One of the truths of this year's GenCon trip can be summarized this way, "I wish all the hard times that I have in life were half this much fun." As of June, I knew getting to GenCon and doing things "my way," as in expensively done, was going to be difficult. My savings were shot from May on, and Peryton's big sales were more of an expense than a profit for many, many months. Plans did get a little easier when some overtime made its way into my schedule, and Peryton's payments started arriving. And the release of my and Monk's WHAP Deluxe on PDF has done well enough that its artwork might be paid for in a month or two.
But I couldn't let things get easier. I had been insisting that Michael Schwartz, one of the best BRP (Runequest and Call of Cthulhu) GM's in the known universe show up. Michael, now known as "Fish," as we have plenty of "Mikes" in the gang these days, needed just a little help with finding a place to stay. Which of course had me pawning him off on my sister-child Caed, though the two didn't know each other and had no point of contact. Always a good way to handle having friends meet, I insist. Monk called us a couple of days before the pilgrimage and told Pery and me that his room reservations at another hotel had not gone through. The three of us had to formulate a way that he could stay in the Stone Soup Inn, the world's best bed and breakfast. That weekend before we left was an average workload, but every call had so many little details, mostly unnecessary in my view of things, that I was about to go crazy. I decided to grow a bit of beard starting that Sunday, out of jealousy of all the true Bohemians I know, to externalize my plights. When I finally got Indianapolis, I would at least be Indiana Jones and swoon all the women.
Tuesday finally arrived, and Pery finally got packed and we were underway driving to Indianapolis. Still the clouds weren't clearing overhead. Pery and I worked out arranging for Monk to get a room at the B&B as well. Still we had some fun, though our jokes were about Fish sitting at the bus station in Indianapolis playing chess with homeless guys while waiting for us to pick him up. I was a bit nervous but still giggling. When we arrived in Indy, Fish finally started answering his phone to let me know that he was already in the hotel room with Caed and others-- basically sitting pretty. So we had dinner at the Ram with Caed, Fish, and Dave (Chopper) before the crowds would turn the place inaccessible to me. Being around Caed and Peryton together had me as intoxicated as the decent pilsner that the ram serves. The two together are funny and amazing, especially when they haven't seen each other in a while.
Wednesday's tasks included getting Peryton's Peryton RPG, 2nd Edition, from a pre-arranged address, checking in to the Stone Soup, getting Monk from the airport, and prep for the CoC session "Two Tales from Cthulhu Mansion" with Paul 1.0, or Yoggy as I love to call him. Found the Tex-Mex restaurant Acapulco Joe's so my stress level wasn't too bad. But as we went to Caed's room for change for the parking meter, I started socializing (absolutely no Killians was involved) and came back to a car with a parking ticket. Well at least the checking in and getting Monk from the airport went easy. "Two Tales of Cthulhu Mansion" went off great, "Wayne" and kid showed up as well. And I met with Dave Campbell and PublicCitizen from the GenCon forums. From 8pm until 3am Yoggy and I kept CoC rocking the house, with a couple quirky takes on all things Lovecraftian. I think Caed showed up to doze off for the last part of the session after harassing about scheduling it so that she could play.
Thursday was the T&T "mega-event" which started at 9am and ran until 7pm, started out with two players and built up to over six throughout the day. I basically asked for a generic ticket every for every hour played. Things basically turned into a round-robin of T&T GM's, when Scott, Sligo, asked to run a small adventure, which lasted from 3pm to closing time, most of that in the first room. I am exaggerating, but the first annual "Tunnels of Doom" took on the form of a T&T GM workshop or support group. James from previous years was there, and he is a players' player which kept life wonderful. Next year, we'll have some more organization and know better how to be flexible with schedules and fluctuation in attendance. sdas Afterward, we had a small pizza party at a far walk away, but still worth the hike.
