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Final Thoughts on CanGames 2017 May 29, 2017

Posted by jkahane in cangames, conventions, gaming hut, personal, rpg hut.
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After the conclusion of the convention, I usually write a “Final Thoughts” post about the convention. I wasn’t going to do so this year, for a variety of reasons, but in the end the words seemed to come to me.

While I normally walk around the convention a lot, watch various games (or play a board game or two), and chat with people (friends, acquaintances, and people I’ve never met before), this year that was impossible for me. I spent most of the convention with a hoarse, at times squeaky, voice that eventually turned into a whisper more than anything else, and was feeling completely out of sorts for most of the convention. With the noise levels on the main floor, I couldn’t talk to folks and be understood for the most part. Not being able to talk to people, makes for a poor dialogue experience. I didn’t spend a lot of time on the second floor, so can’t really comment on how it would have been up there. Truth be told, I don’t remember parts of the convention experience regardless. I just didn’t see a lot of it. 😦

I do, however, want to say that without the assistance and help of , I don’t think I could have done half of what I did do at the convention this year, and am not sure that I would have gone to the convention at all. Between the allergies/asthma attack/loss of voice, the terrible left shoulder pain and some of the shakiness that I was wracked with, I could not have managed at the convention without his help. So I’m just grateful that SteveR was willing and able to give me a hand with everything he did for me at the convention. Thanks, mate. 🙂

I also want to thank the CanGames 2017 convention committee and staff for all their hard work and dedication in bringing us this installment of Ottawa’s gaming convention. These folks work hard every year to make sure that the convention runs as smoothly as possible, and while there may have been a few glitches here and there (there always are at conventions, it’s inevitable), this year’s convention seemed to go pretty smoothly. (From what I saw of it.)

This year, despite how I was feeling and my vocal limitations, I went to the convention to run the four games that I was supposed to. Once I commit to running games at a convention such as CanGames, I do my best to honour said committment. People have paid upfront in some cases to play in the games that I’m supposed to run, but what it comes down to for me is the committment business. I will say that I had a decent time of it running the four games that I did at CanGames. Friday night’s “The Statuette of Zhar Bagra” for the Coriolis – The Third Horizon game went very well. My only regret with the scenario was that I ran the game on the main floor where the players couldn’t hear me at times because of my croaking voice. That said, the players had a good time from what I could tell and comments after, so I was pleased. Saturday afternoon’s Primeval scenario, “The Dixmude Affair”, was one that I’ve been looking forward to running for a couple of years now, as it took that long to get it into decent shape. The players loved it, though they were confused at times about the timelines, but that was a good thing! 🙂 Saturday night’s Tales from the Loop adventure, “Summer Break and Killer Birds”, was the most enjoyable game of the weekend for me. This rpg about Kids in a 1980s that never was brought back the joy in gaming in some ways, and to see the players playing the Kids and having such a neat gaming experience was terrific for me. Sunday afternoon’s Coriolis – The Third Horizon scenario, “Dark Flowers”, was a tough one for me to run, mainly from the complex nature of the adventure and some of its themes, but also because health-wise I felt like I was on my last legs. The game was made interesting, however, the the presence of the two very young players, and they kept me on my toes but also had some good roleplaying going on. I don’t know what I’ll be running at CanGames 2018 yet, though I do have some initial thoughts on that. We’ll see what we shall see. After all, it’s still another year or thereabouts until the next incarnation of CanGames.

Other than the usual food gripe that I have about CanGames 2017 and the Rideau Curling Club‘s offerings for food, which I’m not going to write about here, I didn’t really notice anything else problematic about the convention this year. (State of health likely had something to do with that.)

Overall, I can’t say that I had a great weekend at CanGames 2017 this year, mainly due to my health issues and my vocal limitations. I did see a few friends and acquaintances, and hope I made a few new friends (and people who will continue to game in the stuff that I run at the convention). I didn’t talk to as many people as I would have liked, and didn’t have any long chats with folks, other than during the four games that I ran. Definitely had fun running the games, but in retrospect it might have been a better idea had I not gone to the convention this year. (Chalk it up to stubbornness and stupidity on my part.)

That said, I’m already looking forward to CanGames 2018! 🙂 And I hope that some of the folks reading this journal are already planning for the convention, and I’ll see you there! 🙂

And that’s it. The final post about this year’s CanGames gaming convention in Ottawa. Hope everyone enjoyed these four journal entries about the convention, and please remember that comments are welcome. 🙂

Happy Birthday, Ben Mansfield May 29, 2017

Posted by jkahane in birthday, tv hut.
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Happy Birthday, Ben Mansfield!

