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Monday, November 24, 2014

Post U-Con Post: Part 2

Before I begin, let me remind you that there are only 3 days left in the Swords & Wizardry Compatible Logo Design Contest! Enter today!  We have cool prizes!  Plug, pluggity, plug plug!

Thursday Night
I arrived at the hotel the evening prior to U-con.  As I had planned, I hung down in the lobby with other members of the staff while passing out pre-registered packets.  I then met up with +Jim Wampler  and +Tim Snider for a brief moment.  Both turned in after long drives from Ohio.  We had talked previously about getting a pre-con game going, but with folks turning in early, there was not much chance of that happening.  I notified +Adam Muszkiewicz of the situation.  At the time he was elbow deep in some urgent plumbing, but decided that after that task was accomplished pints full of good stuff would be in order. 
I met with Adam at The Taproom (which turned out to be all of five minutes away from the hotel) around 10:00 PM.  For a short time we were joined by U-Con's own +Shane Harsch. We threw back some pints of Hideout Brewery Hazelnut Stouts and had good, mostly gaming related, conversation.  All in all it was a good night, but I think that when Adam threw a last minute whisky in the mix, he may have overstepped his bounds.  I could not go so far myself, as I had a game to run bright and early Friday morning.  I turned in, possibly, a bit too late for having a game in the morning.
I awoke Friday morning to find that I was A-O.K.  No over-drinking here.  I grabbed a bite and headed to the OSR Track room, where I was to spend most of the rest of my day (14 hours straight mind you.)  I opened up the day running Pacesetter Games & Simulations'  Q2 "Eruptor's Vengence" using Sword's & Wizardry.  I met some really good folks during this game, including +Andrew Moss and +Brett Slocum .  It's actually amazing that I had never met Brett before, as we have both been regulars at U-con for some time.  The session was highly enjoyable, and we ended up with an additional player as another slated S&W game fell through.   To my delight, the first combat of the session nearly ended in a TPK.  That is the proper way to start out your OSR gaming event, just in case anyone was wondering.  I won't say much more about the session, to avoid spoilers, but I will say, that if you are an OSR GM, in particular a fan of S&W/0E or OSRIC/1E this will be up your alley. 

Friday afternoon I ran another module by Pacesetter Games & Simulations (anyone seeing a pattern here?)  This time it was on to Q1 "The Screaming Temple."  The game was quickly thwarted by +Andrew Moss, who alerted all of the temple guards to the existence of the party right away.  The temple burnt to the ground and we only got a 2-1/2 hour session out of the game.  This was a bit of a relief on my end, as it gave me a break in the day.  Unfortunately I was a dumb jerk to myself and, rather than grabbing a much needed meal, I spent time in the dealer room where I met with local friends, along with Tim Snider at the Goblinoid Games booth.  Tim was kind enough to sign copies of both "Cryptworld" and "Deviant Database" for me.   I also met up with +Roy Snyder at the Goodman Games Booth.  I ended up picking us some Goodman merch, along with some old TSR and Judges Guild stuff that I had been missing in my collection.

From my excursion to the vendor room, I immediately returned to the OSR Track room for the 6:00 PM panel discussion about "defining the OSR." The panel featured all three guests that were able to make it out, Jim, Tim and +Doug Kovacs plus Adam and myself.  Overall it went well for what we intended to accomplish, and the audience got involved as well.  Judge Jim was kind enough to record the whole thing and you can listen to it here on Save or Die. 

Following this I "played" in Adam's DCC game "A Tree Falls in the Woods."  By following, I mean directly.  As in the seminar ran slightly overtime straight into Adam's time slot.  Unfortunately, I wasn't any use to anyone in the game, and I felt bad for it.  A full day of activity combined with a lack of any meals had done me in and I was completely out of it.  Lucky for me, my character only had 5 Intelligence!  Still, I felt bad.

After Adam's game I was intent on finding someplace that was serving food all night.  To my delight I found that the catering company that was handling food during the con was serving midnight hot dogs, so I didn't have to go out in the cold to grab a bite.  As I was walking past the bar in the hotel, some of the other staff said to come on over and join in what was remaining of a "Drinks with Rodney Thompson" thing that was going on.  For those too Old School to realize or know, Rodney was the lead designer on both the new iteration of D&D and the Star Wars Saga Edition.  So, my tired butt went over and sat down at the table with them, where I ate some "Happy Birthday D&D" cake.  It probably took my exhausted mind about fifteen minutes to realize that I was sitting next to Rodney.  I listened to what he was saying (most of which in my sleepiness is now lost to me) and didn't really say a word to him about games at all.  In fact the only thing that I think came out of my mouth while sitting there was something to the effect of "I don't really like hoppy beers either, but I had this really good stout last night."  After that, I headed to bed.


