Aki’s RopeCon 2015 – The Competition Scenarios

I’m going to do my report a bit differently this year. Instead of going through each day at a time, I’m going to go through these scenarios first, then the RPG sessions I took part in and finally all the rest.

RopeCon had a scenario writing contest again this year. This year I didn’t do very well, but that’s ok. Didn’t really expect to, although apparently plenty of other people did.

Any how, its a pretty good addition to the whole experience. Since most stuff you are going to do want really fill your schedule, or there’s sometimes going to be hours of free time, these are a good way to waste some of your precious time on this planet. They only take 45 minutes…

All or most of the scenarios will be published on RopeCon’s official page at some point, so look for them there in the near future.

Sisunautit

You are on a ship piloted by a competent ‘sisunaut’ (‘sisu’ being a Finnish word for a sort of stubborn persistance, sometimes bordering on stupid), but commanded by a committee of well-known Finnish politicians, who are regarded more or less as jokes by right thinking people.

You can’t really script funny this much. Funny is surprising. Sure, this is transgressive, which is also funny, but you can see pretty much everything that’s going to happen once you hear the names of the characters. The players and the GM did the best they could with weak material, but there’s just so much you can get away with.

And yet, this won the competition. The system has failed us. I felt it was easily the poorest thought-out of the five I played. Sure, I haven’t seen the text, so perhaps there’s some virtue there, but its hard to imagine. I’m guessing this got more points based on what it could have been than from what it actually is.

Ihmisen poika

Literally Child of Man in English and very much inspired by the movie Children of Men. There’s a young woman who has given birth, the first one in 18 years. There’s a scientist who wants the baby for his own (humnanist) purposes, a rebel who wants to save the baby from the world, and a mercenary hired by the scientist to help find the baby.

I think this too fell short. The conflict felt too polarized. There didn’t seem to be much to motivate a resolution to the conflict. I just helped the woman flee while I stabbed the scientist. Also, I felt the woman didn’t have much to do. She wasn’t there during the first scene and what happened after that was just a continuation of the first scene and she was more of a McGuffin than anything else.

… and it got the second place.

At least I got to kill Lauri’s character and vomit blood all over him.

Haaksirikkoutuneet

Or Shipwrecked. We were a group of convicted criminals on our way to a new location, when our ship went down in a storm and we were stranded on a beach somewhere. There was five of us with convictions for various crimes. My character was an alcoholic bureaucrat, who had murdered someone. I never quite figured out who he had killed and why, but my motivation was tradition, so I decided it was a part of some age old vendetta.

Here part of the poor experience was the poor motivation of the GM. The players did what we could, but there wasn’t much to work with. It was okay, but nothing really interesting.

Neitsytmatka

This one is Lauri’s, but since the voting had already been done at this point, there wasn’t a chance of me trying to help my guildmate out (or sabotage him) I felt it was fine to take part.

We were three supernatural beings in a steampunk world on a first voyage of zeppelin (Neitsytmatka is literally virginal journey in English). I was a vampire, who was also a priest and a detective, who was looking for his vampiric lover. The story didn’t really live up to the epic premise, but one of the players was interested enough to ask where she could get the game.

DOGE

Lauri didn’t like this, but it was my favorite of these five.

We were dogs in a pack owned by an English gentleman and we were used for fox hunting. However, this wasn’t actually central to the story. Its a fairytale and to me it worked well. It advanced in stages where we first came up with the hunter and his sordid past, then we stumbled into a situation where a magical fox let us transform into other being and judge the hunter. We decided to make him a fox until he had learned his lesson, after which we decided to become a musical theatre troupe dedicated to rights of foxes.

There was a teenager in the group who wasn’t very keen on the whole thing, but the rest of us found it good. As I said, a fairytale and pretty well executed at that. After playing this, I was pretty certain it’d win.

All in All

I’m just a curmudgeon and you shouldn’t let my take on this affect you too much, but I’m pretty sure the wrong scenario won. Still, as I said, these are a very nice way to spend those extra hours between longer game sessions, tournaments, lectures or whatever you’re doing. They might be a bit haphazard, but there definitely are gems here… somewhere. They might not be fully grown out yet and they might be hard to find, but they are there.

4 thoughts on “Aki’s RopeCon 2015 – The Competition Scenarios

  1. My main concern with the “Sisunauts” was that it undermined the clear message sent by the Ropecon organisers: “do not be a bully”. I did not vote for any of the politicians the characters were based on but I am fairly certain that some of the visitors did. The games tone was a humorous one but it moved on a difficult zone of what is humor and what just giving a verbal finger. It called out players to make fun of these persons. Most players likely went along with the joke and had a fun time. But I’m wondering if there were people that weren’t so happy to see their own ideals being ridiculed.

