PrinceCon 45: For All the Stars

March 13-15, 2020

Campus Club, Princeton University

McCosh Door

Keep an eye on this spot for pre-registration link!

On-site registration and check-in starts at 3 PM
First runs start at 5 PM
Parking in Visitors Lot 21

The Simulation Games Union’s annual convention is a 46-hour marathon of tabletop roleplaying in a shared world, centered around a common goal. PrinceCon uses the D&D 5th Edition core rules, while incorporating ideas for convention play developed over the years by the SGU. Awards are given for Strategic, Tactical and Role Playing excellence.

To learn more about what PrinceCon is, visit the Welcome page.  For more on this year’s shared world theme, see the Theme Teasers below. Players and newcomers are invited to join the discussion on Google Groups and Facebook.  We will post updates as the theme develops.

Join us on Google Groups - Join us on Facebook

Registration

REGISTRATION FOR PRINCECON 45 IS NOW OPEN!

Before continuing, please read this minor FAQ to help you register!

  • To register, you will need to create an account with your name and email address.
  • YOU MAY ONLY BUY ONE TICKET PER ACCOUNT. Otherwise we can’t get all the emails into the ConArtist system.
  • Cost for General Public has been reduced to $18 ($15 for entrance, $3 for Princeton’s processing)
  • All students are FREE. You will be required to show your valid student ID upon arrival.
  • On-Site Registration will be available, but may be more expensive, so sign up now for the lowest cost!
  • Once registered, you will receive an e-mail confirming purchase. At a later date, once the ConArtist website is available for players, you will receive ANOTHER email with that system.

Conduct

The SGU is committed to providing a safe environment where everyone is treated with dignity and respect. Harassment or unwelcome conduct, whether verbal, physical, visual, or in any other form, is strictly prohibited, according to the PrinceCon Code of Conduct.

PrinceCon Downloads

Keep an eye on this spot for the Conbook! It describes the theme, the PC creation process, and any custom rules for this year’s con.

For our main rules, we will use the D&D 5th edition Player’s Handbook. We recommend you buy your own from Amazon or your Friendly Local Game Store, but if that’s not an option you can buy one when you register and pick it up when you check in to the convention.

Theme Teaser #1

Four months before impact, 26th Year of the Palsho Era

Late summer buzzed above dead fish on the docks. Hands worked among slip-silver flashes: sorting and weighing and pouring and tossing. Scales stuck beneath fingernails. Ice spilled over a fisherman’s riches. A horizon of black sea in the pre-dawn light weighed at their backs.

A tabaxi girl, fur dampened by ocean spray, dangled a foreleg over the side of the pier. She felt brave. If there were great beasts lurking in the dark waters, she could prove it. Her head spun with eddies and algae whorls, one paw ready to break the surface. But then her father twisted one tufted ear and with a yowl she was done with daydreams.

A boy ran past them. He ducked under projectiles and wove between bins of iced fish until he reached the second floor of the fishery. A scribe greeted him with heavy brows raised, then moved his quill at the ready. The boy took a breath and began. He rattled off his memorized words. Numbers. Weights. Names. Date. Black ink on a new page. Charted, checked, approved. Then the boy left, mission accomplished.

The scribe, now alone with his books, let his eyes rest on the horizon, at the people below him on the docks and all their life’s work.

He sighed.

The sky was getting lighter, shades of gray tempering into blue. A new day. One day closer to the star’s arrival. Nearly 174 years had passed since the Kilgana Star had blessed their lands and created warriors to live on in legends passed down from generation to generation. But now it was so close the elderly scribe could almost hear the cries of triumph above the cries of fishermen. He could almost see silver swords flashing instead of fish. Soon, it would be a time in which magic would flourish instead of wishes. Where the dark waters would awaken beasts to match new heroes’ valor. So close, yet so long to wait. Four months, at his best guess. He hadn’t thought he’d live long enough to see it.

There was a knock on the door. Another boy. More numbers.

“About time,” grumbled the old scribe as he bent over his ledger once more.

