The Owlbear and Wizard’s Staff update- September 18th 2021

I thought I’d offer a brief update as to where I’m up to with OBaWs.

I am hoping to host the 4th Owlbear and Wizard’s Staff mini-con in Leamington on 18th September. This is a very difficult decision given that although the Covid-19 restrictions have been discontinued, there is ongoing concern as to the number of cases and the spread of the virus.

At present, I aim to have an in-person event at The Band Factory with some parallel on-line sessions. For those interested, I’ll arrange a curry the night before the con in a local restaurant. The con itself will open at 9am on 18th, with the first game slot 10am-1.30pm, a break for lunch and samosas, and then a second game slot 2.30pm-6pm. We can then retire to the pub.

To make the event as safe as possible, I’d like all attendees to have had the double vaccine, to be negative on lateral flow test, and to not be suffering any symptoms of the virus at the time of the event. I’ll try and maximise ventilation and provide hand sanitiser gel. I’d like all attendees to wear masks when moving around, but will not insist on people wearing them during games. Of course, people are very welcome to wear masks during the RPG sessions and I’ll support that decision.

There are a couple of other caveats. The most obvious is that if the pandemic situation worsens and/or the government re-introduces restrictions, then it may be the case that the whole con may revert to being wholly on-line. The second caveat is that a given GM may become unwell or need to isolate/quarantine – so may be some last minute re-arranging of players into other games. Of course, I’ll try and accommodate preferences where possible.

For those who are intending in-person I’ll ask for a voluntary donation of £10 (via Warhorn) to cover venue hire and refreshment.

I’ve asked GMs to check the entries of their games on Warhorn this week, and to have a think as to whether would like to run in-person or on-line, and then intend to open bookings more widely on Friday 30th July.

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 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!

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 4e – trying out character creation.

Unknown

Artur the Herb Gatherer

So, going to try out the preview PDF for WFRP4e and character creation – thought it would help me get to grips with new edition, plus see how the PC emulates those from 1e games.

Step 1 Species.

You have the option of picking a race, or rolling and getting an additional 20XP.  I’ll take the XP and roll d100.

39, Human.

Screen Shot 2018-07-29 at 12.25.27I’m good with and any roll from 01-90 will get you a human.

Character

Human

20 XP

 

 

Step 2. Class and Career

A few options here – random roll and get 50XP, roll three times and pick for 25 XP, or pick. I’ll go for middle option so can pick from a shortlist.

First roll, 71. Riverfolk Class, Smuggler Career

Second roll, 40. Peasant Class Herbalist Career

Third roll, 05. Academics Class, Nun Career

Interesting choices here…. My temptation is to go for Herbalist. Not sure how the careers link up, but may be an option to go from the this launch into wizard, witch or mystic career.

So, so far we have:

Human Peasant Herbalist, 45 XP. Screen Shot 2018-07-29 at 12.25.54

Step 3. Attributes

Again, we have three choices here.  Roll in order, and take the result for 50XP.  Roll, and arrange as you like for 25 XP, or, roll again or allocate 100 points. I think I’ll go for middle option – roll and allocate.

For my ten 2d10 rolls I get: 12, 12, 10, 12, 16, 13, 11, 16, 16, 19.

A pretty impressive set of rolls – most lying around the average mark, but several rather above. Given the PC is a Herbalist, I’ll put the highest in Intelligence, and I think because he needs to get on with his other patients and aspires to more arcane pursuits, other high scores to Fellowship and Willpower and perhaps Toughness so can resist the diseases he comes into contact with.

 

Hence:

WS   BS    S     T     Agi  Ini   Dex   Int   Wil   Fel   W   Fate  Resilience   Extra Points Move

30     32    31   36    32   33    32     39    36     36    12    2       1                   3                     4

I can spend the 3 extra points to improve Fate and Resilience – former representing luck, and latter grit and resolve.  I have a feel he may be more resilient than lucky, so will put two of the three points into resilience, and one point into fate.

WS   BS    S     T     Agi  Ini   Dex   Int   Wil   Fel   W   Fate  Resilience   Move

30     32    31   36    32   33    32     39    36     36    12    3       3                         4

Have to choose a motivation to impact on rolepaying and as a means to regain Fortune points (equal to Fate initially).  I see the young herbalist as someone curious, learning from his practical work and being an unschooled innovator.

Motivation: ‘curious and always learning’

Next, is advancing characteristics.  Can allocate 5 advances (each one equal to one point I think) to three attributes marked with a ‘+’ in the advance scheme.  These are, Toughness, Initiative and Agility.

Think I’ll add 4 to Toughness, increasing it to 40 and in turn my Toughness bonus, and +1 Agility. This will also help Wounds (increasing from 12 to 14).

WS   BS    S     T     Agi  Ini   Dex   Int   Wil   Fel   W   Fate  Resilience   Move

30     32    31   40    33   33    32     39    36     36    14    3       3                         4

Step 4.  Skills and Talents

First, species skills and talents.  As a Reiklander, I can pick, from a list, 3 skills to gain 5 Advances, and 3 skills to gain 3 Advances.

He’s a villager serving a local community so I think Animal Care, Gossip and Haggle fit well for the +5%; for the next three I’ll pick Charm, Cool, and Lore (Reikland) for the +3%.

He gets three random talents – I roll 52 (Noble Blood), 58 (Perfect Pitch), and 87 (Suave).

