May 21st, 2017
Woke up many times in the early hours of Sunday morning due to the dry throat and the coughing that racked my body. Did manage to sleep somewhat, and finally got out of bed around 8:45 am. To be honest, I suspect that I had also come down with a bout of con crud around this time, as they're were several players who were obviously sick on Saturday, but also due to the heat vs. air conditioning in some of the venue, and no doubt added to by the fact that I was running the games down in "The Dungeon" at the convention. Fortunately, there was but one more game for me to run at the convention, another Coriolis - The Third Horizon game, but the most challenging of the scenarios that I'd run during the weekend. After taking care of the morning ablutions and having breakfast, I finished unpacking the gaming stuff from the day before, and loaded up the Coriolis stuff for today's game. I repacked the personal bag, since I wasn't going to need to take the insulin with me, as I hoped to be home before the shot this evening, and then went upstairs and got some of the food snacks for the afternoon prepped and ready. I also added another three teabags to the morning's preparations, as my voice was almost non-existent and I figured I was going to need to drink a lot of tea. Little did I know.
spross arrived around 11:45 am, and after getting all the food stuff in order, and checking to see that I had my stubs for the CanGames booth stuff that I (hoped) was selling, I made sure that I had taken my evening's medications with me this time. :) He and I packed up the car, and headed for the convention. We stopped at the Subway on the way in, and grabbed lunch for ourselves, and then travelled downtown. I polished off a half bottle of water on the way, since I wanted to make sure that I wasn't dehydrated for the day. We arrived at the Rideau Curling Club around 12:15 pm or so, and once more the Icons were smiling down on us; we parked the car on the other side of the street from the Curling Club. Sweet! :)
Once inside the Rideau Curling Club, I saw that while there were plenty of games underway, the place was relatively quiet. Figured that wouldn't last once the afternoon games started, but the venue was still pretty noisy to my sensitive ears. SteveR and I went downstairs and unpacked everything into the lockers, and then headed upstairs again. I checked at the Game Registration Desk, and found that one of the (pre-registered) players who had been scheduled to play had cancelled, so I was down to four players for the adventure. First things first, however... SteveR and I spent about 10 minutes wandering the Marketplace area. I noticed at the CanGames booth that most of my stuff was still there, though there were a couple of notable absences. Still, disappointing sales for me, since I could have used the money. Had to hope a few more items sold before the end of the day. One of the booths (for the life of me, I can't remember which one! spross, help me out here!) was selling a copy of the Five Tribes board game that I'd been considering buying, but the asking price ($89.95) was just too steep for my wallet this day. Shame, really...but I will get that game at some point!
By this time, it was close to 1 pm, so SteveR and I sat down at one of the main floor tables that were unoccupied (the one I would normally have been running at), and ate lunch. By the time we finished eating, it was close to 1:30 pm, so I headed downstairs to start the set-up for the afternoon game of Coriolis - The Third Horizon in "The Dungeon", and then came up to check and see if the sign-up sheet for the game had filled. I was still missing one player, but Gary (you remember him from the past two days, right?) agreed to recruit someone if possible for the game for me, since I couldn't talk and make myself heard over the people at the sign-up table. I went back downstairs and finished the set-up for the game, and around 10 to 1, Gary came down to tell me that he'd been successful. The game had a full complement of players.
I finished setting up, and then went upstairs to grab the sign-up sheet. A couple of youngsters were sitting at the gaming table on the main floor where I would have been running the game, and it turned out they were playing in the game. So I re-directed them downstairs to the gaming room, and then headed for the room again myself. I was feeling "throaty" and figured that some liquid refreshment would do the trick. I'll come back to this. The game in the adjoining room (S2) was somewhat louder than yesterday's games there had been, and I was a bit concerned.
