Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Smoldering Parts, No BBQ pt. 5: Dying Embers

Monday morning came orderly enough. I woke up at 7 am and forced myself into fitful naps until 10:30 or so. Spent most of the last 30 minutes of our allotted time in the hotel 3-S'ing and packing up crap. Had a sandwich with the wife and then went to get the car ready for loading. Said goodbye to Dr Nik and Hrothgar, both heading out to other vacation endeavors. Dr Nik is helping us getting prepared for GenCon and David gave us some free greeting cards with his water colors on them and started the drive home.

Even four hours later, I couldn't stop being happy. And when we got home, I noticed on the FacetuBe, that everyone else was agreeing. Not a bad hoot at all. Not bad at all.

This Hoot was sponsored by Game Soapbox ProductionsPeryton Publishing, Panik Productions, Christine Crabb Private Editorial Services and Asian World Imports. With special mentions to Trollish Delver games and aspiring author Mark Thorton.


Smoldering Parts, No BBQ pt. 4: Okay, There Was BBQ

Sunday morning, I got to torture Dr. Nik by insisting that we "walk and talk" over to the gas station, I was out of beer, while he was suffering from blisters on his feet. Okay I didn't know he had the blisters, and the guy is too tough to admit it when he is suffering. Still had I known, what a feat that would've been.

I ran my game "Fever Dream" that afternoon. And what I thought would be a clever twist, turned out to be a typical run-of-the-mill CoC adventure. You see, after doing years of very pre-scripted story lines with developed character roles for the PCs; I keep thinking puling a bait and switch will show me as a brilliant GM. I forget that, only five people in the world have played enough in my games to get it. So my "take them unawares" approached impressed no one except me. Where I had three stratagems to get the players whether they tried to stay and fight, run away or something in-between; the players themselves just perceived that this was a "No one gets out alive" scenario. While they were wondering what exactly it was their overly detailed characters were doing there, I should add. Same thing happened back with "In the Midnight Hour" at GenCon in 2010.

Sometimes it's just me and Trigger.

An impromptu dinner at Tuly's with a rather unexpected crowded table, including someone who refused to come earlier (Dr Watt!), was quite fun. Jimmy and I got to show the two sides of Catholic culture for anyone not living in the middle ages. And Hrothgar caught the tab!

While others slipped into Dr Nik's impromptu game downstairs, all the Trollhallan fellows and dames in attendance (myself, Peryton, Hrothgar and CCrabb) tried out Dark Harvest with his story "Styrgoi." I was too tired to be the tactician of yet another player group of "girls," which I forcefully, and without asking, assumed in Dr Nik's "Abyss" and do so often in other games, so I just played a pompous ass of an Austrian aristocrat from 1880, though it was 1910. Chrissi and Robin did fine doing all the real work while I chased, err had others chase skulls-head moths. I did provide an awesome soundtrack as well.

Now this after party was legendary. Even Peryton and Hrothgar showed up for the final night of festivities at the Kruppa's emporium of decadence and delight. Well enough, when we walked in there were heads being chopped off, always a decent start to an ending. Liquor was getting in short supply by 3am, so I mugged Jimmy and left Andre one last swallow of cognac, while Hrothgar, CCrabb and myself forced the Kruppa into a bout of singing classic rock songs and "What Do You Do With a Drunken Sailor."

I stumbled into the room at 5:05am, and Peryton, beating me to the punch, applauded me for my rendition of "Drunken Sailor."

Smoldering Parts, No BBQ pt. 3: Bonfire of the Vanities

To use an often used quote after dinner, we proclaimed "let the games begin," and so they did.

I am the one with the big hair and having monkey sex on the scooter.

I jumped in on Dr. Nik's game with Peryton, Nissi and CCrabb. I should've known better, as this doctor is always a favorite of the ladies, his "Abyss of Insanity" had only female characters in a Foxy Five Fire-Team (re. Kill Bill's Deadly Vipers sort of way). Toe Head (Ray Hickey) had cancelled his Beer Bellies and Bathrobes, much more my style, LARP session, so I had to stick around. Despite everyone wanting me to play the 250 pound Helga, err Maria leader figurine, I went with the miniature that reminded me most of Uma Thurman. A nice mix of The Spy Spy Who Loved Me and Aliens Versus Predators. Nik's pacing and ability to shift gears when the genres shifted rather amazed me.

