innocent_man: (duh)
The "duh" bee isn't there because I'm really thinking "duh," just because it's a bee.

OK! I got one of the scenarios for curse the darkness backers done, two more to go, but only one I can actually write right now because I'm waiting on some info from the other one.

I need to get ghost rules for curse the darkness done by Con on the Cob, because I want to use them there.

I need to get these short stories done for the God-Machine Chronicles fiction anthology. Michelle's editing, really I just need to tweak a few last things and decide on an order.

Speaking of anthologies, supposedly the deadline for the curse the darkness anthology is tomorrow. I've only received, like, four stories. I'm expecting a couple more, but I don't know if I'll wind up with enough. I'll have to figure out what to do about that - maybe I'll flip the order of release (and do the Companion first) or maybe I'll just buy the stories (if they're, y'know, good) and put them on the site for now.

And I really want to make a fucking character today. I'd like to commit to one a week, so I'm getting 50 or so done a year. I have time before the Changeling game, I think.

Oh, and Michelle and I are putting together the Kickstarter for our second game, A Tragedy in Five Acts. More on that soon.

For now, let's do the write-up from yesterday's Dresden game and then notes for Changeling and Promethean, and them maybe make a character!

Dresden! )

OK, so now I need some notes for Snowblind. )

And finally, Promethean. )
innocent_man: (labrodors)

I am recently returned from GenCon Indy, so again, I pop my memory card into the computer, upload some photos, and share my experiences to all and sundry! Read more... )

innocent_man: (slimshady)
Last week was Origins, and so we all piled into Baby Blue (Michelle's weird, she names her cars) and trundled down to Columbus to do some gaming, some hanging out, some demos of curse the darkness.

Overall impressions: Attendance seemed light this year. I don't have numbers to back that, but based on what I was seeing and hearing, the move to early June may have been a mistake. Next year it's later in the month, so we'll see if that really made a difference, but I dunno.

Professionally, though, I think it was a good con for me. I made some connections, spent a lot of time hanging with Matt McElroy in the DriveThru RPG booth and with Jonathan Lavallee and Mark Truman and talking business, pleasure, my Kickstarter, Mark's Kickstarter, game design, and so on. That was awesome. Also introduced to the joys of bibimbap, which I'm totally making as soon as I get my hands on some bowls that can handle it.

Wednesday! )

Thursday! )

Friday! )

Saturday! )

Sunday! )
innocent_man: (eliotcooking)
Productive day yesterday. Let's two-peat!

(Jesus, did I really just say that? Coffee, I think, is the answer.)



  • Finish cleaning kids' rooms.
  • Do write-up from last night's Geist game, and if I get really ambitious, last week's curse the darkness game.
  • Finish mowing the lawn.
  • Work on Hunters Hunted 2 redlines. (Not done, but worked on 'em.)
  • Shoot video for curse the darkness.
  • Assemble stuff for Origins' games.
  • Play some L.A. Noire.
  • Make a character.
  • Figure out stats/mechanics for mementos for Geist characters, which I forgot to do after the last game.
  • Watch Dead Man with Michelle.


That was yesterday. Didn't get to watch the movie because Cael wouldn't go to bed and Michelle had to read the system for today's chargen session (Game of Thrones), but that's fine, maybe we do it tomorrow. Today:


  • Make spiced peach jelly.
  • Finish handout for curse the darkness demos for Michelle & Sarah.
  • Go over finances for Origins, crying optional.
  • Go to grocery store.
  • Work more on redlines (gotta be done by Wednesday, 'cause my deadline is Friday and I ain't working over Origins!).
  • Assemble stuff for Origins.
  • Finish video for curse the darkness.


So that's where we are.

Peach jelly: I bought a bunch of peaches at the market the other day, so they're nice and ripe now. I peeled 'em (god, that's a chore), pureed 'em, and boiled 'em with pectin, cinnamon, crystallized ginger and a spice bag with some mulling spices, and then added a shitload of sugar. The jelly is currently cooling; I'm excited to see how it tastes.
innocent_man: (Default)
So, this past weekend was Con on the Cob, and I ran a demo of curse the darkness. People weren't exactly lining up to get in - it's a very Savage Worlds-focused con, and not everyone grooves on indie games - but in some ways it was my most successful demo yet.

Three players (Michelle, Rich and Lisa). I started off explaining the setting to them (well, Michelle knows it, obviously) and then asked what their goal was going to be. They decided that they were three teachers living at a school in Akron, trying to give kids and families a safe place to live and to educate the kids as best they could. They wanted to save one of the original copies of the Declaration of Independence.

At first, I was waffly, because this seemed very tied to these specific characters (and I caution against that, because characters die easy and the goal has to be bigger than them). But then they came up with the notion that Washington DC was burning, and so time was a factor and there was more going on. This, I like (I actually think I said in one of my fiction bits that DC had been completely obliterated, but you don't step on your players' dicks), because no matter what happens to these characters they can find other people who would agree with their cause.

So we started off with three teachers: Carol (math teacher), Steven (history) and Bud (gym). Bud's kind of a jerk, Carol is asthmatic and friendly, Steven is knowledgeable and very much the driving force here. They're at the school and they learn that DC is on fire, and they decide to undertake this mission. They figure that getting through the Between (which is the only way they're getting there in time to do anything) specifically to rescue this document is risky, but if they were there to help people with the fire...

