Players: 3-5
Slot: Evening

The Code of Shōjo and Shōnen

Dark Predators

The City - where all that is left of humanity live out their lives in a technological paradise. But is it an Arc or is it a Trap? Surrounded by a wilderness fully of gigantic natural monstrosities, and defended by giant Mecha, The City is all that you have ever known. But is it the perfect world you were led to believe?

High octane Sci Fi action Anime adventure in the same vein as Akira, The Ghost in The Shell, Appleseed and Robotech. In a dystopian future arcology, street brats discover a terrible conspiracy. Anime, Henshin Heroes, Kaiju and Mecha. It's Morphin' Time!

This is my only game to use a slightly different system, my forthcoming The Code of Shōjo and Shōnen - the fourth in my series of popular "Code" books. Lightweight, 2d6 roleplaying. Similar to Manifold but more genre specific, lightweight and faster to play with a more narrative approach.

GM: Simon Burley
Players: 3-5
Slot: Morning

Cthulhu Dark

Ad Astra Per Aspera

London, 1851. Those Londoners not lucky enough to be born with money have to make their livings however they can. Some of the more desperate become mudlarks, searching the silt of the Thames for lost valuables, and maybe using this to steal the occasional item from a nearby boat. Of course, not everything you may find in the mud is valuable, and some items may not be want you want at all.

But no matter who you are, fortune can always take you in unexpected directions. You may find wealth, the attention of powerful new friends, or a way to ascend to the stars themselves. Just try not to think of the price you’ll have to pay.

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

Dead of Night

Blackhearts

1875, Tombstone Arizona. Shivering despite the dry desert heat an old man sits in a rocking chair cradling an ancient iron bound tome to his chest gently weeping. With his dying breath your father whispered to you that the book was evil and would bring you nothing but misery, but all you could see was the power it could bring you.

Now more then forty years later sat hiding in a dilapidated ranch guarded by a pair of demon possessed gunslingers of your own summoning you know he was right - the book may have brought you the money, the women, the respect, but it also brought you unwanted attention from bad men whose skills and knowledge made your spell casting abilities look like little more then a conjurer at a children's party.

They are coming for you, you can feel their presence like a storm rolling in. Your only hope for survival is that your demons return with the package that you sent them to collect. If not they vengeance upon those who have taken their Master.

GM: Matt Nixon
Players: 3-5
Slot: Morning

Dramasystem

The Void Citadel of House Vervain

You are the last remnants of noble house Vervain, besieged in your one remaining stronghold: the ancient void citadel Amaryllis, orbiting a gas giant in the Achernar system.

Who should you ally with and who should you spurn: the high-minded rebels of House Hellebore, the heretics of the Cult of the Gnostic Sun, the space pirates of the Lotus Syndicate? Passions run high as you debate among yourselves which course to choose.

This will use my substantially modified GM-less variant of Dramasystem, the engine from Robin Laws' Hillfolk, the game of melodramatic family feuds.

Tags: GM-less, Inter-PC melodrama, Science-fantasy, Mostly dialogue

GM: James Torrance
Players: 2-3 plus facilitator
Slot: Afternoon

HeroQuest (2.1)

Fish Squad vs Megashark

Over the past six weeks 4 boats and 8 baleen whales have been lost in a path that runs down the east coast of the US and then turning towards the mid-Atlantic ridge. A US Navy Submarine sent to investigate managed a single distress call two hours ago then went dark.

Something is down there, rising when it needs to feed. It needs to be located and stopped before the humans over-react.... FISH SQUAD ASSEMBLE! 

GM (facilitator): Ashley Munday
Players: 4

Lamentations of the Flame Princess

On the Discovery of Witches

August 1647. Between the Civil Wars, a fear of witchcraft has spread across East Anglia. While some brave souls travel from town to town trying to cleanse the land of this taint, they are outnumbered by those who have seen it as an opportunity to make some quick bit of cash. One such group, driven by money, and maybe a little thirst for adventure, find themselves in North Norfolk as the fog rolls in from across the ocean. They have been lucky enough to avoid the supernatural in their exploits so far. Tonight, their luck just ran out.

