Statement Regarding the Previous Stance on the Conpulsion Logo Competition

This statement is regarding our stance on 7 April regarding the exclusion of the entry ‘Feminism’ from the Conpulsion Logo Competition. We would like to apologise sincerely for the errors of judgment in the way the Conpulsion committee decided to remove the entry, and the way the GEAS Committee handled the situation afterwards. We had not fully understood the consequences our decision would have on members of our community.

The GEAS committee realises that as a gaming convention, Conpulsion has a responsibility towards the community, and that our actions are part of a broader context of a culture and industry where women, non-binary people, LGBT+ people, and people of colour are excluded or harassed. This means that we as an institution have to make further efforts to include these groups and validate their experiences. We regret that by being deliberately neutral on the question of equality our actions failed to do so, and instead contributed to their exclusion. We will strive to ensure that this does not happen again. We wish to work with them to rectify this, and we welcome any feedback to help us do better.

We acknowledge that having ‘Feminism’ as a convention theme would have been a much-needed step forward for conversations around representation. Unfortunately, having considered our current options carefully, we feel that it would not be viable because giving it such prominence in our convention masthead risks drawing widespread, public backlash and attacks at the event from people in the hobby who are openly hostile to equality, and the scale of such backlash would overwhelm the limited resources and skills we have as a small, student-run charity convention. This is not a justification for our earlier decision to exclude it, but a practical constraint on what we can and cannot achieve within our limited means: we deeply regret that this is the state of affairs, but we simply cannot afford the police protection that we would need to hire as a precautionary measure.

However, regardless of the theme and available resources, we will take a feminist perspective in how we run the event and we will address the structural issues of discrimination at an institutional scale within our capacity. We commit to ensuring that GEAS and Conpulsion will always be inclusive and safe spaces for people from marginalised groups, and that their experiences will be validated and welcome. We have already enacted some initiatives in previous years — for example a robust harassment policy to protect members of the community from the aforementioned discrimination and hostility, and a panel on the ‘death of the gamer stereotype’ to spotlight discussions of equality and diversity — and we would like to build on these going forward and strive for institutional change.

To these ends, GEAS will take greater oversight to ensure that the organisers of Conpulsion and the GEAS committee going forward are sensitive to these concerns, actively work towards addressing them, and that they take responsibility for their actions and their consequences. We are currently reaching out to local organisations that work for gender equality with the intent of collaborating with them to learn more about issues relating to structural inequality and inclusion, and to develop our skills when addressing these issues within the gaming community; we will also select this organisation as our partner charity to support at next year’s convention. We will provide more information once we confirm the details. We will also organise events that spotlight feminism and the role of women, non-binary people, and LGBT+ people in gaming, so that we validate the voices and perspectives that the theme of Feminism sought to amplify. And whatever the theme for the convention, we will prioritise intersectionality and inclusion in the programming, organisation and communications for Conpulsion.

It is with great humility that we thank the members of our community for their patience and continued support, and we wish to reciprocate this by reassuring them that they are welcome at Conpulsion, their voices are valued, and that we are working towards making them included within the community.

Emily Booth, GEAS President

And the GEAS Committee

If you would like to get in touch with the GEAS Committee regarding our statement or our position, or with any feedback, please feel free to email geas.committee@gmail.com

If you have been affected by these issues or have any concerns pertaining to equality and welfare, please contact our Wellbeing Officer via email at geas.welfare@gmail.com or via our anonymous form on our Tumblr http://geaswelfare.tumblr.com/

Logo competition statement

It has been brought to our attention that there has been concern towards the decision to not place one of the submissions for the Conpulsion 2019 Logo Contest in the public voting stage. Amongst other entries, Conpulsion Feminism did not make the public voting stage. We have realised that this decision has upset some of our society members and con attenders, so we would like to explain the reasoning behind our decision.

GEAS has always strived to be an open, welcoming society where everyone and anyone who loves roleplaying can come together to make friends and have fun. In order to keep our society as open as possible, we have taken the stance of an apolitical society, to ensure that no one feels excluded or unwelcome because of their political beliefs. We want our events to represent this as well, so we strive to ensure Conpulsion is apolitical also.

Concerns were raised that if Feminism were to win the logo contest, GEAS and Conpulsion would be forced into taking what could be interpreted as a political stance, which may make some of our members feel unwelcome, and may make otherwise interested convention attenders feel unwanted, if their political views did not align with this perceivable political stance.