Today is actor Ben Mansfield‘s birthday. Mansfield is the hunky actor who played Captain (don’t call me Hilary!) Becker for three Series of the Primeval tv series.

Here’s wishing Ben Mansfield, who turns 34 years young today, a very Happy Birthday, and a terrific year ahead!

Monday Morning Blahs May 29, 2017

Posted by jkahane in health hut, personal, weather, work.
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I woke up this morning after getting what feels like very little sleep. Felt terrible.

I’m not going into details about what’s happening with me today. Not worth the effort here. I am wondering whether part of it is due to the weather (wet and somewhat warm), but don’t know for sure.

I was going to work from home today, but with what’s ailing me today that’s not an option. Suffice to say, I’m going to take it very easy, and try and heal a bit. Goddess willing.

Happy Memorial Day May 29, 2017

Posted by jkahane in holiday.
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Today is Memorial Day down in the U.S. of A.

I want to wish all my friends a pleasant and safe Memorial Day.

‘Nuff said.

Sunday Afternoon Gaming Cancelled May 28, 2017

Posted by jkahane in coriolis rpg, gaming hut, health hut, personal, rpg hut.
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I will not be gaming with the Sunday afternoon gamers today.

I don’t have much of a voice at the moment (it’s now just a scratchy, hollow sounding thing, with lots of burbling in it, meh), but I’m still feeling pretty ill and am coughing away like it’s nobody’s business. It’s been three and a half days since I started taking the antibiotic and I don’t think it’s taken effect yet, or it’s something else going on entirely (perhaps viral now?).

I had hoped to be able to game by today, and was looking forward to getting back into the Sunday campaign of Coriolis – The Third Horizon, but such is not the case.

*sigh*

Have I mentioned how much I hate con crud? 😦

CanGames 2017 Day 3 Report May 27, 2017

Posted by jkahane in cangames, conventions, coriolis rpg, gaming hut, health hut, personal, rpg hut.
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As promised, here’s the post about the third and final day of CanGames, 2017. You can read the post on CanGames 2017 Day 2 by following the link. This convention day report is somewhat long, and has a couple of photos. Enjoy! 🙂

May 21st, 2017

Woke up many times in the early hours of Sunday morning due to the dry throat and the coughing that racked my body. Did manage to sleep somewhat, and finally got out of bed around 8:45 am. To be honest, I suspect that I had also come down with a bout of con crud around this time, as they’re were several players who were obviously sick on Saturday, but also due to the heat vs. air conditioning in some of the venue, and no doubt added to by the fact that I was running the games down in “The Dungeon” at the convention. Fortunately, there was but one more game for me to run at the convention, another Coriolis – The Third Horizon game, but the most challenging of the scenarios that I’d run during the weekend. After taking care of the morning ablutions and having breakfast, I finished unpacking the gaming stuff from the day before, and loaded up the Coriolis stuff for today’s game. I repacked the personal bag, since I wasn’t going to need to take the insulin with me, as I hoped to be home before the shot this evening, and then went upstairs and got some of the food snacks for the afternoon prepped and ready. I also added another three teabags to the morning’s preparations, as my voice was almost non-existent and I figured I was going to need to drink a lot of tea. Little did I know.

SteveR arrived around 11:45 am, and after getting all the food stuff in order, and checking to see that I had my stubs for the CanGames booth stuff that I (hoped) was selling, I made sure that I had taken my evening’s medications with me this time. 🙂 He and I packed up the car, and headed for the convention. We stopped at the Subway on the way in, and grabbed lunch for ourselves, and then travelled downtown. I polished off a half bottle of water on the way, since I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t dehydrated for the day. We arrived at the Rideau Curling Club around 12:15 pm or so, and once more the Icons were smiling down on us; we parked the car on the other side of the street from the Curling Club. Sweet! 🙂

Once inside the Rideau Curling Club, I saw that while there were plenty of games underway, the place was relatively quiet. Figured that wouldn’t last once the afternoon games started, but the venue was still pretty noisy to my sensitive ears. SteveR and I went downstairs and unpacked everything into the lockers, and then headed upstairs again. I checked at the Game Registration Desk, and found that one of the (pre-registered) players who had been scheduled to play had cancelled, so I was down to four players for the adventure. First things first, however… SteveR and I spent about 10 minutes wandering the Marketplace area. I noticed at the CanGames booth that most of my stuff was still there, though there were a couple of notable absences. Still, disappointing sales for me, since I could have used the money. Had to hope a few more items sold before the end of the day. One of the booths (for the life of me, I can’t remember which one! SteveR, help me out here!) was selling a copy of the Five Tribes board game that I’d been considering buying, but the asking price ($89.95) was just too steep for my wallet this day. Shame, really…but I will get that game at some point!

