Thursday, December 02, 2010

Spacers, what is in a name... err trademark?

It's kind of funny to me that most of you reading this blog have not known me for ten years plus, nor have played in my chat-room role-playing games that I have been running since about '97. In fact probably only three of you, Caed, Old Sock, and "old-old"-Paul, were around at that time. More distantly Trollgod, Colleen and a few Trollhallans were there as well, but probably not paying all that much attention. More than a few of my original inter-webby friends, have dropped off to answer the calls of the real world. A couple for less than glorious reasons, like prison and/or decades-long bans from being on-line. A few for growing differences between them and me. I say this because most everyone in a rather large group of friends, who happen to be artists, writers, editors, gamers and other sorts of inhabitants from the Island of Misfit Toys that I associate with have appeared over the last four years or so. Mind you, no one with any sort of felony will be discussed from here on out.

Anyone who knows me does know of my love of science fiction, and not just TV sci-fi or paperback books, but a very specific brand/style known as space opera. Space opera, whether "classic pulp," "retrograde" or sphere fantasy has been a fascination of mine since about the age of nine. And I am sure everyone reading this knows about my "niche" role-playing setting for space-faring sorts of player-characters, which emulates the look and feel of B&W space opera given voice with T&T style (requiring two six-sided dice and a pencil to use) rules, often called SPACERS (TM). What you might not know, is a bit of the history.

"Spacers" started out as a ten-paged set of T&T sci-fi rules called "Sputniks to Spacers" around June of '97. This product was folded over to give it twenty-two whole pages, including the cover and back cover. This was snail-mailed to about four people for the price of $4 each. I drew the original cover which went on to adorn a friend's fanzine, based out of Utah, called Space Races. Lemon-Face was very happy with it. But Elfis On-line, out of Austin, Texas, asked for some help as well. I was also a bit busy doing Call of Cthulhu(TM) chatroom sessions using my TAG, then called LAG (Laggy's Adventure Gaming), rules, so it would take me a few years to get around to playing "Spacers."

In the spring of 2000, I had lived through Y2K and was facing my Ford plant closing down, I was in the mood for something to make to me happy. So I assembled four people, including Old Sock, into a Yahoo chatroom called "Spacers: A Foothold on Pluto" the second weekend of that May. When the plant closed down in June, I went to California to spend good times with Grampa (my grandfather) and Old Sock for a couple of months. Back in Cleveland, while the Summer was slipping away, I sat between a fan and an open window writing up the next installment called "Spacers:
A Fungus Among Us" for three new chatroom friends, ran just before I re-entered schooling to establish a job certification for the State of Ohio that September. The climax of these scenarios would not take place until early 2002, as I got busy after having run out of savings, getting stable enough again to spend long evenings on-line. Old Sock returned to re-play his Spacer character, Trax, the Android, "Spacers: Don't Pay the Ferryman." The last game was quiet a little chatroom party, it lasted for two days.

Life came and went. Caed hooked me up with Peryton, a like-minded game designer and all around fantasist-geek. In the year 2004, Peryton's and my wedding vows included the term, "We will go to GenCon every year that we are able." So while fine-tuned her D20 variant, I boosted my Spacers' rocketships.

My next scenario turned out to be a bit more of a saga than I had first thought it would be. It lasted like five years and has meant about five hundred on-line sales. During it I made my best friends in life to date, Monk and LumberingJack. Apparently the title "Rocketmen Vs the Saucers" had already been scooped by Disney in the 90's, but after a couple letters from me to them, I got the gist that they were not interested in telling me to "cease and desist" my efforts. I get the feeling that they already made their name off of the title in question and did not care any longer. But in 2006, I was interested in realizing the Spacers brand in relation to space opera role-playing, so I began promising "Spacers" rules in a formal, official form, and soon this came about. It is right around this point, that a friend, LumberingJack, pointed out that I had better claim trademark.

"It's a good title, man." To quote him directly, "Start to make it yours before a big company get around to making it its own for a game expected to sell plastic miniatures for a few months..."

'Jack happens to be an accountant and his wife a business lawyer, so I figured that he was telling me something important. In 2007, Peryton Publishing was functioning high enough to release
a copy of Spacers (TM) as well as Spacers: Rocketmen Versus the Saucers, Episode Two, "The Straits of Sublight." My 'Versus the Saucers serial of scenarios actually started in August 2005, and I ran to varying table sizes at many conventions. I have made many friends because of these sit-downs, for all of that it's been worth it. Of course being able to buy beer and pizza on a PayPal debit card does not hurt in the slightest either.

Still 'Versus the Saucers gig having taken a name from 90's TV culture, even if unknowingly so, was not going to be my defining Spacers moment. I am after all Major Tom to all Space Cadets everywhere. Even before finishing the serial, I was onto the next project. This time for a Vermont-based convention Carnage in November 2009, I started Spacers: the Centaur's Bow. Not only did I get involved with the rather vibrant and talented New England and New York gamer scene, I got some talent for PeryPub as well, including the indefatigable CCrabb. This latest Spacers campaign, the third as far as I am concerned, only marks current efforts in a long line of more things to come.

In short, I'm rather proud and proprietary of my efforts. Thought I'd end this post with a list of PeryPub products that you can expect from the Spacers line over the coming three years.

First Campaign (May 2000- Feb 2002)
SPACERS: Planetoids of Death
Locales- Pluto and Charon
1. Call from the Underworld.
2. A Fungus Among Us.
3. Don't Pay the Ferryman.

Second Campaign (Aug 2005-Aug 2010)
Spacers: Rocket-Men vs the Saucers
Locales- the Oort Cloud, Earth-Venus Half-Way Point, Phobos, Neptune, Pluto-Charon
1. Rendezvous at Ice Station Zero:Zero.
2. The Straits of Sublight.
3. Trouble At SOHO Station.
4. The Moon of Fear.
5. The Blades of Triton.
6. The Whale.
7. Goofy Space.
8. The Charon Incident.
9. The Wrong Side of Pluto.

Third Campaign (Nov 2009- and on-going)
SPACERS: The Centaur's Bow
Locales- Uranus, Miranda, "Goofy Space" (and still going)
1. Space Head.
2. Ionek.
3. Automachen.

Bear with me on the slowness, we have to pay our great artists, editors, and helping writers. And there even more expenses to stick with more legalistic markers, mind everyone reading this they are not half the battle.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Carnage 13, oh the horror.

Ah yes. Back home from Fairlee Vermont, where Peryton and I attended the 13th annual Carnage Game Convention, our second ti
me there in fact, for those of you who might've not heard. Pery and I loved the outing last year and couldn't wait to get there this year for sure. So we left on Wednesday evening so that we would be there early for pre-Con game ran by Andre Kruppa, whom I like to call "Action Hero," on Thursday evening. We stopped off in Syracuse, NY. where we argued about whether "syracuse" was Mohawk indian for "place to stay the night" or the city that was halfway on the road from Rome to Jerusalem. Thursday's drive was mountainous and rainy, which we were both fine with. We were using a GPS unit so the route of course was a weird mixture highway and intimately backroad driving. Once we passed a small town which proclaimed itself the home of "the US Navy" in upstate New York, we mostly followed the Woodstock River in Vermont.

