John Kahane (jkahane) wrote,
John Kahane

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HammerCon 2013, Day 3 Report

Here is the report on the third and final day of HammerCon 2013. The report on the second actual day, HammerCon 2013, Day 2, can be found by following the link. This report on the final official day of HammerCon 2013 is quite long since I ran a game on Sunday afternoon, and there are several photos in the post. Naturally, it's behind the cut for those who aren't interested.

Sunday, November 3rd

Stupid hotel. I woke up at 5:00 am in the morning, new time (or so I thought, but the room clock hadn't flipped over, despite the hotel's assurance that it would, so it was actually 4:00 am!) to make use of the loo, and went back to bed. The wake-up call that spross and I had left for 6:15 am came - at 5:15 am! The hotel clerks had forgotten to set the clocks back an hour on the machines that send out the wake-up call alerts. Stupid hotel! :<

Needless to say, I couldn't fall back to sleep, so I just lay there on the bed and waited for an hour. They called again with the wake-up call! So I had about 4-1/2 hours of sleep, instead of getting an extra hour or two. That's not enough, the way I felt at the time. I was... cranky. I had already showered, and was waiting for spross to do his thing before we went down to eat breakfast. My ankle was very sore but not overly swollen (yet). I was hoping that the game that I was scheduled to run that day, Yggdrasill, would be a go, as there was only one player (spross signed up for the game. I was somewhat hungry, so I was looking forward to breakfast.

I went down with spross to the hotel restaurant and had breakfast. The usual - 2 scrambled eggs with ham, spinach, and mushrooms, with whole wheat toast and decaf coffee. I actually felt better after eating, though still very tired. Paul from Friday night's Primeval game came in to eat breakfast a bit after we arrived, and he joined us. We ate together and chatted about all manner of subjects - the military, soccer, hockey, curling, physical injuries, other stuff that I can't recall, and gaming, of course. After eating, we went back to the hotel room, and I barely got back before I had to use the loo. It was not a pleasant time.

I brushed my teeth, and then had an accident. I wanted to get something of the carry-on luggage, and accidentally dropped it on my ankle; the bad one, of course. I gashed myself on the carry-on luggage about four inches above the ankle, nothing serious but it hurt like hell. I wanted to see a bit of the convention before having to run the afternoon game at 1:30 pm, so spross and I headed out. I went down to the front desk and asked them if they had any band-aids, which they did, but they didn't have any antibiotic cream or some such, as someone had taken it and hadn't returned it to the main desk area. I stopped off at the convention floor, and went to see what the convention was providing on Sunday for food. The guys serving food had "deals" for hot dog or hamburger and fries for $7.50, but wanted $9.75 for two hot dogs and even more for two hamburgers, and it was another $6 for a salad! Sheesh! spross decided to go out and walk down to the Jet Cafe to see what they had for lunch.

[The rest of Sunday is something of a blur for me, so I hope I've got it right.]

From what I could tell, there wasn't a lot of stuff going on gaming-wise, so I wandered into the Victoria room, where I saw that Andrew Valkauskas was just in the process of setting up stuff to run a game of Fate of the Norns: Ragnarok at 11:00 am. He and I talked for a good long time, and spross returned with the Jet Cafe menu. I was impressed by Andrew's pitch for the game, as well as the physical product itself, so much so that I talked to spross about it, and he spotted me again some cash so that I could pick it up. Which I did - the core rulebook, the GM Screen, and the first PDF/print supplement. spross and I headed back up to the hotel room, and he was able to carry the three Fate of the Norns: Ragnarok books up with him. Once we got to the hotel room, I applied the band-aid to the now somewhat sore cut on my leg after cleaning it off with a bit of water, and then went through the Jet Cafe menu to see what we could eat. Since I needed to brush up on the "Mist over Storforshei" scenario for Yggdrasill that I was going to run, spross helped me carry the gaming stuff and the ice pack over to the Executive Club Lounge, and then he went back to the Jet Cafe to pick up a sliced turkey sandwich for me and food for himself. In the meantime, I dug in to the material for Yggdrasill and prepped for the afternoon game at 1:30 pm.

Fate of the Norns: Ragnarok Prop

spross returned with the food from the Jet Cafe (he decided to opt for the same sandwich), and we ate a pretty good lunch marred only by the fact there was no hot soup with it. I started to cough somewhat, and had a bit of a sore throat, but I attributed this to the dry air in the lounge. We went down to the convention floor prior to the game, and I was disappointed to see that I still had no other players for the game. This didn't augur well.

I spent around 45 minutes trying to recruit some people to play in the Yggdrasill game, and managed to convince a couple of guys, Michel and Armand, to play, and they told me that their friend Darcy would also arrive soon, and she'd play as well. That meant I'd have four players! Terrific! Andrew (of Fate of the Norns: Ragnarok fame) said that he would make a call and see if he could play in the game as well, so that was pretty cool.

Without going into any real detail about the plot, the Yggdrasill scenario, "Mist Over Storforshei", takes place in a community in the north of Norway, in which the long thought dead Jarl of the town of Storforshei returns, and what seems a simple quest to find out what happened to the rest of his missing expedition turns into a tale of revenge, retribution, and the possibility of seeing Storforshei destroyed by two age-old enemies. The player characters for the adventure are Audun Leiptrsson, the son of the missing jarl and the current Jarl; Bera Domarsdottir, a young, impetuous and willful Danish skald; Egil, a former slave given his freedom by Audun, who now serves him as a hirdman and counselor; Gunnvor Styrsdottir, the 45-year-old volva, with ties to the presumed dead jarl; Kjallak Ingolfsson, the berserker; and a sixth character that I shaln't discuss here. I started off with only three players (more details on what happened in a bit), and they chose to play Audun, Egil, and Kjallak, with the fourth player (see below) playing Gunnvor.