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

The Hanging Tree

The Ravenswood is less than a day’s travel from the town of Wilting, but few of the townsfolk ever make the journey. The woods are ancient and dark, filled with wonders and horrors. Some people go there to die, others to find a way to live forever. Both believe that Death herself walks between the trees.

Following a tragic romance, the daughter of a wealthy Wilting merchant has disappeared, leaving only a note that she is seeking her fate in the Ravenswood. Her father will pay anything to get his daughter home safe. But what use is money if you won’t live to spend it?

GM: Scott Dorward
Players: 5 (adults only)
Slot: Afternoon

The Laundry

Training Day

From: Administration@InterdepartmentalLiaison.gov.uk
To: Bernie Cartwright; Dorian Sharpe; Jody Midwinter; Ray Ballard; Angel Prince; 
Ashley Billings
Re: Mandatory Training Course Invite

You have been chosen to attend the following Mandatory Training Event:

An Introduction to Multi-Disciplinary Investment, Transitional Skills and 
Cross-Platform Responsibility in a Matrix Management Environment

Course Type: Fully expensed residential course.
Location: Lawress Hall Civil Service Training Centre - Riseholme Park, Lincoln
Course details, dates and times TBA

Galadriel Troutt
Training & Development Assistant 
Interdepartmental Liaison Group
H.M.O.S

*** This email (including attachments, if any) is strictly confidential and 
may be legally and existentially privileged. It is intended only for the 
addressee. If you are not the intended recipient, any disclosure, copying, 
distribution or other use of this communication is strictly prohibited upon 
pain of death and/or loss of your mortal soul***

A game set in the world of the Laundry Files by Charles Stross.

Can you save the day, stay within budget and supply all relevant receipts... all the while remaining ISO9001 compliant?

If so, we’ve got a job for you.

GM: Anthony Lee-Dudley
Players: 4–6
Slot: Morning

Lighthugger

Want to know what the people of the future will be like? Take a look in the mirror. You may have a phone the size of a credit card powered by your own movements and body heat that also lets you watch your favourite TV programmes and make phone calls anywhere in the world, but you’ll still pay by credit, still watch TV, still have family, friends and colleagues to talk to. A thousand small changes will leave everything pretty much the same, but a couple of big changes and you might not recognise the world you live in anymore. In fact, you might not be living here at all: space is about to open up and you could be out there, doing a job like the one you’re doing now, but the view out of your office window might be the whole Earth, the surface of the moon or nothing but stars. People like you are going to make it happen.

So, let’s make it happen.

The Next Big Thing is a story-game set in the not too distant future, where the main characters are all involved in an attempt to explore & exploit the solar system, in this case by being the first to complete a functional near-light-speed spaceship: they'll need financial backing, legal advice and more than a bit of luck, inspiration & genius to achieve their goal. Using an ultra-rules light system that focuses on negotiation, with the dice as final arbiter in a deadlock, we'll make the future.

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

Manifold

Deadpool Saves the Fantastic Four

WARNING: this blurb may contain adult content.

When you've a face which looks like an rotten avocado had sex with an even more rotten avocado and your girl can't look at you whilst doing the dirty - even after downing a bottle of vodka - you tend to clutch at straws. So Wade Wilson turns to famed scientist Reed Richards for help.

Discredited after four failed films (the Corman one counts) the ex-Mr Fantastic and his so-called "Fantastic" Four have holed-up in the Baxter Building - so at least they're easy to find. Except, when Deadpool gets there, all he finds is a Police Cordon and a crater in the ground.

Checking his ammo bag - yup, they've got a MUCH bigger budget this time around - he leaps into the hole to investigate......

Using my easy-play cinematic Manifold rules, you'll play Deadpool or a member of the CLASSIC Fantastic Four. It'll probably go gonzo pretty quick - with the person who tells the grossest dirty joke being allowed to play the "Merc with the Mouth" - and if you want to create alternative characters from the stories (Medusa, Negasonic Teenage Warhead, Herbie the Robot etc), I'll let you.

Repeated gross-out Adult humour mandatory. 18+ at the table and at any table within earshot.

