Anyway, on to the recap.
I ended up getting 6 or 7 hours of sleep that first night in Columbus, which is about par for the course for me unless I really have a huge block of time to work with. It's not like the old days where I can just walk through the door, flop on the bed, sleep, and then wake up in the morning a hour before I have to head out again. Due to medical issues and the time needed to bandage and prep and do all sorts of unpleasant things, it takes me a good amount of time to both get to bed and then to get ready to go in the morning. That usually trims the amount of useful sleep I can get a night by at least 3-4 hours.
Anyway, the night before on my way back to the hotel I had stopped in at a Taco Bell and bought a truly gargantuan bag of burritos. I'm not sure exactly what I was thinking at the time other than I was hungry and I figured the burrito made for good traveling food. Suffice to say I was eating burritos for days and days after that. More problematic, I woke up that morning with a mouth more dry than the Gobi desert. I have seldom been that parched in my entire life. As soon as I could manage it, I stumbled my way down to the Holiday Inn's free breakfast room and leaned against the juice dispenser, downing at least 8 glasses of OJ and apple juice while standing there before limping my way back to my room. I also took that opportunity to take my pills, without which I have all the ease of mobility of one of those old school zombies in horror flicks. I'm sure I made for a curious sight to the hotel workers and guests that morning.
After I finished reloading all of my crap back into my car and checking out of the hotel (remember, I was switching hotels that night), I drove my way to the convention center to meet Chelle. I had absolutely nothing on my schedule for wednesday, and so I had decided to follow Chelle around and try to get in on any games she had chosen to play. Her 11am slot was Killer Bunnies Journey to Jupiter and so I tagged along.
Unfortunately, I got there to find that the game was already completely full. They had already turned away one person with generics ahead of me which meant that I was pretty much out of luck.
It turns out that the game was being run by the Amorphous Blob guys, a group that I appreciate more and more with each passing year. I've mentioned playing in their games before and their RPGs have been some of my best experiences with roleplaying of all time. It ranks up there with the best of what Nascrag has had to offer at times and you usually end up laughing your ass off. In addition to RPGs, they've also expanded their way into a lot of tabletop board and card games the past couple of years. The choices are pretty eclectic but I think I could happily attend an Origins doing nothing but their events the entire time.
Since there was no chance of getting in on the game, I decided to wander through the other AB rooms in which I stumbled across sherilyn playing a RPG.
Sort of a nifty coinkydink really. We exchanged pleasantries and I told her I'd keep an eye out for her boyfriend John who had apparently gotten lost somewhere in the convention center. I wandered around, got myself a bottle of water at $3.50 a pop, and finally out of interesting things to do, went back to see how Chelle was doing.
At first I tried to pay some attention to how the game was running but after a while I found that A) I didn't care and B) I was still tired and sleep. Since I have no real sense of decorum, I just sprawled on the floor next to the table and proceeded to vegetate.
I took a picture of Chelle's badge holder from my position on the floor and basically twiddled my thumbs for the next 90 minutes and change. I flipped through the event book and didn't see anything all that interesting.
I then proceeded to put it over my face in the hopes of inducing nap time. It didn't really work thought it was quite restful for a while.
I got called to make a couple of rulings for various cards which I knew the quirks for. There was a really annoying asshole at one end of the table with a slavic'y sort of accent who I started to loathe as the game continued. Chelle didn't care for him either and there was some whining at the end about whether his wife/girlfriend/prostitute should have won or tied or whatever. I think in the end, both she and Chelle got to pick a prize from the table.
Going against my advice, this is what Chelle selected. I dunno. It could be worse I guess. At least it was free.
Lets see, after the game we...err...oh, that's right. Chelle wanted to go grab lunch at the food court but I still had the previously mentioned haversack of infinite burritos. I ended up wandering around until the next AB game she was involved in and this time I was able to get in with generics.
The fact that I don't have any pictures for this game should pretty much tell you what I thought of it. All I know is that it's 3 hours of my life I'll never get back and considering much of my life is boring, tedious, or painful, it should tell you something that I'm willing to trade.
The game was basically someone's mashup of combining all of the 10 days across America/Europe/Africa/Asia games into one massive game that spanned 20 days. I should have won this stupid piece of crap but there was a rules understanding cockup and I basically got hosed. Most of this game was about as entertaining as watching grass grow and involved trying to find the 1 tile you're missing among a pile of a few hundred while hoping no one else draws it and then buries the sucker for all eternity. Like I said, sucktastic. Going through that and not even getting a prize out of it just made it even more sucktastic.
