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.

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