Bookwyrm Con 2019

Bookwyrm Con is a two-day local RPG convention here in Fresno, California. It’s free to attend and is held in collaboration with our local library system, and it’s something I look forward to every year. I totally cut-and-pasted that from my post from Bookwyrm 2018 because I am horrible at blogging. Attendance was up again this year, and it was great to see so many people taking part in this annual event.

I was on my own this year, since my son wasn’t feeling so great, and I only ran a single game. Last year, I ran two games that didn’t require any real prep, but this year, I felt like I could prepare something without stressing myself out too much. I was totally wrong about this, but more on that later.

Cons like Bookwyrm and Big Bad Con are great opportunities to try new RPGs, but this year was different. Bookwyrm provides four primary gaming opportunities over the weekend, and I spent two of those playing an RPG called The Queen’s Cavaliers.

The Queen’s Cavaliers

He’s obviously blaming the dog. She’s not buying it.

The Queen’s Cavaliers is described as “A Baroque, Clockpunk Tabletop Fantasy Roleplaying Game” and that’s what caught my eye when I was signing up for games. I was running a steampunk based RPG myself that weekend, and I figured this would fit right in. The designer of the game ran one of my sessions, and the other session was run by someone who was involved in the game development. There is quite a bit of backstory to the development of this game. All I can say is that the two individuals that ran my sessions did a nice job and seemed like very nice people.

The primary action mechanism involves the creation of a dice pool, which would have been a deal breaker for me if I had known that going in. I still remember the first edition of Shadowrun. Bleh. However, I found that the manner in which the dice pools were built actually added to the descriptive narrative of play.

The game has an extensive world history with lots of interesting NPCs, but these were four hour one-shot sessions, so we didn’t get too far into it. The campaign information is supported by some great art though. All in all, I had a good time and met some nice people.

FATE Accelerated

We fought mutated house cats. We weren’t particularly successful.

The other two gaming sessions of the weekend were spent playing or running a version of FATE Accelerated. My good friend Jen ran an adventure that placed us in the world of Fallout. I realize Fallout is a popular game, but I’ve never played it. I felt like I had enough information to wing it though. I figured that I would just take some support character and just relax. Unfortunately, I think the other players had the same plan.

So what happens when an entire party decides to take/build ineffective and amusing support characters? Well, you end up with an ineffective and amusing adventure. Jen was great and made everything work out, but I felt bad that we as players weren’t contributing as much as we should. It may have just been me. I had fun, so I guess that’s all that matters in the end.

I ran a hack of Dresden Files Accelerated that I mashed up with concepts from another RPG called Cogs, Cakes and Swordsticks. Like usual, I started with a title and then built the one-shot around that. This year’s title was “Lady Riddington and the Clockwork Caucus.” I was so stressed about prepping for this that I swore never to do anything like it ever again, which is something I swear every year.

As usual, I had a great time and I can’t wait to run something again next year. I had a wonderful group of players that did all of the heavy lifting for me in terms of creating an interesting narrative. In the end, the unflappable academic, the down-on-her-luck big game hunter and the famous pugilist managed to defeat Captain Cribbage and his army of clockwork soldiers.

Can’t wait until next year.

7 thoughts on “Bookwyrm Con 2019”

  1. Fair assessment of my game. Although I was better prepped than usual, it still felt like the weakest of my Bookwyrm games. You guys were great, though. I didn’t rely on the Fallout mythology as much as I could have, but I was concerned it would get lost with players who weren’t too familiar.

    1. Well that makes me feel a little better. I was having a great time, but in the back of my mind I was concerned that you were not because we were so weird.

    1. I’m with John; the adaptation from Cogs, Cakes, and Swordsticks was great, and you conveyed the familiar but off setting wonderfully.

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