I'm also getting a bit worried about the logistics of the whole gencon trip. There are bunches of things I have to take care of before it comes and there are things that are going to be completely out of my hands, like whether Sew will finish the voodoo doll in time and how it'll turn out. In addition to that, I have to make a new Leave a Token, Take a Token Box for True Dungeon and try to work out how I'm going to cart around all those freaking pounds of tokens without going over the weight restrictions. Feh.
Oh well, enough bitching. On to the show.
When I was planning this trip, the one thing I wanted was to be able to get a few events that we could all do together as a group. It seemed sorta ridiculous to all go together to the event and then simply scatter to the four winds and each do our own thing. At the very least we should snag a few things that we could all participate in together. In the end, I decided to grab tickets for Amorphous Blob's Rescue of a Lifetime. They've been running the game for around a decade with rotating characters and plotlines and it's been some of the most fun I've ever had during a RPG. It was sort of rough and hit or miss in the beginning when sampling from the various games the group offered, but I'd pretty much settled on the ones that emphasized humor and RP.
So those are our two intrepid GMs, Rich and Chris. I know I've mentioned them in past Origins entries, but their games are always full of quirky, memorable characters and this time we had a retread. I got to once again assume the role of His Holiness, Bernard Philbert Shaw Magnimerus. The lisping and foppish arrogance were old hat for me, and it was interesting to see how everyone everyone else meshed (or failed to) with their characters. One downside is that there was an oversell for the event and Matt (who had been struck down with the Gamer Flu even before reaching the con) decided to sit out.
So basically it was this woman with the rest of our group of 5 in the adventure. It was pretty crappy that Matt didn't get a chance to play, but he looked like he was on his last legs at the time and she brought bagels and cream cheese for everyone. Mmmmmmm. The best sort of person to join your gaming table is the one that brings food/snacks to share.
What makes Amorphous Blob games a bit different from every other event I've ever been in is that they give out dice as experience points, of sorts. Do anything humorous or entertaining, brave or exceptionally stupid, and you get tossed a die from the large baggie full they have in front of them. If the action that warranted the die is sufficiently cringeworthy, they will paw through the specially set aside ugly dice. I've gotten dice from them that have enough faces missing or look like they were colored in by a blind parkinsons patient. The dice thing is just a nice touch since it means that I don't have to bring my own to the con and I haven't had to buy dice in years (though I did this time around).
So lets see, a quick recap of the game:
- Henry: Arrogant foppish cleric, Bill M: Some sort of cleric with a hardon for healing, Bill S: Crazy wizard guy, Kath: Hafling thief troubleshooter, Joyce: LARGE female cleric (Character conception: Miss Piggy X Miss Piggy), Girl Whose Name I Don't Remember: Bard who believes his handpuppets are trying to kill him.
- The basic plot was that we were supposed to gather up the wedding cake and embrodiered napkins and deliver them in time for the wedding of a 'friend'. The downside? The cake was around 8 feet tall, 5 feet across and filled with finger-licking, ambulatory evil goo. "Thtrawberry? I hateth the thtrawberry!"
- Cake smashed. Napkins escape. Replacement made looks like crap and napkins resemble puppets. Wedding crashed. Groom explodes in shower of blood. Chase scene leads to trap in extra-planar hell dimension.
Joyce was pretty quiet during the event and took a heck of a lot of abuse from our characters. We were basically raining down fat jokes upon her, as per our character descriptions and I thought for a time that we might have actually hurt her feelings. It turns out that her main problem with the event was Kath who was obnoxious as per usual. There's something about Kath that really grates on Joyce's nerves and I sometimes wonder if we'll see some sort of slapfight one day. I wasn't very pleased with her either since one of the first things that happened during the game was she threw a die at me and those things sting. During the game she also tried to attack my character for no plausible reason (DM's comment: When did Wiggley turn evil?) simply because he was sanctuaried, invisible, inside a holy circle, disguised as an usher, and hidden in obscuring mist during the wedding combat. Hey, better safe than sorry, right? Joyce refused to play further rounds as long as Kath was in it and she and Matt ended up refunding their tickets.
Oh, and I ended up winning the vote for Best RPer along with Bill. There was nothing on the prize table that was really interesting and we were in a rush at the time so I scooped up a backup copy of Illuminati. I figure I can trade or sell that with little problem.
After Rescue, I went to the boardgame area to begin my preiod of indentured servitude for Playroom. I ended up spending 4-5 hours a day in the demo area, running games whenever people showed up to events which was seldom in the beginning. I think that all I ran that first day was a game of Mother Sheep and Portabello Market.
Chris and Matt, two bothers and playmasters from Albany had graciously volunteered to organize and run the whole thing and were thus saddled with all the paperwork as well as schedules and boxes of games.
I was sorta surprised when Jeff Bellinger showed up at the event. When playroom had pulled out of having a booth and running events themselves, I had assumed that Jeff wouldn't be at Origins either. Turns out that he's been doing some sort of giant roadtrip across the country and decided to stop off at the Con to simply play instead of work. He even stopped in Bozeman Montana for no other reason than that's where the Vulcans made first contact in Star Trek.
