Phenomenon crew & writers
Ground control to Major Morph, time to introduce the organisers and writers of Phenomenon 2014 games and activities!
Buy them lots of drinks at post-Con drinkies.
That's "Captain" Jane Sparrow to you: Ingrid Bean
First Officer and Navigator: Sarah Hall-Kearins
Ship's Quartermaster: Mark Ashcroft
Bosun and Wrangler of Writers: Jacinta Smith
Deck Officer and Wrangler of Volunteers: Sarah Hall-Kearins
Chief Communications Officer: Nadina Geary-James
Chief Engineers: Elissa Feit and Shane Donohoe
Chief Technical Officer: Anestis Kozakis
Ship's Cook: Nick Matthews
Deckhand and Planetside Liaison: David James
Taking their turn to step up to the bridge and exclaim "Engage!" this year are:
Triptychs and Diptychs
Penny Sullivan and Jason Chappel
Penny and Jason have been running larps and freeforms together for about four years, and separately for over ten. Members of the Camarilla Australia, and now Beyond the Sunset, they've primarily run games based in White Wolf's World of Darkness setting. But they're also fans of Amber, Deadlands, Mouseguard, 7th Sea, Call of Cthulhu and sundry other systems and settings. Their freeforms and larps are generally based on the principle that all the tools and information the players need should already be in the hands of the characters at the start of play. This has led to them being described as some of the laziest GMs at Pheno.
Game: Inner Space
John ('Trithemius') Machin has an interest in how systems can support and enable effective narrative in roleplaying games and tries to explore how this can work in games which he participates in. Lately he has been playing Burning Wheel, Apocalypse World, Monster of the Week, Durance, Torchbearer, Mouse Guard, and Night's Black Agents. He has been involved in university roleplaying and conventions in NZ since 1998 and has been attending Australian cons for even longer. He has been frequently accused (by the same people…) as being a lumberjack. This is the second Australian convention game that he has facilitated; the first, Apocalypse World: The Understate (Pheno 2013) won the New Writer award.
Game: Ever On
Morgan Morningstar has written games for Phenomenon, CanCon, Necronomicon, Conquest, Arcanacon, Conclave, and Egocon—but that was a long time ago, in a land far away. That either makes him a repository of ancient technique or an old out of touch fogey, and it will probably become clear which way that's fallen once you play his game. Many years spent in the wilds of video game development have left him itching for a return to convention gaming, so here he is. Morgan lives in Queensland with his wife, son, 2 cats, and a medium size game development studio.
Game: Closing the Gate of Dawn
Kane Edwards and Graham Schneider
Kane Edwards and Graham Schneider are a pair of Siamese triplets separated at birth, and reunited through the power of roleplaying (Of which they have about 7 years of experience playing games, and 5 years running games). This is the third game in as many years that they have written for Pheno. Many have been scarred by the tragic tale of 'One, One Dead Snuffleupagus', and this year should see more terrifying laughter and more broken childhoods with Jinkies: A Space Opera.
Stephen has been playing games since he was 12 and running them for almost as long. He's come a long way from those days, and has experience running several ongoing LARPS and tabletops here in Canberra. He's also run two freeforms and one tabletop for Pheno before, including the massive Kobolds ate my Baby LARP which landed him the Diptych this year. Overall he's had a lot of experience with D&D, and WoD, but has played many different games and systems with a lot of interest in trying to give everything a go to see what works best for what style of game, even if the best system is no system for some types of games.
Game: Vampire: The Ugoogaly
Newly Shanghaied crew
Luke Jordan turned 20 this year and as of this April has been roleplaying for half his life. Starting with D&D, Luke has worked his way through a wide range of increasingly experimental systems, and in 2009 he graduated from Aeoncademy's GM Apprenticeship program and has been writing and running games for their partner Vala Games ever since. This is his first attempt at writing a convention game.
