Random Inc presents a Phenomenon Labs games convention

Phenomenon 2013

Phenomenon 2013


Freeforms, also known as Live Action Roleplays (or LARPs), are the 'other blue meat' of roleplaying.

Black Feather Shrine

by Joe McNamara

All Akodo Kura had to do was die with honour, and everything would have been alright.

Instead, the disgraced Lion Clan daimyo chose to fight it out with the forces the Emperor sent to apprehend him. Now, he is dead and his wife has claimed his territory for her clan, the Crane. The Lion have dispatched armies to reclaim their ancestral castle, only to be met at the border by Crane soldiers intent on securing their newly-acquired farmland.

The empire cannot afford war between two Great Clans, so it has been decreed that the matter be resolved by a duel between the Clans’ finest samurai. Tonight, representatives of the Great Clans meet at Black Feather Shrine to see that all the formalities are observed.

Tomorrow, at dawn, the duel will take place, and someone is going to die. Honour demands no less.

A Legend of the Five Rings freeform for 20 players.

Pheno ratings
Characterisation 3 Genre 3 Rules knowledge 1
Story/plot 2 Seriousness 3 Advisory rating R


A Game of Suns

By Xole Karman and Andrew Smith

Game of Suns

"This is the excellent foppery of the world, that when we are sick in fortune ...
we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and stars."

— Shakespeare, King Lear

His Most Venerable Imperial Majesty, Light of the Known Worlds and Keeper of the Faith, Vladimir Flavius Aurelius Constantinus Alecto, has passed into the Pancreator’s Grace. Let us mourn the passing of this great man. Let us never forget his most proper and beneficial services to the Church.

As His Most Devoted Majesty left No Heir, Leaders of the Faith shall Gather at Byzantium Secundus to Discuss the Appointment of a Church Dirigent to Govern the Empire. It is the Ecclesiarch's Revelation that it is the Pancreator's Will that the Throne Pass into Direct Control of Zebulon's Holy Successors.

— from a missive originating at the Apostolic Nunciature

The Emperor is finally dead, though there are some rather juicy rumours surfacing that it wasn’t simply old age that got him. Let us hope that his wretched Imperial Eye dies with him, and that we’ll see no more accidental deaths among his detractors.

We must move quickly to seize the throne. The late Emperor feared the Church too much and gave the Guild too many concessions. Both should be reminded that it is we of ancient blood who rule the Known Worlds. I believe that on this matter alone all nobles would agree — there shall be no Ecclesiastical Regency, and no Third Republic.

— from a message sent by the Ambassador Decados

Emperor dead. Stop.
Church want to cement control with Regency. Stop.
Nobles itching for dynastic shitfight. Stop.
Megaeconomic opportunity available if sufficient balls. Stop.
Require guidance. Stop.

— via an encrypted Guild message drone

We failed in our duty to protect the Emperor. But we will avenge him.

— overhead amongst the late Emperor’s Ur-Ukari bodyguards

This is a Fading Suns grand political drama over two sessions for 50 nobles, priests, guildspeople and aliens. Real 'Fate Of Empires' stuff. Although mostly a freeform, there will be a small strategic sim (well, wargame) running as well for some characters (i.e. the warlords—General, Condottieri, Exarch—in each faction). If you don't want to play with the sim, you can easily avoid it by not taking the warlord.

Fading Suns

A Game of Suns will run on Sunday 9 June in the sessions either side of the banquet (4.30-7.30pm, then 8.30-11.30pm). By all means banquet in-character between the sessions, but try not to get gravy on your duelling shields.

Registered players will be invited to choose characters from http://www.unlightenment.net/game-of-suns/ from Easter.

A game handbook PDF is also available there.

No trophies: as this is such a big freeform, we have decided not to offer trophies as we believe we can not see enough of it to make effective comparative judgments. We will award certificates for cool stuff (being cool, assembling cool costumes, holding off the Symbiote horde with a teaspoon and 10cc of ordinary household bleach).

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



It’s the end of the World… Or I feel fine

By David Woodruff and Jon Lowe New designer

end of world

Since the announcement a year ago of the upcoming Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START), the global situation has begun to swing wildly out of control. With a full scale civil war in Poland, the recent clash between British and Argentine forces in the South Atlantic, as well as multiple border incidents in the Kashmir and Hindu Kush, intelligence organisations have been pushed to their limits to ensure that surprises to their parent governments are avoided.

