Tuesday, August 05, 2008
of Flying Buffalo, Trolls, and Phoenixes
Well maybe just Scots, more so than phoenixes, as we traveled to Scottsdale not actually Phoenix for the Flying Buffalo and Tunnels and Trolls convention this last weekend.
It took a bit to get there. We had bought our tickets sometime in February or March, I'm not sure, after booking flights out of Columbus. And then getting the rooms reserved seemed a bit of a struggle from April until May. And the convention info was being posted lackadaisically at the FBI site for the most part. It really wasn't until a week before the Convention was supposed to take place that we attendees heard anything as to what was expected to happen. And when the information came there was a sudden need for 15 GM'ed adventures, not the originally posted five. And the guy who was supposed to fill three of the original slots opted out of showing up for whatever reason. That is on top of mandatory overtime at work at the Indian games and my own writing.
Luckily the night before we left Ohio, Flavia and I spent the night at Mandy-B's and Steppenwulf's house. Helping Mandy-B make a great vegetarian dinner and listening to her enthusiasm got me pumped up for the up-coming convention. And since we were flying out of town with them, it made getting there a bit of a festive pilgrimage. Though when we arrived in Arizona, we only had energy fro a dip in the pool and some late night pizza.
Friday morning rolled around, and I made myself stay in bed until 6am local time before jumping up to prepare the day's adventure offering of "Crossing Guard." At breakfast, Monk called and told me he was about halfway between Flagstaff and Scottsdale. Even Flavia found herself able to wake up before 9:30 local time as it was after noon back at home. We met Brian Penn, or Skulltosser, a long time editor of mine, and one of the better ones, over at Outlaw Press. With him was Bart and Byron, the men of mystery from the great northwest. And luckily Khayd', of Mike Eidson, was already chatting everyone up.
Before the games started, Rick Loomis's littlest sister, Nancy, told us about a great Mexican food restaurant just up the road. Two people we'd met Doug, Nodin, and Mark S., Spencer, offered to drive us, but then I decided that we'd, Monk, Flavia, and I, meet them there because I wanted to walk. Of course, I got lost and we found someplace else, a Cien Agave, where we got six dollar tacos and did much goofing off.
We were only 5 minutes late for the "Crossing Guard" session. Where I met Martin L., Dwarflander, as he and Nodin showed me some player tricks that I hadn't seen before as a GM. Afterwards, hearing of Flavia and my misadventure, Rick insisted on taking us to the correct restaurant. He also brought Steve S. Cromptom of Grimtooth's Traps illustration fame. After dinner, Ken showed up, and everyone retired to individual suites for the evening game sessions.
I played in Byron's and his brother Bart's room, 'A Role of the Dice" was Byron's adventure and I was awed as a GM watching him. Now when I do characters, I do voices. But this guy did at least six different characters with different voices AND at no time did one of the characters get mixed up with the others that the GM was doing from before. Now that was talent. Byron has been nice enough to email me a copy of the scenario, so I can finally figure out what we the players were doing.
Back in the room, Monk was crashed, I think he had around 6pm, as he worked the night before driving in. It was after midnight, or 3am my time, I got to bed quickly.
Saturday morning, Monk and I were sitting by the pool at 7am, as I put final touches on the characters for my spaghetti western WHAP! session. By 830 am, I saw that there were more than enough GM's to make the morning a success. Mac McMahon, Mak, was recruiting as many people as he could for his old school T&T/Call of Cthulhu game, but as I had five players, if including Flavia, for the "Hey Amigo It's Sabbatoe!" I had to decline. Khayd', as well as Landdwarf and Nodin, helped Monk, Flavia, and myself enjoy a good old fashioned Saturday Morning cowboy play-pretend. We did lunch, Khayd', Monk, Flavia, and I, at a Indian restaurant afterwards. When I thought Flavia might be catching the bill, I discovered that she had found some jewelry to purchase instead.
The afternoon session was going to be a wash for getting all but more than two people at any table that was not Bear Petersen and Larry Detillio(sp?) GM'ing an adventure. I scrapped my Spacers' episode for the afternoon, hopefully giving some players to Bart or Mak or whomever was still running. I sat in lobby with Jim Walker, one of the world's foremost experts on Monsters! Monsters!, and a whole slough of cool kids came over and hung with us after a few minutes. I slipped away when Flavia informed me that Liz Danforth was in the building. And I FINALLY met her, the woman who made FRPG come alive for me. This little "fanboy" session for me was almost as much fun as when I met Ken St. Andre for the first time.
