Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How to make your session report more interesting

Simple. Talk about how you really feel. Game session descriptions, even those about Dwimmermount, are far more interesting when the blogger includes their mental and emotional states than just the mechanics of what happened in a game. Sure, James M. or Zak at D&D with Porn Stars are going to get people reading their session logs whether they are truly spectacular or not (not a knock, but few of them are ever more extraordinary than anyone else’s), but if you know they are tired or have a splitting headache it gives the proceedings some flesh and blood substance, and therefore I relate to them more.

Your group power gamer is in true “gimmie gimmie gimmie” form tonight. Another player is telling jokes you think are kind of inappropriate. Somebody ate the last piece of pizza you should have gotten. You’re tired because you are hung over or your kid cried all night. You’re hosts wife/girlfriend has decided to clean the kitchen oven with powerful chemicals 10 feet away from you. You are badly constipated and are afraid it’s going hit Normandy during the frantic last moments of a big combat game. This is the type of stuff that makes it all the more real. OK, maybe I’m too brainwashed by the serio-comic semi-real life antics on reality television shows, but to me the emotion and passion (or lack thereof) are just as important as the rules and situation on the game table. And how you feel, good or bad, has an influence on all that.

OK, you don’t have to go overboard with your passions like I have in the past, but blogging about your life should include a large part of how you feel. You’re not a robot, Mr. DM. Tell us how you really feel. Every time.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Deck of Many Things and Me

OK, last week the group actually got back to my Night Below campaign. It had been 4 months and change since the last session of it (we just could not get everybody together and had to do alternates), so it was kind of a big deal. I would have posted this sooner, but besides a little bit of mindless kerfuffling the last couple days I spent the weekend at the Northern Ren Faire as the area sweltered under 112 degree heat. Can you imagine? It was like some kind of post-apocalyptic steam punk Elizabethan England. The platemail dudes seemed to be taking the worst of it, and believe it or not there was a pudgy guy in head to toe black ninja gear walking around (hmmm…wonder if he plays D&D, I said wryly). How he didn’t just burst into flames I’ll never know.

Anyway, before the weekend we played the main AD&D campaign, and I finally sprung the Deck of Many Things on the group. That’s right, an artifact I described as “…the ultimate and impenetrable object of true balance; reward and punishment.

I had printed out some decent graphics of the cards from some old Dragon Magazine pdf, and they turned out pretty nifty. Nothing to write home about, but much better than just using a deck of playing cards.

I know the deck can be a big game changer, and even affect the campaign in a major way. But I thought "why the heck not shake things up a bit?" I feel I was just as brave/foolish by introducing the deck as anyone who would pick from it.

All six players picked (I was kind of thinking nobody would), with Paul, the player of dirty girl Lily, declaring she would pull three! Blew my mind. Lily got all good things, including a fighter who appeared to join up with her, and the Moon. She rolled the max of 4 wishes!

The other female character, Terry’s fighter Helena, chose and also got the Moon - and also rolled for 4 wishes! At this point I was numb; my mind reeling with the possibilities that could pretty much end this campaign (which is getting close to the City of the Glass Pool in book 2).

Another character got a keep and an 18 charisma (Vaidno the bard, so handy for him). The Gnome Illusionist Ormac, run by the returning player Ben 1.0 (little Ben, who took several months off because of his job) nabbed a couple of intelligence points in his pick.

The high elf lawful good party MU Lumarin, run by big Ben, got the Idiot and lost 3 Int points! Yikes! Chose again, and had to radically change alignment (I deemed that to be C/E). Poor Ben. I take back everything I said about him. Mostly.

Oh, but the wishes the wishes. Here was where I feared having to “wing it”. You never know what my players are capable of. But no, nothing was done to affect the main campaign. They could not wish the evil city away, but with 8 wishes total I thought they could call upon earthquakes and floods in the main cavern, or maybe wish for a hoard of vermin to attack it or whatever. But no, it was almost all used for personal stuff. Helena made all of hers in secret (mostly ones to improve her own life, in fairly humble ways.