The Coriolis - The Third Horizon adventure I ran on Sunday afternoon is called "Dark Flowers", and concerns the player characters, while travelling on a routine trade mission in the Dabaran system, being asked to investigate the disappearance of a Foundation Professor Dahiljaba. Needless to say, there's a *lot* more going on than just that, and the scenario has a very dark vibe to it. This is the game adventure from the Coriolis Quickstart document, so it was eminently playable, but would require some GM finesse to run. The five pre-generated player characters for the adventure are a team of Explorers, and include: Dr. Armita Wana, an expelled archaeologist, and the Captain; Zebarimas "Zebu" Hutul, a deeply devout technician, and the ship's Engineer; Samioh Amin, an adventurous courtesan, the ship's Sensor Operator; Rouya Ghallab, a disillusioned ex-legionnaire, and the ship's Gunner; and Nima Dol-Sufi, a fighter pilot haunted by her past, and the ship's Pilot. 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 I will say that the game went relatively well, though it looked like it was going to be a bit of a disaster at first (see below), although I did alter some elements of the plot as one of the players had the file in PDF, and I wasn't sure whether he'd read it or not.
My voice was pretty ragged to begin with, and down to a loud whisper, and when I started in on the basics of the game with the players after taking roll call, I tried to raise my voice to be heard better over the group in the next room. This made me start to choke, and I had to leave and dash upstairs to get some breath back in the (relative) cool of the main floor and so I could grab some hot water to make tea. The player I mentioned earlier, whose name was Paul Andre, had the game on his tablet, and volunteered to take over in terms of the game rules and background while I was gone, and I agreed. He did a decent job of it, for the most part, but I had to leave twice in the first twenty minutes of the session because of the choking and snot coming out of my nose all over my moustache. (Yeah, TMI I know, but what the heck.) The good news is that the tea helped, and I kept drinking cups of it over the course of the game session, though there were a couple of times where I wished I were-- umm, never mind. When I returned to the table and finished the basic briefing about the game, I also corrected a couple of things that Paul Andre had misinterpreted, and then started the scenario.
Overall, I thought the players had a really enjoyable afternoon with "Dark Flowers", and got to see an interesting and darker side of the game universe and the Arabian Nights inspirations. The players told me they found the game rules very easy to grasp, and the two youngsters at the table (who were both no more than 9 or 10, and were playing with their dad) were really good at the rules, though not necessarily at doing the math required when it came to Skills and the like, though I helped them with that. The father, Greg, told me later that it was his daughter's second ever roleplaying session, and I was really pleased that she seemed to like the game, though was a bit hesitant at times. That explained it. The players didn't like the Darkness Points rules at first, but warmed up to them as they saw them in action. It didn't help that there was some bad dice rolling during the initial section of the adventure (where the players were dealing with what they thought were sensor glitches), and Greg was surprised by this a couple of times, though he did get to see how one turns the failures into a storytelling opportunity. Just some character observations... Greg, the father of the two youngsters, played Dr. Wana as a forceful character, constantly giving orders (especially to his two youngsters), but more importantly he focused on weapons and felt like the archaeologist who makes discoveries by blowing up archaeological digs to "find" pieces of artefacts and the like in the debris. Paul Andre played Zebo quite well, dealing with tech problems quite well, though he played the drug addict a bit over the top at times for my taste. Still, interesting to watch his character in play, and he interacted with the two youngsters most often. The youngster playing Samioh treated him a lot like Sigourney Weaver's Gwen Demarco in Galaxy Quest, serving as a repeater of orders and communications, though he got better at the sensor operator role as the game progressed. He also interacted with the other youngster as often as possible, including her in all manner of situations (which she seemed to like). The other youngster did a great job with Rouya Ghallab, the ship's Gunner, after she'd gotten used to things and started acting more on her own initiative. She was pretty hesitant about shooting her dad's character, Dr. Wana, at one point when he needed to be rescued from his own folly. The fellow who played Nima was a bit of a disappointment. To start off with, he sat a bit apart from the other players, and was only communicative when dealing with his piloting or other related activities, or being involved with the group and their decisions. It was obvious that he didn't like the way the fellow playing Dr. Wana was commanding the other characters around, but he warmed up somewhat as the game entered the critical endgame. Some of the highlights included: The bit with the seeming sensor glitches turned into a bit of a Keystone Cops sequence with the captain directing the players on operations to either confirm it was a glitch or check for sabotage, resulting in player characters in contradictory positions all over the insides and outsides of the ship. Arriving at the missing scientist's last location, the characters were surprised to find... dark flowers. Just simply surreal, what happened after that. On the station itself, the betrayal by Samioh (see below) shocked the others, notably Zebo, who considered him his younger brother. The revelations about the truth of the matter then surprised the players even more, something that I was pleased about. The players' realization that they were stranded on the station after *censored!* absconded with their ship. Knowing what had to be done to fix matters, and the last minute escape before everything went to hell in a handbasket.
