Monday, July 04, 2005

The 2005 Origins Post Mortem Report

Overpacked as usual. Too many clothes, too many widgets, too many books. Picked up my paycheck. Filled up my tank, had lunch, set out for Columbus. As soon as I set out for Columbus my check engine light came on. Thinking quickly. I stopped at an Advanced Auto Parts store. Had them run their free diagnostic. Turns out that if the Gas cap isn't secure it can cause an alert.
With a tightened gas cap and huge amount of relief, I set out onto the interstate with a good map and a good set of directions.
Arrived without serious difficulty in the early afternoon. Because of the way I had arranged my lodgings through a friends company, I wouldn't be able to check into my hotel until they arrived in town many hours hence. As a result, I was left to my own devices for a good while. Still, I managed to pick up my pre-registration pack with little muss or fuss which is good more than the people who showed up on Friday and Saturday.
Convention center is a racket, but at least it's a well oiled machine of a racket. The thing that really irritated me was that Parking in most of the convention center lots cost 7 bucks. And if you left the lot for any reason, you'd have to pay another 7 to get back in. At least, the 7 bucks was for a whole day, but if they had had a weekly pass or a convention long pass for parking. I would have chunked out for it. it would have been worth it to be able to come and more easily.
Went to the One World By Night Larp after hunting for it for over an hour and finally locating in the face of extremely bad directions given to me by a young lady at an information booth wearing cat ears. Moral: Never trust information booth girls with cat ears. After a hike back to my car to change clothes for the larp and another hike back. I was utterly exhausted.
I sat down. Made up an off the shelf character to dive in with and started circulating.
After about an hour, the days exertions caught up with me dragged me into a bathroom and starting beating me with iron bars.
I was too pooped to pop from getting up too early. from driving, from packing, from hiking, from carrying around the backpack in full pack mule mode. Next time I go to a major con. I will require a caddy and a golf cart of my own. Or failing that, a trail of African bearers which will require the purchase of a pith helmet. Luckily about this time, my fellow travellers
arrived and gave me directions to the Day Inn we were staying at. I arrived there without incident and unpacked. Was invited to go to dinner but could barely keep my head up. I did NOT have the usual trouble with sleeping in an unfamiliar bed but I was missing the girl I had invited to come along on this junket. The room had some nice amenities, the bed was large and comfy and they had HBO but no actual porn channel. I sleep the sleep of the damned.

Thursday: Up early. Couldn't help it. Intelligence I had gathered indicated that the Dealers room would be open at 10 am on the dot and that copies of the new MET and MET Requiem would be there in limited quantities. Rather than lose, I elected not to snooze. As a result I was bright eyed and bushy tailed (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) and ready to drop some cash.
After listening to them hand out the Origins awards while people were waiting to get into the dealers room, they let us in.
I of course made a beeline for the White Wolf area which I had scouted out the day before.
Turns out, Justin Achilli is a really nice guy and not the raging psychopath he's been made out to be. He's also a lot cleaner cut than I expected. I bought all the MET stuff, Greg Stolze's new Requiem novel, Mysterious Places, and the Ordo Dracul Book. Had an opportunity to talk a bit with Mr. Achilli about various projects, and my hope (read=obsessive crusade) that WWGS would make the Aeon Continuum material into an open license franchise. I may have also snagged a berth on the playtest for Mage MET which would make me so happy I could implode. They were also pointing out to customers (especially ones like me who were buying in bulk) that if we signed up for a 6 month trial membership in the Camarilla, that we would get 15% percent off on related materials. This was awfully neighborly of them.
I bought a number of T-shirts.
-A lovely purple and orange Timothy Bradstreet vampire print on a black shirt.
- a very nifty shirt for a card game called "Gother Than Thou" The text on the front is so long and the prose so hilariously purple that I won't reproduce it here
- a black shirt with white lettering (most of them were like this) with the legend. "I put the Dynamite in Rock Paper Scissors."
a shoutout to my larping peeps
- light plum shirt with white letters that says "Obey Me! I have an 18 Charisma.""
- Another black shirt with a guys smiling face on it holding a die in his hand. The text reads: "Well, I rolled a 20. So you bitches can suck it." This I think is my favorite of the batch.
-A Mage the Awakening Shirt. with styling graphics in the back.

I also came close to purchasing a cooks apron with the words " Miskatonic University College of Culinary Arts." Kicking myself now

Bought a Swordcane, hate the blade, it's cheap Pakistani steel but love the rest of it. When I have a chance I'll see if I can't remove it and put a long glass test tube in its place with a stopper. Turning it into a tippler's cane. Friend of mine has one and they are neat.