Lily offered a wish to Krysantha the drow if that character would promise to leave her alone in her thieving and other less savory practices (Krys had been giving her a hard time in some games for selfish thievery and bad attitude). Krysantha used the wish to combine two +2 scimitar swords into one +4 sword (on Krysantha’s own draw she got “the Key”, rolled on the sword table, and got a nice “+ 5 defender” sword which made it three swords total, so she turned the former ones into two. Nice, eh?).

Then MU/Thief girl Lily, much as Helena had done, used the rest of her wishes on a couple of personal things that the party doesn't know what they were (and I won't blab here). Oh, she also used one wish to turn Lumarin back into a lawful good dude (albeit one with only a 13 intelligence).

Phew. This ended up being most of the session, and was big time fun and exciting. Really a high energy night with very little combat. Great role playing by my gang. I was maybe a little easy going with the wishes, but seeing as they weren't being used to nerf my campaign, I was feeling a little generous, even letting a couple of stats get mildly raised.

I had wanted to spring the deck on the group for awhile, and finding those printable cards really got my juices flowing. Still reeling about how lucky the party was in these picks, and thanking God really because I didn't want to end this campaign if some smart strategic wishes were made against my challenges. But in the end, personal greed was sated with most of the wishes.

Just FYI, here was my approach. I had the 22 card deck, and a max of 12 cards could be drawn before it went away (if not for other reasons). I let the magic-users in the group (Lumarin and Lily the MU/TH) and also Vaidno (with his bardic lore ability) know all about the deck because it was a famous artifact. I even went so far as to let them look at the DM Guide entry, which did not seem to take away from the fun and mystery of it. After all the picks, 3 picks still remain. And some bad cards just dying to be picked after all those lucky hits.

This night was maybe one of my top 10 DMing experiences! So much fun to wing it on the draws, and to negotiate Lily and Helena’s dreams with them. I have to admit, it could have turned out quite the opposite. This magic item could bring a campaign to a halt. Especially if they have 8 wishes…Jeez. Dodged some real bullets there.

I'm a man of many wishes
I hope my premonition misses
But what I really feel my eyes won't let me hide
‘Cause they always start to cry
‘Cause this time could mean goodbye
- Lately by Stevie Wonder

Monday, September 27, 2010

Crappy People you Play With part Deux

OK, I'm getting to a point lately where I am actually willing to edit anything I rant on, and this is one of them. I just had a post here furthering a situation that, as wiser men than I have put it, is just taking away from any actual talent here. Although occasionally vitriolic (sp) in my rants that come from a deeper place, there is a point of diminishing returns. As "Kent" puts it here

"... I enjoy your school of Hubert Selby jr. observations on the subnormals in life but you are not writing fiction here and you are identifying these people from real life. These guys are friends and they invited you to their table. It turns out one of them didn't like you and behaved a little weirdly. So what? Move on. Your error of judgement in continuing this here is the same one made over and over in these blogs, respondents to your posts are not impartial...drop it big guy..."

Good wisdom, Kent. I'm fucking turning my blog into, which I hate.

Christian and I talked a bit (wasn't all nice), but I think we see that the community is larger than this, but we are actually in a local where we are likely to meet again. Better not to do it as a couple of tools who have to avoid each other.

I will repeat that I meant my original infamous post as a knock at a certain player. I did it in fairly brutal terms, but I thought it was called for in a blog I take a twisted pride in letting come from the furious place sometimes. But I don't want it to all lay on Chris, and I for sure don't want his projects and plans tainted by anything I do or say.

So we'll start fresh and hopefully will laugh and joke about this down the line. Best medicine.

And guess what? I'm going over to play at Christians and he's going to let my guy kill his players PC! Fake. That would not be fun for anyone involved. Well, maybe a bit ;)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Call of Cthulhu Friday: Gaming in Arkham

My very last CoC campaign in the late 90’s was set in 1922 Arkham. This was around the point when that current long-time group had pretty much petered out where I had just Terry and Janet Planet left as regular players. Yep, two players. Terry and Janet had been around in my games since around 1988, 10 years at that point, and I was pretty comfy running games for just the two of them. In fact, around 1989 there was a period of around a year when they would come over to Venice Beach once or twice a month on a Friday night to play a little two player Champions, which was just great times. Sometime in the mid-90’s there was also a point when I was doing campaigns for a group of all women (not by choice), of which Planet Janet and Terry were a part of.

