Edit: Originally, I was going to transcribe the written journal entries that I made about the con each day, but have decided that the process is too tedious and the entries will be way too long. The LJ entry for Day -2 encompassed two entries, and was in that form. Originally, this was the second half of the entry on Day -2, but instead, now covers the entirety of Day -1. This journal has been changed into a recap of the day in question, based on the original notes I scribbled in the hand journal.
August 13th, 2008
Despite my desire to do so, I didn't sleep well the first night in Indy, waking up around 1:50 am, starving hungry. Not enough food during the day, I suppose. Without waking spross (SteveR), I went down to the lobby of the Omni Severin, and had an apple from the bowl of apples that were there, and chatted with a nice girl working the night shift at the desk, April. Even when I went back upstairs to try and catch some sleep, I didn't sleep well... different bed, different environment, and night sounds, and there was too much light in the room for me. And SteveR, of course. I hadn't shared a bedroom with anyone since Stef, and to be honest, it's not the same. :)
After about four hours sleep, SteveR and I went down to breakfast. The staff in the Hot Tuna restaurant of the hotel were very kind, and made me a nice diabetic breakfast of an egg omelette with vegetables and some Swiss cheese with whole wheat toast, and decaf coffee with steamed milk. Lovely. I pretty much had the same thing for breakfast every morning at the Omni. We went back to the hotel room, gathered up the papers needed for registering at the convention, and headed over to GenCon Registration in the Convention Center.
I've not been to a GenCon for 30 years, but registration seemed to go very smoothly for that early in the morning. There was a line for folks coming in and all, but the “Will Call” section gave SteveR and me no problems. The folks at Registration were courteous, quite friendly, and the badges were very good quality with a lanyard. Afterwards, SteveR and I found a place to sit, and talked with some folks from Dallas. We discussed various aspects of the Pulp genre at length, and I did a good job hyping Hollow Earth Expedition (HEX) and Desolation.
SteveR and I went back into Circle Center mall and looked around for some anti-perspirant (as they anti-perspirant that I had had melted on the plane, possibly due to the cold in the cargo compartment); they had it at Nordstrom's – but it was $20 for the “fragrance”! I decided, against my better judgement, to take the walk with SteveR over to the CVS Pharmacy about six blocks away. In the heat and humidity, that was the hardest walk I've made in some time; we don't generally get this type of humidity in Ottawa, and it was brutal. I picked up the pill box I needed there as well, but no cooler. I remember thinking that given the amount of walking I was doing so far, and the convention hadn't even started, that I was getting a lot of exercise - might lose some weight out of this trip.
After lunch at the 40 West Coffee Café, which is part of the hotel (the food was nothing special), SteveR and I went back to the Convention Center to look around. After checking out the map for the Exhibitor's Hall (very large, and lots of booths!), I saw obnoxiad (Shawn), and he introduced me to his two companions, Nich Gray and his wife, Lauren (rev and mrs_rev on the HEX forums). They were both nice and kind, and Nich was pleased to meet me. They were all heading over to CVS, but Shawn mentioned that Jamie and the Greymalkin Designs folk, as well as Jeff, banished_babe Melissa), and the other Exile folks were in the Dealer's Hall setting up. SteveR and I wanted to go into the Hall, as Shawn and Nich were wearing Exhibitors' Badges, but they were off on other errands, so SteveR and I didn't press the matter.
We headed back to the Omni, but first decided to check out Union Station. We were able to get in at one of the side entrances, as con set-up was going on. The place was absolutely magnificent, even though we couldn't get in to see the rooms we were going to run in (Illinois Central), but I loved the look and feel of the place – an old-style railroad station. Has lots of potential for gaming stuff, so I got spross (SteveR) top snap some photos.
