Sunday, December 09, 2007

My favorite distraction

Okay, before I met Flavia I was not prone to talking like this, but...
I love this cat.

I am going to get an oil painting of Panther Octavia, this year. Okay it's official - I am not only the old deaf guy, I am a crazy cat person.

Pleasant, yet tiring, Fictions

November through January is "fiction writing time," plain and simple. Or so my schedule, done sometime in October, no less, says. But after writing game "stuff" for most of the last year, do you realize how hard it is to write fiction? All three of the projects I have set to complete before February have great starts, but after the initial detailed descriptions I just... well, just seem to not want to go further because of this or that detail or special dialog that I want to research "just a little further." Frankly, I keep wanting to develop player-character stats or commission an illustration after I get four type-written pages down.

I am especially addicted to the super-hero, and villain, stuff I have been working on lately. I never knew how much actual writing, as in narrative and scripting fantasy and science fiction took, until I started getting Powers Out of this World, or POW! (excuse the exclamation mark), worked out for play-testing. Did you know that super-powered character stuff only really requires a scene description and some decent encounter/NPC stats for about 80% of the piece that you are pulling together? Wow. Will I ever want to write a full paragraph again?

Ah but luckily, reading real writers is considered a productive pastime when one is in "creative mode." Been able to finish Ken St. Andre's latest novella, as well as some historical stuff on Philby and other spies of the 50's, and a great re-print of Marvel's "All-Winner Squad," from 1946, no less-- Oops, more superhero stuff. Gotta stop that.

Well at least I am keeping up on my typing skills...

Monday, November 12, 2007

Con on the Cob '07-- around the clock.

Peryton and I had no real drama getting everything ready for Con on the Cob. Peryton's game was already printed in the Peryton RPG Lite edition, though she was making some notes to spice up my quick intro adventure. My three projects, "What Price Liberty?" for POW!, my Super-Powered RPG stuff coming to form, "The Bubble Pits," for T&T, and "The Return to Sihlt-Awash," a Ruincrawl for TAG, were basically finished the weekend before because of a couple of slow work nights. In fact the biggest problem we had was that LostArt, Brian the Map-Guy, called a day before the start of the convention to let us know he wouldn't be attending because of relationship demands or dissolution or what have you. And since he was supposed to open the Peryton Publishing table on Thursday, we decided to save the gas and hassle and just show up on Friday, when our games were to start.

Friday went wonderful, though our first time selling our products to real life people was a little intimidating. The eponymous Andy Hopp stopped what he was doing when he saw us come in to get us registered and give us the tour of the event. After dropping off our bags in the room, we set up the table assigned to us, and both Peryton and I just sort of smiled at the irony of the situation. For all my ease with people, I really feel uncomfortable doing sales pitches. And Peryton for all of her love of seeing her stuff get sold, is rather shy and retiring. Still the neighbors two artists whom we met the year before, and the Wandering Men ( were hip and happening enough to keep us in good company. I ran my POW! event to what felt like a horde of 10 thru 12 year-old kids, though there were no more than four to six at any given time at the table. While the scenario fell to the way-side, there was a lot of rules testing, and a rather Socratic discussion as to what defines what a super-hero as compared to a super-villain. Tadpole and X-Man, would become my buddies throughout the next couple of days as they helped me grasp something about "lethal vs. non-lethal" combat that I think will help POW! out . AND the kids' parents would have been happy to see the math quizzes taking place. At about six PM, Peryton and I closed up the booth, leaving only flyers and jealous neighbors, to go play a beginning level D&D (3.5) scenario with a great guy who I'll call "Rook" from here on.

After the long day of gaming and hawking our items to the poor, unexpecting masses, we ended up having dinner with Rook at a chain Italian place, that really surprised me as to how great the food and atmosphere the food was. Walking back to the hotel, we discussed Monty Python and college age gaming habits, all while playing "avoid the drunk driver" on the very busy state route between the restaurants and hotel areas. Bidding Rook adieu until the morn, we returned to our room to see the phone flashing. And after ten minutes of pressing buttons and scratching our heads, we were unable to make it stop. Peryton deemed the flashing either a broken phone or a night light. I didn't buy either explanation, but I frankly had been awake over a couple of days and wasn't all that concerned. So I started napping as Peryton checked her email accounts. Mandy-B and Steppenwulf had shown up and shot us an email with the message announcing their arrival and shooting us a phone number. I was really too tired to do much more than grumble into Peryton's Phone to Mandy's voice mail that we got the email and give them our number.