So around 1998 or so I ran what was going to end up being some of the last few games I would be doing before my several year semi-retirement from gaming.

At some point a dude had let me borrow and copy some of his Cthulhu material, including the Arkham sourcebook. I loved reading that book, and all the little 1920’s details that came with it. The big apartment building with interesting NPC’s that the characters stayed in, to the small lunch diner where they “served meatloaf and mashed potatoes in big white crockery,” it was just brimming with period flavor. The shopping district, the city hall, the Miskatonic environs where all cool, and there was even a speakeasy for Terry’s torch singer “Lila” to perform and get caught up in gangster activities (and even meet Al Jolsen who attended one night, who offered her a job when she made a great singing roll if she ever went to New York).

Terry ran her singer, a veteran and survivor of no less than two CoC campaigns (maybe a little light in the sanity department, but she had been a very lucky and well played PC). Planet Janet came up with a new character, a rich English country girl who came to the U.S. to attend Miskatonic. Oh yeah, a buddy of mine and longtime player, Gary, also played here and there, but missed many sessions due to commitments. When Gary did play, he ran an American Indian guy based on the Indian soldier from “Predator.” You know, the dude who seemed to be able to sense the Predator’s presence in the woods (Gary figured he would hear things, but that it would be Cthulhu stuff instead of a dreadlocked Alien).

Anyway, there were just a handful of those games, and most of the ones with just the girls were about shopping and exploring the places in town; mixed with the occasional weird happening. The group tangled with gangsters, evil seamen, and even visited an old Civil War bone yard in a cave that rose from the dead when they took some Necronomicon fragments. They made a few friends in town too, including an English jester dwarf and “Colonel Sausage,” a limbless midget from the local carnival.

Alas, the campaign did not go as long as previous ones. Both Terry and Janet were tough to schedule for get-togethers, and after almost two months of no gaming at one point I said “fuck it” and more or less started my long game-less sabbatical that pretty much ended with my current group a couple of years ago.

But again, I loved that Arkham supplement. Maybe I’ll drag it out one night for inspiration. Although I am kind of leaning on Victorian England or The Old West for my eventual new campaign, Arkham is the classic setting, and a hellacool one.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

WW2? Spice that boring crap up!

By Gar, it’s been awhile since I piggybacked on one of Grognardia James’ posts, so I thought I would glom on today.

I so very rarely think about World War 2 settings for RPG’s. Why would I? Although I like to watch the occasional documentarily or WW2 movie, this is not a genre I have had a lot of love for. A lot of gamers my age and older cannot really say the same. In this scene, WW2 fanatics are legion. Whether it was hanging out at Aero Hobbies as a kid, or in my gaming groups of the 80’s and 90’s, there was always a WW2 lover in my groups. More often than not, these were older guys that had started out with war gaming. SPI and that kind of shit. You will actually still see a lot of that at little gameday events and cons. Older dudes standing around terrain tables pushing tanks around little French villages (Achtung! Where are the pretty French fraulines?), while the little kids at the other table being forced to play D&D with their dads glance over at the tank models with longing.

War is hell, but I like my hell with good doses of Demogorgon and Orcus, thank you very much. But this had me wondering – if I was going to run a WW2 setting RPG, what would I do to make it interesting enough for my players, and more importantly ME, to sit down and work on it?

Well, for one thing, the 1982 game mentioned at Grognardia, Behind Enemy Lines, doesn’t seem to account for a lot of things you would want in your character in a more modern game. Apparently in BEL, you don’t get much in the way of skills outside military ones that you need for missions. Things like Animal Husbandry, and Play Music Instrument, would be just the thing to flesh out a G.I. Joe. You’d want to have “Ox” with his great strength and pro boxing skills, or “Sketch” with is cartooning ability. Your platoon should have “Strings” the negro guitar blues man, and don’t forget “Joey Provoloney” the New Jersey born company cook who always finds a way to make a delicious lasagna out in the field.