I got to spend some time wandering with him around the exhibit hall as he told me about his new Killer Bunnies game that's due out in 2009. Besides being an entertaining guy, Jeff was also dishing dirt and that's always interesting to see how things work (or fail to) behind the scenes.
While walking around the exhibit hall I had the oppertunity to get my picture taken with a giant pokemon. I couldn't pass that up. I'm not even sure which one the blue bird is supposed to be, though this was not the only pokemon-related picture I took over the course of the con.
We also discovered during our trek that there's a new Killer Bunnies shirt avaliable from Outworld Designs. The girl at the booth was only too happy to model it as I took a shot. Niiice.
I also picked up a set of chinky dice. The bills had a few of these and had offered them to me when I expressed an interest months ago and now I have my own. I'm sort of enamored with the idea that, if necessary, I can just lie about what's a six and there's little chance that someone will be able to contradict me. They also seem to roll pretty well based on a couple test runs.
After Jeff and I got back from the exhibit hall, it was decided that Chris, Matt, him, and me would play a real game of Killer Bunnies without newbies or strangers forcing us to be nice about it. Or as Jeff put it, the 'You want me to give you a carrot? Sure. How about you get under the table and suck my dick' game. It was quite a bit of fun and we placed a little wager on the outcome. The loser(s) had to buy the winner a soda. I don't recall how the game went in the details other than I got skunked near the end and ended up without a bunny along with Jeff so we both owed Matt a soda. Jeff decided to pay off on his debt immediately while mine was deferred to the next day.
By then, everyone else in the group had gone to get dinner at a local bar/resturant and I had to hussle over in order to grab anything before our miniatures game at 6. When I got there, I placed an order for takeout and found that June was with them. We ended up spending a good chunk of time with her during the con, at least for meals. (For those who don't know, June is someone who all know from the double exposure conventions.) She ended up spending most of her time in the Open Gaming room at the con, a place I generally avoided. The idea of having to pay money for open gaming just seems sacrilegeous to me.
Overall, less said about the miniatures game that night the better. It had been Matt's idea to do a wargame as a group though I was the one responsible for choosing which one. I had had good experinces with the group before, though wargaming is hardly my thing, and I figured it would at least be an easy system to learn if nothing else. What I didn't count on was having so many people at the table who seemed clueless and slow despite claiming to know the rules and a guy running the event who was barely functional. The guy was basically strolling around in a unbuttoned, foodstained shirt with a wifebeater underneath and seemed to only have the vaguest passing familiarity with how to play the game he was running.
We basically stood/sat around for what seemed like eternity while numbnuts attempted to explain the rules of the game. There were some pretty significant delays due to the fact that the event was packed with people who wanted to play with generics. Since we arrived around 5-minutes late and had actual tickets, we had to kick out those individuals and there was a lot of fuss about how much room was really avaliable.
The basic concept of the game is you had a squad of 5 futuristic marines. A commander with a laser rifle and a sword, a grunt who fired grenades, a plasma gunner, a sniper, and a minigunner. The rules were pretty simplistic and involved, mostly, trying to kill whoever sat opposite you. They had little cardboard towers with mirrors inside to function as scopes to figure out things like line of sight. Each side of the table would move a single figure based on a random flip of a card and once everything was resolved, a card would be flipped for the other side until every figure had moved. One common complaint afterwards was that it was too hard to get hits to penetrade. There was an automatic 25-50% miss-chance even after you score a hit based on armor. This tended to drag out the game a bit and made luck play a critical role.
It didn't help at all that this fucker kept rolling 1's on his defense rolls even when I managed to hit. It was almost impossible for me to kill anything. I usually worked things out that things were going pretty well tactically, but notta really overcomes someone who seems to toss 1's at will.
At one point, all the surviving members of my squad were pretty much huddled around this one building with the exception of the grunt launching grenades from right field.
One thing I should point out about this game. I don't think it was possible for Kath to be any more farging annoying than she was during this 4 hours in hell. She was facing off against Bill S for most of it and a lot of her early shots that connected were followed up with the double gun gesture teamed with 'in your face! In your face!' or the equivalent. When her luck soured during the end game period she started to bitch and rant about the whole thing, whining about how she didn't see how it was possible that her guy could miss from only a square away and gobbilygook. She also thought at one point that Mr Wifebeater was hitting on her, though from my perspective he seemed to just be trying to soothe her bitching and complaining.
Doh! You sunk my plasma gunner!
We also all got to see one of the more interesting t-shirts at the con. Bill S noticed it first and pointed it out to everyone. Kath became offended (Why won't anyone think of the children?!?) and wanted to confront the guy, but Bill was able to talk her down off the ledge. The last thing we needed was to make the game any more painful than it already was.
After a lot of persistance and everyone else simply not caring anymore, I finally managed to kill a figure belonging to Kath. She wasn't pleased. On a sidenote, isn't it sucky when you ask someone else to take a picture and they snap it while you're still talking? That bites.
After the game we all went back to our respective hotel rooms and eventually went to bed.