AusCon II – Return of the Native


Here’s a couple of reflections on AusCon II – Convention for Nerds and Dorks which was held over the weekend of October 1-2 in Brisbane, Australia. I came out of retirement for this con to run a Space 1889 adventure, The Deathless Hordes of Mars (PDF).

First, some general impressions: there was pretty well something for everyone at AusCon. I was there for the roleplaying (natch) but there was miniature gaming downstairs (where 40k players belong), stalls for various game merchants and associated gamer services, live bands, guitar hero karaoke, board games and cosplay events (which I don’t begin to understand). As well as trivia quizzes, lectures, and seminars, there was some kind of zombie costume event and burlesque in the evening. I can’t think of any hobby in which you pretend to be someone you’re not that wasn’t represented.

From my point of view, the organisation was completely pain-free although I’m sure there was plenty of hard work that went into giving me this illusion. I got to play a board game or two, chat with lots of people I’ve not seen in years and even got to play in one of the RPG sessions.

I’ve re-read what I wrote above and I know it shows my age but this was a different experience to the RPG cons of years ago – and, boy, I’ve seen a few in my time. I think it’s a great new stage in the development of this wide and sprawling hobby of ours that I actually never thought I’d witness – cons goes mainstream.

As for my contribution, Space 1889: The Deathless Hordes of Mars (PDF): it ran in three of the four sessions available. A scheduling problem caused the first session to pretty much fall apart but, as they say, worse things happen at sea. The other two sessions were magical to run. I think the players enjoyed it.

I can see that I’m going to have to revise many of the guidelines I used to design convention scenarios in the glory days of the 1990s. These rules simply don’t apply any more. The RPG con world moved under my feet and I hadn’t noticed. I’ll chalk that up to my developing dotage and consider it a challenge to find the best way to write a convention RPG adventure for the next AusCon.