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Continuum 2018

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I was really looking forward to Continuum 2018, as, unlike some other years, I was in good health and had the right state of mind to really enjoy it (Health 70%, Mind 80%). RuneMasters were also debuting and I was looking forward to running a game and playing in more. I had also booked to play in two Freeforms, so was looking forward to that.

We arrived slightly late, due to circumstances beyond our control, so missed the start of Slot 1, but I have never been able to make Slot 1 so had low expectations of playing a game then. Check-in was painless and very friendly, the room was surprisingly cool, especially bearing in mind the hot weather. After unpacking, we went to Asda to stock up on some snacks, which I said I wouldn't do after not eating half of them last year, but repeated my error and bought far too much.

The Game Slots were full of games, in fact there were more games than I have ever seen at Convulsions or Continuum, which was a pleasant surprise. It was also good to see branded RuneMasters sign-up sheets in the slots. A new innovation was tried this year, with Sign-Up sheets for the current and next Slots going up at the same time. This was an excellent change and meant that we could plan our games a lot better. There had been some confusion, as some GMs thought that the Convention would have completed Sign-up sheets, so hadn't brought their own. 

Opening Ceremony - The usual sort of thing, or so I had thought. The Committee introduced the games, Freeforms, rules and what-not, but also had a Safety Policy, where people could report harassment and various other problems. We have never had this before and it is good that Continuum are moving with the times and have one, but it is a shame that we need one. Then, two people renewed their wedding vows, with their friends around them which was touching, moving and very nice indeed.

Slot 2 - Monkey Ruins Everything  (Monkey, RuneMasters Glorantha) As I was a bit tired, but wanted to play, I chose a RuneMasters game, which was the most immense fun and my Bonobo PC married Orlanth and became Queen of the Gods. Thanks to Dan Barker for GMing this. Finished just before 12am and stayed up for another hour before admitting defeat.
Saturday morning, I made it in time for breakfast, which was bacon, sausages, mushrooms, hash browns and cereal, very nice and what I have come to expect from Continuum. They had no muesli, which was a shame but not the end of the world.

Slot 3 - Green Tide Rising (HeroQuest, RuneMasters Glorantha) A really good HeroQuest game, where we forced back a magical tide of green from Caratan. Thanks to Dr Moose for GMing this.

Lunch - The Chilli con Carne was just too hot for me to eat, so I had a Beefburger and Sweet Potato Fries. I have no idea who came up with the idea of Sweet Potato Fries, but they just didn't work, soggy, unappetising and unpleasant. The Beefburger wasn't much better, the burger itself looked to be a good chunk of meat but had no texture and very little taste. This was disappointing, as we had been promised, in the Opening Ceremony, that the committee had worked with the University to improve the food on offer.

Slot 4 - The Secrets of the Thunder Hills(RuneQuest Glorantha, RuneMasters Glorantha) Another excellent game, from the forthcoming Gamesmaster Pack, wherein we faced up to a dragon that was attacking the area. It was interesting to se RQG in action and it impressed me as a system. Thanks to Simon Bray for GMing this.
Dinner (Or Tea as I sometimes still call it) - Salmon in milk with Basmati Rice and some veggies, this was much better than the lunch and reasonably priced.

Slot 5 - A Bard for Rashka (Freeform) Wherein, I played a bard and had an absolute hoot, fully enjoyed it and was engaged all the way through.  Was a bit worried that wearing a coat was too much in the warmth, but was thankful of it when it cooled down a bit. The only downside was that I was carrying a painful infection and it burst partway through the game, ruining my costume but relieving the pain I was in, however, I missed a crucial part of the game, I hope nobody noticed. Thanks to the GMs and Players for a most enjoyable Freeform.

Again, stayed up talking until about 1am and then retired gracefully. The bar had run out of lager and, as I no longer drink spirits as cons (Some people will know why) I was on pepsis for the evening, which was probably for the best.

Sunday morning, breakfast again, same as Saturday, nice enough and no complaints, except for the lack of Muesli.

