Anyway on to the detailed recap and the pictures.
I stumbled my way to the convention center on open gaming day sometime around 10am or so. Along the way I happened to bump into El's husband, son, and a bunch of their friends. The girls were missing having gone off to work on something, only latter did I find out it was their team t-shirts for their true dungeon run that night. Anyway, I followed along with the pack as we tried to navigate a back way to the convention center. It all depended on which doors might happen to be open and how we might sneak in through one and thus avoid having to walk around the entire darn building. We eventually found a way in near the exhibit hall space where they were setting up and I ended up splitting up from the group. A good thing too since I found out a bit later that they had been stopped by rent-a-cops and then made to exit and walk all the way around. Using my stealth ninja abilities, I was able to win past the line of detection.
I walked around for a bit, scoping out where the will call booth would be for later badge pickup and watched the busy little CCG freaks in their area. The CCG tourneys were the only scheduled events running during the day and so, that was the only area with people roaming around. They had a lot of the same props that I had seen at indy and then origins before it.
This wasn't actually taken on thursday, but it gives you an idea of the layout there. They even had that giant batman figure that had mauled me over a year ago at indy. The batman was no longer holding the giant trading cards that had been my downfall, and instead now had a puny looking dagger of sorts.
And of course a giant whozit of the thing. I remember someone complaining on the gencon boards about all the money that these CCG companies must have if they can afford all these gigantic props, not to mention the price to then ferry them about from con to con. It must really be a cash cow when you have enough people playing the game. I mean, the cards are just paper and cardboard after all and that's cheap as hell. After you pay the artist some pittance, as long as you own the right to whatever genre you're pimping, it must have a very very high profit margin.
The open gaming area was to be held over at the hotel where true dungeon was. I don't even remember exactly what it was now but I want to saw mariott. Hell, it could have been a hyatt or even a howard johnsons for all I recall. They had set up two of the ballrooms with tables to game at, one for board/card games and one for everything else. The size of the crowd there was not an encouraging sort of thing. It was pretty damn sparse and if you eliminated people playing CCGesque crap, it was a truely tiny group of people. DnD and A&A minis were pretty well represented, but unless you had brought your own figs, I figured you were pretty much shit out of luck. I had hauled my KB stuff with me hoping to run a few demo games and set up at one of the tables. El's husband and group soon made it in and I was informed I had managed to sneak past the border patrol earlier.
I ended up playing a game of killer bunnies with El's son and a couple of older guys using all the decks I had at the time, blue to white. It was a pretty good game where the kid dominated for almost all of it. Just like a lot of games though, the person with only one carrot at the end won. There really are times that the whole randomness thing just drive me a little nuts. After that it was a game of San Juan, the puerto rico derived card game, and then straight on to boredom. Turns out that in the boardgame room, GB7 was allowing people to borrow games from them but only if you had a driver's license they could hold hostage and only if you kept it in that room. Since the room was a freaking tomb, it was a pretty useless sort of thing. There really was nothing else to do that was even slightly entertaining.
In the early afternoon, El and Ren showed up and it turned out that they were out trying to hunt down an ink jet printer with no results. They had t-shirts with the name of the character class for each person on it and apparently Ren had printed out the transfers backwards. Frankly, I thought that was even sorta cool, and either way not something to really give a damn about, but she seemed pretty upset about it. They were trying to track down forumites who might live in the area and have the necessary equipment to zip home and get the thingies reprinted. In the end, I saw them later that night right before their TD run with the backwards whozits, and it seemed just fine to me.
At this point I was pretty bored out of my mind. I wandered back to the convention center and went up to visit Jane and company at the auction. I also ran into Scatter along the way and he decided to trail along. He was apparently taking pictures for gencon and snapped shots of just about everything. While chatting with Jane I agreed to come back occassionally once the con had officially started whenever I had spare time and see if there was any volunteering help I could do. If nothing else, I could probaly sub out one of the staff long enough so they could take a break or do something else and since my schedule was pretty empty, it shouldn't be a problem.