OK, now you have your fleshed-out Joes, but what about scenarios? Well, they ain’t gonna be your run of the mill mission to grenade that nazi bunker on the hill. Here are some ideas I would inject if I had to run a WW2 setting:

Zombies, zombies, zombies! The dead are suddenly rising all over the world, and no where on earth are they more plentiful than on the battlefields of Europe or islands in the Pacific. Can you imagine the dead starting to rise on the beaches of Normandy? I betcha Tom Hanks wouldn’t give a rat’s ass about finding Private Ryan anymore!

Dino Wars! Nazi scientist have recreated dinos using mosquito’s in amber, and they are afield! Pterodactyls over England! T. Rex’s on the Russian front! And don’t forget the 50 foot Megalodon Sharks to attack those yank subs out near Bora Bora.

Gigantogantua: the Japanese have unleashed a giant lizard/turtle/gorilla from their ancient legends, and aimed it directly at the west coast of California. “We destroy yankee by destroying his true heart and soul – Horrywood! Banzia!

Heroes and Villains: the world’s first true superheroes are sent by the allies to fight the supermen of the axis of evil. What is that ruckus up in the sky? Why, it’s Captain U.S. vs. Commandant Creepo!

Monster Blitz Squad: those dirty krauts have resurrected the famous monsters of Europe to join the SS Stormtrooper squad of monsters! Dracula! Frankenstein! Wolfman! Hell, those sausage dog eating bastards have even recruited Baba Yaga and her chicken hut! We’re doomed, unless we can count on the knowledge of that doddering old Professor Soandso the government stuck with us.

Alien Axis: “they” have arrived in their flying saucers, but whose side will “they” be on?

So there you have it. Maybe WW2 gaming might not be so boring after all. Do you have any ideas?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Top RPG Blogs

It's kind of unreal, but according to Cyclopeatrons RPG blog post, TEMPLE OF DEMOGORGON is in the top 25 out of 177 Blogspot blogs (as far as I know the most popular RPG blog venue) in regard to number of followers. I had zero idea it would be that high.

I know it is arbitrary to a degree. A lot of it has to do with age of blog, number of posts per week, and support of other blogs. But I hardly have that big an output compared to others in my range, many of those are much older than my blog, and I am lagging in my reading and commenting (currently my work has tough socializing filters). I've also turned off many readers by the rawness of some of my stuff.

I want to thank TOD supporters, and especially those who comment for reading for whatever reason - fun read or trainwreck. I'm going to work harder on checking out your blogs and commenting (if you do indeed blog).

Long live the gamers!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Barsoom gaming in my future?

Although I love the Mars books, the thought of putting some kind of Barsoom setting on my upcoming gaming wish list was pretty far down on the priority level. Other science fiction and fantasy genres are on my radar such as a Dune game of some kind, or maybe doing Star Wars saga (to make up for my negative experiences with a group of creeps last year).

Sure, back in the day I owned both the 70’s RPG (pretty much created to market the Heritage miniatures out at the time) and the SPI board game. I played and enjoyed them both, even getting friends unacquainted with the John Carter series of books to play. Actually, for some reason there were a lot of laughs there. In the RPG you had to roll on a table to impress a princess, and some of the classic flubs include things like “…you suggest to the princess that she and you go outside and study the underside of a bush until the air crackles…” and other such gems. And the random events in the board game were always worth a hoot – player’s airships constantly crashing to the planet surface forcing the unlucky chit to have to walk 3000 miles to Helium or the South Pole or whatever.

I Ebayed both those beat-up games several years ago during my great “Gaming Material Purge.” Well, I managed to get a very nice copy of the SPI board game on Ebay last week, and it is in great condition. The map and chits are almost mint, and the box has no smashing of any kind. But what was I to do with it? My regular players don’t want to do a board game if they can help it. And it was great for the ancient days, but in this modern world of great graphics this almost graphic free game sure doesn’t look that great. The chits just have numbers and letters, no images of dashing John Carter or his fortunate son Clitoras (or Catheter or whatever his name was).

The real saving grace as far as graphics was the map of Mars itself, and all the great little tactical areas like palace rooms and dungeons, airship decks, and dueling arenas. And the game play, though a bit difficult to learn at first, was always a good time. You flew from one location to another, often crashing your ship, and would eventually arrive at your tactical area where you usually had to fulfill a quest, i.e. fighting bad guys and saving a princess. You ran both a famous personage of Mars, and also ran the villain of one of the other players. The villain would have these misfortune cards he could play on his good guy, so you always had something to do in the game.

