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.