Slot 6 - A Heroic Death (Freeform) I was a little tired from the night before and struggled to get going. I also forgot about one of my abilities and used another quite poorly, so was nowhere near as effective as I normally am, which was a shame. I wasn't anywhere near as engaged as I had been on Saturday night, so decided on a holding action. However, I still enjoyed the game, despite my sub-par performance. Thanks to the GMs and Players for a most enjoyable Freeform.

Lunch - Avoided the beef burger and sweet potato fries, as should you all, and went for a pizza, which was big, tasty and reasonably priced. Excellent.

Slot 7 - One Flew Over the Dragon's Nest (HeroQuest, RuneMasters Glorantha) I was running this and was a bit apprehensive, as I wrote the scenario based on a title that I thought was cool/funny. It seemed that the players and GM all had a good time, so it looks as though it went well.

Dinner (Or Tea as I sometimes still call it) - Honestly can't remember what I had, but it was very tasty and reasonably priced, so was pleased with my choice.

Closing Ceremony - Everyone said thank you, clapped a lot, the Committee thanked the players and GMs, the audience thanked the Committee, the RuneMasters draw was held and everyone will be back next time. The Safety people were not called on during the Con, which is a good sign and what I had hoped would happen, not because people do not want to report things, but because there was nothing to report, long may that continue. There is a chance that Continuum could become annual, which would be excellent news. Also, Jeff Richards offered to run a Glorantha Freeform next time, which is also excellent news.

Slot 8 - Ducks on the Red Moon (HeroQuest, RuneMasters Glorantha) This was a by-invitation only game, for the RuneMasters and was a wind-down game whereby we played Ducks who had jumped on the tail-end of a HeroQuest to Duckify the Red Moon and were sent to find the Golden Egg that contained the first Flying Duck to be born for many a year. There followed 2-3 hours of complete silliness, where duck gags and puns abounded, threats were made, PCs killed each other and we were almost TPKed by the Crimson Duck. The poor GM, Andrew Jones, tried manfully to pull us back to the plot, even having to remind us at one point that we were in fact searching for the Golden Egg, as we had all completely forgotten. Possibly my all-time best achievement in Convention TPGing was when I cast a Play Dead Illusion on the party when the Crimson Duck attacked, only for the Humaktis and Storm Bull to fly off against it, but the Humakti turned on each other and killed each other, as they looked like moving corpses, i.e. undead, an all-time Trickster high. It was even sillier and more fun that Monkey Ruins Everything, which is high, high praise indeed. Thanks to Andrew Jones for GMing this.

Again, I stayed up till just after 12am, but the last few nights caught up with me and I retired.

Monday morning saw me arrive just in time for breakfast, then I chatted with people, had a shower, packed and put things away, ready for the drive back to Birmingham. Many thanks to Darren for giving me a lift to and from the con and thanks to Pookie and Tim for relating their stories of the Con.

So, in summary, I really enjoyed Continuum 2018 and it is probably the best organised Continuum/Convulsions that I have attended. There were so many games that we were spoiled for choice. The Freeforms were good, at least the ones I attended were, having the RuneMasters added a lot more Glorantha games, so much so that I only played Gloranthan RPGs. I played something in all but one Slot, only missing Slot 1 because we arrived too late. I met with some old friends, but didn't have much time to talk to many of them. In fact, this was the best Continuum/Convulsions that I have attended and ranks alongside the Trollball Tentacles convention as the best ever RPG Convention that I have ever attended. The news that it might become annual and that we would have a Gloranthan Freeform next time makes we very happy indeed. How long until the next one?

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Here's my Continuum report. Thanks to everyone for organising another great Continuum and everyone who played in one of my games.

This past weekend was Continuum, a UK convention that's held at the University of Leicester every second (even) year. It's been running for a number of years and it has in the past been very focused on Chaosium products. There's always been a large number of Call of Cthulhu games, Gloranthan games and Pendragon games as well as the usual selection of other settings and systems. With the new Gloranthan Runequest release and the 5.2 version of Pendragon these game systems/settings have seen a fresh resurgence.

