Sunday, May 19th
I had a terrible night. I woke up around 2:45 am and literally had to run to the bathroom as I experienced some of the worst bowel problems that I have in some time. By the time it was over, around 4:00 am, I was exhausted and crawled back into bed. My relief didn't last long. I kept having cramps and bowel movements all the way through into the morning hours, and turned off the alarm clock when it went off at 6:35 am. I woke again at 7:45 am, and after going to the lavatory again, I finally realised I needed to get up and start functioning for the day. I knew that the Chinese beef with spinach and noodles dish I'd had last night would get me, and I was proven right.
After washing up, I went upstairs and had some breakfast. I made some oatmeal, as the fiber in that would help my stomach settle down, and once breakfast was done, I actually felt marginally better and the cramps abated somewhat. Since spross was coming again that morning around 10:00 am, I needed to get functioning and functional, so I showered, and then set about making the snack for the afternoon - some Gouda cheese with some celery and carrots, and about six crackers. Once that was done, I made sure that all the gaming stuff that I needed for the afternoon game was ready, and then started packing up the gaming tote bags and the personal tote, restocking my Diabetes medications. I added my copy of the Poo: The Card Game to my personal tote bag, feeling that if the day went slow I might be able to get a couple of people to play the game with me. I was looking forward to running the Rocket Age RPG session that afternoon, though nervous about it, and also wanted to see how I'd done at the CanGames consignment booth in terms of the gaming stuff that I was selling.
By that time, my stomach and bowels had calmed down nicely, after another cup of peppermint tea, so I was able to sit down and do some reading before spross arrived around 9:25 am. He helped me make the final decision on how to pack the game rulebook (two large binders) for Rocket Age (as the game isn't out yet), and then we packed up the car, went to Subway to grab lunch for the day, and then headed downtown. The weather was going to be filled with rain during the afternoon onwards, so I took my umbrella and hoodie. While I had thought we would park in the Funeral Home lot again this morning, spross and I were both pleasantly surprised to find a good parking space less than a block from the Rideau Curling Club, which actually was a good thing, given the weight of the Rocket Age binders. The fact that I was in a lot of pain that day, due to tweaking the back the day before, didn't help matters much either, so I was relieved the walk to the Curling Club wasn't too far.
When we entered the Curling Club for this, the last day of CanGames 2013, I was somewhat shocked at how empty the place seemed. It was barely 10:25 in the morning, and while there were lots of games going on (as the photos below show), it just seemed the place was less packed on this final day of the convention. spross and I went down to the lockers area and stowed away all of the gaming stuff (and my hoodie and umbrella) that I would need later, and headed back upstairs. I went and checked to see how many players were registered for the Rocket Age scenario, and found that I was up to a couple of players, so was pleased about that as the adventure would only accommodate five (5) players total; there was no room for a sixth player for the game.
SteveR said that he wanted to see a couple of things, so we split up for a bit and I wandered around, snapping a photo of games going on here and there. There were folks playing Battlestar Galactica, Talisman, Brass, Elder Sign, Diplomacy (all board games), as well as All Flesh Must Be Eaten, the James Bond RPG, Palladium Fantasy, D&D, Dungeon World, more Hollow Earth Expedition (all rpgs), as well as Phaser Lock (miniatures) and other stuff. I snapped a few photos here and there. I was pretty tired by then, and went back to the Registration area to sit for a bit, but found myself taking out the game of Poo and playing a 10-minute hand with a couple of folks who passed by and were fans of the game.
Once spross returned, we headed into the Marketplace to see what was going on. I saw that I had sold a few more items at the CanGames booth, but a large chunk of the stuff that I'd left there was still there. Sad, but no doubt due to the influence of Ottawa ComicCon being the week before. I managed to get over to the Comic Book Shoppe booth, and purchased my copy of Ticket to Ride: Asia, getting $10 worth on through the GM vouchers that I had gotten so far. SteveR picked up one of the few releases for the FemForce RPG that had come out (and which he didn't have), but the pickings were pretty lean in the Marketplace this year, though there were a couple of things that I was looking for.
I talked to tashiro and shiftercat at the Fool's Moon Entertainment booth again, and had an interesting conversation that I won't discuss here. Also took a photo of the booth and the two of them.
By this time, it was getting close to 12:00 noon, so it was time to think of lunch. While spross grabbed the game that I had bought and put it in his locker (as mine was packed with the Rocket Age stuff for the moment), I ambled back through the miniatures/rpg/board games area on the ground floor back towards the Registration area. We sat down near the Registration desk at one of the gaming tables to eat lunch, as the table I'd be gaming at still had a game going on, with a large pizza box full of sand and dinos (I'm reposting it here below).
