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GenCon 2017, The Loot! September 6, 2017

Posted by jkahane in board games, book hut, conventions, gaming hut, gencon, personal, photos, reading hut, roleplaying games, rpg hut.
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Finally, as promised, here are some thoughts with lots of photos of the stuff that I bought down at GenCon Indy (what is affectionately called “the loot”). Lots of photos in this one. 🙂 To read the report on my final thoughts of GenCon 2017, check out this journal entry.

September 4th, 2017

In terms of the stuff that I bought at GenCon, well… I went down to GenCon hoping to find certain products in the Exhibit Hall. I’ve not posted an overview photo of all the stuff that I purchased in Indy, because that wouldn’t do it justice, to be honest. So let’s start in on this stuff…

One of the first things I wanted to pick up at GenCon 2017 was a new set of dice to use with the Coriolis – The Third Horizon RPG. I was looking for something Arabian Nights themed or something with a scarab on them (since the game uses scarabs in a very interesting way in the rulebook and the various supplements). I was pretty pleased with these six-sided beauties. And the scarab glows in the dark!


6-sided scarab dice

Something else that I wanted to pick up at GenCon, well, I needed to since I was going to be running “The Dying Ship” scenario for Coriolis – The Third Horizon there twice, was the adventure itself and Fria Ligan/Free League Publishing kindly agreed to supply me with a rulebook and GM Screen for my use as well, through the good folks at Modiphius Entertainment. Here’s a photo of that game material.

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The Dying Ship adventure


The Coriolis – The Third Horizon stuff gifted me

As mentioned, I went by the Ulisses Spiele NA booth in the hopes of finding some material for the Torg Eternity RPG, but they had nothing available on the Thursday, though I was told that some dice and some t-shirts would be in on the Friday and Saturday. However, the other thing I went looking for at the convention was The Dark Eye RPG, since it actually sounded very cool and I’d heard some good things about it. The lovely Mhàire Stritter at the Ulisses Spiele NA booth told me some of the strengths and weaknesses of The Dark Eye RPG, and I was sold on the game, and bought a whole stack of stuff.


The Dark Eye RPG haul of books

For those interested, I’ve got the Quick-Start Rules, the Core Rules, the GM Screen (with the Inns and Taverns book), the Aventuria Almanac, the Aventuria Bestiary, Arivor’s Doom (scenario), The White Lake (scenario), Witch’s Dance and The Thorwal Drum (both Heroic Works scenarios), and several issues of the Aventurian Herald (not pictured). So much The Dark Eye goodness, but there were other things there at the booth I would have picked up if I’d been more up on my game knowledge of what was available. *sigh*

As it turned out, the folks at Ulisses Spiele NA got the Torg Eternity dice and the new t-shirt both on the Friday, so I was able to pick up a set of the dice (one to a customer) and the t-shirt. They’re both beautiful.

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Torg Eternity dice set


Torg Eternity t-shirt, front


Torg Eternity t-shirt, back

I also bought a whole bunch of old TORG supplements, as these will give me some additional material to use when running the new Torg Eternity RPG. I was rather pleased to have picked these up, though I worried that the weight would get me in the suitcases, though I needn’t have worried about that.


Old TORG RPG supplements

The filk band (at least I still think of them that way) Water Street Bridge was performing live at the convention, in one of the ICC hallways, and I saw some of their performance there and picked up three of their CDs. Wish I’d picked up the rest.


Three Water Street Bridge CDs

Over at the Stronghold Games booth, I managed to snag a copy of Terraforming Mars and also the supplement for the game, Hellas & Elysium. Lovely stuff.


Terraforming Mars and Hellas & Elysium

Phil Foglio was in the the Exhibit Hall selling stuff in the Author’s area, and I picked up a couple of books from him, the Myth Adventures graphic novel and the first volume of Girl Genius. He was kind enough to sign them for me.


Phil Foglio’s Myth Adventures and Girl Genius, Volume 1

Over at the Third Eye Games booth, I spoke for a bit with Eloy Lasanta, and also picked up the Pip System Core Rules and the Mermaid Adventures game (which uses the same rules). Both of the copies are signed.


Pip System and Mermaid Adventures from Third Eye Games

Also in the Author’s area of the Exhibit Hall, I stopped by Doug Bedwell’s booth and picked up a copy of his humourous sf novel, Robot Captain.


Robot Captain by Doug Bedwell

I also picked up a couple of dice bags that I couldn’t resist, and these will be holding my current gaming dice and some other stuff.


New dice bags and dice purchases

I also picked up a batch of t-shirts and several buttons at GenCon 50 but am not posting pics of them for various reasons.