Four Am came quickly, but I was feeling as "slept out" as I could. Unable to sleep, so I decided to print up characters for my TAG adventure and up-date the PC's for the T&T game coming up at 8:30 AM. I didn't know that I'd be distracted in these tasks. The late night crowd was still going strong. Some were drunk, and I was envious, as I was on the productive side of activity cycle, but a few were just like me, awake for the day. I even had to wait to get to the printer in the hotel's "business center." Quite alright though, I met Lo, Aym, and Josh playing Munchkin, which I discovered was indeed a game not a d20 supplement series. Josh had been running QAG's (Quick-Ass Game system) Space Jocks, so him and I had a lot to compare notes on. I also found out that he was one of my T&T players in the upcoming morning event. I smiling let him know it was okay if he didn't show up, for some obvious reasons, and we promised to run a pick-up game probably on Sunday. Lo was from southern England, we talked about the EU and German property laws before Aym finally declared we were being too boring for even her drunken state, which prompted the couple to retire for the evening..., err duration.

Mandy-B and Steppenwulf were earlier than I was for "the Bubble Pits" session. And Ziggy showed up about 20 minutes later, and refused to to take a nap, though he had worked last night, for a chance to get in some good, "serious" T&T. Then X-Man started popping his head in, which of course demanded that I let him the game, or be forever distracted by his questions. In any case, despite me being distracted by the energetic youth and math, the session was running pretty well. Mandy-B developed some keen in-sights into her character, Silva Slyslip, a hobb who was a kleptomaniac, working in the short man, as well as a Don Juan, complexes, while ironically enough Ziggy played the dainty elf maiden who was the target of all of the amorous advances of the short rogue. Peryton had apparently crawled out of bed sometime and announced her pressence to the world, at least our gaming table, and slinked off to peddle wares at our sales table. The game went over time, but no one was pressing for the table so we rolled on. Ziggy started helping me with the ever energetic X-Man so I was able to concentrate on the final few encounters, which I felt were handled a bit rushed, but the "visuals" were enough to satisfy my demand for high fantasy narrative.

After the game, we closed the sales table for lunch, gathering up Peryton in the process. Amazingly enough, we had sold some items. Ziggy refused to let us walk once again across the still busy state route, so the five of us piled into his medium-sized SUV. We spent the early afternoon catching up with each other and even talking about the Troll Hoot this year. Mandy-B refused to let me pick another location for this year, and I can't say I blame her either considering the "ambiance" of last year's event. Steppenwulf revealed that he had found a syringe in the parking lot the next day. "Funny I didn't know that the neighbors were diabetic, I thought they were drinking and partying...(grim smile)."

In the early evening, Peryton went to run the Peryton game, while I sat on the sales table. Sure enough, we sold even more stuff. I did a quick inventory and we had only about a third of stuff that we had come with. And that was with me checking out the scores for the Bundesliga, MLS, and English Premier soccer games of the day, as well as, catching up with CoC-Tony, from last year's CoCob, and while getting to know Jim from TC-GC game forums while sipping our dusk time beer. Tadpole from the POW! game the day before came over and helped me run the table even before he had to slip off to do his homework for next week's school. Peryton's game ran over into my TAG slot, and the same players of her game were signed up for mine, so I was more than happy to let Peryton shine through my session.

Closing up shop for the day, we, including Peryton, Mandy-B, Steppenwulf, and Rook, would try and get in on Tony's next CoC game, but of course it was already full. We blathered for a minute or ten looking around, Peryton wryly told me that I had spoiled Ziggy to D&D with that T&T stuff. Still in the mood for a game, we jumped in Pieramyd Games' Doom-Meets-Resident Evil prototype setting where we role-played out being doomed and a bit of fratricide with grenades (my bad, sorry). Ziggy popped in once in a while to let us know that he had found the Savage World's room meet and drink...err greet, and the Barfleet dance floor, and the "Mock Music" concert in the lounge, and the Guitar Hero buffet, and the..., I am sure you get the picture.

At midnight, the game wrapped up. And just in time to. Everyone was dead tired, as well as on our third beverage in as many hours. Ziggy decided he was going to drive home, so he started on water and dancing. Mandy-B and Steppenwulf, and Peryton and I bid adieu once again until the next occasion. Rook had taken his leave a couple of hours before. I made Peryton make a token effort to check out the room parties and the lounge as well, but even I was getting a little tired. We picked up our Barfleet cup though never actually partook in the endless beverage, while the "ship's captain" and I discussed his regulation Bar Fleet bathrobe, and he gave me some pointers for my own next year. We wandered around and were 'Huzzah'ed" when we entered the debauchery that is Savage Worlds' room party. I think I saw Larry Elmore giving pointers on drinking jello shots, completely sober and not drinking himself, but I might have been hallucinating. I closed our bar tab in the jam-packed lounge and listened to someone being lewd as well as discussing Enterprise's Dr. Phlox in his "rhapsodic" song, the bar-tender slipped a free pot of coffee on for us while tabbing. Even with the coffee, Peryton and were back in our room before half past one. Ziggy called and let us know that he was sober enough to head home, and was doing so. I settled in to hopefully sleep in.

