Saturday, August 1, 2015

RPGaDay 2015 #1 Forthcoming Game You Are Most Looking Forward To.

Now to see if I can get any kind of groove going on with this. I've been in too much of a rut for too long and I want to try to kick it.

To address the first topic of the blogfest, the forthcoming game that I am most looking forward to would have to be GURPS Discworld, Second Edition.

I have been a fan of the novels for quite some time, owning most of them. It's one of the only fantasy series I will pick up on my own. I also own the prior edition of the game, as well as the supplement, GURPS Discworld Also.

Considering the reputation for boring realism that GURPS has, it might seem surprising that such a system would be used for a comedy setting. But I think it fits. The one character who has appeared in every novel in the series is Death. Now, we all know that Death's not a bad sort of fellow at all, but if you're going to have a setting where he pops up with any regularity, a "slapstick" system that denies his presence seems like the wrong way to go.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Sorry About The Hiatus

Has it really been that long since I last posted here? Well I guess it has.

No excuses. No epic tale of woe. Just a giant case of the blahs.

It's taken me this long to get the energy and mental focus to tell those of you who are still paying attention that I did some more voice work for The Royal Podcast of Oz on their annual L. Frank Baum tribute. Wow! Was that 2 months ago?

I should also mention that, as of not very long ago, customers who bought their copy of Adventures in Oz: Fantasy Roleplaying Beyond the Yellow Brick Road from a Friendly Local Gaming Store can now ask their retailer about the free PDF they can get in their email from the Bits and Mortar initiative. (Check here for retailers that sell games from Indie Press Revolution and here to locate stores that participate in the Bits and Mortar program. I expect that there will be significant overlap.)

My own personal gaming life has taken a small twist. Although I declared my Castle of the Mad Archmage megadungeon campaign dead about this time last year, it did get revived. It trudged on in a Frankenstein-ian fashion until a month or two ago. Maybe it's the fact that my primary players are a married couple with a teenaged daughter, and therefore get kind of derailed in the summer. Who knows? Maybe it'll get revived in the fall when school once again sets a parent's weekly rhythm.

In the meantime, I'm running a little something of a side game. It's actually the Pathfinder version of the Castle of the Mad Archmage. But I'm looking back on all of the mistakes I feel I had made with my primary campaign and working to correct them.

For starters, I'll be keeping better records of the goings on in the dungeons. Because of my loose initial setup and other poor record-keeping, my players wound up with better records than me regarding where they have been. That's right, I have been depending on players keeping the map and not going where they have gone before in order to run my dungeon. (The main thing that has caused my campaign to halt is that the responsibility they demonstrate being parents means that the married couple tends to be the people who keep the map between sessions. If they're unavailable for whatever reason, my knowledge of where the party has been is also unavailable)

Not only that, but because I'll be keeping better records, I am also planning to repopulate the dungeon behind them.

The other thing that I felt the old school campaign lacked was a sense of place outside the dungeon. Which is totally my fault. I assumed that once the campaign starting getting legs the players would flesh out the city they lived in. Buying weapons from Billy the blacksmith rather than picking them out of the book. Taking up with Bessie the barmaid. Things like that. But alas, the city next to the dungeon took on the amusingly vague name of Ambiguityville, the town with no distinguishing features.

While I don't have the full city of Greyheim sketched out yet (and I'm making it a bit smaller than the vast city of Greyhawk to keep the detail down to a manageable level), I am building out the town, developing the services that the heroes need and the names of the people who provide them.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Annual Review

Now to tell you all about the awesome stuff I picked up at this year's DunDraCon! I know it's been a while, but once I got home, the daily grind has just been really grindy. I do have a couple of other things in the pipeline that I hope to be able to get out, but getting this out is kind of symbolic.

We do often pick up a number of non-book items at the con, and this year we decided to show them off a little.I've been feeling my Star Trek fandom rise in my breast lately, so I picked up a Stat Trek t-shirt with all of the main ships from the Star Trek TV series' (on the left end) and a Star Trek dice bag with the classic Enterprise and logo (roughly center). My wife got the rainbow dragon dice bag on the right, and between my shirt and dice bag are a couple of shirts that she got representing the D&D classes of monk, rogue and wizard.

I was actually able to round out my GURPS collection a bit.

