John Kahane (jkahane) wrote,
John Kahane

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GenCon 2017, Day 2 Report

Here is the report of the fourth day of the trip to GenCon 2017. The report on the third day can be found in this journal entry. Note that this post is quite long, and has quite a few photos in it.

August 18th, 2017

I woke up this morning feeling somewhat rested, though not refreshed. I was surprised since I'd had bowel problems during the night (the price I'd paid once more for not eating for a stretch of the afternoon *sigh*). It promised to be a busy day at GenCon on the Friday, not least because I was running the first of two sessions of "The Dying Ship" scenario for the Coriolis - The Third Horizon RPG in the afternoon. I got up and took care of the morning ablutions, my left shoulder feeling very sore but somewhat relieved when I came out of the shower. While spross got showered and dressed, I checked the Twitter feed for the morning and was glad that I've been tweeting regularly about the trip to Indy and GenCon 2017, as those tweets would serve as part of my memories for the blog entries I'm currently writing. I promised myself that I'd take a bit more time to read over the scenario for Coriolis, as I'm new to it other than doing the editing on it, but I was looking forward to running it in the afternoon. Forgot to mention that before bed on Thursday night, SteveR told me he'd found the two Directors rooms in the Hyatt that I'd be running the game at - they were concealed at one end of the Hyatt Ballroom on the second floor. Nice to know.

SteveR and I went to Shula's in the hotel (the Westin Indianapolis) for breakfast, and I was surprised that we had about a 10-minute wait for a table. Shouldn't have been surprised, I guess, since with the hotel full of GenCon attendees, eating at restaurants was bound to be at a premium. We were early enough that we'd successfully make it to the dealers' hall for the morning. I had my 2-egg omelette, but had mushrooms, ham (instead of spinach) and mozzarella cheese with it, and toast; still had the same attitude about the coffee. :) From there, it was back up to the hotel room, the last of the ablutions, and then headed for the ICC and the convention proper.

We got down to the ICC with about 5 minutes to spare before it opened for the day. Just as crowded as it had been the day before, from what I heard, but the crowd was pretty intense and a bit crazy. I did manage to get a decent photo though.

Crowd outside the GenCon Exhibit Hall, waiting

I headed in with SteveR when the doors opened, and said a prayer for my safety. The Exhibit Hall was just as large and intimidating as it had been on Thursday, but there was a manic infectiousness about it that I loved, even with my mild claustrophobia at work. SteveR and I headed over right off the bat to the Ulisses Spiele NA booth, where Darrell Hayhurst was once more, and I managed to buy a set of Torg Eternity RPG dice while SteveR picked up a set for himself and one for Tammy. Love the dice, they're quite beautiful! (I took a photo of the dice right then and there.)

The Torg Eternity dice set

Darrell and I talked some more about various things pertaining to Torg Eternity, and he also told me the basics about the Delphi Council game from the night before (you had to pledge $1,000 in the Kickstarter to play in this game), and based on some of the secrets he told me about that game, I really wish I'd been able to get into the game, but I just didn't have the funds for that at the time. Here's a photo of the USNA booth that early Friday morning. I'm in the pic (so find me). :)

The USNA booth (see me?)

From the USNA booth, I headed over to the Modiphius Entertainment booth once more. Here's a pic that I took at the booth.

Fria Ligan/Free League Publishing stuff at the Modiphius booth

What's interesting is there are no copies of the Tales From the Loop RPG there, and the game was going to be up for an ENnie Award or two that night. The shipment had been delayed, but the folks at the Modiphius booth said they hoped that the books would be in some time on Saturday (hopefully the morning). I was walking way from the Modiphius booth, and came across another booth (but for the life of me, can't remember what the booth was called) selling t-shirts, and I caved in and picked up three more t-shirts.

Also caught sight of this cute dude/dudette at the booth, sitting there. (SteveR took the photo. I apologise for the blurriness.)

A cute whatsit

Walking around a bit after that, stumbled on the Days of Wonder booth and the various tables where Ticket to Ride was being played. Stayed there for a bit, and watched a bit of the game. Took the photo, of course.

Ticket to Ride game in progress

Continued to wander around, and paid a visit to the Pelgrane Press booth. Chatted with some old friends and took a look at the new merchandise that they had, but wasn't feeling like buying anything new there.

The Pelgrane Press booth

Here's a photo of one of the old friends I mentioned. (Robin D. Laws.) He lives in the Toronto area and I live in the Ottawa area, so naturally I had to travel to Indianapolis to see and chat with him. Had a good talk with Robin, and learned what he was up to gaming-wise (and no, I'm not allowed to say).