By the time this all finished, it was late afternoon and badge/event registration and will call was about to open up. The line was freaking huge. Not as big as indy of course, but still larger than I figured it would be since socal seemed sorta rinkydink. I offered up a prayer of thanksgiving that I wouldn't have to wait in the farging registration line and wandered to the front where a couple of rent-a-cops were there holding back the rush until the clock chimed the hour. 'So where does the line go for people who aren't registering and just need to pick up their badges and tickets?', I asked. One of them nodded to the press of humanity behind me snaking out and down the hall. 'It's just one line' was his response. 'YOU MUST BE SHITTING ME!' was my measured and thoughtful reply. At this point I thought about going into full obsenity-laced rant since there was no fucking way I was going to wait in that gigantic fucking line just to pick up my fucking badge and tickets when it would only fucking take 30 seconds or so. I glared about me for a bit, muttered 'Fuck this', and went back to the open gaming area.
I walked around for a bit but there didn't seem to be anything interesting going on there either. I ended up twiddling my thumbs until the TD tavern opened and at that point the day started to pick up. I settled myself in their token trading area and had a very good time trading and equipping the parties coming through on the way to starting their adventure. I also ended up picking up second place in the bar brawl that night and got a pouch of treasure tokens out of the deal. I had been throwing crits galore up to the final match when all of a sudden I just went cold. I HATE it when that happens. It's like you psyche yourself out and end up just bombing when you know you can do much better. I don't remember what the VR but the first place winner, slith, got a pouch with full plate and a mug. :grumble:
Here's raven in her guild master nightshade outfit doing the rogue's game like usual. I meant to give that a while again but got distracted by the token dealing.
After a while george joined me in the token trader's area and ended up getting a set of full plate for a very good price and some other things he wanted. At around 2 minutes till 9, I remembered that I still had to go pick up my badge and event tickets since I had a TD run that night. I scrambled over and managed to talk my way through the gate guards and returned to the tavern with it. I had a ticket for the very last run of the night and it was sorta interesting because the entire night had been sold out and they were actually maxing the groups up to 8 since there were tons of standbys waiting to get in. Our group actually ended up just being 3 people after first, me and two newbies. George decided to buy in and so we were 4. I ended up playing the rogue because the person who was going to do it ended up having really poor dexterity when it came to those trap plates. We ended up with a fighter, a paladin, a cleric, and a rogue.
Since I was sure I could do the rogue whozit with no problems, I spent my training time trying to memorize bard symbols. It actually came in handy since in the second to last room I actually recognized 'good' on the pillar. We pretty much breezed through the dungeon like it was notta. I kept mum on the puzzles that I remembered from indy unless time was going to run out and in general, they did pretty good solving them on their own. There were parts where an arcane spellcaster would have been nice and though we kept telling the DMs as we were going through that we were multi-classing, no spellcasting. Even with only 4 people we mopped up the creatures in the second to last room that people have been bitching about. This was despite the fact that I couldn't even equip up well since I had ended up loaning a lot of my tokens to El and Ren's group to outfit them to the hilt. Throwing crit after crit sort of speaks for itself.
At indy, I tried the last puzzle twice and failed both times. This time around it just came together and we happened to pick the right order for the pentagram. I'm not sure it was skill more than luck, though having less cooks might have made it easier to not spoil the broth. I got my very first survivor pin ever. Of course, it wasn't until leaving that I received that mine didn't have a back. It was more like a survivor bottlecap. It figures.
I was going to head on back to the parkside but I was hungry and thought about stopping somewhere for somethign to eat. I ended up walking to the 7-11 and buying myself a loaf of bread, american cheese, balogna, and a hotdog where I abused the self-serve nacho cheese machine to an indecent degree. My hotdog looked like it was floating on a sea of cheese. This is pretty much what I ended up subsisting on for the rest of the time at socal with the exception of dinner out a couple times.
For a day where it didn't seem a lot happened, this certainly took a long time to tap out. I wonder if I'll finish the recap at all the way this is going.