GURPS Ogre is a roleplaying setting book for the popular miniatures combat game Ogre, also by Steve Jackson Games. It has a very tough job ahead of it, since the Ogre supertanks that the setting gets its name from exist on a level far above any mere player character. Loaded with weapons up to and including tactical nuclear weapons, going up against one in anything less than another supertank is an epically bad idea. And although they are artificially intelligent, and therefore, theoretically, playable as a character, they would only really fit in a party made up of Ogres.

GURPS Espionage is another really interesting book that tries to balance the trademark GURPS detailed research with the expectations we get when we watch a James Bond movie. It succeeds for the most part.

GURPS Cyberpunk Adventures is probably the first GURPS adventure book that I've managed to get my hands on. It is of particular interest to me as a historical artifact. While I've never gotten the opportunity to play in the cyberpunk genre, I have read things on the internet by people who have. One of these things I have read is that current cyberpunk games (Shadowrun, as it's pretty much the only cyberpunk RPG still standing) are more focused on interacting with megacorp politics, while older games and adventures focused on protecting the little guy from megacorp politics. And not just in a broad way, but by helping a specific person against the machinations of an evil megacorp. Two out of the three adventures in this book are very much in that mold. The third is a identity-questioning mindscrew that I would probably have to run to fully understand.

Ultimate Psionics was my wife's pick this year. I've never been impressed with the psionics rules that have come out for D&D 3.x. It feels like an alternative magic system rather than anything that I would call psionics. But if you're going to use an alternate magic system in Pathfinder, this does look like the book to get. It's actually a couple of prior books from Dreamscarred Press rolled into one, given a slight update and using the font that Paizo typically uses for the titles of its books (as well as the word "Ultimate," which has appeared in several Paizo titles) to make it look a bit more "official" even though it isn't.

The Emerald Spire superdungeon was released as a tie-in to the upcoming in-development MMO Pathfinder Online, and it intended to be something of a preview of the game's content. The main way this shows through is in the listing of "quests" to be completed within the dungeon. I came away from the product rather unimpressed, if only because it's merely a superdungeon rather than a full megadungeon. Sorry, but I find that I'm spoiled on that front.

Noteboard is a simply brilliant product. It looks like a sheet of notecards laminated together into one piece. And that's pretty much what it is. But that's what makes it brilliant. It folds down small enough to fit in your pocket. One side is printed with both a square grid and a hex grid, so it can work as a battlemat. Because it's so inexpensive, you can do things to it that you would never put your battlemat through. Tack it to your wall. Cut off a piece. If you need a bigger mat, just buy another one for another $10 and double them up.

Fate Freeport Companion is one of those chocolate and peanut butter ideas; Two great tastes that taste great together. Bringing the fantasy setting of Freeport to the Fate system. The Freeport setting has been around for quite some time, first appearing in a trilogy of modules for the then-new Third Edition of D&D, and expanding outward. I did pick up the original adventure trilogy, but very soon after got burned out by the d20 glut of the early Aughts, so I haven't seen all that the setting really has to offer. Like a lot of other Fate products, it uses a "hack" of the Fate Core mechanics, trading out Fate Core's skill list for the classic D&D ability scores. Race and class are loosely supported, with suggestions for race and class stunts and aspects, but the book insists on nothing.

The only thing missing from the book is Freeport itself. Readers who want to explore the city of Freeport are recommended to the Pirate's Guide to Freeport. I can't say I feel cheated, though. The mechanical gimmicks provided can be used for a wide variety of fantasy games using the Fate Core system. There are stats for several monsters and a loose conversion guide for bringing over any monster from the D&D monster manuals that you want to.

The next two items are minisettings for Fate that were produced as part of the Evil Hat Patreon project. I find myself liking them a bit more than the slightly flashier Fate Worlds product they put out as part of their Fate Cote Kickstarter splash. For one thing, they hack the mechanics a bit less. When I looked over Fate Worlds, they had some really interesting ideas, but most of them had their own skill lists and other custom mechanics. It felt like I was learning a new game every time I changed setting, which seems like the opposite effect from what a universal system should achieve.

The Secrets of Cats is a game of playing cats as the secret defenders of the human race. All of the nasty horrors you've ever dreamed of are out there, and it is up to the neighborhood's Parliament of Cats to stop them. Cats can also learn certain magical skills to protect their humans. While the book claims a diverse number of inspirations, the main thing it made me think of was the Bunnicula series.

