May 20th, 2017
I woke up on Saturday morning around 8:00 am feeling...sick to my stomach. I didn't eat enough food on Friday night, and the lack of a balanced diet probably didn't help. Not to mention the phlegm from my allergies dripping down my throat. When I got out of bed, I was also a bit shaky and still quite tired. Not enough sleep. I tested out my voice, and realized that I was absolutely hoarse and almost at a whispering level. This didn't augur well for the day, given that I was supposed to run two games at CanGames this day. After breakfast, I felt somewhat better, though I was coughing a bit, the hot food and coffee making me have nasal drip, but the coffee definitely soothed the throat somewhat.
I went downstairs, and continued packing the rest of the gaming stuff up for the day, as well as started on the personal bag, and made a decision for the day: If I couldn't get the folks at Game Registration to move the Primeval and Tales From the Loop games that I was supposed to run from the main area near Registration (F2) and the kids' section on the curling sheet (C3) down to the basement level (S1 or S2), where it was relatively quiet, I was going to cancel both games for the day. After finishing most of the packing, I had my shower, luxuriating in the hot water, and that made me feel a bit better, though the allergies/asthma were still very bad. At least my spirits were somewhat better as well. After dressing, I started in on some of the snack food, cutting up some cheese cubes, restocking some of the crackers, and made sure that I added a couple of extra teabags to my tote bag for personal belongings.
spross arrived at my place around 11:45 am, and I was feeling rather good at that point, though my voice was ragged, and was looking forward to the games of the day. We packed the car with the gaming stuff and took the food in the decent size cooler that I had recently bought, and then headed over to Subway. About 10 minutes into the drive, I realized I'd forgotten my diabetes pills that I had put in the little pill box that I use, and we went back to the house so I could grab that. Once at Subway, I picked up a turkey sub as per usual with a bottle of water, then it was off to the convention. We arrived at the Rideau Curling Club somewhat later than planned, close to 1 pm. We were both surprised when SteveR was able to find a parking space right across the street from the Rideau Curling Club entrance. The Gods were obviously cracking a smile on us this afternoon! :)
SteveR and I unpacked the car, took everything into the Rideau Curling Club venue, and put all the food and gaming stuff into one of the storage lockers on the lower level of the club. While SteveR went to the loo, I went upstairs and checked on the number of gamers for the two games I was running this day. There were no surprises - I still had only two players for the Primeval game in the afternoon, but a second player had signed up for the Tales From the Loop game that I was running that evening. I spoke (such as I could, among all the noise) to the Gaming Registration folks, and was able to change the table assignments for the last three games (I also had Coriolis - The Third Horizon to run on Sunday) from the main floor and curling sheet down to one of the rooms in the basement (nicknamed "The Dungeon"). I saw knightbane, and he came over to talk for a couple of minutes, but after I told him that I had lost/was losing my voice, we cut the conversation short.
Since it was now a quarter past one, and I was supposed to run my game of Primeval at 2:00 pm, we sat down on the main level at one of the tables and ate our Subway lunches. I made sure to hydrate myself adequately this time. SteveR helped me get the gaming stuff out of the locker downstairs, and prop it against the wall, since the room I was gaming in (S1) was the Ladies Room (see the previous entry) where the lockers were!! I did a bit of basic set-up for the game, and then headed up at around 1:35 pm to see if I had any more players on the sign-up sheet that the CanGames folks had put out. SteveR also needed to find himself a game to play in. I managed to talk a couple of other folks into playing the game, using the fact that the scenario has the nickname "Dinos On a Zeppelin" as the hook. Worked like a charm, but by close to 2:00 pm, I coudn't get a sixth player to join in. I was a bit annoyed, but nothing to do but soldier on. I found all the players, and told them that the game had been moved down to the basement level from the assigned table due to my voice.
I descended back down to "The Dungeon", and most of the players were already there and waiting. The room was pretty small, what with the lockers, but relatively comfortable, though it didn't have a lot of ventilation and was somewhat dusty. The heat and the dust had me coughing more as phlegm dripped down my throat, and the dry air didn't help that much, either. This was to plague me for the rest of the convention running the games in the room, but it *was* quiet (though there was some noise always from the game(s) in S2, so that more than made up for things. As I started the Primeval game, it was very warm, but as the evening went on, it became like an oven (at least it felt like that to me).
The Primeval adventure I ran on Saturday afternoon is called "The Dixmude Affair" (though it has a nickname, which is "Dinos On a Zeppelin"), and revolves around the player characters returning from the past through an Anomaly to an altered timeline that seems to hinge on something that occurred in 1923 with the airship Dixmude. The player characters for this scenario are a somewhat slightly altered mix of characters from the early part of the second series of the UK series - Professor Nick Cutter, palaeontologist; Stephen Hart, survival expert and guide; Abby Maitland, animal specialist (herpetologist); Connor Temple, technology geek; Claudia Brown, civil servant; and Captain Tom Ryan, Home Office/SAS man. This scenario is a homegrown one; I'm not going into detail about the plot here (because I'd like to run the adventure at a few other conventions and the like). I will say that the adventure went very well, though I modified a couple of the encounters to better meet the time requirements that I had. Since there were only five players at the table, one of the characters didn't get played. That was Abby Maitland, which hindered the roleplaying on the part of the Connor Temple player, though I did make sure he got to interact with her several times by mobile phone (and in the final sequence).