GM: Simon Burley
Players: 3-5 (but I'll sulk if I don't get 5)
Slot: Afternoon

Flight into Oblivion

You're on the cheap overnight flight back from New York to the UK - you know, the one where the night only lasts about 2 hours - when things take a turn to the bizarre.....

A low budget mystery/horror film - probably a student film made on that aeroplane standing set some film colleges have, with airport scenes and special effects cut in later when they've got a budget - along the lines of The Langoliers, The Ninth Gate, Source Code and Constantine.

Using my easy-play cinematic Manifold rules. Can you work out what's going on before your time is up?

Flight into Oblivion is a scenario of mystery and horror. It will last exactly two and a half hours – to allow me to run for my train – making it ideal for those who – like me – have to leave early. Two hours of dread followed by half an hour of torment – unless……….

GM: Simon Burley
Players: 3-5
Slot: Evening

Monster of the Week

Children are afraid of the monster under the bed. Adults laugh at them for talking nonsense. Not you though: you know different. You and your fellow monster hunters have seen too much to write anything off as make-believe now.

You don't know what it is. You don't know where it came from. You don't know what it wants. All you know, is that it's your job to stop it… and you'd better succeed.

GM: Katie Bennie
Players: 3–5
Slot: Morning

New Gods for an Old Town

In a world where superpowers have been with us for generations, four heroes have risen to the top of the heap in London, acting as its unofficial guardians, but each of the four pursues their own ends through their own means. Being on the same side of the law doesn't always mean working together and when it comes to the crunch, whose vision for the city will prevail?

Using the Just Heroes hack of Apocalypse World, this is a player-lead narrative, where the PCs will attempt to do things their own way, with or without the support of the other three heroes: sometimes you'll work together, but sometimes you'll be at odds with each other.

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

Newtown

AKA [REDACTED] You Mullen

Congratulations on coming to work for DECEIT! You will be doing vital work in defending the world and the British way of life from the threats posed by, well, hideous creatures other beings like yourself. You may find your new identity confusing and be uncertain of the proper way to act amongst human beings, so please read this simple guide; if you have any further questions, direct them to your human handler, Agent Smythe.

  • Who am I allowed to eat or take over? No-one, I’m afraid! A typical British citizen will put up with a lot, but being consumed by terrible monsters people of non-human descent is not one of them.
  • But I need to drink blood/eat brains/possess a host! How can I survive? Rest assured, DECEIT has access to a wide range of dietary alternatives, such as ‘Krimson’, a blood-substitute marketed as an energy drink in Newtown’s shops and stores. For those who require host bodies & live subjects, a range of suitable corpses and student volunteers is available from the University’s Human Resources department.
  • I have other needs... Yes, spare us the details, thank you. Whatever else you feel compelled to do is a private matter between you and your chosen life-partner. Please inform your handler about any toxic waste materials created by the unique processes of your metabolism or mechanism; he will arrange for their safe disposal. DO NOT FLUSH.

This game was created by playstorm during the last game slot on Sunday night at Indiecon 2012: as such, it may not be suitable.

GM: James Mullen
Players: 4-6
Slot: Evening

Pulp Cthulhu

But is it Art?

Art may make you immortal, but Vita Merritt is still dead. Her work placed her on the edge of the surrealist movement for fifteen years, never quite earning her the fame enjoyed by her friends and colleagues. Still, those who have been touched by her work find it ineffable and transformative.

Many admirers and collectors have gathered for a retrospective of Merritt’s work at the X gallery in Manhattan, where a number of her final pieces will be sold off. Some of those in attendance are strange souls indeed, and their motives for attending may not be entirely wholesome. Before long, the heroes will be find themselves deep in intrigue, fighting for the future of humanity, and faced with the horrifying source of Merritt’s inspiration.

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

The Disintegrator

Late October in a lonely hotel on the New England coast. The heroes are engaged by a wealthy scientist on a very unusual errand - to gatecrash a private auction for a most singular and potentially dangerous item - a so-called “disintegrator” device. Just what danger does the device pose? A cavalcade of interested parties are keen to unlock the truth. But the truth is far stranger than anyone could imagine.

Keeper: Mike Mason
Players: Up to Six
Slot: Afternoon

Shadowrun

Greenfields and Paydata

Mr Johnson wants a word. Says its a typical breaking, entering and data theft in greater Seattle. Typical, typical, no the catch isn't under here ... um .... Shadowrunners required.