Bought a really well made black 8' bullwhip. I'll have to start oiling it up and working it around a bit. It needs breaking in.

Found a lady who makes custom buttons to order. She had a largish selection of stuff premade but for the niggardly sum of 2.50$ she would put any text you desired, in any font you desired, in any color you desired, on a button. and stamp and cut it right on the spot. Nifty! I want this to be my new hobby, but apparently it's not inexpensive to get into. I bought a button that says "Rocks Fall! Everybody Dies" and had her make for me a custom button that says. "Never EVER doubt my commitment to SparkleMotion."

Happily managed to stop spending money before killing my Food/Parking Budget. It was a near thing though. After that I wandered around in the Minis room and took pictures of some of the set-ups. I'll post them here another time.

I had planned to do the Vampire Larp later that night. So I was looking at a long night. But at least I had an opportunity go do a Mage Larp that was scheduled for 1:00 PM. My only difficulty? It was to take place in a hotel 4 blocks from the main hotel. Still, I was spoiling to try a Mage larp.

Now, I am hardly the most overweight person in the world. Gamers as rule tend towards an Endomorphic somatotype a statistically significant amount of the time. It's one of the hazards of living a life of the mind. I saw at least few people who massed as much as two or three of me. But I do get winded and the heat and humidity was serious in Columbus this weekend. So I popped for a cab ride to the other Hotel. I went in. I followed the signs. I fetch up in the appropriate place for the Larp.
Nobody showed. I checked my tickets. According to the tickets, I was in the right place and the right time. Not a soul. Not even another person showed up looking for the same larp. After a bit of a wait, I got discouraged and hailed another cab back to the convention parking lot. There's nothing like the heartbreak of a cancelled event. It's a good thing too that I caught another cab because on the trip back, the storm started. As it was, I was soaked to the bone in the time it took me to run 15 feet and unlock the car. Stopped off at Skyline chili on the way back and began perusing the new MET rules.

I went back to the Hotel. Decided on a nap while it was raining and sacked out. Slept through the Vampire Larp again and woke up around 3 AM-ish. Decided that maybe the reason I seemed to keep missing the vampire larp is because maybe I'm a little burned out on Vampire right now. Resolved to cash in those tickets and get some generics and be loosey goosey for the rest of the con. Went out to Waffle house in the middle of the night, watched a little TV, and then went back to bed.

Friday: Up early, against my will this time. Lolled in bed for a bit. Got up and went down to the hotel pool. Had to harass someone at the front desk to open it up. Had the place to myself. Swam around and floated and completely relaxed. After about an hour of this, I went back upstairs, got dressed. And hit Bob Evans on the way into the Con. I was wishing for a Shoney's instead. Bob Evans does a good breakfast, but nothing beats a Shoney's Breakfast bar form my money. The option to get a fistful of bacon if that's what you desire is a wonderfulness that cannot be completely expressed.
Had trouble parking but after a bit of scuffling around located a spot and went in. The main trouble that I had on Friday was that the Mage Preview stuff had been overbooked so, a fool like me with just generic coins was NOT going to get in. Also, for some odd reason, it seemed none of the white wolf games in the white wolf game room were providing any kind of Pre-gens.
I don't know if it was the case, but according to the Origins schedule, none of those games were providing materials. And I was not interested in bashing a character for a one-shot, at the cost of time to actually PLAY THE ADVENTURE!
Disheartened, I cast about for another possibility, I wasn't interested in playing systems with heavy detail. So that left out much of the Mini's games, and all of the Hero Games events. Brain burn was already setting in (making me feel like an old old man. The fact that my knees were playing up wasn't helping matters either. I was using that swordcane to get around.)
Finally, I wandered into one of the Call of Cthulhu rooms.
This turned out to be the best thing I could have done all weekend. I got to play a number of games, I got into the first round of a tournament and as thing unfolded managed to pass on to the semi final and final. The Final was great. CoC used a different basis from any other tourney I had ever been in. Rather than be a object oriented thing like most Ad&d tourneys of my youth, You only advanced in the tourney on the basis of your roleplaying. And that was based on the other players voting for you. As a result, the final was filled with damn fine roleplayers. More on this later. After the first round, I had planned to go do the Cthulhu Live event entitled Club Carcosa (The Rave at the End of the World) But once again fatigue caught up to me and vigorously sodomized me with a broken Coke bottle. Went back to the hotel and crashed hard.