They go to the local fire station to steal a truck. Sure enough, there's one there, it's just wedged in the doorway like someone tried to back it out and failed. They find a local kid living in the back and send him to the school, and then loot the place (the players are making Character Challenges, putting cards in their banks, and their personalities are evolving - Steven defines "Volunteer Firefighter" as a Scope, so he knows the station and knows where to loot, f'rex). Carol paints the Symbol on the truck so they can drive it through the Between safely.

Eventually they're ready to go. Bud, an Opener, backs the truck up a bit and Opens a shadow to take them Between. Steven navigates them to the Reflecting Pool, and Carol (a HAM radio enthusiast; it's a Scope) gets on the CB to find the problem. They do - one of the buildings in the Library of Congress is burning.

They head out there, sirens wailing (and we noted that the sound of sirens is probably oddly comforting to people after all these years). The characters arrive and start fighting the blaze, and we entered our first Removal Challenge. All of the characters are lighting a candle because they're taking direct, risky action - trying to pump water, direct people, move the hoses, etc.

Sorting out a Removal Challenge with a new group of people is always somewhat time consuming, and it's something I'm going to streamline before doing more con demos. But we got it figured out. Bud and Steven (with help from other local folks) got the blaze under control, and looked around for Carol. They found her - dead, lying on the sidewalk. Remember, she was asthmatic, and the smoke inhalation coupled with the activity did her in. No one saw her in the confusion (Bud and Steven drew Succeed/Stay, she drew Fail/Leave).

Because Bud and Steven both drew Succeed/Stay, they got a section of Wick. Since this was a one-shot, they just needed one section to light a candle and make the essential choice, so they did. Michelle (Carol's player) made a new character, Rochelle, a local girl and singer who was helping with the fire. She saw Steven sit heavily on the sidewalk and approached him. This started a Memory Conversation about Carol, which Bud shut down because Bud is something of a jerk. Rochelle got it started back up again and this allowed the characters to rack up some Memory Points.

Rochelle's husband, Roy, agreed to watch the truck and make sure no one looted it, while she went with Bud and Steven to the other building to find the document (she used to be a docent; it's a Scope!). They found a door and Steven beat it in with his fire ax, but when they found the staircase leading down to the room they wanted, it was just half gone. Bud Opened a gateway with the intent of Opening another at the bottom of the stairway (you can't teleport, but you can navigate to somewhere you've just seen easily enough). But he had no Symbol and he was carrying a book he'd stolen, so They attacked (Removal Challenge for him, solo). He dodged around the creature and dove for the exit, using his Gym Teacher Scope to draw two cards, and got Succeed/Stay. His action was just to run, though, which was cursing the darkness, so when he succeeded I lost three Between Points (which was fine, since he'd already made his choice). He closed the gateway behind him; meanwhile Rochelle and Steven had jumped down with little ill effect.

They found the document, but there were five dead bodies on the floor, covered in sheets, throats slit. This led to some Stability checks (trying to get those card banks filled up so I could do one more Removal Challenge), but they didn't have a chance to find out what happened because we were getting short on time. Rochelle opened the case and stole the document, Steven wrote the Symbol on the glass carrying case and they headed outside.

When they got back to the truck, they found the people had scattered. One of them was dead, his neck crushed, obviously by one of Them. The characters weren't sure why They had attacked, but Rochelle wasn't going anywhere till she knew Roy was safe. She got on the radio and found that he was OK, but he was wounded. En route, Rochelle's player defined a few more Scopes, taking her to five Memory Points, which allowed her to light a candle (again, five points = one section of Wick, but that's all they needed for the one-shot). Now that all of the players had made the essential choice, the story could end. The characters got the truck rolling again and found the other survivors, many of whom agreed to go to Akron through the Between. Bud Opened a gateway, and away they went...

They were transporting refugees, but also the Declaration. This was enough to get Their attention. The creatures boiled up out of the Between. Bud tried to drive through them and Open the gateway out, Rochelle knocked one back with the fire hose, and Steven blew the siren and flashed the lights to confuse them.

The players all burned their Memory Points to stack the deck in their favor, and had we had more time, I'd have used my Between Points to put those bad cards back in. But we didn't, so I didn't bother. They all drew Succeed/Stay, and made it back to Akron with the refugees.

What we learned: The "design your own scenario" works nicely. I'll need to be clear in the book about making sure that the goal is not too character-specific, otherwise if there's a TPK (which can happen) there's no reason to continue. Likewise, the Wick system and the essential choice seem to work fine. It'll be interesting to see how it changes the dynamic when you have to get, say, five sections of Wick to light a candle rather than just one (the players pointed out that you can define all of your Scopes right away and get a section of Wick, but that's putting the cart before the horse in anything but a one-shot).

More notes coming soon. We also have a photo shoot this weekend!
innocent_man: (checkmate)
Last day of pictures. I know, I'm sad, too.

So, last you heard it was Thursday evening. After I made that last post, we went to dinner at a place called the Black Swan:



Mila Kunis wasn't there. Trust me, I looked.


