Gencon- Day 3 & 4

Wasn’t running games on Saturday or Sunday, so spent most of the time on the Chaosium booth, interspersed with forays on to the dealer floor. Saturday was busy, very busy. Lots of people around the booth, so I spent a lot of time answering questions about 7th edition, as well as helping people decide on which campaigns / scenarios / supplements to purchase. I really enjoyed talking to both new and old Call of Cthulhu players – probably some of the nicest people around!


Some of the fiction titles on the Chaosium booth

photo copy

A printed out Horror on the Orient Express manuscript on the Chaosium booth – with my scenario!


I managed to purchase a few fezzes as presents before all of the Cthulhu ones sold out. I think Fez-o-rama will be back next year! Also picked up a copy of the new Firefly RPG for a friend, as well as a few choice items including Sense of the Sleight of Hand Man dreamlands campaign by Dennis Detwiller from Arc Dream, which had arrived on the stand on Saturday, and also a blow-up tentacle (coz you need one of them… right?)

Went to lunch with the San Detour guys (French Call of Cthulhu licensees), who are a great bunch of people. I was honoured by them showing me a few snippets of new artwork – absolutely lovely stuff.

photo copy 2

The giant balloon Cthulhu!

photo copy 3

Some say that my time on the Chaosium booth was starting to affect me… I just don’t see it… ; 0


Sandy Petersen (of Call of Cthulhu fame..!) was at the Chaosium booth all day, running demo games of Cthulhu Wars (which looks fabulous). Unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to play in a game myself, however everyone that did seemed to have a great time. I can’t wait for my copy to arrive… Sandy was on fine form as ever and later that evening we had a combined Cthulhu Wars and Horror on the Orient Express backers dinner at St. Elmo’s steakhouse. Mark Morrison and Penny Love joined us and Sandy for a great evening.

photo copy 6

Me and Sandy…

photo copy 5

Cthulhu Wars and Horror on the Orient Express backer dinner – before the shrimp cocktail massacre!


Sunday came around too quickly. Gencon was near its end. I again spent the day on the booth talking to backers and others who wanted to pick up a copy of the 7th ed Quick Start Rules. I managed to find the Game Science booth and stocked up on dice whilst chatting to Lou Zocchi.

photo copy 4

Me, Charlie and Paul

I’d last been at Gencon a few years ago, whilst running Black Industries. I’d had a great time then but this year it was even better. I’m already looking forward to Gencon 2014!

Gencon – Day 2

Ok, day 2…

Had a swim then made my way to the booth. Followed the tide of gamers, cosplayers and other assorted con goers through downtown Indy. Probably one if the few occasions that you’ll see storm troopers, beholders and zombies hanging out together in coffee bars and crossing the street. Marvellous!

Adventure Time cosplayers seemed to be greatly in attendance. Lots of Fins and co wherever you looked.

Spent the morning on the booth and then the afternoon running my second backer game of Cthulhu 7e. Both of the sessions I ran went well and reached satisfying conclusions, despite the two groups going at the scenario in very different ways. All the players responded well to the rules revisions and I got a round of applause at the end of each session! My thanks to all the backers who played in the games.

20130820-061425 PM.jpg

The first printing of the 7th ed Quick Start Rules with the Gencon 2013 programme.

Also met up with Dan Kramer of Miskatonic University Podcast fame – I had the pleasure of having Dan in one of my games and then spent some time catching up and talking Cthulhu.

photo copy 7

Paul, Dan and me (plus Cthulhu)

Evening was dinner with Adam Crossingham of Sixtystone Press fame. We ate large steaks, sank a few mojitos and talked more Cthulhu. A great evening and big thanks to Adam for hosting.

The night drew on in Indy and I finally made it back to the hotel for sleep…

Gencon – Day 1

Up early for a swim in the hotel pool whilst Paul got ready for his 9am backers game. I made my way to the convention centre and the Chaosium booth. The stock had arrived so I pitched in to help get it all on display as the doors opened to let everyone in.

I spent the morning chatting to customers and talking about 7th edition, handing out printed quick start rules. There was a good buzz. Copies of the scenarios that Paul and I were running arrived and I grabbed these as they were backer rewards for those playing in our games. I headed back to the hotel for my afternoon game and arrived in time to make sure the people in Paul’s game got their copies too. My game went well and over ran by 30 minutes, so it was a quick dash to a secret restaurant for a backer dinner.

The dinner was joined by Sandy Petersen (who’s flight had been slightly delayed), who arrived with a Cthulhu and King in Yellow clutched in his hands for us all to look at (from his forthcoming Cthulhu Wars game). The meal was an experience – with head melting hot shrimp and a plate covered in steak that just kept growing and not getting any smaller despite how much of it you ate!

And so to bed…

After a few hours sleep the dawn of day 2 awoke me. But that is another story…

Gencon – arrival

Getting up at 3 am us never a good thing (only cultists and deep ones are about at such an hour).

I hopped in the car to drive to Paul Fricker’s house where a cup of tea awaited. Soon we were joined by Andrew (TiggerMK) who had kindly agreed to drive up to the airport.

Thus we set out and two flights, 10 hours of flying and some airport shenanigans later we arrived in Indianapolis.

What we needed was to get in our room and freshen up. But disaster! There were no rooms in either of our names… Aaahhh !

Some deft texting and an hour loitering around the hotel later, the wonderful Meghan of Chaosium had sorted out the hotel booking misunderstanding and we were in. Hooray!