I hoped that he'd be finished in time, as I really needed to go over some of the Rocket Age RPG material before I had to run the game. And my back was hurting so bad by this time that I needed to take some more Robaxacet. The pills helped to ease the pain somewhat, and spross and I settled in to eat lunch. I chatted with a fellow, Paul, who asked me if I was going to be running at the table, and I told him where I'd be running and what I'd be running, and he expressed possible interest in playing the game that afternoon.
By the time the sign-up sheets for the games at 2:00 pm went out on the table, the fellow running the D&D game, Bruce, was still cleaning sand up off the table, and I was getting nervous. I dumped the various tote bags and stuff by the table, and went to check the sign-up sheets after getting another bottle of water at the cash bar nearby. I managed to convince another couple of players to sign up for the game around 10 to the hour, and thus had a full table set to go for the Rocket Age game at 2:00 pm. I was happy, but nervous. Bruce had finished cleaning stuff up and had moved on, so I was able to sit down and start to lay gaming stuff out for the game, but I didn't have too much time to re-browse some of the game material. Ah, what the heck, figured I'd have to wing it anyway to some extent, so no use worrying about it.
spross went off to play in the playtest game of Trionfi that tashiro was running that afternoon, and I got ready for the game. Rocket Age (no website yet) is the soon-to-be-released roleplaying game of Golden Age science fiction from Cubicle 7 that is powered by the Vortex system used in the DW: AiTaS and Primeval RPGs. The scenario that I ran, "The Na'Gira Gambit", is a home-made mishmash brew up of a couple of other scenarios and plots that I decided to put into a pot and stew, and then gave it a Rocket Age spin. The basic plot is that the player characters, all part of the same city-state/principality, must rescue the beloved Princess of the realm from dastardly forces, and involves a lot of pursuit, some mystery, a modicum of fighting and conflict, and the possibility of death. All the great things that were needed in Golden Age sf stories of the '40s and '50s, right? :)
Once the players arrived at the table, I set out the player characters' sheets for the game and allowed them to choose who they wished to play. There are five characters for this adventure: Princess Felaral II, a Silthuri (Royal caste) Martian, the sister of the missing Princess, with a neat secret; Matthew Williamson, an Earthling diplomat, whose loyalty between the British government and the Martian city-state is tested at times; Seran Beramant, the Martian Chanari (Feral caste) native and guide, whose love for Princess Felaral conflicts with his loyalty to her father and his interests on behalf of his Red Chanari tribe; Dr. Harrison MacMillan, an Earthling doctor now serving Princess Na'Gira's family and with a vested interest in seeing her returned safely; and Chopper, a Julandri (Labourer caste) Labourer and Cook who is also Princess Felaral's bodyguard (not that she really needs one!). After the players chose their characters, I spent a bit of time going over the basic game rules and then talking to the players at some length about the game world and universe of Rocket Age. By the time I finished, the players were eager to play.
The players did a remarkable job of playing the characters in the game. Lee-Anne took on the role of Princess Felara, and did a wonderful job playing her as the selfish, manipulative Princess that she is. At the same time, she played her coquettish, arrogant, and capable in her own right (and no, I'm not revealing the Princess's secret here!). She downplayed the romance with the Seran character, but still gave it some life. Adrian played the Earthling diplomat, Matthew. He did an excellent job in terms of keeping the player characters friendly as their personalities were designed to clash somewhat, and managed to negotiate some difficult waters in terms of getting to find Princess Na'Gira's location and make some deals for fresh water and food for the Captain of the land barge they were on. Dan, one of the players from the Primeval RPG game on Saturday, played Seran, the Martian Chanari, and he and Lee-Anne did a great job portraying their romance on the sly (that one of the other characters knew about); he was quite protective of her. But he also played up the feral (i.e., wild) nature of the character, making him somewhat aggressive, impulsive, and definitely not a friend to the Earthlings. David played Dr. MacMillan, and did a good job of making him the competent, charming doctor with a sense of authority about him that tested the Princess's resolve. David also made it clear that the only reason he wasn't with his patients was because of his respect for Princess Na'Gira and Felara's father. Finally, Paul took on the role of Chopper, the Julandri labourer/cook cum bodyguard. He really found a nice balance between the subservient character who is at the same time Princess Felara's bodyguard, and took every opportunity to show off his "chopper" and make it clear that he was there for the Princess and that he didn't care for the Earthlings in the party.
