Random Inc presents a Phenomenon Labs games convention

Phenopocalypse 2012

Phenopocalypse 2012

Team (tabletop) games

These are the traditional games that date back from the prehuman aeons in which the Stars Were Right. The table is optional but traditional. Some of these games are system-based (which often just means 'a published system'), others systemless (which also tends to cover 'home-brew system'). There are also multiforms, which encourage you to stand up and move around a bit.

The Triptych

The Diptych

Other games

A Strange Day

By Michael Hitchens

Setting: Sydney, current day

Player Characters: Five vampires, all embraced within the last two years. Being young, they’ve relied on each other, they trust each other as much as vampires can. I can’t tell you whether that will hold throughout the module, that’s up to you.

Background: A city in turmoil. Sydney’s a big city, millions of people, two to three hundred vampires. Antagonisms about to turn violent. Yes, that’s not very original but you can do a lot with that and what’s a story without conflict?

Story:  Your choice. There’s more than one way to play this module. Want to try climbing the greasy pole of kindred politics in a time of conflict? Or maybe get on the front lines and fight your way through?  Or play it as a character piece? Our “heroes” haven’t been vampires long, their new existence could well clash with the remnants of their old. Perhaps trying your hand at solving a supernatural mystery appeals?

I’ll ask you at the start of the session which one you want. And then we’ll take it from there and see where we get.

Politics, combat, character, supernatural mystery. It’s your choice.

Pheno ratings
Characterisation 2-5 Genre 4 Rules knowledge 0-4
Story/plot 2-5 Seriousness 3-5 Advisory rating PG-R


A Vision of War

By Stephen Justice

With mastery of gene technology the world changed. Sickness and hunger were ended by spliced crops and medicinal plants. Afterwards, humanity began to improve themselves.

They spliced animal genes with human genes, creating drugs to make themselves faster and stronger—even to grow wings to fly without machines —anything they wanted, from any animal. But these drugs could only be temporary: the human genome was sacred.

One day a bored researcher spliced in traits from a rare sea snail just to see what would happen. She saw visions of the future: a perfect society. Others who tried it saw similar visions. A global movement was born to build towards this Utopia.

However, visions from further into the future showed a world torn by war: a nightmare of global destruction. No one could see what caused the war, but suddenly everyone was afraid. People turned on each other; governments stockpiled weapons again, all preparing for war.

Some remain hopeful that the cause of the war can be found. Visionaries scan the future for the war’s trigger, hoping to stop the war before it even begins.

This is a game for five unfortunate souls hoping to survive the destruction of the world.

Pheno ratings
Characterisation 4 Genre 2 Rules knowledge 0
Story/plot 4 Seriousness 4 Advisory rating M


Begin Again

By Greg Tannahill

A game of post-apocalyptic community building.

The world has ended, and you are the survivors.  From across the plague-ravaged countryside, you have gathered at a small rural property, and now you are faced with the task of building a new civilization amidst the ruins.

Will you build a large community or a small one?  Who will you accept, and who will you turn away?  Will you focus on outreach, or defence, or exploration, or food production?  How will you react to sudden reversals of fortune, both good and bad?

Begin Again is a structured sandbox game for 4 to 10 mature players. Players build characters from a selection of randomly assigned traits. Play focuses on collaborative decision making to guide a small community through a series of randomly-chosen crises.  The game uses a simple custom-built system, and involves both collaborative play and a limited amount of player-vs-player conflict.

System: Custom-built
Genre: Realistic post-apocalypse
Number of players: 4 to 10 (6 players is ideal)

Pheno ratings
Characterisation 3 (Play proceeds from a serious treatment of the characters, but intense acting is not required.) Genre 1 (Genre knowledge will not improve your enjoyment.) Rules knowledge 2 (The game has rules but they are simple and will be
fully explained at the start of each session.)
Story/plot 2 (Play focuses on exploring a developing situation and
may not always deliver narrative closure.)
Seriousness 4 (The game is intended to be serious, and some groups may find it intense.) Advisory rating MA 15+ (Can be toned down to PG if requested by an
organised team.)