Game: The Horror that came to Albion
David is a shy man, who is fond of roleplaying, deep-fried food, hyphenating unnecessarily and puns. He is very glad to meet you and apologises if he mumbles, it is partly out of nervousness and partly out of the fact he thinks he is a noir detective and subconsciously narrates everything. This is his first Pheno, and indeed con as a GM, although he has GM'd before, much to his players chagrin. He hopes you enjoy his game and blurbs done in the second person.
Game: Project Freelancer: Stationary Objectives
Matt Archer has been running LARPs since 2000, when he began with an old-school Sabbat Vampire: the Masquerade game. He has more recently run a large Vampire: the Requiem LARP, before immersing himself in a new and interesting way to ki—uh, that is, entertain players with the Warhammer 40K series of RP products by Fantasy Flight. He has been running tabletop 40K games of all flavours since the just after the system was released. In 2010, he won Pheno's Best New Writer award with the 40K Freeform, Innocence Proves Nothing.
He likes iced tea (as long as it's from Long Island), roast pork, and thinks Pirates are cooler than Ninjas, Deadpool is badass, and Han shot first.
Game: Cowards Die in Shame
Ryan started roleplaying when the only options were D&D and Traveller, and since his best friend's father was a minister anything mentioning Demons and Devils was right out, but killing Space Aliens was just fine. Ryan started attending Conventions in 1986, and started running events for them in 1991. That's why some of the stuff in the House of Crap is so old - or is that Retro now? Maric's Place has been running in various forms since 1991, and Gone Native will be about the 30th Maric's Place freeform.
Game: Gone Native
Hugh Fisher has been writing roleplaying games for a long long time. For conventions these are usually Paranoia, giving rats—sorry, players—a chance for some fun in the unique world of Alpha Complex in between more serious stuff.
Game: Blue Box Fade to Black
Lloyd Flack started playing D&D shortly after it got to Australia in early 1976. He has played off and on in lots of genres and under lots of rule systems. He intermiitently ran a fantasy campaign initially using D&D , later using C&S for a long period. He has created and run campaigns in other genres such as super heros and lost race adventures. He has a liking for the SF and Fantasy from the earlier half of this century and tries to include that atmosphere in games. He likes creating backgrounds and worlds that make internal sense (to him) and give players an opportunity to immerse themselves in that world.
Game: Secret of the Waterless Lake
Marissa has been running freeforms, multiforms and tabletops for over 15 years now, including the LondonBelow and Twilight Dreams monthly freeforms. Cthulhu-related games tend to be a favourite, although forays into other styles and genres happen upon occasion, including this years' foray into the space western genre.
Game: Out to the Black
John and Philippa Hughes
John Hughes has been active on the Australian convention circuit as a writer, con organiser, and player since the world's first freeforms in 1983, and is a pioneer of the Australian systemless tradition. He has produced over fifty modules for publication or convention play, and writes game material and fiction for Call of Cthulhu and for Glorantha games such as RuneQuest and HeroQuest. John's recent Pheno modules include Quest: Mask of Heroes, Kwaidan, Gaze, and Xenomorph.
Pip Hughes has been playing and writing roleplaying games for more than thirty years. She started reading science fiction when, at the age of ten, her father tossed an Isaac Asimov novel to her. Pip then tried to write her own, but at that age you have the attention span of a newt. She found, however, that building a story with other people is both far easier and far more enjoyable. Ah, roleplaying… she hasn't stopped since.
Pip's recent Pheno games include Kwaidan, Gaze, and Xenomorph. Someday, she will get back to writing that science fiction novel.
Roleplaying since 1982 and writing for cons since 1986 places David very securely in the 'Classic' or 'Retro' GM category. David's games tend to place the characters first, with the main plot of the game becoming the stage for the character's personal lives, hopes and dreams to be played out upon. His more recent offerings at Pheno were World of Darkness High in 2010, the Tryptich In Sceadure in 2012 and the freeform "What do you do with a problem like Dresden?" last year.
Game: Swan Dive
Game: Citius, Altius, Forius
Joe McNamara is a thing that walks like a man. You might remember his L5R game (Black Feather Shrine) from last year, or his previous World of Darkness tabletops (Diamonds and Guns, Among the Fallen, Burn the Witch) or freeforms (Auto da Fe).