Other than the rough start at the beginning, I had a pretty good time running "Dark Flowers", though I found the scenario difficult to run in a couple of places. Something that happened was that at the mid-game break, the youngster playing Samioh told me that he was getting bored with the constant infighting of the characters and the captain's "recklessness". He wanted to turn traitor on them all! I went along with it, since I wanted to see where the young man would take it, and it worked out really well... especially the surprise and betrayal factor that the others felt. I did try to make sure that both youngsters, especially the little girl, got involved and had some opportunities to shine, and she certainly did, most notably at the very end. The players accomplished the scenario's main goal, but there was some confusion among the characters at the end about multiple identities and a few other elements that could easily spill over into a sequel adventure of some sort. After the game was over, my voice down to a creaky whisper, I answered a couple of questions from Paul Andre about the game. He told me that my voice had been a bit problematic, especially when the gamers next door were loud, but that he really enjoyed playing the game and looked forward to running Coriolis - The Third Horizon after he finished reading the book. Once the last of the players left, I was able to fill in the player rankings on the sign-up sheet.
SteveR, who had played some game or other that afternoon, came down to the lockers and after he took the sign-up sheet with the player rankings to the Gaming Desk, came back and we packed stuff up. I was exhausted, feeling deathly ill, and just wanted some food and a hot drink. I settled for another cup of tea, which did ease my throat somewhat. We headed upstairs to the main floor, which was relatively cool and comfortable, and I sat down with just my jacket and personal bag, while SteveR popped out to the car and deposited the rest of the gaming stuff there.
We sat around and waited for the CanGames closing ceremony to begin and end, and I have to admit that I dozed off partially through this, though did hear some of the award stuff during its course. It was relatively short, about 20 minutes or so (iirc), and then SteveR and I tracked down the folks who dispensed the monies for stuff sold at the CanGames booth. I was quite disappointed to find that I had sold very few of the items (two out of 11 to be specific) I had wanted to, so I donated what hadn't been sold to the convention, keeping only Sufficiently Advanced and Of Dreams And Magic (ODAM). By this time, SteveR and I were pretty hungry, so decided it was time to bid the convention adieu for this year.
Normally, I would have said my goodbyes to various friends and acquaintances before we left the Rideau Curling Club, but with the soreness and throaty whispering of my voice and the various people everywhere, I just needed to get away and rest and relax. SteveR and I bid farewell to CanGames 2017, and headed over to my favourite Chinese restaurant for supper, Brother Wu. We took the rather long route due to some...navigation problems... and got there a bit later than I expected to. The meal at Brother Wu's was excellent, as we had some Szechuan Mustard Green with Pork soup, an order of Gow Tien Dumplings (aka potstickers), Moo-She Chicken with Pancakes, a beef dish whose name I can't remember, and a small bowl of rice. A truly lovely meal, washed down throughout with Chinese tea. We talked very little over the food, since my voice was finished for the day. During the course of the meal, I had another bout of choking and had to go down to the washroom in order to calm down my throat and straighten myself up.
From the restaurant, SteveR drove me back to my place. Once there, he helped me unload the car with the gaming stuff, and then he headed for home. It was around 10:00 pm or so, I think, and I sat back, relaxed, and had some yogurt and a cup of peppermint tea, which helped so much. I was feeling pretty tired, achy all over, and had chest pain (so I guess I do have a case of con crud on top of the other stuff going on). I stayed up until I had to take my insulin injection for the night, and only had half a bowl of Cheerios before crawling into bed and reading for about half an hour. Then, blessed sleep.
And there you have it - my three-post report on CanGames 2017, and the rpgs I ran at the convention. Overall, I guess it was a pretty good convention, though the health issues I was having prevented me from truly enjoying myself (truth be told), other than when I was running games (and there was some iffy-ness in there, too). More exhausting for me than usual. (I may write an impressions of the con post as well, but we'll see, since I didn't really see all that much of the convention this year.)
Hope folks enjoyed these reports of the convention. :) Comments, thoughts, and questions are welcome. :)