    To put this in another concept I wouldn’t have dreamed of seeing this scenario to be about clearly defined groups of “nerds”. If it would have been a race between clearly distinguishable “minorities” of the Con-goers it would be a strike in the face with the messages that were posted on the walls and discussed after Fridays larps.

    Things like political and religious views should not be avoided. But maybe there should have been a discussion about the comfort zones of players to approach certain subjects.

  2. If you try to be funny on someone’s expense, you should go for authority figures. This being said, it would have been more prudent to use fictional caricatures of these people. At least then there would have been surprising and thus potentially funny elements in the scenario.

  3. For the sake of conversation I think I share my personal experience here and not in another post.

    All in all I think that the scenario contest was once again a success. It is a great way to exercise your own roleplaying skills as a writer, GM, and a player. It seems though that I was the only one happy about the requirements made for the scenarios. They were meant to ease the work of the judges but sadly most scenarios I played neglected to include one or more of them (theme: journey, some kind of mechanic, character creation, a twist and presentation). Quite likely the judges had a hard time to judge these scenarios as they were all very different.

    As the whole purpose of the this contest was to have fun all scenarios were a success. At least considering what I saw and experienced.

    I must add that since the scenarios haven’t been presented yet for the public my opinions are based on playing them (as influenced by the gaming group and the GM).

    Sisunautit
    This was the first scenario for me too and the one that started the whole Con for me. I had to practically force people to participate (sorry for that). As this was the first session I was pretty surprised that there was no character creation. And as said I was not a big fan of this kind of “laugh stock” games. As I have no actual interest in politics I had absolutely no idea what my character was supposed to be. He had a module to reach Mars first so I used it as soon as possible and ended up having nothing to do in the game. My experience was not the best one but I can understand why some people found this game hilarious.

    D.O.G.E.
    Aki got me a bit wrong here. I was not a fan of the concept of playing dogs but the scenario actually managed to surprise me a bit. I was thinking that this was the “funny” one but it actually had a possibility for a good fairy tale. There was a simple character creation (though in our game it was a bit confusing wether we were playing the dogs or the gentleman in the red jacket) but no gaming mechanic. It could be that the voting was supposed to be that but we didn’t need to vote as the group was in consensus of killing the fox from the beginning. From all the games I saw and/or played I think this one had the best potential of winning.

    Ihmisen pojat
    This was the game we played with our Guild members. So it was a quick (roughly 15min) event where I got to play an asshole (that was my quality) and get killed. It might have had somekind of mechanic and/or twist but we never got there. As Aki said Roza didn’t have anything to do and could have as easily been an NPC. I also found it confusing that there wasn’t anything to work with between the characters.

    Mökkireissu
    Last scenario that I got to play (before I was recruited to Archipelago when a player failed to show up). Playing a zombi survival scenario was not as great as it could have been. I was pretty tired and tried to force myself to play a character that was almost hyperactive. The character generation was simple enough and the group quickly came up with elaborated backstories. The actual game was over in a blink of an eye. Zombies came and we got away. The game seemed to use a simplified AWengine mechanic and as such it was easy to grasp. My main concern was that even with creativity there was actually no use to any items we chose. Even without “the twist” this was closest to the competition guide lines. It relied on a successful genre and I wasn’t surprised it was liked.

    As the writer of Neitsytmatka I avoided to play it but as an after though I can clearly see its short comings. It was overcomplicated. While writing it (literally at the last moment) I was thinking the concept of these games being at Ropecon to help new players to get a feeling of the hobby. I tried to introduce a simple/-ish mechanic that resembled an actual gaming mechanic. There was quite likely too much information about the characters and not nearly enough reasoning behind their actions.

    I must also admit that the idea of putting these characters together in a steampunk environment was something that I would not have liked myself that much but though would be interesting to players. As with Aki’s scenario (Lapsuuden loppu) depending on the immersion of the players and the style GM ran it, it must have been hard to finish in the given time. They are both more suitable for something like a 2 hour time slot. I did not think this as a problem for last year each and every of thes “45min” games took almost two hours.

    Learning from this year has been interesting and hopefully we will see something similar next year!

  4. Pingback: Ropecon 2015 kooste | Roolipelitiedotus

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