Actual Play – Witch: The Road to Lindisfarne (10/6/2012)

Players: Jason Morningstar, Hamish Cameron, Eric Fattig, Daniel Hodges, Jeremy Tidwell, and Sean Nittner
System:  Witch: The Road to Lindisfarne

Jason had played this game once before and liked it. A few other people had heard of it. I was just thrilled to get a chance to play a game at Big Bad Con, and with other such cool people!

We talked about the game quite a bit on Daniel Hodges podcast Penny Red, episode 34 but there are still some highlights I’d like to hit.

The Play is the Thing

Witch, for those not familiar, is a situation based game where each player frames a scene during a particular event (in this case during a particular part of their travels) and then the story-line progresses. It is very similar to Montsegur 1244 in format.

The content is that five men have been sent to escort a confessed witch named Eloise to Lindisfarne where she will be burned to absove her of her sins and cure England of the plague people believe she has caused. As we play, the characters have to stare deep into this choice as well as answer their own person questions.

The scenes progress as the party travels from London to Lindesfarne. In each new location, one character is directed to read a passage, denote the mood of the scenes (hopeful, threatening, tumultuous, and finally decisive). The players, besides acting out an special instructions (like revealing secrets, etc) are then instructed to frame scenes with their characters. As you play, each character has three one word traits to describe them and three questions they should try to answer during play.

One thing I love about the questions is that they didn’t need to be answered overtly. For instance, I was playing Berrick, the young squire and one of my questions was “how did your younger sister die?”. I telegraphed pretty hard in my first interactions with the witch that I blamed her for taking my sister’s life. The players, all being smart people that were paying attention to the scenes quickly picked up that she died of the plague… but they didn’t leave it there. Later in the game when we were revealing secrets, the priest (and this was all on Daniel to invent) revealed that the told Berrick his sister had died of the plague, when really the priest had killed her to hid his illicit affair with her. It wasn’t until the epilogue that Berrick, sorting through an old musty chest found his sister’s locket that he had given her amid Brother Armond’s things. I love how I thought I knew the answer as a player, and as a character, but it kept changing throughout the game.

The players were wonderful. Hamish played a very noble Thorne, which made it that much more difficult for me to stay loyal to Sir Hayden. Jason was perfect as Ham. Greedy, thinking of himself, and not buying at all that Eloise was really a witch. Eric was so awful to me, all game long I loved it. Daniel played this very soft tempered priest who seemed so kind and wanting to forgive, except he was a terrible, terrible person. Finally Jeremy was just eviiiiilllll as Eloise. Evil!

We ended up betrayed and broken. It was fantastic.

Thoughts on the game

I really want to turn this into a LARP next year at Big Bad Con. I wonder if The Armory or will rent me a cage.

I got to play all the way through an RPG at Big Bad Con. YAY!

Actual Play – Pit slave for a day (10/6/2012)

GM: Jason Morningstar
Players: Chris Bennett, Jackson Tegu, J Li, David Hamaker, and Sean Nittner (briefly)
System: Dungeon World

This was going to be it. This was going to be my second (er third) try at Dungeon World and I was going to like it! Jason was running, awesome people were playing. I was going to be so down, and I was going to figure out how to love this game!

We started and Jason told us that we were all prisoners of a lich. Most of the characters were previous adventurers. Deprived of their belongings and freedom, but otherwise still mighty. Two of us lucky few were pit slaves who had spent our lives digging for the lich’s riches. I was one of the lucky two! Jason was the other. Together we were Pox and Lox!

My was pretty simple, I had a dented flute and a bag of human excrement. My moves were bed for forgiveness and squirm. My stats modifiers were all -1. I had 4 hit points. Huzzah!

The game started and we set off to action. My first (and what would be only) action was to squirm (my move) under a rock… and on a roll of 7, it was a rock that I was promptly stuck under… for the rest of the game.

No, it’s not that Jason is that cruel of a GM (Yes, I have read John Wick’s Play Dirty stories of keeping a character in a jail cell for multiple sessions, Jason wasn’t trying to do that). It’s that 10 minutes into play I needed to put out a fire at the con, and then another one, and then Big Bad GM started and I needed to be there for that. By the time I was free the game was over. I was delighted to hear that my good friend Lox did not meat a horrible end.

Thoughts on this game.

Adventurers! Had to look and see what was in the killing pit!

I’d actually be really interested in seeing how pathetic characters would fare in Dungeon World (or in AW) for that matter. I was sad I didn’t get to flounder more with Pox.

Best Morningstar stare of death EVAR:

Actual Play – Attack of the Media Moguls (10/5/2012)

GM: Greg Wirth and Sarah Hawklyn
Players: LARPers a plenty
System: Teenagers From Outer Space (TFOS)

One of the pillars of the LARPing community at Big Bad Con, Greg Wirth asked if I would make a cameo appearance in the TFOS LARP. My first inclination was to say I was too busy running the con, but Greg has been a prince about his LARPs both years. Last year he let me split it in half with a band performance that we called the Ferris Bueller High School Dance. So I figured the least I could do was show up for a few minutes this year.

Man, I am so glad I did.

Greg invited me in, put a wolf skin on my head and sat me down. The LARP was stopping to watch a movie that had been made by the “upperclassmen”. The movie, made by Greg and his LARP team was really well done and hilarious. It featured a major plot event that had the students in a panic. As soon as it ended Greg and I popped up and we took the part of Action Wolf News reporters. We got in the students faces, asked obnoxious questions, misconstrued everything they said and made unsubstantiated ominous predictions about their fate.

I think I was in the room for maybe 15-20 minutes, so I can hardly call this a real actual play report, but I want to commemorate the fun we had. I was the nosy reporter, Greg was my camera-man and together we made much tomfoolery!

Here’s the game listing: Attack of the Media Moguls

Big Bad Con

Convention Website:

Problem: There aren’t enough good weekend long RPG conventions in the Bay Area. My Answer: Big Bad Con! I’ve talked to Japji Khalsa (of Kublacon), Chris Hanrahan (EndGame in Oakland), Doug Daulton (of Neoncon), Matt Steele (of Dead of Winter), and Ryan Macklin (of Go Play SF Bay and The Internet). I’m put all the ideas from these great minds together to create one awesome con.

Some of our highlights from last year:

Big Bad GM – 4 GMs compete in a zero prep game with three secret ingredients given to them…the moment the games stats!

Imperial Academy Dropouts: The Big Bad’s own nerd cord band rocked out with tunes like Convention Lover and of course Hungry like the Wolf.

Over 70 Indie/Small Press games on the roster. Big Bad is the west coast indie con!