Death Journey

by Mike Walker

Death is the beginning of a journey that you have all passed through time and time again. 

You are old soul companions, wise in your own ways, choosing to incarnate as each other’s friends, or family, or lovers…  So you can continue to learn, love and grow together.

After Death, there are phases of transition… reflecting upon your past lives… analysing your successes and failures… resolving your past hurts and guilt…  introspection… and then finally preparing for your new lives.

This time, you have made the choice to take this usually solitary journey together.

So… What is it that you can learn about your last lives with each other? And how can you support each other in what you need to learn next?

A multiform for five reincarnating souls… 

This is a cathartic multiform and covers mature and confronting subjects.

This game is part of the 2012 Triptych.


Pheno ratings
Characterisation 5 Genre 4 Rules knowledge 0
Story/plot 2 Seriousness 5 Advisory rating MA 15+


For the Overlord

By Shannon Spencer new designer star

Five Player systemless game of warped fantasy based on Codemasters' OVERLORD

A Minion must always be ready to serve.

Except you lot have gone and gotten yourselves trapped in a cave for nearly a week! But look! The rocks have finally shifted… there's a way out! An escape!

Now you must do what any loyal Minion would do:

Loot, Plunder and Pillage all the way home!


A game of travel, adventure, survival and mischief for five minions in service to the Evil Overlord.

Evil Will Always Find a Way.

Pheno ratings
Characterisation 3 Stats are there to help, but are not the end all! Genre 2 a little background couldn't hurt, but not needed. Rules knowledge 1 If you can math, you can play.
Story/plot 2 Seriousness 1 Childish heckling and bragging encouraged! Advisory rating M (violence, alcohol use, possible sexual references) Rating may rise once players get involved.


Friend or Foe

This game has been cancelled. Morph apologises for the inconvenience.



By Dan L'Estrange

I don’t remember the city, Daddy says it is not a nice place. He says it is filled with the evil air, and the nasty things that come out at night. We stay safe at night in the fortress, it’s a big hole in the ground that Daddy and his friends found just after the first signs of the apocalypse.

There are those who come to visit us, not many stay for very long. Daddy says “love thy neighbour” and “treat others as they treat you”, so we let them in, but we don’t let them stay.

We have visitors tonight, I can see them in their big campervan coming down the valley. Daddy let me use his telescope so I could see them up close, there is a beautiful girl and a couple of men… and there is a boy… looks about my age. Cool! I hope he likes to play.


This is a: Systemed (nWoD - Vampire: The Requiem), Traditional (GM narrating results), Individual Decisions (Decisions individual to character), Outcomes Open (no pre-determined outcomes) game for 5 players.

Players will be Vampires. This game is R16.

This game is part of the 2012 Triptych.

Pheno ratings
Characterisation 4 (Players expected to stay in character) Genre 4 (true to apocalyptic genre, realistic outcomes?) Rules knowledge 2 (rules knowledge not necessary, but would help)
Story/plot 4 (Strong story elements) Seriousness 4 (Mature themes) Advisory rating R16



By Kane Edwards new designer star

Using The Storytelling System
In the World of Darkness

A tale for 5 players.

Stories are told of the Bards, of humans whose pursuit for perfection pushes them through the boundaries of humanity, and out into something…more.

The stories ring true. The half-heard echoes in your mind, promising great and dark things is your reminder, all the proof you need. Whatever it is you have become, whatever it truly means to be a Bard, you are the best at what you do, and it’s been this way for as long as you can remember.

For the last two centuries, you have been as you are, and you have not been alone. The story, your story, has included seven others, like you and unlike you at once, sometimes friends and sometimes enemies, but always the eight of you, all of you bards.

Recently that eight became five. Whatever took three is coming for you. The whispers in your head are growing louder, and somewhere in the aether something is stirring.

There will be blood.
There will be sorrow.
There will be honey.