Overall, the players had a good time with the adventure, though I was surprised that none of them had seen the Primeval UK tv series, so they really had little grasp of how to play the characters from the show. That worked out all right, since with the write-ups I provided them on the characters, it gave them a bit of leeway in how they played their characters. The fellow playing Nick did a nice job of playing the team leader, and he clashed a couple of times with the "kill the creatures" attitude of the Captain Ryan character, whose player did a great job interacting with the other players and their characters. The fellow playing Connor did his best with the technology aspects of the scenario, and managed to get a few good laughs at times with some of his more humourous comments. The fellow playing Claudia hadn't seen the series, but he understood her role in the group very well, and kept telling them not to make too much of a mess of the situation they were in. Gary, a friend of mine from past CanGames, played Stephen Hart, and did a good job with him, using his tracking skills, mocking Nick's approach to dealing with the creatures and the public knowledge of them, and used his combat skills effectively (more so than the fellow playing Captain Ryan). Highlights of the game session included: The look on the faces of the players when they realized the time period of the (standard style of Primeval UK series) Prologue. When the player characters returned to the ARC and were attacked by neo-Nazis with advanced technology. Chasing them saw them encounter the same characters, but French revolutionaries in appearance. My favourite lines of the night were, "I thought she was a neo-Nazi, not a French revolutionary." - Tom Ryan "That was in the *other* timeline." - Nick Cutter. The attack by the *censored!* at the *censored!* museum was a lot of fun, and the players experienced Threat markers for the first time. ::evil grin:: The player characters' encounter with an alternate Helen Cutter, and the Nick player's reaction to that was priceless. The fight on the airship with the *censored! dinosaurs* that saw a pitched battle on the catwalks and pylons and beams in the upper part of the airship near the rear gasbags was a blast (pun intended!), and just marvellous.
For the most part, I had a good time running the adventure, but felt drained by the end of the session. My voice was whispery and soft by the time we finished up, even with the cups of hot tea and bottles of water I drank. I was out of gas and out of breath at the end. The characters racked up 8 Temporal Damage and 5 Exposure points when it was all done, but that didn't matter due to the nature of the outcome of the scenario (and no, I'm not explaining what I mean by that!). The players felt very accomplished at the end of the session, and told me that they had really enjoyed the adventure, even if they were confused by some of the plot twists and turns, not to mention the alternate reality elements, but the confusion was good! :) The players told me that they could hear me relatively well, as the room we were in was pretty quiet, so the change in room/table assignments was a good one on my part. The heat and dryness, however, was another matter. I chatted with only a couple of the players after we finished, while I was packing up the game and materials, despite how I was barely talking. One of the players asked me about the Threat rules, and I gave him the basics on those, while Gary talked to me about the time travel elements of the plot, and got the skinny on a couple of the issues pertaining to that.
By the time I finished packing up and all, it was just before 6:00 pm, and SteveR had returned with our supper, a Chinese beef with veggies (actually all bok choy) and (egg) noodles dish. He'd actually finished running his game, "The Chabuli Conspiracy" for the Thousand Suns RPG just before 5:00 pm!!, and had then headed out to get the food for us after relaxing for a few minutes. (You can read about his running of the game from one of the players' perspectives by reading knightbane's blog entry.) I packed the Primeval stuff in the locker in the room and took the stuff out for the game of Tales From the Loop that I would be running that evening. I needed to get out of the hot and dry S1 room for a while, and since I needed to go upstairs and hand in the Primeval game sign-in sheet with the winners of the trophies/certificates anyway, suggested to SteveR that we go upstairs and eat supper at the table where I would have originally run the Tales From the Loop game. He was agreeable, so off and upstairs we went.
The cool air of the upstairs (though also somewhat dry) felt good after being down in "The Dungeon", and we sat and relaxed over supper which was quite good. But SteveR and I could have split one of those dishes between us, and there would have been a batch of it left over! I managed to scarf down my diabetes meds with some water during supper, and actually drank a whole bottle of water with the meal, just taking the noisy atmosphere of the upstairs area in. I did my best to preserve my voice for the evening session (the food helped a bit with that), but was feeling like a bit of social outcast since I couldn't really talk casually with my friends and acquaintances during the con, and Saturday at supper was no exception. We finished eating around 6:30 pm or so, and while SteveR took the excess food out to the car, I checked how the sign-up sheet for the game looked and was pleased that I had managed to fill all but one of the five spots for the game. I went back downstairs and started setting up the table for the evening's game, and once that was done, went back upstairs. I still only had four players for the Tales From the Loop game, but was able to convince a young lady, Heather, to play after I showed her the game blurb (since this game wasn't in the convention booklet).