Afterward the traditional after-party began in earnest in the Kruppa's suite. I kept everyone that I could around about 5:30a. Dr. Watt and Jimmy stuck around as well.  After chasing down Dr. Watt down the hall for a hug that never happened, I stumbled into our own suite and regaled Peryton with tales of my exploits, since she had missed them all by going to sleep three many hours earlier. I was surprised when she didn't take notes.

The next day, WE FOUND THE GROCERY STORE thanks to Dr Watt's directions from Jimmy's "finder thingy." I spent the trip getting to know the kids, Nissi and Toe Head, and keeping an eye on CCrabb, who just drank way too much the night before, so she needed my protective moral oversight. Actually I just had my keys in my hands when someone asked about who was driving.

Peryton's "Any Port In a Storm" starting that afternoon did nothing but reaffirm that she has only married me for my Pyramid-Heads and Sewer Monkeys, now named Spider Apes. For a CoC adventure it was quite Dr. Who-ish, and her already swollen head just bigger when everybody (Dr Nik, Dr Watt, and Hrothgar) loved it.

Okay I am lying. There was barbeque over the weekend. Dr Watt took a handful of us to Dinosaur BBQ. Pery and I had been there once before, oddly enough on the home from Carnage the first time. And to quote, maybe paraphrase because I'm never paying that much attention, Tyler, "The only good reason to be in this dismal town." I am sure he meant the "second" but why quibble? I had something called a Pork Porto, which rocked. I think Dr Watt had something called "the heart attack special with mac and cheese" or some-such. Really there was like three kinds of beef and plenty more.

"The Vault" was the Kruppa's evening presentation, and I prepared myself for the Homeric voyage into the underworld that had become his suite. Jimmy, Daniel Williams, impressed me greatly. Not just for his expansive knowledge of lineages of most nobility and Catholic personages, as well obscure folkloric persona in English history. The man had me sympathizing with his double-murder/suicide of his wife and then his sister. Maybe it was more about someone else wanting to to shoot Peryton, who played his sister, besides me. That said, this scenario if anyone wants to do a Kruppa scenario, I cannot recommend this one enough. There is some great Andre Kruppa acting, complete with lighting and sound, to just sit back and watch. And I got away with the gold.

This after party ended early, at 3:30am or so. I suddenly started thinking in German and knew it was time to get some sleep.

Smoldering Parts, No BBQ pt. 2: The Hole Is Dug

Well actually before we headed out of town, the neighbor's Puerto Rican cooking got Peryton and I hungry for Colorado sauce. So we stopped off for some Mexican and a beer for me, because I had been a good boy and done some house cleaning while the woman was at the job. Then we got going.

The drive through east Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York to Syracuse, err the Syracuse area is very familiar. We amuse ourselves with waiting for the awesomely-named reference points. Vrooman Road exit, come on folks, "Vrooooom Man!" There is a humungous stone quarry just west of Buffalo where "a whole season of Doctor Who could be shot" according to Peryton. And my favorite town's name in all of NY "Gowanda," I get gushing about Pangaea, Edgar Rice Burroughs and Rachel Welch right about then, for no reason but that it sounds like Gondwanaland. Then there is my everlasting discussion as to who is a better songwriter Paul McCartney or John Lennon to finish the rest of the trip-- Pery just loves that one.

We got to the Maplewood Inn at 10:30pm or so, and CCrabb and the Kruppa were already there. We checked in, with some hiccups caused by an over-zealous desk clerk (isn't that always how it goes?), and walked over to Tuly's for a late dinner. Godsheads, seeing friends again after months, sometimes a year, is about the most wonderful thing about these hoots. We ended up back in the Kruppa's room, before the black plastic went over the windows and body parts were hung. We drank vodka from a skull to desecrate, err celebrate the lovely site we had chosen. And with that A Dark Gathering had begun.

