The first session of Gaslamp West happened at OrcCon! I think a good time was had by all but I am a little biased since I was running. We had much better attendance than we did the last time we tried to split settings, which was nice, even though I secretly prefer my high concept sci-fi setting, Parliament of Suns, to the moon and back over either Gaslamp. I mean, I like Gaslamp a lot (which is why we’ve been running it for years) but a lot of making these characters is just applying math and getting out of the way.
All of that being said… what have we learned? Well, I was reminded, again, that a con game is not a home game, no matter how much I would like it to be. Usually when you start a home game, spending a session just learning about your character and having the characters meet each other can suck up 4 hours. But at a con people expect things to move much faster. We’re taking a long view on Gaslamp West since it took about a year to get the old Gaslamp where we wanted it to be, but then people want a fast moving con game.
We also learned that the more fantastical American Tall Tales type stories with Paul Bunyan and the Angel Gabriel need a few more points than Sherlock Holmes and Mary Poppins. The point total limit in GURPS can really trip you up, since you often will set the points before you make a first character and it’s easy to get stubborn about it. Also, since GURPS is pretty flexible, it’s easy to add stuff on the fly that a character “should have” and doesn’t have on the sheet. I don’t mind doing that in a game session but considering three months between cons I don’t want to make it a policy, especially since it can unbalance the characters.
I also want to make sure and mark off more geography. We never did much mapping for Gaslamp as most people seem very capable of imagining Storybook London and sending their characters running around with hardly a reality check. Something about setting Gaslamp West in (a bizarre post-apocalyptic and semi-urban-fantasy) America made people suddenly care exactly which state and county they are in. It was another surprise for me, being as we’ve never pulled up the Google Maps for London in the last three years. I think I have a fun solution for this one- I noticed at this con a lot more people were posting things on the wall and I plan to get a big map of the USA and post it over the game.
It works especially well because the PCs have been traveling west and east on the railway from Gettysburg to spread hope and a bit of old-fashioned Western Justice. I think a Magic Marker will be a great way to plan out Freedom Railroad. That and some new characters and a tighter plot should get things rolling!
When I’m planning out my games, I like to set up playlists to get me in the right mood. This being the week before Halloween, I thought I’d share my picks for a nWoD playlist, broken out by the individual lines. This is a touch ironic, as I am playing in a FATE game on Saturday and running a Scion session later that night, but since I’m usually planning about a week ahead I’m actually working on my Mirrors game for next week, which is a mixed supernaturals game that touches on pretty much every line at some point in the story or another. Without further ado, I present for your consideration my suggestions for a most excellent nWoD themed playlist you should feel free to borrow from for your own spooky goings on this holiday. (I tried to include some indie artists that you really should check out.)
Ladytron – Ghosts
Creature Feature – A Gorey Demise
Wynter Gordon – Til Death
Metallica – Of Wolf and Man
Aesthetic Perfection – Big Bad Wolf
David Guetta – She Wolf (Falling to Pieces)
Concrete Blonde – Bloodletting
Blade: the Soundtrack – Confusion (Pump Panel Reconstruction Mix)
Type O Negative – Black No. 1
The Birthday Massacre – In the Dark
Porcelaintoy – Monsters
The Birthday Massacre – Leaving Tonight
(Yes that’s two TBM songs, but they are both so appropriate I couldn’t pick just one.)
Creature Feature – Aim for the Head
VNV Nation – Retaliate
My Chemical Romance – The Black Parade
Lacuna Coil – Spellbound
Gareth Emery – Sanctuary
Abney Park – The Secret Life of Doctor Calgori
Depeche Mode – Walking in My Shoes
Orgy – Dreams in Digital
Faith No More/Boo Yaa TRIBE – Another Body Murdered
The Smiths – How Soon is Now? (t.A.T.u. Cover Version)
The Doors – People Are Strange
(Ha – you expected the Lost Boys/Echo and the Bunnyman version, didn’t you?)
Depeche Mode – Enjoy the Silence