Saturday, May 16th, 2009
I woke up this morning about 7:00 am, and felt somewhat tired of course, but at least my voice isn't hoarse. That is, not too badly. Feel a bit of a sore throat kind of thing, so will try and drink some hot stuff during the course of today. Lots to do this morning before leaving. spross should be here before 10:00 am, and we're taking my car. By around 9:30 am, my bowels started to bother me. I hoped this was not going to be a long day from that point of view. Would be very disappointing for the players.
Well, the morning was pretty shit awful. The day called for rain and thunderstorms all day, and spross didn't get here until after 10:20 am. Heck, if I'd known he was going to be that late, I could have slept in for another 45 minutes to an hour!! :( We didn't get to the Rideau Curling Club until around 10:50, and by then it had been raining, quite hard. I had two bags with the gaming stuff (one for Desolation and one for SkyRealms of Jorune), as well as all the other stuff (see the previous post for this), and wasn't looking forward to getting that to the venue through the rain. I stopped outside the curling club, and spross took all the gaming stuff inside the curling club gaming venue while I went searching for a place to park the car. It took me 35 minutes (!!) to find a place to park near the gaming venue, by which time I was just in a bad temper on top of the stress I had felt about getting to the convention that late, since the plan was to check out the Dealers Room and maybe a quick game of something before I had to run the Desolation game that afternoon. I walked over to the curling club just steaming, and not just from the water, about three blocks away. Nuts! :<
As I entered the game site, I tried to calm down but I was still mad at spross. (I forgave him probably around the time we ate lunch, as I just had too many other things to worry about before the day was out, and anger is just not good for the soul.) Went inside, put the gaming stuff away in one of the lockers, and taking the usual stuff (my BDB bag and the water bottle), I took a jaunt through the Dealers Room. On the way there, came across thebitterguy (who was gonna play in the Desolation game that afternoon), and we talked for a few minutes. Also saw jonaskaufman as well, another friend of mine, and after a quick word, went into the Dealers Room. To be honest, there wasn't a lot on offer, and I didn't see anything I really needed or desperately wanted. Part of this has to do with the fact that CanGames has a very small Dealers Room (for obvious reasons), although I suppose one can always go over to Fandom II, the premier gaming store in the city, if there's something really important that one wants to buy. Any of the gaming stores in Ottawa will have a good stock of stuff compared to the booths at the convention, because of the size limitations. I looked for a copy of Ingenious (remember that from Friday's report?), but no one had it. Le Monde du Jeu had a copy of it at the store, but the guy at the booth couldn't get it to the convention for me, so I'll have to go and grab it at the store if I decide I still want it.
On the way out of the Dealers Room through the miniatures gaming stuff went over to the FooL's MooN Entertainment booth, and renewed acquaintance/friendship with tashiro and shiftercat there. He gave me a copy of the Fox Magic rpg manuscript to check out and do some playtesting with, and we talked about a few other things. By this time, it was closing on 1:00 pm, so spross and I headed down to the lockers and grabbed the half-subs that we had picked up at Subway on the way in. The two of us sat down at one of the tables on the main convention floor near the Registration Desk (which was doing a brisk business with one-day memberships), and ate lunch.
He then headed for his 2:00 pm game on the next floor up (the kids game of Hollow Earth Expedition, while I start to get ready for the afternoon game of Desolation. There were already two folks pre-registered to play in the game (including thebitterguy), but I was wearing my Desolation t-shirt about spitting on elves (yes!), and it wasn't all that difficult to recruit five more people to fill the seven slots for the game.
The scenario, called "The Shadow of the Wolf", can be summarised as follows: The player characters are low on supplies when the find a savagely attacked caravan. Finding a few items, they reach the village of Green Moon, and aid the villagers in dispatching the creature that has been plaguing the villagers for some time. The characters put together several pieces of information and a riddle provided by the villagers, and travel to the ruined monastery nearby to deal with the creature. The only question is whether they will succumb to the Shadow of the Wolf. The player characters for the scenario included: Esther LaVore, a noblewoman sorceress; Lem Ollender, a former soldier of the Empire in love with Esther; Tarl Ishrak,a farmer with Faith; Menelaris Covelanar, an elf and an elementalist; Denner Khent, the scavenging dwarf; Krek of Kharhut, the Mongrel outcast forester; and Sasha Veng, the female Rover performer.
I've run the scenario several times before, but I have to say that this one came out somewhat... strange. thebitterguy showed up somewhat late for the game, and while I gave him a quick synopsis of the basic rules, I didn't feel that I did justice by him in that regard, but almost 15 minutes after the game had started was a bit long - heck, I could have given the spot to someone else, but he told me that he would be there. While these players did a good job of roleplaying their characters, some of them just didn't get the way these characters worked for the most part.
There are a few SPOILERS for the scenario below so be warned... Just skip a couple of paragraphs. :)
First off, the player characters made enemies out the villagers of Green Moon because the fellow playing the elf, Menelaris, was acting like a totally obnoxious and loud boor. He took offense to the villagers dislike of him, his being an elf and all, and kept making things worse. The player who took on Esther tried to calm things down, but Menelaris kept offending them and even said that if they weren't careful he could hurt them badly with a thought! The player characters were thrown out of the village (actually, they never got into it), and so headed to the monastery to seek shelter! thebitterguy made a good move later, as playing Sasha Veng, he got her into the village to see the wise-woman. He learned part of what they needed to know, but not all of it.