Aether Sea features magically empowered sailing ships in space, but it feels only a little bit like the Spelljammer setting, and a bit more like a reskinned Traveller. There's not so much swashbuckling against evil and more of a focus on running your ship and keeping it together in classic "Free Trader" style. It is intended to be used with Fate Accelerated Edition and uses the Approaches method of building characters. Fantasy races are implemented by giving each race a "favored Approach," including humans (who get "Flashy"). Rather than providing a bonus to make your favored Approach more awesome, it instead provides a safety net. You can never score a result of less than 0 when you use your favored Approach.

Beyond the Supernatural is an interesting beast. On the surface, it looks like a "follow the leader" game, tracing the footsteps of Call of Cthulhu. It's billed as a horror game, and there are rules for insanity (or at least an insanity table). But if you actually read it, it feels more like proto-Rifts than anything else.

Most of the setting flavor comes from a single narrator within the setting. Here it is paranormal researcher Victor Lazlo, while Rifts would get historian Erin Tarn. The discussion of ley lines, places of power and dimensional rifts sets up the pins that Rifts would knock down a few years later. The psi-mechanic class also seemed to presage the Techno-Wizard from the Rifts RPG.

I'm not sure I could really call it a horror game. I'm sure people have gotten some awesome horror experiences while playing it. It seems more like a game of psychic investigators (both investigators who are psychic and also the fact that they investigate psychic stuff) that hang around near ley lines waiting to get sucked into other dimensions.

Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space is the newest boxed RPG that I own (as well as the second Doctor Who RPG). There are boxed D&D campaign settings on my shelf, an old FASA Star Trek RPG boxed set, and the Pathfinder Beginner's Box (the previous title holder). It is a very densely packed box. There are 3 books in this box, the Player's Book, the Gamemaster's book and an Adventure book. I got the Eleventh Doctor edition, so it came with character sheets for the Eleventh Doctor, Amy, Rory and River Song, as well as a number of partially filled sheets and some simply blank. Below that are perforated sheets that break down into item cards representing major pieces of gear from the Doctor Who universe and Story Point chits. There are 6 six-sided dice packed so tightly that the box doesn't rattle at all. I get the feeling that, if I ever played the game and broke down the perforated sheets and rolled the dice, I would never get it to fit neatly back in the box again.

There are rules for making your own character that do not involve arm-wrestling the GM (a particularly amusing rule from the other Doctor Who RPG I own). Although the rules do feel like Eden Studio's Unisystem, there are apparently enough differences that neither C.J. Carella or Eden Studios are mentioned in the credits. You can create Time Lord, as well as simply human, characters. Although the game does not assume you will be playing the Doctor and his companions, there is the assumption that your characters will have the run of space and time to adventure in.

Doctor Who: Fourth Doctor Sourcebook uses a rather interesting conceit in how it presents the material. It is formatted mostly like a series guide, going through the Fourth Doctor era of the show story by story (Not episode by episode, as each story took between 2 and 6 episodes to tell). But along with the story synopses, it includes notes on adapting each story into an adventure for your group, along with stats for major supporting characters and villains. They even suggest twists in case your players have actually watched the show and know what's going to happen. There are also story hooks for further adventures based on ideas presented in the televised stories.

The book also includes playable stats for The Fourth Doctor and his companions, including Nyssa and Tegan, who I don't really count because they only appeared as his companions for his final story. I think of them more as Fifth Doctor companions who were introduced early.

13th Age looks like an attempt at "epic" D&D, from one of the designers of D&D 3rd Edition (and a bunch of other guys, none of whom are Monte Cook). It's very streamlined, with very little of the traditional D&D bean-counting. No worrying about rations or torches and spell-casters have rather small, but potent spell lists. Characters do not even track experience points to determine when they level, but instead simply gain a level whenever the GM decides that they've earned it. While they do offer some rough eyeball guidelines, the fact that each class only has 10 levels means that each level is a significant jump in power.

It does have some interesting bits to it. Most notably the idea that each character has "one unique thing." This is not really a power, but instead is something that is always true about the character. This can have impacts on the setting, like declaring that your character is the One True Fizzbin, or the Only Schnozzwanger in the World, but mostly feels like color.

The other neat thing about the game is the idea of Icons, major NPCs that run the world. And every character has some relationship to at least one of them. This doesn't mean that one of the most powerful people in the setting is your buddy, or even your friend. Just that you're on each other's radar.