For those who don't know, Michigan's own Bill Barsh of Pacesetter Games & Simulations was slated to be one of our guests at the convention.  He even had a special release lined up for the con.  Unfortunately, indie games designers tend to have to have real world jobs as well, and his kept him from making it down.  However, his son was down running his booth.  I had agreed to help out by running his U-Con release, his stead, not having ever read it before.  Saturday morning I headed down to the vendor room to grab a copy that I could use for the session in the afternoon.  Now, this was also slated to run on OSRIC/1E.  Mind you, it had been many years since I had run 1E.  So, never having delved into the module, and being rusty with the system (hey I tend to run C&C and S&W, sue me) I took the module back up to my room and began to delve into the system and module like a college student cramming for an 8:00 AM exam at 4:30 AM.  Lucky for me, I found the module to be VERY cool and sank right in.  The module: GC3: It Crawled From Below was a hit with my table.  I greatly enjoyed running it thanks to both it's author and my players!  Without giving away any spoilers, GC3 is the third part of a "Game Convention" release series that Bill has.  All three parts are excellent can come as in both OSR and 5E flavors.  I highly recommend them, and will likely be doing a review of each of them in the near future.  I also managed to nab a few of the modules from Pacesetter G&S's line that I was missing in my own hoard, due to a great sale that they had going on for the con.

Following this, I had a break for a couple of hours in which I had and excellent dinner with Doug, Jim, Shane, Adam, +James DeYonke and +Stefan Poag.  This was one of the few chances that I had to kick back and just hang out with friends and track guests.   Following dinner I had a big decision ahead of me.  There were two games that I actually wanted to take part in Saturday night (well, three, but everything that Doug was running had been sold out for some time.)  The first was Tim running Cryptworld.  Apparently no one else wanted to play Cryptworld, which is unfortunate, because it really is a great game.  That left me with only one choice, and that was Dave Perrin's Swords & Wizardry game.  Now, Dave has played in at least one of my games every U-con since I began running as a referee at U-con.  I've been meaning to play in one of his games for a long time, but something always gets in the way.  I'm glad that I got to play.  The players consisted of one of Dave's friends and his kid, Dave's own son and myself.  The family friendly game reminded me somewhat of my 2nd Edition days.  It was pretty good, and having kids there helped me to see that in person, as I have a seven year old daughter who is starting to show some interest in gaming. After the game was finished, I tidied up our room a bit while Roy was still running his DCC game for Tim, Adam and +Pete Schwab.  The game was running really late, so Doug and I headed down to grab a beer from the bar.  As a side note, Boston Lager is always a better beer than I ever give it credit for when I'm not drinking it.  We headed back up to the track room to find the game still going on.  So we chatted a bit, which I was glad for, as I hadn't gotten much time to talk with Doug prior.  So, we talked about all of the things that you would expect and old school ref. and an artist known for his art in the gaming industry would discuss.  Chiefly geographical prejudice around the world and linguistics.  Honestly, after the fourteen hour marathon the day before and all of the gaming on Saturday, it was a welcome change of pace.  A little after 1:00 AM we got Roy to wrap it up.


Sunday morning I woke up, checked out of the hotel and got my tired ass up to Jim Wampler's 0-level Mutant Crawl Classics funnel.  I arrived to find the event overbooked due to being late and someone with generic tickets moving into my slot.  It was all good as Shane Harsch offered to share a 0-level with me.  It was fun, but yet again, I was too tired, and possibly focused too much on my 1:00 game that I wasn't much help.  Still, if you like DCC and Gamma World, pick this up when it comes out.  Jim has done a bang up job on this thing!  By the way, my one level 0 was killed trying to figure out how to use "something shiny."

1:00 PM rolled around and it was time to run my last game of the weekend.  For the second year, I pulled out the first module written outside of a rules supplement.  Armed with my copy of the Pacesetter re-print of "Palace of the Vampire Queen" I set about running the classic reprint on the "classic" clone of the original rules.  The table filled up nicely for the now "annual" Swords & Wizardry "PotVQ" game.  This year the party didn't actually get TPK'd.  Well, not in game anyway.  We ran out of time, but knowing what I know about where they were... Anyway, +Forest Ray, a great member of the OSR and long time con attendee, was the winner of the event this year and walked away with a copy o PotVQ that I have picked up as a prize for my winner this year.  Shortly after my last game I said goodbye to anyone that I could find from the staff and headed home.  And that, as they say, is that.