Sunday, September 27, 2009

Building for Steamcon

Well, it's been a while since I've posted. It's been a crazy couple of months as we try and get our legs under us and to get prepped for Steamcon.

Steamcon is less than a month away and we've got a boatload of work to get done before then. The scenario is worked out, the pre gen characters are worked out but we still have to get the timing of the scenario nailed down and get the character stats finalized. On that note, we'll give you a bit of a preview of what a pregen character might look like.

Medicine – GREAT
Surgery – GREAT
Bedside Manner – GOOD
French – GOOD
Oratory – GOOD
University Science: Biology – GOOD
Gambling – FAIR
Guns: Pistol – FAIR
Finishing School: Latin – FAIR
University Science: Chemistry – FAIR
University Science: Entomology – FAIR
Writing – FAIR

The idea for the pre gen characters is that the system is simple enough that it can be taught to someone who knows nothing about it in about 10 minutes. To that end, the characters will all have a total of twelve skills with only three levels; GREAT, GOOD or FAIR. There will be no traditional Stats such as Strength, Social or Mental. Similarly, the sytem for conflict resolution will be simple and very fast. The idea is to get the rules out of the way of the role play.
Now, we've pretty well worked over the rules and character ideas and came to the realization that a set of rules for a demo game that would be simple enough to pick up in minutes and fast enough to play are unlikely to be the same rules you would use for a long term series of episodes lasting over a year. So, the decision was made to work up the "Fast Play" rules for the demo games. Now, these will be part of the larger rules system but obviously are a grossly stripped down version. The Series rules will be much more in depth and include things such as rules for constructing in game items. Props and gadgets are a fundamental part of Steampunk and that is something we very much want to promote and so once the Series rules have been finalized there will be a fully developed component to support gadgetry.

At Steamcon, we will have the "Fast Play" rules available which will allow people to take them home and start games of their own. Additional content will be available on the website to help further flesh out the games you create. Most of this information will have to do with setting and suggestions about how to expand the fast play rules to give them more longevity when played outside the tightly constrained format of a demo game. These simple rules will be what allows people to begin to enjoy and create within the Rise of Æster world until we get the Series rules finalized.

So, on to Steamcon. We are working hard on getting set pieces built to allow us to create an immersive environment for the game. The setting will be the interior of the observation lounge on the Æster liner Princess Arianrhod. We are building and staining wooden panels that will transform the room from average con room into this observation lounge. The folks from B. Fuller's Mortar and Pestle will be joining our endeavor to provide tea and service to add to the ambience of the setting. Those who attend will be party to a very different sort of experience than they have probably had before. Opening the doors of the conference room, you will be greeted by a wooden wall with signage directing you to the entry way. It is not until you pass through the curtain at the end of a short entry way that the room will be revealed. The sight lines into and out of the environment have been cut. This will allow people to feel fully immersed in the game and the environment.

Each game will only allow 15 participants due to the constraints of space and we will run the game five times over the course of Steamcon. Twice on Friday and three times on Saturday. In between the games, when we are not preparing for the next game, the room will be open for people to relax and roleplay in the environment.

We will be signing people up for particular game slots at Steamcon to give everyone an equal chance to participate. These slots are likely to fill quickly and so we encourage folks to register early to ensure participation.

Well, I hope this successfully brings you all up to speed on the madness that has been our lives for the last several months. The team has been exceptionally busy trying to keep on top of things and it doesn't seem that it going to change any time soon. Look forward to further updates from myself or others in the near future.

I look forward to seeing those who will be attending Steamcon. I hope to meet those who will not be at Steamcon during our travels in the next year.

Fair Winds and may the Lady be kind on your journeys,

Marshal Hunter


  1. I am aware this is utterly unrelated but I couldn't actually find another manner of easy contact, I'm hunting a place to crash for Steamcon. My friend who was putting me up can't make it to the Con and I feel guilty lounging about her house in costume and bothering her to drive me about to places she isn't going.
    I'm quite well behaved and will come bearing gifts, if anyone has a sofa or a quest room to spare.

  2. Are you still looking for a crash pad? Might have a futon for you to crash on if you are(and don't mind a random person and her messy place and roommate brother)... It's north of Seattle in Lynnwood, WA. But I will be going back and forth for the Con and have a car.

  3. I ended up finding a place, but thanks! I'll bring you a gift anyway ;-)

  4. No need for a gift :P I was just trying to be nice-like. And meet someone new.