Besides my need of a vacation the portents for this year's Dark Gathering indicated nothing but it being awesome.
Flight By Night
As some of you might've heard, I traveled by bus to Syracuse. Folks were showing up early, Hrothgar as early as Wednesday night. Peryton wasn't going to take any time off of work, heck she wasn't even going to leave town earlier than 4:30 on Friday. I hadn't taken some time off of my schedule for long enough that I was going stir crazy. Staying in town for Thursday and Friday just wasn't an option for me though. I opted for a late Wednesday night departure, I always like night travel when I am not driving. Not much to speak of here, the trip wasn't unpleasant and chatted up and befriended, not the Facebook way, a couple kids. One was going to see her boyfriend while the other was coming home from seeing hers. It did reaffirm my dislike of the Amish, they tend to be rude and huddle in mobs-- don't they have horses or Mennonites or something to ride around on? Folks had to repeatedly have to ask them to move piles of their collective luggage from in front of cell-phone charging spots and water facets. Those that are on the same bus, also like to block off a whole section of seating for themselves. And then move around the bus looking to put their feet up after they realize how much they crowded themselves in earlier.
Thursday morning proved to be bit of fun and discovery. The bus routes to Syracuse go right past the Maplewood Hotel, and the bus station itself is only about three miles down the road. And there is a diner less than a quarter mile away from the terminal that opened early and had WiFi to amuse myself with. I phoned Hrothgar at the crack of dawn to let him know I was in town. While we electronically formulated plans, I figured out how to download free map and weather apps onto my Kindle, just in case I ended up having to hike it to the hotel. I was like living in a world of cyberpunk with omelets and coffee.
Hrothgar and wife, and one of their kids, showed up for breakfast in a bit. It was a pleasure meeting her. I thought I knew something about travel, but she's something of an action hero. After 10 am, the wife and kid departed leaving the two gamers at the front door of this year's Dark Gathering. We spent the afternoon developing characters for Crawlspace, and discussing the mechanics a bit. And there was some napping. Dude, it was the start of a vacation for both of us.
The Kahunas Gathering
David, err Hrothgar and I were having a drink in the Carnegie bar, a part of the resort, when Wotan and Rainbow Chick showed up. Rainbow Chick stole some poor nine year-old's chair, and of course a party ensued. Contact with CCrabb and the Kruppa would prove problematic. Something to do with lighting arrays and too much luggage, so the four cool kids (us) ended up playing in Petra's Fiasco game on Thursday night. It was an awesome game, really a good krimi-tale starring Taye Diggs, Ray Liotta, Mark Wahlberg, and Linda Lohan (I dunno the exact spellings of the stars so bear with me).
Everyone was pretty well wiped out by midnight after a couple nightcaps.
Friday morning, I awoke wanting a breakfast. I actually just had a turkey sandwich the morning before. Hrothgar and I were both without a car or, amazingly, any cold weather clothing. It was brutal as we walked over to a Dennys. At least this year's weather had provided a good reason for us to stay inside, and some cases tape up the windows. Wotan texted me right as we were finishing up the meal. I replied, 'Just finishing up breakfast at Dennys. Come have some coffee.'
When Scott declined I sent another text, 'No seriously. It's frigging cold outside. Please come pick us up!'
The afternoon game was an impromptu Crawlspace scenario based off of a news tidbit that Wotan and Rainbow had supplied, Stonehenge was looking for a care-taker. And so the plot idea for 'The Monolith Keeper' was inspired, and the story ensued from there. The tone was pretty light and breezing, and the action was pretty R-rated, but a good tribute to Sandra Dee's The Dunwich Horror played itself out nicely I though. Wotan really helped me clarify the damage mechanics for the system. Just before the end of the session, Brandon Osorio, Don Winters, the Kruppa, and Ccrabb all walked into the room looking for a game. In quick order, pizza was ordered and everyone started working on the hard bits of the schedule for the weekend. Hrothgar, Wotan, Rainbow and I all looked at each other, because the weekend had started about 24 hours earlier.