Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Gen Con 2015: Mothman, Meatwad, and Metal

Another great Gen Con! It certainly didn't hurt that there was no booth to suck the fun out of it. The closest I got to working this year was handing out cards to some players who wanted to know more about my game. Not once during the entire convention did I get out of bed before I felt like getting out of bed.

I'm going to do detailed summaries of the games in their own entries this time, so if you're going to play one of these at another convention and are worried about spoilers, just don't click on the link. The photos and stuff are all here.

Don't Call it a Comeback
All week, I had been worrying about my Icons game, for which I had only had a few meager jots of inspiration. Somehow, after I came up with the idea and got the event listed, I completely lost touch with it. Once I set foot in that convention hall Wednesday afternoon, though, I knew it was going to work. The players would give me the right cues, or something new would pop into my head, or something. That's just what happens here.

Peryton Gamers Old Home Night was in the bar at Crowne Plaza. Turned out to be a really pleasant setting. We handed out GM badges and gave Jerry his "event uber overlord" t-shirt to thank him for organizing the group. Beckett had made some cool buttons so we all collected a few of those to give away. Tom lured some innocent bystanders into the party and they were fairly interesting. Well, I thought they were interesting at the time. Maybe it was the bourbon that was interesting. Thinking back, I can't recall anything particularly noteworthy about the conversation. Anyway, good times. Oh, and train car room!

And I'm Just Gettin' Warm
My first game on Thursday wasn't until 8PM, so I wandered around and checked out the exhibit hall. There were several things I was pretty sure I wanted to buy, so I went ahead and grabbed them, despite generally trying to not buy stuff until I've had a better look around. It's nice to have reading material. Stowing the Cypher System Rulebook and assorted 13th Age goodies in my room, I wandered off to find Tom for lunch. His "Big Foot Hunting" game had apparently gone well.

Some more wandering, a dinner at Champions with Caed, Jerry, and Liam (Tom didn't want to leave the JW), and then I was on my way to run "Shadow of the Peryton" for Qalidar. I had five players, which was almost full capacity, my friend Brian among them. It was a more toned-down adventure than usual, set entirely in Blackridge. It was more creepy paranormal Mothman-type stuff than gonzo alien. I kind of wish that had been the main focus all along, but at least I confirmed that the game works well for that kind of atmosphere.

Goin' Insane, Startin' the Hurricane, Releasin' Pain
Friday was the big day. After a quiet breakfast, a turn around the exhibit hall, and lunch at Claddagh with Tom and Caed, I jumped in. Icons was up first with "Raiders of the Dark Nebula," the one I had been fretting over and was still a little nervous about. One of my players, who had taken the role of a cosmic-powered hero(ish) called Nyarlathotep, summed it up well (after I confessed that I had made half of the adventure up on the spot): "How many hobbies let you come to a table with an outline, some good intentions, and a bunch of strangers, and end up with a story that nobody could have seen coming?" Well, that might not be the exact quote, but it's close enough for newspaper work.
I had enough of a break to go back to the room, switch out my game books, and have some expensive appetizers with Tom before it was time for my Doctor Who adventure, "Out of Joint." This was the only one I had actually playtested this year. Or ever, for that matter. Plus, I'm getting really comfortable with that game system. 

I wrapped up the evening with a late night Aqua Teen Hunger Force session, "Inappropriate Mysteries of the Jersey Shore." The traditional gang didn't show up, but I did get two guys who had done a great job last year. They also brought a friend, and then there were four other people. Everyone was great. They even gave me some new ideas for game mechanics. I had been thinking about quitting the Aqua Teen gaming, but no, I'm not stopping now.

I'm Blastin' -- Outlastin'
All my events were done, so Saturday was Shopping Day. After an expensive waffle at the hotel restaurant, I saw Tom and Liam off to wherever they were going and started walking the exhibit hall, row by row. I got about a fourth of the way before I started feeling punchy and went to visit Tom and grab some lunch. Tom was just getting his game going and I couldn't get ahold of anyone else, so I had lunch with my new Icons book instead. Turns out I picked up a flawed copy, sliced so all the pages are tilted. All the text is still visible, though, so I can live with it. Looks like it's going to be a useful supplement.

Back to the exhibitor pits, I found a nifty pendant which I later decided to send to my mom as a gift instead of keeping for myself, and the Dark Dungeons movie. I spotted a few copies of Peryton Fantasy RPG in the wild. I guess it's silly to even mention it, but it's still fun to see my old stuff pop up in random unexpected places.

I also stopped by the Flying Buffalo booth to chat with Steve Crompton and take a look at the preview copy of the new Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls. Obviously, there wasn't time to do more than flip through it, so I can't say much about the content. It's huge, though, like a big floppy fantasy-themed phone book. It's attractively laid out and I'm sure they did some good work, but, for me, having a complete RPG in a tiny book was the main selling point of Tunnels & Trolls. I might still buy it if I see the print version for sale somewhere. I dunno.

Tom was off having a "business" dinner with somebody. Artist, I think. I found Jerry and Liam running Circus Imperium in the the giant, noisy board/card game hall. I was a little dismayed to see that Dungeons and Dragons was also in here, while its ugly stepchild, Pathfinder, enjoyed a nice private ballroom upstairs. I guess that's what sponsorship buys you.

Circus Imperium ("The Darkshade Circuit") was fun, even just watching. Drivers would fall out of their chariots and get trampled and jump into other chariots and fight and fall out and get dragged around. Jerry drew little blood spatters on the board to mark where people died or trace the paths along which they were dragged.

Jordan called and I spent some time with him. He had just bought a new board game in hopes of keeping his youngest hooked on the hobby. I think I did other stuff, then went back to the room to wallow in loot and watch bad movies on SciFy. Or SyFy, or however the hell they're spelling it now. House of Bones is good, and was fun for us because of its similarity to "The Horrible Fate of the Haunted House Hunters," but that didn't come on until everybody was falling asleep.

Now I Got a New Tour
Sunday was a lazy day. I wandered around a bit, then came back to the room, then Tom and Liam kicked me out so they could nap. Apparently last night's Crawlspace game ran late and was trolled by idiots. It sucks that this happened, but Tom having to deal with drunken assholes almost makes me believe in karma.

Back in the exhibit hall, I found a couple of t-shirts and a Doctor Who DVD set. I grabbed some of my new books and wandered off to read while the geezers napped. I found a really nice spot with comfy chairs and settled in. A bit later, Jordan got in touch again, so I met him, John ("Cram" on Trollhalla), and Tom in the hotel bar. John had picked up a copy of Peryton RPG and asked me to sign it. I didn't think of anything good to write until it was too late, so I went with a bland, "I hope you enjoy it."

After chatting a bit while watching Jordan's son open up his new game (Dominion with, I believe, a couple of expansions included), we moved on to the victory dinner at Bourbon Street. Back at the hotel, we got to hang out with Jerry, who had been busy working the auction for most of the weekend. It was a nice unwinding-night after a great con.

Oh, there's also Tom's blog. I don't know of anyone else in the group who's done one so far. Don't believe his lies. (Edit: Jerry has now posted his.)

And that's pretty much it. Cheers.

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