Roleplaying Report

How did the Red Dwarf RPG go down at the Dragonflight convention? Deep7's Todd Downing gawps at the goings-on.

Dragonflight 2003 was foisted on an unsuspecting public over the course of August 15-17. Like Mediterranean chicken shwarma, a little goes a long way - it's a mind-altering experience, and better shared with friends. The convention is primarily dedicated to games of all kinds, specializing in board games, card games, tactical miniatures games, and roleplaying. There was also networked computer gaming, and flyweight robot combat. Craig Charles would be proud.

Roleplaying Report

Games run 24 hours a day, all weekend. It's an iron man endurance fest of geekery in the extreme, and a lot of fun! For those unfamiliar with the regional goings on in the Pacific Northwest, Dragonflight is held on the campus of Seattle University, in the formidable residence hall known as Campion Tower (cue sinister pipe organ music). The main demo/exhibitor area is located in the rather large student centre, while many games are hosted in the dormitory rooms high above.

Deep7 had a table between a local retailer and a custom embroidery outfit (with whom we became fast friends), and a crack team of demo personnel. And by crack team I mean they were experienced and proactive, not high on crack... although Gavin was sure acting strangely. Oh, wait - that's normal.

In any case, the key to a successful grassroots marketing campaign is to put the product in front of as many people as possible. And boy did we ever. From the rabid Dwarfer to the casual fan, we got a simply bunches of folks playing the game... and by simply bunches, of course I'm talking about veritable oodles.

Roleplaying Report

Most all of them - the ones not carted away in paroxysms of laughter - came to the table to buy the book and A.I. Screen afterward, and everyone commented on how cool they thought the experience was. Quite a few had doubted whether Red Dwarf would make the translation into an adventure game, let alone one that would be fun to play (despite rave reviews, including one from We heard a lot of I'm sorry I ever doubted you, which was vindicating in the most selfish way possible.

Pathfinder Eric Franklin, who has run Red Dwarf demos at conventions and retail stores throughout the greater Seattle area, says he usually includes character generation in the demo experience, as it's such a fun process in and of itself. He usually has a core player base of four to six, as well as the inevitable spectator or two who wonder what all the giggling is about.

Dragonflight was no different; Eric's group included three cats with various attitudes (I Feel Pretty, Shiny Things, and Gonna Sneak Up On It), two holograms (one of which was a tech genius) and a very Rimmeresque human. One cat's major character hurdle was discovering his wrist-communicator was not a shiny thing for playing with - much to the other characters' irritation.

Roleplaying Report

The crew ended up cheesing off an already overworked skutter by making it haul a pallet of anti-fungal foot cream to combat an evolved silicate-eating fungus, which was chewing its way through the computer systems on their alternate Red Dwarf. Holly was at risk of getting dumber. The holograms were at risk of losing their light bees. Ship windows would have been eaten - and we all know life sucks in deep space. That's a science joke. You see, space is a vacuum, and... oh, never mind...

The player behind the I feel pretty cat was declared The Winner For Whatever Reason, was awarded a copy of the Red Dwarf A.I. Screen & Extra Bits Book, and immediately went into shock (despite our warnings to don safety goggles and a bulletproof vest before cracking the shrink-wrap). Michelle Downing, wife of Red Dwarf RPG co-author Gavin Downing and the most recent addition to the Downing Creative Mob, put on a Pathfinder shirt and ran a demo session, as did local Pathfinder Serena Wakefield. Both were equally hilarious, with a large cross section of wax droids, holograms, and Last HumansTM, battling Major ThreatsTM and engaging in the kind of comedic adventures only Red Dwarf can provide.

Roleplaying Report

One of the signed copies of the game (plucked from DJX, no less) fetched $120 from a private buyer, and the proceeds were immediately donated to the American Cancer Society in the name of Samantha Downing, our tireless business manager, editor and layout artist, who is currently locked in combat with the big C herself. It felt good to make a gesture, and having our beloved Red Dwarf RPG be the inspiration behind it.

Three days of relentless gaming. I've only just recovered. Next up, the Red Dwarf RPG Series Sourcebook!

You can learn more about Deep7 and the Red Dwarf Roleplaying Game from their website, accessible via Links.

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