The Draconis game convention in Montreal has now been held for four years. It's a pretty small convention, with about 200 attending members, although I have to say that I was hard pressed to see that many people during the course of the convention. My fears about not knowing a lot of folks at the convention were well-grounded. While spross drove down to Montreal with me, the only folks I knew at the convention were thebitterguy and terheyt, as well as one of my Twitter friends, The Chatty DM.
From a personal point of view, Draconis was less than a success. The fact that I was hobbling around most of the weekend didn't help in this regard, to be honest. Add to that the fact that the hotel the convention was in was renovating, the restaurant and its food was...the best word I can use here is horrible, and the fact that I couldn't get around outside for all sorts of stuff (like food, decaf tea and coffee, etc.), and well...not fun. I should have been clued in by the fact that there was virtually no one eating at the hotel restaurant at the peak meal times! Ended up ordering food from nearby restaurants to the hotel room. *sigh*
From a gaming point of view, things went pretty well. I was scheduled to run three Hollow Earth Expedition game, and prior to the convention, two of the three games were full or almost full, so that was a good omen.
Friday night, I ran the first of the three games, "The Secret of Lake Qechacua". This is one of my favourite HEX scenarios to run, and the game was full with six people. One extra player wanted to get into it, and fortunately the scenario has seven pre-gen characters, so I was able to accommodate the player. The game went pretty well, and the scenario had a few really great moments, but the central relationship between the two males, Cary and Sergei, and their leading lady, Eliza, was somewhat hampered by the fact that a guy was playing Eliza. The romantic rivalry over Eliza between Cary and Sergei just didn't happen, except towards the end of the adventure, and then it was somewhat overplayed. Meanwhile, the various other characters were handled quite well, and the fellow who played Summerfield, Eliza's uncle, did a good job of being protective of her while at the same time telling her that the search for her father was a wild goose chase! The guy playing Cary, the big game hunter, had his chance at a T-Rex about halfway through the adventure, but the others discouraged him from trying to take it alone, as they had other pressing matters. The character of Brad Nilssen, the outdoorsman and survivalist, was played with zest and elan by one of the players, but never quite gelled in my mind. The player characters reached the end of the scenario, and treated the climax approriately, with groans of, "Oh, no, it's a cliffhanger!" but they all agreed that they had a terrific time in it.
The second scenario, "The Lost City of Crystal Graveyards", was originally scheduled to run on Saturday afternoon, but got switched to Saturday morning. There were no players registered for the game, but three players including spross agreed to play the game, so it wasn't a total loss. This scenario is one of a trilogy of HEX scenarios that had been run at GenCon 2009, and is quite revealing about elements of the Hollow Earth origins and history. The three players each took on the role of two characters; this made combat sequences take a little bit longer to play, but the players all agreed afterwards that it was an interesting way to play some of the new character types (such as the Pantherwoman and the Ape philosopher) as well as Surface World types, and certainly taught them the rules in a very hands-on manner. I'm not going to spoil the scenario for anyone here, but will say that they enjoyed themselves tremendously, and got to do some very cool things with their characters. Jeeba, the Pantherwoman was...an animal...in combat :), and the fellow playing Theo, the Ape philosopher, did a very good job roleplaying the character. Overall, a good time was had, even if there just weren't enough players to do things justice.
The third scenario, "The Wreck of the Haruka Maru", was scheduled to run on Sunday morning at 9:00 am. I thought that this was going to work fine, as 5 of the 6 slots for the game were taken. Should have known better. Showed up around 8:30 am, and found that one of the five players had dropped out for reasons unknown. While spross showed up to play, the other three players didn't show up to play. To make matters worse, all I'm gonna say is that they were in the gaming room at the time (according to someone who should know). There were no other players available, as everyone else who was to play in another game appeared to have shown up, and there were virtually no other people coming out for the Sunday morning stuff. Quite normal, as this is the day when a lot of folks head home from the convention and all.
Overall, I can't say that my time at Draconis in Montreal was all that great. As mentioned, this was largely due to the fact that I couldn't walk a lot due to my right hip and thigh problems, and the fact that the hotel was undergoing renovations at the same time. While I brought diabetic approved snacks and some yogourt with me (thanks to spross and the plug-in cooler!), I just didn't have any really good meals at the hotel and couldn't go out to any of Montreal's fine eateries. More's the pity for spross, as I really wanted to take him to a couple of the local eateries. On the other hand, my gaming experience at the convention was pretty good, and the convention staff and folks were generally friendly and helpful at all times.
Anyway, just glad to be home, sleeping in my own bed, and eating home-cooked meals.