Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Gen Con 2018: Sazerac

Sazerac
The main thing about Gen Con this year is that I took it easy. I only ran two games. Both of them were in the afternoon so I could sleep in every day. I didn't try to promote anything or even hand out business cards. I just gamed, shopped, and hung out with people I like hanging out with. I didn't find all of them, but it's always like that. I even managed to keep up my meditation schedule.

Here's what I ran:

Archer: Phrasing (Thursday)
Vortex System
Nobody's sure what year it is, but the Cold War is still a thing and Mallory Archer is in charge of a spy agency.

Just Another Layover (Friday)
Star Frontiers
Diverting to a newly-charted system to answer a distress call, you find an outpost crew claiming it was a computer error, saying everything is fine. Of course, everything is not fine.

I was signed up for an interesting-looking seminar by Shanna Germain about staying creative in stressful times but the "Will Call" booth was unapproachable through most of the convention, so I never picked up my ticket. I've never been more glad that our GM badges come from a different booth. See that line, going off around the corner into the trees? That's nowhere near the beginning. It also runs all the way to the booths close to the main entrance.
So anyway, Tom and I slogged through the Indianapolis rush hour on Wednesday and arrived at the Marriott a little after 5:30. Check-in was quick, but it took a while to get rid of the car. They had a newly remodeled lobby. I was disappointed at first, because I always loved the old one, but this one was really nice and a lot of fun to hang out in, so it grew on me fast.
Curtis was already there, so he, Tom, and I had a drink at one of the two lobby bars. Someone gave me a sparkly d20 pin. Then we headed over to High Velocity in the JW for Old Home Night. We had a long table there. I think it's the only time I saw Jerry but we did get to chat some about D&D so okay. After dinner a lot of us went to the upstairs lobby and made a nest there. The idea was to discuss plans for Brett's giant superhero LARP, but several of us were just there to socialize.

I think they got stuff worked out. I don't know. We were out pretty late. I had a good time anyway.

Thursday I was hung over, but I still made it to my Archer game. Six of the eight people who signed up were there, so Curtis jumped in to play Lana. It went well, which means there were traffic-related deaths, plane crashes, mad scientists (more than one!), infighting, and alcohol.

I still wasn't feeling well, so after a brief visit to the exhibit hall, I went back to the room to chill.

Later on I met Tom and Caed at The Ram, and then Curtis, Dylan, and Jordan showed up too. I walked with Caed & Curt to get ice cream at Steak & Shake, but didn't have any myself.

Yeah, that's pretty much it for Thursday.

Friday, like every other day on the trip, started with me lounging around the hotel. Eventually I wandered off to run Star Frontiers. I had a good group, including at least one who was trying it out for the first time. One guy did show up an hour late because he was still on Central time, but it wasn't hard to work him in. They did well with the mystery and the alien communication stuff.

After the game, I stuck around the table for a while listening to Tom and Curtis run their games. He was doing a Crawlspace World War I horror thing, and Curtis was doing an Icons game about sharks. There was a third game going on, but I never really figured out what the deal was. In my head, I started labeling it, "Garden Party, the RPG" because it seemed like all they were doing was role-playing ordinary people hanging around a suburban neighborhood. The GM had a great voice, though and, whatever the game was, the players were way into it.
I wandered off for some more shopping, then hiked out to meet Tom, Caed, and Dylan at Scotty's. It was a good time, but the waitress was busy or something. They were giving away free dice, though, bringing my freebie total to three. Gotta love the free dice.

Later on, we hooked up with Bill and Darrenn at the one of the Marriott bars (Conner's) and closed it down, even going back to the room for a while. I don't remember that night very well, except that it involved a lot of whiskey sours and then just whiskey. It's not easy keeping up with Bill.

I was hung over again on Saturday, but it didn't last as long as the one from Wednesday night. Tom came by and we grabbed some bratwursts at one of those lobby concession things. I was done with all my obligations, so I just wandered around after that.

