Tagfeng shui

OrcaCon 2017: Review

OrcaCon ProgramSusan and I went up to OrcaCon for the weekend. It’s a local gaming convention in its second year, with an emphasis on diversity and creating a safe space for gaming. It ran Friday through Sunday, 1/13 through 1/15, at the Holiday Inn Downtown in Everett, WA. Rumor is that it had around 1,000 attendees. I am no good at judging crowd sizes but that sounds about right to me.

Check out the cool program book there! (Oooh, visual aids.) Not only was there an awesome map, but the back six pages or so were a Mutants & Masterminds quick-start. This is the most useful con program book I’ve ever seen.

If you are too busy to read through the thousand words or so that follow, my quick recommendation: this con is definitely a must if you’re in the Seattle area, and it’s worth some travel if you like really well-run regional gaming conventions.

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China, Back Then

[Game background; not to be taken as literal history.]

It’s 69 AD. The Han Dynasty rules China in the form of the hard-working but sometimes cruel Emperor Ming. He has been emperor for over ten years, and previous to his ascension, he was intimately involved in matters of state. Perhaps this is why he was so diligent and capable.

But there are shadows over his reign. It is well known that Prince Jing plotted to rebel, some years ago, going so far as to employ sorcerers to curse Emperor Ming. The Emperor resolved the issue by forcing Jing to commit suicide, and slew literally ten thousand others who were implicated in the conspiracy. It is whispered that Emperor Ming’s eunuch advisers were responsible for counseling the Emperor to this extreme act, but perhaps it was necessary in order to maintain the Celestial order and the Mandate of Heaven.

Some time after that unfortunate incident, the Emperor’s chief general was sent to hunt down the dangerous rebel known as the Jade Dagger. Much to the surprise of all, Ban Chao never returned from the hunt, and was has in fact been seen many times since cooperating with the Dagger Bandits, as the Jade Dagger’s men are known. Where there was once an annoying but ultimately ineffectual band of rebels, there is now a skilled, well-led fighting force fomenting tumult at the edges of the Empire.

And, finally, China is plagued by demons. While the Emperor’s men have always been successful in defeating demonic incursions, province by province — the eunuchs are rumored to be instrumental in these successes — it yet seems that no man is capable of pushing the demons back for good. For no matter how often they are defeated in any one place, a new infestation arrives in another province soon thereafter.

The Emperor continues to battle these shadows. He has the assets already mentioned; his current general, Guo Xun, is only slightly less formidable than Ban Chao. His twin bodyguards, Lin Bao and Lin Bo, are never-speaking pillars defending him from all harm. He is far from helpless, but he is also far from victory.

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