[Yes this is the scenario from Conception]

GM: Mist77
Players: [Unknown]
Slot: Afternoon

Starfall

A game of 1950s alien invasion, by Paul Mitchener. It uses the Wordplay system by Graham Spearing (narratively-tagged d6 pools). There's a copy up for grabs in the charity raffle.

Chap with the Wings, Five Rounds Rapid

The Scarabs are closing in on Birmingham. A large specimen with wings has been sighted outside the nearby backwater of Wolverton and is believed to be preparing to lead an assault on the United Kingdom’s new Military HQ — unless the PCs can get to him first.

Pre-Gens, Military SF; may contain scenes of over-sized insect-hominoids sucking your brains out with their probosces.

GM: Abstract Machine
Slot: Morning

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.

Titans Wake

A wintry breeze follows you and your companions as you skirt the foothills of the Titans, the mountain range separating the dead lands of Alberetor from Ambria in the north. Many of your exiled brothers and sisters perish in crossing this great range, laid low by hunger, exhaustion or the jaws of predators. Those who weather the voyage and the hazards find scant comfort in the refugee camps - but it's something.

As members of the Queen's Rangers you serve your time walking the foothills of the south, sodden and chilled, monitoring the camps and seeing the refugees on their way. You approach Camp Titan, largest of the halfway settlements, when you sight columns of smoke and the stink of burning flesh...

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

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

Tenra Bansho Zero: The Ruined Empire

Tenra Bansho Zero is set in a magical world, filled with mysteries and darkness. The world is largely settled, and yet there are great unexplored areas. Magically-warped creatures live on the outskirts of human civilization, and the Shinto Priesthood places of power hold ancient mysteries.

Above all, Tenra is a world of conflict: The feudal nations and domains of Tenra are always turned against each other, and they constantly battle for military and cultural supremacy. But the greatest conflict and tension lives in the hearts of the characters, whose backgrounds and motivations provide the friction which, when pushed against the world around them, erupts into the fire of drama.

Tenra Bansho Zero, the over-the-top Japanese RPG of over-the-top hyper-Asian Japanese anime action. Mecha powered by trapped souls! Hulk-transforming samurai! Healers with implanted death-worms! Ninjas! Living dolls! Monks! Priests! Other priests! Other monks! Non-Euclidean calligraphy! Exclamation marks! And more scenery-chewing than you can shake a wakizashi at!

The Ruined Empire is a variant setting for Tenra that brings some of the more… problematic (to Western eyes) aspects of the setting to prominence, turning them into fun story-fodder.

Rinden Snarls

The Jahga Republic of Enlightened Peoples has brought freedom to the peoples of the small kingdom of Rinden. For some reason, the Rindenese object to the imposition of these freedoms and the removal of their despotic rulers. The Rinden resistance has fought a guerilla war for the two years since occupation.

Despite the grumblings of the Republican occupying forces, Governor Feigon Marown has invited the resistance to mediation talks. Princess Maruihana and her lieutenants are still debating how to respond when your cell receives intelligence of a security gap that could possibly allow you to liberate Princesses Nakesha and Lokora in three days’ time.

GM: Neil Smith
Players: Up to 3–5
Slot: Afternoon

Traveller

Hard Times

You play the ruling council of the Solomani world Mirabilis during the Hard Times as civilisation falls into Long Night. Can you make the tough decisions needed to save your world from anarchy, starvation, technological regression and the Vampire Fleets?

Tags: Sci-fi, Some PvP, political game, hard choices, statless.

GM: Steve Ellis
Players: Up to 5
Slot: Afternoon

World War Cthulhu: Cold War

Cadenza

July 1974. A little after midnight, two SIS agents in the eastern Mediterranean dropped dead at the same time. The common denominator: both were listening to a coded short wave radio transmission relaying instructions to them. SIS fear that their Numbers Station in RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus, which was used to transmit the signal has been compromised. N believes this is something stranger than a Soviet attack. The investigators are being sent to the airbase to discover the truth as international relations between Cyprus and Turkey take a turn for the worse.

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