Heading back down to "The Dungeon", I saw that all of the players had arrived for the Tales From the Loop game, and Heather arrived shortly thereafter. I finished the set-up I needed to do, waited until 7:00 pm, and then got the game underway. As for the scenario, well... First off, Tales From the Loop is a roleplaying game based on the artwork of Simon Stalenhag of Swedish 1980s suburbia, populated by fantastic machines and strange beasts that have arisen because of the Loop. The player characters are Kids aged 9-15 who investigate and solve Mysteries that are connected to the Loop. The game uses the same ruleset as those found in Mutant Year Zero and Coriolis - The Third Horizon, but that are simpler in style and feel. The scenario that I ran for the game, "Summer Break and Killer Birds", is the first of the adventures found in the main rulebook for the game, and concerns a boring Swedish summer in which a talking bird (or three) leads the Kids into a mystery of sorts and a nefarious plot. The player characters for this adventure include Olof "Olle" Svensson, a sports jock; Anita "Ani" Carlgren, the serious popular girl; Dennis "Turtle" Dahlstrom, a shy computer nerd; Sara Dahlstrom, Turtle's younger sister and a curious weirdo; and a fifth character of my own creation, Lars "Muscles" Herkusson, a lonely hick. I'm not going into detail about the plot here (because others might run the adventure down the line, and I'd like to run the scenario again sometime!), but will say that the adventure played out really well, and the players seemed to have a fun time of it.
Overall, I did a pretty good job with the adventure despite my voice problems and the fact that I had to dash out of the gaming room at one point because the heat and dust made me feel like I was going to retch. The players commented that they could hear me fine, due to the nice and relatively peaceful quiet despite the game going on in the next room over. The players commented they loved the game setting, the simplicity of the Tales From the Loop game rules and mechanics ("even a child could learn these rules!" as one player put it), and had a good time with the intriguing plot. The players each did a great job playing their Kid characters, Heather doing a superb job with "Muscles" Herkusson, and focusing on his wisdom and knowledge of the outdoors. Gary, again, did a great job with the sports jock, "Olle" Svensson, and got to use his cricket bat at one point during the final sequence. The other players were equally inspired, "Turtle" Dahlstrom's player playing the computer nerd/geek to a "T" and the player playing his sister, Sara, played her as a 9-year-old for all he was worth. Finally, the fellow playing "Ani" Carlgren was terrific as the popular kid vying for the attention of one of the other characters, while also seeking popularity and doing what it took to get that. Highlights of the adventure were many, but some of the stand-outs included: The Kids tried to track down the *censored*(s), but couldn't do so. They got distracted by some of the ruins of intriguing items and creations, including a rusted robot head. Facing the mad ornithologist, Mats Tingblad, the characters all took the Scared Condition when they first encountered him chasing birds with an axe. From that point on, they called him "Mad Mats". Searching the home of another scientist, they encountered his niece, and the debate started by the famous line, "Brother, what does "making whoopie" mean?" felt almost like a whole Abbott and Costello routine. Lots of fun. The final showdown with *censored!* that gave the players a "winner takes all" vibe, and that they ran with, using Luck Points like crazy to accomplish their goals.
By the time we wrapped up for the night, I was feeling down to my last ounce of strength, and to be honest, almost voiceless. While SteveR, who had played in a game during the evening, helped me pack up the gaming materials and foodstuffs for the evening, I answered a few questions from a couple of the players about the Tales From the Loop game. They had enjoyed the game, but were curious about a couple of aspects of the game and some of the artwork intrigued them as well. After the players had all departed, I went about assigning the rankings on the sign-up sheet, which I took up to the Game Registration Desk, and collected my second $5 GM reward token of the convention. I took my blood glucose reading, and it was around 12.9 (again, a sure sign that I had an infection), and I took my insulin shot and then once more had a small, plastic bowl of Cheerios. Packed up and ready to go, SteveR and I took all the bags and the cooler out to the car.
I got back to the house around 11:45 pm, and SteveR helped me bring in the stuff from the gaming day, and then swapped some of the snack food that was left from my new cooler back into his. The adrenalin for the day was gone by this time, and I just had nothing left to give for the night. I made a cup of tea, unpacked one of the three game bags, and then headed for bed. My voice was definitely gone, and I was feeling somewhat sick and thought that I might have gotten the con crud that I was seeing at the convention in my weakened condition. After the tea, I went to bed, but was up for a while with some coughing fits and bad allergy symptoms. I think I fell asleep around 3:00 am or so.
And that's the wrap-up of Saturday at CanGames 2017. As you can see this entry was a long one, and had a only a couple of photos (and those from the convention program booklet) for the enjoyment of those reading the blog entry. Hope folks enjoyed this journal entry, and if so, please comment with any thoughts you might have on the entry. All I know is I'm just tired from typing this up! :)