For the most part, none of the purchases were actually impulse buys, other than a couple of t-shirts, the Phil Foglio books, and maybe one of the dice bags. Overall, I was pretty pleased with my purchases at GenCon 2017 though there were a few things that I wanted to purchase and/or forgot to purchase that I had wanted. But no use crying over spilt milk, as they say. My real regret here was that the folks from Fria Ligan/Free League Publishing (makers of Mutant: Year Zero, Coriolis – The Third Horizon and Tales From the Loop) weren’t at the convention this year, so I didn’t get to see them and the fact that there was no Torg Eternity merchandise (other than the dice and t-shirts) available at the convention. No real mock-ups of the game rulebook, though I did see one that Darrell Hayhurst brought to the Ulisses Spiele NA booth to show to people. And I should have picked up a couple of the other things available for The Dark Eye RPG, but didn’t know better. I did ship the initial purchase of The Dark Eye game materials home via FedEx, at what I feel was exorbitant prices, but if I’d waited another day, I could easy have shipped more stuff (though I’m glad I didn’t, given what the charges for the stuff that I did ship home cost).

And that’s it. The last post about GenCon 2017.

Time to get down to some of the reading of all this loot that I got down there. 🙂

As always, thoughts and comments are welcome.

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GenCon 2017 Final Thoughts September 5, 2017

Posted by jkahane in conventions, coriolis rpg, gaming hut, gencon, health hut, personal, photos, roleplaying games, rpg hut, the dark eye rpg, torg eternity rpg, tv hut.
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As promised, here are some final thoughts and a bit of perspective on this year’s GenCon Indy for 2017. Think of these as random Musings and Ravings (sic) about the convention, and some pics of stuff as well. To read the report on my final day at GenCon, check out this journal entry.

September 4th, 2017

So, how was my GenCon 2017? I guess that depends on perspective, but of course, hindsight is wonderful.

When it comes down to it, on a scale of 1 to 10, I rate GenCon 50 9/10 from Tuesday to Saturday, and 4/10 from Saturday afternoon to the end of the convention.

My real regret is not meeting half my virtual friends who were at the convention.

One of the things I wrote about before I left for GenCon Indy in this blog was the fact that there were certain things I wanted to do and accomplish at the convention. For the most part, I think I managed what I set out to do, but there were some (major) wrinkles along the way.

For one thing, while I managed to pack as lightly as I could for the convention, with just a smaller suitcase (with a messenger bag inside it), an overnight carry-on bag, and a carry-on bag with my meds, both diabetes and other, I was a bit thrown off by the addition of the insulin therapy materiels that I needed to take with me. You’d think I’d have been used to that, given that I’ve been on insulin for several years now, but it’s not the same taking the insulin therapy stuff with me when going to a convention out of Ottawa. Still I managed. Anyway, back to the luggage… Even so, I found the luggage to be quite heavy (despite the Swiss Gear luggage being relatively lightweight) due to the fact that my left shoulder was bothering me quite a bit before we left, and this didn’t improve during the Tuesday morning trip to the airport and the flights and all. was a great help in this regard (more on that later). Suffice to say I’m glad that I shipped The Dark Eye RPG stuff that I picked up in Indy via FedEx (a goddess awful costly shipping, but what can you do?) home, as that cut down the suitcase weight somewhat, though I was afraid with several of the purchases I made after the stuff went out with FedEx (such as the old TORG supplements and the Terraforming Mars boxed set) that the suitcase was going to be too heavy come the Monday of travel back to Ottawa. I was spared this, to be honest, because SteveR and I split the weight of some of the gaming material between our check-in luggage, and that helped tremendously.

The hardest part of the convention for me was the Friday and Saturday, carrying around the gaming stuff to run the two Coriolis – The Third Horizon RPG scenarios, and I was very grateful to have SteveR around to help me out by carrying the main book and GM Screen. My shoulder had given out on the Friday, and I was in intense pain for most of the week starting on Friday morning. Since I never got back to the Westin Indianapolis hot tub, as it was mostly body soup for the week once the GenCon attendees started arriving, there was absolutely no relief for my poor shoulder, and the lumpy, much softer than usual bed didn’t help. I was glad that I packed the extra pairs of underwear and socks, to be honest, given what happened Wednesday early afternoon, and I’m also glad that SteveR and I had stayed in downtown Indy this time around, rather than being 30 minutes away at a hotel like the Indianapolis Marriott North (where we stayed in 2015). That would have been disastrous.

When it comes to my health issues, well… What can I say? Other than the stupidity of not eating properly diabetically on the Tuesday of the flight to Indy that created the mess I went through on the Wednesday, and the business on Friday where the same thing could have happened, I would have been fine for the weekend. Except, of course, I overdid things on Saturday with the walk from the Westin to Union Station, and ended up with the bad blisters on my feet. From Saturday onwards, the convention this year was somewhat of a living hell for me, as the stabbing pains in the bottom of my right foot was like walking on broken glass without being a yogi trained for such things. I seriously considered heading back to Ottawa on the Saturday, but truth be told, I wanted to run the Coriolis – The Third Horizon game session Saturday night and I didn’t want to let SteveR down and all that. I stuck it out, but the wheelchair being manual and my inability to use the left shoulder and arm made me have to rely on SteveR for motive power, and I really do regret that. He was going through his own stuff at the convention (and I’m not going to mention what; if he wants to share the details, he’ll do so in his blog), and I really felt guilty most of the weekend. And, to put it mildly, I was somewhat depressed.