By this time, it was close to 1 pm, so SteveR and I sat down at one of the main floor tables that were unoccupied (the one I would normally have been running at), and ate lunch. By the time we finished eating, it was close to 1:30 pm, so I headed downstairs to start the set-up for the afternoon game of Coriolis – The Third Horizon in “The Dungeon”, and then came up to check and see if the sign-up sheet for the game had filled. I was still missing one player, but Gary (you remember him from the past two days, right?) agreed to recruit someone if possible for the game for me, since I couldn’t talk and make myself heard over the people at the sign-up table. I went back downstairs and finished the set-up for the game, and around 10 to 1, Gary came down to tell me that he’d been successful. The game had a full complement of players.

I finished setting up, and then went upstairs to grab the sign-up sheet. A couple of youngsters were sitting at the gaming table on the main floor where I would have been running the game, and it turned out they were playing in the game. So I re-directed them downstairs to the gaming room, and then headed for the room again myself. I was feeling “throaty” and figured that some liquid refreshment would do the trick. I’ll come back to this. The game in the adjoining room (S2) was somewhat louder than yesterday’s games there had been, and I was a bit concerned.

The Coriolis – The Third Horizon adventure I ran on Sunday afternoon is called “Dark Flowers”, and concerns the player characters, while travelling on a routine trade mission in the Dabaran system, being asked to investigate the disappearance of a Foundation Professor Dahiljaba. Needless to say, there’s a *lot* more going on than just that, and the scenario has a very dark vibe to it. This is the game adventure from the Coriolis Quickstart document, so it was eminently playable, but would require some GM finesse to run. The five pre-generated player characters for the adventure are a team of Explorers, and include: Dr. Armita Wana, an expelled archaeologist, and the Captain; Zebarimas “Zebu” Hutul, a deeply devout technician, and the ship’s Engineer; Samioh Amin, an adventurous courtesan, the ship’s Sensor Operator; Rouya Ghallab, a disillusioned ex-legionnaire, and the ship’s Gunner; and Nima Dol-Sufi, a fighter pilot haunted by her past, and the ship’s Pilot. I’m not going into detail about the plot here (because others might run the adventure down the line, and I’d like to run the scenario again sometime!), but I will say that the game went relatively well, though it looked like it was going to be a bit of a disaster at first (see below), although I did alter some elements of the plot as one of the players had the file in PDF, and I wasn’t sure whether he’d read it or not.

My voice was pretty ragged to begin with, and down to a loud whisper, and when I started in on the basics of the game with the players after taking roll call, I tried to raise my voice to be heard better over the group in the next room. This made me start to choke, and I had to leave and dash upstairs to get some breath back in the (relative) cool of the main floor and so I could grab some hot water to make tea. The player I mentioned earlier, whose name was Paul Andre, had the game on his tablet, and volunteered to take over in terms of the game rules and background while I was gone, and I agreed. He did a decent job of it, for the most part, but I had to leave twice in the first twenty minutes of the session because of the choking and snot coming out of my nose all over my moustache. (Yeah, TMI I know, but what the heck.) The good news is that the tea helped, and I kept drinking cups of it over the course of the game session, though there were a couple of times where I wished I were– umm, never mind. When I returned to the table and finished the basic briefing about the game, I also corrected a couple of things that Paul Andre had misinterpreted, and then started the scenario.

