May 19th, 2018
I woke up on Saturday morning around 5:00 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, but I suspect it was due more to the massive dose of antibiotics I’m taking. When I got out of bed again around 9:00 am, I was also a bit shaky and still quite tired. Not enough sleep. My voice sounded good when I tested it out. I was pretty nervous about the day, since I was going to be running two games at CanGames this day. After breakfast, I felt somewhat better, the hot food and coffee making me have nasal drip.
I went back downstairs, and continued packing the rest of the gaming stuff up for the day, as well as started on the personal bag. I finished most of the packing, and then took my morning shower. The heat of the water was good on my aching muscles, legs, and back after the standing running the Torg Eternity game on Friday night so I luxuriated in the water. I was nervous about the two games today, but my spirits were raised somewhat. After dressing, I started in on some of the snack food, cutting up some cheese cubes and made two more cucumber sandwiches. 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 and starting to look forward to the afternoon and evening games I was running. We packed the car with the gaming stuff and took the food in the decent size cooler that he had recently bought, and then headed out. About half-way up Conroy road, I realized I didn’t have my mobile phone, so SteveR turned the car around and we went to collect it. (*sigh* Last year it was the diabetes meds, this year it was the phone.) Once at Tim Horton’s, I picked up a turkey bacon ranch wrap again with a bottle of water, and then it was off to the convention. We arrived at the Rideau Curling Club somewhat later than planned, close to 12:45 pm. I know I was surprised when SteveR was able to find a parking space right across the street from the Rideau Curling Club entrance! The Goddess was obviously smiling on us that afternoon. :)
I headed into the Rideau Curling Club, taking one of the game bags (which were lighter for various reasons) and my personal tote bag, while SteveR unloaded the rest of the stuff from the car (since he was running Star Trek Adventures that afternoon. He’d remembered his lock this day, so we went and put everything in the lockers downstairs. I went and grabbed a bottle of water, and then headed over to the Game Registration desk to check on the two games I was running this day. I still couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that both the John Carter of Mars - The Role-playing Game and the Capharnaum - The Tales of the Dragon-Marked games were both full! I learned at the Service Desk that knightbane had taken his Registration kit, so was at the convention. I sat down for a couple of minutes, and then wandered out onto the curling sheet for a bit. Saw something that intrigued me, and I watched a demo of a game called Drop It for a few minutes, and snapped a couple of photos.
Headed back to the main area near Registration, as it was getting close to the time for set-up of the afternoon game of John Carter of Mars - The Role-playing Game and saw that SteveR had brought up the bags that we both needed for the afternoon. knightbane had just come around the corner and saw me. He came over and picked up the Atlantis: The Second Age book and supplements that I had for him, and money exchanged hands. We chatted for only a few minutes, and then he and his crew were off to do other things while I got ready for John Carter. It was going to be an interesting game afternoon because the game was scheduled out on the curling sheet, right near the windows that look out there from the main Registration area, near the far wall opposite that of the Marketplace vendors. SteveR hauled the two bags of gaming stuff for me out to the table, and then headed for the upper level of the Curling Club to run his own game for the afternoon.
I worked on finishing the set-up for the game, and then at 1:30 pm I went to check on the sign-in sheet. I saw that the same fellow who hadn’t showed up for the Torg Eternity game on Friday night hadn’t checked in for the game. I gambled, and recruited a new player, Keith, for the game. This worked like a charm, as the pre-registered player didn’t show up so Keith was able to get into the game. One surprise I did have at the table was how nice and quiet it was for the Saturday afternoon. I headed back to the table and saw that all the other players were there. Talked to the players there for a few minutes and then collected the sign-up sheet and went back to start the game.