But in a way I regretted getting this item despite getting it for less than half the going price. None of my rpg players would play a long board game. Now I just had another item to sit around collecting dust.

That is, until my regular AD&D player Terry came by for a couple of hours of video gaming last night. For some reason I brought up John Carter, and she informed me she had read and loved the books. Wha? She did? I knew her for over 20 years, and had no idea she was a JC of M fan. Whoda thunk it?

I ran and got the game to show her, and she loved the great cover, and spent a few minutes gandering at the Barsoom guide that comes with the game (it’ll make a great resource for an RPG). So of course I asked her if she would be up for some kind of RPG game play on Mars, and she loved the idea.

So natch I am thinking about Barsoom gaming now. I would love to do a little campaign next year some time. I actually think the genre is a little light for long campaigning, but I think I would take a cue from the second volume of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, that depicted a Mars that not only had ER Burroughs flora and fauna and societies, but also that of many other literary Mars settings, such as Gulliver of Mars, and include creatures like the Hinter People and the Sorns from Out of the Silent Planet. I think there are a lot of ways to go with that.

So here I sit, with another genre campaign on my plate. Let’s see if at some point I follow through.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Comic Dork Monday: June Jitsui kicks Spider-Ass

Believe me, this is not a comic book post but a gaming post. But let’s talk comics for a second.

Any older dude who read Comics back in the day probably fondly remembers the old Twinkie advertisements on the inside back cover. Usually, a major superhero like Spider-Man or Superman would for some reason need to use Twinkie snack cakes as a secret weapon to stop some bank robber or other low level street hood. That’s right, Spider-Man can dodge bullets and Supes can spin the earth backwards on it’s axis, but they need fattening snack treats to take down numbnut criminals, costumed or otherwise.

In this particular ad, Spider-Man is on his way home from the deli when he runs into a beautiful but deadly mistress of martial arts. First off, Spidey is a native New Yorker and Twinkies are what he gets at the deli? Huh. Second, why the fuck is he walking home? If he had gone as Peter Parker, would he have swung home? Who the hell is writing this shit, Rob Liefeld? Sheesh.

So while passing through Central Park (wow, Spidey does live dangerously) our hero runs into the formerly unseen by us villainess June Jitsui. Apparently Spidey has a past with her that we are not made privy to. Maybe a jilted booty call from before he met Mary Jane? We’ve really only see Peter Parker get lucky with white chicks. Well, anyway, you know what they say about Asian girls…

Oh my God, this apparently unpowered Chinese chippie proceeds to kick the living shit out of Spidey, who describes her prowess as similar to “running into a truck.” Why can’t this proto-mutant half spider take her on? I mean, he is superfast, agile, has a danger sense, and is strong enough to bend steel girders. And check out the kick in panel 3. What the hell? She obviously just phoned that one in. Looks like the kick a trucker would use to boot the rest stop hooker out of the semi’s cab. He couldn’t block that? Well, for some reason his webbing will not work without the awesome power of sugar and cholesterol, so it’s his bag of Twinkies from Morty’s Deli that saves the day.

June greedily eyes the Twinkies and brashly proclaims to them “I’m going to turn you into poo!” before scarfing them down. Well, ok, that line is actually from Family Guy. I’m trying to be a funnyman here.

OK, here’s the rub. At some point in the late 80’s I used June as a villain character in my Champions games. I shit you not! I needed a crooked sensei to operate a chain of martial arts studios that fronted for criminal enterprises, so I plucked June from this strange advert. I did however make the last name “JItsu” instead of “Jitsui.” C’mon, I have a little respect for my GM’ing rep.

She was around for awhile in the street level games that I ran. One martial arts PC even had her as a bit of an arch enemy. At some point somebody hired this guy’s enemies (including June, some criminal wrestlers, etc.) to attack him one at a time to weaken him. The third attack or so of the day was from June in a busy outdoor shopping mall, who actually bitch-slapped the already weakened PC around much like she did to old Web Head in the ad.

