I wound up not sleeping Thursday night. I got home from work at 3 AM (normal, regrettably) and wanted to make sure everything got packed and squared away before we left at 9 AM. One thing I have learned is to pack light for these things. Especially in terms of games to bring. I've seen multiple luggage carts full of games and entertainment electronics being carted into the hotel by people who would never be able to use it all over the space of the weekend. So I brought my rulebooks for GURPS, D&D, and World of Darkness, three games that are likely to come up.
This is me and the girl getting ready to go. Neither of us is driving. That would be our friend Mike, who was kind enough to take this picture before we headed out.
The trip itself was pretty uneventful, though I'm sure at least part of that was the fact that I wound up napping in the car. We got to the hotel at around 3 PM, and checked in with no major hassles.
It was at this time that I discovered an interesting glitch. I had planned to run my game "The Jaded City of Oz" on Sunday, and had printed up fliers to that effect before I left. But when I arrived, I found that references to the game being placed on Saturday. After conferring with con officials, it was basically decided that I would run the game both days. Since it did not require extra scheduling or other effort on their part and just a little bit more time on my part (and got more people to play my game), I was perfectly fine with that. After posting some hastily revised fliers, I went straight to bed and got some much needed rest.
My first run of the adventure went pretty well. I was a little nervous, since this was my first time running this particular scenario and it was also my first time running a game for kids. I was pleased to discover that all of them had some experience with RPGs, a little surprising because I think they were all under 10 years old. The surprising thing was that some of them had no familiarity with Oz at all. They hadn't even seen the MGM movie.
I failed to get pictures of the kids gaming, but I did get pictures of some of the props I used. One part of the story takes place in Fuddlecimjig (for those who have read The Emerald City of Oz) and involves a pair of mismatched Fuddles. So I went out and bought some blank puzzles and had a friend draw the characters on the puzzles. It may have been a reflection on how young they were, but they complained that the puzzles were too difficult to solve. I was actually afraid they'd be too easy.
The kids really enjoyed the story, but found the final encounter (the Jaded City itself) to be too hard. But then, I found that it was very easy to make that challenge too difficult. Although I had reserved the space for 6 hours, we played through the scenario in about 2 hours.
The Sunday session wound up not happening. Only 2 people showed up (both grownups) including a fellow who tried to build his own character. (Anton, if you're reading this, please get in touch with me. I don't know where I packed your email address.)
Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to play many games myself, or see many seminars. I did get a couple of fun shots from around the convention, though.
I got pictures of both the SCA and Amtgard combat demos this year, so you can see the difference between the two. As we see in this first picture, the SCA fighter is wearing something that looks actually protective. The weapons look like they have a heft to them.
The Amtgard fighter, on the other hand, is not wearing significant armor and the weapon is actually very light. One of the people there was wearing a silver lamé shirt which I'm sure counted as chainmail under their rules. I'm reminded of a friend of mine who actually had a chainmail shirt. He would play in a boffer LARP similar to Amtgard around here and was frequently disappointed that his authenticity went unappreciated. His chain shirt only counted as chain armor, while some guy wearing foam pads wrapped in duct tape or something equally silly was considered to be wearing plate armor.
Speaking of chainmail, here's something particularly interesting that I found in the Dealer's Room. Unfortunately, neither her nor her chainmail bikini were for sale, or else I might have tried to take her home with me. We did wind up supporting her booth by buying a World of Warcraft t-shirt. You can too!
Some things I did wind up buying were quite exciting, though. The stack of books is a little bit smaller this year. Blame the econony, or something.
Spirit of the Century: A two-fisted pulp RPG using the popular FATE system. FATE is a variant of the FUDGE system, so I might actually get some use out of the set of FUDGE dice that I bought a few years ago. Based on what I've read of the book so far, FATE seems like it would do Oz rather well.
Changeling: The Lost: A World of Darkness game in which the characters are all people who have been abducted by the fae and managed to escape. I have yet to read this one, but I hear much good about it.
Pathfinder RPG and Bestiary: One of the contenders to fill the gap left when the latest version of D&D wasn't what people really expected it to be. Looks like it could be fun, with a more heroic and epic bent than classic D&D. Though with all the other games out there, along with my own design efforts, it will be a while before I have time for another D&D-style game.
Battlestar Galactica RPG: While I grew up on classic Galactica and have seen any of the new stuff, this game and the underlying Cortex rules have gotten some pretty good press, so I thought I'd check it out. Overall looks good, with a much more established setting than the old show. The rules look serviceable, like a good house system should.
Robotech RPG: This is based on the classic Robotech cartoons from back when I was a kid. While I am not a fan of Palladium, I picked this up to help me out with a project I'm working tentatively titled Project BTR.
Castles and Crusades: Old-school strikes again with this one. An attempt to replicate the old-school feel with a more intuitive rules system borrowed from more modern versions of D&D (where a good Armor Class is high rather than low).
GURPS: It's becoming harder and harder to find GURPS book that I don't already have, but I was able to score some winners this year. Notably GURPS Conan and GURPS The Prisoner. I think Mongoose Publishing currently has the Conan license, but I have been sufficiently unimpressed with Mongoose that I will not be picking up anything from them. The Prisoner was based off of an old British show from the '60s that developed something of a cult following. I remember watching it on the SciFi Channel back when it was new (the channel, not the show. I'm not that old).