Once we arrived at the resort, we already started to feel great and in a partying mood. We s
aid hi to Action Hero who was busy setting up his special gaming room. Peryton tended to her luggage while I went to sauna, the Lake Morey resort, has one of the best that I have encountered on the North American continent. On the way back to the room, CCrabb shouted a hello, but I was a little too overheated for much more than a wave back. An hour later after a nap, we were up for cocktails and pizza with CCrabb and Tyler, a Carnage Con Brahman. Around 7pm, three out of four of the dinner party were into Action Hero's game, "Incident at Owl Lake." We had a good group CCrabb, Peryton, Ray and Nyssa (two more Carnage Brahmans). Can't really remember what we ended up doing after the game, but I am pretty sure that Pery and I went to bed.

Awake at 4:30am
on Friday, I had a five-pack of beer for breakfast while I typed up final notes for my days events. Peryton slept until about 10pm, maybe just before noon, proclaiming that Saturday game was at 8am. In any case, no one showed up for my 1pm game, WHAP's "The Silver's Jungle," so I was able to try to nap. After dinner, of store bought hummus, tabuli, and flat bread labeled pita, I went to run the Spacers scenario, a prequel for CCrabb's Cpt. Zayit character called "Blood on Red Sand." Original, NOT, I know; but the players Steve, Zack, Patrick, Hanna, Derek (the Young Ones), as well as CCrabb made this little Mars-based rendition of the Hills Have Eyes worth while. Afterward Pery, CCrabb, and I hung out with a gang of the RPGBombers including Dr, Nik, Angelica, Don Higgins, BLamm, and various others. It was kind of like a school renunion but for gamers. Dr. Nik kicked my but at "Blow Football" (meaning soccer and wooden straws), but I showed some skill at a word game.

After a while everyone except CCrabb and I dissappeared, so she and I banged on Action Hero's private little theater. Luckily he had wrapped up early, so the three of us sipped cognac and assorted other drinks. Ray showed up as well, and I spent some time getting to know him as well. I winded down my part at
3:30am, hoping to sleep well.

Awake at 6:54am, even before Pery's alarm went off, I even showed up at her Saturday morning Dr. Who RPG game of "Beyond the Caverns of Chaos" before she did. At noon, when the session wrapped up, the two of us went up to the room and did the snacky lunch thing and relaxed before my afternoon session-- the room really felt like home. Well my T&T scenario "The Wuthering Depths" had no players show up, so I was able chat up CJ Henderson in the Dealer's Room and then nap for the afternoon, while Pery, CCrabb, and Zack of Mars played a new Witchhunter: Dark Providence game or some such.

My CoC game, "The Testament of Dr. Eugenesi" came up at 7pm, and as usual when it comes to that game, it was a full house. The plot was complex and twisting, but once again the players, I remember all but one of their names, so I'll leave that part alone. But by the end of it, I had enjoyed watching some very strong role-players doing some great work. I swear it was better than a TV or a movie. Running over time, we finished up at twenty past midnight, I saw Peryton hanging with John, who had played in my "The Mars Incident" scenario the year before, and playing in his Midnight-hour Old School D&D "One More from the Vault." Zack of Mars found a Mage or Gammaworld, or something, game to jump in on, so once again, I was hanging with CCrabb, Action Hero, and Ray until 3:30am. I couldn't believe it, I was in bed at a convention before Peryton for the first time in a year.

Sunday AM, about 7:30am, I was awake and packing. Pery's started her morning ritual about 8am! By around noon we were able to have the car loaded and we had time to visit with everyone. We had several email addresses and a couple books by C.J. Henderson as well as a print from Dark Magic and Donuts. So we were then on our way to explore a bit of New York the following day.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Kopfy's Oktoberfest

Back in April, when the MLS announced its 2010 schedule, my partner, EM, at work and I talked about going to see a soccer game together. Not just any soccer game, but an Major League Soccer game, where both of our respective favorite teams played: mine being the Columbus Crew and his being the Seattle Sounders. In May, we mentioned, while having beers at a Taco Tuesday at Hoopples, that September 18th was going to be that game.

Now this was not going to be an easy task. As a rule, in our ambulance company, EM and I do not take the same days off. I think we're, as in each of us, kind of like one of the foot bones of our shift schedule, especially on the weekends. Sure the outfit gets by, but not without a serious limp in performance. Really, my company does so many trips that the twelve or more full-time road crews are very important. because when it's not quantity, it's the heaviness of the transported where we need skilled and experienced guys, and gals, handling the load.

Still pretty far off, there was always the potential for the plan never coming to fruition. EM and I make plans to forget about them all the time, what with the crunch of bills and whatnot. Still in late July, we both put in our Time Off requests. And amazingly enough, we found people to cover for us. This little holiday took on a special meaning for me.

In case you didn't know it but August 18th until February 15th is Merry Thanxgivoween Mass. In the Peryton Clique. Starting out with Robinalea, Caed's and Peryton's B-days, going through Halloween until New Year's Eve, winding up around Elvis's Birthday (also David Bowie's) and Valentine's Day. So little special events are sought after during this phase of the year.

Now I know most North Americans think Oktoberfest is like the first week of September, if not on Halloween, but it's actually about the last two weeks of September to the first weekend of October. So I decided the four days I was going to be taking would constitute, TOM'S OKTOBERFEST. This festival would have its ups as well as downs.

Well on Facetube, Lincoln Park announced 30 cent chicken wings and $1 cheaper beer night on Thursday. And since they make chicken wings in various sauces, including curry, that became the first event. Peryton and I tried curry, "Kill-Me," and garlic-BBQ while talking about early Iron Age and the Levant, or Israel as C-Crab would call the region.

Friday was supposed a local soccer game, being way too drunk at 8AM, and hearing a friend's death last Tuesday,
in an email from Frank S., made me decide to stay at home. Mind you, I received also about ten video links from the guy, as some sort of maudlin music festival in Alex G.'s honor-- it's a group norm. I suppose it's called a "Jazz Funeral" in New Orleans. EM was calling about the game, and I was of course a bit reluctant to go, but by Friday evening I returned his calls and asked him to get the tickets.

Saturday, hung over and on a budget of about $130, I pulled Peryton out of the house by 10:30 AM to start the drive to Columbus. During the drive we composed this "Soccer Chant," sung to the tune of "Peaches,"

Going to Columbus,
Going to watch a lot of soccer.
Going to Columbus,
Going to watch a lot of soccer.

They play soccer in Japan.
It was brought there by a man,
from Great Britain,
Building an Empire.