In the 90’s she didn’t really show up in my Champs games, and went back into obscurity.

I recently started doing some street level “Dark Champions” games as an alternative for my group, and for the first game I resurrected June Jitsu. I even still had a mini for her (that actually looked a lot like the comic book June). Thing is, it’s around 20 years later, so I made her a washed up entrepreneur who was down to just one studio in the bad part of town. She still fronts for her students criminal activities, but is a bit worn down. She smokes and drinks a lot now, and though still decent looking in her 40’s she is for sure not on her game as she once was.

After a couple of games the characters have yet to tangle directly with her, but that will happen next game (and who knows when that will happen – this is an alternate when I only have three players at a session). As used up as the dragon lady is, she still has some skill (don’t forget that mighty “trucker kick”) and I’m looking forward to her mixing it up with the PC’s one at a time or as a group. She is good enough still that one on one the PC is very likely to experience the smack down that poor, deli loving Spider-Man did that fateful day in Central Park.

Now go eat a Twinkie!

Addendum: from what I understand, June Jitsui appeared one other time in the 80’s. It was in a mini-series called “Fing Fang Foom,” a great old school Marvel monster character I loved, but never heard of the miniseries. Apparently, June appeared in some kind of Riker’s Island jail break scene (she is such a tough cookie they probably had her in with the dudes making bitches out of all the bikers, skin heads, and Mexican Mafia members).

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Loud Mouthed DM

I've never had a review of my DMing style appear anywhere, and I haven't had a photo taken of my game table since the 80's (I think).

Well, here is a very rare example of both. Bob "Cyclopeatron," who sat in for my Socal Smackdown OD&D session, posted briefly about it and you can check it out over at Cyclo's blog.

This is the first time I have ever been referred to as a "Loud Mouth" in a positive light, and I thank you Bob! Just remember, me drinking makes my voice louder - and you drinking makes my voice sound louder to you!

Cyclopeatron reminded me too that this was an old school session with some historical significance. There were a few guys present who got into D&D in it's ancient past just like I did, and I was glad for their presence. Considering the prominance of board games and miniature battles at this con, it may actually be a bit of a miracle that this session occured at all!

Again, thanks to everyone who was there. I'm really glad that session happened, especially considering my current shakey confidence in my own regular group.

Cheers, guys

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Con Man

This weekend I went to the Socal Smackdown con in Anaheim. Yes, I attended a game convention. No, hell did not freeze over.

At the Minicon event a few weeks ago I ran an evening OD&D session, and it was well received by some of the guys. As a matter of fact, Mark (known on Dragonsfoot and other places as “Fred C. Dobbs”) suggested I continue the game at Socal Smackdown, a new convention affiliated with the dudes from Brookhurst Hobbies out in the OC (Orange County). Mark is an original con-attending Southern California gamer as far back as the 70’s, and as he and a couple of the other players were interested in continuing their characters (at Minicon I proclaimed that “I don’t do one-shots” and that I would like to make it possible to continue somehow after that day). Long and short of it is Adam at Brookhurst hooked me up with a Saturday and a Sunday afternoon session at the Hilton. It was icing on the cake because it turns out running a game got you “volunteer” status so I got in free.

The Smackdown was held in the Hilton Hotel on Convention Way right next to Disney. Now when I was a kid going to Disneyland, The Hilton was there, but a lot of the surrounding area was just parking lots and dirt fields. Damn I feel old. Now it is a ton of big hotels and as before a bunch of little crappy ones. Very congested area now as far as buildings. Anyway, the Hilton was a hundred and ten bucks a night and I wanted to go cheapie for two nights, so I grabbed a tiny Super 8 single bed room just down the street for a sweet 57 bucks a night.

It was a cozy little room, with a nice big TV and a large sink area, so I was set up for party time like I tend to do at hotel stays. I had a big cooler chock full of ale and beer, my boombox, and my laptop. I even brought my mountain bike for quick store trips. As a single man in a small room, I of course was in drinking mode. By the time I was set up in the room (even managed a quick swim in the grimy little pool) and ready to go over to the con for my 2PM start time Saturday, I was already about 4 drinks in. With a small plush shoulder cooler I was even further prepared to have a supply of firewater (I mean, why stop at that point, eh?). There was a decent turn out of players besides Mark and some of the other guys, so the dungeon crawl was on and I had a head full of steam. Bob “Cyclopeatron” hit the bar early on and brought me a rum and coke which just added fuel to the fire.