It’s the last chapter of a long story, and this time, spelling isn’t mandatory.

Pheno ratings
Characterisation 3 Genre 1 Rules knowledge 1
Story/plot 2 Seriousness 3 Advisory rating MA (expect swearing and adult themes)


In Sceadure — In Shadow

by David James


"In the play of mankind, many acts take place when we hide in shadows."

A world destroyed by nature
A society held together by greed
A city created from necessity
Lives lived in shadow.

Five people brought together by a murder: a Private Eye, a District Attorney, a Bodyguard, a Femme Fatale and a Forgotten Son finally have their lives exposed to the light.

A CyberNoir world, brought to life through the use of the 'Dirty World' resolution system. Players are free to choose a systemless or system-lite version of the game when they play.

A 5 player game inspired by the idea of a 'Sam Spade' style story in a 'Bladerunner' style world.

This game is part of the 2012 Triptych.

Pheno ratings
Characterisation 5 Genre 3 Rules knowledge 1
Story/plot 4 Seriousness 3 Advisory rating MA


Mage: Among the Fallen


By Joe McNamara

Things are coming apart. The Gardener, formerly one of the city’s most respected magi, has Fallen and disappeared into the black laybrinths of the spirit world, leaving behind the corpses of the janissaries sent to apprehend him, a jar of eyeballs and a message for the apprentice no-one knew he had.

As the local cabals tear each other apart looking for the Fallen in their midst, you are the five most likely suspects. The Men in Black, the Freedom Razor and every other cop or enforcer or mystic hitman in the city are looking for you. You only have a few days to clear your names, too — the Gardener is waiting for you, in the darkness outside the world, slowly tunnelling his way back in and bringing all the horrors of the labyrinth with him.

A tabletop Mage: the Ascension game of temporal and spiritual corruption for 5 players.

Pheno ratings
Characterisation 4 Genre 2 Rules knowledge 1
Story/plot 4 Seriousness 3 Advisory rating R (strong violence, adult themes)


Once Were Famous

By Sandra d'Argeavel


50 years on… Timmy has passed away. Julian lives in a facility for the insane. Dick is a recluse. Anne has left her husband and is finally ready for adventure. George remains at Kirrin Hall, cared for by her hapless nephew Roger.

But all is not well on Kirrin Island… Who are the strangers in town? Why are there lights at Smugglers Cove again? And Where did we leave Roger?

A systemless game for 4 aging adventurers, and their faithful companion, er Nephew.

This game is part of the 2012 Diptych.

Pheno ratings
Characterisation 5 Genre 5 Rules knowledge 1
Story/plot 3 Seriousness 1 Advisory rating PG


Priscilla, Orcs of the Wasteland

by Adam Raymond

Paul looked at John with a worried look on his face. The strange portal Ringo made issued slurping sounds and the large catapult that held the wooden badger that they sat in creaked ominously. Priscilla (the wooden badger) was quite heavily built, which was lucky because George was large for an orc and took up the entire front row of seats inside Priscilla. Paul and John were on a more comfortable seat: Arthur.

The Boss was speaking, and by that, I mean yelling: "Right, you filthy maggots! I want youse to get in there and learn how to become cheerleaders, dat clear!?!" George shook his head with a beatific smile on his face. "Nup". The Boss hit him, because this tended to make the Boss feel better.

"In da name of Mog and Grog I—" started John.  

"Shuddap" balled the Boss, "get in dere!" and with that he grabbed Ringo and hurled him at George. He kicked the catapult and Priscilla hurtled through the strange portal.

Priscilla, Orcs of the Wasteland, is the uplifting story of five orcs going in search of their inner cheerleader.

This game is part of the 2012 Diptych.

Pheno ratings
Characterisation 3.141957 (Pie!!!!) Genre 1 (if you know this genre already, then you are too
weird to play this game, but you can help me run it)
Rules knowledge 1 (the rules, such as they are will be explained in game)
Story/plot 1 (Juan) (I have written one, but that really shouldn't
get in the way of having fun)
Seriousness 0 (Zorro) Advisory rating PG (the game I wrote at least, I can't make any
guarantees about what the players do)


The Antiques Roadshow of Doom!

