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.

Friday, February 09, 2018


"They have their goals -- touching or comical or mad. But I’ll be content to drift through the Exile world in my scarlet balloon, looking down on all the people and the animals, listening to wind and the cry of birds, smelling pollen, resin from the forest, smoke from wildfire on the grassland. I’ll come to earth only when I feel that the Earth is real again and I am."

Elizabeth Orme, from The Many-Colored Land, by Julian May

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Gen Con & Writing Stuff

I've only submitted one event for Gen Con. I didn't really even want to do that one, but I felt like I should make some token effort to contribute to my group in exchange for the badge (and yeah, I'm entitled to a few of their extra hours after all I've contributed over the years). In some ways it's a little sad because I always have fun running games and it's a chance to do creative stuff that I wouldn't otherwise do. I even picked up one of those newfangled cooperative board games that all the kids are playing, thinking it might be a prep-free alternative to RPGs. From my one play-through, it looks like fun, but not this time.

For all the fun I have playing those games, there are hours of stress that come first. There's time I could be writing that goes into bringing ideas together. There's time I could be packing, squaring things away with cats, or just relaxing, that goes into making those goddamn pre-generated characters. There's psyching myself up to perform in front of a bunch of strangers. In the case of the board game, I'd have to get the rules down well enough to teach it to strangers, just like I would with a new RPG. And, when that's all done, there's always teaching, which I hate even more than cleaning out litter boxes.

I don't need it this year. Hell, I still haven't started my D&D campaign back up because I'm still not sure what to do about the bloated roster. Sure, the hiatus may very well have solved that problem for me already, but I'd still have to start the process, and the thought of more organizing makes me tired.

Those are issues I've always dealt with, of course. I've probably nattered on about them in this blog, even. The reason they're not worth my time this year is the good news. If I need to run a game, my Icons campaign is back in action and doing great. More importantly, work on The Nameless Way is really picking up again. Now I'm just hoping I can finish it and see it in print before the last orange straw breaks some camel's back and this whole country turns into Ferguson.

I don't want to end on that note, though. I'm excited to be doing the stuff I'm doing. Maybe I can share some more information about what's going on, later. That's always harder than actually writing the story, partly because it feels so silly and pretentious, but I thought the last attempt came out all right.