Saturday, May 19th
I woke up this morning at around 6:15 am, and had a couple of pretty bad bouts of diarrhea for about an hour or so. This comes from eating badly yesterday (but there was no real choice in foods at the convention site cafeteria, and having way too many vegetables for snacks during the course of the evening). My back was pretty bad when I woke up, and my feet were hurting somewhat fierce, the two broken toes throbbing quite badly. That said, my feet were feeling better than I expected them to, to be honest. I needed to see how the day would go and what might happen at CanGames today. After eating breakfast, showering and the morning ablutions, my back felt a bit better and the pain in my toes eased up. I figured that since Saturday was likely to be the busiest day at the convention, I would wear my steel-tipped shoes, so I dressed for the day (which was quite warm), and got the gaming materials ready for the day, and packed the afternoon and evening snacks. I was going to run both All For One: Régime Diabolique and the Primeval RPG on this day, so had to take two bags for that stuff, as well as my day tote bag and the snacks. Lots of stuff, some of it quite heavy.
spross came by around 10:00 pm, and we loaded up the car, went over to the Hunt Club Subway to pick up lunch, and then headed downtown for the CanGames venue. It was very difficult this day to find a parking spot, and SteveR finally found a parking spot, but we had to walk around 5 minutes to go from the car to the convention site. Long walk, and with all that gaming stuff (as he was running a game too), I'm amazed that either of us made it in the...warmth. Yes, the weather forecast called for a very warm day (around 270C) with a high humidex, and it was already quite warm outside for 10:20 am. My upper left thigh was starting really hurting and starting to cramp by the time we got to the venue. When we entered the Rideau Curling Club, the building was already somewhat warm even with the air conditioning functioning, and the smell of...gamer (to put it politely) was already in the air. Some folks really need to learn the convention rule of 3-2-1 (and if you don't know what it is, ask me in the Comments section).
Once inside the Curling Club, spross and I dropped off all the gaming stuff and material for later into the lockers on the lower level of the venue, and when we went back upstairs, I sat down for about ten minutes in the convention lobby area chairs, and massaged the leg for a few minutes. That helped ease the pain, somewhat. I chatted with a few friends that I saw in the area, and then got up and went to check on the pre-registration for the Saturday games. I saw that there was still no one signed up for the 2:00 pm running of All For One: Régime Diabolique (which really annoyed me), but did see that my friend knightbane had arrived with his gang from Smith Falls, and five of them had signed up for the 7:00 pm running of the Primeval RPG. So at least that one was full! Yay! :)
By that time, I was feeling a bit better, so I went to the Marketplace with spross and saw that I had sold a few items at the CanGames Booth, and wandered around to see what other stuff was being sold. There wasn't a lot of stuff that interested me in the late morning hours, though I did see some Shatterzone RPG game products, but since I wasn't running the game and spross said that he'd rather not play that one, I didn't pick them up. I did pick up a small, royal purple dice bag and 20 more red markers to use as Threat counters (for the Primeval RPG game) over at the Geek Etc. booth. I managed to get spross to snap some photos of the Geek Etc. and Steampixie booths, and these are below:
By the time I finished checking out the Marketplace, it was close to 12:15 pm, so SteveR and I grabbed the lunch stuff we had, and went to eat the two Subway sandwiches up on the second level overlooking the curling sheets (which were being used for board games, miniature games, and kids' gaming). The sandwich, a bottle of water, and some crisps made for a satisfying lunch. SteveR took a photo of out on the curling sheet area, but the photo didn't come out too good, so I'm not using that one here. However, knightbane did take a pretty good shot of this, so I present his photo here by kind permission:
After lunch, I went downstairs with spross and grabbed the gaming stuff that I needed to run the afternoon game of All For One: Régime Diabolique, and then went back upstairs with that to set up stuff at the game table around 1:15 pm. The convention staff put out the sign-up sheets around 1:30 pm (half an hour before the game was due to start), but it took me some scrambling and wrangling to convince some folks to play. I managed to convince six guys who were looking for games late to play All For One by around 2:15 pm. Hard work.
The All For One: Régime Diabolique roleplaying game is a game of historical swashbuckling occult fantasy with elements of horror set against early 17th Century France with a Three Musketeers vibe to it. The scenario that I was running, "Une Abondance de la Folie" (An Abondance of Madness), was an investigation into some seeming bouts of temporary madness that afflicted several Nobles with connections to King Louis XIII. I had created six characters for the adventure, all King's or Queen's Musketeers - Armand Dupont, Philippe Almerac, Friar Richard Hebardeau, Esmerelda Rinaldo Monachon (a Gypsy with Divination), Albert Tremblay, and Dame Angelique Cloisson - and once the players were seated at the table, I started the game.
While I'm not going into detail about the scenario for obvious reasons, since I will run it at other conventions and demonstrations in the future, I'll discuss some of the game elements here. Bear this in mind, and there are obviously SPOILER WARNINGS for the game material below.
