In the darkness the trees are full of starlight (henwy) wrote,
In the darkness the trees are full of starlight

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Gencon Recap: Day 2

It's only been a little over a week since gencon and quite frankly, a lot of the details are starting to turn to sludge in my mind. It's a good thing that I take pictures so I can give the old memory a kick in the pants now and then. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't recall half of this crap if they weren't there to remind me. It's just one of those situations where there's too much going on mixed with lack of sleep. Combine the two and it's a miracle you can remember your own name in the middle of the cyclone.

So as I alluded to in the end of the last recap, I wasn't feeling all that spiffy that night. Quite frankly, I felt like whatever part of the cow I had ended up consuming was trying to get its revenge via a scene out of aliens. It was a fitful night of sleep, but then again, that wouldn't be very unusual for this trip. I think I managed to snag around 3 hours that night in total, and never did end up topping 5.

I woke up that morning to the sound of mock26 in the bathroom sounding like he was trying to hack up a furball. Apparently he has some phlegm to clear and I have no clue if that's what set things off or perhaps it was the food from the night before, but I went to embrace the porcelian goddess and felt much much better afterwards. Neither of these two incidents made Melissa very happy as I was to find out later as she was awake and listening to this little back to back symphony.

After I had sorted myself out, I decided to stagger on downstairs to follow mock26 to breakfast. Not that I actually wanted to eat anything, but I thought it might be nice to just sit for a while and vegetate. Not to mention it was very early and I was a little worried that if I tried to go back to bed, I would just oversleep and miss my events for the day.

I took this shot over the balcony in front of our room on the 14th floor. On a sidenote, one of these days I really have to find the user manual to this damn camera again and find the whitebalance function. It's ridiculous to own a camera with this many god damn knobs and shooting modes and only knowing how to put the camera to 'auto' and taking pictures.

At one point later in the con, I proped the cutout up on the balcony railing and chanted 'jump! jump!' but no one payed much attention. The impulse to actually let go and see where it would land only lasted for a second or two.

At breakfast I found that mock26 had already scurried off but that foxxtail, sherilyn70, and nzknight were still around. Actually, I can't even guarentee that without photographic evidence. I tended to bump into them down there in some permutations most mornings and I'm only guessing at the party makeup that day. I pulled up a chair and sat around with them for a while until everyone had to wander back to their rooms to get ready for the day's events.

Alrighty, I'm going to leave this entry only partially completed and come back to it later. I'm feeling sort of blah at the moment and maybe having a liedown will make me feel better.

So my day was supposed to start with a 4 hour deadlands event run by Gene of Bladerunner Press. I would have pitched this event altogether if it weren't for the fact that I hadn't managed to see Gene the day before and really wanted to get a chance to talk with him. In the end, I went ot the event and we got to have our little meet and greet. Everything worked out even better when he ended up with additional players with generics wanting to get in on the game. I bowed out and was able to reclaim around 3 and a half hours I hadn't expected to see again in addition to catching up with a friend.

I decided to spend my extra time in the exhibit hall, a good thing too since this would be the only time all con I'd have to wander around there. It's the first time in 4 years where I didn't get a chance to walk down all the asiles and collect swag, managing only to make it through around half of the halld uring the con.

On my way there however I ran into Randy (The Keeper) who was hard at work already at the info desk. It seems that Chaosium had given him the run around and shaft and he was now working for gencon exclusively at con time. We shot the breeze until people needing help started appearing and I wandered over to exchange my regular badge for a GM one. I was running a few Killer Bunnies events for playroom entertainment and they had graciously comped me for a GM badge. Collecting the badge ended up being a far bigger hassle than I had anticipated and I must've spent around 15-20 minutes in line behind a whole slew of clueless individuals.

That chore done, I was meeting a friend when who should I run into but foxxtail in her katamari damacy costume. Now, I have to admit that I'm not a huge katamari fan though I've made a few entries on here before about the diehard nature of some of the players. I had been very eager to pick it up given the hype but when I actually tried to play it, my motion sickness kicked in. Trust me, no video game, no matter how well designed, is entertaining when you're feeling the urge to projectile vomit. That being said, her costume kicked some major ass. It reminds me a bit of the domo-kun outfit I put together a couple years ago for halloween. It must've been a bit disconcerting to have to maneuver the wide head around just like it had been quite a challenge to move around as domo.

After that it was off to the exhibit hall where I met up with Kath and Chelle. We ended up roaming up and down the asiles to try to comb the place for swag but there was simply too much to see and do.

