So, now that I was a temporary GM for the I Attack The Darkness meetup, I went to work creating an event for an "Indie RPG / Story Games" night at The Game Room Adventure Cafe. The event was only up for about 3 days, but I got 3 bites, so that's a start!
I showed up a bit early, as did some of the players. Brolyn just moved to the area from Ohio, and just happened to find the meetup as I was posting the event, so just great timing!
We did a few rounds of various things, including Carcassone, so I could show the cafe owner Matt how it works. Just as we were about to start, two new customers came in and joined us for a 5 player session. Turns out they're also in D&D and such, so we chatted much of gaming.
They left, but then Matthew, the other story games player showed up. We then started in on a King of Tokyo game just as two more new customers walked in (Annie and Tyler), and we got them to join us. A fun romp was had, and there were dice and claws flying. I was the first killed, but also had to take over for owner Matt's Space Pengiun, and therefore also won the game. Turns out Annie and Tyler are super in Star Wars RPG and Werewolf, so quickly were bought into the stores premise, and would be coming back another time.
Story gaming: Atlas Reckoning in the far future
When it finally came time to play, we waiting a bit for another meetup person, but she ended up being a no show. I went through my binder to pitch games, and it looked like Matthew had heard or played many of them. In fact, he even brought his copy of Fall of Magic to the meetup just in case!
The last game I pitched was Atlas Reckoning, which was at the end of the binder, and Brolyn's eyes just sort of lit up. He's a huge fan of similar anime, and Matthew was excited by the premise as well. As the game is still in beta, he hadn't heard of it and was curious.
We dived into it... world building was unusual. We ended up with a premise of humanity being sent out in various ships into space, but our colony is the only one we're still aware of. At this point, humans have been genetically modified so much that they're almost not recognizable, except for their overall shape. We had people with green hairless skin and glowing eyes, among many other varieties. The ship had been out in space for an unknown amount of time, slowly accumulating material and salvaging what it can from various star systems. In this game humanities last stand was Gaia, our floating community / vessel.
Atlases? They are the mechs we use for mining and foraging, having the shape they do because of its utility in a variety of environments we may find ourselves. Although the human pilots are purely organic in nature, we decided there are a few implants designed to better interact with our technology.
Behemoths? In this case they are a recent occurrence: a randomly appearing set of creatures from an alternative dimension who appear through rifts in space. Although the humans believe they are just appearing and causing havoc for little reason, we all decided that really it was us humans who've invaded their territory and are the nuisance.
How can we win? We decided that learning to understand and control the ability to produce these warp portals would be decisive in victory. If we can control the portals we can easily close them... or enter them and salvage what we can. We've already returned with behemoth parts and have started to use that to enhance our Atlases to better deal with the threats, and upgrade our sensors.
We had enough time for an engagement, and I threw them into the combat for session 3, which was a very tough combat. That said, they got to explore all sorts of things like Stress and Burnout and Recovery actions, which really helped them see different parts of the system, and play lots of roleplaying scenes and flashback story elements. I felt like the characters really started to come to life, and despite Brolyn's little experience with story games, he just felt very well suited to the style. Matthew already seemed to have the background to dive into such a game. I was in heaven.
We didn't get to really play a full Downtime set of scenes, but tied off the fight prematurely so they could see what it was like and enjoy a great little scene in the Medbay. It felt like they were able to see most of the components of the game, even in an abbreviated way.
We did a Roses and Thorns session afterwards for feedback, and the biggest detractor was the limited time we had. We talked about ways to tighten up the session (like reducing the world building, or preplanning the Behemoths, and so on), but we all agreed that some of those things were really enjoyable, and it was a real struggle to see how to do it differently. In the end we played a bit over 3 hours, so one issue was just the late start... a full 4 hour session wouldn't have felt quite so rushed in the end (although as has been my experience, it would have only contained a World Build + Engagement + Downtime... I still haven't figured out how to get all of it to work with an additional Engagement at the end).
Matthew was also very motivated to get something like this meetup happening on a more regular basis, and I couldn't be more pleased if he's successful. I'd love to come visit at a future time and join in!