All welcome, even if you are not ticket holders to join us for the Social Friday night: come see what Grand Tribunal all about! Unlike previous years we have not organised a formal sit down meal this year - prioritising playing games and informal chatting instead, but food will be available at the Brewhouse :)
These events are entirely optional, and timings are just a guide to the earliest time they might happen. Feel free to turn up fashionably late. Follow hashtag #gt19uk on Twitter to check the exact time that we leave the pub to head to the hotel bar.
16:00 onwards (no formal start time) This year the Meet, Greet and Eat is at Brewhouse & Kitchen, Henrietta Street, GL50 4FA (opposite the Holiday Inn Express, behind the Premier Inn).
20:30 Card games, boardgames and socializing in the bar of the Holiday Inn Express, 33 Dunalley Street, GL50 4AP map
10:00-22:00 - Gas Green Community Centre, see venue page for details. Please bring a packed lunch. Fish & chip supper can be delivered, optional. The nearby supermarket & corner shop both sell sandwiches.
10:00 Session A
10:00 Introduction Setup, prep time (30 mins)
- Alas, Alas for Hamelin! by Phil Jenkins. A freeform is a game played walking about the venue, in costume (ask if you want to borrow something, and don't feel you have to dress up if impossible for travel reasons!) It's a sort of non-combat larp, and I think most people enjoy it even if this is REALLY NOT your thing. It is assumed everyone will play, but if you aren't, just drop CJ a line on to let me know. The game is played in medieval dress (or bed sheets) and is set in the world of Ars Magica. There are orles this year that require no costume (and no nudity ;))
Two hundred years after the fall of Diedne the remains of a covenant get thrown back into 1229 northern England. The players must unravel what happened at the end of the Schism war and what to do next. An Ars Magica scenario for 3-5 players.
Lunch (please bring a packed lunch or visit local shops. In deference to our hosts no alcohol please in the venue. (30 mins). The Freeform wrap-up discussion and debrief will occur over lunch. Last orders for evening fish & chip supper will be taken here, so make sure you have spoken to Andrew if you would like to be in the order. Andrew goes and collects the food to save time for playing having phoned in orders from a limited menu to an excellent local chippy.
13:30 SESSION B (4 hours)
- An Unexpected Gauntlet an Ars Magica adventure by Per Grundström.The Schism War has come to the covenant, and it is up to the apprentices to grab the sacred tome of the mound and escape in time. Their lives and the secrets of their House are in their hands. Sheets will be provided for up to five pre-generated apprentices, and until those are all claimed anyone can grab a sheet and join in.
Wilderhope Academy in Shropshire is a rural residential state primary school for pupils with behavioural difficulties. The school was recently rated Requires Improvement and is heading towards Inadequate.
Up to five players take the parts of OFSTED investigators performing a follow-up visit, Why are the pupils so palid and clumsy, given the school's great rural location and outdoor facilities? Why does the school excel at mathematics but underperform at all other subjects? It's important that the school is turned around, because most of these troubled children have already been excluded from mainstream schools, and could fall out of the educational system altogether if the school closed.
- The Vanishing Tribunal an Ars Magica adventure by Christopher Barrett. The year is 1664. The place is the Stonehenge tribunal. The covenant of Castor Mortis. Or at least.... it should be. You awaken one morning, wrapped in your winter cloak, around the remains of a fire. In the clearing where your covenant should be. Many of the magi are missing. So are most of the covenfolk, with only a few still around. The local aura feels subdued somehow, as if it has been weakened. You must discover what has happened to your covenant, perhaps even to the entire tribunal. But more than that, you must survive.
- The Strange Case of Georgina Blenkinsop by CJ: a very local Call of Cthulhu scenario by CJ 1827; the Season is at its height and the six Blenkinsop daughters have left their remote Norfolk rectory to take the waters in fashionable Cheltenham Spa. With Papa in India, and mama indisposed it has all become Utterly Horrid. Sister Georgina has to begun to act very oddly, and the Blenkinsop girls must use all their gentle good breeding and find a way to avert a terrible scandal. Designed to be played straight faced, this is a (very) black comedy of manners inspired by Jane Austen and the Brontes.