Game: Vampire: Bat Country
Daniel Ryan, Penny O'Rance, Barry Dismorr
Daniel Ryan wrote a Babylon 5 freeform in 2000 and has been hooked ever since. He spent a few years writing games for the Camarilla before returning to cons with a Burning Wheel Orcs game and then Paranoia. He runs games to find out what the players will do with them.
Penny O'Rance has been writing Freeforms since 2001 in a wide range of settings including a fabulous Jane Austin with Werewolves game.
Barry Dismorr is a veteran roleplayer and GM. He is also the computers trusted friend and High Programmer running Paranoia games at conventions for many years.
By combining their talents they bring a game they hope will appeal to anyone. Well, anyone not a Commie Traitor anyway.
Game: Paranoia Live: Recreational Event in ACT Sector
Mael has been in the RPG world for about 7 years now. First as a player he quickly wanted to experience the joys of Game Mastering and started running his own games. Quickly that wasn't enough and he decided to create his own games. At the moment he has about 4 such games more or less complete and he hopes to one day publish his work. Mael enjoys games such as Pathfinder, Shadowrun and Vampire. Beyond the world of RPGs, Mael plays lots of video games and board games, reads comic books and enjoys all sorts or extreme sports.
Mark Somers has been knocking about Canberra roleplaying for quite a little while (as a recently resurfaced Cancon 92 handbook revealed). He's worn a number of guises in that time—from rules-heavy stuff like Living Greyhawk administration and Shadowrun Missions, through to systemless silliness as a member of the Evil Game Designers crew. If you ever had to change a light bulb in Parliament House, saved a talking pig, desperately sought Elvis or got stuck in a lift for a few hours, odds are you know who to blame. Mark has been on a writing hiatus for a few years but has decided to end his self imposed convention exile for, well, who knows what reasons.
Game: Power Play
Greg Tannahill is an experienced Canberra-based GM who specialises in custom-built and diceless short-form games. He's been running games for more than 20 years and (hopefully) improving all the time. He presents annually at Phenomenon in Canberra, and at Arcanacon in Melbourne. Some of his recent games include the sci-fi thriller The Survivalist (presented at Arcanacon 2013), the moving Christmas story Carol of the Bells (Pheno 2013), the epic space opera The Last Days Of The Kingdom Of Magpies (Arcanacon 2013), the post-apocalyptic community-builder Begin Again (Pheno 2012), the hi-octane actionstrocity Sharkscraper! (Arcanacon 2012), and the zombie drama Every Body Else (Pheno 2011).
Game: The Day before the Dragon
Peter Trueman has been playing and running roleplaying games since he was 15 years old, which was when 1st Edition AD&D was being published. He likes dice, systems and tactical battle maps, and has considerable experience with d20, GURPS, Unisystem, Hero System and Mutants & Masterminds. His previous Phenomenon games have been "The Sentinels: A Most Unfortunate Murder" (2004), "Copy That!" (2005), "While Mum and Dad were Roleplaying…" (2006) and "Project Starswarm" (2007).
Game: When the Inquisition Comes to Town
Mike is a huge Red Dwarf fan, and first wrote a Red Dwarf freeform for Pheno in 1998 called 'Split Infinity'. To write that game, Mike watched the all then existing 36 episodes 6 times each. He started hearing the voices of every character in his head, giving a constant commentary about his life. He is sane again now though. « twitch ». Mike has been writing for Phenomenon since 1997, including the freeform This Party Tonight in 2010 (co-writer), the Triptych Death Journey in 2012, and the Diptych The Breakfast Slayer Club in 2013.
Game: Minus Time
Running, writing and designing games since before most current gamers were even born, the elusive principle behind Vulpinoid Studios has been a part of the convention circuit along the east coast for decades. You might recognise him, you might even know him by name. Vulpinoid Studios is one of the few profitable Australian RPG design companies, you may not have heard of it yet, hopefully that will change in the near future.
Game: The End Approaches