Random Inc presents a Phenomenon Labs games convention

Team (tabletop) games

These are the traditional games from Time Before Time. The table is optional but also very traditional. Some are system-based games, others systemless. But Great Horned Mammoth God guarantees that they're all good.

All Aboard the Fine Balenka

The Fine Balenka

By Terence Janssennew designer

Aboard the Fine Balenka, performers plot, scheme and seek to win the prize that is the Pallister Grey. The finest ship to sail the myriad rivers of the Great Fall which is said to have sailed the skies. Each performer is in it for themselves as they want a ship of their own. However, until they reach the port of the Callous Swan the group will need to perform together, trade together, listen to the eccentric Captain Balenka.

With the constant duels with rivals, escaping cannibal villages and the reckless race toward the port of the Callous Swan, how long can the crew keep the eye on their prize? One thing is sure in the crew's eyes: the captain is not getting that ship!

Pheno ratings
Characterisation 4 Genre 3 Rules knowledge 1
Story/plot 4 Seriousness 3 Advisory rating PG (tending towards M)



By Laurie-FLO-R, Simon-MIL-R and Craig-LAW-I

A Communist, a Mutant, a Traitor, an Internal Security Spy, a Loyal Citizen and a Mystic encountered The Computer.

They were all blind, because they had not the Inner Light that illuminates.

This is the oppression of the masses said the Communist.

This is the barrier to evolution said the mutant.

This is what I must defeat said the traitor.

This is what defines treason said the Internal Security agent.

The One Loyal Citizen said nothing, had he in fact, he might have said

This is Friend Computer who loves me.

The Mystic laughed and giggled and said

You’re all just a bunch of pretty lights.

Which of them is the Happiest?

A Paranoiac game of 4 to 6 players by Lawrence Flower, Simon Miller and Craig Lawrie.

Come join our team of trouble shooters as they hide their mutant abilities, undertake tasks for their secret societies and at all times serve their friend the computer. Will you lead the team, be the happiness officer, the loyalty officer, the equipment guy or simply be requested to attend a termination booth? Will you run out of clones?

Pheno ratings
Characterisation 3 Genre 1 Rules knowledge 1
Story/plot 2 Seriousness 1 Advisory rating PG (mild violence)


Back in the Biz...

By Random

In the early '50s NightKat and BigDog were well known and well respected names in the Seattle scene.

NightKat was a master sneak thief. She could get anything from any where, leaving no one the wiser as to where it went. BigDog was muscle and steel, as good with the fist and sword as he was with the pistol and machine gun. Together they made an unstoppable team.

In '54, they disappeared. Officially they died while making an attempt on a Shiawase bio-tech research facility, but no one believed it. Rumours spread like cut-price NERPS on the streets, but no one had any answers.

The year is 2070. Two weeks ago both NightKat and BigDog reappeared on the streets, on the run. Word is, they're back in the biz...

A Shadowrun Tabletop Roleplaying game for 5 or 6 runners.

Pheno ratings
Characterisation 3 Genre 4 Rules knowledge 2 - Can be played rules light, or rules non-existent
Story/plot Seriousness 2 Advisory rating M (Adult themes)


The Days and Knights of Landsend


By Marissa Harris

Last week on the “Days and Knights of Landsend”…

The half-elven thief Aliana shocked the village at her pre-wedding feast by announcing that her engagement was over, as she had been hiding a terminal illness and was doomed to die imminently! The barman and the brewer spent the evening chuckling in close confidence, plying the mage Gibbs with drinks and whispering in the ear of the village’s arrogant elf Myuath. When it was revealed that Gibbs had been having an affair with Myuath’s half-sister, Aliana, Myuath leapt in to defend her honour. A fight ensued and all three of the Village Garrison turned up to arrest both of them.


More problems arose when a seemingly innocent practical joke went disastrously awry, ending in the destruction of part of the blackberry hedge that protects the village. The influx of a horde of deadly, acid-spitting, giant ants right in the middle of the evening’s last dance left Diligence the Ranger’s favourite Robes of Invisibility ruined and Burwin the Cleric red-faced in the aftermath.

