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.