It was a fun session, and the four hours just flew by. So OD&D represented and was large and in charge for awhile there in the RPG area (the poor fella in the table next to us had a pretty poor turn out for his Pathfinder and had to cancel, after setting up a computer and a printer and all kinds of stuff). Nobody really bothered me, which is rare for when I have some strangers in a game. Well, this one older dude rolled his eyes and groaned when I said we are doing 1st level characters, and then he wanted to run one of his existing, high stat characters instead of rolling one up, but it didn’t ruin it for me. Everybody else was a good sport and added to the fun.

Well, I was set to sit in on Mark “Fred C. Dobbs” homebrew fantasy game later that night, so I hit the Super 8 again to wolf down some Subway (BLT) keep the alchohol train rolling, and made it back to the Hilton for the “Argent” session. It was an RPG based on a boardgame Mark had going at one time, so it was a bit different. I did enjoy the session, and created an exceptional barbarian character who was fun to play.

A lot of Sunday afternoon games had little turnout, and mine was no exception. The focus at this con really was boardgame type things. Very niche. So Sunday afternoon Mark and Mat’s characters hired on some henchmen and took a couple of hour wack at the dungeon, even pretty much clearing out the 2nd level. After that they were taking off from the con early, so I wandered around the tables a bit before going back to the hotel. There was a lot of Battlemech (or whatever) and Flames of War and other board games going on. One that was fun to look at was Monsterpocalypse. In it you put down a cityscape complete with buildings, and set up monster action figures to battle army units. It reminded me a lot of the old Rampage video game I loved, but some aspects of it I found too silly. Some of the monsters had stupid clothing, like the giant gorilla with army medals like a general, or a giant Cthulhoid monster with a giant pirate hat on (c’mon, dudes). The guys who were promoting the game were very friendly of course, but as far as any of the folk playing various games I didn’t find many who were all that friendly. I should have actually tried to get in on some gaming (the zombie type games looked fun too), but I ended up going back to the hotel to relax with the intention of dropping by the con late night just to see what was going on .

But hell, I had a big Subway meatball sub I picked up (Subway was the only reasonably priced place around), a six pack in the cooler still, some Jack Daniels, a large screen TV, and my laptop. Not to mention nice air conditioning and a toilet 5 feet away. The lure of a cozy solo party was just too tempting. I hung out watching TV, listening to tunes, and worker on my game stuff until I passed out sometime after midnight. In the morning I packed up and drove back to West LA.

I surely would have spent more time on the con floor trying to get in on games if I had popped for the Hilton, and who knows maybe I’ll get one or two of my regular players to come with me for a couple of days next time. Oh yeah, I’ll do it again. I’d like to do another old school game like Glorantha Runequest or something.

I know, anti-climactic. You were probably expecting a rant here, and given some of my previous posts I don’t blame you. But I actually enjoyed the experience. The con was small, but it was fun to be in on the ground floor of a new event. I don’t really see myself going to any of the big out of town conventions or anything any time soon, but a small event fairly close to home is all right with me. Let’s face it, around 4 years ago I was dying to run some games and was still in my several year temporary game retirement, so I feel fortunate not just to have my own regular group, but to be getting out there a little bit into the game community at large. It is sort of a new Renaissance for my gaming, so I’m going to ride it out as long as I can.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Call of Cthulhu Friday: Boss Cthulhu

Phew! What a week! Work work work. Made it hard to post! Looking forward the the long Labor Day weekend. Actually grabbing me a couple of days worth of Super 8 motel near Disneyland, and running some OD&D sessions at a game convention. I'm hoping it'll get my mind off the grind for a bit. Good old fashioned escapism.

OK, this has nothing to do with Cthulhu, but I hope this funny pic gives you a laugh, especially if you toil in a cubicle for "The Man" like I do. OK, my boss is cooler than Cthulhu, but you know what I mean...

Best part it, he sleeps pretty much every day of the year, so he's not seen much. Cthulhu, not my boss.