17.30 SESSION C
We all gather in the Council Chamber to hear news brought by Redcap from foreign lands! All those interested in Ars Magica will want to attend this session, where we will be discussing many topics. However if you have no interest in Ars Magica, don't worry! There will also be board games and alternative RPG options on offer here. :) You won't be made to attend anything you don't want to!
This session will feature Special Guest Justin Alexander leading a lively discussion of
- Where next for ''Ars Magica''?, and asking "what do the fans really want?" (60 minutes)
Then we will have a discussion of
- Writing for the RPG Industry in which Justin Alexander from Atlas Games will discuss his experiences, and many authors from 5th edition including Mark Lawford, Neil Taylor, Sheila Thomas and CJ among others will discuss their work, and CJ will talk about the Magonomia kickstarter. (30 minutes)
19:00 Raffle & Supper
This is the point at which the charity raffle occurs: so if delegates can bring something - food, delicacies, second hand rpg stuff, interesting pebbles etc that is very welcome - to add to the raffle that is great, but by no means compulsory.
Every attendee receives one ticket, and more can be purchased for £1 each.
Andrew will fetch the fish and chips people have ordered, and those who prefer can walk to one of many nearby fast food outlets or prepare food in the kitchen: we have a full size TESCO superstore 5 minutes walk away.
20:00 SESSION D (till late)
- Cabal of the Gathering Storm an Ars Magica adventure by Ellie Young. The Schism War is in full-swing, and some local Tytali have formed a cabal based around the knowledge of a hidden Diedne covenant, previously unknown to the rest of the order. They plan an assault, but will all go as planned? Allows a minimum of three magi and a maximum of four magi plus one optional apprentice character (possibly suitable for a newer player). Characters will be provided, but due to the anonymous nature of cabals surface-level customization is possible.
- Ja'far's Folly an Ars Magica adventure by Sandra Ahlqvist. The Order of Hermes may hold the magical landscape of Mythic Europe in an iron grip, but what about the lands to the far east? What do you know of the Suhhar Suleiman, or the Order of Solomon as they're known in the west? Have you heard the tale of the Founders of the Five Families and the crisis that nearly cost they everything? Travel back to a time when the intrigues of the Court may prove far deadlier then any blade or creature could.
Sir Nathaniel is famed not only for his big moneybags and adventurous friends, but for the scrapes his servants get up to. They are well paid for what is quite a respectable job, even if the master seems a bit weird, but coin and wine do go missing, and Beryl's requests always fare better than the lord's. But now them upstairs have been away for a week, and something is WRONG. It's almost as if the prized possessions aren't behaving any better than the servants...
Neon-noir adventure putting the "fast" in "food". Unknown Armies for beginners, characters provided. Some horror elements.
The acidified planet Jina is widely considered as an uninhabitable hell hole. Despite this, a hardy mining colony known as Aram’s Ravine persists underneath the heavy clouds. Most travellers and traders in these parts choose the luxury Cala Duriha resort moon instead, and only the most desperate descend through the toxic atmosphere to visit the Ravine. Fate forces the PCs down to the planet, however, where the plot soon thickens around them
9:00-16:00 - Gas Green Community Centre, see venue page for details. Sunday may involve re-runs of games that were booked solid on their first run on Saturday too. Please bring a packed lunch. The nearby supermarket & corner shop both sell sandwiches.
9:00 SESSION E (4 hours)
- The Night Before Christmas an Ars Magica adventure by CJ Outside the snow lies deep and crisp and even, and the magi are gathered in the Great Hall awaiting their traditional Christmas Eve feast. Each ofg the magi has prepared a selection of gifts, and soon the festivities will commence. It soon becomes clear that no one really wants a magical Christmas! Can the magi put aside their grudges and understand the mystery that has befallen the forest?
The adventurers aid is requested by the merchants in Baldh-Ruoch. They have a problem and need some creative thinking. So a mixed group go to the big city, some will like it, some will hate it, but baddies and intrigue await.
When you visited the underbelly of the Broken Wings district, it was just supposed to be a nice easy job/evening in/social call of a dubious nature, but now the building has been placed under quarantine, the State is marshaling its forces outside, and the windows are suspiciously bulletproof. Also - what was that noise?