One of the old friends at Pelgrane (Robin D. Laws)

Walked over to the Paizo booth where some of the other half of the Ulisses Spiele NA folks were selling stuff, and lo and behold the new Torg Eternity t-shirts had come in a day early. Guess who bought one? Moi! :) (Again, you'll have to wait for the GenCon Loot post to see photos of the new t-shirt, but it's absolutely gorgeous and colourful.) Had a good discussion with Dean Gilbert (aka TorgHacker) again about various things Torg Eternity related, and he swore me to secrecy about some of the stuff in the [redacted by the Delphi Council] book. Good chat.

SteveR and I decided that it was time to head out of the Exhibit Hall and grab some lunch, since I also had to run the first of two Coriolis - The Third Horizon RPG game sessions at 2:00 pm, so started heading for the nearest exit from the massive hall. While on the way out, we wandered near the Chimera Hobby Shop booth, more a second-hand game shoppe than anything else, and guess what I spotted? Old TORG RPG supplements! I couldn't resist, and bought a whole slew of the TORG RPG books, although I was sad he didn't have any of the old boxed sets. *sigh* Still, it was a good haul. Rather pleased with myself. :)

We dropped off the stuff we'd picked up for the day back at the hotel room in the Westin, and I promised myself that I wasn't going to buy any more stuff at the convention, maybe just a couple of more t-shirts and maybe some more dice. SteveR and I then headed for Shula's for lunch in the Westin Indianapolis (one of the best kept lunch restaurant secrets at GenCon), and ate a club sandwich with a bottle of water. Absolutely yummy. After lunch, we went back up to the hotel room and collected all the stuff that I'd need to run the game of Coriolis that afternoon, and then headed over to the Hyatt and Directors 2, Table 2. I was looking forward to running the game, and meeting the players there.

We got to the Hyatt and went over to the Directors 2 room, and found that there some 10 gamers playing a game at two tables of the three in the room. There were five people pre-registered for the game (out of five asked for), so I figured that there would be a full table for the game. I started setting up for the game, and several of the players showed up and came over to the table and sat down, all ready to play. By the time 2:00 pm rolled around, I realised one of the players wasn't going to show up, and there were no potential players with Generic tickets, so I put a couple of calls out for players on Twitter (though I got no response). I wasn't too worried about this, as the adventure would play well with four players, and I could have them play the fifth character as an NPC.

The Coriolis - The Third Horizon scenario that I was running on this Friday afternoon was the newest adventure published by the folks at Fria Ligan/Free League Publishing called "The Dying Ship", and had just gone on sale at the convention the day before. The scenario features the same characters from the "Dark Flowers" Quickstart adventure - Dr. Armita Wana, Zebaraimas "Zebo" Hutul, Samioh Amin, Rouya Ghallab and Nima Dol-Soufi - in which the characters investigate what's going on aboard a freighter that has gone silent, and discover a deadly secret. One that may all not live to tell the tale about. While I'm not going to go into detail about the scenario for the obvious reasons, since I plan to run it at other conventions in the future, I'll only discuss some of the elements of the game here. Bear in mind there are SPOILER WARNINGS here, so be warned.

The Coriolis RPG game went pretty well given the circumstances. As mentioned, four of the five players showed up for the game, one woman, and three fellows. Two of the players were from Hawaii and had never roleplayed before. One had played in the "Dark Flowers" game the night before, but the GM had used modified rules, and the fourth player was a newbie to the game system but not to roleplaying. The players took on the role of four of the characters, with Rouya Ghallab (the combat oriented character) to be played by agreement by the group as a whole. The game went really well for the first hour and 1/2, but noise from the tables of 12 (!!) players in the room drove the fourth player out of the game and the room, this despite attempts to get them to quiet down. I was pretty annoyed, and thought the game would end then and there, but the other three players decided to continue on, splitting the two now NPCs between themselves. (More on the disruptive tables of players to come in the Saturday report.)

Running Coriolis on Friday 1

The scenario went really well, with the prologue encounter with the old woman setting the stage, and the players becoming nervous about the mystical elements that were seemingly occurring. I had an urchin run up to the characters looking for Dr. Wana, and then handing her the first hand-out, and that got the players set for the meeting at Wahib's cantina. They took me by surprise by sending one of their own, the artist/courtesan Samioh Amin, to check out Wahib's and see what they could learn. The players were surprised by what occurred there, and took matters into their own hands to prevent their losing a potential client. From there, the scenario went very well, and the players got creeped out as they travelled to the gone silent freighter, and were creeped out by the atmosphere that I gave the scenario. They did a good job getting aboard the Orun II, and then things got more mystical, even more creepy, and the players loved it! They were barely able to win out in the situation they found themselves in, and had a moral dilemma on their hands at the end that they agonised about before taking what action they had to so as to prevent an even great catastrophe.

