Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Origins 2009

We packed up and headed out for Columbus Friday afternoon. The con had been going since Wednesday, but we were just in for the weekend on this one. Our big gaming event has always been Gen Con Indy. That’s the one where we take time off work and go all out. But anyway, Origins is relatively close and is obviously a big deal, so off we go.

We did some ad hoc navigation and found our way to a Holiday Inn about a mile from the convention center, got settled there, and hoofed our way over to sign up for Origins. We got our badges, found Mandy and Steve (and Rick and Mike) in short order, had some dinner at the market, and re-acquainted ourselves with the “Big Bar” at the Hyatt. Went back to the hotel to chill, Tom limping along behind. I stayed up a bit to make the pre-gens for my Peryton RPG adventure and then we both crashed.

Saturday, we made our way down to the Convention Center again in plenty of time to have a look around, have lunch and have a few drinks before our events started at two. Narcissist that I am, I had to find where my stuff was displayed in the exhibit hall, and spotted our logo in a Studio 2 ad in the program. Tom went off to run “Song of the Songhai” for WHAP and I went to my own event.

I showed up at my Peryton RPG table to find Mandy, Steve, and a walk-in whose name I can’t remember. I wish I could, because his halfling wizard/berserker, Rabrell Pepperdane, was hilarious. We were just getting to the character distribution when another couple (Cathryn and John) showed up looking for a game, so I got to hand out all my pre-gen characters for once. Everyone named their character and came up with some background, giving us Sir Dirk (Steve’s human templar), Marlo (Mandy’s human fighter/mystic), Athena (Cathryn’s elf rogue), Lao (John’s orc fighter), and the aforementioned Rabrell Pepperdane.

It was, for me, one of the best Peryton RPG convention sessions ever. Of course, I can’t speak for the players, but I like to think that I wouldn’t have enjoyed running it so much if they hadn’t been engaged and having a good time as well. They only encountered a few of the horrors in my cursed village before making a run for the wizard’s tower, so they missed a lot of my background hooks, but at least the stuff they saw got them spooked enough to want to do that. Rabrell managed to find uses for several pieces of the junk I saddled him with, especially the garden spade and the block of cheese, but he never got up the nerve to consult his captive demon. Unfortunately, Rabrell’s player had to leave before they got to the tower.

In the tower, they fought some melting demons and a little intra-party conflict that had been brewing for a while came to a head. The argument was over the trustworthiness of the boy they had rescued back in the village. I don’t want to give too much away because we’re publishing this one eventually, but the kid was being tied up, sliced at, yanked out of the path of orc-spears, and repeatedly grilled for information. Luckily, Lao found time to wander up through the glowing rift into the Phlogiston and figure out how to put things right.

I was really pleased with the way the mechanics served the role-playing and the story in this session, and found that the removal of “alignment” (a change in the upcoming Revised Edition) didn’t unravel the fabric of society or anything. Of course, good players can make a lot of things work well, and I had a table full of those.

So anyway, the session ended with victory for the heroes. Some other stuff happened at the convention. I think we went out to eat, had some cocktails, and played Tunnels & Trolls or Yahtzee or something else with a lot of d6’s. We must have driven home at some point. Whatever. But man, that Peryton RPG game rocked!

Other, less important details are covered in Tom's write-up.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Brain Mapping of Tools

I'm sure most people can think of anecdotes of the "extension of your arm" experience, but it's cool to see some real evidence behind it.  Seeing this kind of adaptability gives me hope that the human brain might grow up some day, after all.

Tools are 'temporary body parts'
BBC News

The brain represents tools as extensions to the body, according to researchers writing in Current Biology. After the use of a grasping tool, participants asked to grasp an object with their own hands did so more slowly and sluggishly. Blindfolded participants also overestimated the length of their tool-using arm after the exercise. The research seems to confirm a century-old hypothesis that the brain models tools as parts of the body...