Though the breakfast wasn't complimentary, there wasn't much else to do at six thirty in the AM, except eat and read the Sunday paper. Just before I went to wake up Peryton three hours later, I was in a conversation with Gary, the Pirate. Let me just say, that while a little bit of pirate goes a long way, the pirates of CoCob were in their element at this event. Gary himself had discarded his full uniform from the evening before, and was wearing his morning attire. I felt like I was speaking with Thomas Payne or Jean Lette' or some such. Both of us are "party late, wake up early" sorts so we had some stories to swap. Peryton packed the car after getting ready, unbeknowest to me as I was sitting at the table. No sales but we did find some items to buy ourselves. Josh from QAG came by and was really up for a T&T session, but his friends and I weren't really. So we swapped emails and phone numbers with promises of invites and road trips over the next year to have a few sessions.

With the Josh thread tied off, Peryton and I decided it was time to go. It took about ten minutes to repack my computer, fill up only one small bag of the unsold items, and gather our own purchases together and we slipped off. Didn't find Andy to say good-bye, but our neighboring tables gave us a pleasant round "see you next year" send-offs. Then we were on the road. On the road, coming home in less than an hour's drive from a weekend of serious gaming, a bit of selling, all hours socializing, and we didn't have to walk over a half mile the whole time, nor even step outside if we didn't want to. I feel a little lazy compared to the stamina and activity required to do GenCon, but I have to admit, but this con was just right to this bear.

Monday, August 20, 2007

GenCon AND Busts

As any guy reading the title can tell, it was a great convention. Sadly to say all the "busts" were more bosom and cleavage, nicely provided by the hordes of pirate ladies, they often call themselves "Pirate Wenches, " but I am in trouble enough even broaching the subject in this posting than to use the term. And if I raised the camera to explore this phenomena to show you, good reader, my right shoulder was the target of much abuse-- Peryton for all of her slenderness has a mean left jab, especially when comes to me.

We left town on Tuesday afternoon. In Indianapolis we discovered the pool and hot tub of our hotel. Not to mention, the great Bourbon Street pub and restaurant just a street corner away from our hotel room, The "Cajun Place " from here on. So I was delighted by the smiling visage of Peryton doing laps in the pool, and the taste of blackened catfish with Cajun spices all in one evening.

Wednesday, I should have been productive. To include working more on the PC's that I had for the games I was running, as well as printing up index cards containing "clues" to throw at the player who was lucky enough to pick Boozer, and in general just "wow'ing" the players with how prepared I was, is what I should have been doing. But first, Joe Wayne, the real Bat-Man, would call and I would have to spend time with him. Then I'd get Peryton out of bed before noon with the promise of a swimming pool and hot tub to make the painful ordeal worthwhile. Then Caed, my Uber-Sister, showed up with our great friend Paul 2.0, from Seriously Hilarious Games , pulled up into town. After lugging Caed's luggage, about half a tonnes' worth, up three flights of stairs, it was time to walk with Peryton to the Ram to check out their "Gamers' Menu." And then when it was time to start doing that typing thingy, the song of Cthulhu, in the form of the hot tub, called to me AGAIN. After drying off, with the mandated, by law even in some countries no less, nap, it was suddenly time for dinner with Poul 1.0 from Philadelphia. The evening was spent at the Cajun Place once again, discussing our own planned works of truly inspired heroic fantasy and terrific fiction in general. Caed showed up again, deigning to radiate upon us with her eternal glow of beauty and fortitude. Plans for a Baltimore week-end came up... .

