Happy birthday month to my fellow September babies! There are so many of us. I blame Christmas parties (while also trying not to think too hard about it). It’s a big birthday for me this year - no, not that one, the one AFTER. I’m pleased to report that I believe I’ve completed the crisis over being officially very middle aged (ha!) and have come out the other side, ready to get real wyrd and witchy with it. Bring on spooky season! What ideal timing?
August’s convention adventure was at Tabletop Scotland. Another first for me, I had a wonderful time with my expanding crowd of con-companions. It’s a smaller (friendlier?) convention, and with fewer stalls on offer than other conventions I’ve been to (and with me frankly having over-shopped previously), I was able to take my eyes off the shiny things and actually play some games. I’ll offer three highlights of what I played and enjoyed.
One for the classics and mythology nerds! First thing in the morning on the first day of the con I played Aegean, run by none other than the game’s creator - the talented Mr Stoo Goff, as a party of two with my #1 convention buddy. It’s is a D10 dice pool system with gods galore and mechanics centring on hubris and glory. We had a fantastic time and Stoo was a wonderful GM, tolerating our giddy, sleep-deprived improv with aplomb. I’ve been hankering to play again since I got home, which says everything really.
We just had a quick taster session with this, an hour to create a character and run a quick encounter. Not sure how we ended up in this session, as we are for the most part not MCU or DCEU fandom folk. However, the system for creating your own bespoke superhero was great fun to do around the table even before we got into playing. Our ragtag group of super pals included Butterfly Boy, Giganta, Miss Hiss (a goose woman), and my own character - Moist, a woman made of water vapour. Once we got into the encounter creatively using the superpowers we’d crafted really felt like we were writing an old-school comic with all the humour and slapstick that entails. Gritty, we were not, but we all concluded that playing superheroes is more fun than watching them.
A deck-building board game with deep lore, stunning art, and some deep tactical play currently in play testing and development with a small studio operating out of Edinburgh. We’d seen their stall at UKGE but were too late to get a play testing slot. We were quicker on the draw this time, and managed to get a game for four of us. The rules are complex and layered and would likely take several games to master, but there’s a narrative sense to the options and the themed factions each player gets to choose from each have their own distinct flavour. They’re kickstarting to finish this beautiful game and get it to market next year. In the meantime there is an option to play online as a group via Steam.
Next up: Tabletop Gaming Live in my own home town of Manchester, where keen followers of this newsletter will remember I’m running my first ever stall! There’ll be never-before-available print copies of all my games, plus stickers, game demos, and smiles for all who visit us there. Hope to see some of you there!
Drama Llamas version 3 is written and ready for yet more play testing. For those who are new to the newsletter (hello!) Drama Llamas is an upcoming TTRPG about contestants on a reality TV show who is also, crucially, llamas. I’ve been tickled pink by the response so far from my gorgeous play testers and from strangers on the internet alike. Especially after sharing the new character sheet (see below) on the ol’ bird app. I’ve even been approached by some streamers who are interested in running the game for an audience, which is an outright honour! More developments to come hopefully later this month.
Girls Run These Worlds have kindly offered to put up with my nonsense again, giving me the opportunity to run some Brindlewood Bay on their otherwise spotless Twitch channel. For those who don’t know, Brindlewood Bay is a TTRPG inspired equally by Murder, She Wrote, other “cosy” American crime dramas of the era, and H.P. Lovecraft. Crochet and Cthulhu. Cable knit and cosmic horror. Plucky old ladies vs. fish people. It’s going to be delightful and I can’t wait. Tune in 2pm ET (7pm BST) on 29th September to watch along!
If you can’t catch me in action for whatever reason, there’s plenty else well worth seeing over on Girls Run These Worlds’ archives on Twitch and YouTube. I’ve been catching up on Love in the Time of Mechs, myself, and can highly recommend it if you like big robots, space battles, and romance <3
I’d also like to send some appreciation to Cassi Mothwin for her kind words about Bumbling in her cosy TTRPGS flip-through on Wednesday. Cassi’s got a long list of TTRPG content to review after shouting out on her socials the other week, so go keep her company and find your next fave!
Freebie - Bothwick Riad Maps
I am decidedly NOT a cartographer (as we have seen in previous months) but sometimes when you need something specific, a functional map will do better than a gorgeous one. I made this early in on my current D&D campaign. It’s my take on an opulent Riad compound for a rich, desert-dwelling tea merchant. Something fey has taken over the master bedroom, and it’s up to our heroes to vanquish it and whatever else you think might be hiding here. For us it was three pixies driving a suit of armour and some very deadly butterflies.
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