August 17th, 2012
I was quite tired last night, as I slept the sleep of the dead and woke up when the alarm went off at 5:30 am. Obviously I was wrong about the alarm clock; the sound was enough to wake me when it went off. The diarrhea started for the day when I got out of bed, and my stomach felt somewhat unsettled. Not a good omen for the day. Even after I showered and finished my morning ablutions, I felt somewhat groggy and sleepy. I've decided that today I'm going to cash another $150 in traveller's cheques and try to make do with the cash I've got on me after that for the rest of the weekend.
spross and I descended down for breakfast, and the lovely omelette this morning with some additional ham in it, plus the decaf coffee did much to wake me up fully, and the food in my stomach settled me down somewhat. After breakfast, I took care of the travellers cheque, and then went back to the room and took care of the rest of the morning ablutions, and I re-checked that the materials were ready for the 12:00 noon running of "The Infection Factor" for the Primeval RPG. We decided to check out some of the games in JW 206 again and then head over to the Exhibit Hall in the ICC before I have to come back and run the first of the two Primeval RPG games for the day. I wanted to pick up a couple of t-shirts down there, as I'm in need of a few more.
After grabbing what I needed to go into the Exhibit Hall, spross and I went down to JW 206 to watch the games going on around 8:10 am or so. The games were going full tilt by the time we got there - except for the Doctor Who game. Boomer showed up a half-hour late for the game, and he was lucky that all six players that showed up for the game stuck around! Lucky. I headed for the ICC with spross at that point, as I wanted to check out the Auction before heading into the Exhibit Hall. We arrived and went in, but the line to look at prospective items up for auction was too long to wait. Not to mention there was the bad smell of unwashed bodies in the room. Uggh!
By that time, the Exhibit Hall was open, so I went into the hall and picked up a couple of other things that I wanted there. I went to the Atomic Overmind booth, and snagged a copy of Unhallowed Necropolissupplement for Unhallowed Metropolis. Even though I'm not going to run the game, the material for that neo-Victorian rpg is just superb to read, and I love that stuff, so... :) Went over to the Pelgrane Press booth, and snagged the new Dying Earth Revivication Folio and the Ashen Stars stars Ace Double-like supplement Tartarus/Terra Nova. Chatted with Robin D. Laws and Beth Lewis for a bit at the booth, and then headed out to buy some t-shirts. I didn't see a lot of stuff that I really liked, but did manage dto find a Schroedinger's cat t-shirt at one of the OffWorld Designs booths. I decided to go back to the Studio 2 booth in the hopes that Nelyhann had finished the bit of art for my Limited Edition copy of Shadows of Esteren Universe book since I had a bit of time, and was in luck. He had indeed done so. I took a look at what he had done for me in the book, and it was...superbe! :) I asked Valentin, Nelyhann, and Clovis if I could get a photo of them (spross taking it, of course, and they were glad to oblige, but wanted me in the shot. Before we could take it, Clovis had to talk to a customer, but here's the photo.
That's Nelyhann to the left of me, and Valentin to the right. Yes, I'm holding the copy of the Limited Edition of the book. Before heading back to do the noon gaming session, I went over to the Cubicle 7 booth, as I wanted to get a copy of the rebranded Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space boxed set, but Edel told me that she thought I would get a special deal on it, so I needed to talk to Dominic. He was quite busy unloading another batch of The One Ring game materials, so this would have to wait until I saw him some time on Saturday.
By this time, it was around 10:45, so I dashed back to the JW to unload the stuff that I had picked up, while spross went to buy a couple of subs for lunch. I grabbed the stuff that I needed to run the Primeval RPG, and then met him at the same place where we'd eaten lunch on the Thursday around 11:30 am. We had a nice, relatively relaxed lunch, and then I went back to JW 206 to run "The Infection Factor" for the second time at noon.
I got to the room in time to grab one of the tables for play, and started to set up with all the character sheets, the dice, and Story Point and Threat markers. I was pleased and gratified that I had a full table of six players for this running of the game. I had returning players in Susan Grace (who played last year), Frank Frey (who's played with me before at a couple of conventions), as well as a friend of mine from the Triple Ace Games boards, Rob Davis, and his mate, Tom Vowls. Two of the other players for the game told me that they decided to play in the Primeval RPG game because it involved "an infection, and time anomalies - sounded like fun!". The game itself went really well.