During the day, I did find where Backstreet Brawler from City of Heroes hung out when the massive on-line RPG thingy was shooting in Indianapolis, the real Paragon City. He wasn't there, so I stood in for a bit. The lower level superheroes were very appreciative.
Ah Thursday, Thursday...first day of the convention, officially. I could not hide any longer. I had to go meet Ken St.Andre, the Trollgod no less. I was able to contain myself to shaking his hand, but poor Rick Loomis, Rrrikkk, got a big hug which both he and I wondered how it had happened afterwards. Hey, he was standing there. Frankly he was asking for it. J-Broke, from last year's Troll's Bellow session and Monk from last year's Rocket-Men... session showed up to help me with TrollWood, greatly improving the session for the new players we had. Monk had to fly out the next day, but he stuck around with Peryton and I to meet Joe Wayne for a late dinner back at the Cajun Place. Monk was kind enough to hand us a sample of his band's(s') music before us bidding adieu. before the next day. All I can say is that I smoked a cigar at the end of the evening.
Friday Morning's Spacer's Rocket-Men... episode III, The Trouble at SOHO Station, was a complete success. Monk and three guys claiming to be from Iowa made my "murder mystery in space" the best ship episode anyone could ever imagine. The guys from Idaho all proved to be real life detectives, or CIA or something. Explains why I enjoyed watching the session unfold in front of me after my pitiful script had finished. I'll let you know more about these captains of men as I keep in touch with them. Monk had an afternoon flight, so Peryton and I drowned our sorrows in the hotel's pool and hot tub. In the evening, Joe Wayne showed up to turn a "surprise" little B-Day party for Caed into one major party. We met like ten people, eight from Iowa, yet again, and two up-coming game producers from Minnesota, and Caed walked into the room after a long evening of dealing with zombies, in the RPG sense, and was outright floored at the mass of humanity singing her birthday song. We ended the night at the Cajun Place yet again.

The morning of Saturday, I showed up on time to my planned tabltop session for Rocket-Men... episode II. A little more than hung-over, but thriving on unknown resources. I ran into Ray, the Sun King of RQ. This guy runs some great RQ, old school, Avalon Hill, or even the new stuff, the guy is just good. He livened me up, but I still ignored the one person who came by my table with a generic ticket. I just wasn't in the mood. But before I could slip back and nap, Joe Wayne called and had just defeated the Penguin or something so he had some time to kill. I spent the rest of the morning shopping with Joe in the Dealer's room. I got some great pictures of the costumed "conventioneers" while we did so. Luckily, in Joe's company, I ran into the Trollgod again, I swallowed once and invited him to lunch.

Joe Wayne had to slip off, the Joker escaped from Arkham or something. but Ken St.Andre and I had lunch. Never before had a grilled sandwich and spicy potato salad tasted so good. I can't reveal the specifics of the discussion, but anyone who is willing not to take notes, not to ask direct questions, nor quote me later can feel free to ask me about the meeting. Afterwards we were supposed to play his latest GM dungeon, but Caed was calling with an emergency. So after Peryton posted bail, or some-such, and I did my male duty of sitting there and acting interested, or something, I had to go collect Ken for my T&T game that evening. While doing so, Ken introduced me to Michael Stackpole. Don't let the picture fool you, I was a bit starstruck.

The Saturday Night session of T&T, Escape from Loki Mountain, was something similar to the Superbowl meeting the World Cup for me. Not only did Mandy-Bean and Steppenwulf show up, but also J-Broke, and three fellows from St. Louis (Mark, Tom and/or Son ((Will)). BTW email me, I lost the email addy's). Caed also graced us with her presence from whatever festivity she was doing. Peryton was a little too busy playing Elusive Spice to my Mark Beckham to show up for the session, but we made do. Ken put me through my paces, but I think I was able to show some skill at being a GM as well as a gamer.

Afterwards we, Caed, Trollgod, Peryton, and myself, ended up at Joe Wayne's house for the first annual Peryton Publishing pool party and fire walking event. It was a bit more literary than ruckus, BUT I did get to talk about my expertise on the Punic, Carthaginian, culture. Ken stayed with us that night and had breakfast with me in the morning. Once again you can ask, but you can't repeat what was said, what said at least according to me.

Sunday's Peryton game went great. Steppenwulf and Arra' were there to help me with the D20 rules, before Peryton showed up to show how really sexy her role-playing game rules were. Afterwards, I forgot to ask Jon Armbruster to grab me a kilt and also to pick up Richard Hatch's RPG Magellan, but was able to pick up the oil of my commissioned "The Sand Ogre" with an accompanying "The Reptile Woman" before we hit boost and left the con.
We had a beer with Joe Wayne and his wife. We toured his mansion's grounds while refused too much fresh produce being offered from the gardens.
On the way home we listened to an adaptation for HP Lovecraft's At the Mountain's of Madness on CD, and Monk's music. When we got home, the cats had our favorite mystery game awaiting us "Where did the angry cat pee? Part 4007.5." Quite the week, really.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Five Tales...

... Athebes is still being worked on, bit by bit, a map here, a map there. Just this one more little piece of narrative. Add another creature there. Oops I forgot totally to get that illustration that would make this part work perfectly...This gets just a little maddening.