On the positive side, I managed to take care of myself and my health for the most part, as through the insulin therapy and the sheer amount of walking prior to Saturday afternoon I was getting made me feel “off” several times, resulted in some dizziness at times and feeling light-headed. Fortunately, I had glucose tabs with me, and these were very helpful over the week in Indy. (Except of course the night where we went to High Velocity for supper, as I’d forgotten the glucose tabs.) I drank a lot of water and tried to stay hydrated, but wasn’t all that successful on a couple of days. For the most part, I pretty much followed the “8-3-1 Rule”, though there were several nights where I barely got 4.5 hours of sleep, but I made sure I ate the three meals per day – breakfast, lunch, and supper – and supplemented that with snacks twice a day, and got in my one shower per day… Even so, I lost 6.8 pounds over the course of the convention. I didn’t use as much antibacterial solution, relying more on soap, and did not catch con crud ::knock on wood::. Just the feelings from the heat and humidity, combined with the physical exertion at times, I guess, made me feel a bit dirty and grungy at times. I did have to adjust the insulin shots down during the convention, as my sugars plummeted from the physical activity at the convention.

Finally, there’s the pacing. One of the things that I promise myself every convention I go to, and GenCon is no exception, is that I’m going to pace myself. GenCon is one of those conventions where this is always a real issue, because it’s just sooooooo big that one just can’t see everything, and so one has to make the most of what one can see while one is there. Staying in a downtown hotel helped with this time management, for obvious reasons, and I did a lot more walking during the first part of the week (Tuesday through Saturday), and virtually none during the Saturday/Sunday period or on Monday. This was the biggest GenCon Indy so far, and the convention has spread out and expanded so much there was a lot more ground to cover. I had wanted to play in some games, but such was not to be, no doubt due to the running of the two Coriolis – The Third Horizon games and the hit-or-miss method of using Generic tickets. And after Saturday, that was made more difficult. I did get to play in some demos, which was fine, and I loved playing in the Aventuria Card Game stuff at the Westin, but I was pretty pleased overall with the convention, though I’d have liked to have played in some full games, rather than demos.

As I’ve noted earlier, GenCon is just too big to see everything. I did a bit of wandering around during the Thursday and Friday when I had the chance, and was able to take some photos of people and stuff that interested me. I think I was a bit jaded this year at the various gaming materials I saw, since most of my photos are of people and the like. One thing that I photographed on late Saturday afternoon was the balloon dragon that was quite impressive.


Balloon dragon

What was really cool about it, as per usual at GenCon, is there’s an auction/raffle where someone got to “slay the dragon” by exploding the balloons one at a time. I would love to have been there for such destruction, but the wheelchair days prevented this. That and I’m not sure I could take the explosive noise of the balloons popping, truth be told.

There were a lot of folks in costume over the weekend, and I took several photos of folks. One of the costumes I really liked was the Revolutionary Captain America. Great costume.


Revolutionary Captain America

Needless to say, one of the real highlights for me at this convention was seeing some of the folks that I like in the gaming industry. GenCon is certainly the place to do that. It was good to see Darrell, Dean, Eric and Ross from Ulisses Spiele NA; Robin, Simon and Gar from Pelgrane Press; Chris Birch and the folks from Modiphius Entertainment (they really do have some of the best rpgs out there these days, as witness the ENnie Awards); and Jeff Combos at the Exile Games booth. The real pleasure for me this GenCon was meeting Jeff Barber, totally coincidentally at the IGDN Social at Loughmiller’s Pub and my virtual friend, T.R. Knight, whom I’d not met until GenCon. He gifted me some cherry jam (it tastes delish, by the way!), but it was a pleasure meeting him and his wife and daughters. I’d wish we’d had more time to socialise, but GenCon is busy and his schedule was pretty tight. We did talk a couple of other times, and it was lovely bumping into them in the ICC hallways when SteveR and I were coming back from supper at the Marriott on Sunday evening. I also got to pick the brains of Darrell Hayhurst, Dean Gilbert, and Ross Watson about all things Torg Eternity, and had a good time chatting with them. Eric Simon and Mhàire Stritter of Ulisses Spiele proper were great as well, and I wish I’d talked more to the folks there about The Dark Eye RPG, as I’m now in love with the game. That said, for everyone I did talk with, there were others I missed. I didn’t get to see a lot of my Twitter friends and those I’ve only met virtually there, and I’m really sad about that. (No names here, but you know who you are!)