Overall, I thought the players had a really enjoyable afternoon with “Dark Flowers”, and got to see an interesting and darker side of the game universe and the Arabian Nights inspirations. The players told me they found the game rules very easy to grasp, and the two youngsters at the table (who were both no more than 9 or 10, and were playing with their dad) were really good at the rules, though not necessarily at doing the math required when it came to Skills and the like, though I helped them with that. The father, Greg, told me later that it was his daughter’s second ever roleplaying session, and I was really pleased that she seemed to like the game, though was a bit hesitant at times. That explained it. The players didn’t like the Darkness Points rules at first, but warmed up to them as they saw them in action. It didn’t help that there was some bad dice rolling during the initial section of the adventure (where the players were dealing with what they thought were sensor glitches), and Greg was surprised by this a couple of times, though he did get to see how one turns the failures into a storytelling opportunity. Just some character observations… Greg, the father of the two youngsters, played Dr. Wana as a forceful character, constantly giving orders (especially to his two youngsters), but more importantly he focused on weapons and felt like the archaeologist who makes discoveries by blowing up archaeological digs to “find” pieces of artefacts and the like in the debris. Paul Andre played Zebo quite well, dealing with tech problems quite well, though he played the drug addict a bit over the top at times for my taste. Still, interesting to watch his character in play, and he interacted with the two youngsters most often. The youngster playing Samioh treated him a lot like Sigourney Weaver’s Gwen Demarco in Galaxy Quest, serving as a repeater of orders and communications, though he got better at the sensor operator role as the game progressed. He also interacted with the other youngster as often as possible, including her in all manner of situations (which she seemed to like). The other youngster did a great job with Rouya Ghallab, the ship’s Gunner, after she’d gotten used to things and started acting more on her own initiative. She was pretty hesitant about shooting her dad’s character, Dr. Wana, at one point when he needed to be rescued from his own folly. The fellow who played Nima was a bit of a disappointment. To start off with, he sat a bit apart from the other players, and was only communicative when dealing with his piloting or other related activities, or being involved with the group and their decisions. It was obvious that he didn’t like the way the fellow playing Dr. Wana was commanding the other characters around, but he warmed up somewhat as the game entered the critical endgame. Some of the highlights included: The bit with the seeming sensor glitches turned into a bit of a Keystone Cops sequence with the captain directing the players on operations to either confirm it was a glitch or check for sabotage, resulting in player characters in contradictory positions all over the insides and outsides of the ship. Arriving at the missing scientist’s last location, the characters were surprised to find… dark flowers. Just simply surreal, what happened after that. On the station itself, the betrayal by Samioh (see below) shocked the others, notably Zebo, who considered him his younger brother. The revelations about the truth of the matter then surprised the players even more, something that I was pleased about. The players’ realization that they were stranded on the station after *censored!* absconded with their ship. Knowing what had to be done to fix matters, and the last minute escape before everything went to hell in a handbasket.

Other than the rough start at the beginning, I had a pretty good time running “Dark Flowers”, though I found the scenario difficult to run in a couple of places. Something that happened was that at the mid-game break, the youngster playing Samioh told me that he was getting bored with the constant infighting of the characters and the captain’s “recklessness”. He wanted to turn traitor on them all! I went along with it, since I wanted to see where the young man would take it, and it worked out really well… especially the surprise and betrayal factor that the others felt. I did try to make sure that both youngsters, especially the little girl, got involved and had some opportunities to shine, and she certainly did, most notably at the very end. The players accomplished the scenario’s main goal, but there was some confusion among the characters at the end about multiple identities and a few other elements that could easily spill over into a sequel adventure of some sort. After the game was over, my voice down to a creaky whisper, I answered a couple of questions from Paul Andre about the game. He told me that my voice had been a bit problematic, especially when the gamers next door were loud, but that he really enjoyed playing the game and looked forward to running Coriolis – The Third Horizon after he finished reading the book. Once the last of the players left, I was able to fill in the player rankings on the sign-up sheet.

SteveR, who had played some game or other that afternoon, came down to the lockers and after he took the sign-up sheet with the player rankings to the Gaming Desk, came back and we packed stuff up. I was exhausted, feeling deathly ill, and just wanted some food and a hot drink. I settled for another cup of tea, which did ease my throat somewhat. We headed upstairs to the main floor, which was relatively cool and comfortable, and I sat down with just my jacket and personal bag, while SteveR popped out to the car and deposited the rest of the gaming stuff there.

We sat around and waited for the CanGames closing ceremony to begin and end, and I have to admit that I dozed off partially through this, though did hear some of the award stuff during its course. It was relatively short, about 20 minutes or so (iirc), and then SteveR and I tracked down the folks who dispensed the monies for stuff sold at the CanGames booth. I was quite disappointed to find that I had sold very few of the items (two out of 11 to be specific) I had wanted to, so I donated what hadn’t been sold to the convention, keeping only Sufficiently Advanced and Of Dreams And Magic (ODAM). By this time, SteveR and I were pretty hungry, so decided it was time to bid the convention adieu for this year.

Normally, I would have said my goodbyes to various friends and acquaintances before we left the Rideau Curling Club, but with the soreness and throaty whispering of my voice and the various people everywhere, I just needed to get away and rest and relax. SteveR and I bid farewell to CanGames 2017, and headed over to my favourite Chinese restaurant for supper, Brother Wu. We took the rather long route due to some…navigation problems… and got there a bit later than I expected to. The meal at Brother Wu‘s was excellent, as we had some Szechuan Mustard Green with Pork soup, an order of Gow Tien Dumplings (aka potstickers), Moo-She Chicken with Pancakes, a beef dish whose name I can’t remember, and a small bowl of rice. A truly lovely meal, washed down throughout with Chinese tea. We talked very little over the food, since my voice was finished for the day. During the course of the meal, I had another bout of choking and had to go down to the washroom in order to calm down my throat and straighten myself up.

