Saturday, November 2nd
I woke up about 8:20 am, and actually felt like I'd slept. My ankle was somewhat sore and throbbing, but I didn't feel too bad that morning. I removed and changed the bedding set-up, and this helped somewhat as it wasn't as heavy as it had been the night before.
I showered and cleaned up and was writing this while spross takes his turn in the bathroom. The bloody smallness of the bathroom and the way the toilet is set up continued to annoy me no end. I planned on walking around the convention a bit today, snapping a few photos, and seeing the lay of the land. Not having been to HammerCon before, I wanted to see some of the convention and get a bit of a feel for it, if possible. The game that I was to be running today wasn't until 3:00 pm, so I had a lot of time on my hands for the most part, though I needed to take care of myself and keep an eye on the ankle, despite anything I might want to do.
I felt somewhat stuffed up in the head and was feeling a bit hoarse in the voice. I was hoping that I wasn't coming down with something, and thought I could attribute it to the air in Hamilton and perhaps the dryness of the air in the hotel. I was hoping it's not con crud; it was too early in the weekend for that. I planned to spend part of the day with my left foot up and use the ice pack on my ankle. I needed to be able to walk, of course, and there was still another day of the convention after this before spross and I go home.
I finished breakfast and went back to the hotel room to brush my teeth, and take care of a few other things. Then it was time to head out and check out the gaming for the day at HammerCon 2013.
The convention was definitely more lively today, and I had a pretty good time. When spross and I descended to the third convention level venue where the convention was taking place, I went over and said good morning to the folks working Registration and the Gaming Desk area. These folks are really nice, and Mikael and Angela Andersson were both there and we chatted for a bit about various things. I noticed the section devoted to the Silent Auction, and there was a lot of stuff being sold in the area. Lots of different editions of D&D and several other rpgs as well, and lots of board games. Pretty good variety, to be honest. The auction went on for something like four hours or so, and I placed a bid on a copy of Age of Mythology (but didn't get it).
The Silent Auction
Of course, the gaming is where it's really at during HammerCon (and other gaming conventions) of course. There were plenty of RPGs going on at the time slot, and I watched some games, some for a few minutes and others for longer periods of time. There was a neat game called A Penny for My Thoughts going on that was rather fun to watch, and a couple of other games as well. One of the more notable games was Fate of the Norns: Ragnarok, a lovely game with a great look and all. I also got to watch several board games, including Settlers of Catan and the new version of Pandemic. I decided that I wanted a copy of the game, but the dealer in the Pavilion room was closed down until 1:30 pm.
Fate of the Norns: Ragnarok Game
spross and I went to eat lunch in the hotel restaurant. I had a great lunch, a bowl of chicken soup (with lots of pieces of chicken and celery, though I wasn't crazy about the carrots) and grilled cheese sammich. Yummy! After lunch, we went back to the dealer in the Pavilion room, and she had the new Pandemic as well as the two supplements, the revised On the Brink and the new In the Lab. spross spotted me the money for them (he really likes Pandemic, and wants to play the game!), and I was able to pick them all up. While he carried the boxes of games up to the hotel room, I encountered doc_mystery on the way to the elevators, and we stopped to have a quick chat. I then headed back up to the hotel room, as I needed to get ready for the afternoon game of the Primeval RPG.
I took the gaming material and headed over to the Executive Club Lounge to read over "Stranded", the Primeval scenario I was going to be running, and to put an ice pack on my ankle for a while. I managed to sit there for about 20 minutes, and that definitely helped the leg/ankle out somewhat! I then went back to the room, took another zitz bath (remember those, folks who don't know the meaning of the 3-2-1 convention rule?) and changed into a dinosaur t-shirt that I had picked up at the Museum of Nature here in Ottawa, and headed to the Victoria room on the convention level to run "Stranded".
The "Stranded" game had had five folks pre-register for the game before the convention, so I assumed it was full, and had told the convention staff that I could accommodate another player in the game, bringing it up to six. Imagine my surprise on reaching the convention floor to discover that one of the players had double booked himself to game, and had dropped out of the game. (This is something that I really, really hate at game conventions, and don't understand why people do that sort of thing!) However, I managed to get a 10-year-old, Dillon, interested in the game, and his folks agreed to let him play in the Primeval game, so that was kind of neat. So I had five players. Yay! I was familiar with three of the players, spross, doc_mystery, and The GIT (Rob Davies, a friend of mine from the TAG forums), so it was an interesting mix of players.