How did the players do with their characters? It was a mixed bag. Michel played Audun, the current Jarl, and to be honest, while he played the character authoritarian and as the leader of the community, he didn't let his people do things without his approval. He got on well with Egil and that character's player, but he didn't really give the fellow a chance to shine. Michel's friend, Armand, played Egil, and did a good job with the opportunities to play the character that he did, but was very much a "yes man" to Michel's Audun and didn't really exert himself all that much. spross played Kjallak, the berserker, and he was quite at home with the character, having a few roleplaying opportunities that he took advantage of, and very much took advantage of the character's combat capabilities when these were called upon. The initial player of Gunnvor was Andrew, designer of the Fate of the Norns: Ragnarok RPG, and he really knew his stuff. He did a great job playing the character, using her volva abilities to the max, and understanding her role in the game. When Andrew left, the role was taken up by Darcy, another friend of Michel's, who played the character quite well having stepped into the game so late, and she "got" the concept of the volva and how to play her. Unlike Armand, she didn't have the character defer to Audun, and held her own all the time, and had a great time playing the character when all was said and done.

Some of the adventure highlights included: Having Andrew playing Gunnvor for the time he did. He had superb knowledge of Norse times (that I took advantage of, I have to say), and played the character well. He even confirmed the presumed dead Jarl's identity through the mole on his rear end! Darcy's playing of Gunnvor was quite refreshing. Her reaction to realising that Gunnvor's prophecy had come true was priceless. :) Steve's reaction of "What am I doing?" when he put his berserker between two dokkalfar and Gunnvor was very nice. Darcy had the best line of the night, when she said "I got to cast a spell at Hel and live!" after she had to counter her own spell at an ST of 56. She ended up burning 8 Furor dice, 4 at the casting and receiving end of the spell.

I thought that "Mist Over Storforshei" went as well as could be expected, but it came off with mixed results. The four players chose characters relatively smartly for the adventure, given the number of players, but the personality of Michel didn't mix well with the others, taking such an authoritarian figure, and the four characters didn't work well together (regardless of who was playing Gunnvor). Armand changed characters with spross to begin with, and then it looked like Michel would play spross's character, but changed his mind and kept Audun, leaving spross with Kjallak, the berserker. Because of the recruitment process and the debate on the part of the three players as to who was playing which character, I didn't start the game until late, some 25 minutes into the timed event, and still had to talk about the game system with the players. Andrew was kind enough to play in the game to make up the numbers a bit, but he had to leave about an hour later, and then Darcy arrived about 45 minutes after that, so Gunnvor came across as somewhat schizophrenic. I had to spend about 15 minutes briefing Darcy on the rules and what the player characters had been up to to that point, so that chewed up a bit more time in the game. To top it all off, while Andrew's knowledge of the period was really good, he kept it to himself; not so Michel, who kept accessing the internet and discussing "real" Viking information (not Norse information, and despite my exhortations not to do so). That was highly annoying to me. The switch in Gunnvor's player was quite jarring to spross, as both players dealt with his character, the berserker, quite differently. Because of the loss of time due to various situations, I had to skip a few scenes and encounters and jump ahead to keep the plot going, and then fudged the end somewhat. Michel was a constant distraction to the others on his mobile phone, and had to be told by the other players what was going on more than once. Another slowdown for the game. He didn't give me the impression that he was having fun with the adventure, or that he was enjoying the game system at all.

After the Yggdrasill session came to an end, spross helped me pack up the gaming stuff. In some ways, I was glad that game was over and wanted to forget the whole thing for the rest of the night. I went and said goodbye to several folks that I'd met at the convention, and then SteveR and I took everything back to the hotel room.

We bundled up against the winter chill outside, and head over to O'Neko Ramen for supper. We had decided to try the ramen dishes this time, rather than the hot pot. Upon descending to the lobby of the hotel, I was rather shocked to see the hotel restaurant was actually closed! It was a good thing that we had planned to eat out, even if I couldn't walk that far to a Chinese restaurant or some such. It was a doubly good thing when I noticed the odour of pot permeating the entire lobby area. I don't know who was smoking the stuff (and can only assume that it was for medicinal purposes), but it wasn't pleasant and not the sort of thing I expected to find in the hotel.

After braving the weather, we settled in at O'Neko Ramen for supper. The miso ramen bowl was excellent, though not as hot (warmth wise) as it could have been, and I wasn't crazy about the taste of the soup base, but the meal was fine and it was relatively cheap price-wise. After returning to the hotel, we went up to the room and had some apple with Edam cheese for dessert, and then some hot tea. Definitely soothed my throat, which was a bit raw by then.


Around 10:00 pm or so, spross and I started packing for the trip home. It was all done, except for the toiletries and my medication within about an hour or so. I have to say that I was looking forward to getting home, although I thought the drive home would be somewhat arduous and long. I waited to take my Aleve for the night, and then went to bed hoping for a good night's sleep.

And that covers the third and final official day of HammerCon 2013. I'll share a few thoughts in a Final Thoughts post about the convention itself, but will just say for now that I had a relatively good time at the convention all things considered. The next blog post about the convention will concern the trip back to Ottawa.
Tags: convention, gaming hut, hammercon, personal, photos, report, rpg hut, yggdrasill rpg

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