The Exhibit Hall was as usual, massive. Actually, more massive than the one in 2015. (Not really surprising given how GenCon has grown and the fact that this was the 50th anniversary of the convention.) I’m not going to go into details about the Exhibit Hall and dealers’ room since it was…just too big. And to be honest, the fact that I was wheelchair-bound on Saturday and Sunday meant I didn’t get to wander and see as much of the hall as I would have liked. I will say that some of the best stuff I saw was at the smaller dealers, those tucked away, and some of the really fun stuff was in the Entrepreneurs’ Avenue. That said, most of the game manufacturers were there, with some exceptions, but there were also folks selling game accessories, steampunk clothes and gear, kilts and other items associated with the culture, t-shirts, buttons, Doctor Who merchandise, dice bags and dice accessories, books, art prints and… well, you name it, you could probably find it here. Some of the stuff that I saw really impressed me, but I had come to GenCon Indy to purchase specific gaming stuff that I was looking for – primarily some Torg Eternity stuff (nothing was available other than the dice and the new t-shirt), some t-shirts (I think I bought too many, but c’est la vie), and The Dark Eye RPG. I was also hoping to find some of the old TORG RPG game supplements, and lucked out with that. I also picked up a couple of games that I wasn’t planning on – Terraforming Mars and Mermaid Adventures – and I’m glad I did so, and would have picked up Photosynthesis and Five Tribes, but didn’t know how to ship them home after I’d done The Dark Eye mailing through FedEx and wasn’t sure I’d be able to take them back with me in the luggage.

I didn’t get to play in any full fledged games, mostly due to the fact that all the games I wanted to get in were full by the time my place in the game registration queue came up and had bad luck with Generic tickets (again). Plus there was the fact that the games I could get into were also scheduled around the times I was running Coriolis – The Third Horizon. However, I did sit and watch a lot of games when I had the chance and really enjoyed what I saw. This included some Photosynthesis, Torg Eternity, and several others. I should have tried to catch some of The Dark Eye games as well, but such was not to be. I did manage to play in some Aventuria games with a guy that I met at the Westin, and had a lot of fun (winning a couple of duels helps the enjoyment, I think). 🙂

This year, I used the mobile phone to take a lot of pictures of stuff at the convention (mostly for personal use) and did a good degree of tweeting as well. I used my tweets of the convention to keep a record of my time at GenCon 50 this year, and they have proved invaluable for these convention reports. Didn’t really get to use the mobile phone to set up socializing or anything, with the exception of two things that I’m not going to discuss. Am I sorry about the stuff I didn’t get to see or do? Sure, but again it comes down to making sure you pace yourself as well as the health and other restrictions that you have for yourself. And I’m proud to say that I stuck to my own lifestyle and physical limitations (for the most part, with one glaring error).

That leads me to discussing the hotel… What can I say about the Westin Indianapolis? The hotel was right downtown, with less than a five minute walk to the ICC, and the room was very nice. I actually went through the ADA service that GenCon offers to get the hotel room, and was glad that I did. Comfortable, accommodating to those with physical injuries, and a built-in mini-fridge as well! The staff at the hotel was extremely nice, and were so helpful during the convention – the photocopying of the Coriolis – The Third Horizon material, the business with the soiled clothes (1 of 2 of my pairs of pants), the events after the injury and the wheelchair (well, okay, that was mainly the head of security on Saturday) – and the place was relatively busy all the time once the convention started. I liked having all the gamers around, but it wasn’t claustrophobic as was the actual ICC and some of the other venues. Overall, I would stay again at the Westin Indianapolis without any hesitation at all.

As for the stuff that I bought at GenCon (what is affectionately called “the loot”, I’ve discussed a bit of that above, but I’ll leave that for a separate post with a ton of photos. hehe

Do I have any regrets about GenCon 2017? Yep, I do… Given the size of this convention, one just cannot see the whole convention and do everything that one would like to do. First off, I regret not seeing more of the Exhibit Hall and the Dealers’ Hall (I think I may have seen 25% if I’m lucky). Secondly, I regret not getting to the GenCon Museum, which I really would have liked to have visited. I regret not getting to play in any Torg Eternity or The Dark Eye games, ’cause that was something I really wanted to do at the convention. I wish I had spent a bit more time (heck, a lot more time!) at the Art Show and Authors’ Avenue. I deeply regret not getting to meet and spend some time with virtual friends, old and new (that I’ve met the past year or so on the internet; you Twitter folks know what I’m talking about!). Most of all, I absolutely regret taking the actions that led to my feet blistering and the cellulitis, as that put a huge damper on my convention on the Saturday and Sunday. All of that said, I enjoyed myself for the most part, but am somewhat relieved that I can’t do this convention every year (unless one of the game companies flies me in to it! :)) Just too expensive to do every year, between the airfare and the hotel room costs. And the fact that one has to book rooms so early. And the fact that I’m getting old and that this was a tough convention to do given my state of health.

And that’s it. GenCon 2017 is now well and truly a wrap for me, other than all the great reading material I’ve got from the convention. And the memories, both good and bad, of course.

As always, thoughts and comments are welcome.