Going to Columbus,
Going to watch a lot of soccer.
Going to Columbus,
Going to watch a lot of soccer.

If had my wish this day,
I wouldn't have to drive so far away,
To an MLS team play,

Going to Columbus,
Going to watch a lot of soccer.
Going to Columbus,
Going to watch a lot of soccer.

Easily enough, though there was an Ohio State game going on, we found a motel for a reasonable rate, within walking distance from the Columbus Crew's stadium. And awaited the evening's competition. EM and his girlfriend Trista, T-Girl from here on, showed up at dinner time. Afterward, we were on the way for Saturday's big event.

Even more on a budget, I could only afford a foam finger and a Columbus Crew bracelet for Peryton. We were up in the nose-bleeds, and the sun was bearing down on us in the empty rows. But soon enough, the sun was setting and the bleachers filled up rather quickly. And watching the game live was awesome, even if the Crew lost Nil to four to the Sounders. The Eastern Division of the MLS looks to be rather outclassed by our western USA cousins. No one wanted to join me in "Always look on the Bright Side of Life" over the rhythmic but rather staid drum beating of the season ticket holders.

Still, at the end of the game, the team came to the north east corner of the stadium to thank their hardcore fans, the Nordecke ("North Corner" in German, maybe it's also a tool manufacturer's name, since we were in Home Depot Stadium). The corner was still beating drums and singing something like the 1950's song that goes like "I Love Him, I Love Him, and where he goes I'll Follow, I'll Follow." I happened to be in the general direction, and suddenly my foamy hand came in handy, I started waving and hollering to them. I swear Scheletto and Hedjuk saw me and saluted. 4 to Nil against my team, but still the whole trip was worth it there.

Sunday though, was spent fighting off a horde of housekeeping ladies that decided every room in the motel had to be out by 9AM under penalty of death until 10:30am. And then it was time to go Mandy-Bean and Steppenwulf and their 9 month old kid. The couple we hadn't seen for over a year, and the kid, we'd never met. Having a bit time before they household would be ready we drove around their new town and walked around some rather surreal "nature trails." Mowed flood plains and traffic signal street lamps that were fashioned like the traffic signal wasn't designed some fifteen years after the last gas-lamp was used in a city in the USA. Of course that's what you get in Ohio, every town with less than one hundred thousand people making itself look like a small town, with five year-old fixtures made in China and heavily painted canons from the Spanish/American War.

We had lunch at an Indian buffet, where everyone stuffed themselves too well. Oh I have some weeks of exercise, looking at how "portly" getting I am getting, ahead of me.

Tonight my thoughts turn to Alex, moving off to the distance. Like he was always prone to do, but he always knew how to throw a party.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Potatoes from a box.

It's the drama of James Shipman that brings me to the blog today. Since the Great Outlaw Press Art Theft Scandal of November-December 2009, the T&T community has been altered a bit but moving forward. The various internet entities dedicated to the game have for the most part rebuked "Shippy" and disassociated themselves from the man. I found it funny because it reminded me of someone trying to find a member of the Nazi political party in Hamburg, Germany in August 1945. Everyone had worked with the man, and he had a serious bloc of supporters to take his side in cases of discontent among the authors that OP was publishing in early November. But when the misappropriation of easily seen intellectual property of artists was noticed, all open support crumbled.

Ken St Andre himself tried his best to give the man the benefit of the doubt throughout the entire time, but demanded explanations and appropriate responses in a timely manner. Shippy instead seemed to be enjoying the ruckus posting pithy comments at his website about "tater being his only friend" while being forced to remove all content of items for sale from his website. He also bragged in emails to those who didn't throw him under the bus about continuing to reprint FBI's works through Singapore. At an on-line Christmas party, the guy was showing his charm by talking about his new association with the TEA Party and how the government was stealing his money. The only defense ever made was something about a guy named David Levi, or some such, had sold him the rights to all the artwork at unbelievably low rates. Contact information on this "guy" was never provided. Things quieted down towards the New Year celebrations, though the man was kicked out of the Trollhalla, Ken's personal T&T on-line domain.

Then on the rest of us Delvers, T&Theads call themselves that, got busy doing things to fill the rather large space left by Outlaw Press like create fanzines, like TrollsZine, and self-publish T&T products, like W. Scott Grant's the Final Exam. I focused on rewriting and producing New Khazan. Reports would pop up that Shippy was selling items still with Ken St. Andre's name on it and writing spiteful author biographies. We all knew the man had other identities at Trollhalla, and Peryton and I made a game at finding out who it was for a couple weeks before finding the game too easy. We didn't report them, because I was against "exiling" him in the first place because I figured he deserved to see what would happen when everyone else would be doing their own T&T projects and through legitimate means. More than likely he'd have lost interest, not having the chance to become a gatekeeper to the small but passionate T&T marketplace. Heck I even got a free copy of Shipman's True West RPG and his play-by-post novel Wasteland by speaking to his hand puppets.

I wish I had expressed myself better. At the release of 9KW I received an email from Shippy asking if I had thought to thank him as well as another person that used to work with him. This person had rewritten about a dozen pages of my original work when Outlaw Press decided to release its version without me being credited for any but an idea. I replied that I had taken to using the person's phrase "Spell Ships" and felt that merited a thanks. I asked what he felt that he deserved credit for in the work. His reply was short and entitled "Yes? No? Maybe?" From the letter's exasperated tone, I garnered that Ken's exile from Trollhalla was wearing on the Outlando D' Tunnelore.

Two evenings ago, between working other T&T projects and well as Mike Larsen's Rock'n'Role-Playing I received an email from Ken St. Andre. Shippy had sent him a box containing six copies of a
Gristlegrim Dungeon: A unique Tunnels & Trolls GM dungeon written by Ken St. Andre & James Shipman with a one hundred dollar bill on top of it. Ken was honestly confused about what to do with the shipment and was asking for advice from us at Trollhalla. Not sure what everyone else advice was but mine was to keep the bill for the insults over the past months and a further insult of a bribery attempt, and send the books back. This has lead to Ken issuing an open letter which he has asked to spread around.

What were Shippy's motives? I can only guess that it has gotten cold. Spite has lost its appeal.

So here is the letter:

Ken St. Andre
3421 E. Yale
Phoenix, Arizona, 85008.
September 8, 2010

I received your package yesterday with some surprise. Received six copies of the revised Gristlegrim Dungeon. This dismays me, as I told you to quit publishing it back in January of this year when I broke with you. If this parcel was an attempt at a reconciliation between us, then I appreciate the effort you took, but I reject it. Our friendship and partnership is broken and done forever. I do not wish to collaborate on Gristlegrim or any other project with you. Not now! Not ever again! You had no right to add your material to my work. You have no right to continue publishing and selling it. Please stop!

