Dragonmeet: old school roleplay
Posted by Berath
This Saturday was Dragonmeet 2009 in London, an annual day long roleplay convention. I’ve already written a bit about good old-fashioned pen ‘n’ paper roleplaying, how I’m totally into it and my plans for getting my kin involved (oh yes, I haven’t forgotten people…). It was a good day. I was particularly heartened by the number of younger people there, probably from the various London universities and colleges. There’s often talk about how tabletop is dying as more and more people turn to video gaming for their roleplay. This is most likely true enough but the weekend showed that there is some life yet for the dice rollers. It was also nice to see that there was a significant number of women there, particularly amongst the younger age groups. This can only be good; more women = a potential doubling of the pool of tabletop roleplayers from the old days when fewer women played.
Anyhow, I bought games, of course. Just as I like indie pc games, I like indie roleplaying games. Over the last few years there has been a shift towards these smaller games, often highly creative and innovative, exploring different ways of roleplaying. Many involve a consensus between player and GM, both developing the game world and play style together. One horror-based game has the players removing blocks from a jenga tower at crucial moments to create an appropriate feeling of tension. In another I picked up, players bring themed music mix CDs to create a road-journey adventure.
However, I tried a more traditional game with a GM running a scenario; in this case using the Gumshoe system. This is designed to facilitate a faster game by ensuring players are always provided with crucial clues at appropriate moments in order to move the game forward. We were all mutant super-heroes and could choose our own powers. I decided I wanted spontaneous combustion. Maybe a rather one-off super-power? Or maybe not, if you took fire immunity. And, even better, if you took fire control; it eventually occurred to me that I needed some way of stopping being on fire otherwise the rest of the party would have to lug fire extinguishes around with them to put me out. The game went well and the system worked but to my sorrow, I never got the opportunity to combust. Another day perhaps.