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Arcarnacon 2001

by Caroline Seawright


This last weekend, the Australia Day weekend (January 25-28, 2001), I went to Arcarnacon. This has been my second RPG convention in a number of years (I went to Unicon at the end of last year), and when I could get games, I had quite a lot of fun.

Arcanacon 2001 will be held in Melbourne Australia, over the Australia Day long weekend, the 25th, 26th, 27th and 28th of January from 2pm on the Thursday until prizegiving at 7.30pm on the Sunday, cramming in 13 sessions of roleplaying, wargames, card games, game shows and more.


After work on Thursday, I eventually got to the convention at Collingwood College (the public transport to the place sucked - buses are bad forms of transport for getting anywhere on time... if for no other reason than they are very infrequent!) in time for the second session of the con.

After a rather hot and tiring walk between the bus stop (I ended up going on a few stops too far!), I ordered dinner (Mmmm, the cheese platter was good - and only $2!) and found a game to play.

Origin of the Species, a table top by Mike(y) McClure.

Though I didn't get to actually play with anyone I knew, our group of five people still had fun! I got to be the female doctor of the group... Heheheh, I got to self destruct the ship, which ended up blowing up half the city, but that actually worked to our advantage. Hopefully the report I wrote will go up on the web site (Mikey said it would!), and you can see my character's version of events.

Unfortunately, that was it for the night. Three hours a session, it was time to go home and rest. The next morning would be an early start (getting up at 7am, as a normal working day, to get there on time for the first session at 9am!) Thankfully I got a lift home (I hate the thought of travelling on the train at 11pm at night!), thanks Michael!


After training in, and actually getting off at the correct bus stop (but the stupid bus made me half an hour late, because I had just missed a bus! Grr.), I found my nice GM and group waiting for me (Peter, Nick, Alex and some guy I don't know)...

Hanabi to Iroke (Fireworks of Lust) by Peter Strong.

Now, one thing that you need to know about Alex and Nick is that they both like to play female characters. Usually, if Alex doesn't get the cute girl character, Nick will be playing her. (I'm wondering if they'll ever have a hair-pulling match over this one day - Nick'd win that, though. Alex has long hair!) So I ended up with a male character... and those two boys (having played the previous game) got all dressed up for it! I wonder how the other guy coped, seeing those two in skirts, stockings, blouses (and a wig, where required)!! *grin* Especially since Nick was his love interest!!

But that was a lot of fun. I got to do the traditional Japanese guy peeking on the girls at the hot springs, and ended up getting a song dedicated to me by my favourite Japanese idol singer!

The next session was a game with a very cool concept - each player had to fill in a survey (online or otherwise) before the game started, and the characters were then "tailored specifically to each participant".

The Game by Kate Devitt.

It was a whole lot of fun. I can't tell you what happened (not only in case someone reading this plays one day, but just because it would be so different every time!), but we all got characters based on the survey... I'd say that it's best to answer truthfully. It would really be no fun if you lied... you'd only be cheating yourself. But this was one of the best games at the con, even though I knew none of the other players.

I didn't manage to find another session that was free (this was one of the downfalls, IMO - no-one stood up just before the game started, yelling "We need X people for this game! Please come and join us!" as they did at Unicon!), but Michael and Alex hadn't played Origin of the Species before, so that's what we went and played.

This time, I played a different character... things happened very differently this session! Alex had to do all the paper work himself! Serves him right, too! ^_~

The last session of the night was a silly, but fun one. (Who wants to play seriously when you're tired?!) This was myself, Nick, Michael and Peter... and I've got to say, Michael and Nick stole the show.

Total Immersion Video Games by Mathew Frost.

Heh, I don't know how he expected otherwise, but out group was labled "psycho" by the GM.

When your blurb reads "Ever wanted to play a game with no consequences. Ever wanted to be confused because you do not know what is going on. Ever wanted to know what it would be like to use the largest guns in history without regard for who you hit. Ever wanted to shut the voices, that keep telling you to "KILL THEM ALL", up. Well this is your chance." ... what ELSE are the characters going to be? Especially with Michael and Nick there!

Lots of fun, that game! ... we didn't kill everything!

I had a wedding to attend the next morning, so I had to go home... Michael was crashing at Alex's place, so Nick was the nice one to offer me a lift home, even though he doesn't live very close to me. I hope I bought him sufficiant amounts of V to make up for that! Thanks Nick!


The day of the wedding dawned (but that's for another article, I'm sure), and the wedding and reception took a little longer than I expected. It finished at about 6pm, and I was expecting it to finish maybe around 5pm, giving me time to go home, change and get the train and bus up to the con. Oh, well... I was in a rush, and luckily got the 6.45pm train, and Michael picked me up from the station.