Lucky for me, I go ahead and sign up to run five different and original events for GenCon 2007 in the name of Peryton Gamers. And I am not being sarcastic. But for some reason I like deadlines. Not self-imposed deadlines, as I have stated before I am through with those. But doing projects for up-coming events, like conventions and or projects with friends I stay fairly focused on getting the "product" together. The product of course requires some editing afterwards, but there is a product and a little sense of accomplishment that makes up for aggravation elsewhere in writing.

My latest "five tales" are even somewhat less selfish than my usual work. Though I have wrapped my mind around around my own TAG system of rules, only two out of the five pieces are for TAG. Two are for Ken St. Andre's Tunnels and Trolls 7th edition, and a piece is Peryton's D20, err OGL, err D&D variant the Peryton RPG. My selfish two bits are for my space opera setting Rocket-Men Versus the Saucers. Leaving me to highlight my RuinCrawls FRPG stuff hopefully this October at Con on the Cobb, with some gratuitous amount of All-Out Armbruster sword and sorcery artwork.

There is Trollwood, which will be printed later as Die Wald. A scenario where I add many of the characters from Trollhalla into my going staple of fantasy characters. Hopefully seeing players play them at GenCon will give me some inspiration for them as characters in fictional shorts and novellas over the next year. We'll see though, considering the bad speculative fiction I have seen from Jim Shipman concerning Peryton's and my love life in his HoHo mag then how my friend Paul in Philadelphia can never seem to finish his RPG gang's recounting, I suspect I'll need to keep some perspective on this. That said, I have a couple "Boozer" stories to write for sure.

Before I went overboard with thinking too much like a fan fiction writer, I broke the pace with a more traditional "tunnel hack" piece Flame and Frost. This will be later printed as Escape from Loki Mountain, hopefully getting Diego G- to do the majority of the illustrations. His stuff is as rich in atmosphere as a good sword and sandals movie from the late 40's through early 60's. In fact, I hope to have him illustrate Die Wald and Trolls Below (from last year) also.

Tranter-Man is almost as much a creative influence on Rocket-Men Versus the Saucers as I am. Not only is he doing the covers to each of the various episodes, he's designing specific things that I hadn't even thought of like, the emblem of my serial adventures' space cadets, the Oort Corps. And of course I wouldn't have my favorite Spacer's scenario to date The Straits of Sub-Light to preview a bit at the convention without the incredibly brilliant, and fast, Captain Moulun.

My "Who-Dunnit in space" Trouble at SOHO Station, had me exploring all sorts of S-F themes. While writing it, I kept thinking of Arthur C. Clarke's 2010 and Samuel Delaney's Babel-17 for reasons I can't even begin to imagine. Sometimes, one just has to go with the flow of the subconscious. It makes the writing more fun. Definitely is going to need the Tranter Cover and Capt. Moulun's touches later though.

The Dark Cave for the Peryton RPG, is a brief little cave crawl. But if one is not paying attention, it can be quite painful. I think she'll actually approve of it. And she's one tough cookie to please.

On top of finishing these works, Peryton went out of her way to get together two pieces as prizes for GenCon. Imp Hollow and the preview of The Straits of Sub-Light, though she will only lay claim to the Hollow because the Straits is still in very rough form.

At times like these, it is good to be writing. I'll let you know how GenCon went when we get back.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

A day at the lake, Goblin Lake.

Despite the fact that I had written the scenario a year before, and ran it to a much larger crowd than the one I was expecting tonight, I woke up this afternoon a bit nervous. Today was Free-RPG day and I was running T&T at the local game store, the Warzone Matrix. Peryton was a bit nervous too, but not as much as usual because it only took her two hours to get her make-up ready, or something, before we could head out the door. And we arrived only four minutes late, which of course had me climbing up the wall inside, but I kept it breezy when the owner, whom we'll call "W-Man," greeted us with a smile and said, "You're late."

The next few minutes, we chatted with W-Man about the current renaissance of RPG writers and suppliers in the Cleveland area. There is a new miniature producer, a fellow has been hired as an editor for Troll Lord games, and flatteringly enough, W, included our humble efforts. Then I set up the game area, while Peryton headed out to get some dinner. The Warzone has some great gaming space. Most of it is for Warhammer and mech-warrior type games, but there is a strictly RPG cubby-hole, with like the assortment of almost comfortable chairs and large-ass table to warm the heart of any dork, like me, no matter how hip they might think they are. Of course the Boris Valejo(sp?) style posters didn't hurt a bit.

The next 90 minutes, we ate and awaited anyone who might be interested in playing. It was no stress by this point, I was busy admiring the FBI release of Goblin Lake and The Riverboat Adventure, with its Tranter cover Goblins, which for some reason reminded me of jackal-headed humanoids (wink, Simon), but still one more awesome T&T cover. Of course Ken St. Andre's writing had me enthralled within minutes in 'Riverboat, so when we finally got a player, a fellow we'll call Ziggy, I couldn't help but asking, "So you guys want to crawl around with roaches and mud in a dungeon, or take a river cruise?"

