Brendan went to Metatopia on November 3rd and
had all his games ripped to shreds by the merciless hordes had a great time! He brought three games, participated in two panels, played in a few other games, and had all manner of awesome conversation! Thanks so much to all of the players in the games, and thanks to Double Exposure for putting on such an awesome convention!
The goal of this playtest was to try out a new character creation system for Armored Society, Brendan’s PbtA Jane Austen Regency/Game of Thrones-esque mash-up. The system used cards and a set of categories (like Heritage, House, History, Belief, and Burden) to create fully-fleshed out complex characters embedded in the iron-clad world of Serland. The playtests went great, and the tables got to see characters ranging between a soulless royal from far-off lands to a changeling duelist who abandoned house and home for the dangers of the road to an infamous general trying to make up for the crimes of past wars.
Hacking Apocalypse World
Justin Rogers, one of the IGDN Metatopia scholarship winners, joined Brendan to run this repeat of the panel Brendan and Mark ran at RinCon. In one hour they went over holding environments and the core principles of starting up an Apocalypse World hack, then got the audience to help them come up with a theme. They landed on a fun idea to take to next steps—Nightmare on Elm Street meets Murder on the Orient Express, in which the PCs are trapped on a train being killed by some nightmare creature, and have to monitor their own wakefulness or be sucked into deeper dream layers, Inception-style. (No one else can steal that idea.) While the goal of the workshop wasn’t to fully flesh out a new PbtA game, we hope the participants left with a better idea of how the system works, and what goes into hacking it.
Halcyon City Adventures
Brendan brought the very earliest prototype of a Masks board game, tentatively titled Halcyon City Adventures, to Metatopia! He got in two games during his scheduled slot, and both were great fun—even as they pointed to the need for plenty of adjustments. Sureshot, Skysong, Toro, and Hornet took down Vanquish twice as he rampaged throughout the city hunting for the Exemplars! It was awesome to see the players get excited as they pulled their cards, especially when they had to deal with their characters’ own unique dilemmas—like Hornet’s mentor Mantis showing up to make her feel inadequate, or Toro being hunted by agents of VENOM hoping to take her down.
For this Metatopia, Magpie wanted to test out Zombie World, our PbtA zombie apocalypse game, with high player counts, and there was quite a bit of success in that arena. Brendan ran it twice, once with 7 players and once with 5. Both games were successful and gave him some valuable feedback while also creating classic zombie movie scenarios—it’s always a successful Zombie World game when one PC decides that the enclave is screwed and decides to flee in the midst of a major zombie attack.
Reinvention vs Replication
Kevin Kulp, author of Timewatch and Owl Hoot Trail, hosted this panel with Brendan, and they had a lively discussion about the issues, complications, and difficulties in trying to walk the line between mimicking the existing fiction that inspires us to make games, while saying or doing something slightly new with the work. Thanks to an awesome audience with great points and questions like “Which pole should you start with?”, the panel was a tremendous success!
All in all, another successful Metatopia! Thanks so much to everyone involved in the games, and thanks again to Double Exposure for making this happen!