Remnants is an interesting, but very small post-apocalyptic mecha game. The world achieved an incredible Golden Age, but was then cut down. All that's left now are Remnants, pieces of the previous world. Some of them still work, others don't. The most common functional Remnant is a slightly-larger-than-man-sized mecha, known as a Battle Remnant. They are self-repairing to an insane degree and are even able to adapt and change in response to circumstances. The longer a single individual holds a Battle Remnant, the more powerful it becomes. But if the Battle Remnant changes hands, it reverts to its "factory defaults" and it will customize itself to the needs of the new pilot, whatever those may be.

The setting provided is fairly loose, with many unanswered questions for the GM. It even leaves the nature of the apocalypse and the Remnants as open questions. Was the Golden Age a technological paradise and the Remnants built of adaptive nanotech? Or was it a magical wonderland and the Remnants are extremely powerful magic items?

Legends of the Wulin is a game that tries to emulate the Wuxia genre. I'm not a fan of the genre, mostly due to lack of exposure, so I can't really comment about how well it accomplishes that goal. The setting is conveyed very loosely in the form of "Loresheets" which can represent factions, philosophies, or locations. The idea is that characters can purchase them during character creation and draw various benefits from them, from privileged information to special kung fu moves.

I feel like I would have to play it to give it a proper grok. The entire book is written is a fairly flowery style, probably trying to emulate Chinese poetry. The mechanics seem simple, but the way the books' language breezes along, I'm sure I'm missing some details.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

DunDraCon Days 4 & 5

The past few days have been so packed that I haven't been able to take the time to tell you about it.

When last we left our intrepid hero, he was just about to run his adventure for the Teen Room. When I got there (yeah, I know. As fun as that opening line sounded, I don't think I want to write this whole thing in third person) I found a full table waiting for me. Including the two presenters for the seminar where nobody showed. I had the time to talk to them about the game as part of our conversation that night, so they decided to give it a try.

Overall, the game went well, and the party came up with an amusing solution to the final problem. There's typically some variation in how the players handle the problems presented in the adventure. Most groups come up with fairly typical solutions to the problems presented, but the final encounter is very open ended and demands a unique solution.

The Jaded City of Oz is a city so magical that they're not entertained by much anymore. In order to get into the city, the players have to demonstrate that they have something unique and interesting to offer. That night, the player who had the Shaggy Man (I use the Characters Pack to provide pregenerated characters to play) used the Love Magnet to romance the guard into opening the gate.

We started at 7 PM and finished the adventure at around 10:30, which wound up being bedtime for me.

The next morning was nice and easy, with very little to do. I wasn't scheduled to run my game for grownups until 2 PM, so I took advantage of the morning to get some shopping done. I'll tell you a bit more about what I got and what I think of it in another post, once I've had proper time to digest it all.

I had a full group by the time I showed up. One player had announced that he would not be arriving, and I believe that one other person who signed up simply did not arrive, but I had two girls turn up to see if any slots were available. Since there were, and I wouldn't have minded squeezing a few extra players in anyhow, they both joined the group. That left us with 4 females and 2 males (a father and son team if I'm not mistaken) to start off the adventure.

Both of the guys picked the Soldiers, Omby Amby and Private Files, and I got the feeling that they were expecting a more traditional, action oriented adventure. They did find some action and eventually got into the swing of things.

The girl who picked Prince Inga played him as haughty and overbearing, but it was fun because she kind of expected the trouble she caused. Between the encounters in the Winkie Country and the Gillikin Country, Prince Inga was such a mess that they were allowed to enter the Jaded City because they'd never seen a Prince who was covered in so many egregious substances.

One of the things about the Jaded City of Oz adventure is that it never really takes as long as I schedule. On at least one occasion, I've had a group clear through the whole thing in only 2 hours. The average time is actually closer to 3. It's just that the minimum amount of time I can request on the schedule is 4 hours.

So once the players completed the adventure after 3 hours or so, I checked with Game Registration to see what game I had gotten into. I had 2 selections that were at about the same time, so I decided to let the con's computerized Sorting Hat make the decision for me.

It was a Fate game set in the Star Wars universe. Even though I've got all the books and several sets of FUDGE dice, this was my first time actually taking it for a test drive. The GM was really awesome and the game was very visually and cinematically oriented. He had pictures of every character and background images for every place we went. He had Star Wars theme music loaded onto his tablet for background music, and even started off the proceedings with a title crawl.