The John Carter of Mars - The Role-playing Game adventure that I ran on Saturday afternoon was the QuickStart adventure for the game, but I called it “The Diplomats of Mars” for a variety of reasons that became apparent during the adventure itself. The adventure revolves around five of the central characters of the Barsoom books on a diplomatic mission when they find some ruins of interest and are set up for an ambush by the Zodangans. I’m not going into any details here about the world of Barsoom or the character backgrounds, instead referring the interested reader to the JCoM webpage. The player characters for the adventure were John Carter, the incomparable Dejah Thoris, Tars Tarkas, Kantos Kan, and Sola. Jean-Yves decided to play Sola, John D took the role of John Carter, Keith settled on playing Kantos Kan, Paul played Dejah Thoris and SteveG took the role of Tars Tarkas. I was a bit disappointed there were no female players in this group of players, but such was life. John D was the only player in the group who had read the books, though most of the others had some familiarity with the Barsoom material through the movie.
I thought the players had a really good time of it (or else they sure fooled me!) with the adventure, though I was surprised at the lack of knowledge of the John Carter material (other than the movie and the one player). Other than the one player, the rest of the players really had little grasp of how to play the characters at all. To that end, I gave them some basic background knowledge about Barsoom and the characters’ personalities and relationships. This was augmented by John D with his adding in additional stuff as it was needed (though I corrected him a couple of times). John D and the others did a pretty good job of portraying the characters, to be honest. The players took a bit of time getting used to the 2d20 Momentum game system, the lack of skills and the narrative style of play, but by the second hour of the game, they were having a blast and getting into the style/feel and mood of things Barsoomian. Highlights of the game for me included Carter's player making prodigious leaps and plunging a sword into the eye of Giant White Ape!, the passionate relationship between John Carter and Dejah Thoris (despite being played by two males) that had Kantos Kan and Tars Tarkas more than grumbling about the Barsoom "lovebirds". Funny stuff. And there was John Carter’s player convincing the other PCs and their Zodangan enemies to rally and take out the two White Apes. He made a rousing speech. He didn't convince the Kantos Kan player, but Keith said that he had to go with them since he'd never forgive himself if Carter or the Princess died and he wasn't there! My other favourite bit was the Tars Tarkas player always calling John Carter "Virginia" like he did in the first book. Fun stuff.
I ended the game session on a cliffhanger (and I’m not going to mention what it was here!), and then wrapped up the scenario in a neat and tidy fashion per sé. I had a really fun time with the game, and was pretty tired when it was over, though my voice was pretty good still. It’s a taxing system to run in some ways, especially off a QuickStart document, and took me about 1/2 an hour to get the “hang” of once again. I spoke to several of the players afterwards, and Keith told me that while he liked the game overall, he wasn’t fond of the Luck, Momentum and Threat aspects since he found it too much to keep track of. A couple of the other players disagreed with him, but they told me they all had had a good time and actually quite liked the game system’s simplicity and how well it suited the Barsoomian atmosphere. By the time I wrapped up, SteveR had come by and watched some of the game, afterwards helping me pack up the game material and then he deposited that stuff down in my locker and brought up the bag with the Capharnaum - The Tales of the Dragon-Marked materials for me to check over. His own game of Star Trek Adventures, a scenario called “Adrift,” had ended pretty early in the time slot.
SteveR went to the bar, where they’d set up the small area near the back for the ordering of food from the cafeteria. He bought two naan pizza with mushrooms, green pepper and pepperoni, along with a side salad for us to share. I wasn’t too happy with the pizza when SteveR brought dinner down for us. There were a couple of slices of processed Kraft cheddar cheese covering the pizza toppings, which were all right, that reminded me of eating plastic. The side salad was pretty decent though, but I worried about how that food was going to affect my stomach and bowels, given how irritated they were already. We ate supper at the game table where I was going to run the evening game, and were joined by a couple of the players for the game as well. I finished eating supper, and then set up the table to run Capharnaum - The Tales of the Dragon-Marked.
