The OwlBear and Wizard’s Staff (#OBaWS) 2021: September 18th, Leamington Spa

Many thanks for all the interest and enthusiasm for the 4th OBaWS event. Last year we were wholly virtually, this year I am hoping to offer both face-to-face gaming as well as online, with the caveat that if restrictions do not lessen in July/August, and the delta variant causes more problems, the whole con may move to being a virtual event.

The plan is roughly the same as previous years. For those who would like to, I’ll book a restaurant for a curry for the evening before (Friday 17th) so we can meet up for beer and food. Saturday will be the main day of gaming and will be in The Band Factory again http://www.thebandfactory.org/contact . I’ll open the venue at 9am and we’ll have the first gaming slot 10am-1.30pm, break for lunch and samosas, and then second session 2.30pm-6pm. I’ll book a pub in the evening for us to gather after a day of RPGs.

We managed to get 13 tables running in 2019 (26 games in total) and perhaps was a little cramped so will cap at 11-12 tables this year and some great GMs have submitted games already. At the time of writing we have 21 games on offer (11 morning, 10 afternoon), and getting close to closing for submissions.

Current games on offer in the morning include: Liminal, Gamma World, Deadlands, Sentinel Comics, Vampire, Questworlds Nightbane, Zweihander, Vaesen, Traveller, Hellboy, and Barbarians of Lemuria.

In the afternoon we have: Genesys Harry Potter, Questworlds Glorantha, Advanced Fighting Fantasy, Swords of the Serpentine, Call of Cthulhu, Liminal, Smithy of Sacrilege, The King of Dungeons, The Dee Sanction, and Dungeon Crawl Classics Lankhmar.

I’ll probably charge £10 entry to cover venue hire and refreshments and won’t open the Warhorn site for at least another 2-3 weeks pending on developments with the pandemic and social restrictions.

A massive thanks to Paul @spookshow71 for the fab art (which we’ve dubbed ‘Owlbear Victorious’). If people are interested, I can add both of Paul’s #OBaWS designs to Redbubble if shirts would be popular.

I’ll keep everyone updated via the blog and Twitter and give good notice before ticket release. I’ll be keeping a close eye on all COVID-19 updates and the safety of the event.

The Owlbear and Wizard’s Staff 2020

Venues are all booked for The Owlbear and Wizard’s Staff RPG mini-con in Leamington on the 19th – 20th September!

As on prior years, I’ll book a restaurant for a curry on the Friday night (18th). Saturday will be the main event at The Band Factory http://www.thebandfactory.org , with 12 tables of RPGs in the morning and in the afternoon (AM Session 10-1.30pm; PM session 2.30pm – 6pm). Samosas and RPG swap shop at lunch time. I’ve booked a private room and bar in the Royal Pug https://www.theroyalpug.com for the Saturday evening.

I had requests for us to continue into the Sunday morning for those able to hang around – we’ll have around 6 RPG tables, and also some boardgames and RPG demos hopefully.

I’ll set up Eventbrite and open tickets shortly and will then spend the next couple of months getting the games sorted with GMs before booking people into those from around Easter. One other change – rather than donations, I may add a charge for tickets so as to cover costs for venue, refreshments, and GM gifts. I hope that is ok with people

The Owlbear and Wizard’s Staff 2019

The weekend after Owlbear and looking forward to some reading, dog walks, RPG prep and thinking about next year!

I had a great time last weekend and am very grateful to all those who came and supported the con, both as players and as GMs. Aware weekends are precious time away from work and with family, and attending Cons can be an expensive business. We ran 13 tables morning and afternoon, and I reckon had between 80-90s attendees. I think the changes I made from last year were generally for the good – I’d planned some dedicated D&D tables in advance, booked a bit of extra space (including an extra toilet) and the social events (Friday night curry, Saturday night pub) went more smoothly.