The food was really amazing. Black Swan Fries, which are just french fries, but they tossed them in truffle oil and parmesan. Wow. Yum. And other such food-porn, which I won't relate here because I have other things to do. But suffice to say I'm going back there next year.

Michelle and I also found another winery:



Got some more wine, then went back to the hotel, played games with the boys (including Geeks: The Convention, which I'd forgotten how much I liked) and then, the next day, GenCon.

GenCon! )

Altair giving Deadpool a gentle smooch.




And really, isn't that what GenCon is all about?
innocent_man: (zombie)
Didn't quite around to this Saturday night. Had zombies to kill.

Anyway, Saturday we got up and went to our 10AM game. New game (like, not quite in print yet) called Geasa from Firestorm Ink.

This game is a bit like Fiasco in that it's GM-less and focused more on the players all telling the story together than on any kind of player/GM dynamic. You're playing folks who are urged by "fae" (though the "fae" in question are just as easily ghosts, spirits or any other sort of supernatural critter). My character, however, isn't influenced by my fae.

Our game, f'rex, had four players: Me, Michelle, the game's author and another fellow whose name I forget. The other fellow was the first one to come up with a character: "Irrelevant African prince hunting a lion." I grabbed that word "irrelevant" and put the setting into colonial Africa, with the prince trying to complete a manhood test while British folks are there shooting up the place. So I played his mentor, an older warrior split between teaching the prince and trying to repel the invaders. The author (Jonathan) played the Great White Hunter, here to take some interesting animal heads and so on. And Michelle played the goddamn lion.

Meanwhile, we have our fae. The one I controlled was the the spider-goddess trickster Anansi, influencing the hunter (chaos!). Jonathan controlled a spirit of hunger and uncontrolled gluttony, influencing the prince. Prince's player controlled the wind-spirit of the Serengeti, influencing the lion, and Michelle controlled the spirit of the nature, red in tooth and claw, influencing my mentor character.

The game ended with a huge bloodbath in the forest and the lion killing the hunter and mauling the prince, with me slinking away into the jungle, horrified. I think if I'd thought about it, I'd have wanted another scene for my character just to wrap things up, but the game is awesome. Totally buying it when it comes into print. And, the GM was a super nice guy, very invested in his game, taught it really well, and completely sold me on it.

My Grade: A+


Didn't get a pic from that game, but holy crap! Minotaur!


And then over to Dread! I wasn't going to play Dread this year, because I play it every year, but my friend Matt was running it, and since I taught him Dread I thought it'd be fun. And it was. Our characters were high school students at Camp Integrity, and we woke up to the sound of gunfire and realized we were actually in a government base where they were doing research on werewolves. And then night fell, and the injured girl we were with Changed, and badness ensued. I knocked down the tower to kill a werewolf and save the others, Michelle knocked it down by accident and get her character's arm bitten off.



Michelle, struggling with the tower.


Sort of an odd shot of me.


It was a fun game. I think we should have been making more pulls, because it got kind of draggy in the middle. Matt was of the opinion that having the game start more in media res, with the gunshots happening while still dark and the werewolves still running around, would be better; I tend to agree. Takes the focus off investigation, but makes it more action-focused, which allows for more pulls.

One weird thing (and this was nothing to do with Matt): One player was there long enough to make one pull, which he did badly (tossing the block on top and making the tower crooked, which is why I wound up knocking it down rather than pulling) and then...left. Never said where he was going, never came back. Kind of a douchey move, on its face, but then, maybe his wife went into labor or something.

Anyway, this was clearly a learning experience for Matt, and the game was fun. He didn't interrupt players, his logic for pull made sense (it was just more lenient than I tend to be) and he kept things moving.

My Grade: A-

Last RPG of the day: Victoria. Basically, an RPG set in Victorian England, with as much or as little supernatural as you want. The focus is more on the social structures of the time, and the system is nicely simple but still has some character to it (you "roll in" like you're gambling, and everyone generally succeeds on a 7, which is the most common result on 2d6, which I like). The game was, basically, chase down the bad guy and rescue the girl, but I liked the reason it was us - our characters had been trapped in a tunnel accident some years before and had become friends, even across class lines.

I have really nothing bad to say about the session, except maybe that more female characters would have been good (he only made one). But the GM/author's experience of gaming clearly differs from ours, so hopefully that's a lesson he takes away. The GMing style, though, was great. He stayed engaged, kept the action moving, and combat was quick and exciting (which is always nice). As with Geasa, can't wait to buy it.


The group!


My Grade: A

That night, Michelle and I played Rising, which isn't really an RPG so doesn't get a grade. It was, as usual, awesome, and I think I officially like "standard" Rising better than the Lovecraft-influenced Twilight Rising. I got to shoot zombies with nerf games (gun kept pulling high and hitting folks in the face - sorry!), and that's always fun.

And then Sunday, we spent the morning shopping. Wound up getting a bunch of Masterbook games for $20, picked up Leverage, Deadlands Reloaded, and a couple of cheap games at one of the cheap games booths (Buffy and something called Haven).