Meanwhile the burley Fighter Jason is looking increasingly like the culprit responsible for the attack on the blackberry hedge. His +2 Halberd of Cleaving was found covered in blackberry sap at the scene and he is strangely unable to account for his whereabouts at the time.

Can his friends prove Jason’s innocence before he is hanged for his crimes? And when did this sleepy village start hanging criminals anyway? And why is the lighthouse keeper gibbering in the corner about the village being overrun by dragons?

Stay tuned for next week’s episode…

A game for 5 teen adventurers stuck in a sleepy backwater village.

A Diptych game

The Diptych is a perpetual Pheno prize, comprising two linked comedy games, with an emphasis on light-hearted humour and whole-hearted silliness. With a trophy and everything!

Pheno ratings
Characterisation 4 Genre 3 Rules knowledge 1
Story/plot 3 Seriousness 1 Advisory rating G


At the End of the Day

By Andrew MacLennan

The recent death of Uncle Lung has left the Black Lotus Triad in disarray, with a power vacuum that many wish to fill. Within the ranks of the Black Lotus, brother has turned against brother and war has come to the streets, as rivals struggle for supremacy.

To complicate matters, the Iron Fist Triad has broken the long-standing truce between the two groups, seeing an opportunity to expand their own influence and power at the expense of the Black Lotus.

With the body count rising, and the risk of the Black Lotus being wiped out, an election has been called to decide the Black Lotus leadership - at a time and place yet to be disclosed. Is it a trap set by the police? The Iron Fist? Or perhaps even one of the Black Lotus? At the end of the day, who can you trust?

A single session Hong Kong film for four criminals.
Written & Directed by Andrew MacLennan.

Previously run at Conquest 2008.

Pheno ratings
Characterisation 4 Genre 3 Rules knowledge 0
Story/plot 4 Seriousness 4 Advisory rating MA (Adult Themes, Violence)


Falling Water, Blinking Suns

By John and Philippa Hughes


There are myths that enslave women and men, and myths that set them free.

I know of a world with three rainbow suns, suns that shine unmoving ‘neath a clouded sky.

I know of a world set upon the back of a giant bird, journeying to an unknown destination.

I know of a world at peace, a world that has forgotten the terrors of war.

I know of a world where Time is ending.

This world is Ontolosna, and we are part of its weaving.

Yet this tale is of lesser things. It concerns five trader-pilgrims on a journey from their mountain wilderness to the bright jewel-centre of the world; the bonds that join and divide them; and their struggle to waken the reality that sleeps within and without.

ONTOLOSNA: THE BRIGHT JOURNEY is a shared fantasy roleplaying and world-building project. It portrays a progressive realm of female power where violent warfare is comparatively rare, and where humans create and direct their deities in massive Theagyn (‘goddess birthing’) rituals. Ontolosna draws inspiration from the lands and peoples of Tibet, India, Korea, China, and Japan.

For further information and downloads, visit the Ontolosna wiki at ontolosna.wikispaces.com. Or download this blurb as a pdf.

Mythologic presents FALLING WATER, BLINKING SUNS, a single session, system-lite introduction to the world of Ontolosna by John and Philippa Hughes.

Falling Water, Blinking Suns character sheets and some info on the game system are available online at http://ontolosna.wikispaces.com/Falling+Water+.

Ontolosna: Think Different

Pheno ratings
Characterisation 4 Genre Progressive, Asian-themed fantasy adventure Rules knowledge 1
Story/plot 4 Seriousness 3 Advisory rating MA


The Heist

By Greg Tannahill

It would take a team of experts, or a team of madmen. Or both.

Luckily, Vinny the Goat is putting together a team.