Susan took on the role of Sarah Page, and played her with style and flair, really doing the character justice and interacting very well with the Becker and Cutter players. She also figured out some of the central elements of the plot really early on. Frank played Captain Becker, and he was really good in the role, playing the character in a militaristic way with precision, knowing his mission was to protect Cutter and the others, and very much got into the killing of some of the dinosaurs over Cutter's protests. (Yes, the group inflicted a lot of Temporal Damage to the timeline in this one.) Tom did a great job playing Nick Cutter, playing him with a great Scots accent, and played him as the arrogant, haughty, and selfishly maverick type that he is, and kept calling Jenny Claudia, whose player played off of quite nicely. A nice young woman, Damia, played Jenny Lewis pretty faithfully to how she came across in the late Second and early Third series of the show, despite not being too familiar with the tv show. She did a great job interacting with both Nick and Becker, keeping the peace between them (relatively) and reacting appropriately every time Nick called her Claudia. She was very determined to keep the Anomaly stuff under wraps from the public, and effectively did that job, coming up with an extremely good cover story for the business involving a chemical leak. Alan, the fellow playing Connor Temple, did a really good job playing the geek and came up with some very good ideas on how to handle a few of the situations in the scenario. He also figured out some of the more interesting aspects about Anomalies, despite his never having seen the series before. He didn't interact with Abby all that well, and that marred my enjoyment of the game somewhat, but what can one do? Rob played Abby, and I found him to be quite effective with the character, getting the gist of her love and protectiveness of animals into the game nicely (and getting a few Story Points here and there for it!). Rob had the character work well with Sarah, had some good creature insights during the course of the adventure, and also worked very well with Nick, the two of them having some good interaction during the coiurse of the game.
There were some nice highlights in this game. During the first sequence, the characters obsessed over tohe cow to the point that they didn't find the body of the farmer at all. The bit where Nick recklessly approached the dinos, due to Cutter's fascination with dinosaurs, and triggered the attack by them on masse! The moments where Becker had all his minions do the scut work and even the healing on some of the characters when necessary. Sarah doing the mycology work once they got to that point, but hanging back somewhat for the most part. The player acted her very well, but played the character unsure of her role on the team (which Sarah was in the early days). Nick driving the team's SUV into the storm where the Anomaly was so that Connor could lock the Anomaly, and the vehicle being almost dragged into the Anomaly. Nick kept calling Jenny "Claudia", much to her serious annoyance, and Damia got really vehement about it. And finally, Nick taking up Helen's offer to help them out, and my complete surprise when the player accepted the offer. Had to do some quick thinking at that point, let me tell you! :)
Overall, the group had a terrific time of it, and Damia and the other newbies to the game told me that they really liked it. When I asked, they said the game system was easy to learn, and the style and feel of the game were really good for a game with this sort of premise. I sat and chatted with a few of the players while I packed up the gaming materials, and several of them asked for more information about some elements of the game system, notably Temporal Damage and Exposure. I was happy to do so. By the time I had finished packing up, spross had arrived in the room to run his 4:00 pm game of The Laundry. I left the gaming room, and went to the GenCon event booth that was near the escalator on the second floor,m and handed over the event tickets.
I headed back up to the hotel room, and had some pretzels and carrots with a bit of cheese, and unwound for a little bit, while also unpacking my gaming stuff and making sure that the game materials for the evening's second Primeval RPG game, "Peril Beneath the Streets", was ready to go. I had a business dinner before running the game this night, so I took a sitz bath and freshened up, and wrote a large chunk of this journal entry. Making sure everything was ready for the tonight's game once more (it never hurts to double check), I headed out.
I walked at a steady pace from the JW to the Omni, since I was having dinner there with the folks that I was getting a bit of work from, and was somewhat winded by the time I got there around 5:20 pm or so. I saw that the Omni was undergoing work, and that things were going to be a bit more difficult for dinner than I had thought. I met the two folks in question, and we went out to dinner, where we had a good meal, good conversation, and talked business and contracts. I can't say anything more than that at this time for obvious reasons. After dinner, I walked back to the JW and took another sitz bath and got ready to run the game at 8:00 pm. Unfortunately, I had another wave of diarrhea around this time.