All in all, great con. I decided, though, that I really do like running games at least once in the mix, so come Con on the Cob and MarCon next year (both of which I'm doing; MarCon has moved to Easter weekend, which is nice because I don't have to take any time off to go) I'm running games. Probably curse the darkness, among others.
innocent_man: (changeling)
Origins! Yay more!

So, our first game of the day was Streetfighter. Based, of course, on the video game, White Wolf got the license back in the day (specifically, 1994, so before, say, Changeling) to do an RPG. The result was...odd. It was all of the quirk that you expect from early-edition WW games, mixed with a fighting video game. This from a company where combat mechanics were not, you might say, the strongest point.

But for all that, Streetfighter was quirky, weird and kind of fun. You have combat cards that you play on a turn-by-turn based to simulate attacks. If there are any problems with it (and there are), it's that it uses first edition Storyteller rules, meaning there's the hard botch rule (1s cancel successes), which is pretty freaking dumb.

This particular game of Streetfighter was pretty straightforward. The little brother of one of the characters was kidnapped. We (a bunch of streetfighters of varying backgrounds) band together to find him. I gotta give the ST props - he went all out. We each had combat cards, theme songs (which played, and we got bonuses while they played - mine was "The Going Gets Tough" by Billy Ocean), character backgrounds, and minis. The first fight was against the so-called "Tutorial Gang," there to show us how combat worked.


A-like so.


The game was silly, but that's fine, it's Streetfighter The problem came when the party split and followed two leads. Now, I've talked occasionally about how cross-cutting between two scenes is tough to time, especially when there are fights involved. You need to keep everyone interested, especially at a con game where it's easy to lose interest. What the ST should have done, IMO, was run one fight, then the other. What he did was try to run two fights at once, with the result that neither of the groups really felt like we were getting his attention. But either way, we all hooked up again for the final fight, and found the missing brother and the Evil Bad Guys...one of whom was a puppet.



Did not see that coming.


We beat them, we won, we kept our sheets, life is good.

My Grade: B+. Lots of prep, good sense of pacing and humor, just one really bad decision, IMO.

So then we had a game of Unknown Armies. I like this game, though I still feel I'd be at a loss on how to run it. I've played it a couple of times, and it's different every time. This time, we were all "Barrow-Kooks," these completely insane and dysfunctional people living in a shack in a cemetery. My character was Fishback, a hobo assassin. No, really.

I like playing psychos sometimes. I had to kill a few people to get body parts for the narco-alchemist. One of the victims bragged that he played lacrosse, and I said, "Oh! That's the game you play with an ice pick sticking in your eye, right?" and flung an ice pick at his eye. And really enjoyed the looks from the other players.


The GM, telling us what's what.


The game was fun and bizarre, and the group was awesome. I had two problems. First was just that the early bits of the game rambled a bit; it felt like what we did didn't mean much of anything for a while. The other issue was that this was evidently a continuation of a previous story, or with these characters, I dunno. It felt like we were missing something, and while it wasn't a huge deal, it nibbled. But the story got resolved, and there were some awesome moments (ice picks in eyes and so on), so that was fun.

My Grade: B+

Last game of the evening: Changeling: The Lost. Now, obviously this is a game I know quite well, and that raises my expectations a little. The GM knew the game reasonably well, but when he found out my relationship with it, he was happy to foist mechanics questions off on me, not because he didn't know them, but because he knew I knew them better. And that was good, and I think made the game move faster.

The scenario was a little strange, though not in a bad way - we were changelings who had taken up residence in a high school to avoid a Fae pursuer, but couldn't leave without losing the magical protection of the place. The game was very bound up in real-world history, and we wound up getting sucked into Faerie and fighting a Charlatan, which was fun. The characters were also pumped full of dots.

As a side note, I don't know how I feel about con games meant for beginners but with very powerful characters. On the one hand, it's nice to be competent. On the other, it's not like starting NWoD characters aren't, and it's just more stuff to keep track of. In any case, I don't think anyone was lost (no pun intended) with the game, and we all had fun with it. The GM was awesome, really. NPCs were memorable and distinct, he interacted directly with players rather than putting up a screen, and he obviously had a great time with us. So it's not how I would run a beginner Changeling game, but it was definitely an effective way.

My Grade: A

And that's all for tonight. Tomorrow, two games I've never played and one that I have! Yay!
innocent_man: (mine)
So here we are at Origins. Yay!

Took us some time to get out yesterday. Mostly that was because Heather's been backed up with work the last month, so I amused myself taking pictures of people with my new phone:



Michelle, waiting.


Aaron, waiting.


Me, waiting.


Heather, wait...oh, hang on, there she is!


So we left, drove to Columbus, listened to Patton Oswalt on the way. Nifty. Got into Columbus, checked in, and then Michelle and I headed out to play Desolation.



Ah, back among my people.


Now, I really enjoy Desolation, but haven't really managed to play a game of it that emphasizes the sad state of the world, rather than going for cheap laughs. And I still haven't. The fellow who ran the game was the same one that ran Hollow Earth Expedition for us in 2009. That game was kind of weaksauce, so I admit that when we realized it was the same guy, we were a little apprehensive.