From the restaurant, SteveR drove me back to my place. Once there, he helped me unload the car with the gaming stuff, and then he headed for home. It was around 10:00 pm or so, I think, and I sat back, relaxed, and had some yogurt and a cup of peppermint tea, which helped so much. I was feeling pretty tired, achy all over, and had chest pain (so I guess I do have a case of con crud on top of the other stuff going on). I stayed up until I had to take my insulin injection for the night, and only had half a bowl of Cheerios before crawling into bed and reading for about half an hour. Then, blessed sleep.

And there you have it – my three-post report on CanGames 2017, and the rpgs I ran at the convention. Overall, I guess it was a pretty good convention, though the health issues I was having prevented me from truly enjoying myself (truth be told), other than when I was running games (and there was some iffy-ness in there, too). More exhausting for me than usual. (I may write an impressions of the con post as well, but we’ll see, since I didn’t really see all that much of the convention this year.)

Hope folks enjoyed these reports of the convention. 🙂 Comments, thoughts, and questions are welcome. 🙂

Friday Night Gaming Session Cancelled May 26, 2017

Posted by jkahane in coriolis rpg, gaming hut, health hut, personal, rpg hut.
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I’ve will not be gaming with the Friday night gamers this evening.

While I still don’t have much of a voice (so you can continue to call me the Whispering GM, or perhaps “Whispering John” (hmm…there’s a villain or beastie of some sort there :)), the antibiotic hasn’t taken effect yet, and the con crud has laid me out somewhat.

I had hoped to be able to game tonight, and was frankly looking forward to getting back into the Friday campaign of Coriolis – The Third Horizon, but such is not the case. Hopefully, the
Icons will smile down on me somewhat soon. Please. 🙂

*sigh*

CanGames 2017 Day 2 Report May 25, 2017

Posted by jkahane in cangames, conventions, gaming hut, health hut, personal, primeval rpg, roleplaying games, rpg hut, tales from the loop rpg.
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Here’s my report and write-up on the second day of CanGames 2017. You can read the report on CanGames 2017 Day 1 by following the link. This report on the second day of CanGames 2017 is quite long, since I ran two games on this day, but there are no photos of the games or the Saturday at the convention. Naturally, it’s behind the cut for those who aren’t interested.

May 20th, 2017

I woke up on Saturday morning around 8:00 am feeling…sick to my stomach. I didn’t eat enough food on Friday night, and the lack of a balanced diet probably didn’t help. Not to mention the phlegm from my allergies dripping down my throat. When I got out of bed, I was also a bit shaky and still quite tired. Not enough sleep. I tested out my voice, and realized that I was absolutely hoarse and almost at a whispering level. This didn’t augur well for the day, given that I was supposed to run two games at CanGames this day. After breakfast, I felt somewhat better, though I was coughing a bit, the hot food and coffee making me have nasal drip, but the coffee definitely soothed the throat somewhat.

I went downstairs, and continued packing the rest of the gaming stuff up for the day, as well as started on the personal bag, and made a decision for the day: If I couldn’t get the folks at Game Registration to move the Primeval and Tales From the Loop games that I was supposed to run from the main area near Registration (F2) and the kids’ section on the curling sheet (C3) down to the basement level (S1 or S2), where it was relatively quiet, I was going to cancel both games for the day. After finishing most of the packing, I had my shower, luxuriating in the hot water, and that made me feel a bit better, though the allergies/asthma were still very bad. At least my spirits were somewhat better as well. After dressing, I started in on some of the snack food, cutting up some cheese cubes, restocking some of the crackers, and made sure that I added a couple of extra teabags to my tote bag for personal belongings.

SteveR arrived at my place around 11:45 am, and I was feeling rather good at that point, though my voice was ragged, and was looking forward to the games of the day. We packed the car with the gaming stuff and took the food in the decent size cooler that I had recently bought, and then headed over to Subway. About 10 minutes into the drive, I realized I’d forgotten my diabetes pills that I had put in the little pill box that I use, and we went back to the house so I could grab that. Once at Subway, I picked up a turkey sub as per usual with a bottle of water, then it was off to the convention. We arrived at the Rideau Curling Club somewhat later than planned, close to 1 pm. We were both surprised when SteveR was able to find a parking space right across the street from the Rideau Curling Club entrance. The Gods were obviously cracking a smile on us this afternoon! 🙂