Some of the highlights included: Lee-Anne manipulating the male characters into doing whatever Princess Felara wanted them to do at any given time, and seeing how far they would go with her. Dan's Seran going through the proper process of harvesting some water-weeds, only to find that none of the other player characters were with him! Then being attacked by the creature that launched itself from the water, and fleeing for his life back to where the others were. The bit where during the massive sandstorm, and the characters were being thrown around the land barge. Magnificent stuff when Lee-Anne tested the boys by not rolling to save herself, and both Chopper and Seran threw themselves in harm's way to protect her. Most of the players deciding at some point that Lee-Anne's Princess Felara might be responsible for the kidnapping of Princess Na'Gira (though they were proven wrong...this time). Chopper's heroism when he confronted one of the Tharkun scavengers on his own until some help arrived. What really impressed me was how the players grasped pretty quickly the species' dislikes for Earthlings and in some cases vice versa, as well as the fact that the political situation between the various species and planets existed and made for some wonderful conflict between the player characters. The fact that I only had Earthling and Martian player characters highlighted this even more, I think.
I managed to wrap up the scenario of Rocket Age around 5:45 pm, a good thing as the CanGames Awards ceremonies get underway at 6:00 pm. In some ways, things felt a bit rushed towards the end, but the scenario worked out well, and was quite enjoyable. The players were quite pleased with the game, and I explained a bit more about the behind-the-scenes elements of the scenario to a couple of players who hung around because they were interested in that stuff. I started packing up the gaming material with the help of a friend, and spross joined us after 6:00 pm, as the game he was playing in went a bit over (that game was up on the second floor, away from the ceremonies area). By that time, I was pretty much packed up, and while spross took some of the gaming stuff back to the car from the lockers, I handed in my final sign-up sheet for the game that I had run, and then made myself comfortable with some cheese slices and the bottle of water that I'd been nursing through the game. The CanGames staff did a wonderful job, as usual, of handing out the door prizes and the CanGames trophies and certificates for the winners of this year's games (those who weren't present can pick them up at next year's convention). They managed to keep the ceremonies to under 40 minutes again, a good job done by all involved.
Once the ceremonies were complete and the small crowd cleared out somewhat, I went up to the Cash Desk to find out if the monies and receipts for sales at the CanGames booth were ready and waiting, but was told that those were being handled this year on the main curling sheet surface where the miniature games and some board and rpg stuff was going on. spross and I went out there to see about matters, and I saw an old friend, Alison Place, was handling the cashing out process. I was dismayed to find that about half the stuff I'd put up for sale was still there, and one item was missing that she and Anita Hebert would search for. I went back about 15 minutes later, but they still hadn't found the missing item, and Anita told me that they would reimburse me for the item if the item turned up in the final, post-convention sweep that they always did. I cashed out on what did sell (no, I'm not going to say how much money I made, but it was less than what I was hoping for), and donated all the items left over to the convention, other than the four Thousand Suns books and the copy of Parsec.
By the time we finished, it was close to 7:15 pm, and I was getting pretty hungry by that time. I said goodbye to many of the folks I knew, notably several of the CanGames staff, and then headed to the car with the rest of the gaming stuff that I had brought to the convention. By this time, it was raining (and had been for a while as spross informed me). My friend knightbane was supposed to go out to supper with us and his crew, but he'd not come in to Ottawa and the convention for various reasons on the Sunday as found in his blog, but spross and I found no reason not to carry on with our original plans. We went over to eat Chinese at Brother Wu's out on St. Laurent. The restaurant wasn't too crowded, and we settled in at the table. I enjoyed a bowl of mustard green soup, an order of gow tien, some sizzling beef on a platter, moo she chicken, a buddha's delight, and some steamed rice, all washed down with jasmine tea. Lovely meal to round out a good day at the convention.
I was pretty full after eating at the restaurant, and spross drove me back to my place and helped me unpack stuff from the car. My back was killing me by this time, as I'd forgotten to take another dose of Robaxacet, so it was a good thing he was there to help me carry the heavy tote bags into the house. I grabbed some pills with water, and once spross headed home, settled down in my nice "back chair" and watched most of the third period and the double overtime win by the Ottawa Senators over the Pittsburgh Penguins by a 2-1 score. I was very tired by that point, the mind catching up to the body, so I had a cup of peppermint tea and then crawled into bed with a good book. I fell asleep while reading the book. :)
And there you have it - my three-post report on CanGames 2013, and the rpgs I ran at the convention. Overall, it was a pretty good convention, tiring as per usual, and a somewhat painful time for me towards the end (but not as bad in that respect as the 2011 or 2012 versions). (I may write an impressions of the con post as well, but we'll see). I think I had a pretty good time at the convention, regardless.
Hope folks enjoyed these reports of the convention. :) Comments, thoughts, and questions would be welcome. :)