Running Coriolis on Friday 2

There was some terrific roleplaying on the part of the three players in the game, with the Hawaiian lady who played Dr. Wana taking firm command of the party of characters, but allowing them to give her feedback. For their part, they allowed her to make the final decisions, but the fellow playing Samioh Amin was rather headstrong and clashed with her at times. He played the character rather sneaky and shifty, and did a great job playing the social chameleon and it was his sensor ops rolls that allowed them to learn some useful information before they attempted to board the Orun II. Lastly, the fellow playing Zebo did a great job playing the true believer in the Icons, and the others responded to that, facing their own attitudes towards the Icons and how religion played itself out in the characters' lives and in the course of the adventure. The players had a terrific time playing in the "Arabian Nights in space" setting, and really loved the atmosphere of the scenario and the at times creepiness of the adventure.

When we were finished, SteveR had returned and while I was packing up the gaming materials, the players told me they were really fond of the Coriolis - The Third Horizon RPG system and game rules, and loved the simplicity and intuitiveness of the game. They also admitted to adoring, but being terrified of, the Darkness Points and that set of mechanics. The fellow who had played in the "Dark Flowers" scenario the night before mentioned that he really preferred the rules "as written", as he had feared that this scenario would make him and the others feel that they couldn't succeed at dice rolls the way he and the other players felt the night before.

Anyway, SteveR helped me finish packing up the Coriolis - The Third Horizon RPG game materials, and then we made the trek back to the Westin to drop things off at the hotel room. Those Coriolis rulebooks are very heavy. SteveR had somewhere else that he needed to be that evening, so after he left the hotel room I sat back and rested for a bit. Once I decided to go and eat supper, I figured that perhaps a good choice would be Loughmiller's Pub. While getting ready to go outside, I got a text message from my friend Andrew Davis, whom I hadn't seen since 2015 (but whom I was in touch with through texts and e-mails) asking if I wanted to go to supper with him and his sister, Izzy. We agreed to meet up at Loughmiller's, and had a good meal there and good conversation. I had a really good plate of fish 'n chips (c'mon, it's a pub...what do you expect?) and had a beer with that meal, too, and the mood was relaxed and festive. After dinner, we had some tea and then went back to the Westin lobby to chat for a bit more. After Andrew and Izzy took off for the night, I sat back in the Westin lobby and watched some of the ">ENnies and the award winners being announced. There was a nice surprise in there. :)

Coriolis - The Third Horizonwins an ENnie Award

I also had a nice little bonus. MarkJ, whom I'd met in the lobby during one of my other sit-downs there, remembered seeing me at the Ulisses Spiele NA booth, and asked if I'd like (to learn) to play some Aventuria with him. I was very pleased to do so, and managed to win two duels out of the five we played. Easy to learn game and probably some beginner's luck involved. Fun game. I was having so much fun with the game, I forgot to snap a picture or two. Ah, well.

SteveR sent me a photo of a terrific costume that he'd seen at the convention, a really cute, somewhat hot Agent Carter.

Agent Carter is at GenCon

I sat around in the Westin lobby for a bit more time, tweeting a bit, and talking to several of the gamers at various tables. I also watched about 20 minutes of a game of Terraforming Mars (which influenced me on Saturday) before SteveR returned from his not total disaster evening (see his own blog posts about this when he writes them up). We walked over to Capital Grounds in the Westin hotel and picked up a chocolate chip muffin before heading upstairs to the hotel room.

Up in the hotel room, SteveR and I snacked on the chocolate chip muffin and I had my Cheerios after taking my insulin shot for the night (my sugar was very low to begin with), and then I crawled onto the bed and went over the day in my mind. While the Friday had started off badly, things got better after that. I had a good breakfast to start the day, and didn't allow my blood sugar to run helter skelter. Not to mention eating a decent set of meals and snacks for the day helped my tummy tremendously.
I then re-read some of "The Dying Ship" material before bed. I hit the pillows and fell asleep relatively quickly (for me). I think my body knew that it was going to be a long Saturday.

That's the wrap-up on the fourth day of the trip to Indy, and the second official day of GenCon 2017. Hope folks enjoyed the blog entry. The Saturday report on events will follow as soon as I get a chance.
Tags: convention, coriolis rpg, gaming hut, gencon, personal, report, rpg hut, torg eternity rpg

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