Eventually, Tom texted me about meeting for dinner at the Omni, so he could go from there to Rise of the Overlord, Brett's superhero LARP. He also wanted me to bring him some game stuff that he had left in the room. That restaurant was super-expensive, so I just had a salad, but I was introduced to a piece of alcoholic poetry called the Sazerac. It had whiskey, bitters, and absinthe and it was awesome. John showed up too and we opened the little bottle of wine Tom had bought to share. 

While Tom started constructing his cardboard villain costume for the LARP, Curtis got in touch with me and I talked him into coming over to watch the game, despite the fact that he was actually hoping to go eat.

Brett neatly divided up the room, set out some props, and got started. It wasn't as much fun to watch as I had hoped. I mean, the players seemed to be enjoying it, but nobody came in costume and it was impossible to follow all the different groups doing their stuff.

Curtis and I decided to go eat and maybe come back later. We stopped at the Old Spaghetti Warehouse, but there was a long wait and people were just packed in all around. Waffling on where else to go, we eventually found our way to Rock Bottom.

Curtis went back to the room to pack. I was going to go back to the LARP after dinner, but I had the beginnings of a blister on my foot and decided to just stay in. I had new stuff to read, anyway. Around four in the morning, Curtis woke up to catch his flight home. Tom and I wished him a groggy farewell and went back to sleep.

Tom had a game Sunday, so I wandered around some more. I thought I had done all the purchasing I was going to do, but then I found those Dice Saber things on sale. They had green, red, and blue, so I grabbed a blue one. I brought it over to Tom's game to show him, then went back to the room.

Later, after a brief return to the exhibit hall because Tom wanted to pick some stuff up for a Cleveland friend, we met up with Jordan to have a few drinks and play Imhotep, the board game he had just bought. It was faster paced than I expected. Good game, except that Tom won.  Then we headed over to Acapulco Joe's for our traditional farewell to Gen Con meal. Not much to say about that, I guess. It was good and, you know, margaritas.

And after that it was pretty much just winding down. We've been booking through Monday for the past several years because it makes Sunday so much more fun. It was a great Gen Con, a real vacation. Also a real expensive vacation, but oh well.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Goodbye Tio

The obligatory Gen Con blog is coming soon, but first I just wanted to say goodbye to Tio (Prince Theodoric, Golden Boy, Blondie Bear, Rednose, and other names) who has finally been reunited with his brother from another mother, Ninja. He literally died in my arms yesterday, quietly, after having been sick for a while. The vet never firmly identified the problem, but believed it was cancer. The last thing he did was knead my arm with his paws one more time.



Friday, July 20, 2018

Running from Tiamat

So I had this dream the other night. I was with some people in this old house and we were doing some kind of magic that we weren't supposed to be doing. I don't think my compatriots had real life counterparts. Something went wrong. There was something about Tiamat and a dimensional rift that wouldn't close. The rift was bad, but we were also worried about getting caught by the people who told us not to do this in the first place, so we split up and took off.

Part of the magic thing was that we could fly, so obviously that was gonna happen. Apparently this was around the Devil's Den park in Northwest Arkansas, because I was passing over the hills nearby. I made it to some place in Missouri before they caught up to me. They could fly, too. I was taken to this house that vaguely resembled where I lived as a kid... if you expanded it and twisted it into a maze. There were refugees there too, because apparently the Tiamat thing had become a big deal.

There was some of the usual dream confusion like figuring out where to hang my coat and trying unsuccessfully to get back to a part of the house I had only left a few minutes before. Something about a conflict with one of the people who ran the house. Then a bunch of us decided to play D&D. My alarm went off before the game started, though.

So anyway, I've been kind of itching to pick up my Greyhawk campaign again, but we've got so much going already that it seems like a bad idea. When I visited Arkansas a while back, I also hooked up with several friends nearby and we started a Buffy the Vampire Slayer campaign where I get to play an alternate Slayer. That's a blast. And of course my Icons campaign and Curtis's Icons campaign are still going strong. And Tom does one every once in a while, too.

I'm actually doing pretty well at keeping up with the writing too, but I don't feel like sharing any details. And then there's the conventions.

First, I've gotta get my Carnage events registered. I'm pretty sure one of them will be Star Frontiers. For the other, I've been considering doing a D&D game based on something from one of my books. More likely, I'll just bring Dungeon. Now that I get my gaming fix at home, this business of performing at conventions appeals to me less all the time. Carnage is special though, so I'm not sure. Either way, I have to decide before the end of the month.