To tell you the honest truth, I'm not sure exactly what happened next after the game ended. I don't even remember where Chelle went or what I went off to do. All I do know is that I decided to call it an early night somewhere around 8 pm and headed off to find my new hotel, which was also a Holiday Inn but a higher class one and further north. What higher class means, besides the fact that the room looked nicer, is that the insides are a maze and there are no elevators anywhere. I managed to haul all of my crap in on one go with no heart attacks but with a lot of wheezing and swearing. I then proceeded to turn the air condition to ice-cube mode, collapsed on the bed, and watched tv until bed time.
In the morning I was off to the convention center early. I had a 9am Amorphous Blob RPG, the same game I had played in for at least 5 out of the last 6 years. It's always named Rescue of a Lifetime and is run in 3 parts, though it took me a while to realize that story and characters were always different and the name is more of a placemarker than anything else.
The game is run each year by Chris and Rich, and their RPGs have become bywords for entertainment and quality in my book. I have had some really entertaining times playing the Rescue series and this year was no exception.
One thing that makes all of their games entertaining are the character descriptions. Quirky doesn't even begin to describe it and this year they decided to have all new characters and bump things up to 4th edition. For example, I basically chose blindly to play 'Whiskey Joe', who was billed to me as a Dwarven Fighter. Then I get the character sheet.
If you can't read the character sheet, you can at least see the character picture in the corner. Instead of being a dwarf, Whiskey Joe is actually a little kid who got swept up into the mercenary band by accident and decided to stick around because it seemed interesting. The rest of the mercenaries seem to humor him, having given him his nickname and are happy to have him tag along.
Here's a shot of the entire party that went on this adventure and all of them are a bit quirky to say to least. There were weird, wondrous hats, megalomania, something odd involving a flute, etc.
One other thing that's great about AB games is that it's an opportunity to win free dice. They bring a giant bag of dice to the event and will toss you one if you say or do something entertaining. Events like bad puns have been known to cause cause dice to be tossed to everyone but you. It helps to immediately develop a personality for your character and try to stay in character. In my case it was pretty easy since I just basically used a little kid voice, called everyone mister whatever, and basically tried to act like how I imagined Dennis the Menace would. I got a die almost right off the bat for making an allusion to pederast rape when one of the other characters innocently wielded his staff and stood behind the fighter (me) when combat first started. Fun times.
It actually took me a bit to get used to things since I haven't made the step up to 4th edition yet. I bought the books but never so much as took them out of shrink wrap. It took me a while for the GMs to catch me up on the rule changes and whatnot. At one point, we were supposed to be assaulting this walled keep and things seemed to be taking too long.
The goal in an AB RPG like this isn't to survive. It's to be entertaining and survival usually takes care of itself. That's my lone character on the other side of the wall after realizing that I had enough HPs to probably survive being launched over the wall by catapult. And it worked too. Good ol' 4th edition and it's crazy heal system. I'm sure there were more dice for that little maneuver though I can't recall for sure off the top of my head now.
Anyway, at the end of the game, everyone votes for who the felt the best RPer was during the game. I'm happy to announce that I picked up the honors that day and got to snag an item off of the prize table. There was nothing I really desperately wanted so in the end I grabbed a munchkin t-shirt. I figured if nothing else I could probably hock it pretty easily since it was still in the original packaging.
After the game, I had nothing else on my schedule until that evening with the Carnival of the Damned. I wandered around, looking over the battletech pods again. I had originally thought that the pods were free play but it actually required generics.
I don't remember how much it was now but I think it was at least $6-8 for a 7 minute mission. Not too outrageous though hardly cheap either. I think we used to pay somewhere around $10 a mission when the pods were still at Dave and Busters in Chicago.
I had nothing better to do after that so I wandered around the exhibit hall. I stopped by to say hi to Jeff Martin and we got to talking about doing another Terrorwerks run. We had gone through it the year before and it had been fun tough hectic. I came out of it with my hands shaking. Playing the engineer and dealing with screws in cramped spaces was not fun. I had already decided that during the game this year I was going to get myself a gun and just shoot aliens instead. That seemed like more fun for the amount of stress involved.
Soon after leaving Dwarven Forge, I bumped into Paul who I haven't seen in quite a while. He's still working for Zev over at Z-man games and we yakked a bit about the con. Things didn't look very good on Thursday. It was clear attendance was down and everyone was pretty doom and gloom for Origin's future. Luckily, Friday seemed to have rebounded a good bit and it was better than previous Friday's I remembered.
Alright. There's still too much to ramble about Thursday and I don't think I'll be able to fit it all in one entry. I'm going to stop here and pick it all up in Part III.