SteveR and I unpacked the car, took everything into the Rideau Curling Club venue, and put all the food and gaming stuff into one of the storage lockers on the lower level of the club. While SteveR went to the loo, I went upstairs and checked on the number of gamers for the two games I was running this day. There were no surprises – I still had only two players for the Primeval game in the afternoon, but a second player had signed up for the Tales From the Loop game that I was running that evening. I spoke (such as I could, among all the noise) to the Gaming Registration folks, and was able to change the table assignments for the last three games (I also had Coriolis – The Third Horizon to run on Sunday) from the main floor and curling sheet down to one of the rooms in the basement (nicknamed “The Dungeon”). I saw Tim, and he came over to talk for a couple of minutes, but after I told him that I had lost/was losing my voice, we cut the conversation short.

Since it was now a quarter past one, and I was supposed to run my game of Primeval at 2:00 pm, we sat down on the main level at one of the tables and ate our Subway lunches. I made sure to hydrate myself adequately this time. SteveR helped me get the gaming stuff out of the locker downstairs, and prop it against the wall, since the room I was gaming in (S1) was the Ladies Room (see the previous entry) where the lockers were!! I did a bit of basic set-up for the game, and then headed up at around 1:35 pm to see if I had any more players on the sign-up sheet that the CanGames folks had put out. SteveR also needed to find himself a game to play in. I managed to talk a couple of other folks into playing the game, using the fact that the scenario has the nickname “Dinos On a Zeppelin” as the hook. Worked like a charm, but by close to 2:00 pm, I coudn’t get a sixth player to join in. I was a bit annoyed, but nothing to do but soldier on. I found all the players, and told them that the game had been moved down to the basement level from the assigned table due to my voice.

I descended back down to “The Dungeon”, and most of the players were already there and waiting. The room was pretty small, what with the lockers, but relatively comfortable, though it didn’t have a lot of ventilation and was somewhat dusty. The heat and the dust had me coughing more as phlegm dripped down my throat, and the dry air didn’t help that much, either. This was to plague me for the rest of the convention running the games in the room, but it *was* quiet (though there was some noise always from the game(s) in S2, so that more than made up for things. As I started the Primeval game, it was very warm, but as the evening went on, it became like an oven (at least it felt like that to me).

The Primeval adventure I ran on Saturday afternoon is called “The Dixmude Affair” (though it has a nickname, which is “Dinos On a Zeppelin”), and revolves around the player characters returning from the past through an Anomaly to an altered timeline that seems to hinge on something that occurred in 1923 with the airship Dixmude. The player characters for this scenario are a somewhat slightly altered mix of characters from the early part of the second series of the UK series – Professor Nick Cutter, palaeontologist; Stephen Hart, survival expert and guide; Abby Maitland, animal specialist (herpetologist); Connor Temple, technology geek; Claudia Brown, civil servant; and Captain Tom Ryan, Home Office/SAS man. This scenario is a homegrown one; I’m not going into detail about the plot here (because I’d like to run the adventure at a few other conventions and the like). I will say that the adventure went very well, though I modified a couple of the encounters to better meet the time requirements that I had. Since there were only five players at the table, one of the characters didn’t get played. That was Abby Maitland, which hindered the roleplaying on the part of the Connor Temple player, though I did make sure he got to interact with her several times by mobile phone (and in the final sequence).

Overall, the players had a good time with the adventure, though I was surprised that none of them had seen the Primeval UK tv series, so they really had little grasp of how to play the characters from the show. That worked out all right, since with the write-ups I provided them on the characters, it gave them a bit of leeway in how they played their characters. The fellow playing Nick did a nice job of playing the team leader, and he clashed a couple of times with the “kill the creatures” attitude of the Captain Ryan character, whose player did a great job interacting with the other players and their characters. The fellow playing Connor did his best with the technology aspects of the scenario, and managed to get a few good laughs at times with some of his more humourous comments. The fellow playing Claudia hadn’t seen the series, but he understood her role in the group very well, and kept telling them not to make too much of a mess of the situation they were in. Gary, a friend of mine from past CanGames, played Stephen Hart, and did a good job with him, using his tracking skills, mocking Nick’s approach to dealing with the creatures and the public knowledge of them, and used his combat skills effectively (more so than the fellow playing Captain Ryan). Highlights of the game session included: The look on the faces of the players when they realized the time period of the (standard style of Primeval UK series) Prologue. When the player characters returned to the ARC and were attacked by neo-Nazis with advanced technology. Chasing them saw them encounter the same characters, but French revolutionaries in appearance. My favourite lines of the night were, “I thought she was a neo-Nazi, not a French revolutionary.” – Tom Ryan “That was in the *other* timeline.” – Nick Cutter. The attack by the *censored!* at the *censored!* museum was a lot of fun, and the players experienced Threat markers for the first time. ::evil grin:: The player characters’ encounter with an alternate Helen Cutter, and the Nick player’s reaction to that was priceless. The fight on the airship with the *censored! dinosaurs* that saw a pitched battle on the catwalks and pylons and beams in the upper part of the airship near the rear gasbags was a blast (pun intended!), and just marvellous.