Once Sasha told them what they thought they needed to know, the characters headed back to the monastery, but the character playing Esther LaVode didn't enchant the blade to make it magical near the village; she waited to do this at the monastery itself, a bad idea, since the place was Tainted. In the end, the party of characters was slaughtered by the were-creature at the ruined monastery or changed into weres themselves by the taint of the place (Desolation isn't your typical fantasy system, and magic is neat in the system!). All except for Lem and Esther. She had been knocked unconscious while trying to cast a spell, and when Lem became a were, the player actually made the Willpower to determine that Lem's love for Esther outweighed his desire to eat her, so he picked her up and fled for the nearby hills, the two of them never to be seen again. A truly bittersweet love story!
SPOILER WARNINGS END
It was a very strange game, with the two fellows playing Lem and Menelaris completely out of character (except for Lem somewhat at the end). On the other hand, thebitterguy did a pretty good job playing Sasha Veng, getting frustrated at the other characters, and playing the character to the hilt as a dancer and a bit of a coward (the player disappeared from time to time, which annoyed me, but such is life). Sasha died doing a heroic deed, and what more could one ask for? The players all agreed that the Desolation system is really good, and that they had a terrific time, despite the fact that most of the characters died. The game is very much a social game, about communities, trust, and survival, and it was this lack of good behaviour and good will to the villagers of Green Moon that got the characters, well...toasted. That said, a couple of the players said to me later that the riddle given them by the wise-woman might have been too ambiguous, but for the record, the rest said to me that it was fine. (And as you'll see from the Sunday report, they had no problems with the riddle at all.) Still, it was a highly enjoyable game, and three players told me that they would be back for more Desolation at next year's CanGames, should I choose to run it.
Meanwhile, since spross had finished running his game around 4:00 pm, he had gone to pick up Chinese food for supper for us that night. When I finished running, I took the gaming stuff down to the locker, switched it for the stuff I needed to run SkyRealms of Jorune that evening, and then went upstairs again, and we ate dinner at the same table I had run at, since I was there again for the evening session of SoJ. We had a good dinner - pan-fried dumplings, moo she chicken, beef with Chinese broccoli, and lemon chicken - although I didn't go overboard and eat a lot. The food wasn't too bad, but I prefer to eat Chinese food in the restaurant. I did end up taking what was left of the moo she home with me, so it wasn't that bad! :)
After the evening meal and taking my pills (I nearly forgot to, but spross reminded me!), I got ready at the table to run the second SkyRealms of Jorune game of the weekend. I had two players pre-registered for the game (both younger players in their early teens!), so once more I went to the at-con registration area and got down to some recruiting. I managed to get a couple of other folks to play in the game, and then was able to convince spross to play in the game. Once everyone showed up at the table, I started the game on time at 7:00 pm.
What a great game this turned out to be! For more on the characters and a bit of the plot, see the Friday report on the game. The players really got into the roleplaying aspect of the game, particularly the 14-year-old girl whom we'll call "Penny" here (playing the female boccord farmer, Berida Jermos) and "Serge" as the miner, Josim Klepf. When the group was attacked in the hills by the emaciated buhwe (the badger analogues), Penny had her character throw 20 lbs. worth of meat and food into the night (not a problem for the strong boccord) past them, temporarily satisfying their hunger, so they didn't attack the player characters who then hightailed it out of there. As a matter of fact, the player characters never actually fought any creatures, as they used their wits to deal with most stuff (such as when they realised that the four antique human guards with nanotech armour were merely illusions/holograms), and generally had a good time roleplaying their characters.
I finished running the SoJ scenario around 10:05 pm (!!), much sooner than I had planned, as the characters didn't get into any combat, but managed to wrap things up with a flourish. They loved the scientific twists and turns near the end of the scenario, especially when at the end, they were transported to one of the cities on one of the Joruni moons. It was a terrific game, and several of the players sat around with me while I packed up the gaming stuff, and we talked about a few things. Penny truly was one of the best players in either game of SoJ that I ran that weekend, so I had to give her overall first place in the placement standings for the players in the games. Serge did a pretty good job as the miner, too, but she just dominated the game in terms of the personality and characterisation of Berida Jermos. Just a lovely game.
By the time I finished packing up the gaming gear, and then gone downstairs to get the rest of the gaming stuff from the lockers, I was extremely tired from the long day. When spross and I went outside for the trek to the car, it had stopped raining but was somewhat blustery and cold.
When we got back to my place, we split the Chinese food that was left (although I kept just the moo she), and then SteveR headed for home. I was ready to fall into bed, but couldn't quite, as I still needed to put stuff away in the fridge, refreeze the water bottle with a fresh supply, and get stuff ready for the Desolation game on Sunday. I got to bed just around midnight, and I don't even remember my head hitting the pillow.
And that's the Saturday at CanGames. Not as riveting as a lot of convention game reports are, but I trust that folks enjoyed the read. :) The final day, Sunday, will be covered in one of the next posts.