Con of the North 2014, part 4: Mountain Monastery Mystery

The afternoon game for Saturday was one I was running, using Blade & Crown. It was in some ways very conventional, but in many others one of the most experimental games I’ve run.

Detail of a monastery The scenario was this: various religious dignitaries from around Morensia have come to the monastery of Chatia the Just to discuss what they should do about the upcoming succession crisis. Someone decides to silence opposition through murder, and the PCs attempt to solve and stop the murders.

It’s a fairly standard plot, as RPG sessions go. However, the monastery belongs to the order of the Sisters of Faenwitha, all of whom are women who were assigned male at birth — that is, transgender women of one sort or another. And all the PCs, likewise, are Sisters of Faenwitha.

Most of the players were cis men, so it required a bit of skillful roleplaying on their part. But I addressed this, plainly and openly, at the beginning of the session, and gave everyone a polite out if they wanted it. None did; seems like the folks who’d signed up were all pretty clueful, or at least determined to try their best.

Things progressed pretty well, with good roleplaying all around. One player did a good job of portraying a bishop; another did a great job with a pacifistic ex-warrior; and the player with a Sashtian character was a great ham. (Sashtia’s relationship to Morensia is kind of like that of France or Portugal to England.) I tried to design all the characters to contribute something important, and it seems like they did in the end. As usual, I am not certain how well the players enjoyed themselves. But John, who was playing the head cellarer, has written it up at The Everwayan and has very kind praise for the game there.

Also as usual, it started to get crowded by the timeslot — I seem unable to run a B&C convention game in anything other than five hours. We had spurts of maximum expository mode towards the end. But finally, I gave the players a chance to exercise their characters’ Traits in stopping the violence, and solving the problems facing the Sisters. They did it in a variety of different ways, with a variety of outcomes. Somehow very appropriate.

There is a possibility I will run this scenario again at WisCon this year, depending on time commitments. If I do, I believe it will be the first RPG on the schedule for quite a few years. It certainly seems on-topic for WisCon.


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