Random Inc presents a Phenomenon Labs games convention

Phenomenon crew & writers

Here are the fine organisers and writers of Pheno 2009's games and activities. These swell guys and dolls make Don Morpho very, very proud.

Buy them lots of drinks at post-Con drinkies.


President — Ryan 'Pants' D'Argeavel

Secretary & Writer Wrangler — Ingrid 'Chopper' Bean

Treasurer — Mark 'The Hanging Judge' Ashcroft

Miniatures Wrangler — Paul 'The Marshall' Naveau

RPGA Wrangler — 'Uncle' Wes Nicholson

Venue Wrangler / Site Manager — Shane 'Lucky' Donohoe

PIT (Pheno Information Technology) Crew — Elissa 'Machete' Feit, Shane 'Lucky' Donohoe

Website Designer — 'Il Dottore' Andrew Smith

Official Photographer — Xole 'The Lone Camera' Karman

Identity Manager — Nadina 'Madam Stitch' Geary

Support Group & All Round Useful Peeps — Jenny 'The Gams' Mason, Peter 'Caterpillar' Rousell, Kevin 'Babyface' Cox, Justin 'The Torch' Deutsch, Mikey 'The Highlander' McClure

Venue Liaison — David 'The Professor' James

Random Inc. Liaison — Nigel 'Squeaky' Cunningham

Game writers

Get to know your gamewriters (a bit) before leaping boldly into their games!


Nick Argall

Much to his own perplexity, O-Nick Tenno is a former Emperor of Japan. He didn't even know the job was open when he applied for it by accident (he thought he was trying to become a librarian). He finds the role rewarding, in the main, although some of the ceremonial duties are onerous. Game: Vengeance of the Vampire Lord

Mik Bonsall

Pheno is not actually Mik's first choice for entertainment in June: historically, he'd rather be huntin' boojums. However, his experiences in the field last year have left him willing to 'give Pheno another go'. Last June began inauspiciously: there was an earthquake on the 4th and the aurora borealis the next night, and the following weeks saw an unseasonable rain of bats and cold weather, so that Mik had to return home empty-handed. He only discovered afterwards that all the boojums had nicked off to the Gold Coast anyway. Game: Dead Man Walking

Fi McConachie

Among other innovations, Fi McConachie is the inventor of the upright bicycle, the self-saucing kedgeree, and the reciprocating linoleum shaver (suitable for use by ladies). Her participation in the Great Exhibition of 1902 was nothing short of a scandal due to her firm insistence that women were 'at least as smart as men', but it all ended happily when the head judge of inventions, Lord Ponsonby, confessed to being somewhat 'partial' to intellectual women and offered to marry the plucky gel on the spot. Game: Silence of the Bush

New writers

Rebecca & Sarah Plush

The Sisters Plush have ventured into the unchartered territory by running a game. Plush the Elder, Rebecca, has been role playing for a while and was part of the winning Mission: Improvable team last year. Plush the Younger, Sarah, attended her first Pheno in 2008 and was inspired — who would have guessed? Game: The School for Heroes

Jimmy Riley

Some say Jimmy Riley is cooler than you are. Some say his sad devotion to that ancient religion will prove his triumph over this technological terror. Some say he's a little tall to be a stormtrooper. All we know is, he's running a Star Wars game. Game: Execute Order 66

Vintage writers

Robert Barbetti

Even as his financial empire crumbles under the impact of the devaluation of the Florin Crown, Robert Barbetti seeks new venture capital to translate his grandiose vision of the future into a viable business plan. Give him all your money. You'll feel better for it. Game: Resurgence

Stuart Barrow

Stuart Barrow has recently discovered that ducks improve everything, from roleplaying games to ice-cream. He hopes it's not that he's just quacking up, or he'd begin to suspect fowl play. Game: Sympathetic Magic

Ingrid Bean

By day a mild-mannered science mistress, by night Ingrid dons the mask and costume of her true calling and fights crime under the sobriquet Precious Metal. Actually, I probably shouldn't have written that. Secret identity and all that. Bother. Can I ask you to forget what you have just read? Game: Chaos Ends

Simon Boot

Simon can generally be found in his office, with a cigarette in one hand, a can of Red Bull in the other, and a bottle of whiskey on the side. He generally wears a look of manic exhaustion, and has not slept in days. Despite what he claims, he is not actually Hunter S. Thompson, nor does he know the secret of immortality. He can, however, make a damn good martini, and show you the way down the rabbit hole. This Space For Rent. He is responsible for The First Dance: Death, The Second Dance: Deceit, The Spider's Web, Tales of the City: Exogenesis, and Tales of the City: Apotheosis. He can be appeased with gin, and coffee. Game: Tales from the City: Exogenesis

Mark Bruckard

According to folklore, Mark Bruckard is the captain of the Flying Freeform, a ghostly three-masted LARP doomed forever to seek the passage round the Cape of Good Hope. Some say his curse was brought about by impious use of props. Others say it was because the freeform was so much fun no one could ever bring themselves to leave it. Game: Mainspring: Theft of the Forged Gear!