Saturday: Up early, by design. Semi-finals for CoC tourney had two groups at 1 o-clock, and one group at 8:00 am. Gaming the system, I figured that, no one would be up for the morning round and it would be easier to get in and park. Turned out I was not the only one smart enough to think of this. Ah well. The scenario was set in the 1970's in L.A. That was kind of cool.
Met some pretty neat folks, most of whom passed on to the final round. It turns out that the 1:00 slots were undermanned, so morning people who performed well were given slot in the final where the games in the afternoon had empty slots.

Went back to the dealers room and talked again with Achilli. I wanted to be respectful because A) the man was in fact working and B) when I had spoken to him before, he had not been working for a couple of days straight. But again, still not a wingnut, Told him that I found the new MET to be very nice and tight and that he should tell Peter Woodworth I said so. While I've heard a number of horror stories about the Camarilla. It appears that they are very good at breaking rulesets.

After speaking to him again and sitting down and waiting for the final round of CoC at 6. I managed to make my way into the storytelling section of the book. I was horrified to find that large swaths of the MET World of Darkness book greatly resembles stuff I have been writing about in this column for a few years now. I can only imagine that one of two things has happened:
A) I am not the only person who is brilliant and insightful enough to come up with this stuff (Which is, upsettingly, likely.)
or B) The Wisdom that I have parsed and shared with the Larping community has penetrated it enough that it is now considered common knowledge and common sense. (Which is far less likely, but it is the theory that I'm gonna subscribe to and anybody says different is gonna get bitten by me. And then you'll be in for a long, painful series of rabies shots.)

We played the final round of the CoC tourney. I was handed the person with the split personality and I got into it really heavy.
I got into performance mode and I think of the other players did too. The cool thing about Coc one shots is that the odds are that you are doomed to die or go insane, so there's no point in Roll-Playing. Might as well take your characters and drive like them like a burning plane.
We also had the benefit of multiple GM's on that round so the game had a kind of frenetic pace.
In the end, the players balked against voting for the best player in the game and made the GM's. Which upset them greatly.
Your correspondent did not win the trophy but had a damn fine time nonetheless. And we did win a copy of the tournament games, a brand spanking new copy of Stormbringer. (Don't know how much I'd play it. But it's gorgeous.) and an album from Midnight Syndicate (the best in creepy mood music.) Had a nice measure of post game after glow. Feel like I made some friends.
Went to the hotel bar, decided not to drink, as I still had drive home and what with it being 4th of July weekend, was aware that every cop was out on the interstate. Met up, as planned, with number of people from RPG.Net and sat down and had a good time talking to them and drinking some Cokes. Mad Phat props to Metalian and Bull who organized the thing at the last minute. I will say this thought. I still think it's a bad plan to mix alcohol and foam weapons. Also have come down with a bad case of Fez envy. Must purchase a Fez at my next opportunity.

Sunday: Packed and drove home with a brief stop off in Hebron, Kentucky to see a friend of mine. Gave him my spare copy of Aeon Adventure which I think he will dig. He was ailing from nose surgery and needed a pick me up. Came home, unpacked,
Fell into bed with a purring kitty by my side. Best weekend in a while.

Sono Finito.


At 11:05 PM, Anonymous Acid Reign said...

.....You are the guru of LARP. But if they crtl-c'd it off your Templeton site, you should get credit! You and BJ Zanzibar were the best in the heyday of White Wolf! And BJ's site hasn't been updated this millenium...

.....I could go for a purring cat about now, but $100 worth of pretty/flashy/boom-booms outside did not set well with the felines of this house...

.....I am curious whether White Wolf has a future. We are backward in Alabama, of course, but I'm not seeing anyone around running Requiem stuff... Twink-proofing a game is an endless vicious circle!

.....There's nothing worse than taking a vacation and being too tired to do everything you want to! Of course, that's the price of being a working man!


At 11:33 PM, Blogger kinesys said...

Now, i don't want to give the idea that this book is plagiarism or that there even direct lifts from my pages. But the basic concepts are kind of universal. And it so happens that since i know Clayton Oliver, I bet a few concepts of mine have filtered over their through casual conversation.
I don't know, if i'm necessary the Larp guru. But I am pretty flattered by the title. :D

Requiem seems to be okay. I can't speak for Werewolf because i'm not really following it, But i cannot wait for Mage. and i suspect that it will be the breakout game.

Still, a bit tired, and sorry that you poor cat is having trouble with the popping and booming.

At 9:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, this is Tyler, one of the GM's from the CoC room. I'm glad you had a great time! You did a great job in the last round and it was truly really hard for us to decide. In our minds, everyone won.


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