May 18th, 2018
I had a very poor night's sleep, primarily due to my shoulder pain but also to the soreness of my leg because of the diabetic lesion on it, but I did wake up a bit later than is my usual wake-up time, around 8:45 am. I felt somewhat sore in the usual places, and had to run for the toilet with the you-know-what that was affecting me due to the massive dose of antibiotic I was taking, but I didn’t feel all that bad. My mom came over to see me off, and after I was up and about after breakfast, I started to take care of the packing of my personal belongings bag and stuff that I would need, and made some foodstuffs ready for when spross would arrive at my place around 11:35 am or so. Forgot to check the weather, but didn't worry about that at the time.
SteveR and I left my house around 10 past noon, and I realised that the one bag with the Torg Eternity rulebook and GM Screen was somewhat heavier than I had expected. Given my left shoulder problem, I didn't think I'd be able to carry that bag, but SteveR was kind enough to tote that one for me. We stopped at the local Tim Horton's for lunch, as I wanted to relax in the restaurant and eat, but didn’t want to go to Subway as we usually did. I had a grilled chicken, bacon and ranch wrap with a bottle of water for lunch, and was quite satisfied. From there, we headed downtown for the Rideau Curling Club and the gaming venue.
We arrived at the Rideau Curling Club close to 1:30 pm, and unlike how it is usually difficult to find a parking spot near the venue, today was no exception. This was typical for CanGames, as there's just not enough parking near the curling club for a convention of the size that it is. Something they seriously need to work on, methinks. SteveR dropped me off at the front of the Rideau Curling Club, and while I took my personal bag in, he went to find a parking space for the afternoon and evening. Since he had brought a dolly to take the two boxes of games I had brought to sell at the convention, SteveR was able to place all the gaming bags on the dolly as well, except for my personal bag (which also had my diabetic supplies/insulin in it).
On entering the Rideau Curling Club, I saw that it was already somewhat busy, with folks involved in set-up, and gamers lounging about here and there. There was a good 75 to 100 people present, so it wasn't too bad, and it was somewhat cool on the main floor. I was glad I'd brought my light jacket with me. I went and collected my registration package at the Service Desk, and then went to check out my four games and their attendance totals. I was surprised to find I had four players pre-registered for the evening’s Torg Eternity game as well as the one on Sunday, but was shocked to see that both the Capharnaum - The Tales of the Dragon-Marked RPG session for Saturday night was also full! Was also surprised and pleased to see that Roddy Turner had signed up for *two* of my games, the one Saturday night and the one Sunday afternoon. Once SteveR came with the dolly and the like, we went downstairs to find lockers to store stuff for a while. He had forgotten to bring a lock, so took a chance and placed his stuff, unlocked, in the locker next to the one I used. I found the basement area of the Curling Club to be a bit warm, something that was unusual, but took no notice of it. Once back upstairs, I took the gaming stuff I had to sell on the dolly and headed for the CanGames booth at the back of the Marketplace area where various people were setting up booths. Once more, the Marketplace was no longer at the back of the curling sheet, instead being along the length of the right hand wall (as one comes onto the curling sheet). I still rather like this change, as it makes the booths more accessible and gives folks a bigger area to spread out across, but it also makes the area somewhat noisier. Jeff Black was in charge of the CanGames booth as usual, and he made the process relatively easy and efficient, despite the hiccup in the on-line process that I’d encountered on Thursday night, the whole thing taking about half an hour. Once SteveR and I finished up there, we headed back to the main area of the ground floor, but stopped for a few minutes to chat with Emily Griggs while she was setting up her Sweet Ingenuity booth area, one of the few dealers who was at that point. The Sweet Ingenuity booth was going to have some good stuff again this year, and I hope that Emily continues to attend the convention. We chatted for just a bit, and then SteveR and I headed back to the main area on the ground floor.
Once there, I stopped to take a photo of the Registration area as a whole.
Then I went to the Game Registration area in order to make a change to the game on Sunday. Instead of running “Day 1: The Living Land” I was going to run “The Burden of Glory”, a scenario that will affect the Infiniverse in some interesting and unique ways. The folks at Registration were more than willing to make the change, and altered the sign-up sheet (which had four players pre-registered) appropriately, also adding the blurb about “Burden” that I handed them. I said "Hello" to some of the folks I knew at the convention and it was nice to greet old friends and new acquaintances.
SteveR and I went to one of the empty tables, and deposited the stuff we had with us (me my personal bag, and SteveR the cooler), and then decided to wander around a bit and see what was going on. Checked out a few of the roleplaying games going on on the main floor near Registration, and I saw Daniel Poulin was running Cosmic Patrol. Decided to take a couple of snaps of the game.
Chatted with a few more folks, and then headed out onto the curling sheet area to look at some of the miniature gaming going on (but there were only four tables playing stuff at the time). Looked at a couple of other booths in the Marketplace, and had a chance to check out Dan the Dice Guy’s wares. His presence at the convention was good, since he was selling strictly dice (something you would think would be an obvious booth choice at a gaming convention!), and his was the first I’d seen at CanGames, to be honest.
Checked out the Open Gaming area on the way out of the curling sheet section, and they had some great board games so there was going to be no lack of (good) games for folks to play. From there, we went back to the main area, and then made my one foray up to the second floor where the board gaming events take place and where the Curling Club cafeteria is. Once again the menu for the convention wasn’t all that healthy, but SteveR and I weren’t planning to eat any lunches or suppers at the convention. I looked around at the board games being played, and saw a game of Napoleonic Wars going on. Snapped a photo of that.
