Saturday, December 03, 2005


Dragonmeet 2005

It has been MANY a year since I ventured to London and Dragonmeet, once a highlight of my teenage RPG calendar along with GamesFair and GamesDay. As my time in the role-playing wilderness has been at an end for a while, I'm re-discovering all the delights of my youth.
Today I was queuing outside Kensington Town Hall with a bunch of other like-minded people - a good range of (mainly) blokes, usually overweight and wearing gamer/heavy metal T-shirts. My kind of people!

After paying to get in, the first step is to fight your way to the table with the forms where you sign on to games - Call of Cthulhu for me (run by the Phoenix Games Club) which took a fair chunk of the day (10:30am-2pm).

Matt Nixon ran "Cheap Seats" where "The Marquis de la Mort invites you to a performance of The Bazaar of the Bizarre - a fine show filled with such wonderment and whimsy that you will never forget !!!" Good balance of sexs in the players - 3 male, 2 female and a male tranny :-) The start had a very visual environment - a small theatre in London where the exits on each floor disappeared to be replaced by chalk drawings on the walls of what should have been there. Of course, being a Cthulhu game, it started getting weird after that.

After a quick browse through the stalls I jumped into a Paranoia game run by Team8. John ran a classic game - all the
components were there... nobody could, or would, trust each other; accusing fingers would be pointed in nanoseconds; the computer (who was our Friend, of course) was magnanimously unhelpful; players NEVER knew what would happen next. Hours of fun. Here are the PostIts that we passed to the GM. John's favourite (as mentioned on their forum) was "Just look at me. Smile and say No." I distinctly remember that occurring during the game and having NO idea what it meant.
The plot was that were taking a group of young citizens on a tour of a nuclear power plant with a purge reprogramed nanny bot. Thankfully, although we got through several troubleshooter clones, not one young citizen was injured and they were all returned in time for bed. In the photo I'm in the beige top; John the pony-tailed GM is helpfully labelled; the most devious player is wearing the glasses in the middle - note how he is scanning the players instead of watching the GM. :-)
When the game eventually finished, the convention was starting to run down and traders were starting to pack up. On a whim I picked up "Races of Stone" as I wanted the statistics for the Giant Crossbow (what an indulgence but at least it wasn't full price).

I was looking forward to the Charity Auction but still had time to kill. Amongst the near-empty tables was Thud! (Discworld boardgame) being demonstrated by Mongoose Publishing. I'd received this as a present last Christmas, I think, from Sue - we'd tried one game and were slightly disenchanted but then neither of us had played before. This time I was able to play under the watchful eye of someone who knew what they were doing and things went much better.


I enjoyed the Charity Auction although I didn't win anything. There were a couple of reasons for this:

  1. everybody bid higher than me, and
  2. I'm a tight bastard when it comes to stuff I don't really want and definitely don't need.

A stirling effort raised £1,200, a princely sum considering the relatively small number of people. Apparantly Irish auctions are MUCH better - no doubt the bidders are much more pissed on Guiness than we were! Charities benefiting included Alström Syndrome UK (£600).

I did meet up with someone I knew (a bit) from WAY back in the mists of time, Sound and Fury fanzine editor-as-was, James Wallis who was the auctioneer. It made me proud that, 20-ish years on, James was still in the business and now director of Hogshead Publishing, showing that it is perfectly possible to make a career out of a hobby you love. Good luck to him, and may his taste in T-shirts never diminish.

The convention over, I went on a stroll to find a pub to while away a quite moment. Centre of London - "no trouble". I didn't want one of the touristy ones on Kensington High Street so randomly went off down Wrights Lane which was basically across the road from the Hall. Half a mile gets me to the Devonshire Arms - nice pub, out of the way but still busy (was a Saturday night so no surprise). A couple of pints and then home for the night.


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