The characters were pregenerated, but we were allowed to choose their gender. The GM had pictures of the character whichever choice we made. I decided to try playing the female version of my chosen character. There was a female player in the group, so I told her that this was my first time cross-playing (as I've heard it called), and I was relying on her to correct me if she found I was doing it wrong. (I don't know if I've told you any of my horror stories of when male players have tried to cross-play in games I've run, but I do have a couple.) She told me that the fact that I was worried about doing it wrong meant that I was very unlikely to do it wrong, which made me feel much better about the proceedings.

We also got to fill in some of our character's backstory. Most of it was already established and we were given a sheet that laid out the major formative moments of our character's lives, but also leading questions about the specifics of how those moments went down and what they meant to us. It was the first time I've had to put that kind of thought into a con game, but I think it did help the experience a bit.

One of the characters was a really exotic looking alien (an Ithorian, for those who know the Star Wars universe) and whenever the player spoke in character, he would speak so that the air blew over the top of his drink bottle. It was a really cool effect, making him sound a bit like he was using Stephen Hawking's voice synthesizer, but with far less technology.

The GM's cinematic focus came through not only by the way he described scenes and scene transitions, but also how we required us to roleplay. Rather than simply letting us say things like "My character is suspicious of that guy" or "I think about it, but decide against it" he would make us describe our character's internal monologue as if we were characters in a movie. "Okay, you're suspicious. What does that look like?" "How can we see the decision process? Tell us how that decision process would play out visually so the audience can understand it."

It was an interesting and exciting challenge. The GM has apparently run the scenario several times, and might do so again, so I'm not going to go into detail on the plot, but I had a lot of fun.

That started at 6 PM and we kept at it until about 2 AM. Everyone was having a blast, but we were all pretty wiped out near the end of it. On top of that, I knew I would be facing a busy morning. The last day of the con, we would have to be packed and out of our hotel room, while making the last sweep of the Dealer's Room, which would only be open for a few hours.

It was rough, but we managed to get out and catch the transit bus and then the BART very smoothly. We did run into trouble at the Greyhound station, however. It seems that with all of our purchases, our checked baggage wound up exceeding the weight limit. We juggled some things and packed them into our carry-ons so that our luggage would be under the limit.

Finally, last night and about 10:30, we arrived home, safe and sound. And after such a full day, it was pretty much straight to bed for me.

And that's why I didn't write this until now. But there you have it, folks.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

DunDraCon 2015 Day 3

There was one thing that I failed to mention about yesterday, which was the seminars. Aside from the Buyer's Bazaar, that's one of the big things to do on a Con Friday. I attempted to attend 2 seminars yesterday, but both of them went somewhat wrong.
The first was a GMing seminar. The problem here is that the speaker was about a half an hour late. It turns out that he was tied up getting his hotel room squared away. Once he arrived, it turned out to be a pretty good seminar. He'll be giving it again later in the con, hopefully for the full time and the ability to expand on some of the topics. I'll try to catch it.
The second was a seminar on gaming with kids. When I walked into a room with only 3-4 people in it, I assumed we had another speaker no-show. I was only half right. The lead speaker had failed to show (having gotten distracted by a game) so he left his 2 co-presenters to do their best. This was compounded by a lack of an audience. What resulted was a bit less focused, but a bit more intimate.

It turns out that the cosplayers from last night wound up doing a karaoke performance. Actually, it was more of a karaoke event run by cosplayers. Skeletor was the MC and He-Man ran the music. A few people, both costumed and not, got on stage and did some karaoke. Optima Prime, the girl dressed as a robot, performed a "traditional song of her people:" Dare to be Stupid by Weird Al Yankovic.
I only stayed for the first set, since it was getting late and I had a game to play in the morning. If I didn't have the time pressure, I probably would have gotten up on stage myself. It's been a long time since I've been able to do karaoke.
The game was, of course, another Mythos Trek adventure by Whitney Preston. I had played in his game last year and had a lot of fun being a total Star Trek nerd for 8-10 hours, so I decided to repeat the experience. While the adventure did have some Mythos elements, the main MacGuffin of the story was actully the puzzle box from the Hellraiser films.
Although he had reserved a 10-hour block to run his game, we wound up finishing a little bit early. Thanks to that, I actually have time to write this.
As much as I was looking forward to having my game sold at this con, it wound up not happening. I was tied up with my game, so my wife checked in on it for me. I don't have the details on wherewires got crossed or why, so I'm not going to make damning speculations. Needless to say, however, I am disappointed.
I will soon be going to run my game as part of the convention's Teen Room, where I had run Castle of the Mad Archmage last year. Here's hoping that goes well.