This is one of the pre-written adventures for Paladin, characters will be young Frankish squires, the game should suit people without experience of the system and characters will be provided.
NIGHTTIME descends like a deep blue veil over the River Veloma and the village of Prios Pass.The snow no longer falls, the wind no longer blows, and a grim calm settles in the shadows of the Titans. Somewhere on the other side of the river is the refugee camp, occupied by Alberians hoping to be welcomed into Queen Korinthia’s Promised Land.
You are members of House Mareno, once a proud noble family, but now without lands reduced to mere merchants. You have returned to the Titans to welcome the last of your family into Ambria, but secrets and promises are about to explode as you face the Howling of the Damned Gods.
13:00 SESSION F (3 hours)
One hundred and one years ago, the magi of the Covenant of Vindelis vanished without trace.The Quaesitors who investigated the sudden silence found the magi gone, yet books on tables, dice and beers left in the courtyard, experiments left half completed in labs, meals decaying on the tables. High on Portland rock, above the surging tides,the secret was never resolved, and not one of the inhabitants was ever seen again...
Twenty years ago, a group of brave magi took on the challenge of re-founding Vindelis. Novum Vindelis was formed, and for two decades all was well, but the mystery of their predecessors fate was never solved.
Tonight the moon is high, and the covenant sleeps. Yet this is no ordinary sleep -- it is a deep magical sleep, and no one can be roused. The grogs snore at their watch points, the magi snore in their labs, and sensible folk are sound asleep in their beds. Now something is moving out there, approaching the covenant. The bushes rustle, the long grass moves. Things are creeping up, to take away the inhabitants and once more leave Vindelis lost to shadows.
Everyone is fast asleep, under the influence of some strange sorcery - except you, the animals of the covenant. Can you save the magi, or will Vindelis again be left a terrible mystery?
When a global superstar has a massive hit sampling an obscure 90's track by the unknown artiste Assyria Divine there is a suddent interest in finding out what became of her, and if there is any more material that could be just as huge as "Blue, Blue Heaven"? Ibiza has been scoured looking for her, but very little has emerged -- but then a new clue is located, and the race is on to locate her and sign her on what appears to be her native island - the tiny country of al-Amarja! A mystery of dance music, pool parties and break beats...
It is the 23rd century. Humanity has expanded to the stars, exploring, spreading, discovering. Technology has wrought miracles, allowing the return from the death, star travel, cybernetic implants,and more. Unfortunately, with advancing tech, comes advancing legislation. To ensure that people aren't being brought back when they aren't actually dead, proof of death is required. For preference, the return of the latest backup, taken from the neural implant of the deceased. The EAS Explorer went missing 7 years ago. 2 months ago, we picked up her distress call. Now, the intrepid crew of the EAS Hwest are being dispatched to confirm the status of their comrades, recover their memories and discover what happened to the Explorer, and why she never returned home... Can do up to 5 players. Think a Star Trek away team size group.
It's 2020, and you play a healthy person participating in a medical trial. It's a good cause, to test a new way to put astronauts in stasis. All going well, you should wake up in a month, about £4,000 richer plus a gym subscription. What you're not expecting is the world to have changed...
In the year 2050 Earth died, the water wars of the 2030’s had gone nuclear in the Indian subcontinent, the oceans choked with plastic and vast eruptions of methane in the siberian tundra meant life would become untenable within the next century. A solution was called for, four vast arks each housing 500 thousand cold sleepers would be sent forth to nearby stars. Except yours, you would journey over 400 light years to a planet much like Earth. 4000 years later you awake.
Close and wrap-up. People who need lifts are helped to station, and rest of us wander off for beer, an Indian meal and socialising for delegates who are able to stay till Monday, which we do every year. Highly recommended to sat Sunday night for the meal if you can; I'll post last train times to Bristol, London and Birmingham on the Venue page.
Sunday Evening Social
At 7.30 pm it is traditional for those delegates remaining in Cheltenham to go for a curry, and to go to the pub. This is entirely informl and not part of the official programme, but you are very welcome to join us. This year we will be celebrating CJ's 50th birthday which is later in the week. :D