We feared the theme of Feminism would appear against our apolitical position as a society, so we decided it was best that Feminism did not make the public voting stage of the competition. This is a decision we would make for any logo submission that appears to make a political statement. We apologise for any upset this decision has caused; it was not our intention.  

With respect,

Emily Booth

GEAS President

Game sign up times

Hey, here’s hoping this will be the last correction, but while the programme does say that game sign ups will open an hour before the games begin, they will in fact open just after 10 for the afternoon games (morning game sign ups will still open at 9). The committee wanted to try something new this year but there was some miscommunication, so the system has been reverted to that of previous years. Sorry for the confusion!

Programme corrections!

Stop press! If you’ve already downloaded the programme, throw it away! We’ve got a new, better, more correct programme now! Note especially the updated roleplaying game times: http://conpulsion.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Programme_20191.pdf

The Programme!

It’s here! Huzzah! For all of you who have been waiting, here it is, released to you technically before the con starts…

I give you, the conpulsion programme: http://conpulsion.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Programme_2019.pdf

Remember the Bring and Buy!

Got anything lying around your house that you don’t want? Think that it might be just about tangentially nerdy enough that someone at Conpulsion might want to buy it? Well don’t forget to bring it along to the Bring and Buy, set your own price and get 90% of the profits straight back!

If you’re coming tomorrow then just bring your stuff along between 9 and 11 to drop it off straight at the Bring and Buy stall in the trader’s hall. But if you’re coming along to the social tonight, then Fiona will be there as well and ready to take your stuff. She doesn’t know what time she’s getting in, so I can’t guarantee a time, but if you’re really eager to shift your stuff, then you can do it tonight.

But do you know what would be really helpful? If you could fill out this form so that you can literally just drop your stuff and run off to enjoy the rest of the con. It will really save both you as us a lot of time (although you will need to print it off before hand): http://conpulsion.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Conpulsion-Bring-Buy-Form.pdf

LARPs!

And rounding off our tour of this weekend’s roleplaying, we’ve got the LARPs! We’ve got two exciting LARPs this year, one each day in the afternoon gaming slot.

On Saturday we have a Freeform Warhammer 30K LARP: A Council at Nikea run by Roderick Easton. In the 30th Millenium the Emperor of Mankind has triumphantly led the Great Crusade from Terra out across the galaxy, bringing former human colonies into compliance with the new order. Along the way he has recovered his 18 children, the genetically engineered Primarchs, to lead the Space Marine Legions in the Crusade Fleets. It is a new start for humanity. However, sibling rivalry and violent differences of opinion on a number of subjects have led to growing factions and rifts between the Primarchs. Their Legions, as ever, follow where their geneparents lead and the Imperial Army regiments are infected by association. In an attempt to bring his family back together, the Emperor has summoned them all to the planet of Nikea, to discuss and settle the various divisive topics. In addition, he plans to bestow the title of Warmaster on the one Primarch who will lead the Crusade after this, because the Emperor is going to return to Terra for the first time in decades, if not centuries. A Council at Nikea is set in a slightly different timeline from the published Horus Heresy material, mainly to allow the inclusion of many of the triggers for the betrayal into the one event. To maintain elements of secrecy and surprise, the loyalty (or otherwise) of the Primarchs will be determined randomly and secretly at the start of the game. Likewise, to represent his inscrutable planning, the Emperor’s decision making will have a certain random element added on top of the opinions of his Primarchs.

And on Sunday we’ll have The Round Table run by Craig Barnes. Camelot’s enemies are coming, and King Arthur must prepare for war. He calls a meeting of the Knights of the Round Table and now you have arrived at this meeting to prepare for battle. However, there are a few unexpected problems… love-struck squires, magical hiccups, undercover agents and more will threaten to derail the entire ordeal. Save Camelot, Save the people, Save the gold. Save… Yourself!

Floating World Design and the Grassmarket Project

Next up for our traders I’d like to announce that on Sunday we will be joined by Floating World Design and the Grassmarket Project.

Glasgow based Floating World Designs create images of Warriors, Samurai, Ronin, Actors and Courtesans in the Ukiyo-e style of 19th century Japanese woodblock prints. These prints are truly stunning and were a big hit last year.

The Grassmarket Project is the wonderful charity that we are raising money for this year. They are a local Edinburgh charity that offers mentoring, teaching and training for the homeless and those who experience mental/physical health issues and have learning support needs. They will be coming to the traders hall this year to sell crafts made by their service users.