Amazingly enough, Peryton and Ziggy opted for some sun and fresh air.

Soon enough my staple characters of Sahsha the Green Sorceress and Krassus Rustysword, along with the supporting characters Gecko, the sexy rogue-ess, and Lazurus Absent-Minded, wizard-extraordinare, were working on the riverboat the Drunken Dwarf. Contracted at barely legal wages as the vessel's guardians, and trying to stay awake on night watch, or at least not being caught napping, and be fined by their dwarven boss or his First-Mate. And soon enough, the players would have their hands full and not be to complacent thanks to the Trollgod's, quick, but deadly script.

We wrapped up quickly. I had a ball with the "water snake harvest," though my players were groaning. But they perked up when they were able to apprehend the dread river-pirate Capt. Fyke, earning a bonus at that. And the river-trolls encounter had everyone laughing, as I had duped the characters thinking they were fishing for a simple crocodile until the last minute.

We scheduled a couple more dates for July for other projects, and I picked up some of the other free products available. I found a RPG about fairies that I figure I can check out for inspiration on my "Hitting Below the Belt' series of articles. And we wrapped up our excursion into the local scene, and we were all smiles.

Monday, April 02, 2007

The trolls have hooted...A Tunnel Crawl week-end.

It was time to get out of the house...

Last week-end was a little get-get together between the wife and I and another couple whom we know from the Trollhalla
, an event we decided to call the Troll Hoot. Others from the 'Hall indicated they might come also as well as a few of my friends from elsewhere, GenCon and just road-tripping in general. But most were too busy by the time the week-end rolled around. Still the intrepid, and dedicated, all five of us stuck to our guns and headed to Dayton for a week-end of carousing, and a day of role-playing hard-core Tunnels and Trolls.

Peryton and I left on Friday afternoon, and it would seem that the first Friday of Spring had arrived. At least a Friday that I was not working that had some sunny, warm weather for this year. We amused ourselves listening to my latest version of the Who's Quadrophenia(sp?), a CD-rom downloaded from on-line. Then after that, talking about which big name stars would fit our collective fiction's characters. Milla Jovovich for my Rjenn, the swords-arm; Christian Bale for Peryton's Charn; Liam Neeson as the Trollgod; Michael Madsen as Khenn Arrrth; and maybe Robert Downy Junior or James Spader as Shippy, the Cunning. We're stuck between Angelina Jolie and Bridget Fonda for Peryton. No others than Bruce Willis or Andre Braugher could play Kopfy of course. Now all we needed was the screenplay. Luckily before I made Peryton drag out her hand-held and start taking notes, we arrived.

By the evening, Aarra'aghaa, also known as Mandy-B. and her husband, let's call him Steppenwulf, (seen in the picture to the left) as well as ourselves, were settling into our rooms and discovering that the hotel/motel was indeed as run down as Traveler's Club told us, BUT it had a great wireless internet connection even for rooms well away from the lobby. And any place that has a Gators' bar attached to it, how could a band of rogues and bandits such as ourselves go wrong. The four of us that had arrived walked to dinner, where everyone else showed me just how old I was getting, until we hit the up-hills, where my billy-goat blood kicked in. I was not a Yama soldier in '93 for nothing kiddos. The arduous trek aside we found a local Mexican restaurant, where I actually declined starting out the night with tequila. We then walked back and checked out Gator's where the "quiet" karaoke crowd was getting warmed up, where we talked about T&T a little and more about the young days and college years-- in my case that meant all fourteen of them. And then we wrapped things up around 10:30.

Friday was sunny, but Saturday was rainy and cool. Peryton, when finally dragging herself out of bed, stretched, smiled, and said, "What a great day for a game!"

Around noon we decided to generate player-characters, as I had decided that we were going to play Shipy's the Temple of the Sun God as a tunnel crawl adventure for however long as opposed to the two events I had played originally planned. Mandy-B created Tura, not to be confused with "Tuna", the Dwarf Warrior-ess. Peryton made up Peryton, the magus, a stretch I know. Steppenwulf developed Lothar, the Bird-Brained. And I added Puttle the Rogue, as back-up. And we role-played the trip from Khazil to the ruins of Knor. Right before three pm, my friend called to let me know that she was crawling out of her mausoleum, where 3rd-Shifters like us like to sleep in the "bright hours" and would be joining us soon. So we decided breaking for lunch was a good idea.