It was better, though. We didn't have an immature 16-year-old and his equally immature dad making boob jokes the whole time, for one. The GM liked screaming "RAT CHEESE!" a little too much (it made sense in context), but beyond that, it was a well-run sandbox game - he plunked us into the situation, and we just tore shit up and had fun. Interesting note: The other player (it was just me, Michelle and this other woman) not only had no experience playing RPGs but had to be told, conceptually, what an RPG was. She got right into it, and she seemed to have fun; I'm just wondering how she got to that table.

Anyway, once again, characters were just photocopied from the book, but that's fine. The GM had trouble explaining the system (took too long, made my eyes glaze over), but once we got rolling he did well - didn't stomp on our plans, didn't interrupt the players (I fucking hate that), and ended the game when it ended, rather than shoehorning in a T-Rex. I approve. Wasn't awesome, but was fun.

My Grade: C+

So then we went to bed. Up in the morning! I had tickets to Prawn!

Well, fuck. No one showed. I got a refund and one we went.



The familiar skyline from the hotel window.


Con on the Cob! You should go!


At the Chessex booth, you can buy a scoop of dice. Don't pretend you aren't tempted.


So we got some lunch, did some shopping, and swung around to play in a demo of mad-scientist card game.



This dude even looks like a mad scientist.


The game is fun; you basically try and build evil experiments and collect victory points for the really important ones (like Underground City and Weather Control). Early gameplay, though, is slow; Michelle and I thought of some improvements, but they weren't simple enough to justify buying the game and house-ruling. And I have other stuff to spend money on (read on).

So then we had a game of Deadlands. Oh, Deadlands. Highly awesome. This was the Savage Worlds version, but all the fun stuff is intact. I played a huckster, slinging cards around for magic. It was a pretty straightforward "go get the dude off the mountain" scenario. At first I was concerned because we were tailing along two badass bounty hunters...but then the mutant bears popped out and ate them, and I knew we were fine and weren't going to be dwelling in NPCs' shadows. Yee-ha!

It was a good time. I had a shining moment (casting a Speed spell and rolling up behind the bad guy and capping him in the back of the head before he knew I was there), we got to shoot a bunch of zombies. I could have done with a little more RP, but honestly it was a two-hour game. And just look at this awesome setup:



The little orange things are corpses of things we shot. Boo-ya!


The GM explained the rules to the newbies perfectly and patiently, knew the characters and the rules well, and kept things moving. His characterizations were memorable, and it was generally a great time.

My Grade: A

Then, dinner! (Lemon Grass, a fusion place down the street. I recommend!) On the way we passed a dog biscuit store (no, really) with some interesting art:






Then, Ganakagok!

I've played (run, really) this game before, and was really happy to be playing it. Our players fell into it right away, and we had this cool, exciting, very epic Norse-ish story going on, involving elemental spirits, burned cannibals ghouls, giant fucking owls, snow rhinoceri (OK, they didn't figure in directly). My character was a fire-tender, a young boy who learned at the feet of the elders and kept their fire burning so they could stay warm.

One thing I didn't like: During the scenes, we only did the die-shifting round once, not twice (if you know the game, that makes sense, if not, don't worry about it). That changes the play because it changes the strategy, but it didn't end up mattering much. The story was awesome, we concluded and everyone, I think, was happy about how the Nitu people ended up.

The GM could stand to work on pacing a little bit, but only if I'm being really nitpicky. He definitely had a good feel for the game and did a good job at ceding control and ideas to the players, which for Ganakagok is essential because if it's not a shared story, it's one dude telling you a story.



Our story mats, if you can read any of it.


My grade: A-

I actually talked to Bill White, the author of Ganakagok, a little after the game, about curse the darkness and he totally got it, even from a brief description. Made me feel like I'm on the right track, if I can just distill what I really envision the game being about down from where it is now.

But I digress. Tomorrow, more gaming, including Changeling and Unknown Armies! Yay! Origins!
innocent_man: (conflicted)
OK, so, I'm sick. I was on a field trip yesterday and that was fine, if exhausting. And then I got home and crawled into bed and stayed there shivering for the next several hours. And then I managed to get up and crawl to the variance hearing, where Heather and I were told, "Get stuffed, you can't convert your garage into living space because that'll be BAD FOR THE CITY" (this really deserves its own post, but I'm not ready to make it yet). And then home for more shivering.

Bleah. I hate being sick. It sucks even more because we're having our first nice day in a couple of weeks, and I'd love to be outside romping with the dogs. But just typing the word "romp" makes me tired, so no.

What I am going to do is post my schedule for Origins. I'm not running games this year! Why, you may ask? Because I missed the deadline and no one from Origins ever wrote me back when I asked, "Hey, I suck, I missed the deadline, can I get an event submitted?" So, whatever. This year I'm a player, not a GM. It'll be an interesting change of pace.

Games I'm playing at Origins 2011:

Wednesday: 6085-Desolation: The Wretched Hive 06/22/2011 8:00 PM. Just this one Wednesday. Looking forward to it; never played in a game of Desolation played straight.

Thursday: 2023-Prawn 06/23/2011 12:00 PM. I'm so absurdly looking forward to this.