I have no clue why I feel the need to take pictures of stupid crap like this sometimes. All it takes sometimes is some company spends money to plop up some sort of display and there I am to snap a shot of it despite the fact that I have no clue what it's for exactly nor really, when it gets right down to it, care. Looking at it now I can only guess it's something dnd related, though I wonder if we're supposed to read something into the fact that it's a guy hoisting his sword, a woman cupping her pussy, and another guy rubbing his balls. Hey, sex sells people.

This little setup at the Wizkids booth just pissed me off. Even if it's tongue in cheek, it's a pathetic sort of idea. All I can say is that these must've been the most expensive baked goods in the entire place, and given the price of convention hall food, that's saying something. I had just gotten it into my head to swipe myself a $110 donut just out of sheer petulance when I ended up being distracted by something else.

Okay, sorry boys and girls but I'm taking another break to get some sleep. I've got a DnD game at the bills tommorrow and I think it might be a plus if I could spend most of it conscious instead of constantly dozing off. I'll get back to this at some point later.

Alrighty then...I think I had just left off with my one and only real tip to the exhibit hall. I would pop back occassionally but never again would I get a chance to swag hunt or just wander the asiles and look at booths. It's a pity really but there simply just wasn't any more time to be found.

After exiting the hall, I made my way to the room all the way at the opposite end of the convention center to where Playroom Entertainment was holding all of its game events. I had much oppertunity to curse this choice of location after the blisters became a problem but there was nothing I could do about it. I was signed up for the Killer Bunnies World Tournament Qualifier, and because I was so confident about winning and advancing, I had also signed up for another session the next day. I love KB, but it's a tremendous bitch when you're actually trying to win a game. The best you can usually manage is a preponderance of the odds on your side and then have blind chance take the wheel and drive. I had had the most carrots in both qualifiers I entered at origins and in the final tourney as well. For the latter, I had a 45% chance going in of winning (with the remaining 55% divided among 3 players) but sometimes lady luck just dosen't cooperate.

It turns out in an ironic twist of fate that playroom was sharing the room with NECA and all the nightmare before christmas tournamnets would be held in the same place. The location might have been a bit inconvienant but at least it was one-stop shopping from my point of view. It also just happened that I would be a couple of familiar faces at the qualifier, which is always nice because you assume that people who know you might not try to beat up on you as heavily (though I'm not quite sure what in my life would give me that odd impression).

Here is foxxtail out of her katamari damacy costume and surely reveling in the freedom. She's the one with the friend who also loves Dex and when I grabbed the carrot at origins, made whimpering squeaking noises as if I had stomped on her pets.

I also recognized Dreamwalkr on the left from the gencon forums. I had actually introduced him to the game a year ago during some pre-stink gaming at the hyatt. I had run a demo game of KB and it was nice to see that he had enjoyed it enough to keep playing.

I have no clue who any of the other players above were, other than the last guy there is Mr Unlucky. He ended up going through the entire game with not a single bunny. I've never seen anything like it. Since it was a pretty bunny shy game, there weren't even any to trade for. It wasn't until the 2nd turn from the end that he finally flipped one up and he still ended with no carrots. (BTW: yes, yes I know that one of the pictures is flipped on its side. It's just not worth my time to bother to flip it around. It's not even like I know the guy. If it bothers you that much, just turn your head to the side when you're looking at that one picture and then rotate 90 degrees back to normal for the rest)

In general, as far as I can recall, the game was pretty nice and sedate. Of course, the reason I believe this is because I didn't get hit with the monstrosity I put together with Duck Tape. Did anyone know that you could link up a Cruise Missile Prime (a roaming red run) with some other nasty weapon I now forget and get basically a death machine (Roll over a 17 on a d12 or something along those lines :P) that never stops? At one point we barried the whole thing in with foxxtail and the girl sitting next to her and it caused a pretty obscene amount of carnage. I also tried to loose ebola but was foiled in my attempts.

The game actually ended pretty well for me. I had 7 carrots and I don't recall exactly if that was the most of anyone at the table, but if not it was close. You'll notice that Dex, however, is not in my collection. Well, in honor of her squeaky friend Becky, foxxtail had taken Dex right at the beginning and despite my growls and grumbling kept it. She had no bunnies at the end of the game however and all of her carrots were supposed to shift to dreamwalkr (I think). This was, of course, before the zodiac hit and someone deciding to curry favor moved a bunny over to her and knocked someone else out of the game in exchange. As the fates would have it, Dex was the winning carrot and there was much rejoicing....on her side of the table. She ended up promising the guy who had brought her victory baked goods, which I hear came to pass. I guess if you can't win a game of killer bunnies, being kingmaker isn't all that bad, ecspecially if cookies come along with it.