James, you no longer have any right to publish or sell my works. We have no written contracts. We have no formal accounting of royalties. Your habit of sending money and or copies of the items is no longer good enough. Any informal agreements we may have made in 2009 and earlier are terminated on my side of the deal. I no longer wish to associate with you, either professionally or informally.

Find some other outlet for your creativity. Leave me, and leave Tunnels and Trolls, alone. I am rejecting any further association with you.

I hope this is clearly understood. Do not publish anything with my name on it as author. Do not presume to collaborate with me on my projects. Do not keep attempting to infiltrate under false names--you are banned and unwelcome on that site. Do not attempt to rewrite the history of Tunnels and Trolls on Wikipedia or any other online sources. Do not send me money. Do not send me product. I do not want it from you. However, I am under no legal obligation to send back things that arrive unsolicited in the mail. I won't waste the money or the effort to send them back. I am not interested in theatrical gestures. I simply wish to terminate our association and to move on with other things in life.

I hereby reclaim my rights to anything I ever gave you to publish. In particular, I assert my right to the novel Griffin Feathers which consists entirely of my own work with some input in the short sections of the book from the members of Trollhalla.

I am forwarding the "royalties" that you sent me to Jeff Freels, the artist whose work you have re-used to illustrate this version of Gristlegrim. He deserves compensation for his work.

James, I am not angry at you, and I do not hate you. I simply will not associate with you ever again. For several years we were, I thought, very good friends. Outlaw Press did a lot for Tunnels and Trolls. You know why that time has ended. Let it go. Move on.

James, I will be publishing this letter in open forums on the internet, so that all the world can see how I feel, and how I react to what I can only believe are attempt s to manipulate me and to gain control of Tunnels and Trolls. If you have no ulterior intentions, then forgive me for being suspicious, but I no longer feel that I can trust you.

James, you have your own unique style of creativity. Please go and do your own thing, and stop messing with me and with Tunnels and Trolls.

Ken St. Andre

It's hard not to feel bad for Shippy. In my memory he has had his moments, but I am constantly being reminded of what a seedy person he is and what a shifty mind he has. Seeing this today, helps in not feeling bad for the guy after all. There's always mashed taters to make more friends, Shippy.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Hasta Siempre GenConista


After riding around in my ambulance all Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, asking myself 'Why in the world did I not take tonight off?', at 9:15 am, 4 Aug. 2010 Peryton and I were finally driving to Indianapolis and the mother of all events: GENCON. I was looking none-the-better awaiting for the trip over this last summer. I had been letting my hair get a little long, and even grown a beard, to reflect my feeling of being stranded in real life. The drive itself was wonderful, the wife and I were alternately chatting about the weird things that two people who play RPG games and read too much escapist literature do, you know like Red Shirts versus Stormtroopers (kidding, we didn't go that far), or just watching the miles move beneath our wheels-- just waiting and daydreaming.

At 2:30pm, we had arrived at the Looking Glass Inn, owned by our friends at the Stone Soup Inn, and started unpacking our luggage. On the last bag, Monk called me to ask me to guess where his lay-over was on his flight from Arizona. He was in Cleveland. Chagrin and chuckling aside, we hung up. It was about 3pm when I laid down to relax, maybe nap (I had been up since 7pm

the night before, and a little hung over even then). But then Southern Gentleman called, and his enthusiasm at his day's work at being a gamer geek, rekindled my steam-boiler, so it was time to get going. Grabbing Peryton, I insisted that we had to get there "to get things started and relax later." On the two mile walk from our bed and breakfast to the convention center, I saw a slow barber shop, and even haggled a decent price for a great haircut.

The line for the Will Call booth was amazingly long, I know that more and more ppl that attend GenCon do Will Call to avoid problems with the mail, or probably more often forgetting their badges at home on the coffee table in some other State; but this was amazing. We actually were only in the line for fifteen minutes or so. And so we were wandering around and kind of in awe at how busy the day before the convention was getting. In the mean time, Monk and
Kelly-Bell were making their way from the airport to the B&B. YogPohl and Caed were also on the phone to let me know that of course they had other events going on, but would be late to our scheduled meetings, or we'd have to try the next day. Ken St Andre, Trollgod, started sending smoke signals that I could see from the Dealers' Hall. Then Bruce Wayne called to check that we were in town. We started the Making Busy Lives Meet game that surrounds every GenCon-- our grouping's favorite game it seems. Peryton herself was a little distracted by awaiting MCLea, her brother, arrival from Arkansas.

At 7pm, though I was a little threadbare, and hadn't actually seen anyone, besides Peryton, that is mentioned above, it was time for the "Return to the Cthulhu Mansion" session. Good group of folks, and it didn't take long for us to get into a little Scooby Doo goofiness, that the Mansion is supposed to be about. Right after 8pm YogPohl popped in and the Terrible Two, meaning he and I, were wreaking havoc and tag-teaming the poor players mercilessly. They loved every second of it, except the old school player who was liking every ten out of fifteen minutes of the five and half hour long game. Afterward, Yoggy and I found the new gamers' joint Scottys, owned by a former RAM associate, still the gamers' central pub, it would seem from the crowd and overheating I saw in the doorway.

Scotty's Brewery was more to my tastes in general. A nice big place, made for people not hordes, with air conditioning not bad breath recycled. It has a huge patio, more like a plaza, for serious overfilling. More awesom was that there was enough waitstaff to get to customers every few minutes or so, not the hourly check-in received at the RAM by me in previous visits. Seriously, there were as many customers at Scotty's as any place else, but I was comfortable. Paul and I drank too many beers, admired our pretty bartender, joked with the other bartenders (the ones not so easy on the eyes... the dudes), and noticed that in-between baseball games, the movie the Fearless Vampire Hunters was playing on the many flat screen TV's throughout the place. Ah, being treated like a real person, with a dork gem thrown in. YogPohl and I swore a drunken blood oath to meet at the bar every night that week. I hiked it home, the thirty-six hours awake was hurting but I was feeling good.

Some stretching, a hot bath, and sleeping from about 2am until 5:30am, I was awake and restless. So I started geting prepped for my upcoming game at 10 pm that night and awaiting breakfast. At breakfast MCLea came down with me, and Monk and Kelly-Bell arrived moments later. Before the end of it, even Peryton pulled herself out of bed to join in. While we were there we meet the other GenCon guests, a couple from Israel and cluster from Sweden. A poor Army guy Shane was in the middle of all of this awaiting his G/F from Utah to show up. Rather hilarious morning.