The other thing about the end of the month is that Gen Con is right on the tippy-top of next month, super-early this year. And, yeah, unless some kind of catastrophe hits me, I'm going to have fun. It's just that it's a huge freakin' money and time sink happening right when I was starting to build some momentum in both finances and writing. It'll smack the first one right down, especially after what I just spent on cat meds. We'll see about the second.

I don't think I had any kind of point to wrap up here, so, I don't know, go review my books or something. Now that I'm done blogging for a bit, I'm gonna go do some real writing.

Monday, May 21, 2018

This is Not the Title

Ezren's Flowers
Work on The Nameless Way has picked up again after creeping forward for a few months. I also had a great gaming weekend a couple of weeks ago.

I finally figured out how to work in the future party's contribution to "The Beginning of the End" without overshadowing the current one. I had been planning to mostly gloss over it, but instead I'm using it now as a dream sequence everybody got pulled into because the telepath is having fits. And of course, that guy having fits leads into the developments that lead to this freaky time-trip anway, so it's also useful foreshadowing. It has, consequently, become really fun to write again. I'm cramming in writing time all over the place now, above and beyond the schedule I set for myself.

The gaming bit was neat, too. We didn't call it a hoot, but it kind of was. Tom set up a slot to run Spacers at the game store and several friends from out of town joined in. For the after-party, Saharrah volunteered to run an off-the-cuff game of Crawlspace called "Eat Me" in which we made our way through the jungle, starting fires and switching sides, while pursued by magic furry cannibals. The next day, after seeing the other friends off, I ran a session of my Icons campaign for the usual suspects, concluding the long-running backup story of Landshark's possessed dog.

I still need to work out what I'm going to do for Carnage, though.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Wonders of Kauai

A couple of years ago this week, I went to Hawaii, where I saw all kinds of cool stuff. I was just recently reminded that, when I first got there, I only posted pictures of boring stuff because... I don't know. I just thought it would be funny. Beauty like this should not be for only my social network friends to see, though. It belongs to the world. Here you go, world. Enjoy.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Gen Con Events

I ended up adding another event to my slate at the last minute, so here's what I've got:

Title: Archer: Phrasing
Short Description: Nobody's sure what year it is, but the Cold War is still a thing and Mallory Archer is in charge of a spy agency.
Event Type: RPG
Game System: Vortex System
Rules Edition: 1
Minimum Players: 4
Maximum Players: 8
Age Requirement (All ages, Teen, Adult): Adult
Experience Required: No
Material Provided: Yes
Preferred date/time: Thursday 1pm
Event Duration: 4 hours

Title: Just Another Layover
Short Description: Diverting to a newly-charted system to answer a distress call, you find an outpost crew claiming it was a computer error, saying everything is fine. Of course, everything is not fine.
Event Type: RPG
Game System: Star Frontiers
Rules Edition: 1
Minimum Players: 4
Maximum Players: 6
Age Requirement (All ages, Teen, Adult): Teen
Experience Required: No
Material Provided: Yes
Preferred date/time: Friday 1pm
Event Duration: 4 hours

I had been thinking about running D&D games based on parts of the book I'm working on, but I kinda decided that would be more productive after it's published. I suppose I could have used something from Losing Lanterns, but I didn't.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

BASHCon 2018: One More Time With Feeling

Tom & I missed BASHCon last year because we were in the middle of a move, so this was a welcome return to an always-cozy gathering. As I've said before, it's almost like another "hoot" but with better gaming spaces and some extra people buzzing around. We could call this Tol Hoot 9 instead of BASHCon 33. But we probably won't.

Tom left Thursday because he wanted to have a pre-con gathering. I'm told it was small but fun, and they even got in a late-night game of Crawlspace. I wanted to avoid using my precious vacation time, so I waited until Friday after work. At some point while I was driving, Tom texted me a picture of a woman's torso.