GenCon 2017, Day 3 Report September 2, 2017

Posted by jkahane in conventions, coriolis rpg, gaming hut, gencon, health hut, personal, photos, roleplaying games, rpg hut, tales from the loop rpg, the dark eye rpg, torg eternity rpg.
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Here is the report of the fifth day of the trip to GenCon 2017. The report on the fourth day can be found in this journal entry. I should warn you that this post is very long and there are quite a few photos in it. 🙂

August 19th, 2017

I woke up this morning feeling relatively all right, but somewhat tired. My stomach and bowels had stabilised overnight, it seemed, and I felt ready to face the day. It was going to be a long, difficult Saturday what with having to walk to Union Station for a seminar and then running a game from 8 pm until midnight. On the other hand, I was looking forward to running the game as it was the Coriolis – The Third Horizon scenario “The Dying Ship”. I was a bit more confident about that adventure now that I had run it once already. SteveR and I went through our morning ablutions routine, and the shower made me feel a bit better and took away a bit of the left shoulder aches and pains that I was feeling and I was ready to start the day.

We went down to the Westin Indianapolis restaurant, Shula’s, and had breakfast. I ate my usual 2-egg omelette with mushrooms, ham and mozzarella cheese with some toast and decaf coffee on the side, but SteveR switched things up this morning and had some steel cut oats. They had been cooked to the consistency of gruel, and I was glad I’d not tried them. I spent part of breakfast catching up on my Twitter feed, and saw that SteveR had sent me a couple of costume pics from the night before, a Wonder Woman and the two central characters from Moana. Very nice.


Wonder Woman at GenCon 2017


Two ladies as Moana and Maui

I also saw on the Twitter feed that the Coriolis – The Third Horizon had won another award at the ENnies the night before, but also that Tales From the Loop had picked up a couple of awards as well. It was going to look strange and silly if the Modiphius booth didn’t have copies of the Loop when the Exhibit Hall opened today. Here is a pic of those awards.


Tales From the Loop awards

While eating breakfast in Shula’s, started chatting with new friends at the adjoining tables. It’s fun meeting new folks at the convention who also share your interests – gaming, people! – and had a good conversation with them. The three gamers I was talking to all had little roleplaying game experience, but were very into board games and some live action stuff. Nice to see the variety at the convention in terms of the gamers and their interests, but one of them, Annie, said that she had recently been curious about roleplaying games. We talked for a bit about the basics of said games, and breakfast passed rather amicably. As we finished off breakfast, I realised that it was already the third day of GenCon 2017. Where had the time gone?

SteveR and I went back up to the hotel room, finished the morning ablutions off and grabbed what we needed for the morning before heading over to the ICC and the Exhibit Hall. Before going to the Exhibit Hall, I went over to GM HQ to drop off the tickets from the game of Coriolis the night before, and complained to the folks there about the other fellow with his 12 players and the amount of noise they’d made. The head honcho in the GM HQ told me that there were only supposed to be two tables in the room, not three, and that the game was only supposed to have six players, so I gave him all the information I could remember about the game, and he promised me there would be disciplinary action taken. (Whether there was or not I have no idea.)

SteveR and I then made our way to the Exhibit Hall. Being Saturday, it was even busier in the Exhibit Hall than at any other time of the convention, and I walked the hall with SteveR for a bit until he decided he wanted to buy a couple of things and headed off on his own. I kept on walking around and seeing what was there. Don’t remember where I was when I saw this game being played, but snapped a photo of it.


Game of Quartermaster General being played

I made my way to the Modiphius Entertainment booth, and there was a massive crowd there. The folks were waiting on the copies of the Tales From the Loop game. Chris Birch told me that T.R. and a couple of other folks had gone to the Fort Wayne warehouse to pick them up, and should be back soon. They were only going to have a hundred or more copies of the game. Sure enough, T.R. and the others came in with the boxes, and started putting the copies out for sale. They were snatched up at a frenetic pace. I was rather pleased for the game, which had won several ENnies the night before.

I bought a few more things that I probably should have skipped on, but what the heck. It was only money at this point. Wandered around a bit more, I came across Phil Foglio‘s booth and couldn’t resist picking up the Myth Adventures graphic novel and the first volume of Girl Genius. And a free tote bag! Phil’s a really nice guy, and it was a pleasure meeting him.


Phil Foglio at his GenCon booth

Wandered out of the main hall, and into the ICC hallways, and came across some neat characters.


A great costume, even if I don’t know who/what it is

Came across a magnificent John Hammond and his marvellous cane. Had to take photos of him, and the cane. The fellow was very kind and also talked to me about the construction of the cane.


A terrific John Hammond


John Hammond’s marvellous cane

Also saw an interesting group of characters posing for photos, and managed to snap a picture of them.


Interesting mix of characters

Another couple of characters that you might recognise.


You might recognise these two characters

Went back in to the Exhibit Hall and caught up with SteveR. We headed over to the Stronghold Games booth, as I wanted to drop off a business card there and see whether I could myself a writing or editing gig for them. While that remains open still, I did pick up a copy of the Terraforming Mars board game as well as the Hellas & Elysium expansion for the game. Looks really good, and I definitely want to play this when I get back to Ottawa. As to the writing or editing gig, that remains to be seen.