While we were waiting we did bump into Gregor Hutton (of 3:16 Carnage Amongst the Stars fame). Gregor said he was running stuff in the Games on Demand area – cool.

The evening was then spent with the Chaosium posse – Charlie, Meghan, Nick and Spencer, plus Pedro and his partner (of CoC character generator app and Mythic Iceland fame), eating Italian food.

Tiredness, the black hearted shadow of the traveller, was creeping up on me and so back to the hotel we went. Sleep followed very shortly after…

GenCon Indy – It begins…


So, tomorrow I fly out to Indy and am looking forward to it!

My schedule is looking a bit like this:

  • Thursday am – on the Chaosium booth
  • Thursday pm – running C7E Kickstarter Backer Game
  • Thursday evening – C7E Kickstarter Backer Dinner
  • Friday am – on the Chaosium booth
  • Friday pm – running C7E Kickstarter Backer Game
  • Friday evening – dinner with Sixtystone Press
  • Saturday 2pm-4pm – on the Chaosium booth
  • Saturday evening – Cthulhu dinner with Sandy Peterson and Chaosium
  • Sunday 2pm-4pm on the Chaosium booth

Come say hi when I’m on the stand.

Call of Cthulhu 7E Quick Start Rules Released to Kickstarter Backers!

Great news!

The simplified, core rules for Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition – the Quick Start Rules – have just been released by Chaosium to the kickstarter backers via update 46. The rules include the scenario ‘The Haunting’, as well as the story write-up of that same scenario, which was used episodically during the kickstarter – the story provides newcomers to the game with a version of how the scenario might go.


Quick Start 7th Edition Rules!

I’m really pleased to see the Quick Start out at last, and particularly glad it’s out in time for GenCon! I hope all the backers enjoy reading and playing with the basic rules and look forward to reading their comments (and hearing them at GenCon)!

Missed Dues, Part 4: Playtest Conclusions

So the scenario is written and I’ve playtested it with three very different groups to figure out any loop holes, errors and if anything is missing.

Across the three groups were a mix of newish to veteran Call of Cthulhu players, with both genders represented. All three groups went at it in very different ways, however all seemed to end up (by their own volition) in a similar pickle by the end.

It’s always interesting to see how much ‘Mythos meta knowledge’ comes in to play in each group. Some steadfastly rely only on the information provided in game, attempting to keep things within the scope of their character’s rather than the player’s knowledge. Others can’t help themselves. Each is fine with me in a playtest as I get to see how different people’s minds interact with the scenario, which helps to focus on whether I have put anything too obvious in. From this, I decided that one of of player handouts was a bit too obvious, so I redid it, toning down the Mythos references, which had the effect of making it more puzzling for the next playtest group – which worked much better and had them guessing rather than ‘knowing’ what was going on.

By dint of the fact that each session I ran had different time constraints (from 4 hours to 2.5 hours in range), I was able to focus on what where the key drivers in the scenario – what the major hooks were that sent the players chasing down particular avenues. I find this useful as it allows me to know the rough timing of key scenes, thus in a convention game I’ll know when to press on and when to allow the players time to ponder their situation. As the scenario reaches its climax, it seems from experience, that it really begins to gather pace – hurtling the investigators towards a tension-filled and satisfying close.


Nothing to do with Missed Dues, but cool never-the-less!

Of course the playtest did ensure I spotted one major error! I realised mid game that I had forgotten to include the stats for a very important NPC! During the game I winged it, but afterwards spent a good amount of time putting the NPC’s stats in and double checking the stats of the NPCs already written in. One of those situations where you have convinced yourself  that you have done something, when in reality you have not. Thus, always good to double check the important stuff!

Finally, I did a last proof read for typos and whatnot, corrected a handful and it was done. I sent the final ms, handouts and pre-generated investigators to Chaosium for them to layout and print ready to give to the players who had supported that particular pledge level in the kickstarter.

I should give a mention to Dean Engelhardt who was totally marvellous in helping to put together a set of investigator sheets (based on his new design for 7th edition) for the games. Dean’s done a great job with the sheets, making them do all the maths, so the rolling up process is speeded up considerably. The sheets look fantastic. Dean has loads of cool free stuff on his website – go check it out.

Missed Dues, Part 0

Began writing my scenario for GenCon, it’s called ‘Missed Dues’ and is set in 1920s Arkham. The players all work for Mordecai ‘The Hammer’ O’Leary, an up and coming crime lieutenant. With friends like that, what could go wrong?

Those playing the GenCon games will get a copy of this scenario and a set of 5 pre-gren investigators.

Unsure as yet whether Chaosium will want the scenario for anything else, so am planning on it becoming an element within a larger campaign I am currently thinking through.

GenCon 2013…


This year I’ll be attending GenCon Indy in support of Chasoium Inc. and the launch of Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition. The Kickstarter for CoC 7th is going great guns. One pledge level includes playing in one of my games at GenCon. I’ll be running two games at the show, on Thursday and Friday afternoons, for up to five players apiece.

This will be the second GenCon I’ve attended, the first was back in 2007 when I was managing Black Industries and we had a joint stand with Sabertooth Games. That year we launched the revamped Talisman to great success and won several Ennies for WFRP.

This time around I’ve decided to keep a blog of the trip, including the run-up to the show. I’ll probably talk about other stuff too as it comes to mind.