Philippa Borland

Although most recently associated with Sydcon, Philippa's experience with roleplaying cons begins in ancient Peru. She was exiled from Machu Pichu after killing the High Priest's High Priest character with a D-type impaling critical from an estoc. She even knows what an estoc is! Game: Regency Revels

Alicia Cameron

Alicia will eventually write her bio and send it in. Eventually. Game: Tales from the City: Exogenesis and Singles' Night

Ken Carcas

Ken Carcas (Deadmeat Productions) has been playing D&D in its many incarnations for over 30 years. At 43 years of age he has written for such conventions as Cancon (The Staff of Power, They Who Cry Shark, Pleasure Plane (a 2 sessions adventure), A Night To Remember and Spawn), SydCon (Red Alert: a two-session Startrek episode), and Arcanacon (on a special invitation to run Pleasure Plane). Having written for Pheno 08 (Familiar Times), and only having time to write for 1 convention per year, he hopes to make Pheno his new home for convention writing. For those who remember, Ken served on the Canberra Games Society as Editor for a couple of years, before moving interstate for work reasons. He held positions within the (now closed) Illawarra Games Society as President and Editor in Chief, and helped in co-organising and running the Illawarra Games Weekends. Ken, who mostly plays nowadays (but would like to DM more often), is in a private local gaming group of friends who meet whenever possible. Hailing now from Wollongong, his home near the lake provides suitable accommodation to his adorable wife (a registered nurse), 1 female dog (rub my tummy and love me dearly) and 1 female cat (FEED ME ... FEED ME MORE ... FEED ME NOW!!!). Game: A 'Ship' in Time

Shane Donohoe

In a hole in the ground there lived a Shane. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a Donohoe-hole, and that means Pheno. Game: Chaos Ends

Lawrence Flower

Lawrence Flower, more accurately the Lawrence Flower Project, is a prog-rock supergroup from the 1960s. Formed out of the wreckage of the groups Laurie, Vegetable, and Mister Blister in Bristol in 1965, Lawrence Flower released two top-10 singles and soon built a loyal fan-base. Lawrence Flower were notorious for their ornate stage productions and complex arrangements, and at one stage had bought out England's entire supply of linoleum. Today Lawrence Flower play mainly at Las Vegas. Game: Canberra: The Big Divi

Nadina Geary

Nadina Geary was the most decorated sewing machine ace in the Pacific Theatre of WWII. She commanded the 488th Fighter Group for 20 months, refusing in this time to give up her Singer treadle for a machine with actual guns like the P-38 Lightning. Japanese pilots who fell victim to her famous 'lock stitch dive' describe her flying skills as 'unnerving'. Game: The Retreat

Travis Hall & Sarah Western

Rather less well known than Bonnie and Cylde, Sarah and Travis nonetheless made the FBI's Most Wanted list for their eight-state spree of interpretive dance, Campbellian semiotics and fine freeforms.Game: By a Dark River

Marissa Harris

Having given up her job as a consultant Fairy Godmother, Marissa now finds the time to indulge in her hobbies: hand-stitched frogs, Jacobean excesses, and fine freeforms. Game: A Tangled Web We Weave

David Hollingworth

Bishop David Hollingworth was the Church of Armenia's senior delegate to the Council of Nicaea in AD325. Although in agreement with the majority on the matters of Arianism, Easter and Melitius, Father David was ejected under a cloud for asserting that bingo was not a holy rite. Game: The Erebus Incident

David James

David James has been roleplaying since 1982, writing his first convention game with Andrew Smith for CanCon 1987. When it comes to writing games, either table-top or freeform, David prefers to indulge in characters and situations that allow players to explore their own paths, morals and emotions; in worlds where no one is black or white, but all, including the PC's themselves, are varying shades of grey. Game: The Retreat

Xole Karman

Xole (That's pronounced 'Kole') is primarily a freeform writer, creating games based heavily in thick soupy politics. She likes the Amber setting rather too much and does scary things to Greek mythology. 'The Erebus Incident' will be her 19th freeform. Game: The Erebus Incident

Belinda Kelly

Belinda has been attending cons for years but only started writing con games in 2008, when asked nicely by the organisers of Sydney's new Easter convention, EyeCon. "Hey, it can't be that hard..." she was observed remarking. (Her next convention sighting showed her in an extremely twitchy and hyper-caffeinated state, giving off random bursts of maniacal laughter). Her first game was a backstabbing game of vampiric politics (The Primogen Council - EyeCon 2008) followed by a freeform set in George RR Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" universe (The Queen of Love and Beauty - Sydcon 2008/Pheno 2009). Her favourite RPGs include the new World of Darkness lines, Castles & Crusades and Trail of Cthulhu, and she is keen to read "A Dance with Dragons", the next Song of Ice and Fire book, which will hopefully be released by the time Pheno 2009 rolls around.