This is the fun of random rolls!  Something of a swerve ball in my character conception, but interesting elements to weave into his personality and backstory.

I can then pick one of Doomed, Savvy, or Suave. He’s got Suave from random roll.  Doomed seems to benefit next PC if this one dies, whereas Savvy increases Intelligence, so will go for that.

For Career Skills and Talents, I can add 40 Advances to eight skills (no more than 10 to one), and can choose a single talent.

Reviewing the first level of the Herbalist Career, Herb Gatherer, I think I’ll do the default of adding +5 to each career skill thus:

Charm Animal +5

Climb +5

Endurance +5

Lore (Herbs) +5

Outdoor Survival +5

Perception +5

Swim +5

Trade (Herbalist) +5

Screen Shot 2018-07-29 at 12.42.21

Talents – I can choose from Acute Sense (Taste), Orientation, Rover, Strider.

Of these, I like Rover, which helps sneaking around rural environments.

 

Step 5.  Trappings

These are based upon class, career and (for cash) status too.

Peasants get: Cloak, Clothing, Dagger, Pouch, Sling Bag containing Rations (1 day).

Herbalists get: Boots, Cloak, Sling Bag containing Assortment of Herbs.

Status is Brass 2 – so he gets 4d10 brass pennies, I rolled 24

 

Step 6. Adding details.

Here, get to choose name, some descriptive and psychological features.

I’ll call him Artur and will have to think about surname and how to integrate his noble blood with being a peasant herb gatherer!

Age for a human is 15+d10, I rolled a 2 so 17.

Rolling for eye colour and hair colour, I get pale grey eyes and golden brown hair for Artur.

Height is 4’9” +2d10” – I roll a 16, for 6’1”. Tall lad!

I can know choose short- and long-term ambitions.  This should be with GM input but for this practice character creation I’ll go with:

Short-term – earn the affection of the local Lord’s daughter

Long-term – become apprenticed at the College of Magic.

Step 7. Party

Probably can’t do this step at this stage.

Step 8. Bring your character to life.

10 helpful questions to generate a backstory – something to come back to when have read the setting chapter.

Screen Shot 2018-07-29 at 12.42.41

Step 9.  Advancement.

Artur has accrued 70 XP from character creation and using random tables in part.  He’s improved each of his career skills by 5 advantages and has a career talent.  To complete the herb gatherer career he also needs to increase his three career characteristics by +5 each.  He’s increased Toughness by +4, and Agility +1 so far.  70XP will get him two advances in characteristics (25 XP each) and leave 20XP.

I’ll use the two characteristic advances to increase Toughness by +1 (so he’s added a +5 in total and ‘completed’ that) and Initiative by +1.  To complete this career he needs to pick up a further four advances in Agility and in Initiative.  At that point I think Artur will consider switching to Hedge Witch…

So, finally we have:

Artur, a human herb-gatherer.  17 years of age, 6’1”.  Pale grey hair and golden brown eyes.

Status Brass 2

Characteristics (factoring in advances, savvy and suave traits)

WS    BS     S     T     Agi   Ini   Dex    Int   Wil   Fel     W   Fate  Resilience   Move

30      32    31   41    33     34     32      44    36      41    14      3          3                  4

 

Skills

Charm Animal +5

Climb +5

Endurance +5

Lore (Herbs) +5

Outdoor Survival +5

Perception +5

Swim +5

Trade (Herbalist) +5

Animal Care +5

Gossip +5

Haggle +5

Charm +3

Cool +3

Lore (Reikland) +3

 

Talents

Rover

Noble Blood

Suave

Savvy

Perfect Pitch

 

Trappings

Cloak x2, Clothing, Dagger, Pouch, Sling Bag containing Rations (1 day), Boots, Sling Bag containing Assortment of Herbs.

20 XP remaining

 

TBC: surname, background (how do I fit in noble blood? or roll again?), and party details.

 

 

 

The Owlbear and the Wizard’s Staff: Warwickshire RPG mini-con. 22nd September, 2018.

Together with Matt (@chimpy20), Lee (@leejneilson) and Griff (@doc_griffiths), we are arranging a one-day RPG event in Warwickshire on 22nd September.

The Bear and the Ragged Staff is the symbol of the Earls of Warwick and, subsequently, of the County, and we thought eminently suitable for a D&D makeover, and hence  the Con’s name became The Owlbear and Wizard’s Staff.  Thanks to Mrs Griff for the stunning artwork.

We’re going to try and keep it simple.

RPG sessions morning and afternoon, with a lunch break.  Time for a trip to the pub at the end of the day.  We’ve hired the Band Factory in Leamington as our venue – lots of space to spread out tables, near the railway station, pubs, and places to eat.

We’ll open the doors at 9am and the first RPG sessions run from 10am-1.30pm, break for lunch, and second session run from 2.30pm-6pm.

So far, we have 6 tables confirmed for each session with very kind GMs offering their services.  Games on offer are likely to include Dungeon Crawl Classics, Lamentations of the Flame Princess, Star Trek Adventures, Numenera, Shadowrun, RuneQuest Glorantha, HeroQuest Glorantha, Call of Cthulhu, Space 1889,  Monster of the Week, Feng Shui, and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. Hoping to have a 7th table with Star Wars (AM) and D&D 5e (PM).

I’m waiting to finalise the venue hire and will then set up tickets via Eventbrite, ideally to be available in the latter part of March.

Hoping to see you there!

@asako_soh

asakosoh@gmail.com