Gloranthacon, Or, My Days of Glamour by Jonathan O'Donnell

I just spent two days at Gloranthacon (in Melbourne). They reminded me just how much fun roleplaying conventions can be. Amoung other things, this con had floods and fire alarms and I had lots of fun!

There were people there from Germany, England, America, Perth and Brisbane, which gave the con a bit of a different atmosphere. The guy from Germany told me that his last con was run in an 11th Cent castle on the Rhine. Drool :-)~

European cons have to deal with multiple languages. He described how the organisers over there are organising voluteer interpreters for seminars. So someone coming from Sweden might agree to translate for the 'Roleplaying on the Internet' seminar, for example. Later, some of locals suggested that we could introduce this at Australian cons:

From the podium: "Well, thanks for coming to the con. We've all rolled a bunch of dice this weekend and we've all had a bunch of fun. Thanks to some unnamed SMOG for their assistance. Now, without further ado, here's who chopped the wood...

Diceless translator: "Well, thanks for coming to the con. We've all [Buzzzzzzzzzt] and we've all had some fun..."

Whitewolf translator: "Ahhh! The extacy of the transendental role differenciation gestalt overwhelms
you. You writh on the floor as waves of joy wash over you, wrapping you in layers of ..."

Sydney translator: "Well, the Arken-Arken people have had fun. But did you hear what the boy in the red
bustier did with the canteen staff..."

BNG translator [to newbies]: "... Thanks to some unnamed _Secret Masters of Gaming_ for their
assistance. Now, without further ado, here are the prize winners..."

Anyway, enough bitchiness. Here's what I thought of what I played (in the order that I played them):

** Death in the Family, by Richard Todd **
[Blurb at
(scroll down)]

Lots of fun! This was a tightly knit murder mystery where the players investigated the death of a cousin.
Because we were all related, it was easy to assume relationships and work as a team. I really liked the
fact that this wasn't an easy puzzle to solve. Luck, intuitition and hard work were needed - the
solution wasn't just handed to you on a plate. As a consequence, we didn't work out what was going on. But we had a lot of fun failing.

You could tell how much we knew about Pendragon - we thought all our horses were called Rouncy. :-)

** Fall of the House of Malan, by Jeff Richard, Dave Pearton & Neil Robinson **
[Blurb at
(scroll down)]

I should say at this stage that my knowledge of Gloranthan lore is pretty non-existent. I know that
there are bad guys (broos), good guys (who mostly ride Llamas in Pent) and the evil Lunar empire, who
always win 'cos they have a big bat (does that make them bat riders?).

For this freeform, it didn't matter. Anyone can imagine a bunch of tribes struggling against a high
chief who has 'mad cow' disease.

I really liked the structure of this freeform. Every character belonged to a tribe and the freeform started
with those tribes talking amoungst themselves. As with "Death in the Family", family ties allowed people to build up relationships quickly. That meant that there were fewer 'lost souls', wandering the freeform without much clue about who to talk to or what is going on. Tribes members tended to work together, as well as talking to members of other tribes.

I loved this freeform. I got to be a cross-dressing Queen - what more can I say!

Thanks to the writers for bringing this freeform over from England and thanks for Chiara for passing her
character on to me.

** Southern Gothic by David Witteveen **
[Blurb at]

Another family affair. This time we were trying to rebuild the links between two sides of a bitter family
divide. This time, we succeeded - the fueding family members met around grandma's deathbed and made up. Of course, being Cthulhu, by succeeding we ultimately failed, but no matter - we had fun failing (again).

I love David Witteveen's stuff, and this module was no exception. Atmospheric without smothering, fun
without detracting from the roleplaying. "That team from Sydney" once said that they particularly liked
modules that provided simple, clearly defined characters that were fun to play. David provided just
that. Of course, I played the 'Spooky Youth', so I got to ham things up a bit. Maybe I'm biased.

** The Adventure of the Chasm of Bones by Garry Fay **
[Blurb at]

Read this blurb. It is a masterpiece of procrastination - you know, you haven't actually written the module, but the organisers want you to put the blurb in so that they can print the entry forms.

So you pull out a non-specific, but atmospheric, quote. You add a bunch of text that will get people
interested, but not tie you down too much, and you make up a name.

Then, when the entry form is printed, you have a handy reminder of what you thought your module was going to be about.

Sometimes Lyn and Garry's modules are way too angsty for me. Luckily, this wasn't one of them. Garry gave us a handy hint - they only add angst to their AD&D modules. This was Pendragon, and it was a classic romp through Authurian set pieces. We ticked off all the items in the blurb as we met them, and they were all there (drowning squire became drowning infant and drowning knight, but whose complaining?).

In some modules, this would have decended into a plodding marathon of encounters. Garry knitted them
into a story that we all cared about and wanted to develop. So maybe that blurb wasn't so haphazard after
all. And he even got to introduce the new adverb, "languidity".

Again, the characters were simple to grasp and immense fun to play. As the romantic knight, I owe my
team-mates an apology - I grabbed this character and ran with it, to the extent that I took over a bit.
Sorry. Then again, I did manage to fail the quest. :-)

** Life of MoonSon by Reaching Moon Megacorp **
[Blurb at]

This was a marathon three-session freeform, lasting about 9 hours. It was huge and complicated, with
multiple aims and a host of sub-plots. There were lots of Gloranthan references and I thought that I was going to be all at sea.

But then the fire alarm went off and we all had to evacuate out into the rain. I thought, "If these guys
can cope with that, then I can cope with this". And they did, so I did, too.

Besides, I got to wear a great plastic bustier and a snazzy red cape (thanks, Marion). And I came withing
an inch of becoming the Red Empress(?) Anyway, you can't go past a freeform which closes with
Sandy Peterson swan diving into a cauldron of seething Chaos, so that only his (very impressive) pointy hat remains.

Congratulations to Caitlin - mother and evil monster baby are both fine. And thanks to my ever-faithful
Bent-Pot, who knew just as little Gloranthan lore as I. We made a great team. :-)

Thanks to Chaosium for the sponsorship and everyone else for a great time.