At Red Lobster this time, Caed and I performed fo
r everybody, despite their moans. Mandy-B. took refuge in a Pina Colada larger than her head, and taller than the waitress who brought it to us. And though the theater performance was awful we made a long leisurely lunch out of the occasion.

Back at the room, I posed for the picture above, and the party came across Cade, the Rogue-ess, (played by Caed who is pictured to the lower left.), who had just happened to be washed ashore on the beaches just west of the pyramid of King Ra, and they then joined together to fight the forces of darkness. Or just make a lot of money and loot if all else failed.

And what a tunnel-crawl the event was. By 1030, again, the party had faced zombies, one goblin, and a walking statue, and were so beat up that everyone was scared to death of a copper statue of a griffin with two goldne lion statues at its sides. And then the party found the descending passage into "the LOWER LEVELS!" Looking around the room, we as players and the GM were about as beat-up. I was actually thinking about which "house rule" would keep me as the GM from having to roll so may damn six-sided dice for anymore large encounters-- and when I am thinking Mike Hill's rule variants are looking good, it means I am tired. So we decided to end the crawl there, may be to pick up again when at least four out of the five of us were together again.

Mandy-B. took the lead in a cool-down card game called "Chez Goth," which is the sequel to "Chez Slacker." While Caed and I learned the game, Peryton withdrew to a corner and pretended to be listening while hiding her face behind her bangs and napping. Caed's SO showed up and demonstrated his ability to actually speak Kharrrghish, by switching from English into gutteral sounds halfway through every sentence that he spoke, with the appropriate attitude of indignant misery for being forced out of the house and into pants. Finally a little after midnight, Mandy-B. had beat the socks off of all of us, Peryton had stopped pretending to be listening, instead rolling herself fully into the covers of the bed she was on, and Steppenwulf was nodding off. I bid our Trollhalla companions adieu, I think Peryton actually revived herself also to be polite, with promises to meet again during Origin's week-end this year.
Caed and I further tortured her live-in, by forcing him to come down to the Gator's bar and endure, as gloomily as he could, us having a couple of drinks and showing the world how tough we were. Caed played mind-games with every drunken creepy guy in the place, and I sang David Bowie songs to a mixture of Air-Men from the nearby AF base, and country music officianados. It was worth it just to watch the SO complain, and we made some friends. Still we restrained ourselves and said good night long before closing time, dozens of minutes at least.

The next day, Peryton and I met with Caed, her SO, and another friend planning on attending GenCon for lunch at an Indian restaurant. And then we began the not too long drive home. Now we had to figure out who is playing Aarra'aghaa and Steppenwulf...

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

47 hours out of town

I am not going to lie to you, Athebes is late, and it was bringing me down up until last week. But then around Tuesday PM, I started getting serious about a side project that Khayd'haik (means 'Makes it Count' in Trollhalla 'Trollish'), around two Thursdays ago. You see Robin and I bought tickets to attend MegaCon in Orlando, Florida some months ago and set up to meet Khayd'haik and his wife, because Khayd' and I wanted to try a two GM multiple player party experiment for some time. From some quick notes, the T&T scenario Between Sky and Sea had a title and a premise, and one of us assumed the role as the GM for a sea-dwelling kin named the Kuda, while the other represented the Harpies. Our emailed thoughts were getting slower and slower response time between Khayd' and me. But the Thursday night, well Friday morning chat broke the ice jam, and warm creative currents start flowing.

By the next Wednesday, I had completed a rough but fairly complete scenario framework, heck a lot of GM's don't have that many notes for major RPG campaigns. And Khayd' was responding with his own portions with amazing attention to detail and taking this or that bit mentioned and running with it creatively. In short, the scenario was looking great. And by Friday AM, I was getting out of work and not stressing at all as to whether we'd have SkySea ready for gamers at the convention, but happily shoveling my driveway's entrance, as the city had decided to re-plow the streets just before we left and thinking how I was going to be in Florida by 6pm that night.

The flight down was a bit of fun. Peryton and I found our favorite airport Mexican cantina to have my obligatory pre-flight drinks and some fun tex-mex lunch. At the gate, a dude and I struck up a conversation about manatees in Florida, in a minute I found out from an adoring fan that the fellow was a NASCAR driver for the Budweiser team. I guess the guy standing next to him in the NASCAR Bud jacket should have clued me in, but hey, I had other things on my mind. The flight went great, even Peryton didn't brood about the dehumanizing of airline travels. She worked on her Troll Tunnel (a work you'll be hearing more about next year) short story most of the way. I pretty much just gaped at nothing, realizing my face was wind-burnt from so many days out in single-digit temperatures and coming down with either congested heart failure or a chest cold.
The temperature in Orlando was only in the 40's on our arrival, not warm enough for shorts...well at least without strong sunlight, but my spirit warmed when we saw Khayd' drive up to the arrival bay with a sign for "Kopfy" prominently displayed on the window. You haven't traveled anywhere until you see your RPG nickname being waved around an airport. Khayd' and Peryton and I, spent a bit time introducing ourselves though we all had a good idea about each other because of our presence on the inter-net. And then met his wife, whom I'll call Marionster, at a great Pad Thai place.