For the most part, I had a good time running the adventure, but felt drained by the end of the session. My voice was whispery and soft by the time we finished up, even with the cups of hot tea and bottles of water I drank. I was out of gas and out of breath at the end. The characters racked up 8 Temporal Damage and 5 Exposure points when it was all done, but that didn’t matter due to the nature of the outcome of the scenario (and no, I’m not explaining what I mean by that!). The players felt very accomplished at the end of the session, and told me that they had really enjoyed the adventure, even if they were confused by some of the plot twists and turns, not to mention the alternate reality elements, but the confusion was good! 🙂 The players told me that they could hear me relatively well, as the room we were in was pretty quiet, so the change in room/table assignments was a good one on my part. The heat and dryness, however, was another matter. I chatted with only a couple of the players after we finished, while I was packing up the game and materials, despite how I was barely talking. One of the players asked me about the Threat rules, and I gave him the basics on those, while Gary talked to me about the time travel elements of the plot, and got the skinny on a couple of the issues pertaining to that.

By the time I finished packing up and all, it was just before 6:00 pm, and SteveR had returned with our supper, a Chinese beef with veggies (actually all bok choy) and (egg) noodles dish. He’d actually finished running his game, “The Chabuli Conspiracy” for the Thousand Suns RPG just before 5:00 pm!!, and had then headed out to get the food for us after relaxing for a few minutes. (You can read about his running of the game from one of the players’ perspectives by reading ‘s blog entry.) I packed the Primeval stuff in the locker in the room and took the stuff out for the game of Tales From the Loop that I would be running that evening. I needed to get out of the hot and dry S1 room for a while, and since I needed to go upstairs and hand in the Primeval game sign-in sheet with the winners of the trophies/certificates anyway, suggested to SteveR that we go upstairs and eat supper at the table where I would have originally run the Tales From the Loop game. He was agreeable, so off and upstairs we went.

The cool air of the upstairs (though also somewhat dry) felt good after being down in “The Dungeon”, and we sat and relaxed over supper which was quite good. But SteveR and I could have split one of those dishes between us, and there would have been a batch of it left over! I managed to scarf down my diabetes meds with some water during supper, and actually drank a whole bottle of water with the meal, just taking the noisy atmosphere of the upstairs area in. I did my best to preserve my voice for the evening session (the food helped a bit with that), but was feeling like a bit of social outcast since I couldn’t really talk casually with my friends and acquaintances during the con, and Saturday at supper was no exception. We finished eating around 6:30 pm or so, and while SteveR took the excess food out to the car, I checked how the sign-up sheet for the game looked and was pleased that I had managed to fill all but one of the five spots for the game. I went back downstairs and started setting up the table for the evening’s game, and once that was done, went back upstairs. I still only had four players for the Tales From the Loop game, but was able to convince a young lady, Heather, to play after I showed her the game blurb (since this game wasn’t in the convention booklet).

Heading back down to “The Dungeon”, I saw that all of the players had arrived for the Tales From the Loop game, and Heather arrived shortly thereafter. I finished the set-up I needed to do, waited until 7:00 pm, and then got the game underway. As for the scenario, well… First off, Tales From the Loop is a roleplaying game based on the artwork of Simon Stalenhag of Swedish 1980s suburbia, populated by fantastic machines and strange beasts that have arisen because of the Loop. The player characters are Kids aged 9-15 who investigate and solve Mysteries that are connected to the Loop. The game uses the same ruleset as those found in Mutant Year Zero and Coriolis – The Third Horizon, but that are simpler in style and feel. The scenario that I ran for the game, “Summer Break and Killer Birds”, is the first of the adventures found in the main rulebook for the game, and concerns a boring Swedish summer in which a talking bird (or three) leads the Kids into a mystery of sorts and a nefarious plot. The player characters for this adventure include Olof “Olle” Svensson, a sports jock; Anita “Ani” Carlgren, the serious popular girl; Dennis “Turtle” Dahlstrom, a shy computer nerd; Sara Dahlstrom, Turtle’s younger sister and a curious weirdo; and a fifth character of my own creation, Lars “Muscles” Herkusson, a lonely hick. I’m not going into detail about the plot here (because others might run the adventure down the line, and I’d like to run the scenario again sometime!), but will say that the adventure played out really well, and the players seemed to have a fun time of it.