As I didn't have a lot going on until 10pm, I spent most of the day trying to make "Old Home Day" happen. OHD is where I, and most often Peryton, make quality face time with our significant gamer/fantasy friends at GenCon. Then there is the nodding recognition to and from various others, whom we might not hang with too often but admire none the less. Caed and Trollgod showed up for lunch, along with Zack (Doug Jean, who probably hasn't been written about here yet). Later, I, by myself, ran into Rook in the hallway and we were both en route to elsewhere but chatted it up while our strides moved in the same direction. Throughout the day, off in the distance I saw Michael Stackpole and Ed Greenwood, two of the celebrities I always like to see at any con. Larry Elmore another big celebrity, who I look for, nodded at me crossing the street, we see each other a lot at Ohio Cons, he always has the prettiest women hanging around him. For some reason, I couldn't find the FBI booth in the Dealers' Hall the two times I looked. That many trips through the exhibitor's maze in one day had me drained. So Myth and I had a few pints at a local pub known as the Hyatt. JerryTel, from BASHCon, showed up for the tip-ups as well. Ah good times. Suddenly it was time for "Thursdays Evenings At Cladagh(sp?)," an Irish pub franchise, which I make more fun by calling the Klingon Bar. MCLea and Peryton, and Monk and Kelly-Bell joined me there after I cell phoned saying "KLAAAAHHHHH DAHHHHH!" After dinner we ran into the Trollgod, Rick Loomis, and Sligo, I was able to confirm a dinner date for the next evening.

By the time I slipped off from the gaggle, seeing them last busy taking pictures at the D&D exhibits on the 2nd story of the Convention Hall, I was limping and it was nearly time for my 10pm game. My 10 pm game table was taken up by a fan of Aces and Eights allowing too many people into his game and combining two tables together. I could tell right away that the guy was an asshole, he wouldn't make eye contact and turned his back to me when I approached him when I first walked into the room. I was about to go get one of the GenCon room monitors(?), when a guy from the Tower of Gygax event, seeing the situation, offered me a table. Seeing a smaller room free food and a particularly good looking chocolate pie, I thought it was an upgrade from the mass gaming room I was supposed to be in. Caed who had showed up for the game wanted to kick the guy's ass, but I was happy not to deal with an asshole to show him what a prick I could be.

To make things even better, a guy came in and offered to turn up the air conditioning while "Cthulhu Round Midnight" was in session. Great players as always and the mystery was foiled as the minions of evil actually killed themselves with a fumbled gunshot in a brief encounter. This wasn't meant to be an overly combat-oriented one, so I was happier to have played around with my mesmerism rules. Wayne swung in to buy me a beer and say "see ya soon." A psych student, Nick, played the best Parapsychologist that I had ever met. Caed and I found the bar closed so couldn't top the night off, but we hugged and promised to meet up on Saturday. Though limping, the walk home at 1:30am was invigorating. Yoggy texted me while walking, I had forgotten to swing by Scotty's for a night cap. He was cool with it though.

Though I stretched at night, I saved the bath until the morning, which was 6:26am. Confused as to why I couldn't much sleep, but hey I was up. When breakfast was done, it was time to get serious about some side work for the game marathon that would be starting at 11am. Due to an Event Submission item that I misread, I was not going to be doing after-11 Cthulhu events Wednesday through Saturday night, I was running one on Wednesday and Thrusday then two on Friday night. The last starting an hour before penultimate one should be ended-- But I would be free after 5pm on Saturday night then, so I was all game to make things work. Lemonaide with lemons anybody?

My first Spacers event had two people walk up and ask if my empty table had any slots. I respond, "yes." A third showed up, being killed early in a friend's game. And "The Wrong Side of Pluto" wrapped up the Spacers: Rocketmen Vs. the Saucers campaign, and the story-arc of the crew of the Rocketship U.S.S Venture. Monk and I had had an argument in April so he didn't show up to play Captain Kurt, so this was a dry victory to me. Peryton's game next to mine was making too much noise. Seriously my players were some quiet individuals, so we moved upstairs to a deserted room reserved for others who must've been sleeping it off.

Sligo and I hooked up when I finally found the FBI booth. We walked far and wide, had lunch, and then prepared to find out exactly where my T&T game "The Wisdom Goddess's Quest" was. This game went amazingly well. While there were two new players, Sligo was there to help me out, and three more players had played T&T before though were new to the 7.5 edition. So I had very little work to do, but GM. And most of the group having just read the rules made for some quick discussions but no rules lawyering and time-wasting tactics. This little tunnel-crawl got me flexing my GM skills, and I think the players exercised their humongous non-d20 minds a little to make things easier on me even further. John Bennet, "Cram" from Trollhalla, and his wonderfully wife, sister, friend, daughter or under-aged mistress, not sure which, was there which was great. And David, who played the living statue modeled after Michelangelo's little work, became a central fixture to the tale as well as later. Frankly, I hope to be doing more T&T with everyone at the table.

Next came dinner with the Trollgod and Rick Loomis. We ended up at the Marriott's restaurant, a part dedicated to GenCon called the Red Dragon Inn. Where I had been looking forward to some turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy since I had seen "the Bird" on the menu the night before. The dinner party stared out with nine ppl, then dropped down to seven. Myth, Wayne and son (the Boy Wonder), Sligo, myself, Rick, and Trollgod. Had a damn good time. So good, that when Peryton called me to remind me my 7pm Spacers game was coming up, I asked her to tell anyone showing up that I was going to be thirty minutes late. At 7:15, I called to see if anyone was waiting, hearing that she hadn't seen anyone, I wrote the game off and rocked on with the boys from Arizona.

Afterward, I slipped beneath an empty water table with a nice thick curtain around it and relaxed/napped for a bit.

My 10pm game for CoC was "In the Midnight Hour." I wanted to go into my occupation for the cultist, which I call "the Witch," but two out of the five players in front of me had a 9 month old hanging out with Gramma upstairs, and one wanted to play the Werewolf card/party game at 12:30. So I had all the excuses I needed for another favorite variation of COC often called "Cthulhu:Lethal" by its practioners, and get to my unforeseen midnight game thirty minutes late and still get off the next day. So the group followed Willy "NOT BILLY" Idol, to the Planetarium of the Greater Dayton Metropolis, to go pet some Hounds of Tindalos. The first guy killed, his character was hanging out by a doorway, with a whole lot angles, right ones even, around him, seemed rather miffed. A nice idea he even if I had to fold reality, fire door hinges are outside not inside, in the real world, bub. Still a nice start for a last desperate act by beaten up and terrified survivors later in the game. Luckily, he didn't stick around to watch the event, instead angry text messaging his wife from twenty meters away, one of the smart players, towards committing suicide instead of participating in the insult to his massiveness or something. So I hope I gave her a death scene worthy of her sacrifice, though I am sure her cause will not appreciate her for it, IT TOOK 17 MINUTES AFTER HE HAD LEFT THE ROOM. The rest of the party was a delight, the one woman who caught the image (gag) that I was tryig to create died to early to accomplish it doing acrobats with rather lethal shadows all around her FBI-trained judo kicks, so kept her mouth shut, while things rolled along. Her husband's character had internet access and was blogging about what a douche-bag Willy Idol was, you see his character had been a fan for 16 years, and recently shooed away by the 80's rocker newer, Black Lotus-smoking clique, the Brahmans. He made a new friend on Yahoo messenger named T.Indalos and that was pretty much it for him. The survivor refused to die while being dragged away from the PC keyboard, instead I let him live. From his padded cell, he could only realize that he was indeed alive, but he in a cell full of angles and night was coming. Wrapped the session up at ten minutes to midnight.

