September 24th, 2008


Orcs and Rebels

Originally published at Figures of Text. Please leave any comments there.

There are many reasons to praise Morgue, but the one I want to talk about right now is the Open Roleplaying Community, a club that Morgue set up in Edinburgh a few years ago. ORC is something that is all too rare - organised gaming that isn’t tied to a single game or to a college society. I’ve long admired ORC’s success, and after I came back from New Zealand in 2006, I was determined to set something similar up in Cork.

My to-do list is inscribed on Sisyphus’s boulder, so I was very happy to learn while I was in Swindon that other people have gone and done exactly what I was hoping to do. The Rebel Alliance has three meetings under its belt and seems to have a solid attendance of 20-30 people. It’s still early days, of course, but I hope that this new club will become a fixture of the Cork gaming scene. It’s got a good (if cramped) venue and there’s plenty of enthusiasm.

* * *

It also lets me try out new games. Denis ran Until We Sink, a Norwegian improv/parlour game set on a sinking island. You’ve given an outline of a character staying on the island (drunken novelist, eternal backpacker, hotel manager). Every day, an event happens on the island (a sport fisherman dies, someone’s underwear is stolen), and the characters meet up in the hotel bar to discuss their reactions and perhaps explain away the mysterious events.

There was a bit of a disconnect between the wild imaginings of the players and the moderately sedate event cards, but that’s true in any improv roleplaying game, which always head straight for either zombies or sexual perversion or both (at least in my experience) unless the players are willing to keep a tight rein on things. There’s no resolution or conflict mechanic to it in the slightest, and the only rule is that you can’t finish the game without explaining all of the events, but it’s an entertaining diversion for an evening. The island setting instantly makes me think of Over The Edge, and a set of Al-Amarj-themed cards could be fun. I must also bring Baron Munchausen and some of my indie games out at some point. Maybe something like In A Wicked Age would go down well.

If I can keep mondays for one-shots and board games, wednesdays for Pendragon and sundays for D&D, that’ll be a very healthy gaming rota for the next few months.