To prepare for the journey, the main problem I was facing was what to do about food. I wanted to stick to the diet but I didn't think it would be very easy at all if I had to purchase food at the convention. What ended up happening is I had bought a couple pounds of sharp cheddar cheese and a couple pounds of pepperoni. I chopped everything into slices and packed it up into ziplock bags. I spent 4 out of 5 days eating nothing but pepperoni and cheese, beef jerky, and the occassional power bar. Trust me, this was hardly the breakfast of champions. It was pretty sucktastic by the end.
The drive itself wasn't all that interesting. I was taking a route I had never traveled before but since I almost always just take yahoo maps at its word, no problem. I spent the trip listening to some mp3's I had downloaded of comedy routines from the blue collar comedy tour and then finished off the 8 hour drive with an audiobook of The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom. The latter was completely predictable and I didn't care much for it at all. I tried listening to Tuesdays With Morrie by the same author on the return drive but had to give it up after getting around halfway through. It was just trite and overly sacchrine like the other book and frankly, I don't see what the fuss was all about when it came to either or. I imagine that morons liked it because it was sort of a chicken soup for the soul sort of deal.
Anyway, I arrived at the motel and checked in around 4:30 or so. I had planned to only stick around there for a few minutes to get settled since I was supposed to meet chelle and her husband at the drury in less than a hour. I ended up lying down on the bed and when channel flipping stumbled over the ESPN world's strongest man competition. There's something infinitely enjoyable about loafing in an air conditioned room while watching other people haul around hundreds of pounds worth of weight. Needless to say I was a bit late to meet up with chelle. It also seems that the scandinavians no longer rule the strongest man competition. The eastern europeans were kicking the ever-living crap out of them.
I rang chelle once I had gotten to the convention center and met up with her and her hubby around a hour and half later. I had an event at 7pm and we didn't have much time for chit-chat. According to them, the pre-reg (will-call) line had turned into a monster and when they went through, there were only 3 people working the thing. I must say that I was quite impressed with origins in their ability to reapply resources. By the time I got to the line, there must've been around 15 people working pre-reg, quite a few of them teenagers or even younger. It seems that once the origins people saw how bad the line was getting they went out and recruited everyone they could get their hands on to work it. So while the line was long, I managed to get through it within a reasonable amount of time. 15-20 minutes or so tops. I have no doubt that if this was gencon and it happened like this, there would still have only been 3 people working the line and all three would be flipping you the bird.
Anyway, the line was also where I snapped my first picture. It seems that out of the box games was offering swag for people in line.
Of course, no surprise, it was completely empty. In fact, I didn't see a single god damn apple in any of these containers the entire stinking con. I couldn't quite decide if I thought this was because out of the box simply stocked it once at the beginning and then said "fuck it" and never bothered to try to add more apples, or if the swag obsessed gamers kept looting the damn thing the second anything was put into it. If it was the latter, I like to think of it as the war in the gamer soul of greed for swag versus aversion to fruits and vegetables and anything healthy. Apparently the former won out.
So after picking up my badge and tickets, I went off to my first event, an RPG called Another time for action. It was being run by Amorpheous Blob, a gaming group that I absolutely love. I stumbled over their event last year at my first origins and it was a hoot. I've since discovered that they have a very eclectic group of GMs. While often there are similarities in style and theme within a GM'ing group, they were completely different. I had ended up playing in a 3 part DnD game of theirs last year that was mostly comedic. This time around it was mostly tactical and action. Frankly, I preferred the former but since I couldn't remember the name of the GM I played with last year, it was a craps shoot when signing up for events this year.
I ended up playing a wizard character that I don't remember overly much about. It wasn't a roleplaying event as much as a rollplaying one, and details like what the character was like other than what spells he could hurl were extraneous. Our party were being sent off to investigate some trollwhozits that had wiped out another group and to no surprise, we found them almost immediately.
Giant frickin' monsters, eh? I kept thinking that if that were actually the difference in size the only logical thing to do would be to scream like a little girl and haul ass as fast as I could in the other direction. I had even picked expeditious retreat as one of my 1st level spells with that in mind. You don't see the figure representing my character because I spent my time about as far back as possible, lobbing in spells. There was no way in hell I was getting in close enough to get squished. Screw that. Let the meat shields suck up the damage like they're supposed to.
So on the adventure went and at one point we found an evil altar decorated with sacrificial victims in a destroyed dwarf village. Since it's a law of nature that absolutely no adventuring party can leave an evil altar alone without fiddling with it, an attempt by someone to piss on it and then light it on fire summoned a little friend.
We were pretty fucked in my estimation at the time. I dropped a fireball on it before it closed but its spell resistance nixed the whole thing. By this point, I more or less realized that a good chunk of the party was going to end up as corpsicles and I began inching back. The only thing I could really do was toss out a few spells that I figured had next to no chance to injure the damn thing anyway. I hit it with a baleful polymorph spell, more for something to do than out of any real belief it would affect him. FOr those not in the know, a baleful polymorph spell turns anything into a harmless animal if they fail a fortitude saving throw. If they fail a will saving throw on top fo that, they also lose any special abilities and whatnot they have and end up being nothing more than an animal. With spell resistance and save bonuses up the wazoo I figured there wasn't a chance in hell.
I chose a tree sloth as the animal, figuring if in some miracle it worked, I wouldn't want the damn thing scampering away on me. The spell DC was 19 and the dragon had a fort save bonus of 17. The DM goes to roll the twenty-sided die and a '1' pops up. Poof, we had a tree sloth instead of a gargantuan white dragon. Un-fucking-believable. I remarked that I ended up using up all my luck on day 1 of the convention and that it was going to be downhill from there. That ended up being a bit prophetic.
The thief of the party snatched up the marmot and decided to make a pet of it and we wandered off to the final confrontation where a band of some intelligent yeti-like monsters were doing some sort of ritual to summon a giant ice elemental. I figured it had worked so well the first time that I zoomed in on a fly spell and popped off another baleful polymorph on their leader/shaman. Another crap roll by the DM and poof. I decided to pick a 'long haired marmot' this time around, the kind that lives in high alpine slopes in honor of an argument I was having with dtb on the gencon forums. I actually had googled information about marmots to make a point, and it had stuck in my head.
The thief ran in and scooped up the marmot and there was talk about possibly having our characters start up a pet store of sorts that dealt in unuusal animals. Sounded like a damn good idea to me. After the adventure was over the DM commented that he had never had a party slice through the module like that before in any of the runs he had made with it.
It was then time to vote for the MVP of the game, and everyone else decided they didn't want to vote and instead wanted to roll randomly to see who got the prize. A series of obsenities ran through my head since I thought it was pretty clear who deserved the prize and it had nothing to do with who could roll the highest on a d20. Anyway, long story short, another girl picked up the event winner ribbon and the main prize while I got a little coupon whozit for a free miniature. I was mollified until I realized later when I tried to redeem it that I could only pick out of a box of extras and junk that the company couldn't get rid of. Sucktastic.
Anyway, that was wednesday at origins more or less. I went back to the hotel and went to bed so I could make my event the next day at 9am.