At midnight, COC's "Cthulhu Over the Top" ensued with only the slightest of delays as the last group and exchanged emails. A band of young men who were doing the con together. Their tightness and cohesiveness had me thinking that they were military friends, but alas I was wrong, they "were from around Chicago. " They took to their infantry squad stuck in the Great War roles rather well, they had heard of COC, but for the most part wanted war-porn and Cthulhu death. Easily delivered, but I had to sort out my particular rules for getting to the Dreamlands, before I could get explicit. So the squad crawled over the muddy trenches just after sunset to save the crashed biplane pilot stuck in No-Man's land, suffering snipers and mortars, to catch a glimpse of the plane and then with some appropriate confusion at finding themselves sixty miles of France on a warm summer's day. They avoided my "sexy woman trap," like smart young men should,
BUT they avoided its clues as well. The sanity flowed like sipped martinis from this point one. A land mine, a Gug, and the Dark Spawn of Shub Nigureth we were done by 2:25am.

Heading out of the hotel is worthy of mention. I saw a smoker that I had chatted up the night before, we joked about something, then I went for my cell-phone. Two hookers or desperate gamer chicks came up and wanted to get to know me. Seeing me on the cell phone and saying "Luv yu." to Peryton, they were insulted and scurried away. I suspect that these women were just there for the con because prostitutes would've been more patient. A taxi nearly slid sideways seeing a 40 year-old man with KMart clothes and yuppy sandals alone with a cell phone pressed to his ear, at the same time. I tried to decline the ride, showing that I had no cash. He insisted that he had credit. On the way, I asked where he was from and he was from Kenya. Being familiar with his neck of the woods, he liked me and would only charge me $5 for the ride. Well I am not going to argue, but when I showed him how to use his credit card machine, I added $6, it seemed a fair price for the length of the trip.

I was downstairs at breakfast at 7:46am. A little tighter than I would've been if I had only walked home hours before. I shaved my mustache and hopefully trimmed my ragged beard into a Youth's Beard. I felt more like an Amish poser instead, but hey. I didn't have long to tarry, but I did meet Shane's g/f, and Monk and Kelly-Bell walked with me. I ran into the Trollgod at the Hyatt and convinced him to jump into my second T&T, which started at 9am.

"Trouble In the Waterfront" at 9am, David, the living statue, and Sligo were there. Jim, from previous years, showed up as well. I am always so happy when he is there. He either helps with rules, or gets the plot moving. All and all, it was a full crowd. I think we might've won a couple more full-timer Delvers to T&T. For my sake, I ran a "Who-Dun-It" rather than a tunnel-crawl. Still everyone seemed to like it.

Lunchtime was splendid, Peryton, her brother and I met at Acapulco Joe's for lunch. We had a great time and the meal was to die for.

I got a text message from Monk, that while he smoking a cigarette outside, he overheard "an elderly gentlemen who totally hated you." He described the fellow and the first death scene from "In the Midnight Hour." I chuckled and replied, "He was the first to die." A bit later the response was, "Someone dying in Call of Cthulhu, who would've thought it? You should write that down and sell it. It'll take the geriatrics by surprise everytime." I mentioned that the guy is as old as I am so he dropped it. Still, rather humorous.

My next game, I had a great group of players. I was running "Wrestlers versus Dracula" using Jefry Freel's Uncle Cuycuy's Lucha Libra T&T-derived rules and elements of my own WHAP!. The sold out six players rather surprised me, and I allowed Wayne's son, the Boy Wonder to drop into the game. Working out the details in my head, as well as suddenly dealing with spurts of pain in my good ear (I am literally deaf in one) got me a little distracted during the rather massive Cup-Qualifying Match. I was able to hold it together enough to get the dramatic precedents established and asked for help from the players, which they took on whole-heartedly. Rules and format ideas came freely, one of the players mentioned a family emergency and didn't reappear but the remaining made this session rule the cosmos. When we finished the competition Pay-For-View event, we got into my Dracula plot, and I was able to show some skills. We wrapped up a little late, but the movie we made rocked.

The Boy Wonder got a ride back home, and dinner was with MCLea, Peryton and Wayne at where else but Champions. Rook called looking for D&D players, which meant the wife
and brother-in-law were on the way. Truth be told my ear was hurting too much, and Rook sees me invalid enough (broken foot, et al). There is that little bit of me of D&D making my head hurt as well. Jordan nursed me back to health with a walk over to the Indianapolis Riverfront and then the mall, discussions on real life, staring at women, and a bit of beer. Next thing anyone knew Monk and Kelly-Bell showed up and we were catching up with Caed's "UNGenCon's Pubcrawl." Yoggy showed up around 10:30pm, the third pub I think so it was a good party. I think in an unspoken way, Monk and I closed the door on our April argument. So there I was with the Crew, including Caed, and in a rather good place.

By 1am or so, Peryton kept promising to show up, but of course her D&D session went over, and over, and over, and over that timeframe. The rest of us were at Scottys watching HellBoy, and I decided I would call it an early night. Leaving Yoggy with the tab, Monk and Kelly-Bell accompanied me for the walk back to the B&B. I said hi to the 'Over the Top' players from the night before on the way out.

Back at our Hideaway apartment, Peryton and MCLea were reading Eclipse Phase and V&V respectively. I suddenly realized why I hadn't able to do much more than nap in the room, it was "Arkansas Cool." Similar to great atmosphere at the Ram, known for its lack of moving air and warmer than a fried egg texture. That phrase means that my wife and brother-in-law have steadily been turning up our abode's temperature to about 87-90 degrees from its original 77. Why? Because the A/C in the taxi rides and hotels then taxi rides back. You see it wasn't hot enough for them, they wanted to warm up, or something. I told them to go outside, then grabbed a beer and turned the A/C up. Still on a roll, I rambled about my misgivings at Guillermo del Toro, acting speaking more to George Lucas, Stan Lee and Peter Jackson, then fell asleep in my chair not opening my beer. Robin saw me to bed later, griping about having to sleep beneath the covers or something.

At 7:37 I shaved off the rest of my beard. I had been in touch with civilized society again. Peryton and MClea were crashed out sleeping better than they have all week for some unbeknown reason. Maybe because the heat from the sun wasn't waking them up? Who knows? At breakfast, Shane told Monk, Kelly-Bell and me, "I heard when you guys came in last night. Ninjas you're not."

I was overjoyed at the non-gamers allusion in our own jargon when I replied, "We're more pirates than ninjas in this bunch."

More than a few laughs were shared throughout the morning.

