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OSRCon II, Toronto, 10-11th August 2012

posted Aug 13, 2012 15:23:32 by lawrence.whitaker
Dedicated to the old-guard systems (D&D, T&T, RQ, Classic Traveller, etc), OSRCon is into its second year and held at the Lillian Smith Library in downtown Toronto, right in the heart of the University quarter of the city. There were, I estimate, about 40-50 attendees. Heavy rain on the Friday probably depressed numbers, and I was unable to get to the con for the opening session on Friday afternoon, but the Saturday saw perhaps five or six fully-booked game sessions in the Dungeon Rooms below the library's main collection.

A note on the rooms. A pair of cavernous spaces accessed via winding stone stairs and via a medieval-inspired circular atrium with domed acoustics that amplified the voice in a theatrically satisfying way. Noise in the gaming rooms was a potential issue, with GMs and players straining to make themselves heard above the excitement, but I've experienced far worse in better venues.

Guests of Honour were Ken St.Andre, one of the founding fathers of our hobby, Ed Greenwood of D&D and Forgotten Realms fame, James Maliszewski of Grognardia, Chris Hoth, an artist, and myself.

I was down for one RQ6 session on the Saturday morning, the lunchtime panel, and a Cthulhu session in the afternoon with my esteemed friend and gaming colleague Blain 'Akrasia' Neufeld. I ran 'Meeros Falling' from the GM's Pack with some pre-gens, including a Panthotaur Healing Priestess, a loyal warrior of the Meerish XIIth Cohort, a nomad from the western plains and a Minotaur Warrior Diplomat, although the diplomacy part of the profession was of a more 'what can I whack?' variety.

A surprise addition to the table was Ken St.Andre. KEN ST.ANDRE! Who, wandering past, asked if there was room to play. There was, and even if there hadn't been, I would've made it. A rare privilege. Ken played the Minotaur.

The session was fun and ran to plan. The Panthotaur performed a healing miracle to assuage the many injured of Meeros and gained herself a devoted sub-cult following. The Minotaur slipped at a crucial moment and found himself pinned down by two gloating Meerish Hoplites. The Warrior, deeply in love with Kara, Anthaym's sister, found himself dreadfully conflicted; and Chris Gilmore's sneaky nomad snuck around and acted as Point Man for the group.

I can't go into more depth because this would ruin the scenario for those yet to play it, but a great time was had by all.

The lunchtime panel saw the guests sharing their journey through roleplaying: how we got started, our influences, how we developed, and where we're at now. It was a wonderful discussion, not least to learn more about the genesis of Tunnels and Trolls, but also to see how similar our different journeys were. Along the way we ruminated on the rigours of writing professionally (Ed Greenwood is superhuman), the current and future state of the hobby, and the impact of the OGL on publishing. I really enjoyed the panel, which provoked some great questions from the audience.

The PM session saw Blain's Cthulhu adventure, which took a small group of Scottish investigators (cue dreadful Scots accents) to a remote lighthouse in the Orkneys to investigate the disappearance of its crew. This involved Eldritch Documents, mysterious correspondence, a sinister keening sound, a Fog No Man Was Meant to Know, and a couple of pools of black, oil-like sludge containing fragments of bone.

All but one of us survived, although my trainee Lighthouse Keeper decided that a less dangerous career was probably best - such as deactivating unexploded bombs.

Blain did a great job of keeping us in suspense, driving us mad, and helping some members of the party regress without the need for expensive hypnotherapy. Thoroughly enjoyed the game.

In all, OSRcon is a very welcome addition to the con calendar. That its small, intimate, and located in central Toronto is great for me, and I will be there again next year. My thanks to Chris Cunnington and his team for organising OSRcon and for making it a memorable event.

[Last edited Aug 13, 2012 15:24:04]
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5 replies
Afon y Bydysawd said Aug 13, 2012 18:20:00
The RuneQuest adventure was a great session. I had a blast! I don't know if it's some kind of collective myth-mind or what, but Meeros turned out to be a really engaging setting. I think we had a good grasp on a concept of who our characters were and what the city was like - without a bunch of setting explanation. A superb choice for a Con-game and beyond. I truly liked the pace of role playing and action: both the game itself and the participants ourselves had plenty of room to shine, ham it up, take risks, and take out the bad guys.

Ken St. Andre stopping by was a most memorable surprise. I played in his Tunnels and Trolls session after, but I think he got to cut loose more at your table.

Next year for sure.
[Last edited Aug 13, 2012 18:22:00]
lawrence.whitaker said Aug 13, 2012 18:40:36
Hi Chris - and excellent Signature pic!
Thalaba said Aug 13, 2012 22:45:01
Both games were a lot of fun. I was struck by how different the tone was for each, despite both being in the BRP family. It's true that the rules get out of the way. The Meeros Falling scenario is quite well rounded and a good one for exploring the breadth of the rules. And as for the CoC scenario, any game that gives you the chance to shout "Are ye hurt bad, wullie?!" in a pained Scottish accent is a winner in my book! Great jobs, guys!

All but one of us survived, although my trainee Lighthouse Keeper decided that a less dangerous career was probably best - such as deactivating unexploded bombs.
Aye, Archie! Before that muckle adventure you didne have a superstitious bone in yer body; didn't even believe in the Fair Isle Walrus! After a wee scare o' goo, though, I daresay you'll think twice about gang oot at night in the fog!
[Last edited Aug 14, 2012 02:18:05]
Akrasia said Aug 15, 2012 05:31:48
I don't have much to add to what Loz, Chris, and Chris already posted.

A brief report from my blog (with some stolen pictures!):

Best of luck at GenCon, Loz!
lawrence.whitaker said Aug 15, 2012 11:32:21
Best of luck at GenCon, Loz!

Thank you Blain. I'm currently in the charming little town of Maumee, just south of Toledo, having spent 8 hours of yesterday driving down from Canada.

So, here's a thing. The US Customs Officers at Windsor ON are notorious for being ultra-strict and po-faced when processing the many people who flood across the bridge into the US of A. I happen to get the one officer who used to play Battletech and was therefore very chatty and 'human' when he heard where I was headed. It was a far more pleasant experience than I'm used to, crossing into the US.

Gamers. They get everywhere.
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