Around 4:30 pm, SteveR and I went back to the Ram, and met James Yancey (one of the Exile folks, methinks) who was running a modern day Ubiquity game. I took a look at the sheets over shoulders, and liked the adaptations he made. Had a good chat with James afterwards, and he pointed out Matt, Jamie, and nearside (Stephen) of
Greymalkin Designs, the folks doing the Desolation rpg, and their families (I was introduced to Elizabeth, but forgot the names of everyone else at the time; hope to see them in the Dealers' Hall tomorrow, and get intros again!), at a table, just finishing supper. Since they were finished, SteveR and I went over and talked with them, and it was really good to meet them. I talked to Jamie for a bit, and he sold me a signed copy of the Desolation book. It was my first look at the book, since my copy that came to the house arrived the day I left, so I never saw it; the book is beautiful, and quite large, and I was just dying to read it! :) Spoke with Matt, Stephen, and everyone else for a bit, and talked about all sorts of modules and other Greymalkin stuff – there will be no special dice for the game for now (so we'll use the regular Ubiquity dice), but there are Style chips specific to Desolation. In addition, Matt tossed my way a plastic bag of 3 sets of Ubiquity dice, and 35 of the old wooden Survival chips that were used originally back at GenCon 2007. Neat stuff!!
I planned to run a game at the Ram, so SteveR and I stayed for dinner. It was a relatively good meal with a nice salad and baked potato, but I found the sirloin round steak...tough to eat. That type of steak always is, but I managed. Couldn't game at the Ram at that point, so SteveR and I returned to the hotel after dinner. WHen we went back later, we discovered that we couldn't run any games in the non-restaurant proper area or whatever they call it... there was a private function going on, so SteveR and I returned to the hotel once more.
At around 7:30 pm, seeing that I was somewhat down in the dumps, SteveR convinced me that we should go over to the Embassy Suites lobby where Jeff (Combos) of Exile Games was running a game of Hollow Earth Expedition (HEX) for the forum folks who couldn't play in the official game the next night. After walking over there and seeing the glory that was the hotel, we found the small group that was playing with Jeff. Instead of the scenario that was supposed to go, Jeff was running "The Fate of Atlantis", the scenario from the back of the new HEX supplement, Mysteries of the Hollow Earth (which should be out later this year). Jeff was there, of course, but I also met a bunch of the HEX forum members there - obnoxiad (Shawn) and animadversio (Tom) (whom I'd met the previous night), linwood (MikeD), Nestor, Rabbit in the Moon (Kate), bretbo (Rob), Chris Theissen, and several others...sorry, the events just blur after a while, even with the hand journal notes. Jeff stopped for a moment to greet me, and I got to say "Hello" to most of the others there, and then sat back to watch the game. When one of the players had to leave the game, I took up the character and sat in on the game. The character was a Noble Beastmaster, but I felt a bit out of sorts for having come into the game about an hour in, and felt hesitant playing with such elite company. I don't think I did too badly, but I really can't judge. I have some terrific memories of that game, and may go into them at some point, but for now I'll just say that I really had a blast with the folks.
Near the end of the game, banished_babe (Melissa) came in, and perched on the sofa edge next to me. She leaned down and whispered, "Aren't you going to say "Hello"?" It took me a moment to realise who she was, and we hugged briefly and then chatted after the game. Short, cute, brunette, and a lovely woman. The heart and spirit of Exile Games, I often think. After the game, I got to talk with the various folks who were there, and finally met folks the proper way. They really are a good bunch of people. Nestor was wearing the Fez - he really does look a lot like John Rhys Davies! - and it was good to meet him finally. I spoke to Kate, her friend Charles, and MikeD about the Desolation friends game, and let them them know that I was going to run it in the Omni lobby around 9:30 pm on the Saturday night. After talking some more with Jeff, Melissa, and a few of the others, SteveR and I headed back for the Omni and a night's sleep, as I was going to run "The Secret of Lake Qechacua" the next morning.
Didn't get too much sleep that night, as I was a bit hyper after the gaming with the Exile folks and all, but this felt like the start of GenCon for me, and to be honest, I expected no less that night.
Anyway, so that's the wrap-up on the second day of the trip to Indy, and the day right before the official start of GenCon. Next up, the first day of GenCon, 2008!