By 9:45am, my own luggage was in the car and I was walking down to the convention center with Monk and Kelly-Bell. I hadn't prepped my characters for the third of my CoC "the Rat Pack versus Cthulhu" trilogy. At 10am, I saw all the loafers at the Hyatt are being booted out of their rooms where so the hotel can fit in some guests that don't fit twelve people into a two bed-sized room. From the line, I could tell that no quick measly four copies coming from those overworked desk clerks for sure. I was able to finagle my way into the hotel's customer only the Business area by the copier. Of course there was no paper, so I had to use the backs of four other character sheets, relatively free of player notes. Working feverishly I scrawled out notes for Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin the ghost, Sammy Davis Jr, Jerry Lewis, Lauren Bacall, and a Chicago thug by the name of Ratchet. I looked up and I had fifteen minutes to spare.

"Fly Me To the Moon" was more than an appropriate conclusion to the trilogy that I started back in '08. The players were wonderful. The Frank Sinatra from "Cthulhu at the Sands" was recast into the role, and the rest of the players were fluent in role-playing, the characters and Lovecraft's writing , it was a great time. On top of that, I was at where I should be running games, on top of everything. The woman who played Lauren Bacall told me at the end of the game, "That was perfect. Tight. Tight, sweet, and shorter than boring. I especially liked the tight bit." I couldn't reply beyond, "That's the way I like it too." But I have to admit, the scenes worked out nicely, the images in the re-telling will convey mood (or punchline) of the work; all in all, I am happy with the results as well. I had forgotten a bit of combat, so the whole thing wasn't perfect.

My Dealers' Hall trundle was quick, not a lot of games struck my eye. But Delta Green products are out there, Michael Stackpole has a trilogy available through FBI, and Lucha Libre: the Way of the Mask is out by Spartacus Publishing. The 6th annual PeryPub Champion's "Victory Dinner" was held at 4pm, or so. We met (spelling based off of my bad hearing) Dioga(?) from Brazil, who needs to get in touch by email. This guy is an uber-gamer that has become part of the Crew. Yoggy called as we were pulling out of Indiana, he was cool with it once again.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Getting about that time...

Productive, grindstone, and massive amounts of work come to mind when I think of my life of late. And then there's my actual job for a paycheck, not just my writing. Overtime at baseball games as well the regular hour to 90 minutes OT on top of every other regular work shift. But can't say that it is not fun and doesn't have its perks, who else gets to read works by Ken St Andre before the rest of the world on his days off; OR watch fireworks from directly below their explosions while being paid time and half?

PeryPub has had enough material laying around the place that we have been trying to get a bit out and in public almost every two weeks since April. Luckily, Christine Crabb, let's call her C-Crab just for fun, at least until she complains, has come on board as a managing editor, which has been a godsend for both Peryton and and me. Monk is still working on his steam punk and zombie bits. And a T&T Halloween special is coming together nicely. Various pulp stories, from Myth, Matt Franks (Dino), and myself, are ready to go up, with a wonderful cover from Billy Tacket. My mega-sphere fantasy piece New Khazan is very near the post production stage, enough to where I can read a novel or a comic book once in a while. Just working on the art means having beers and pub-grub with Widow-Maker (Michael Hartlieb) every other Sunday-- we take our Shepard's Pie very seriously. Now if only I could start getting Simon Tranter (Triton), Kevin Bracey (Quog) and Regis Moulun to get their foreigner butts (England, New Zealand, and France) out of bed early enough to start making these dinners. On top of all this, C-Crab, Pery, and Jason (the Fourth Jason!) have been keeping the chatrooms at the RPGBomb active with monthly SPACER games.

But it's getting time for some travel. And the events that I want to while traveling are starting to get scribbled on the backs of receipts in my wallet during lulls at work. Heck I am even dreaming about running in front of people.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Further February Fun

February has been a pretty fantasists-filled month for me, full of escapism, fast-food and rolling dice. Just two weeks after our Trollhoot, BASHCon rolled around, which is a convention that Peryton and I really enjoyed last year, so heading to this year's kind of went without must discussion. So from the evening of Feb 19th until the afternoon of the 21st, we vacationed in balmy Toledo, Ohio. The Universisty of Toledo's Student Activities Center to be exact. The wife (click here for her summary) was uncharacteristically giddy about getting things rolling for the trip so she was packed the night before and had me pick her from work to get things started. The surreality that keeps impressing me this Winter would keep popping up to mark the trip as well, this time less than subtly.

Of course, one of the defining features of BASHCon is the first day's congestion at the registration desks. Peryton compared last year's signing-in to getting in Mordor. Well this year, they improved on the congestion and difficulty, they put all of the desks in front of the entrance to the auditorium where people needed to get in and out constantly, right next the bathrooms as well. Two signs were taped above the doorways one for "Pre-Registered" attendees and another for "On-Site Registration," I suppose that the person putting up the signs felt better, but as for the rest of us standing in the line, neither moved any faster than the other. We hung out with JerryTel whom we gamed with last year and who happened to be standing in front of us in the line. Once I got up to desk from forty feet back in the hallway with the ramps and stairwells and the up and traffic of the building, about an hour later, the actual paying and receiving my badge took about five minutes, and the person at the desk had been awaiting my arrival, apparently every time he typed the letter "K," my moniker "Tom K." would pop up-- still it was nice to be so personally welcomed.

Once able to move freely into the gaming area, the auditorium, I was impressed once again by one of the strengths of BASHCon, its space and functionality. The Dealers' Area had been included in the general gaming area while the activities like LARP'ing and foam-rubber sword-fighting had rooms or basement hallways for their goings-on. In the Dealer's Area we found a number of familiar faces from our travels around Ohio. Chris, the Magician, who runs is a gamers' curio; Stan the Toledo anime guy; and the wise and pleasant Dice Guy whom I especially like chatting up. Some screams issued forth from the basement level, next to the Starbucks signaling that the Zombie LARP was starting, I couldn't help but smile and relax.

At 8pm Peryton and I ran games at neighboring tables, the Peryton RPG and Tunnels and Trolls respectively. JerryTel was back and fellow named Andy joined in for my "Back In the Loop" sequel to "the Loop." It was funny running a "tunnel-crawl" for two "big picture" sorts of players. My traps and plot-twists wrecked havoc on the poor souls, but they were just careful and more than clever enough to survive the adventure, we wrapped up around Midnight. Peryton finished up about a half hour later, when we were walking to the car I noticed that she was glowing. She smiled and said, "My first All-Party Kill."

