Part 2 of my EyeCon 2013 wrap-up
I decide to run Serenity again for this convention. I ran it a few years ago at two conventions in a row and it went down really well. I had always meant to go back to running the Firefly crew I had created for the previous conventions, and i thought it was about time to take them for another spin.
I got surprise a few days before the convention, the organizers asked me to create an additional character slot for the game. I was apprehensive at this, I normally don’t like running for large groups, and even 6 is more players than normal for me, I wasn’t sure if 7 players would work, But I did agree and created a new character.
I was running 7 sessions and they were all booked full about three weeks before the con started. that was encouraging, it’s nice to feel wanted, and it’s always a let down when you have to cancel session because there are no players, but it was also a little intimidating. especially when you are still not completely finished writing the game that all these people want to play.
So, head down – bum up, I set about finishing the mission. I knew it had to end with a bang. I like my games to start slow and work their way up to a big finish, normally ending with people dying, backstabbing, heroic sacrifices, big explosions, and general mayhem. So in Firefly terms, that means Reavers, Blue Hand Men, and Alliance. This game would have all three.
The premise would be simple. The crew have no money and are desperate for a job. they get and offer of a huge amount of money to do a job, the catch is they don’t know what it is.
they have to accept before knowing what the job is. They accept and meet on a contact on Beaumonde who tells them half the mission. they have to get aboard a semi-famous gambling ship called the Aces & Eights, and a contact on board will give them the rest of the mission. the Captain accepts, and this is the position the players find themselves in at the start of the game.
behind the scenes, the captain of the Aces & Eights, a guy named Jack Leyland, has been working for the alliance since the war. but when he found a cache of the freedom drug and started using it to incapacitate people during heists, the Alliance wanted him dead. it’s secretly the Alliance that has hired the players, and once they get on board, an alliance agent that is posing as a guest will tell them to hijack the ship and bring Jack to a deserted planet for payment. Unknown to the players, the Alliance has no intention on paying a group of illegals. the payment will be arrest and/or death.
In my previous Serenity convention game I had created a drug called Freedom. This drug was a version of the gas from the Serenity which created the Reavers, but modified to be super addictive, and with a higher rate of “Reverizaition”. this was a trick by a resurgent Independence to addict the core worlds and government, and eventually overthrow the Alliance. the production facility was destroyed in the last game, but I decided to include it in this one as a bonus for those people that played the last game. It was in the cargo bay of the Aces & Eights, and Jack warned everybody that came on board to stay away from the cargo bay, thus creating interest.
I once I had the framework of the mission down, I got my regular group together for a playtest. I find a playtest absolutely essential for my convention games for one main reason, i am an on-the -spot, spur of the moment, spontaneous GM. I come up with my best stuff when I have to make it up as i go along, but… this is not a great thing to do in an actual convention. people have paid money to play this game, and I can’t use them as guinea pigs. So I run a playtest, make stuff up on the spot with them, and then use what I made up in the playtest in the actual games.
This ended up being a very good idea, since in the playtest I spent way too much time on the set-up, and had to rush through the big ending, which really ruins all the build up. in the actual convention i was able to pace it well, with only one group finishing early and most going over by only a few minutes.
most of the groups ended up just killing Jack, finding out they were being set-up, and running off into space. only two groups got the they payoff/Alliance double-cross ending. but one group actually found out they were going to be double-crossed before totally taking over the ship, and did a deal with Jack. It came down to a poker game between the player Captain and Jack with both betting their ships, winner takes all. That group got my awards.
overall, a really fun game to run. My players were great, and continuously surprising me with their creative(read crazy) ideas.
now… what to run at the next con?
Never Stop Gaming!