6237 Deadlands Reloaded: Clint’s Rock 06/23/2011 3:00 PM.

6285 Ganakagok 06/23/2011 7:00 PM. Also really grooving on this.

Friday: 6381 Streetfighter the RPG: Kidnapped in Winchester City 6/24/2011 9:00 AM. Can't link, since I don't own it, but OMG. Someone's actually running Streetfighter.

6421 Unknown Armies: Barrow Kooks vs. the Literary Psychopaths. 06/24/2011 1:00 PM

6503 Changeling the Lost: Blackboard Doom 06/24/2011 5:00 PM. I know, I know, it's not like I never play this game. But I love seeing what other people do with it.

Saturday: 6635-Geasa: A Time for Curses 06/25/2011 10:00 AM. New game. Looks interesting.

6708 Dread: Enemy at the Gate 06/25/2011 2:00 PM. My buddy Matt Wendling is running this. He doesn't know I'm playing in it. Sssh.

6747-Victoria 06/25/2011 6:00 PM. Another new (to me) game.

2150-VIP: The Elite 06/25/2011 11:00 PM. Kill all zombies!

It occurs to me that it would make sense to make a character for a game I'm playing at Origins, but I don't own any of the games I haven't already done. So I'll make a character for a game I bought at Origins, how 'bout?

The Game: Corporation
The Publisher: Brutal Games, by way of Mongoose.
Degree of Familiarity: None. I've read it. No one's running it at Origins. Or ever has, AFAIK.
Books Required: Just the core.

Damn the man. )
innocent_man: (goblin)
OK, so check it out. [livejournal.com profile] anaka submitted an abstract of her paper to the International Gothic Association for presentation at their conference in Heidelberg, Germany in August. It conflicts with GenCon, yeah, but her paper fits perfectly, and if she got accepted, she'd get published and get to present and it would awesome. She considered it an outside shot she'd get accepted.

Well, guess what! She did! We're going to Europe! The Europe!

So...what does this mean for you? It means that I'm not doing GenCon this year. Which kind of sucks, but y'know, this is a big deal. :)

It also means, though, that I'll be in Europe in July/August. If you're there ([livejournal.com profile] wyrm_chris, [livejournal.com profile] voice_of_i, [livejournal.com profile] wyrdness and anyone else I'm forgetting), it'd be really cool to hang out, game, whatever. (And let's be honest, crash space would be greatly appreciated because money is tight. Compensation is available in the forms of GMing, cooking, or laughing at the silly Americans.)

Right, so there's that. Now! Food!

I'm so behind on these.


Cauliflower, mustard cheese, pineapple, swordfish, polenta.


So? )



Ginger ale, chicken breast, Napa cabbage, barbecue sauce, mascarpone cheese.


What would you do? )

And finally, ingredients contributed by [livejournal.com profile] anaka, [livejournal.com profile] affectionsedge, [livejournal.com profile] lucki_dog/[livejournal.com profile] ladycoyote, [livejournal.com profile] raving_liberal and [livejournal.com profile] jonsan.


Whole freaking young chickens (with giblets!), grapefruit, Guinness, aged English cheddar, leeks.


Last one! )
innocent_man: (sun)
ARIZONA.

Michelle and I flew in last night for TusCon. Well, really the con proper doesn't start until today and we haven't registered yet, but whatever. We're on a trip!

We flew in last night. There were plane rides. They were long. We had a 30 seconds stopover in Houston. Like, literally, walked off the plane from Cleveland and right across the hall was the plane boarding to Tucson. Good thing our flight out of Cleveland wasn't later or anything.

Got in at something like 11 local time, which is sleepy-time for my body. The dork at the front desk didn't want to tell us they'd double booked, so he pretended there was a problem with the computer until his manager could come and look, and his manager didn't say anything anyway. We are now in the correct room, which is a two-room suit with a kitchen for a hundred bucks a night, which is more than reasonable.

We spent today wandering downtown Tuscon. OMG. This is a really cool city. Love the architecture and the little artsy district. We found a coffee shop that sold awesome gazpacho (the staff was wigged out that I ordered it, though, since it was chilly this morning - HA. I'm from Ohio. I know chilly. These people know chiles, though). We found the visitors bureau, a little farmer's market, and another coffee shop which recommend a restaurant called Poca Cosa.

Food was awesome. The waitress walked up with the menu (written on a chalkboard, because it changes during the day) and said that all the food was good, but we could get a chef's choice plate that had three selections each. I stopped her there and said, "Yes, do that."

The food was incredible. I had a chicken breast with a peanut-pistachio sauce, a white corn pie with poblano peppers (I love to figure out how to make it - it was fantastic) and some marinated steak. Michelle had a sweet corn tamale pie (sweetened with honey, I could taste it), pulled pork which was probably the best I've ever had, and chicken with a smokey red chile sauce. Holy cats. And lunch was about $30. Totally worth it. Hopefully we can get back there for dinner sometime.

Anyway, you'll get pictures, but not until after I get back because I forgot my goddamn camera so I'm making do with a little disposable jobbie.