A fortune in diamonds rests in the Midtown Police HQ evidence locker, at the heart of a building swarming with the city's finest in law enforcement and equipped with the latest in state-of-the-art security countermeasures. Playing as an elite team of con men, safecrackers, and killers, you'll execute a precision raid where your every action will come together into an elaborate and sophisticated master plan. But watch out for the end-game, where you'll have the opportunity to turn the tables on your fellow players with a gauntlet of stunning surprise twists! In the final reckoning, some will walk away rich, some will walk away empty-handed, and some won't walk away at all.

The Heist is a tabletop adventure for five players delivering a fast-paced twist-filled caper in the style of Ocean's Eleven, Sneakers, and Leverage. No prior experience is required but an enjoyment of heist movies is preferred.

Pheno ratings
Characterisation 2 Genre 4 Rules knowledge 1
Story/plot 4 Seriousness 2 Advisory rating M - frequent violence


High Five

By Mark Somers

Australia, 2072. The Awakened World is now, and magic and technology live side by side. In the cracks of life lie the shadows, that dangerous place of black operations, corporate warfare, criminal enterprise and deniability. This is a place of half truths and trickery, where lives are threatened and fortunes made or lost in seconds. Even the simplest task of travelling from one place to another can be a considerable challenge, as will become apparent to a group of jet-setting Aussie shadowrunners.

A single-session Shadowrun 4th Edition game with pre-generated characters. For more information on Shadowrun, check out the official site at www.shadowrun4.com.

Pheno ratings
Characterisation 2 Genre 4 Rules knowledge 1
Story/plot 4 Seriousness 2 Advisory rating M - frequent violence


A Leaf on the Wind

By Evan Paliatseas


Dr. Caron: These are just a few of the images we've recorded. And you can see, it wasn't what we thought. There's been no war here and no terraforming event. The environment is stable. It's the Pax. The G-23 Paxilon Hydrochlorate that we added to the air processors. It was supposed to calm the population, weed out aggression. Well, it works. The people here stopped fighting. And then they stopped everything else. They stopped going to work, they stopped breeding, talking, eating. There's 30 million people here, and they all just let themselves die.

A scant few days since, some real news came a tumbling along the ‘waves. The signal jumped and jittered, spreading out pond ripples of truth to the far corners of a once placid ‘verse. Some folks were a mite disgruntled to hear it. Others were all a panic. Oh, to hear the yelling, and watch at the pointing of fingers, and tremble at the rattling of sabres and loading of guns. Entire worlds became abuzz with a whole mess of overt and covert activity, all focused on the nigh forgotten, but now remembered world of Miranda. They came. None thought it would go smooth and shiny. But none came expecting the kind of dung storm they would kick up.

A one session game for five in the ‘verse, set after the movie Serenity. None of the main cast members have a showing, but plenty of the same shenanigans will be amuck.

Wash: It's okay, I'm a leaf on the wind!

Mal: What does that mean?

Pheno ratings
Characterisation 5 Genre 5 Rules knowledge 2
Story/plot 5 Seriousness 3 Advisory rating M


Let Sleeping Rings Lie

By Ken Carcas

The party, having recently arrived to Delvers Dale, are approached by a local historian known as Balan. Balan has heard of the party’s previous success and travels, and has approached them with an offer. After general introductions, he begins...

‘It was said that the mage, Malek, possessed a ring dating back many centuries to the darker days of the Plague War. This ring has certain … historical sentiment to me, connecting everything I’ve researched into the Plague War, Delvers Dale’s involvement, even the possibility that Malek, or his ancestors, where also involved to one extent or another. My research indicates that the ring is said to be somewhere still in the ruined basement of his tower.’

'My only problem now is that the location of Malek’s Tower is, so to say, lost in history, and my research has come to an abrupt stop. I need a fresh set of eyes in locating the entrance to the basement of his tower, and whatever further help you can offer in retrieving the ring. Maybe we could come to some ... mutual ... agreement?’

(What ... Do ... You ... Do ... ?)

Deadmeat Productions presents a 3hr single session Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition adventure for a party of player chosen characters to locate that which has been hidden (?) for many years ....