I got in and got registered in plenty of time for Jerry's private Stay Alive game, A Little Horror on the Prairie. It turned out that everybody was still getting settled, so there was time to hang out and even look around the commerce nook. I kind of had an urge to buy some dice all weekend, but nothing grabbed me. I was presented with some shiny gold and green earrings that Tom picked up for me, though. I learned that Phoenicia had moved to a larger space upstairs, but it was still around and still delicious, so no biggie.

So anyway, we found a big table in the corner and got into our Wild West horror personalities. Or Wild North, I guess. I don't know word stuff. We staggered around town for a while, doing our various con artist, gambler, or general trouble-maker things, until Jerry realized that a group this big was never going to be gently steered in the time we had. It worked out to be a good balance of free-roaming versus plot advancement, I thought.

It turned out that we had even less time than we thought, as the convention staff started shoving everybody out the door at eleven o'clock this year. Nobody else had plans, so we decided to re-convene Saturday night to finish the adventure.

Tom, Paul, and I went back to our rooms to consolidate vehicles and then off to Applebee's for a late night snack. That's right, Applebee's, not Del Taco, because Del Taco -- sigh -- was gone. Anyway, I was enjoying the conversation and the weekend break from my diet so much that I didn't mind.

We slept in and took our time getting over there on Saturday. Neither of us were signed up to run games. I had planned on signing up to play some stuff, but the only thing that looked interesting was Jerry's Sunday D&D event. There was a six-hour long Marvel Super Heroes session, but... six hours. I did bring my Icons rulebook, in case the opportunity for a spur-of-the-moment adventure came up. It almost did while we were having lunch at Phoenicia with Randy & company, but then he wasn't feeling well and canceled. He said he wasn't feeling well, anyway. The rest of the crew had already left to play other games, so, with only one GM and one player, gaming seemed kind of pointless.

I went shopping and picked up a sparkly garnet ring from this guy who always has cool jewelry at BASHCon, and chatted with Beckett at the Weird Realms booth. Well, I went over there intending to just chat. I figured he'd just have stuff from the store that I'd already seen, so temptation would be minimal. As it happened, he had recently dug up a bunch of old D&D stuff that had just been waiting to be cataloged or whatever. I ended up with a well-preserved copy of The Isle of Dread (the real one, not the ugly remake they did for the Mentzer edition) and a much less well-preserved copy of The Lost City. My old Isle of Dread was really ratty, and I had never owned a print copy of Lost City, so I snagged 'em.

Tom was still talking to the guy who made the wrestling game after all this, so I wandered into the hall and wallowed in my swag. My copy of the Star Frontiers hardback had arrived just before I left Cleveland, so I had that with me as well. I didn't get it at BASHCon, but it kind of feels like BASHCon loot. After a while, I went back to the wrestling guy to find Tom, talked for a while, and wandered off again. Later we wandered around and found Beckett at the auction.

Once everybody was free, we had dinner at Phoenicia with most of the BASHCon contingent. Beckett was working, Paul was elsewhere, and Randy was still under the weather, but it was still a big group.

And that brought us to Little Horror: Part Two. There were actually many more previous parts, but I'm just going with the BASHCon count. Jerry found us a nice conference room to play in, and Paul joined us just in time. There was a dimension-shifting church and a bunch of frog-demons and a sudden betrayal to deal with, but we managed to get back safely. Well, Saharrah did clock her boyfriend's preacher character with a bat, but he lived. We found Denny on the way out and noticed that it had started snowing pretty hard. There had been plans for a party, but the maybe not with all the weather stuff. We did still end up hanging around and drinking a little bit with the other Red Roof denizens, so it wasn't a total write-off.

Sunday morning was the event I named this blog after, Jerry's heavily customized 2nd Edition AD&D game, One More Time With Feeling. I always look forward to this one, and I wasn't disappointed. We didn't do a whole lot because the group was huge, but we did some exploring, some drow-fighting, and some role-playing, and we achieved our objective, so it was cool.

We may have lost Del Taco, but we still had our Sunday lunchplace of choice, El Vaquero. No Beckett, but we had a big enough group to squash the other patrons in the area deep into their booths with our boisterous nerd-revelry. And the food was really good. After everybody else left, Tom & I talked to Paul a bit more and drove home.

And I really did not want to go back to work on Monday.