This was the seventh "mini-convention" organized at a game store in Oakland, called "End Game". The place was not so crowded compared to some of the past events. There were 13 events scheduled in three time slots of 4 hours each (10AM-2PM, 3PM-7PM, and 8PM to 12PM). At least one was cancelled, though. I game-mastered one game, Spirit of Serenity, and played in one game, Zombies in the Vineyard. Both were variants of a popular indie game.
This was a game in the Serenity setting using the Spirit of the Century system. It was a sequel to the previous such game I had run at the July minicon, using the same characters. Also, the concept and setup were adapted in part the plot from the Serenity parlor larp that I had run at GenCon 2007. At the last minicon, my Spirit of Serenity game was full in preregistration, while my Truth & Justice game got zero signups. Thus, this time I just ran the Serenity game.
As before, the PCs were the crew of a Companions Guild ship -- charged with protecting Guild interests in the outer territories. I had six players and seven PCs, and this time no one picked the journeyman Companion and second-in-command, Lilly Shepis. Just to note, it was an all-male group of players, while 5 of the 7 PCs are women.
The game was set a few weeks after the Serenity movie, when the embarrassed Alliance government was taking apart the Reaver threat that it had created. In keeping with the spirit of the pulps and Serenity, I started by asking where everyone was in the backwater town when the Reavers attacked. So we started with an extended action scene of the attack, that also served to introduce the Alliance troops who would figure later.
The Alliance commander then politely asked for the PCs to ferry some people to their next destination -- the more civilized moon Persephone where there was a full military base. This was the "Stagecoach" scenario similar to the GenCon larp, inspired by the John Ford movie. Highlights of this included Pearl sleeping with a rich rancher's daughter, and being challenged to a duel by her father. There were also a poker game, betrayals, intrigue, and Reavers.
I think everything went pretty well. I am getting better at offering compels on people's Aspects, which I find is a key part of Spirit of the Century. There was a little waffling on the brief ship combat, but overall things were fine.
This was a run of Dogs in the Vineyard as a zombie survival scenario, GMed by Carl Rigney. We created the setting and situation as well as characters, with the understanding that zombies would attack. We opted to play a group of corporate officers who were out on a team-building exercise in the wilderness. I played the aggressive marketing officer who had gone to college with the new CEO.
To me, it was pretty clear that the cliche would be for all of us to turn out horrible and backstabbing, and be killed by zombies when we tried to fend for ourselves. In the end, as a group we didn't either strong embrace that or strongly reject it -- which was a bit of a disappointment to me. Still, it was a fun group and we generally had a good time.
Also, cf. the GM Carl's Session Notes.
I left after the afternoon game. I still like the minicon organization, but there does seem to be some lagging interest. I'll be thinking of ideas for how to drum up more interest for the next one.