Mar. 18th, 2013

athornton: Angry.  Drunken.  BOFH. (Default)
I had another excellent time at GaryCon this year. Again I went up with Amy, Tracy Jo, and Jason-yclept-Rupert.

I started off with Skip Williams running 3.5E in "Into the Salt Mine," which got off to a slow start but then gained some momentum. That was the Thursday 10-2 slot, and it went kinda long, and then we went to dinner with a friend in Waukesha, so that was all I played Thursday except for a card game called "In A Pickle," which was OK but not great.

Thursday night I ended up in an awesome drinking/bull session with Victor Raymond, Tavis Allison, Nick ????, Mark Siefert, and Tracy Jo which went all over the map from kink/RPG community overlap to mythologies of D&D to notions of authenticity. Great stuff.

I was signed up for the continuation of the Skip Williams game, but Sean Kelley had signed up for it specifically to play with Skip and so there were not enough spaces for all four of us, so I took Tracy Jo's ticket and went to Ernie Gygax's 12-4 Old School Dungeon Crawl instead (I am far and away the least shy about playing with total strangers). That was quite a lot of fun too. Ernie was generous on character creation: 4d6, drop lowest, arrange to taste, and I rolled someone who could actually be a paladin, so paladin I was. I also ended up being the party mapper, which, while stressful, didn't explode, so yay. We had a lot of fun and had no fatalities, although I was down to 0 HP once and we had a couple other close calls. This one felt the most like the first session of a home game--we were all playing it cautiously and trying to make it out alive. A lot of good resource-management stuff, even though we missed some cool stuff on the map (just tried the other door, in a lot of instances). Of all the DMs I played with this weekend, Ernie's style is the closest to how I run my games, which was interesting to me.

Friday night I played in Alan Grohe's Castle Greyhawk in a high-level game to take an artifact of ancient evil (in a Bag Of Holding we were told not to open) to a demiplane to sequester it for all eternity. This I played with the Brothers Sloan, and Dex, and some of the other guys I'd played with at GaryCon in years past, so it felt a lot like getting the band back together. There was some excellent resource-management puzzle-solving in the game, and I got to feel clever (I was playing a fighter/mage). We had to handwave the last bit, though, because we simply ran out of time--we played the Castle very efficiently due to a Find The Path spell, but then took the long way around on the demiplane. I suspect this will have been my favorite game of the con.

Saturday noon was the Castle Greyhawk seminar which was interesting largely because of the tension of wanting to See What's In Gary's Binder versus But It Takes Play To Make It Live...which is of course basically the whole bluegrass-D&D-as-folk-art-slash-community-performance we talked about last year on the way back.

Saturday afternoon was Victor Raymond's Periplus of the Planes, a mid-to-high level plane-hopping EPT game, also a ton of fun. I played a Shen warrior whose actual desire was to be a restauranteur, and who was engaged in tracking down three pretty frightening items for N'yelmu, Master of the Garden of the Weeping Snows. We went to a Shunned One spaceship and Ekaronde, a town that was/was run by Ekaronde, a never-seen master who, I think, was an ancient AI of some kind. We did not have time to play out the City of the Red-Tiled Roofs. I won a copy of The Man Of Gold for my roleplaying in that one, so yay! (I'm about 20 pages in.)

I also bought a copy of Jon Peterson's book Playing At The World. This is obviously going to be the foundational text for the critical study of the history of RPGs. Seriously. Go buy it.

Saturday night was Jeff Talanian's Castle Zagyg (yes, I was going for a Castle Greyhawk theme this year). He handed out random characters and I ended up with an elf assassin with amazing stats. I caught a grenade lobbed at me and threw it back, and I got blinded by a giant copper cobra. Good times.

Sunday I lent an old PowerMac (6150, PPC 604-based, System 8.6) and an Apple //e to Victor, along with some serial cables and ADT Pro, so that he can rescue Professor Barker's diskettes to more archivable media. Then we had lunch with Victor and headed home.

Another great year.

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