Oh, and on the subject of food, turns out that one reason we might be getting fatter as a nation is that we're not making our own food enough. I know I've sure felt that my own food tastes better than it used to, now I've started doing more "from scratch."
innocent_man: (fett)
So! Back from Con on the Cob. Well, back in the sense that it's over. I didn't go back today; I did something to my back and the notion of sitting on those hotel chairs wasn't appealing (feeling better, though - evidently needed some couch time).

In skimming Facebook, I found the Iron GM competition. Looks pretty awesome, right? Like, I'd totally make time to go to a con and compete for that. Except...they want the games run in OGL 3.5.

How. Lame.

I mean, ignore the fact my opinion that d20 and most of its variants kind of blow. There are some things that the system just doesn't do well. It's not a good universal system; I personally don't even think it does what it wants to do especially well. The only thing to recommend it for this kind of thing is that it's ubiquitous. But this whole "you can run other systems, if the rest of the table unanimously agrees?" Blah. The system makes a difference. A game written for Savage Worlds is going to feel very different than a game written for WoD, and neither of the would be quite the same as a game written for d20.

Anyway, I think someone should do a similar competition at GenCon and let the GM use whatever core system s/he's comfortable with. But anyway.

I ran two curse the darkness playtests, and got some good feedback that I'll be summarizing in its own post. I also sent out a playtest packet to a bunch of people, so hopefully folks other than me will run this game and help me get it ready for primetime. That's exciting. Yee!

Right, so, today is "hang out alone and do laundry" day, which I admit I needed. I shall now make a character. Since I need something quick, and since I haven't cracked open my immense stock of pdfs for a while:

The Game: MARS - A Game of Savage Planetary Romance
The Publisher: Adamant Entertainment
Degree of Familiarity: None with this setting, though I played in a Spirit of the Century game that was kind of similar. I've got some middling experience playing and running Savage Worlds.
Books Required: The Savage Worlds core rules and the MARS pdf, and here we go!

Mars needs PCs, women or otherwise. )
innocent_man: (ctd1)
I'm running curse the darkness playtests at Con on the Cob (October 14-17 in Hudson, Ohio) and at Arisia (January 14-17 in Boston, MA).

Hopefully I can drum up some interest and support for my game. Planning on hitting MarCon this year, too, and I'd really, really like to have the game done by GenCon, but we'll see.

Anyway, if you're going to either con, please come play! The games are Friday and Saturday evenings for both of the cons.
innocent_man: (fett)
OK, first things first: I got a guest post up at Chuck Wendig's blog, here. G'read it.

And now:

I go to gaming cons to fucking game. I know some folks who go to cons to socialize, or look for work, or shop, or get laid. Me, I'm there for the gaming primarily and all of that other stuff secondarily.

So, this year I had five games scheduled. Let's just take 'em in order.

We got to GenCon about 30 minutes before our first game. Heather and Aaron were kind enough to unload the car so Michelle and I could make our first game, which was Fae Noir.

Don't recall where or when I hear about this game, just that it looked interesting. So Michelle and I got there just about on time, which turned out to be moot because we didn't start until 20 minutes after (not atypical).

The game itself is a noir-ish game in which Faeries are "out." They're immortal, they've got some magic. I played a magician (as in, can actually use magic) in service to a movie studio looking for its missing starlet. We were all looking for the starlet for different reasons, but we got together pretty soon and worked together (to the GM's amusement, as he was apparently used to the disparate factions shooting at each other).

We had some interesting roleplay between us, and the scenario was basic, but not simplistic. Oh, and the GM let us keep the characters, which is always a nice perk to me. I have two major quibbles with the session, in fact.

One was that the GM's running style was...well, a little boring. When we were wounding and terrifying bad guys, his response rather than to roleplay that terror or pain - or even describe it - was to say in a deadpan, "Ow, I have suffered a point of Light damage." It actually made it hard to determine if our tactics were working, and it definitely put me out of the moment a bit.

The second was that the game was just bleak and violent. Now, I know noir as a genre, and I know that there's definitely a kind of hopelessness that runs through it. This...I don't know if it was the addition of the fantasy element, or if so little attention was paid to theme and setting the mood during the actual session that when we found the missing starlet and she was dead and frozen in a deep freeze that it was a bit of shock.

In any case, I like the game. It's got some nifty ideas, some fun production values, and the system seems simple enough. My Grade: B-

So, then on to Rising. Now, I've talked about this game in the past. This particular one was the same Twilight scenario I played at Origins, and it was fun on this go-round, too. I just think next time I'll go back to standard Rising, because I'd like to kill some zombies and not get quite so much RP in my boffer LARP. That's not to say Twilight isn't fun, it is. I just miss the zombie-killin'. Again, no grade here because it's not an RPG in the sense that I think of as RPGs.

That was Thursday, then. On to Friday!

I ran Spirit of the Century and everyone seemed to have a good time. I'm not grading myself, however. Once we finished up that game, it was time to go play Godlike.

The only exposure I've had to Godlike is the character I made some time back. I've played Monsters and Other Childish Things, which runs on the same engine, but I was looking forward to this game. We basically did a raid that happened in WWII (don't remember the name at present), and the GM had characters on laminated sheets, which of course meant we couldn't take them with, which was a shame.