Sunday afternoon games

We’re on the home stretch folks! Here are the games you’ll be able to end the weekend with:

Alan Jackson will be running his famous Dropzone using a HomeBrew system. Join the Colonial Marines! See the Galaxy! Emergency mission to colony world LV426 Remember Aliens. Those acid dripping monstrosities. The guns in the dark. The dying. Nope, thought not. You, and your team of fellow marines respond to an emergency on a remote terraforming planet and must save the day.

Matthew Barrowcliff will be running Death Becomes Us in D&D. The God of Pestilence has come down to the world to infect and destroy all life. Now the hopes of the mortal world may rest with a few heroes prepared to lay down their lives and be raised as undead in order to face the Enemy.

Matthew Hambley will be running The Thefts of Melody’s Dizi using Feng Shui 2. Aging Prog band “”Time Jester”” are playing Adelaide and it’s going well, right up to the point when some tealeaf makes off with a family heirloom. As the band’s much put upon support crew you must walk a violent path of spent casings and pugilism to retrieve the missing instrument. A path which will lead you from the mirror glass towers of the Central Business District, through dirty backstreet dives and on to a glimpse of a forgotten future.

Vivek Santayana will be running Star Wars: Revenant Spectres using Blades in the Dark. Set shortly after the fall of the Empire, this game follows the Galaxy’s fraught transition into a democracy, and the shadow war between Imperial holdouts clinging to power and members of the old Rebellion who feel the fight is not yet fully won and take matters into their own hands.

Martin Pickett will be running The Dolls Of The Fathers using Fate. The Voodoopunks are running a dead man for mayor. The city is ready to explode. Franklin Wilson needs his grandfather’s Doll to get his hands on the family money. A game based on Paul Shapera’s The Dolls of New Albion, a Steampunk Opera.

Kevin White will be running Jail Break using Unknown Armies. It was not a quiet night: a sudden storm blew across the farmlands, bringing thunder and lightning. An old man and his wife looked out at the storm as it turned to hail. They discussed going to the cellar, deciding to do so only if the weather became more extreme. They did not listen to the radio, so they didn’t hear the news. They didn’t try to call anyone, so they didn’t know their phone lines had been cut. They did not know there had been a jailbreak. They did not know a guard had been taken hostage by four convicts, convicts who had then seized a van on the highway. Maybe the wife briefly saw a face at the window and dismissed it as a trick of the light and her own fancy. Maybe the husband squinted his aged eyes into the storm. But their dog was quiet, their house was secure from the storm and neither really suspected. They had no clue until they felt a cold draft from the direction of the back door, until they turned and saw a large man pointing a pistol at them. He was soaking wet, dressed in orange coveralls with “Surrey State Penitentiary” stenciled on the front and back. His eyes were wide but his voice was calm as he said “Do what we say and no one dies.” Then he looked over his shoulder and said “Icepick, bring in the others.”

Phil Edwards will be running Dynamite Dogs and the Hidden Temple of Man using Pugmire. The Royal Pioneers group Dynamite Dogs is looking for a new adventure, and they have heard tales of a long-lost temple belonging to Man in the mountains to the north of Pugmire. Only those seeking action and adventure (ok, and fame and fortune) sign up to be Royal Pioneers. A discovery like this would be life-changing!

The last child friendly game of the weekend is Tim Raspin’s, Superhero Space Adventure Quest Mission using 13th Age. The Confederation of Worlds (COW) has assembled a badass team of superheroes. Can they bring a plague of escaped supervillains to justice, foil the schemes of the devious Masters of Overkill (MoOk) and endure nigh-lethal levels of bad supervillain puns? The system this scenario uses is based on 13th Age, a crunchy, combat-heavy system which still leaves plenty of room for player creativity.

And the final adult only game is The Last Con run by Phil Harris in a HomeBrew system. Do you hear the sound of sixpence? It dropped when he was tricked, and pitter-pattered across the rain slicked streets, mixed with his blood. They say the dogs are loose and hunting the killers. Let’s hope they get the right ones, eh!

And that’s it for the Roleplaying games! Too many to choose from? I feel your pain. But I can’t promise to make it even worse when I tell you about the LARPs tomorrow…

Sunday morning games

I’ve told you what wonderful games you could play on Saturday and who the wonderful GMs who will be running them are, but what about the other half of the convention? Well, here are Sunday morning’s adventures!

