Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Con on the Cobb, day 1

Just after Halloween, November 2nd through the 5th, Andy Hopp's Con on the Cobb convention took place. Peryton and myself were able to make it Friday evening until Sunday afternoon. Here's my write-up.

Friday, 2.11.06, 1515 (GMT-6)
"The room's a dump" I say aloud after 5 seconds in the door of our motel room.

Outside the sky is bleak and the wind is one degree above freezing, with just a touch of wetness. We are looking out onto the Quality Inn's courtyard, which consist of a drained pool and pool-side bar also no longer in use. Peryton smiles meekly, but wants to give the room a chance, so she turns on the heat, and cold air rushes out. It's been a long morning pr preparation and about a 90 minute drive for us, but we're in high spirits.

'You're loving this, aren't you?" Peryton asks, plopping her bags on the king-sized bed.

"I feel like I am in Colchester." I answer. "Come on let's check out the convention and Mexican food place next door.

The convention is in the motel's main set of conference rooms, which are on the other side of a bar and very open restaurant area. Except for the conventioneers, not a whole lot of people are there. All I need is airplanes screeching overhead to help me feel like I am having a soccer week-end outside of Amsterdam. The people in the convention are smiling and somewhat friendly when we talk to them, as we are both from elsewhere, as well as Out-of-Towners, where ever we go, we don't expect broad smiles and warm embraces. We bump into Andy Hopp after checking out the activity rooms and the Dealers' room, he remembers us after a moment, and we slip out to the restaurant.

The motel is off of a State route, and is surrounded by hotels and other motels. I check to see that the two gas stations on the way to the restaurant are 24 hours, never know when you need beer after all. The restaurant itself turns out to be quite the surprise of a "good eats" joint, and the Dos Equis came in a large ass mug to top it off.

"I love the off-season." I smile at Peryton as the food arrives.

"The bar is scary." I say coming back to the gaming table where two people, Rob and Kali, have been so kind as to help me play test my Ruin Quest rules this evening. Peryton, who is also playing, laughs and comments that the bar must be rough for me to notice anything but the beer signs.

"Remind you of Russia or Germany?" She continues, playing off of my glowing wide-eyed wonder at the motel.

"Actually more like West Virginia," I answer then slip in, just before she kicks me under the table, "The Moth Man town we went to."

The game resumes after our little side performance for the audience. We play on for about an hour, I discover a major rule flaw, scoring a hit is way too damaging as the equation is set up. The character Types, or classes, are working very nicely though. A wave of weariness hits me suddenly and after a mass combat scene, I ask if we can wrap things up. Kali and Rob graciously agree but assure me that the time we have been gaming has been fun.

When we walk into the room, which has become much warmer if still a bit chilly considering the chill outside. Peryton is as weary as I am, but while I nap she reads and works on her hand-held before falling asleep.


I am wide awake. Been awake for an hour, and typed over two pages of notes up on Ruin Q from the session. Peryton is comfortable and too sleepy to get up with me. I get permission to rove around, and I tell her what time I should get back. The room is just about comfortable

I get into the lounge area and grab a beer, a Corona, because the place is Bud joint, and that is best that they are going to have. Over in the convention area, quite a bit of activity. Games in the games room are still going on with quite a bit of laughing and energy; a "band" is playing in another room; and groups of people are mving to and fro in the hallway. I slip in to the music area, and listen to a guy with his synthesizer, who is called Nerd Punk. It's "mock music" but there is talent there, and the guy is genuinely warm and open with the audience. He's had a couple, but it seems to enhance his performance.

When the performance is over, I slip into the bar and prepare for sit down session with the bar-tender, who has taken a shine to my company and I have to admit I think he's good guy from the joking we have been doing since 4pm, and his kith. Alas, I am only on a single beer and in a discussion with a couple from New Jersey when Andy Hopps appears beside me and drafts us all into a midnight game of "Extreme Duck, Duck, Goose." I grab another beer and head to the XDDG gathering place.

The game is some fun, though I have to admit, I have never played "Duck, Duck, Goose" and am a bit tipsy. Still I have met and gabbed with a couple of brothers from Washington DC, and a whole batch of people from Minnesota. Right before 1am, I bid adieu, announcing to a few very pretty women, "Oops, it's my curfew."

The room is comfortable for me. Probably still chilly to Peryton, but one thing about the motel, the blankets are fresh and thick. I slip into bed after a wash up, and hope to sleep late.

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