August 4th, 2011
What a long day this has been! Things started off last night where before bed, spross and I made some changes to the vent system in the room. I managed to catch around 5-1/2 hours of sleep last night, pretty decent for a night's sleep, other than the night sweats I had at one point, and the fact that the coldness of the room due to the a/c blowing on the head sections of the bed still happened to a lesser extent. Still, the "3-2-1 Rule" was adhered to sleep-wise, so this is good.
We got up, performed the morning ablutions, and went down to breakfast. The veggie omelette that I had was okay, but still just a bit too greasy. Don't know what the cook was using to make the omelette - oil, butter, cooking spray, whatever - but just too much grease. Ugh! Since this morning was the opening of the Exhibit Hall (i.e., the Dealer's Room), I needed to cash $300 in traveller's cheques for the purpose of shopping today. We went back up to the room, grabbed the gear we needed for the day, and then headed back down to the desk. The girl at the front desk of the Omni would only cash $100 worth of t.c.'s, stating that this was "hotel policy", but told spross and I that there was a bank nearby that could handle the matter, PNC Bank that adjoined the Hyatt. We went to the bank and they were very cooperative, but said that they needed a passport as the piece of ID, and we hadn't brought those back for obvious reasons. spross dashed back to the Omni hotel room and grabbed the passports while I waited for him in the PNC Bank. He returned out of breath and flushed red, but said he was all right, though after getting the U.S. funds we needed, we sat and rested there for a bit. By the time we had rested and then got ready to head for the Exhibit Hall, it was already 10:15 am.
Goddess, but the convention centre and the Exhibit Hall were crowded! I managed to get in through the entrance at Hall H, since I knew where I wanted to start the buying spree (if that's what it can be called) off, and that's what I did. I started off at the Triple Ace Games booth and met Wiggy there, where I bought two copies of Paris Gothique (one signed) for the All For One: Régime Diabolique RPG, and the limited edition adventure for the new Leagues of Adventure RPG that had come out at UK Expo prior to this, of which Wiggy had brought very few copies to GenCon. Wiggy and I talked for a bit about various All For One products and stuff, and he made me very happy with a couple of things he said to me about the game line. The next stop was the Sandstorm Productions booth, where I managed to buy copies of the two card games, Poo! and Nuts!, both from Wild Thing. Humourous games with a somewhat silly (some might say sick) sense of humour, but hey, I've wanted these since I heard about them. Made my way from there over to the Cubicle 7 booth, and met up with Dominic McDowall-Thomas and Sarah Newton (two of my favourite new friends to meet at the convention); Dom and I had talked on the phone numerous times, but this was the first time we had met, and it was really great to meet both him and Sarah (who is quite talented in her own right). Dom and I talked abou the Primeval RPG, C7's plans for the game, and other stuff. I got the shock of my life when I went to buy the copy of the new Lord of the Rings RPG, The One Ring: Adventures Over the Edge of the Wild, when Laura Skarka told me at the payment desk that my copy of TOR was free, courtesy of Dominic and my work on Primeval to this point. I was quite speechless, and was impressed by the sheer weight of the TOR slipcase box. After saying goodbye for the moment to the folks at the C7 booth, it was over to the folks at Exile Games, the makers of the Hollow Earth Expedition roleplaying game of Pulp adventure, and met up with my friend, Shawn Hilton, Laura Grey, lena_of_fargo, and Jeff Combos. Jeff was running demos of the new card game from Exile, Deadfellas, and it looked pretty good. Chatted for a bit with Shawn about the business with the phone misunderstanding and all (see the Day -2 blog entry), and I still couldn't figure out what had happened and why the number wouldn't connect. Purchased copies of two only-at-GenCon scenarios for Hollow Earth Expedition. After saying farewells to the folks there, headed over to the Troll Lord Games (makers of Castles & Crusades) booth in hopes of finding out where I might get a copy of Bunnies and Burrows at the convention, but had no luck there or at the Flying Buffalo (makers of Tunnels & Trolls) booth. The older gentleman I spoke to at the Flying Buffalo booth told me that he didn't know where I could find a copy of the game, as he hadn't seen one in years. Nuts! I really was hoping to find a copy of the game there. From there, I made my way back to the other end of the Exhibit Hall to check out Pelgrane Press and their stuff. Greeted simonrogers once more, and said "hello" once more to robin_d_laws, and they introduced me to Beth Lewis. Beth was quite the astute bookseller, and with the "4-for-3" deal that Pelgrane had going on, I bought the new sf GUMSHOE rpg Ashen Stars and its supplement, Dead Rock Seven by the ever-busy mytholder, and picked up Stealing Cthulhu edited by Graham Walmsley (annotations by Kenneth Hite, mytholder, and Jason Morningstar on running Trail of Cthulhu) and Out of Time, a series of adventures for Trail of Cthulhu as well. Good buys, since one of them was free! Chatted with Beth and Simon about a couple of things, and she told me that the PDF adventures I had playtested for Mutant City Blues earlier in the year looked like it would be going to print as well some time in the next little while, if the popularity of MCB was anything to go by. Good stuff. :)
I had picked up the stuff that I had come to the Exhibit Hall to buy, and while I had seen more of it during my traversing the hectically busy aisles, I didn't plan to go back in on the Thursday, since I still had two rpgs to run that day. By the time I was done, both spross and I were exhausted, and we had to get out of there and grab some lunch, as we both had games to run that day at 2:00 pm, and it was getting on 12:10 pm. I actually had two games to run still on Thursday, a Desolation scenario at 2:00 pm, and the Primeval scenario at 8:00 pm. Still had a long day ahead. Since I was exhausted also from the weight of the books I'd bought and picked up, spross and I went to the UPS kiosk outside the Exhibit Hall (which was getting even more crowded as the afternoon went on), and shipped the stuff I had purchased, minus the HEX, Poo!, Nuts!, and Leagues of Adventure material, home. It ran me over $30 to send, but I thought it a good move given that I couldn't really carry a lot of weight with me. I was feeling run-down to say the least, and while spross headed for the Circle Center food court to pick up Subway sandwiches for us, I made the trek back to the Omni Severin. Back at the Omni, I went and relaxed for a few minutes, just taking a load off my back and feet. After lunch, I got ready to run the Desolation scenario, "Shadow of the Wolf", over in the Haymarket room in the Crowne Plaza. spross had to run a game in the same area, so we headed out into the heat of the day (a scorcher, let me tell you, but extremely humid), for the trip over to the Crowne Plaza.