At past Phenos, I have chosen what characters best fit the adventure. This year, players will choose their characters based solely on the blurb above. A selection of pre-generated characters will be made available from various classes and races, and players may play whatever combination they think will get them through to the end.


Pheno ratings
Characterisation 2 (some is always good for my enjoyment) Genre 4 (Fantasy ... what more need be said) Rules knowledge 2 (I play rules lite at conventions so Noobs need not fear)
Story/plot 3 (Yes there is a story line and plot) Seriousness 3 (It's DnD ... be as serious as you think you need be) Advisory rating M (but can tailor to PG if young players play)


Orbital Descent


By Mik Bonsall

"Gas giant mining platform Delta-Tango-Sierra-seven-one-five, this is Cargo Ship Aquila Cado requesting approach vector."

"Please open your receiver for download. Uploading current weather data and flight path. See you soon."

The nose of the Aquila Cado dipped towards the rings surrounding the planet and then the engines kicked in, throwing the squat, bulky craft towards the swirling ball of gas within which hundreds of mining platforms floated, harvesting precious gases.

"Looks like we're going to have some turbulence folks, better strap in. Be good to feel some gravity again though."

The flight crew buckled up and began doing their final approach checks as the first gas particles began to bounce off the hull.

A game for five space truckers looking forward to a bit of R&R after a long haul in space.

Pheno ratings
Characterisation 4 Genre 0 Rules knowledge 0
Story/plot 4 Seriousness 4 Advisory rating MA 15+



Pathfinder Sunday

Do you wish D&D 3.5 had kept going? Well, wish no more. Pathfinder is the answer. Imagine D&D 3.5 on steroids and that's Pathfinder.

Pheno is pleased to offer two adventures in this global campaign, running across three sessions of the con. Exactly which adventures will be posted closer to the long weekend as we want the most recent ones we can get. The adventures will be for starting characters as well as established characters. And we will have some "pick up" older adventures in case you finish early and want more.

For more information on the Pathfinder campaign, including character generation rules, go to http://paizo.com/pathfinderSociety

Please note: Although this is a global, byo character, campaign, it is NOT an RPGA game. Pathfinder, and the Pathfinder Society, are products of Paizo.

Team Dragon

By Fish

For millennia we ruled the worlds. Still we are mighty. Yet with iron, with magic, with teamwork, the humans have become the hunters, looting our lairs.

Each of us gathered here has lost our hoards to these upstarts. Today, we take back what is ours. With power, cunning, stealth and teamwork.

We have raw power.

We are incredibly cunning.

We have slipped silently through their lands to this castle.

And if even these hairless monkeys can master teamwork, surely it can't be difficult?

An adventure for 5 Dragons so determined to get their treasure back that they'll try anything, even working together.

A Diptych game

The Diptych is a perpetual Pheno prize, comprising two linked comedy games, with an emphasis on light-hearted humour and whole-hearted silliness. With a trophy and everything!

Pheno ratings
Characterisation 5 Genre 2 Rules knowledge 0
Story/plot 3 Seriousness 1 (romp) Advisory rating PG


World of Darkness High

WOD high

By David James

Five friends have been together throughout their College years, and are now facing the changes that graduation bring. Spring Break is over, now the Prom looms and then exams. And then?

For some people however, the end of school brings more changes than others…

A single session game for five college students facing the end of the comfortably secure world of school. Emotions are high as the last chance to reveal how they really feel is fast approaching.

This game draws on the recent rash of supernatural teenage romance books, movies and TV shows, with character inspiration drawn from the World of Darkness Universe. The game aims to be more “Buffy” and less “Vampire Diaries” in its execution. Teenage angst mixed with all sorts of supernatural themes can be expected, and overacting is actively encouraged.

Pheno ratings
Characterisation 5 Genre 3 Rules knowledge 0
Story/plot 4 Seriousness 3 Advisory rating M: violence, naughty bits, definite teenage angst