It was getting late in the morning, and SteveR and I still had plans to walk over to the Ulisses Spiele NA seminar that was to be held over in Union Station so we left the Exhibit Hall. Stopped off and caught a bit of the Water Street Bridge performance in one of the hallways of the ICC. I took a photo of the band performing, and bought three of their CDs. Good music.


Water Street Bridge performing in the ICC

By this time it was close to 11:45 am, so SteveR and I dropped out purchases at the room in the Westin, and then made the arduous, seriously long treak from the Westin to Union Station for the Ulisses Spiele NA seminar on future products the company was going to be working on. My legs were aching by the time we got to the seminar, about 5 minutes late, and the room was pretty much full though we managed to find seats. I considered tweeting something about the seminar, but it was being recorded. We learned about stuff in the pipeline for their games, including Torg Eternity and The Dark Eye RPG.


The Ulisses Spiele NA seminar

From the seminar, SteveR and I made our way back to the Westin, stopping off for some food – a slice of bad pizza, to be honest – at the Cross Roads Bistro. I wasn’t happy about the pizza or perhaps it was the way my feet were feeling, but I had a feeling something was wrong, other than my stomach.


The Cross Roads Bistro sign

We got back to the Westin hotel and made our way back up to our hotel room. And that’s when my life at the convention changed for the rest of the weekend (and for the weeks after we returned from the convention). The moment I took my right shoe off, I knew something was wrong – the entire right side of my sock was covered in blood and what looked like a greenish liquid. I thought that it was my hammertoe that had burst, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. I had a very bad blister on the bottom of my right foot, about the size of a large Canadian toonie. Lots of blood. This was not good. (And no, despite taking some photos you won’t see them here at all.) In addition, I had two developing blisters on the left foot. Suffice it to say, I’m not going into more details here other than to say that I considered catching the next flight home to Ottawa, though I didn’t as I wanted to stick out the convention as best I could. The Westin staff proved very helpful, and by the time 5:00 pm rolled around, the wounds were antibiotic-ed and bandaged, and I had a wheelchair. A manual wheelchair that I couldn’t move due to the left shoulder problem. I’ll just say at this point that SteveR was a goddesssend for the rest of the convention. I spent a bit of time that I had with SteveR occupied elsewhere catching up some more on the Twitter feed, and saw that Modiphius was down to just a few copies of Tales From the Loop left.


The last of the TFtL game at Modiphius booth

SteveR returned to the hotel, and I talked to him about supper. Since he was off to another event that evening, he wouldn’t be joining me. He did agree to help me get up to Shula’s restaurant for supper, since I needed to eat early before the Coriolis – The Third Horizon RPG session that night, but he wouldn’t stay. For those who read my tweets once I got up to supper, yes, I was feeling quite sorry for myself. The meal at Shula’s was overly expensive, and not something I’m going to post photos of here (though I took a couple), suffice it to say spending all that money on supper didn’t improve my mood. I had hoped to go to Loughmiller’s Pub again for the evening meal, but there was no way to wheel my chair there, and they probably couldn’t accommodate me given the narrowness of the aisles around the tables and sheer crowdedness of the place during the convention. *sigh*

Around 7:30 pm, SteveR returned and helped wheel me over to the Hyatt for the evening game of Coriolis – The Third Horizon, helping me carry all the gaming books and the scenario that I’d need for the evening game. We got to the Hyatt and went into the Directors 1 room for the game, and I was pleased to see that there was no other game in the room that evening. A complete difference compared to the previous night’s game, to be sure, though the sound in the room would echo a bit as I discovered when we started playing.

The Coriolis – The Third Horizon scenario that I was running on this Friday afternoon was the newest adventure published by the folks at Fria Ligan/Free League Publishing called “The Dying Ship”, and had just gone on sale at the convention the day before. The scenario features the same characters from the “Dark Flowers” Quickstart adventure – Dr. Armita Wana, Zebaraimas “Zebo” Hutul, Samioh Amin, Rouya Ghallab and Nima Dol-Soufi – as the characters investigate what’s going on aboard a freighter that has gone silent, and discover a deadly secret. One that may all not live to tell the tale about. While I’m not going to go into detail about the scenario for the obvious reasons, since I plan to run it at other conventions in the future, I’ll only discuss some of the elements of the game here. Bear in mind there are SPOILER WARNINGS here, so be warned.

As mentioned, the Saturday night Coriolis – The Third Horizon RPG session of “The Dying Ship” was completely different from the Friday night game. The quietness in the room that had a bit of an echoing quality to it when speaking lent an interesting eerieness that perfectly fit the Coriolis RPG scenario feel. Out of the five players that pre-registered for game, four of the players actually showed up so one of the two fellows who had Generic tickets (the fellow whom I’d spoken with about the game at the Modiphius booth on Friday) got into the game. The real neat aspect of this was that none of the players had played Coriolis, but were eager to do so based on the hype surrounding the game being the “Arabian Nights in space”. The five players, all guys, got into the game really early, having a good grasp of the game rules once I went through the spiel about them, and loved the premise of the game.