The convention runs from around midday Friday through Sunday evening although many participants stay over and leave on Monday morning after a final session on Sunday evening. My buddy and I travelled up from the South coast on Friday morning leaving at 9:30 to avoid the rush hour traffic we struggled north via clogged roads as many schools had finished making Friday the first day of the Summer holidays. We arrived just in time for me to throw myself out of the car (not bothering to unload or sign in to the con) and rushing to my first game. It was an Openquest scenario written by Simon Bray and run by Tom Zunder. We had great fun uncovering the significance of the toad god and the strange attraction between the very beautiful women and the very ugly men of the village.

After getting my bag from the car, checking in and having something to eat I sat down for game two. After 10 minutes I found out that it had pulled from the schedule so I headed for the bar.

Saturday morning I had an OSR game picked out. Now Saturday morning was only a three hour slot and the  GM had way more material than we could deal with in the time so it got short-circuited to get us to the finale. Several dead characters and two raving PC sorcerers who wanted to rule the world later we broke for lunch.

Saturday afternoon I ran the Wolrd War Cthulhu scenario I'd previously run at Chimeraides where the PCs are French Resistance fighters tasked with finding out if a local Vicomte has a certain book. Much mayhem later they left the Vicomte's home partly burned down and escaping in the priest's coal gas powered car they got stopped at the Milice checkpoint. Four persons in the car and a rising pall of smoke behind them tipped off the troops. The Chanteuse failed to hide hide her pistol and then shot on of the two Milice dead and wounded the other. As the rest of the Milice squad piled out of the hut the priest pulled his Sten from under his robe and cut down the rest of the troops. The two other partisans came across the bodies strewn across the road later as they had to walk home.

Pacing myself I spent Saturday evening in the bar and readied myself for Sunday morning. Sunday featured my Bethorm Tekumel game and the sign up sheet gathered a group of hardened fans. You know that game where the players know more than the gm and make his life hell. Well it wasn't like that at all.

The members of the Glory of the Worm clan set out to discover why the Glass Spear clan had not delivered the necessary amphorae to contain the year's crop of Dlel fruit brandy. As this is a starter type scenario I introduced a Slaver on the trail to add aspects of Tekumel culture slowly to players without any prior experience. This is designed to  work as an alternative to the fresh of the boat option for new players.

The characters arrived at the village/administrative centre and saw three Shánu’u flying  above them and hunting for something edible. They prepared with a priest who cast Invisibility on them while they shot at the single Shánu’u who stayed behind when the other two departed, It landed and as the Invisibility wore off the clan guards took on the beast ( A ploy to introduce combat gently). They soon had it in dire straits before one priest rushed forward to attack it with his chlen dagger. The player then found out why you don't rush into combat as a priest. The result of Shánu’u 1 Party 0 soon turned into a 1 all draw. The locals came out of hiding and got the chlen carts loaded up and the party was pressured into killing the other two beasts.

With the amphorae on the way the party climbed up to the cave where the Shánu’u laired. Fiding the cave empty but showing signs of ancient occupation they prepared to fight the Shánu’u. By now they had found out  the best combat options were to get the clan guards fighting the beast in a bottlenecked area to reduce the number who could engage the party and then proceed to use the Bypass Armour option to improve the damage from one of two points a round each to lots more. One Shánu’u fell to a blow to the head that stunned it and it's mate took a death blow. 

The party explored the cave and found it was an old, very old temple to Sarku and ominmous slithering sounds from the depths caused them to choose to report it for a potential reward.

The players had fun, the rules got tested and approved (only one player had used them before) and the scenario was deemed to be suitable mainly unchanged but with some tweaks for a introductory style game.

Final game of the con was a rerun of a Mythras scenario where I have some Greek heroes end up on Monster island in a very Harryhausen movie style game. As usual one cannot put a golden chalice and some gems on a temple altar without someone in the party choosing to try and take them. The Ice Worm Guardian of the Temple of Raylimshaitan and Actinius the human guardian proceed to damage the party and send them fleeing before the drums brought native lizardmen who demanded a return of the stolen goods. The party limped back to Port Grimsand with a single wild boar skin as their 'winnings'. One of the players was the translator of the German version of Mythras material and we had an interesting discussion about the difficulty of translating the Greek material in Mythic Constantinople as German and English use different transliterations of Greek letters.

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