Even so, we couldn't find a game to play... so we went and watched Peter's game, seeing how another lot of characters went. It's not all that much of a spectator sport, so we left around 10pm, and I got another lift home from Michael.

One problem, though. Michael wanted me to get some information for a game that he was planning, and bring it to the con on Sunday. No problem, I could find that with some searching through the boxes, packed away in my cupboard.

Except that my sister and her friend had just started watching a movie, which I ended up joining in and watching, too.

Stupid me... by the time the movie finished, and I'd gone through every box (and eventually found it in the last box in the back corner!), it was getting close to 2am.

Conventions are tiring enough, as it is! So I allowed myself the luxury of missing the first session of the last day, and going in for the second - yay! I got to sleep for 7 hours! :p


I got to the con in time for lunch, with a wander around to see what games had some room for players. (This con seems to have the notion that people should pick what they want to play before the convention starts - how can I do that, when no-one knows what they're doing, or when, anyway?)

Heh... the funniest game for the con (a freeform) was the one that Nick and I ended up joining. We were suggested to join that by a number of people, because it was fantastic! This is the sort of game where even the spectators have lots of fun (and can even get into the game itself!)

Jer-ry! Jer-ry! Jer-ry! by Andrew MacLennan.

My Jerry Springer Freeform Certificate A Jerry Springer freeform!!

Tonight on Jerry Springer, a special triple header:

"That's Not Who I Married!" - Surprising Relationships.

"Take Me To Your Leader!" - Abductees Speak Out.

"You Did What?!?" - When Things Go Horribly Wrong.

Man, I can't believe that I was picked to be one of the guests in the first 'show'! I was more than happy to sit and watch for a while, but no! I was a guest first off!

Heh, my character was a southern girl who (after being happily married for a year... apart from the occasional wife beating, as she'd been brought up to believe normal... and so in love with her husband) found out that her husband was still, actually, married to someone else!


I don't know how good my accent was (man, in front of an audience, no less! I hate public speaking), but we all had fun!

Heh, I got into an onstage "fight" with the old wife's wife (she went off and married a girl, you see... and the girl only recently had found out that her 'husband' was a woman!) and had lots of yelling and fighting... so fun!

It's one of those 'you had to be there' moments... but it's a very well spent three hours!

Hopefully snippets of the video they took (yes, they taped the whole three hours!) will go up on the website, like they said.

This was just the most fun game of the con, it really was!

From that, I went to another freeform, this one more serious. I rather like freeforms, I've got to say...

The Healers' Art by Gail Miller.

This was based on Anne MacCaffrey's "The Dragon Riders of Pern", and though I'd probably read it at one time or another, I didn't remember much about it... but it wasn't too difficult to pick up (especially when there were players there who did know what they were talking about!).

I got to be the Fort Hold WeyrWoman, rider of the Gold Dragon... I made my major focus be to find a way to stop the sickness killing off the dragons (and their riders). Well, that all actually got sorted out (yay!) so my beautiful golden dragon wouldn't end up getting sick and dying, nor would any of the other dragons of my hold.... or any others, for that matter.

It was fun, but I'm sure it would have been better had I read the books beforehand. Such is life!

Well, the last part of the convention was the award ceremony.

My 'block of wood' for Origin of the Species Apart from the certificate for the Jerry Springer game (which everyone who was a guest recieved), I actually won a 'block of wood' trophy for playing the Doctor in the Origin of the Species game!

My first trophy!!! ^_^

(At Unicon, I got a certificate for another best character award, for the Legend of the Five rings game, which I'd never played before.)

Now I, too, can be like my friends - I have an Arcarnacon trophy with a little plaque on it!

I'm happy. ^_^

After the ceremony wrapped up, the after party was at a Mexican place near by, where lots of the RPGers went to eat, drink and chat. I got to meet some of the people there, and talk to others I'd met but not really talked to before. (Though there was a whole lot that I didn't get to meet, too! And I got to re-meet people from Unicon, too! There's lots of nice people... and not all of them are guys! There's lots of girls, too!)

It's a way to start getting known in the RPG circles of Melbourne (especially since my friends are already well known in those circles - knowing people is good!), so I'll be going to Conquest at Easter!

Michael, the lovely person that he is (can't you just feel the sarcasm?), kept rubbing in the fact that he had Monday off, and made me wait till 12.30am before heading home! (Pft, I think he just did that because he wants me to punish him, or something. :p ) So I'm half asleep as I type this.

I think I need a couple of bottles of V... especially since we've got our regular RPG session at Alex's house tonight! Gyah, no sleep till tomorrow!

Anyway, it was a whole lot of fun, and I'm glad that I went. (I'm even glad that I went to the after party, despite how little sleep I got.)

Arcarnacon was a lot of fun.

I need sleep, now. Zzzzzzzzzzz...

© Caroline 'Kunoichi' Seawright 2001 - present

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