Overall, I did a pretty good job with the adventure despite my voice problems and the fact that I had to dash out of the gaming room at one point because the heat and dust made me feel like I was going to retch. The players commented that they could hear me fine, due to the nice and relatively peaceful quiet despite the game going on in the next room over. The players commented they loved the game setting, the simplicity of the Tales From the Loop game rules and mechanics (“even a child could learn these rules!” as one player put it), and had a good time with the intriguing plot. The players each did a great job playing their Kid characters, Heather doing a superb job with “Muscles” Herkusson, and focusing on his wisdom and knowledge of the outdoors. Gary, again, did a great job with the sports jock, “Olle” Svensson, and got to use his cricket bat at one point during the final sequence. The other players were equally inspired, “Turtle” Dahlstrom’s player playing the computer nerd/geek to a “T” and the player playing his sister, Sara, played her as a 9-year-old for all he was worth. Finally, the fellow playing “Ani” Carlgren was terrific as the popular kid vying for the attention of one of the other characters, while also seeking popularity and doing what it took to get that. Highlights of the adventure were many, but some of the stand-outs included: The Kids tried to track down the *censored*(s), but couldn’t do so. They got distracted by some of the ruins of intriguing items and creations, including a rusted robot head. Facing the mad ornithologist, Mats Tingblad, the characters all took the Scared Condition when they first encountered him chasing birds with an axe. From that point on, they called him “Mad Mats”. Searching the home of another scientist, they encountered his niece, and the debate started by the famous line, “Brother, what does “making whoopie” mean?” felt almost like a whole Abbott and Costello routine. Lots of fun. The final showdown with *censored!* that gave the players a “winner takes all” vibe, and that they ran with, using Luck Points like crazy to accomplish their goals.

By the time we wrapped up for the night, I was feeling down to my last ounce of strength, and to be honest, almost voiceless. While SteveR, who had played in a game during the evening, helped me pack up the gaming materials and foodstuffs for the evening, I answered a few questions from a couple of the players about the Tales From the Loop game. They had enjoyed the game, but were curious about a couple of aspects of the game and some of the artwork intrigued them as well. After the players had all departed, I went about assigning the rankings on the sign-up sheet, which I took up to the Game Registration Desk, and collected my second $5 GM reward token of the convention. I took my blood glucose reading, and it was around 12.9 (again, a sure sign that I had an infection), and I took my insulin shot and then once more had a small, plastic bowl of Cheerios. Packed up and ready to go, SteveR and I took all the bags and the cooler out to the car.

I got back to the house around 11:45 pm, and SteveR helped me bring in the stuff from the gaming day, and then swapped some of the snack food that was left from my new cooler back into his. The adrenalin for the day was gone by this time, and I just had nothing left to give for the night. I made a cup of tea, unpacked one of the three game bags, and then headed for bed. My voice was definitely gone, and I was feeling somewhat sick and thought that I might have gotten the con crud that I was seeing at the convention in my weakened condition. After the tea, I went to bed, but was up for a while with some coughing fits and bad allergy symptoms. I think I fell asleep around 3:00 am or so.

And that’s the wrap-up of Saturday at CanGames 2017. As you can see this entry was a long one, and had a only a couple of photos (and those from the convention program booklet) for the enjoyment of those reading the blog entry. Hope folks enjoyed this journal entry, and if so, please comment with any thoughts you might have on the entry. All I know is I’m just tired from typing this up! 🙂

Happy Towel Day! May 25, 2017

Posted by jkahane in celebration, holiday.
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Just want to wish everyone a Happy Towel Day!

While it is a celebration of the life of Douglas Adams and all that good stuff, there is a message in there as well for everyone, even if one doesn’t see it. So do something towel-ish today, and celebrate all things Hitchhiker. 🙂

Wednesday Night Gaming Cancelled May 24, 2017

Posted by jkahane in coriolis rpg, gaming hut, health hut, personal, rpg hut.
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In the interest of continuity and all that, I just thought I should point out that I will not be gaming with the Wednesday night group this evening.

In addition to not having much of a voice (just call me the Whispering GM!), the allergies, and the asthma going on at the moment, I’ve also contracted a case of con crud it seems. Will be starting an antibiotic tomorrow, and some recommended other stuff, but for now… Bleh.

I was looking forward to getting back to the Wednesday game campaign of Coriolis – The Third Horizon, but such is not to be the case. I guess the Icons are not smiling down on me for the moment. *sigh*