Barbara Kearins

At a young age Barbara ran away from home to become a Taiwanese table-tennis champion. She was able to leverage the experience she gained while achieving this into a successful career as the Countess of Pembroke, and has since begun to save up to buy the Louvre. Game: Positions Vacant

Rod Kearins

Rod Kearins is the name given to a trilogy of books by poet and writer Rod Kearins, consisting of Memoirs of a Rod Kearins, Kearins' Progress, and The Kearins Century. The 'fictionalised autobiographical' books follow the life of protagonist Rod Kearins (a stand-in for Rod Kearins), a typical game writer of his time after the fall of Atlantis and before the Rise of the Young Kingdoms. Game: Victim Squad

Sim Lauren

Sim is of the opinion that her PS3 is the most awesome thing invented since the Amega500. She covets it so much that she has even devised a most scathingly brilliant plan to bring it to Pheno with her. She may or may not have sold her soul to the Playstation Franchise... only time will tell. Game: I wanna be a rockstar!

Dan L'Estrange

Dan is a roleplayer with too many years experience in running and playing in a huge variety of games, and 14 years experience in writing for and running roleplaying conventions. Dan has played (and mostly GMed) a large number of tabletop systems, from DnD through to SpaceMaster, ShadowRun to DragonQuest and thousands in-between. His preference is for running games of high energy and bad puns, or at least that's what he thinks. Game: Last Action Villains

Joe McNamara

Joe McNamara (Greek 'terrible claw') was a genus of carnivorous dromaeosaurid dinosaur. There is one described species, Joe McNamara fullisiccus. This 3.4 metre (11 ft) long dinosaur lived during the early Cretaceous Period (Aptian - Albian stages, 121 to 98.9 million years ago). Fossils (and evidence of the destruction wreaked on lesser beasts by this fearsome killer) have been recovered from as far away as Tasmania. Game: Knights of the Stagnant Pool


***RANDOM error during game initialization. PHYSNAME '%!@$.*s' may be RANDOM or %ld (EGGSTART + BUNNY) may exceed the color of the device. Please consult the RANDOM Server error log for more details. Go directly to jail. Do not collect 200 Meat. ***Game: London Girls & 100 Years Ago Today...

Mark Somers

Mark Somers has been skulking about the Canberra roleplaying scene for a few years now. Initially a member of the Evil Game Designers crew, who produced a multitude of (supposedly) comedic parodies in the early 90s, Mark was then drawn into the dizzy heights of writing and administration for the recently departed Living Greyhawk campaign. Throughout, however, he has nurtured a fond appreciation of the Shadowrun game, and has been involved in both the Virtual Seattle and Shadowrun Missions campaigns along the way. Game: Phoenix

Andrew Smith

Q1 True or false: Andrew is to verisimilitude what Saruman is to the One Ring. Q2 Complete the series: porcini, ammonite, sepulchre, ... . Q3 Spot the fallacy in this phrase: Andrew will like Guinness. Game: The Erebus Incident

Jacinta Thomler

Jacinta, ME iacynth, iacynt, derives from OF-MF iacinte, itself from L hyacinthus, trln of Gr huakinthos, the flower, hence a gem, app for *wakinthos — cf the Cretan month-name Bakinthos; of Aegean but pre-GR origin (Hoffman). Game: Poppa

Mike Walker

Mike Walker started writing games in 1985 at thirteen years of age. He wrote for Phenomenon continuously between 1997 and 2004. He has been best known for his Amber Diceless Role-Playing Games (most notably ‘Silver Spires’), and the very successful Red Dwarf freeform ‘Split Infinity’. After a sojourn in a far Northern Shadow, Mike has returned to Canberra to lead us all to enlightenment. Game: A Secret of Amber

James Wright

He was shearing when I knew him, so I sent the letter to him, just on spec, addressed as follows, 'James Wright, of The Overflow'. And an answer came directed in a writing unexpected, (and I think the same was written with a thumb-nail dipped in tar). 'Twas his shearing mate who wrote it, and verbatim I will quote it: "Jimbo's gone to Queensland droving, and we don't know where he are." Game: Singles' Night