Theme Teaser #2

One month before impact, 26th Year of the Palsho Era

Snow melted into his socks, but Jinku saw the glow of lanterns and his stomach groaned, half in agony and half in pleasure, at the smells of roasted fowl and candied tree nuts drifting over the shifting crowds in the town streets below. It had been almost a full cycle since he’d been outside the temple. He’d been good. The best. A bit whiny, but not as bad as Tiechal. No one would blame him for breaking out for just one night. And it was Winter Festival Night. The night everyone pulled out their dried sweets and richest sauces and killed their fattest hogs for a feast to tempt even the gods with their steaming decadence. And he wasn’t a god. He was just a boy with a silver coin in his pocket and a hungry belly.

An appetite of a small boar with the snobbish sensibility of a pixie, was what Master Kenhai had said. Which was ridiculous, considering Master Kenhai couldn’t tell the difference between salt and pepper if she drowned in one or the other. Jinku doubted the old hag even ate food.

It had been a long, mournful year.

The music started just before he picked out his first snack: rousing, wild music, beating drums that made the ground shiver. He moved towards the sound, fried sugar dough forgotten, as the crowd began to clap along with the clattering, riotous music. Breaking through the front line, his eyes drank in the thick flowering brocades of Songhan dancers and the puppets that moved like real animals, but bright and silken and laughing. Ribbons spun in a thousand colors as acrobats leapt across the ground as if it was made of netting instead of mud and could push them up into the sky without a spell. Jinku was enraptured.

Nothing in the temple would ever compare to this.

Gasps in the crowd drew his attention upwards, to the moon, which sat like a large golden coin against a tarp of night. And against the moon’s light, a dark shape writhed–long as a snake, a pearl shining beneath its mane.

Dragon! It’s the north dragon! hushed the people. He’s come to bless the night.

A mother held her hands over her child’s eyes. Don’t look, Talden. He’s bad luck.

He’s dancing with the moon, a little girl cried.

But it was not excitement or fear or shock that lurched in Jinku at the sight of the thin black line roiling against the soft glow of the moon. He felt, instead, a whisper at his spine, a susurration of voices ears could not hear. Jinku stepped back into the crowd, letting the closeness of people’s elbows and dark heads obscure his view of the sky and knew, without a doubt, that he was about to panic.

His masters had warned him. The border between the dead and the living thinned in the year of the Kilgana Star’s passing. It’s why they’d locked the apprentices in their rooms for the Winter Festival, warded them with charms and spells. And he’d broken those wardings. Now, unguarded and exposed, the young Jinku tried to deflect the spirits’ attentions, weaving through the stalls blindly, chanting his temple’s Ordin Mantra even as the spirits drained the festival of color and smell and taste.

He should have stayed inside the temple. He should have finished writing out the tenets and meditated through the night alongside the other novitiates. He should have–

His feet clung to the ground. Inertia tugged at his body, but his arms would not swing, knees would not bend. His fingers were stone in skin. All movement around him stilled, each person bled of color like tablets on a grave as the flood of spirits broke against Jinku’s soul–an ocean riptide, a force of cold static bursting like blood vessels across his skin. A small halfling boy, face sticky with sugar and with raw red hands, watched him struggle against their power, his face shifting in and out of focus as each spirit tried to imprint themselves on him. A middle-aged human woman in long, winter gapata solidified and spoke, eyes gray with fog.

it’s coming.

An empty sound. He heard the words, spikes through the chest, a dagger to his eyes, peeling away the layers of his conscious mind.

it’s coming.

His teeth cracked as he strained against their power, helpless.

it will destroy the world.

The child, the woman, the crowd all turned their heads to watch the writhing dragon in the sky and Jinku heard them scream.

DO NOT LET OUR CHILDREN DIE.

The dragon slipped into the clear night, calligraphy against the stars. The tide of the spirits lifted, lightened, sound returning into softer noise. But the woman in gapata would not release Jinku’s gaze. She held him in her eyes, all storm and shadow without light before he blinked and her words and the spirit within her were gone, mist into ocean spray.

She was color again, eyes wrinkled, laughing. Alive. All the people moved, unaware of what had passed. Lanterns swung, warm light through a rainbow of colors. Snow lighted on mud and the sound of the world was a blanket he could rest in.

The ghost-speaker’s last words remained. He spoke them to himself all the way back to his temple, repeating the words over and over until they lost their meaning, but not their sound. Words for him. Words for all of them. Words to save them all.

“Reclaim the sky.”