As for the game itself, Saturday night’s session of “The Dying Ship” was highly enjoyable. The players loved the magical and very faerie tale-like beginning with the old woman, and got right into the spirit of things when they received the potential job offer and request to meet at Wahib’s. They handled the encounter at Wahib’s with aplomb, and the player playing Samioh Amin did a good job of intimidating the opposition leader, and thus avoiding combat in the cantina. They were suspicious of their client from the get-go, but still were taken by surprise when they reached the Orun II and started learning the truth of their mission. The fellow playing Dr. Armita Wana played her loose, not exercising total control as the Captain might have, but was still an effective leader. Zebo was played with proper religious deference, and the player really liked the nature of the Icons and their influence in the everyday life of the people of the Horizon. The guy who played Samioh definitely played the sensor ops guy, but I liked the relationship between him and the fellow playing Zebo. Rouya came across very military the way the fellow was playing her, but did what she had to to keep the other characters safe, though she paid the ultimate sacrificeprice in the scenario. Finally, the fellow playing Nima had a good relationship with the Rouya character, and was devastated at her sacrifice. His Data Djinn skills were invaluable to the others, when it came down to it, and the player gave Nima a somewhat humourous aspect to him.


Coriolis RPG Saturday Game 1

I can’t mention any game highlights here without spoiling the scenario, so I won’t. All the players loved the basic game mechanics, and found them very easy to work with and understand. They told me they’d had a great time playing “The Dying Ship”, and thought the adventure was wonderfully “dark & twisty” (their words). Two of the players, fans of the Arabian Nights material, said the adventure and the game really had the feel to it, and they would definitely buy copies of the game the next day, while the fellow that I’d spoken to at the Modiphius booth told me he was glad he’d bought the game on the Friday, as it was well worth the price from the game session he’d just played. “It lived up to your hype of the game,” he told me. 🙂 Like I said, it was a good game session and let me forget my foot woes for several hours.


Coriolis RPG Saturday Game 2

By the time midnight had rolled around, I was feeling exhausted and drained from running the game of Coriolis – The Third Horizon, but had had a good time of it. SteveR came by around 10 to midnight, and watched the final moments of the scenario unfold. He helped me pack the gaming material while I also chatted with a couple of players afterwards, and then we got ready to head back to the Westin, SteveR helping me wheel(chair) back to the Westin.

We got back to the Westin hotel room, and SteveR helped me change the foot dressing and then we had a light snack (I can’t remember what we had for it, to be honest). After that we crashed. It was around 1:00 am or so, and I remember thinking that I was so very tired and so hurting in the foot before I fell asleep. But also how great the night’s Coriolis scenario had been.

That’s the wrap-up on the fifth day of the trip to Indy, and the third official day of GenCon 2017. Hope folks enjoyed the blog entry. The Sunday report on events will follow as soon as I get a chance.

GenCon 2017, Day 1 Report August 31, 2017

Posted by jkahane in conventions, coriolis rpg, gaming hut, gencon, personal, photos, roleplaying games, rpg hut, the dark eye rpg, torg eternity rpg.
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Here is the report of the third day of the trip to GenCon 2017, and the actual first day of the convention proper. The report on the second day of my trip to GenCon 2017 can be found in this journal entry.

August 17th, 2017

I woke up this morning feeling much better than I had on Wednesday, though my back hurt something fierce from the lumpy, soft mattress on the bed. I took care of the morning ablutions (the hot shower did wonders for my back), and after he had done the same, SteveR and I headed down to breakfast after I took my morning insulin shot. This promised to be a busy day, as it was the first actual day of the convention, so a good breakfast was important.

I had a 2-egg omelette (cooked with some cooking spray, rather than butter), with spinach, mushrooms and mozzarella cheese, and it was satisfying and not too filling as the omelette the day before had been. The decaf coffee was still too bitter for my taste, so I drank a cup of it sparingly. SteveR and I headed back up to the Westin Indianapolis hotel room to get ready for the morning. We had planned not to go to the International Convention Center (ICC from hereon out) for the opening of the Exhibit Hall and the dealers’ section, as it would be more packed than ever to get in at 10:00 am. (Note: From some of the photos I saw on-line that morning, it was an absolute madhouse and sea of humanity, so I’m glad we didn’t try to go that early.)

Once SteveR and I went over to the ICC and got to seeing things in the Exhibit Hall, much of it is a blur (though I did take some photos here and there). I started off by going over to the Modiphius Entertainment booth, as I needed to pick up the stuff that I needed to run the Coriolis – The Third Horizon RPG games I was going to run on Friday and Saturday. T.R. Knight and his family weren’t working that morning, and I didn’t see Chris Birch there, but one of the folks working the booth recognised my name, and he brought me the stuff that I’d need to run the game – the main rulebook, the GM Screen, and the new scenario that was debuting there at the convention, “The Dying Ship”. SteveR was kind enough to carry the heavy Coriolis book and GM Screen material for me, since my shoulder wouldn’t bear the load. He was also eyeing the new Star Trek Adventures roleplaying game, but he didn’t pick it up (yet).