Oddly enough, while I was talking to Mz. Danforth, a woman came up and waited patiently for me to finish my conversation with Liz. I figured she knew Liz, but I was determined to hog just a bit of her time. Well her name was Teri and she was waiting to ask me to run a "Classical T&T" adventure on Sunday. She wouldn't take my WHAP! powder punk event, so what else could I do. Frankly, I have to thank her and her husband for asking. I love doing "quick writes" for special audiences. More on that later.
Around dinner time, Bear Petersen wrapped up his game, and a horde of people discovered they were hungry. I think the other bigwig's game was still going on or took a break or something, but it was clear that time constraints were not relevant to that one session-- so much for anyone else wanting to play in his game, I suppose. But in anycase, we all plodded over to Red Lobster and had a dinner. I missed the awarding of Rick Loomis with the special T&T hat as I had to run back and get our camera. But I had fun none the less (see the pic's above).
My evening session was in Khayd's room, where we played two new friends Dave and Tracy, Minodave and Tracitroll, as well all of the Peryton clique, well almost because Monk was busy in the other room writing "Sock Hop of Terror." And lest I forget we met Tmuwo, one of the many Pauls of Trollhalla. But the game was "A Chance Encounter Meeting of Paragons," as usual as well written and pieced as anything Mike Eidson puts his mind to. It was a blast, I was reminded of StarGate for some reason, but this was as my Dark Elf jumped out the window for his life as the rest of the party went to slice out my heart. At midnight though, I felt like it was 3am and more than ready for bed.
"The Fire Monkey's Treasure" was written between 7:30am and 10:25am, just after breakfast. I was happy that I scheduled my game session from 11am until 2pm, because though I didn't sleep in, I needed the time. By 11am everyone signed up was there, including Landdwarf, Spencer, and Nodin, as well the Oleg and Teri, the requesters. Teri's mother Ann asked if she could watch. Mak came by just too late and too crowded-out to be accommodated with a player slot-- luckily I don't think he hates me, just yet, because he is a charismatic and funny guy. Well, the game went okay, it was a true "tunnel crawl," which as some of you might know, is not my norm, so I was a bit apprehensive. We even went 40 minutes over, which made Skulltosser late for his co-GM'ing with Mak at the next table. But at the end of the final conflict, where the characters have saved some pilgrims and are being chased by mounted bandits of human and Yyena (gnolls/hyena-kin), everyone, including me applauded. A whole new experience for me, and this crowd of players were some pretty amazing role-players, so I felt that the pacing was just right at least. Teri's mother Ann admitted that she was a T&T player for a long time, and she wasn't frowning so maybe things weren't as rough else where as I thought.
The dinner at the steakhouse was pretty good. Steppenwulf won Player's Most-Valuable Player. Spencer won GM's Most-Valuable Player. And best of all Byron won Best GM. Ken, Dan Lambert, Rrramberrt, and his friend Tony, Mr.T, Khayd', Flavia, and I mostly talked about Trollworld possible critters for Shippy's upcoming magazines.
I ran an adventure in my room,but first Rrramberrt and Mr. T- showed us the upcoming board-game Big Dragon, Little Knight. let's call it the "Afterglow Game." Khayd', Landdwarf, Spencer, and Skulltosser made my job as the GM that of the audience. They were so annoyed when I interrupted them with the plot that they killed the antagonist in about two turns. I didn't mind in the least.
Monday was spent not hiking the Camelback Mountain. But Monk, Flavia, and I did get to know the Heroic Fantasy guys, Doug, Frank, and Chris in the morning, and we walked the right way to the Mexican restaurant for lunch this time. Monk at dinner talked me into a fun little bachelor party idea, which I can't talk about here, maybe next time though.
On the way back home, I sat next to Jack Russel of the band Great White. I am not making that up.
o...When Landdwarf and Nodin left, I really felt a "ping," those two guys had really made the convention for me.
o...Rick and Ken attrack the brightest, best, and most beautiful gamers in the world. Say what you will about how things fell together, we all made it work.