It was fun. We got to work with some combat tactics, and then finally fight a bunch of other superhumans (talents). I played Sodbuster, which is not, as you might think, someone who detests sodomy, but a big ol' farm boy with the power to turn into a super-strong earth golem-thing. The dude I fought in the final battle was able to dish out damage that went through my armor, and I couldn't do enough damage to easily hurt him (he had the will of the warrior!)...until I figured out that I could grapple him and use my superior strength to smush his head. That worked.

All in all, fun game and one I'd like to play again. Not a lot of emphasis on roleplaying, more on tactics, but the GM knew the system and was jazzed about running, and that made a lot of difference. My Grade: B+

And then, sleep.

Saturday! Woke up and headed to the Alpha Omega game. Now, I have some passing familiarity with Alpha Omega, as I wrote a scenario for it (The Longest Mile, listed on that page as being "in development"). But I'd never actually played it.

This scenario was a demo. Two hours long, most of that taken up in explanation of how the system worked. And we didn't get to keep character sheets, which I think is a bigger deal if you're trying to sell the game (which was less of a concern for the Godlike GM, who I think was just doing it for fun). But the GM obviously knew the system, and he was very cool and patient. We tromped around in the sewers, got to demonstrate the systems of the game, killed some giant slug-monsters, and good times were had by all. My Grade: B+, but only because we pretty much just played a couple of combat scenes. If we'd done a full session, I'm pretty confident I'd have given it an A or A-.

And then, zing! Over to a game of Hellas.

Once again, I made a character for this game, but that's as far as I've gone with it. I met the author/developer last year, and he seemed like a really cool guy. And when I showed up to this game, he remembered me from the character I made (which I also posted on the Hellas forum), so, you know, that's cool.

Awesome full-color character sheets, check. Fast-moving, nifty storyline, check. No screen or laptop blocking off the GM from the players, check. Tell ya what, if I hadn't already owned Hellas, I'd have bought it after this. In the game, we went to our friend's home planet for his funeral, and discovered that his son had basically made a deal with the Devil to bring his father back, but that was making his village sick. We fixed that little problem (and wound up killing him in the process, but y'know). Good RP, but also a good GM who was willing to roll with player decisions, even if we wound up skipping bits of his plot. My grade: A

And that's all the gaming I did...oh, wait, no. Also ran a session of Geist, but I'll do that write-up under a new post.
innocent_man: (goblin)
I have decided to do my GenCon post in two parts. First, some photos. Second, the GM's Report Card. Photos first.



The Companion Cube, looking sad. I suspect it knows its fate.


Michelle and I at the Twilight Rising game on Thursday, about to go kill zombies lobsters.


A scorpion made of Magic cards.


Michelle, menaced by the d20 system a red dragon.


Michelle, singing karaoke! Yay! I think she was singing "Heart-Shaped Box" at this point. I sang "I Am the Highway" for the first time, and that went pretty well.


Statues of deer outside the Native American museum. Indy has some interesting statuary.


Case in point.


This building is blue.


Me, walking through the Freemarket.


I GET TO FIGHT THE LY-YUN.
innocent_man: (science!)
Usual caveats; yer gonna play, don't click here. )
innocent_man: (themepark)
More gaming stuff this time, not as many pictures of my kids. Still a few, though.

Saturday! )
innocent_man: (teagan crazy)
So! It's already Tuesday, and Origins is feeling further and further away. That said, I suppose I should do my write-ups for the con. With pictures. And hookers. In fact, forget the pictures and the con!

Anyway, Bender aside, last week we went to Origins. "We" here is myself, Heather, Aaron, Michelle, Cael, Teagan, Andrea and Cory (insofar as they were sharing a room with us, though we really didn't see too much of them, as they were busy with their own shenanigans, for the most part).

Photos, so I cut to spare your flists. )
innocent_man: (smirnoff)
Just back (last night, I mean). Very tired. Good con - got some good gaming in, and met some fellas from my area who are just getting into gaming (!). That was a moment of serendipity all around, but I'll blog about that later, when I'm at my laptop and I can easily upload pictures.

Bought a bunch of RPGs, including Dresden Files, which I'm greatly enjoying reading. I love the commentary from Harry, Billy and Bob (which is meta as hell, since the example character is Harry, and his comments are along the lines of "Who's the 'Jim' yo-yo anyway?"). Made some plans for Con on the Cob. Saw some folks I only ever see at Origins, and some folks I see every day enjoying the con. And a good amount of good role-playing. Success!

In further awesome news, White Wolf finally put out a release schedule that includes the four books we're waiting on (that'd be Mirrors, Danse Macabre, Signs of the Moon and the Mage Chronicler's Guide). It's odd to me that they've been saying for months that they're going to get away from print, but now they're reprinting the core books and even some of the pdf products. I think that's great, it's just strange in light of their stated position. Reversing a decision or a last hurrah before going mostly pdf? Time will tell, I s'pose. I just want folks to see those awesome books. :)

Right, so. Much to do today. For one, there's cleaning from the con (ugh). But in better news, today is [livejournal.com profile] ladycoyote's birthday, so you should all comment on her Facebook or her LJ or here and tell her to have a happy-happy! :)

And, I'm off. Coffee now. Maybe a character later.

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