This coupled with the on-going diplomatic efforts to resolve issues associated with the nuclear destruction of Bagdad and Kabul – and the subsequent creation of the New Persian Empire has put everyone on edge. Public entry to the nuclear club by India and Pakistan has not assisted matters, however has led to their invitation to the talks.

The talks are scheduled to start on November 7, and will include the relevant Heads of State with political, economic and military advisors, and a neutral mediator group. In each group it has been agreed that there will be five advisors from the two major powers (NATO and the USSR), and two from China and one each for India and Pakistan – as well as the mediator.

As senior members of your respective militaries, you have been instructed to attend these talks to ensure that technical questions can be addressed in a timely manner, with a view to ensuring national security is not compromised.

This game is a freeform for 15 players.

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


Remembrance and Remains

By Jacinta Smith and Michael Hitchens

An exploration of people and relationships under stress. Clashes, arguments, tears and love. Some will fail and shatter. Others will persevere.

This is a game of detailed, rounded characters, the interplay between them and the answers they may find.

The time: now

We carry the past with us, like ghosts


We pay for past mistakes   

Whose mistakes?

The place: an old mansion in Massachusetts

An old house, shared by two families

Isn’t that odd?

An old house always has secrets, mundane, shocking, mind-shattering

Are the rumours of the supernatural that cling to the house true?

The reason: a family funeral

Family, friends, lovers gathered in Nana’s memory

Why did Amanda Wilton die at the same time?

Seventeen people gathered, two generations, shared and separate lives

Isn’t that always how it is with parents and children?

A seventeen player systemless freeform.

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


What do you do with a problem like Dresden?

By David James

Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden has gone missing.

It’s been a fortnight since anyone, or anything, has seen him. Not a word has been heard since he fought the Red King and released the curse that killed every single Red Court Vampire in the world. In a single stroke, half of the world's vampires were wiped out, just leaving the far less populous White and Black Court Vampires behind.

In the vacuum created by this, Chicago teeters on the edge of chaos. Forces old and new are arranging themselves and battle lines are being drawn. Summer and Winter Fae have been seen claiming areas of the city, Vampire holdings are gearing up for a seige, the White Council of Wizards are stretching their muscles, the Fomor have been seen encroaching on the darker areas of the city and even the ghosts have been uppity.

McAnally’s Pub has been designated as a diplomatic meeting place for one evening, strengthening the accords that surround this well-known piece of neutral territory in Chicago. Invitations have gone out to all who have some claim to come and talk in peace.

To try and determine the future of Chicago, resolve old grudges and possibly form new alliances.

It seems that, even in his absence, Harry Dresden is nothing but trouble.

A “Dresden Files” freeform featuring 18 characters from the books based between the events detailed in Changes and Ghost Story. While no direct knowledge of the books is needed to play, the player’s enjoyment will be enhanced if they know the basic setting.

World description

The world of the 'Dresden Files' created by Jim Butcher is our modern world with a supernatural twist. All the magical and supernatural creatures of myth and legend exist, but, on the most part, stay out of sight and out of mind of the common mortal. Fae, Vampires, Werewolves, Wizards, Ghosts and monsters of all shades share the world with humans, sometimes co-existing, sometimes preying on those who are unlucky enough to cross their paths.

Chicago is situated on a great intersection of ley-lines, lines of power that criss-cross the planet, and as such it tends to draw more than it's fair share of the supernatural. Fashioning himself along the lines of the film noir private eye Phillip Marlowe, one Wizard by the name of Harry Dresden set himself up as an investigator of the unusual, and ended up becoming a powerful protector of Chicago.

And now, after a cataclysmic battle that saw the complete annihilation of the Red Court of Vampires he has disappeared, and many seek to fill the power vacuum left by his absence.

For character info please go to: http://www.nmgdesign.com.au/dresden2013.html

Pheno ratings
Characterisation 5 motivations and drives are the most important Genre 3 Understanding where you fit into the world is useful Rules knowledge 1 Fast and loose, the rules aren't important
Story/plot 4 Plot drives the story, but characters are the stars Seriousness 3 Serious events are occurring, but humour is not out of place Advisory rating MA