Dan Marriott will be running When the Battle’s Lost using 13th Age. Rumours have come south of a dark power in the territory of the Orc Lord, something bringing back the dead of battles long since forgotten, a Half orc chieftain has called on any brave adventures to aid him rid his land of the taint of evil that threats to turn the northen lands into a wasteland inhabited by Undead, you have gathered at the Axe and Cleaver tavern to hear his offer, what will happen if the battle is lost?

Matthew Barrowcliff will be running We Wakeful Few using TSS. The journey from Nestor to Alpha-3 takes three months. Aboard the Passenger Liner Solum your baggage goes into the hold, your personal possessions go into security lockers, and you go into cryogenic sleep to awaken at your destination. The air is chill as your booth opens, you hear a computerised voice saying “Welcome to the Alpha-3 system, we will be arriving in one month”. Something is obviously wrong.

Ben McCallum will be running Redshirts using a HomeBrew system. Star Trek: The 23rd century’s most popular reality show. Captain Kirk and his officers are the heroes of billions of bored Federation citizens who tune in each week to marvel at the great deeds being performed in their name. Unfortunately, life is rarely simple enough that half a dozen bumbling, arrogant idiots can find and solve a major issue on camera every week. Really, these guys have enough problems finding the door out of their quarters without a written invite and three entourage members showing the way. That’s where the redshirts come in. It’s your job to ensure that a story happens every week and that the bridge crew solve it on camera. No matter what. Otherwise the good citizens of the Federation might start to question what all our other starships are doing out there, and we can’t have that now can we?

Phil Harris will be running Welcome to the Wash, also using a HomeBrew system. The creaking of your bones has long been your problem. Ease them in the waters, walk a while with me and then… well then, the end!

Claire Mousdale will be running Who you gonna ring? using One Dice. Eldritch Exterminators a la Glasgow Ghostbusters.

Vivek Santayana will be running Star Wars: Revenant Spectres using Blades in the Dark. Set shortly after the fall of the Empire, this game follows the Galaxy’s fraught transition into a democracy, and the shadow war between Imperial holdouts clinging to power and members of the old Rebellion who feel the fight is not yet fully won and take matters into their own hands.

Martin Pickett will be running The Legend Of The Glas Gaivlen using Yin/Yang (Monkey). The Tuatha De Danaan, mythic gods of Celtic legend. They fight, scheme and steal for honour, revenge and power. Bes, half-Fomoran King of the Tuatha De Danaan, bows his knee and pays tribute to the Fomorans in exchange for peace. The Tuatha De Danaan simmer in outrage at their oppression. The prized cow Glas Gaivlen has been stolen from the smith Goibniu and his brothers Cian and Samthainn. Hot-headed Cian has vowed to take it back or have his revenge. As members of his band, you have been chosen to fulfill Cian’s vow.

Neil Alexander is running Madinaljinay using D&D. After a vicious succession war, the new Prince of Bavaria has been crowned. You are his loyal followers, having been responsible for many of the Prince’s victories. Now, during the tournament to celebrate his coronation, the Queen Mother has been kidnapped by extra-planar entities. An old plot of one of the Prince’s enemies? A new threat? Your Prince asks you for aid.

Then we have our adult only games;

Stephen McMorland is running One of our Lord Yamas is missing for anyone over 16 using Monkey RPG 2nd Edition. You and your companions once held exalted positions within The Celestial Heirarchy, then you made a big mistake and got exiled, time has passed and you have been approached by The Boddhisatva Kuan Yin with an offer you can’t refuse. The Courts of The Dead are Silent, The Cosmic Balance has been unhinged and you need to find out what has happened to cause The Dead to spill out into the Living World once again. Hijinks and shenanigans in a zany, game of Taoist Philosophy and silliness.

And Richard Greene will be running Deadly Sins using SINS. You are Nemissaries, the risen dead who have pulled yourselves free of the Broodsong that drives the rest of the undead horde. The world fell when the Black Rain came, the strange shower of black glass meteorites that brought with them the zombie apocalypse, the Brood, and the avatars of destruction that lead them, the Reapers. Nuclear fire stopped their advance but the damage was already done, the world as we knew it had ended. Now, at the end of days, it’s up to you and others like you to save or damn the world. Will the world suffer for your sins, or will you find a way to rise above them?

That’s it for Sunday morning games. Tomorrow will be the last of the talbetop games with Sunday afternoon’s games, then it’ll be the LARPS!