Monk from Arizona arrived in town via the airport on Wednesday, April 2nd, at about 230pm. Having worked the night before, I had only about three hours of sleep but was surprised at how much I perked up when I saw him. And for the rest of the afternoon, we made our way to Peryton's and my humble abode via train and bus, as the wife had the car for work. The man was carrying baggage that was half my height, which made the rush-hour packed public conveyance all the more fun. Luckily Monk's extreme height, the guy makes me look like a hobbit, charmed all the females on the small bus which we took into not being overly upset with us taking up a whole seat with a single piece of baggage. At about 4pm, we got off the bus and walked the remaining couple of hundred yards to the 116 story building that is the Peryton Publishing International Headquarters, just north of the zoo. Our guest was quite impressed at the array of international flags that flapped outside our building's lobby and visitor sign in area, then we stopped hallucinating long enough to get the baggage into our "park around the back" townhouse. He fortunately didn't mind cats, especially since we had a box of kittens and nursing mother quarantined off from the rest of our household's growing pride residing in our guest bedroom. Peryton showed up from work and was happy for the diversion from the daily humdrum and her job's need for equation formatting. Though I had to still work another shift, smiles were coming easier to me than they had been the last couple of weeks-- definitely time for road trip.
The next day and half was spent with Pertyon and I showing Monk around northeast Ohio, namely all of my watering holes with a monument thrown in every so often. On Thursday night we made some friends for life when I asked the staff to turn off a talk show blathering about the Cavaliers and Indians on Sports Time Ohio and put on GOL TV, which is all in Spanish, but shows some decent soccer at our favorite Mexican restaurant in Loraine, Ohio. Finally at about 1pm Friday afternoon, Peryton finished her day job and the three of us loaded up the car and headed in directions south and southwest trying to get to someplace nearby Dayton.
Friday PM, after three traffic jams, our carload turned off of I-70 and decided to follow the State routes and other back roads. One by one, all of the other attendees called us on the cell phone to announce their own delays in arrival due to the same traffic jams. We would have gotten there first but I missed an important turn and had to circumnavigate Dayton Ohio to get to our hotel, so we were the last to arrive. Of course both Monk and Peryton shared in my angst at being late, because if they didn't already I made sure they shared it with me. And then there was Caed, Aarra', and Steppenwulf all awaiting us as we checked in, and smiles were coming easy again. Dinner ended later than expected, we not only started 90 minutes later, but the jokes and catching up was just too much fun than to hurry through the meal.
Back in our room, a very large room with two beds, a fold-out couch, a living room of sorts, and a kitchenette, everyone decided to wait until GenCon to play Peryton's Star Wars game. The trials of day were wearing on us, and Mandy was feverish at being so close to my beauty. Steppenwulf absconded with Aarra' to prevent an awkward scene, I just don't do autographs folks, leaving the rest of us, Monk, Peryton, Caed, and I, to continue talking a bit into the morning hours of Saturday.
Saturday AM, of course I was awake before everyone else, but at least the sun was up already. After an hour of working out and primping myself, Monk drug himself from his bed and decided to come to breakfast. Peryton, always the princess rolled over and proclaimed that the sun was up to early and should be severely punished for such audacity. At breakfast we ran into Aara' and Steppenwulf, who announced that they were good to hoof it through the long day ahead.
At 9am promptly, we were off. Big Wind, named for a Apache spirit, was my contribution to this year. A T&T scenario highlighting a whole batch of Air Peoples, including the angel-like Ethereal, gremlins, harpies, eagles, and condors, and lest I forget the gods of Valiant Halls. Actually I did forget the godlings, so we can say that their sky-boat was circling the two sky cities and the floating island of fairies known as High Spire. But despite my oversight, the adventure went off well, and I got to spoof the team of Stargate, SG-1, as leprechauns of the Sky-Gate Won team.
Next came lunch, of course Peryton showed up right around this time, her stomach was growling after all. Aara' lead us to a nearby Mexican cantina where I had the best "wet burrito" that I have had in twenty years. No exaggeration, it was really great.
Next Monk ran his T&T scenario Fairies Go Down the Hole, inspired by a Tiny Toons episode. Here a group of leprechauns and fairies came together in a Fantasy-Realm-Meets-Spaghetti-Western setting where the many with the last spell got the fist full of gold pieces. Monk smiled at how well the assembled player-characters were not easily duped, right before transporting us en mass to the Dread Plane of Heck (the next adventure).
Steppenwulf ran Shades of Hades for the Rifts system. All the players, except for maybe Aara', was surprised at how much fun the game with, its mega-damage armor and over tactical analysis, was. I playing a Juicer decided the best strategy was to shoot the hostages and anybody else not shooting at you and was only half wrong as it turned out. And though we destroyed over half the map we had come to save, yet another area was saved by the Coalition to put it into Rifts' terms.
Though everyone was tired, the evening game commenced only 15 mintues later then when posted. Monk took the harness of Peryton Publishing's TAG (my game matrix) "Wildly Heroic Pulp Adventure's," or WHAP!'s for short, first play-test The Black Lotus Affair. Here the amazing Bram Stoker, the ardent Beatrice Potter, the intrepid Mary Loomis Todd, and ever-heroic Ken St. Andre accompanied the Society of Extra-Weird Affairs' Professor Happenstance into the wildness not far from Russia's Ural Mountains in search of a flower said to grant immortal life. Though Monk is a fairly new GM, when he did the NPC's you felt like you were looking at the character that he was speaking for.
At nearly midnight, we wrapped up the Hoot. As there was not a lounge attached to our hotel, nor one in the strip mall around us, alas there was no carousing this year. That's okay, everyone fell asleep almost as soon as our teeth were brushed in my room at least.
The next day we missed Aara' and Steppenwulf slipping off, but Peryton did show up for the breakfast. On the way home, our adventurous trio decided that we wanted a bit more exploration so we stopped at the Williamson Mounds just outside of Xenia, Ohio where we cavorted as we hiked. The exercise did me some good and motivated me to drive mostly back roads back to Cleveland.
We just put Monk back on the plane this afternoon, 7 April. Found a place that had a chili-dog buffet for lunch not too far from the airport, and had gangster pictures and artifacts from the American 1930's, not a bad wrap up to the weekend where we tested out TAG's WHAP! as our next planned play-test, this summer, is called Lies, Black-Eyes, and Spies.