I arrived at the JW 206 around 7:30 pm, and sat back to watch a couple of games. By the time 8:00 pm arrived, I only had one player show up for the game. Not unexpected, given that Friday night was also the ENnie Awards. I was quite sad, and told the player in question that we might not be able to play. However, at 8:08 pm, the other five players arrived as a group, so I was quite ecstatic.
The best way that I can describe the game is... chaotic. The players were really unfocused on the game, distracted by mobile phone calls, despite my admonition about this several times. The way the characters were played was all over the place, with no sense of consistency or continuity. Part of that stemmed from the fact that none of the players had ever seen the Primeval tv show, other than David, who was the first player to arrive for the game. And it took them forever to get a grasp of the rules for some reason that I can't fathom, though they said at the time that the rules were easy to get and they understood them.
David took on the role of Nick Cutter, but played him a bit too sedately and didn't really take on the role of the leader that Nick is. That said, he did an excellent job on the palaeontology side of things. Sebastien did a nice job playing Captain Tom Ryan, and was authoritative (no doubt to David's somewhat passive Nick), and made some good suggestions about non-military issues. He didn't take any of the SAS soldiers with him, and thus used his time in the game more effectively. Craig played a very passive Connor Temple, and didn't really work well with Abby and her player. He got the technical job done, and had fun with that, but I could see that at times his heart wasn't in it. More interested in his mobile phone. John Griffiths played Stephen Hart, and he did a good job with him, acting the role of the hunter type quite well. He was spot on with his portrayal of Stephen, and seemed to get into the character and have fun with it. Shawn did a very nice job playing Abby Maitland, and really got the hang of her nature, as well as her medical and animal handling abilities. He interacted well with the others, and did a really nice job of trying to get Nick out of his shell. Mikaela, Shawn's wife, played Claudia Brown with spunk, creativity, and she got involved in pretty much all the game situations she found herself in. She really played the best Claudia that I've seen in a convention game so far, and went above and beyond.
Some of the highlights of this game session included: Nick's player constantly taunting Claudia about her interest in him. Connor devotedly hovering around Abby, and his constantly jury-rigging stuff just to see what he could do with it. Damia played Claudia and used her persuasive abilities to cajole the other characters into doing what she wanted the whole session. Claudia came up with the Animal Control story in order to get the player characters access to the Tube system. Claudia came up with the idea about electromagnetic contamination in the Tube tunnels that could wipe all memory on mobile devices, and the train passengers quietly handed over all their mobile devices for "cleaning", with only one or two characters objecting (Damia rolled really well on the Presence + Convince, and with such an excellent story and bit of roleplaying, well...). Stephen Hart, racing back down the tunnel, covered in Compys, and Abby kickboxing two of them off them, while Captain Ryan casually used his rifle to pick another three off him! - the player used lots of Story Points. hehe Claudia defending Connor with a plank of wood from Compys at the British Museum platform. Connor and Ryan taking some of the personal belongings off the long dead bodies of two gangsters that they found.
As I said, very strange game indeed.
Anyway, after the players and I talked for a few moments about the game, I packed up the game materials and all, and seeing that Nick Seidt had finished running his game, I gave him the Story Point markers so that he could run the two sessions of Primeval RPG on Saturday and Sunday.
I figured that spross was already back in the hotel room, since it was a little before midnight, I said goodnight to the guys who were still there, and headed back to the hotel room. On the way through the second floor area where folks were sitting and gaming, I saw some young fellow sitting reading a copy of the Continuum RPG! I talked with him about the game a bit, and had a nice chat.
After saying goodnight to the fellow, whose name was Todd, I went up to the hotel room and found spross there already, just relaxing and having a bit of a snack. I unpacked the gaming materials from the evening's run of Primeval RPG, and had a bit of a quick chat with spross while I washed up for the night and started making the last of this journal entry.
I have to say that I'm quite relieved that the four sessions of Primeval RPG that I was scheduled to run for the convention are done, and at the moment, I'm quite tired and exhausted from all the gaming over two days and the late nights. That said, we'll see what I can get up to for the next couple of days at the convention, maybe even play a few games, but for now it's just a matter of sleep.
Whew! One of the longest entries I've written about any day at any of the GenCons that I've been to. Hope you all enjoyed this one. :)
That's the wrap-up on the fourth day of the trip to Indy, and the second official day of GenCon 2012. The Saturday report on events will follow as soon as I get a chance.