Once I started the game, the players chose their characters from the group of characters noted above, and I went through the basics of the game system, answered any questions the players might have, and got started with the game. By the time the players were ready to start play, between that and the difficulty getting players for the game, it was already around 2:35 pm. Given that none of the players had played the game and were not familiar with the Ubiquity system at all, but had joined up because the concepts of the game and the scenario both sounded interesting, I have to say that I thought the game went rather well, though the players struggled with a few of the elements of the scenario itself somewhat. This was pretty good, given that two of them were board gamers who had never played a roleplaying game before! What follows are just impressions and notes about various things and snippets from the "Une Abondance de la Folie" game for All For One: Régime Diabolique.
Here are just a few highlights and lowlights of the game... The players and the characters took too long during the investigation where they chatted to the various victims of the madness, being somewhat indecisive and allowed their personal character attitudes about matters interfere too much with the questions and avenues that they pursued. There were a lot of cheese jokes made by the players (mostly out of character) during the game, the ones I remember being about brie, camembert, swiss, and gouda. The player characters managed to figured out the pattern of the forms the madness took (which I will not go into here, as it's a key element of the scenario) rather quickly from their investigations, and were quite fascinated by what was going on. The first combat sequence, a fight in a Parisian Fromagerie, was absolutely terrific, the players taking to the combat system and finding its mechanics very simple. The guy playing Esmerelda made good use of the Dardi fencing style, and used her cloak to good effect, while the fellow playing Friar Richard used his staff and its fencing style to defeat several opponents, constantly reminding his fellow players that they couldn't kill these men as they needed to ask them "pointed questions". The final confrontation with the villain of the piece and his *BLEEP!* minions went extremely well. The fellow playing Albert the former criminal, with the assistance of the guys playing Esmerelda and Angelique Cloisson, figured out the weakness of the minions, and were able to capitalise on the materials to assist them that were close at hand. Unfortunately, due to the lateness of the start of the game and the length the investigative process took, I had to drop the visit to the monastery altogether. This was sad but unavoidable, as to be honest, I didn't know whether I'd actually be able to finish the adventure off with them as I had another game to run at 7:00 pm and the late start meant that I lost almost 40 minutes of the game time.
Overall, the game went rather well, but I didn't finish the game up until around 6:10 pm. The players told me that they were surprised at how much they enjoyed the game, especially the two who had never roleplayed before, and that they found the All For One game system extremely easy to learn and pick up. All of them loved the combat system, and found it really did simulate the swashbuckling feel of The Three Musketeers (they had all seen the Michael York films), and they told me that they loved the actual adventure itself with its two twists and turns and the supernatural elements that were present. They liked how Fencing is handled in the game, and though there were a lot of bad cheese jokes in the game, they treated it in the semi-serious manner that it deserved, and had enjoyed the game. I was pleased that they did, and a couple of them hinted that they might play in next year's game, if I were to run it again.
Given the lateness of wrapping up the All For One scenario, I barely had time to pack up the gaming materials, dash downstairs and grab the Primeval RPG materials I needed for the game that started at 7:00 pm. spross and I went upstairs to the cafeteria and ordered food. I chose to eat a hot dog platter (including french fries) with a side salad. Took the food back down to the table and set up the basics for the Primeval RPG game, and then ate. Since it was around 6:30, my friend knightbane and some of his group were already at the table, so they were present when I was eating supper. You can see a photo that knightbane took of me eating while we were talking about stuff here; not appealing in my opinion, but... The hot dogs were somewhat leathery, due to being kept warming up in the heat tray, and we won't discuss french fries that are kept warm the same way. Suffice it to say that I had to rather rush supper, and I was hoping that I wasn't going to have to pay for it later, and that I wasn't going to feel too ill during the course of the evening and the next day.
Since I knew that the Primeval RPG game was already full, I stayed at the table for the most part, and got stuff ready to play after finishing supper. By that time, all the players had arrived for the game and we were set to go.
The scenario for the Primeval RPG that I ran on Saturday night was a homegrown one called "Feast or Flight". Once more, this one features the primary characters from the Second Series of the show - Nick Cutter, Stephen Hart, Abby Maitland, Connor Temple, and Jenny Lewis - and throws in a new security guy, Jake Hemple, for the sixth character, and is a nifty little adventure with the premise of the characters investigating a suspicious death at a conference on food and famine. As mentioned in the CanGames 2012 Day 1 entry, I had done up a GM Screen for this game. spross took a photo or eight from this game, so I can show my readers what the outside of the Screen looked like:
To all intents and purposes, this is just the GM Screen from the Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space rpg with four Primeval RPG panels over the outside panels, but it will do until Cubicle 7 does one up [hint! hint!] for the game. My friend, Douglas, was playing in the game and as mentioned, my friend from Smith Falls, knightbane, brought some of his family members and friends to play at the game. So, I had a full complement of six players for the game, and there were two ladies playing in the game as well. While Douglas has played the actual game with me, none of knightbane's crew have played the game (since it's not out yet!), and a few of them had very little experience with watching the tv show.