We had a great range of games on offer and hope people got into games they enjoyed. There was juggling around of GMs in last few weeks, but this all went off ok, and I really enjoyed playing in Carl’s game of Dresden Files Accelerated in the afternoon. This week, I’ve enjoyed listening to some of the feedback from the podcasters who attended – dpercentile https://anchor.fm/dave-aldridge The Grognard Files https://thegrognardfiles.com and Roleplay Rescue GM’s Journal https://anchor.fm/rpgrescue/episodes/417-GMs-Journal-21-09-19-feat–OBaWS-e5g5fh . Thanks all for mentioning the Con and for coming to the event.

Thanks in particular to Dave, for running at short notice and bringing lots of drinks and sweets, to Griff for the swap shop, to Bruce for the wonderful Owlbear miniatures, and to Dan for our fantastic art.

For next year, I’m thinking of a similar weekend (want to allow school term to restart and a gap before Grogmeet) – the venue has confirmed that has space for 19th September 2020 and I’ve checked that this won’t clash with September’s Concrete Cow. Also asked about the 26th. Planning to be both bigger and smaller next year – smaller in that may cap to 12 tables (3 in the upstairs room may have been a bit much) but also expanding into the Sunday morning. For this, thought to have 6-8 RPG tables running in the main room (meaning would have 30-32 RPG sessions at the con in total) but using the other rooms for more open gaming (low prep RPGs, boardgames).

Other things I’m hoping to achieve are to ensure we have several women GMs – thanks to Anjuli, Kaye, and Kat for agreeing, and hopefully Erin and Virginia too. As well as D&D streams, I think having a DCC stream is really good so will keep that if possible (several of our attendees are part of the Goodman Games Road Crew). I’d like to have a stream or two for Swedish RPGs (Symbaroum, Mutant Year Zero etc), as well as one for Horror Sci-Fi (Alien, Mothership). Would like to see Pathfinder 2 on offer for a session (Phil?) as well as Vampire 5e, and tempted by a Tolkien/Howard/Moorcock RPG-off (The One Ring, Conan, and perhaps Stormbringer?). OSR, Savage Worlds, Cthulhu, Glorantha are also popular. We’ve not had Legend of the Five Rings or Star Wars as yet so an FFG stream could work too!

Get in touch with any thoughts and I’ll keep you posted!

The Owlbear and Wizard’s Staff II – The Wizard’s Revenge. Warwickshire RPG mini-con, September 21st 2019

We are going to reprise our one-day RPG day in Leamington this year and have pretty much gone for the same Saturday as in 2018 https://asakosoh.wordpress.com/2018/02/25/the-owlbear-and-the-wizards-staff-warwickshire-rpg-mini-con-22nd-september-2018/ 

I did look at other dates as know this isn’t ideal for everyone – 14th September is the Leamington Ale Festival (come for both and make a week of it!) and 7th felt a little close to beginning of school term/end of school holidays. Twitter pals suggested later Sept/early October was busier and wanted to leave a gap before Grogmeet 2019.

We’ll use the same venue as last time, The Band Factory. But this time I’ll see if I can hire the 1st floor too to give us a second bathroom and potentially more gaming space. We ran 10 tables AM and PM last year – I’ll plan initially for 6 tables for GMs to offer games for, and keep 2 for a D&D stream. Last year I stupidly underestimated the requests for D&D so will plan for this a little rather than react! It will then give us two more tables to bring on stream if numbers suggest we need them. To give you a flavour, last year we had games of Star Trek Adventures, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e, D&D, Mutant Crawl Classics, Dungeon Crawl Classics, Lamentations of the Flame Princess, Space 1889, Elite Dangerous, RuneQuest Glorantha, HeroQuest, Feng Shui, Monster of the Week, Numenera, Genesys, and FATE Eclipse Phase.

As in 2018, I’ll arrange a curry for the night before and samosas on the day. My other ‘do differently’ item is to book a venue for post-games drinks as last year the pubs were busy leading us to all being rather scattered. I’ll set up an Eventbrite page for ticket booking.

If you are interested in GM’ing (or helping organise) do get in touch!