Around 4:30 pm or so, Shannon and Raymond Dickson arrived at the venue, and we talked a little bit about the fact that she wasn’t running any games at the convention this year, having decided that she was just going to play in games for the weekend. It’s something that I’ve been considering for several years, but just doesn’t seem “right” to me at this time. We chatted for a bit longer, and then I went and sat down at a table to rest my leg, and drink an amount of water and have some yogurt. Given the upstairs cafeteria's poor menu (and I use that term sarcastically), full of hamburgers and fries, though there was a garden salad as well a naan pizza - but the prices! Oy vey! - SteveR and I decided to order out. Around 4:45 pm, SteveR called out for some supper - we decided to have Swiss Chalet for the evening meal. Supper showed up around a quarter to six, so SteveR and I dug into the food. We both had the chicken teriyaki stir fry with rice, and split a side salad. Good food, though I couldn’t eat the whole portion.
After eating supper, SteveR went downstairs to grab the pair of gaming bags (one of them quite heavy, remember?) with the Torg Eternity stuff for me, while I cleaned up the gaming table somewhat. I also started setting up for the game as well, since it was about a 15-minute process. Once the sign-up sheets were put out for potential players to find games to play in at 6:30 pm, I went over to the sign-up table and was able to convince a couple of folks to join the game, so was expecting a full table of players. Then it was back to join the players at the table, and completing the set-up process for the evening.
The adventure I ran on Friday night is called “Day 1: The Living Land”, and revolves around a group of Core Earth characters in New York who are transformed into Storm Knights when the Maelstrom bridge crashes down at Citi Field. The adventure is part of the Day One adventures book for the game. The player characters are: Officer Isobel Reyes, an NYPD officer enjoying some time off work; Professor Darnell Moore, a noted paleo-botanist doing some sightseeing before giving a speech at the museum the next day; Father Alejandro Reyes, a Catholic Priest taking a few hours off to enjoy the weather; Colleen Bridges, a single mother with a distant son, who’s stressed by her job as an interpreter; Wade Bridges, Colleen’s son, whose mother is making him spend the day with her for family time; and Vanessa “Doc” Dimasangalang, a former combat medic now working as an EMT, who’s on her first day off in months. 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 suffice to say that the adventure went very well, though I did alter a couple of the plot's aspects to make it fit within the time limits and their backgrounds somewhat.
It turned out that one of the pre-registered players didn’t show up for the game at all, so by 7:10 pm I was fortunate to recruit another player, Frank, to the game whom I’d talked to at lunch about the game. There were two female players out of the six players for the game, so that was also a good start. Jeff played Officer Reyes, Jarya played Professor Moore, Luc played Father Alejandro, Charlotte played Colleen, SteveP played Wade Bridges, and Frank played “Doc” Dimsamalang.
Overall, the players really enjoyed themselves, and I managed to keep my voice intact by the end of the night, and it was a fun game session of Torg Eternity. They had some doubts after I explained the rules and talked to them about how to use the Drama Deck, the Destiny Deck and the Cosm Deck, as well as Possibilities, but ten minutes into play and the players were already playing their cards and using Possibilities like old Torg pros. And they grokked the basic game mechanics relatively quickly. Heroic deeds were abundant and they really started to “live” the card play. One of the highlights of the Torg Eternity game was watching players playing Possibilities and using Destiny cards to support each other. For the most part. The cards and Possibilities just flew around the table. There were also two separate plays of the Law of Decay Cosm card. The second time the card was played, it cost Officer Reyes an M-16. The players managed to get their “Moment of Crisis” (thus becoming Storm Knights) relatively quickly with some heroic actions. SteveP was the last to do so, though there were some opportunities that he didn’t take advantage of to do so.
The fight on the ferry with the Carcharodon (instead of the Mosasaur) had some great moments, including when Jeff had Officer Reyes punch (!!) the creature as they were trying to rescue two of the ferry crew who’d gone overboard. I skipped one full act, and altered a critical scene at the hospital the characters went to, but they managed to get to the final scene of the scenario and escape New York with the Core Earth refugees group that joined them early on, and grew some more at the hospital. They dealt with the final sequence of events with aplomb, and rather enjoyed the Dramatic Skill Resolution in the race to freedom. After finishing up the scenario around 10:50 pm, several of the players and I talked and I mentioned to them the change of scenario for Sunday’s game. (See the link for more on that.) Everyone one of the players told me they really liked the game system and its mechanics, and liked the card decks and how they were used quite a lot. One player even mentioned that he was going to buy the game to run it himself.
Once the players had departed, SteveR helped me pack up the game materials for the night. He took the gaming stuff to the car while I went downstairs to gather up the stuff I’d left in the locker. I checked my blood glucose (around 10.9) and then took my insulin shot, and had a yogurt for a snack. I assigned the winners of the Trophy and the Certificates for the game I’d just run, and handed that in at the Game Registration desk and collected my $5 CanGames reward token. Once that was accomplished, I headed for the car with SteveR for the drive home. It was a long walk for me seemingly, as I was hurting in both legs from standing for the extended period of time running the game and was somewhat mentally shaky.
I don't remember most of the trip back to my place, and I was pretty quiet in the car for the most point. SteveR helped me unpack and it was close to midnight by that time. After SteveR left, I had a bit of water to re-hydrate, and had some hot chocolate and another yogurt. Around 12:35 am I went downstairs and unpacked the day’s gaming material and the personal tote bag and then did the basic packing for the two games that I was running on Saturday. I had some more water, but I was on my last legs for the night. It was close to 1:00 am when I hit the pillows, and I don’t remember falling asleep, it was so quick.
And there you have the write-up for the Friday of CanGames 2018. I hope it wasn't too long for folks, and those who've read this day's write-up enjoyed it. The write-up for Saturday at CanGames will get posted as soon as I have a chance to do so.