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Alien: The Musical


Alien: The Musical


When you’re running games at conventions, you can’t be sure which way those games are going to go. When you’re running games for many people, the variables become immense, it’s difficult to predict what a table of four will do at any given point, when you’re dealing with a table of Ten


Well, things can get a little hairy…


Or in this case, chitinous…


There we were, Airecon 2020, last convention before the pandemic wiped out all the fun, and it was Saturday night, the Bring and Buy had just finished up, and the Roleplaying games for the evening were all running. Nothing for us to do but pack the desk up and try and find something to do for the evening. I’d already offered to run a game of Alien for those who were wanting to play in something that evening, so several people had already got a game, but we kept on getting more people coming off shift, and I’m not good at telling people they can’t have fun, so we pulled out all the character sheets, then all the spare character sheets, and then got to work playing.


Running for ten is much the same as running for four, you need to be more aware on the amount of time any one player is taking, and you need to keep a better eye for when someone is starting to lose interest so you can bring them back into the game, but it’s much the same, and the thing with a game like Alien, is that no one expects to make it through to the end of it.


We started play, and what turned it from a game of survival horror into a musical was the inspired play of Connor (Insomniac from the Dragonmeet Choir), who, having been given the muscle bound idiot captain, decided to play that to the maximum, and when news came that there’d been a problem in one of the labs, asked “Is it a threat to the station?” and when told no, turned the music up and went back to his weights. When bothered a second time, his character decided that everything could wait till he’d finished his set, punched in his command override, and turned his workout music into the station.


So began the musical…


Above, the other characters weren’t having so easy a time, some people were keeping things from others, others were playing sensibly, deciding to lock the doors to keep the known xenos out, which led to this…





I have a thing with horror survival games, particularly when it comes to things like Alien, whereby if a player gets chomped, burst, or otherwise disposed of, I let them come back as the bad guys, which (around half an hour later), led to this scene playing out as one player was explaining how they’d hid behind a ridiculously small hatch to avoid the aliens.


I leave it to your judgement to decide which players were being aliens at this point…




All the while, I’m having to constantly change and cut the music to reflect the situation that’s going on so that the music was dramatically appropriate for what was occurring. This was often interspersed with Connor saying “I’d never have that on my playlist”, which I then put back to him to find something appropriate for the scene in question. We played for around three hours, my phone was on battery support by the time we finished, two characters escaped, three were aliens, and the music only finished when one of the aliens came looking for the captain (who so far hadn’t come out of his quarters the entire session), at which point I changed the music to Dire Straits Brothers in Arms, as the torus continued to spin, the sun fading from view and the moon came into view, and the PC alien finally found the captain.


Now the sun’s gone to hell, and, The moon’s riding high…

Let me bid you farewell… Every man has to die…


I let Connor choose the music for the rest of the session till it played to its conclusion, and promised that we’d be back next year to do Aliens the musical. How little were we to know what was going to happen next…


But that said, here we are again, and I’ve promised the crew that I’d be back to run the sequel this year, and sorry for anyone else turning up, but they get the first spots in the game. I’ll probably say yes to anyone else playing as well, but please be aware, the most I’ve ever GM’d for at one time is thirty five, any more than that and I’m in uncharted territory.


And the explanation of that game, is a story for another time…


Tomorrow: Convention Ornithology

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