On Saturday, about half the drama of the day would occur before 9AM. I woke up about 5am and after doing the morning thing, I went to print up my massive collection of notes for the game that I was running at 8am. Well that just wasn't going to happen on the hotel's office center computers or their printers despite about 90 minutes of effort. And getting Peryton out of the door before noon is always a bit of production. Still we arrived with minutes to spare before 8am, though I was going to have to be doing a lot of jotting down rules by hand so the players wouldn't think that I was making things up in my head as we played. While getting to the table I walked past a clump of people at the Registration desks, definitely not uncommon, checked with the Information desk where my event was to take place, and walked up to two players who were waiting. After some chit-chat and introductions we worked on developing their characters. When I mentioned that I like smaller groups, Matt, Bowler from here on, and Beckett, such a kewl name that I'll just leave it, told me that two other players were coming but were being held up at registration because the guy at the desk wouldn't sell them a day pass until 9am, and the security at the auditorium door wouldn't let anyone past without a badge.

This is how I found out that the official convention didn't start until 9am, though two events were listed in the program for 8am and about six tables had games going on. Before I thought to get involved, the two guys, John, Mutant, and Alan, the Alchemist, were able to get into the auditorium at 8:30am with day badges and tickets that they had procured at gunpoint after having dispatched the campus police officer at the door into the next life. You see Mutant and the Alchemist are from Detroit, my long, lost gaming homeland, and we roll like that-- if we want to game before the open doors are really open nothing is going to stop us. The four people waiting for Godot behind the Registration desk, but definitely not yet running it, are lucky that these two marauders of reality didn't melt the clock on the wall. A bit less dramatic, the little glitch in scheduling and organizational functionality struck me as surreal. A little after 9am, the morning's adventure "Cleftburg" began in earnest, which was Cleveland deconstructed in terms of a post-apocalyptic world. Peryton and the four guys helped me craft the introduction adventure for my future Gamma World rip-off, which is now called "Glow" until something better sounding comes along.

At lunch time, I was further impressed by the UT facilities, just around the corner from the gaming area is a restaurant called Phoenicia. It not only has a walk-up window, but a full dining room, complete with cermanic coffee cups, a beer and wine selection, and very decent Mediterranean food. Peryton and I had lunch and beers with Mutant and the Alchemist while we talked about pure-dee Detroit games like Rifts, Fringeworthy and Stalking the Night Fantastic, right next to a meeting of the campus Young Republicans. Nothing like hummus, nuclear annihilation, and conservative ideology to make a completely engrossing mealtime atmosphere. I wanted to put on a bowler hat and place an apple, my desert, in front of my face but Pery reminded me that I didn't have a hat.
Sticking to a theme, next came Gamma's official Gamma World game, 'The Escape.' It was great to see Jeff and his daughter Sarah again. Three out of the game's five PC's had played in last years session, so the session really did have the feel of a sequel. Gamma, like Mutant, is a post-apocalyptic officianado so I was treated to some in-depth discussion of the doomsday milieu of our gaming subculture. This year's adventure really rocked. To quote Peryton, "It's like Road Warrior, but not boring!"

Dinner was back in the Phoenicia dining room, where Pery and I kept it light. Sadly, all the mutants and Republicans were absent, so we had to amuse ourselves. We had to shift gears for JerryTel's upcoming Savage Worlds: Ripper Tech game anyway. After dinner we explored the other event and game rooms, and discovered a Salvador Dali battleground for the WarHammer miniature combat game. Really, I have pictures! I'm not making this up.

JerryTel's game "Ripper's the Gathering" of course was packed. And I was impressed with his GM'ing ability because he had all levels of Savage World gamers there, from the novice to the expert, and he handled it like a pro. The plot moved along quickly and the action was evenly spread out among the various players. One image that will stick in my mind was one fellow, Jeff, had a double-fisted shooter character running around in his "union suit" as hulking mister Hydes broke tore the front door of its hinges. Peryton was jealous of the obligatory mad scientist of the group, we all know she feels she is the only one qualified to handle a steam-punk laser gun correctly.

The midnight wrap-up meant it was time for Pery's and my second annual Tacos at Midnight event on the way back to the hotel. There's this place called Del Taco, which is 24 hours, fast-ish food, and not Taco Bell, so it's kind of different and fun. I mean who doesn't go to Toledo for the tacos?

Sunday morning I slept in until 6:30 and Peryton stumbled out of bed in time enough to get us to convention by our 9:30 am start times. She ran the latest Dr. Who RPG and I demo'ed WHAP with a quick Spaghetti Western shoot out. My single player, Ryan, or "Workingman" from here on, and both developed characters, which helped me get into the mechanics of the dice rules. By the time we were getting into the character Types and the Perks they get, was ready to do a third character, using the abbreviated "MaR" instead of a fully fleshed out opponent for him. By the time he chose his weapons, I had a three way shoot out between his Scruff Noname, a Scrapper, Snake-eyes, another Scrapper, and Sombrero, a Flatfoot, all ready to go. The shoot-out went well and we were finished just before 10:15. I awarded the brave explorer gamer with a print-out of WHAP!'s PDF, complete with its S.S. Compton cover, and Workingman was all finished and ready to go a mutual acquaintance's Paranoia game, already warming up.

I was able to get my GM discount, which recomped the price of my badge in less than fifteen minutes and wandered around. Seeing that the Magician had finally gotten out of bed and made his way to his unattended booth. I had noticed, for a strange, inexplicable reason, a bag full of Ral Partha Call of Cthulhu miniatures on Friday night, so I went ahead and bought it.

There was an "Open Painting" area in the auditorium which was doing brisk, so for the first time in more than thirty years, I sat down and painted a miniature. Of course, I mostly spent the time getting to know three young guys. Rick and John were trying to get their "video-gamer buddy," Tommy, into the joys of role-playing by having him paint his own character's miniature, which, it seems, according to D&D 4e. is obligatory. So while I brought one of 1920's metal figures into the world of full color, we talked about cars and trains, Europe and Japan, other conventions that we attended, and trips that we had planned for the rest of the Spring. I mentioned T&T in passing, just in case the trio ever moved away from miniature table-topping. Once my figurine was painted I noticed it was just after noon and I bid everyone adieu.

Peryton's game was in the wrap up stages. The villain had been defeated and they were trying to save the hapless NPC of whatever affliction that the world of Qalidar was inflicting upon her. I swear the four ppl at the table were speaking in a different language and uttering weird and strange phrases like "The Pyramids of Mars" or "The Last Dalek" like they were cross-referencing something. At the wrap up, it was time to get going, luckily Peryton was hungry so it wasn't hard dragging her out to the car.

Alas BashCon was finished for yet another year.

On the way home, I noticed that the Hardees on the eastbound I-90 Turnpike had an alert sign some six miles out before its off-ramp, and the Burger King ones only about a half mile. As Hardees has the best chicken sandwiches in existence, and a recurring rare treat for Pery and I while traveling, this made total sense to me.

Once home, I was happy at only having to drive an hour for one of our little road-trips. I have spent the last three days getting two small T&T adventures in something we call the Elder Tunnels series ready for publication within a couple weeks. Luckily all my writing for this month's on-line Spacers game coming up this Saturday night was done in December.

Like I said, February has been a fun time full of fantasy and escapism for as fast it has been flying by.