After leaving spross and making my way to the Haymarket room, I chatted with Jamie Gooch and Stephen Herron for a bit before getting ready to run the game. I was disappointed to find that I only had four players for the game of "Shadow of the Wolf", despite the pre-registration sell-out, and one of those was late by about 20 minutes (!!) having to come from their previous game all the way over in the new Marriott hotel. The scenario went relatively well, I thought; Stephen Herron watched the game for about half an hour, and I was quite nervous with one of the designers of Desolation at the table. He had to run his new game, Broken Rooms, and fortunately, the last three hours of the game were run in peace. The players had an interesting mix of characters - Denner Khent, Krek of Kharhut, Menelaris Covalanar, and Esther LaVore - and I used Lem Ollender as an NPC for the course of the scenario (tried to get Stephen Herron to play him for a bit, but to no avail). Menelaris made an ass of himself and alienated the populace of Green Moon, but the fellow playing Esther was able to do a superb job of diplomacy and brought things under control once more. The party managed to survive the shadow of the wolf, killed the poor victim of the Weave from the Night of Fire, and ensured the village of Green Moon survived matters. Overall, the four players did a remarkable job of playing the sequence out, especially given they didn't have their heavy hitter combat-wise really, and had a good time playing the game, especially given there was a newbie at the table.
After finishing the game of Desolation, I took off for the Omni again to relax a bit and to eat supper. spross had finished running Colonial Gothic, and he picked up two full subs from Subway for us to eat for supper. After changing clothes for the game that night and washing off some of the sweat and dirt of the day, I sat in the lobby for a bit, and when he arrived with the two subs, we sat and ate companionably. Once dinner was over, spross headed over to the Westin hotel to watch some animé films (I didn't learn this until later), while I headed upstairs to the McClellan Hall room to run the Primeval RPG scenario, "Message in an Anomaly" at 8:00 pm.
Somewhat to my surprise, I had the full complement of six players for the Primeval game. The player who took on the role of Abby Maitland did a pretty good job, and the folks playing Nick Cutter and Stephen Hart did a pretty good job as well, notably their interaction with other characters. The fellow playing Connor Temple hadn't seen the series, and this showed as he really didn't "get" the character of Connor, despite the write-up on the character presented to him and some of the additional background that I gave the player. He played him somewhat over-the-top, British accent and all, so it wasn't too bad, but... Given the nature of the game, the players and their characters didn't follow some of the leads presented to them, and to be honest, while I love mytholder to death, "Message in an Anomaly" fell about an hour short. I lengthened the adventure somewhat towards the end, when the Stephen player shot the NPC, in order to take him home, but in a dramatic twist had him fall off the crevasse so that the player characters actually invoked a plot twist using their Story Points, to bring him back to life and keep him alive. Once they had rescued him from the crevasse, where he clung for dear life to a ledge, they supported him and his story to the point of convincing James Lester to do the right thing. So I managed to stretch it out to about 3 hours and 10 minutes, and felt a little bit embarrassed at having to do that. The players seemed to enjoy themselves, and they all wanted to know when the game was coming out. "Soon," was all I could say, but added that it was going to be well worth the wait. I showed them the sample pages from the layout version of the game to whet their appetite, and they were even more enthusiastic. After giving the players their C7 vouchers (worth $3.00 at the booth), I headed back for the hotel room around 11:15 pm.
spross was quite surprised when I walked into the Omni hotel room that early, and we chatted about what had gone on, and I've sat for a while unwinding and writing up this journal entry. I took my Tylenols and a sinus medication for the night, had a snack of a yogurt and a few almonds and grapes, and then called it a night after leaving a wake-up call for 6:30 am the next morning. Oy vey, am I tired! This was a very long day, what with the trip through the Exhibit Hall and running two scenarios back-to-back with a two-hour break for supper. I was surprised that I managed to get through this day, but I owe spross partially for that, and I have to admit that I'm surprised I feel as good (relatively speaking) as I do. Anyway, to bed.
Whew! That was a bloody long entry on the Thursday at GenCon to transcribe! Hope you all enjoyed it. :)
Anyway, so that's the wrap-up on the third day of the trip to Indy, and the first official day of GenCon 2011. Next up will be the Friday report, when I get the chance.