Without going into any real detail about the scenario plot, "Stranded" is an adventure that goes outside the typical Primeval box, in that it concerns a university botanist, her kids, her father, and three students taking a field trip to catalog flora in a wilderness area that goes horribly wrong. There are technically six characters - Francine Belmarsh, Marty Belmarsh, Jason Kline, Ling Jin Han, Henrietta Morgan, and Robert Brown - but there are a couple of surprises along the way that can bring in one or two other characters as well. The players chose to play Francine, Marty, Jason, Henrietta, and Robert. Overall a good choice, I thought, though I didn't honestly know what to expect.
spross played Francine Belmarsh pretty well, being protective about her children and concerned and caring about her father, Marty. She also had the best interest of the two students (Jason and Henrietta) in mind, but family came first. SteveR interacted well with the fellow playing Marty, and the two of them made some good decisions that under other circumstances could have cost the characters dearly. The GIT played Marty Belmarsh exactly the way the character needed to be played - caring, patriarchal, and highly "old school" military. He worked well with Francine, and surprising with Henrietta as well, but took things on himself a bit too much. He also played the aspects of the dying character really well. doc_mystery played Henrietta Morgan as rebellious, smart, and somewhat larcenous, which fit the character nicely. The character took care of herself first, and kept Jason from burning down the forest, too. :) Ten-year-old Dillon's portrayal of Jason Kline was, to put it mildly, over the top. This was the case of a 10-year-old playing an adult, though he constantly wanted to play with matches and light fires in the forest, and completely ignored the fact that the character is an urban fish out of water. Still, as a 10-year-old, Dillon did a good job of roleplaying to a point but couldn't separate what he knew about stuff inside and outside the game.
Some of the session highlights included: doc_mystery's Henrietta spending a Story Point to make Jason's matches wet, so he couldn't light a fire! Jason using the only object at hand, his precious laptop, to clock one of the *censored!*s. Later, he tried to use the now broken laptop again on a *censored!* with bad results - he died when two of them chomped down on him. Also, while everyone else was absent, Henrietta unlocked and tried to carjack the Ranger's SUV (albeit with no success, due to other events going on). The look of shock on the players' faces when they realised they had been stranded in the *bleep!* era. For *bleep!* years! The wonderful moment when Francine's kids ran into the Anomaly, and without any thought or hesitation both Francine and Marty dashed in after them. The way that The GIT had Marty sacrifice himself to save the kids from the *censored!*s.
So, how did the scenario go? Overall, I was pretty happy with the way that "Stranded" went as a convention adventure. The players completely derailed the scenario time-wise when they debated all manner of stuff before and while setting up their first night's camp in the mountains. That made the timing on the rest of the scenario a bit wonky, so I fudged and filled in material at the end of the scenario to bring it all together. I thought the players did a pretty good job (even young Dillon for the most part), and found that all the players had a good time with the game. Several of them commented to me afterwards that they liked the game without the usual cast of Primeval characters, and I have to add to that it was kind of nice to run a Primeval scenario for the game that didn't involve Nick Cutter, Abby Maitland, and the usual cast(s).
After the gaming session wrapped, spross helped me carry all the gaming stuff back up to the hotel room, and then we went down to eat supper in the hotel restaurant. I had the braised chicken with market vegetables and roast potatoes, and while it wasn't a great meal due to the spicing of everything with lots of pepper, it was quite satisfying for the most part. After grabbing just basics for the evening, since spross had arranged to run an open game of Tales of the Floating Vagabond at 9:00 pm, we went to see if anyone had signed up for the game, but no one had.
So we spent the next few hours wandering the convention floor, and seeing what games were going on. I spent the evening watching an open game of Dominant Species that had some really good moments in it, and rather enjoyed that. Also caught an ongoing game of classic Advanced Civilization that was highly enjoyable to watch. In addition, I wandered around a couple of the rooms and caught a game of Pandemic that looked like a lot of fun. One player had to leave for about half an hour to tend to her child, so I got to sit in on that game, and had a really good time of it. (I managed to take a photo of the game in progress, but it turned out completely blurry. Nuts!) I went back and caught some more of the game of Dominant Species; it was a lot of fun watching some newbies playing that game, and trying to figure out what they were doing and how the rules worked for various aspects of the game.
Dominant Species game play
Classic Advanced Civilization play
spross and I called it a night around 11:00 pm or so. Having taken my Aleve for the night around 11:35 pm, it was time to hit the sack for the night. We placed a wake-up call for 6:15 am, since there was a lot to do the next day, since I was running Yggdrasill as well as some packing before heading back to Ottawa on Monday. The nice thing is that tonight the clocks will fall back one hour, so at least I'll get an extra hour's sleep.
So there you have it, the Saturday at HammerCon 2013. Overall, a pretty good day at the convention, and I had a decent time running my game as well as getting to play in a board game for a bit of time as well. The next journal entry on the convention will cover the Sunday events.
In the meantime, hope everyone's enjoying these reads. :)