At 6:30 pm or so I went to check out the sign-up sheet for the Capharnaum - The Tales of the Dragon-Marked game session and discovered that one player had crossed their name off the list, so I didn’t have a full complement of players. I wasn’t able to convince anyone else to fill the slot for the game, so headed back to the table where the other four players were waiting, and got on with the game. Where to start? Well, Capharnaum - The Tales of the Dragon-Marked is a fantasy roleplaying game set in an Arabia-like land. It borrows very much from the One Thousand and One Nights of course, but also draws on Semitic myths and legends and other mediaeval epics. I was running the QuickStart scenario, “The Tears of Ampharool”, in which a caravan trip across the Desert of Fire turns into something completely different after encountering ghostly spirit warriors during a sandstorm. The player characters for the scenario are Assabi the Trader, a merchant with magical abilities; Eloim the Physician, a medical man of the Arabic world who isn’t what he appears to be; Carmen de la Mancha, an adventurer of Spanish-like origins, who is extremely loyal to her friends and allies; Princess Karima, a lady of thiefly means who is travelling to Carrassine to marry a man she barely knows; and Wafik the Protector, a mercenary hired by Karima’s husband-to-be to bring her to Carrassine for the wedding. An interesting set of characters. With just four players, including a ten-year old girl, Nevaeh, and her two years older sister, Emily, it promised to be an interesting game for sure. The players included Emily, Neveah, Liam, and my friend, Roddy Turner, and they made for an interesting mix. Emily took on the role of Carmen, her sister, Neveah, decided to play Karima, Liam played Wafik, and Roddy played Assabi.
The players had a terrific time of it during the game, and another friend of mine, Greg, came in at the start of the 3rd hour (after the 5 minute break) to play Eloim. He’s the father of Emily and Neveah, and knows the parents of Liam as well. 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. I had a really good time running the game, even though I was worried about the complexity of it when it came to Emily, Neveah, and Liam, but I was concerned for nothing. They grasped the rules of the game very easily and did a good job getting into the mood of the Arabian Nights. Roddy did a good job as Assabi, taking command of the group by virtue of his being the caravan master, and Liam and Neveah did a nice job playing Wafik and Karima, respectively. Due to their age, the three younger players at the table got easily distracted, but Roddy and I did our very best to keep them focused; part of what helped with that was the Arabian Nights faerie tale that I was spinning for them, but still, distraction was always there for them. After Greg joined the game, Emily, Neveah and Liam were much more well-behaved and more focused as well, so that helped. The group got into the spirit of the game early, as I described things in an Arabian Nights fashion, and were eager to defend the caravan during the initial attack. When the ruined palace appeared, almost as a mirage, the characters decided to go due to the spirit of adventure (and the fact that their Dragon Marks compelled them to do so!). I loved the fact that Liam’s Wafik defended Neveah’s Karina every time danger threatened, and Roddy’s Assabi took command when he had to. Emily kept chafing at the bit to use her whip skills, and when she did it was highly impressive. The players learned the meaning of the scenario title when we finished the game, and they got… well, never mind what they got. [evil g]
Once the game ended, I chatted with the players for a bit as they plied me with questions about the game world and the game system and mechanics. It was an enjoyable ten minutes, and Roddy told me that he loved the game and how it played and that it was the best “Arabian Nights”-feel game he’s ever played. I started packing while talking to Roddy, who stuck around for a bit, and then SteveR showed up to help me finish. I took my blood glucose, then took my insulin shot, and had half a cucumber and cream cheese sandwich and a yogurt. SteveR took all the game bags, including the stuff from the locker to the car while I finished up inside and submitted the sign-up sheet with the rankings I’d given the players.
I chatted with SteveR on the drive back to my place, and it was around 12:00 midnight when I got in. After SteveR helped me bring the gaming stuff and sundries into the house, he headed for home, and I had another yogurt with a cup of hot chocolate before I went downstairs. I emptied out the game bags from the day, and started to put the Torg Eternity materials for Sunday’s game in, but was too tired to finish that. I washed myself a bit before bed, and then crawled in…but I was feeling too “stuff in my head” to sleep, plus my shoulder was hurting something fierce, and didn’t get to sleep until sometime after 3:00 am.
And that's the wrap-up of Saturday at CanGames 2018. As you can see this entry was a long one, and had a only a couple of photos 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! :)