Friday, I only ran Spacers and played in Monk's WHAP scenario "the Library of Morbita." Monk then slipped off with Ryan, a Southern Gentleman from now on, to play SpellJammer. That evening I spent having dinner with Rook, Dr. Brent, Wayne, and Peryton at our favorite, Bourbon Street Pub and Grub. After dinner I met with John D K-, or Myth. Myth is now a contributor to WHAP and the superhero fiction that we're doing, so we face-to-faced for a bit. That is before a group of arteests started crowding the couches of the public lobby of a hotel for their private party. Met some guy from Munich and a short friend of his. The little guy was funny, while he looked like he might work at a tatoo parlor, he was 20 pounds lighter than me at the shoulders and had a pretty face. He was trying to intimidate me off the couch. I laughed at him with my old hockey player face and made fun of him, which really got his gander up. When Munich man explained that they would really appreciate the space, I bought "Tatoo" a beer and waited for my next socializing event elsewhere. After midnight, Fish had not showed up. he was supposed to run a RQ game, but when I called him he explained that it was the players' responsibility to call him up to ensure that he arrived to the event. I heard on Sunday that he was hanging with some people in the hotel across the street. I had had enough pretense and foible, so I jumped into some locals' CoC game. Great kids, but I was too drunk to remember the names. Pery, Wayne, dr. Brent, and Rook left a couple hours early so I walked back to the Stone Soup at 4am. The local kids offered me a ride home, but truth be told, the exercise is its own reward. Besides, Tatoo had me kind of feeling invulnerable as well as the hootch.
Needless to say, Saturday came earlier. Luckily, the AM Spacer's game was empty so Monk and I checked out the Dealers' Hall. We did lunch at Champion's (FINALLY!!!), then I walked back to our cubby hole at the Hyatt for the playtest of RocknRole-Playing: the 50's, which did well attendance-wise. Monk ran "the Great Pumpkin Smash-Up" and was surprised at how he had family's with kids playing, which surprised me. Caed had to leave town as she ran out of cash to pay her roomfare or somesuch. Afterwards I met a woman who looked familiar, it was Peryton whom I thought I was somehow attached to but hadn't seen awake in about a decade since the convention started. Her, I, Monk, and Myth had diner at Claddagh, or "the Klingon Pub" as I like to call it. Our waiter was dressed for a death match at 9pm so we tipped him extra. Peryton ran her True 20 scenario "Stormport" and I ran "UXB" for WHAP that evening. Wayne and son swung by, and talked me into not staying as late as I had been. I still insisted on walking back, but didn't have to carry the bags, while Monk kept me company. Almost back at the B&B, a group accosted us to help lift a 400 pound kitchen counter to an upstairs' loft apartment-- See what I mean about this weekend?
Sunday morning was spent chilling with other Stone Soup guests then grabbing booty from the Dealer's Room. The CoC event, an installment of my 'the Rat Pack versus Cthulhu' series, had two players from the initial Spacers games about three years ago. Luckily they were Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra, as a lot of the overfilled room were too young to even know who they were playing. "Who is this Jerry Lewis guy?" Was actually asked. One more Herculean challange made bearable only by the great role-players around me and the fact that it was at GenCon.
Afterwards had to get Monk to the airport, which of course lead to Keystone Cop moments all by itself. But with him at the airport, Peryton and I made it back for the now traditional 'Victory Supper' at Champions, by 5pm. We thought no one else was going to be around, but Wayne showed up, and Yoggy with two publishing friends Todd (Bizarro Man) and Will of Fantasy Enterprises filled out our lonely table for six. We then parted ways, and Pery and I started the drive home. Peryton went to put our new copy of Shadows over Innsmouth into our car's CD player, but we discovered right then that the piece is on the fritz. Instead we laughed about the one-liners at my "Skitskat Over Innsmouth" CoC session earlier, and the wife drove for a couple hours while I napped.
I wish all the hard times that I have in life were half this much fun. Oh yeah, and now I have to turn in those tickets for my events...