While I'm not going to go into detail about the scenario for obvious reasons, since I plan to run it at various game conventions and for demonstration purposes in future, I'll discuss some of the elements here. Bear in mind there are a few SPOILER WARNINGS here, so be warned.
The first two hours of the adventure were so different from the second two hours of the game, and differed almost like night and day. The players had some definite problems with the investigative and research elements of the adventure (though Douglas, playing Connor, did his best with this), and learned far too little information about the killing than they should have, not to mention ignored some of the other sources of information that they could have accessed. The second half of the game was all action, chase scenes, and fighting for their lives against beasties, and the players handled this pretty well, and didn't have a lot of time to think. Furthermore, the players actually derailed the plot of the scenario somewhat by the fact that Nick's player obsessed on the fact that it was all a plot on Helen's part, and by the party's refusing to leave the main building that was the site of the action. I managed to adjust the adventure somewhat to this, and when the characters headed for the nearest village, I found an easy way to "fix" things up and get them back to focus on the matter at hand.
Michelle, who was playing Abby, had a lot of difficulty playing the character in the first half of the game, as she really didn't have a grasp on what questions to ask and what matters about the murder to look into. She was much better in the second half, and had a memorable, great sequence where she got the adolescent *BLEEP!*saurus to follow her back to the *BLEEP!* by constantly feed it lilac-like plants and coercing it gently. Very Abby-like, and very nicely played.
A real highlight of the game was a lovely chase after the various *BLEEP!*sauruses across a golf course, resulting in both vehicles being destroyed in slightly different ways. One vehicle was destroyed by crashing hard into several golf carts, with the four player characters in the vehicle diving out and landing in the sand trap nearby. However, the other vehicle's demise was very Primevalesque. The vehicle flew some 30 feet through the air about 20 feet up, and the players of Nick and Jenny abandoned the vehicle. Realising they were going to land hard on the golf course, they both spent Story Points to establish there was a water trap on the course, and managed to land in that instead, Jenny's player complaining of her sodding wet clothes all the way through the end of that bit. Lovely!
Another highlight of the game was when the player characters had to deal with a hiker who potentially was going to find the body of a *BLEEP!*saurus. The fellow playing Nick attempted to get him away from there, but the matter was almost ruined by the added conversation from another character (Douglas's Connor, iirc), and it was just sooooo funny and well played.
The final battle in the Anomaly area in the *BLEEP!* was really lovely, and totally had that Primeval feel with the characters fighting a desperate struggle and having to improvise. During this fight sequence, Douglas's Connor used a pesticide container and his lighter to ignite the *BLEEP!*saurs and burn them to death. Abby's player didn't really sympathise with them, as by this time her character had taken several wounds, and she willingly sacrificed a Story Point. That said, the fellow playing Nick had tranquillised a couple of the creatures, so they couldn't escape being burnt to death even if they had tried!
One annoyance occurred to me during the evening, and that was during the 5-minute break that I give the players. I had added some Crystal Light to a bottle of water that I bought at the bar, but it turned out these bottles had a small ring that didn't let the bottle be resealed properly. When I shook the bottle of water, it sprayed red stuff over some of the gaming stuff at my end of the table, but fortunately none of my gaming stuff, other than the looseleaf paper.
The players all told me afterwards that they had enjoyed their game, though at the time I thought that knightbane hadn't really enjoyed the game too much, especially since his Jake Hemple didn't get to fire his assault rifle all that often! Part of it was also the fact that he just rolled terribly on the dice most of the evening. I still haven't seen anyone roll so many "1"s on the dice in one game session. Here's a write-up by Tim on his Dice of Betrayal that night. The players also were awed by the Threat mechanics for the game, and came to dread the placement of Threat markers on the table for all to see. Here's how the piles of Threat looked at a couple of points during the game:
Each pile of the little red beads represents one beastie and the number of Threat it currently has. Tim's crew told me that they really loved the fact that the intimidation factor of the Threat was quite a telling argument during the course of play, but that it's really good seeing that stuff and knowing what's potentially coming and all. I was just grateful that I had enough of the little beads for the adventure! :)
After wrapping up the adventure and packing away all the gaming materials, I said goodby to knightbane, as he and the gang had to make the late night drive back to Smith Falls and wouldn't be in for Sunday at the convention. spross and I were pretty tired by this time (he had actually gone and played in a game during the evening while I was GMing, but he had died in the game and had come to watch me run and another game going on), so we packed up our gaming stuff and prepared to take the long walk back to the car.
By the time I got home Saturday night, it was around 11:45 pm. I was tired, and my back and hips were hurting quite badly, and my feet and ankles were extremely sore. I came in, had a cup of tea and some celery with cream cheese, and then went and re-packed the All For One gaming material for Sunday's game. I crawled into bed, made a few notes about the day's games, and then turned off the lights. It was 12:45 am by then. The last note for the night was "Sleep now."
There's the wrap-up of Saturday at CanGames 2012. As you can see this entry was a long one, but there are lots of photos for your enjoyment. Hope folks enjoyed this journal entry to comment on this stuff. All I know is I'm just tired from typing this up! :)