Friday, February 13, 2015

DunDraCon 2015 Day 2

The first official day of the con.

It was an easy morning. Coffee and pastries from a coffee shop is a pretty nice breakfast. If only we could do it every day. The Best Western was only a few blocks from the transit center, which is where we had gotten off of the BART last night and were now boarding a local transit bus to take us on the last leg of our voyage.

Once we had things properly coordinated with the guy who's room we were sharing, we proceeded to get some shopping done at the local Target. You may have noticed that we didn't take any pictures on our bus trip yesterday. It seems that our last digital camera had gotten fried about a month ago. The USB hub we were charging it from had surged, killing not only our camera, but also 2 MP3 players and our largest flash drive. So we went to the Target to scout out a replacement.

While we were picking up some other things, we did notice something interesting.

I have no real problem with pink tools. My wife's main comment on the color was that she would prefer purple rather than pink. But I am irked with how power tools are marketed to women. Both the pink electric screwdriver and the kit of pink tools are marked with "home" somewhere in their name or branding. As if women need to be reminded that, no matter how handy they may be, the place for their handy skills is in the home. The non-gender-branded tools do not carry such reminders.

So yes, I am calling sexism on this, but not in a "burn the non-believers" kind of way. Just in a "This is the 21st Century and the fact that we can't get past this sort of thing is the reason we haven't been allowed to invent flying cars. /facepalm" kind of way.

Digital camera and a few other needs taken care of, we went back to the con hotel to check out the Buyer's Bazaar. The Dealer's Room is not open today, since the dealer's are taking the time to set up, so the Buyer's Bazaar allows individual sellers to rent a table and sell off their games that they haven't played in ages. I picked up a few Palladium books as well as a couple of GURPS books that I didn't previously have. The list continues to shrink and one day, I will have them all. I'll tell you all about that in my annual "This is what I bought" post.

I will, however, give you a small teaser:

DunDraCon has never had a strong costuming/cosplay component, but that seems to be changing this year. There is some sort of cosplay karaoke event going on pretty much right now. I think once I'm finished with this post. I'll go get some more pictures and give you a fuller report tomorrow. But I do have some pictures to share with you right now.



Thursday, February 12, 2015

DunDraCon 2015 Day 1

No, the convention hasn't started early. This is just me trying to get back into a blogging groove by writing about my annual convention adventure as it happens. This is the second year that I've had a laptop that has been able to travel with me, and free wifi is everywhere these days, so I figured I should probably start embracing modern technology.

The majority of today was spent traveling in one conveyance or another. My wife was up late last night making sure everything was packed and ready. Although she accompanies me every year, she is really the unsung hero of getting ready for the con. She does tend to overworry and overpack, though. It's one of the things I love about her.

After only about 2 hours of sleep on her end, and perhaps a few more on mine, we gathered up our suitcases and carryons and sherpa'ed our way to the bus stop. Which is where my worrying started to kick in. I have traveled by Greyhound several times, but I always worry if the bus will stop where I expect it to. When I was a kid, there was a Greyhound station in town and that's where you went to buy tickets and get on the bus. The station closed a number of years ago and the property is now a used car lot. You can't buy tickets in town (I went to a neighboring city to get the tickets for this trip), but the Greyhound does stop where it used to, in front of the used car lot that used to be the bus station. Even so, I worry every time I wait for the Greyhound bus there, sure that the closure of the station was a sign that the company doesn't want to do business in town anymore and this time, they won't stop for me. They still do, but I still worry. Every time.

The bus did arrive and stop for us. It was an uneventful trip overall. I caught up on some reading, while my wife did some sewing. She made a pair of snowboarding mittens. Not that she's into snowboarding (she responds very negatively to cold), but she liked the style of mittens with a distinct index finger. So she cut some fleece fabric into the proper shapes, packed a simple sewing kit, and took the time during the bus ride to hand stitch the pieces together.

Once we arrived in San Francisco, we took a moment to hit a coffee shop before boarding the BART. We were both running on very little energy and trying to carry my wife's overpacked bags, so the rest and caffeine did us some good.

The interesting thing about us traveling on the Greyhound and the BART is that we simply follow both routes to the end. We got off the bus at the last stop of its route, then got on the BART train and rode that to its final destination as well.

That got us as far as Pleasanton, where we have hunkered down for the night in a Best Western. Tomorrow, we'll hop on a local transit bus to take us the rest of the way.

More news then.
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