By Nick Matthews new designer star and Stuart Barrow

Life's a funny old thing, says "Lucky" Lucy Longshot. One moment you're on top of a train, trying to stop Professor Zog from getting his clutches on the legendary Headdress of Amun-Re, completing the ritual of Thoth's Ascendance and controlling the world. Then it's sixty years later and you're bumping around an old council flat, reading the same old novel and wondering if it's time for another cup of tea. Which it's not.

Those were the days, hey?

Lucy's still got the Headdress, you know. Still got the ceremonial gown, too.

And with Professor Zog out of the world-domination business and into the Home around the corner, they're really just gathering dust. Maybe they're worth a bob or two.

And that nice young man from the television is coming to town...

Dare you face...


A nice little comedy, with storytelling elements, for five players.

Setting: Pulp heroes from the 20s and 30s, now long since retired. System: Largely systemless, but with elements of storytelling games such as The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.

Pheno ratings
Characterisation 3 Genre 2-3 (some knowledge of pulp tropes will help) Rules knowledge
Story/plot 3 Seriousness 1 Advisory rating PG (some violence)


The Fellowship of the Thing

By Hugh Fisher

A shadow rises in the east. Dark rumblings shake the very foundations of Alpha Complex. (Although that may be just the new subwoofer system being installed for the next Randi and the Rock-Bots concert.) Strange and terrible beings are gathering. (No, not the Randi and the Rock-Bots fans. The other strange and terrible beings.) But this is not your concern, citizen! Your mission will be perfectly safe, lots of fun, and with absolutely no risk of encountering any dark lords.

A single session tabletop roleplaying game for 4–6 players. Costumes not required, but if you want to dress up as, say, a Bouncy Bubbly Beverage vending machine, feel free.


Can you tell me a bit more about the setting?

The futuristic Alpha Complex, where every aspect of life is controlled by the all seeing, all powerful, and deeply disturbed Computer. Players are Troubleshooters in service of The Computer, sent on missions to eliminate commie mutant traitors and enemies, all the time hoping that nobody will discover their own treasonous mutant identity. The unique blend of light hearted mayhem and backstabbing has made Paranoia one of the classic tabletop RPGs since its first appearance in 1984.

The best player wins the John Patruno award.

Pheno ratings
Characterisation 3 (Roleplaying and characterisation is encouraged and does happen in Paranoia, although at manic pace) Genre 3 (Paranoia. More important than the rules) Rules knowledge 1 (Paranoia is an easy game to learn. For those who have played before, it's Paranoia XP and there has not been and never will be a Crash)
Story/plot 2 (Even the GM may not know what's really going on. It's called Paranoia for a reason...) Seriousness 1 (It's a chance to let off steam for three hours) Advisory rating PG (Cartoon style violence and action also at manic pace)



By John and Philippa Hughes


"Are we ready for drop bear?"

helmetIt is the perfect killing machine, survivor of a thousand bloody battles. It is the ultimate hunter, evolving, adapting, taking the very form of its victims. It is a monster with an insatiable appetite, existing only to devour and breed. It is the Corporation.

Far out on the Rim, aboard the csiro-billington research station Shackleton, a team assembles for an urgent mission. Some are corporate security — drop bears — others are science techs. They are to intercept a Colonial Marines military vessel that has appeared out of hyperspace, seemingly disabled and abandoned.

The name of the ship is Sulaco.

Systemless roleplaying for five corporation pawns in the weeks immediately following the events of the movie Aliens. This is not a bug hunt. This is a love story. This one could really hurt.

'Learn or die.'

Mission briefing and player handouts are all at

Pheno ratings
Characterisation 5 Genre 4 Rules knowledge 0
Story/plot 3.5 Seriousness 4 Advisory rating MA