After the qualifier I taught a quick game demo of KB blue-yellow and then it was racing off to True Dungeon. After all the planning and organizing, I had finally put together a group of people to make the run. I would be going through, for what was essentially the second time, with mock26, Richard, Melissa, nzknight, sherilyn70, and jirel's friend cybogoblin after her other friend bailed. We had a few tense minutes waiting outside for the last stragglers of our group to show up and then I had to franticly solve another problem. At 7:00pm the dungeon would be making combo tokens avaliable which people could trade for. The problem was that I would be smack dab in the middle of the dungeon at that point. I needed to find a proxy and I needed to find one fast.

As I was trying to sort this out I bumped into Lesimony (Heidi) who graciously came to my rescue. She agreed to take my ingredients and my uninterupted run through the dungeon was saved.

The hardcore run through the dungeon was subtly different from the VIP run the night before. I wasn't quite sure how much of what had changed was a result of tweaking over the past day and how much was due to the fact that it was a hardcore run. What I was aware of is that being a cleric sucked ass. Those beads stink on ice. The memorization task was pretty god awful and I flubbed quite a few spellcasting attempts during the run. Getting 1 point of healing out of a 8 point spell is the SuXXoRs. I did short myself a bit on the memorization time in the training room since there were tokens I needed to trade with the bar owner but it was still not a simple task. I am _not_ a tactile person and the inability to handle and rotate the beads along with the low light made visual identification iffy at best.

As for other things that changed during the run, the rules for reaching through the bars in the first room had also changed and someone had removed the bellows that we had used the night before. This time we were forced to do it the 'right' way with the bits of string and the metal hook. Chucking the token into the tub in the lava demon room was also curtailed quite a bit, and I wonder if that had anything to do with mock26's reach and drop from the VIP run. In general, the monsters got tougher but we sliced through them without much effort it seemed. The 16 point fireball was a wee bit unpleasant, but with enough healing scrolls and cloak +2/rings of fire resistance, it didn't go all that badly.

The most important difference between the VIP run and our hardcore run was the last room however. We had perished the night before and since then had heard a handful of rumors about how the room was supposed to be solved. One theory involved getting the numbers to add up to eight somehow and simply leaving a few of the others off of the board. Another involved skipping spaces in between the gems based on the total of the previous numbers behind it. We also knew that each person would get one guess so there was no dilly dallying this time. Everyone took a guess, and everyone got sucked into oblivion. At the very end, only sherilyn70 was left alive. I fully admit that at this point, I had no real expectations for survival. This is not a knock against sherilyn70 but the puzzle was obviously a killer as far as we were concerned and added to that, this was her very first trip through any true dungeon event. She had been pretty quiet and passive the entire run through up until that point and I wasn't expecting any miracles. Other people started yelling that she should just guess anything when the 1-minute left gong rang. My contribution was to suggest that she not think and just use her woman's intuition. She picked up the '10' gem and dropped it into a slot. We all looked around but there was no flash of red-lighted death. She picked up the '11' gem and just as the music was getting to the frantic only seconds left part of the soundtrack, she dropped it next to the 10. Inside my head, I gave a groan. Right next the 10? The answer wouldn't be to put it right next to the 10, we're boned.

A flash of white light and congratulations, we had survived true dungeon.

Holy crap.

Of course, the solution seems sorta obvious now but how many people really go around counting in base 8 I ask you? In the end, I'm not sure exactly what sherilyn was thinking when she placed the last two stones since she hadn't cracked the base-8 nut either. Maybe it was just women's intuition that saved us and as it's often been said, it's better to be lucky than good sometimes.

Anyway, I had decided to ditch the NASCRAG charity event since I knew ahead of time I couldn't make round 2 no matter what. I figured it'd be easier to handle if I just skipped it altogether rather than having to face a solomon's choice between Round 2 and the BYOV Harry Potter Larp. Instead, I decided to wander back to NECA's room and participate in the NBC constructed tourney were I ended up placing second. It was pretty spiffy and I was finally able to pick up the last few promo cards I needed to complete my 4x collection of cards. Until the next expansion comes out, I'm all set as far as the NBC game is concerned.

After the tourney ended I trudged and limped my way back to the hotel and eventually got to bed. Tommorrow was another day after all and who knew what day 3 of gencon would hold.
Tags: gencon

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