Friday morning was spent by me blithely driving all over the Syracuse metroplex and not finding a single grocery store after 30 minutes. CCrabb and Hrothgar were in the car enjoying the scenic route through slums, then the trendy district and then some suburb where they live off the shallow lake they build their houses next to and therefore don't need anything larger than a large convenience store/ gas station. With that we gave up, and headed back for the yarn that would get things started, Hrothgar's spooky T&T tale entitled "Compound Interest." The man crafted a wonderful game as well as great mystery off the top of his head and a couple words from the audience just to show me up. By the end of it, Dr. Watt and followed by Dr. Nik made their presences known to us. And once people got their breaths, we collected Jimmy for dinner.  There Nissi and Toe Head appeared after a hard day of rolling bums at the bus station, and ready for some gaming. Finally the Kruppa arrived before Jimmy or I could order a $33 steak and bill it to his room.

Smoldering Parts, No BBQ pt. 1: The Kindle

I have to admit, I was worried as to how the latest hoot was going to work out.

Back in November Andre Kruppa, GM extraordinaire, who shall be referred as the The Kruppa from here on, mentioned to me "I'd like to do one of your 'hoot' things." Now this was said with his New Englander-Maine accent which sounded more like "Ahw'd lyk to do uhn ov yer HEHUWT tings," that accent just brings so much joy and mirth-filled thinking into my life. We had been drinking; but the following morning we were still speaking of it. On the way home from Carnage, while dropping off Monk and K-Bell at the Syracuse New York, I saw the Maplewood Inn, and did some digging around there. So about a week later, we formed the CthulHoot FacetuBe group to get things rolling, no one liked my "KruppaHoot" suggestion. By "we" I mean the Kruppa, Peryton, CCrabb and myself.

Now PeryPubbers know from doing these things for about half a decade, never to expect too much. You pick an off weekend, some place in-between you and the friends expected to arrive and then wait for the four to eight people to show up out of the twelve to 900 that were in invited. Now CCrabb and the Kruppa are convention organizers, which speak a similar language but still a different language than Hooter. And when you give CCrabb details to mull over, she loves to roll up her sleeves and get down to the job of worrying about them.

There were some daunting details to definitely be looking at. This hoot was going to take place some six to ten hours away for just the organizers. Who did we know were those close enough or committed to Off-the-Wall goofiness enough to show up? What weekend would be best? Could we get room discounts and with what sort of contract obligations?  What should we call it?  The concerns were addressed and coping strategies developed, through no small part of CCrabb's work. Again no one liked my suggestion of "The KruppaHoot." Suddenly,  "bam!," invites for "A Dark Gathering" event, scheduled over this last Memorial Day weekend, were sent out.

Over the rest of the next three months, squalls of dismay would continue to arise. The fulfillment of a certain number of room reservations, required to get our room discounts. A lack of response by many who would be closer than others, requiring more painstakingly discussed invitations. And a definite lack of energy because of post-convention fatigue from other more formal events throughout that time causing forlorn statements at the Cthulhoot page began to worry me about anybody else wanting to come. Though I knew CCrabb would be there, the rooms were in her name, so I knew there would be four of us, the Kruppa nor the PeryPub household would ever leave The Editor, OUR editor, stranded-- and in Hoot history, that could still be a successful get-together. The at the Gathering page people started... well, gathering. Namely Tyler (Dr Watt) and Dr Nik of Carnage fame were the first. Elder Tunnels contributor and Trollhalla fellow David Crowell, Hrothgar, decided to show up. And then Nyssa Schmidt, Nissi, and Ray Hickey, Toe Head, confirmed as well. Somewhere in there Dan William (Jimmy from now on) signed on as well, I dunno when, I wasn't paying attention.

My count was that eight people were coming while CCrabb knew that 10 of us had confirmed, which works fine in my mind. That's a lot of Hooters in one area that none of them is from. Still CCrabb had to have something to worry about, so she decided that the Kruppa's scheduled games would conflict grievously with my single slotted game. Godshead bless the woman, I love her, but homicidal thoughts came to my mind. Someone in the PeryPub household finally got exasperated about even going, though she won't admit it, her nickname rhymes with "peryton." Truth be told, I knew she was exaggerating.

Still on that note, we got into the car on Thursday evening and headed to Syracuse, NY. Liverpool actually, but who's reading a map right now?

Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5