Afterwards, Khayd', myself, and Peryton went to the week-end travel lodging to do some "last minute" stuff for the scenario. Khayd' and I worked out some stuff on the scenario, he made sure that we were not going to settle for just a mediocre adventure. Whenever I would get busy typing or reading something of his, Peryton and he would talk about gaming in general, I would be happy to overhear the other Trollhallan paraphrase many of the things I often rant on about to her about the pitfalls of D&D. For her part, Peryton at least didn't roll her eyes and clean her fingernails like she does when I say these things. By 1am, Peryton was falling asleep on the couch, and I had stopped trying to type, instead making scribbled notes on scrap paper when I needed to, and Khayd' was getting worn also.

The next morning I was typing in the notes and whatnot, at around 6:30am, hey it's hard to sleep too long with a chest cold and serious project with a great partner going on. Sometime around noon, Peryton announced that she was prepared for the world, and from the phone conversations Khayd' was crawling out from his cave around the same time. I had spent some time printing up the new write-up and getting to know Maria at the front desk, when I ran out of paper. Great lady, couldn't speak a lick of English nor handle a printer. The walk over to the convention center was sunny enough for me to wear my shorts and my "adventure vest," with all the pockets! and I was doped up enough not to be coughing all day.
The convention was a bust for our scenario. The room that we were scheduled in, was turned into a lunch room for much-too-busy convention staffers. They were too busy to tell us that, despite an abundance of head-sets and loud officious-sounding talking into thin air to unseen authority figures, that another room had been set aside for dregs that did not have WotC or White Wolf pasting up posters, like us. You know we were only listed in the program and the management had our email addresses weeks before any changes had been made. And after the second time that the rooms doors had been closed just after someone expressed interest in sitting down and playing our game, I got miffed and complained to a guy with a headset, who was busy trying to look stern but empathetic, while someone said snide things about my complaints into his ear via the ear-piece. He told me the room location for the other losers, which I had actually checked out earlier, I think someone was playing Pokiman while others were eating or looking at Magic cards. but I was tired and didn't feel like starting over again.

So we checked out the Dealers' Room, which took showing my Megacon wristband to first a line of Deputy Sheriffs and then a second line of security in the form of a 100-pound retired lady wearing a "Volunteer" tee-shirt, and her own headset, for entrance. And the first thing I was greeted with shop-lifters at a boot-leg DVD booth, and way too many vendor booths encased in the fairly large room. Despite the narrow walkways for the number of people milling around, it was still fun and I was able to get some decent pictures of people dressed up as super-heroes and villains and one of Xena. Got some obscure David Lynch work, the Flash Gordon animated series from '79, and a Cat Woman movie that looked a bit under the budget of Halle Berri's flik, but more promising from the DVD seller mentioned earlier.

Khayd', Peryton, and I ended up back in his cave, a very nice one in a gated neighborhood while we waited for the Marionster to get home when we would decide what to do for dinner. This turned into a longer sit with plenty of warm tea for us weary conventionaires, when she got home. The Marionster did show us the launch trail of something big that must've taken off earlier though, it was kind of exciting. Dinner was fun, and I had a beer for medicinal purposes, of course. But by 10pm I was ready to try and sleep like a regular person with daytime hours.

430am Sunday came a bit early, but the packing was done well before breakfast bar was open. I was able to catch up on the weather back at home, and there was some interesting stuff on the History Channel. Peryton made her way out of bed, without too much grumbling because I had brought her breakfast I suppose, as close out time neared. And Khayd' showed up to take us to our noon flight exactly at the time he said he would. At the airport we shook hands and were all smiles.

The flight home was not unpleasant. It actually was delayed for about an hour, and then when we got over Cleveland, we were placed in a holding pattern for about an additional hour. The official reason was that there were 'white out conditions.' Once we were on the ground, I would find out the plane right in front of us, had actually skidded off the runway. I noted with some amusement that when we finally landed, people were cheering enthusiastically to be returning to mounds of snow from Florida.

The week-end was intensely fun, if a bit rushed with its own ups and downs, but it was a nice break of pace. Last night while getting some work done on Athebes, I realized I was having fun putting it together again.