Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Try Nihilism

Last weekend would have been Gen Con if not for the plague. I wasn't going this year anyway, so I didn't care, but most of my friends were bummed. Tom even resolved to come up with a "hoot" to fill the void. Once everybody agreed to have it in Point Pleasant, West Virginia (home of the Mothman) I was on board too.

My original plan was to do a Mothman-inspired adventure I had run at Gen Con a few years back, but a request for D&D inspired me to finally try out the 5e Adventures in Middle Earth rules. This was a last minute switch, so I went with one of the adventures in the Bree-Land Region Guide instead of making up my own. That area has always been one of my favorites.

Tom and I got to Point Pleasant on Wednesday, snapped a picture of the statue, confirmed that the Lowe Hotel (right across the street) really was closed, and proceeded to turn our room at the Quality Inn into a walk-in fridge. Tom did Tom stuff while I read through the adventure and crammed as many of the Middle Earth rules back into my brain as I could.

Rodney and the other Robin (we call her Caed - an old Delphi handle - to avoid confusion) showed up on Thursday and we did some catching up. On Friday we went out to do the tourist thing and meet up with Saharrah and the other Tom. Is this echoing name thing weird or what?
It was a pleasant, shady downtown area to wander around in, despite the heat. We did some shopping, toured the Mothman Museum, and then went on in search of food. I had hoped to make it out to the TNT Area, but we didn't get around to it that day.

I was nervous about running the game. I'm not sure why. I've gone into games with complete strangers and almost no prep. These players were all friends and I was ready. Part one went fine, though. Following a scene in the Prancing Pony, they went tromping off into the South Downs after a grave-robbing troll, got lost in the fog, and ran into a spectre (a setting-specific version, more like a banshee than the standard D&D spectre). It was into the wee hours, so we stopped there for the night.
It rained most of the next day so we stayed in. Again, I was unaccountably spazzy about running the game, to the point where the gang could tell I was nervous and offered me an out. I went ahead and did it, though, and it was fun. They cleverly overcame several obstacles to track down the troll and then bone-headedly charged into its cave to attack it. These were first level characters. Eventually they figured out that it was avoiding the sunlight and tricked it into stumbling out over the ledge. Somehow, despite knocking on death's door several times, they all lived. I guess their unwise assault was appropriate, because the adventure was based on Sam's poem in which a guy named Tom foolishly attacks a troll and breaks his foot.

After that we ordered a pizza and one of the Toms ran Crawlspace. Caed and I hammed it up as horrible money-grubbing and possibly insane heiresses while the other Tom tried to be a decent person and Saharrah's detective character tried to figure out what was going on. Rodney played the bereaved lover.
After checking out on Sunday, Caed and Rodney had places to be, but Saharrah and Tom were up for one more adventure with Tom and me, so we found the TNT Area and went exploring.
The TNT Area was a nice walk with lots of swampy scenery and little "igloo" bunkers to poke our heads into. The weather had cooled off a little and there was an intermittent breeze.
Some of the graffiti was cool, too.
Here's a pair of Toms and a purple purse:
We said our goodbyes to Saharrah & Tom and started heading home in a meandering catch-the-scenery kind of path. Looking through my pictures, I found one I didn't know I had taken. I guess somebody was keeping an eye on us.

Tom's leg is game, since home he came,
And his bootless foot is lasting lame;
But Troll don't care, and he's still there
With the bone that he boned from its owner.


  1. I don't miss GenCon, but I do miss a number of GenCon experiences.

    Somehow didn't properly realize that until now. Hmm. Booze.

    1. Booze really comes in handy for stuff like that. Cheers!