The Darkness is coming to GenCon…

From there, SteveR and I headed over to the Ulisses Spiele North America booth, and I was pleased to see that both Eric Simon and Darrell Hayhurst were there. I introduced myself to Darrell, though he recognised me (and my wearing the 2015 TORG ETERNITY t-shirt didn’t hurt!), and we talked about all manner of stuff pertaining to the game for a bit.


Darrell Hayhurst of USNA and me

I didn’t want to monopolise his time, however (that’s bad etiquette at conventions), so I spoke with Eric about The Dark Eye RPG, since I was thinking of picking it up as a possible alternative to the Trudvang Chronicles (whenever that comes out). A lovely young German lady who also works for the company (I think) talked to me about the game and made me a good deal offer on a whole bunch of the game materials (and I wish I could remember her name). The folks at the booth put the Dark Eye materials away for me, since I didn’t want to lug it around the dealers’ room and I didn’t want SteveR to be too saddled with the game materials.

From the Ulisses Spiele NA booth, I headed towards the other side of the Exhibit Hall, encountering lots of slow moving traffic, and people who don’t understand that you have conversations off to the side of an aisle, not in the middle of it (this happened a lot during the weekend, but that’s another story). SteveR and I worked our way over to the Exile Games booth, and chatted with Jeff Combos and his daughter (they grow up so fast!). I also saw Tom Cadorette there as well, and we chatted for a bit, and caught up with each others’ lives. The booth had a good amount of Hollow Earth Expedition (HEX) materials, but nothing new. I also checked out the Quantum Black RPG that was for sale at the booth (the two designers of the game were also there), but it does nothing for me in terms of the Cthulhu meets Ubiquity feel, and I would rather run the Chill 3rd Edition RPG if I’m going to play horror, to be honest.


Jeff Combos and his daughter at the Exile Games booth


All things HEX at the Exile Games booth

SteveR and I went all the way to the Paizo booth were more of the Ulisses Spiele NA folks, namely Ross Watson and Dean Gibert (his user name most places is TorgHacker), were working. I introduced myself to the two gentlemen, and we talked a bit more about Torg Eternity and some of the plans for it. Had a good conversation with Ross and Dean, and learned a few secrets about stuff coming up, among other things. Dean mentioned that there were going to be a limited number of Torg Eternity dice sets available on Friday and the new Torg Eternity t-shirts on Saturday. Aggghhhh! That meant that I needed to come to the Exhibit Hall early on both days to make sure I got one of each, though I was able to convince SteveR to get here if I couldn’t make it for whatever reasons.


Me sandwiched between Ross Watson and Dean Gilbert

After looking at some of the other merchandise in the Paizo booth area, primarly the Ulisses stuff, SteveR and I headed from there to the Koplow Games booth. Several of the staff working there, including the owner, were somewhat baffled when I asked if they had any dice that were reminiscent of the Arabian Nights stories or the like, while the customers around me were amused and curious as to why I wanted them. They couldn’t help me with those, but did have some lovely scarab dice that glow in the dark, and I bought sixteen d6s from them. Very happy with that purchase.

SteveR and I went back to the Ulisses Spiele NA booth, and I bought a ton (well, it was only 12 kgs worth) of The Dark Eye RPG books. We were both ready for lunch, so we left the ICC and headed back to the Westin, where we stopped at the FedEx store in the building, and I shipped the Dark Eye books back to Canada. Somewhat expensive, but worth it (I thought at the time).

After going up to the hotel room and relaxing for a bit, we headed down to Shula’s for lunch. The place was quite busy, but we got in easily enough, and had a nice table by the windows where the sun was coming in. I had their terrific club sandwich (minus the mayo) with a tall glass of water (actually, two, as I was feeling a bit dehydrated). We went back up to the hotel room, grabbed a few things to take with us, and then I headed over with SteveR to the J.W. Marriott to hopefully get into the Torg Eternity game going on there, “The Burden of Glory”. The trip to the J.W. took too long, and there were no vacancies in the game, so we sat and watched the game for around 1/2 an hour or so. My GMing style for Torg (and Torg Eternity) is very different from that of the fellow (whose name I don’t know) running the game, but it was insightful to watch the game, to be sure. SteveR said that he’d come to watch the game as he was curious about how it played, and he told me that he really liked the use of the three decks of cards. My appetite to run the game was so whetted. *sigh* I could have taken a couple of photos of the table at play, but just didn’t feel right doing so.

SteveR and I headed back for the Westin to take a bit of time off and relax a bit. Caught up a bit on my Twitter feed, and heard about the terrible attack in Barcelona. Terrorism is unacceptable. My thoughts were with the injured and the families of the injured or dead. I realised that I needed to read up on “The Dying Ship” scenario for the Coriolis – The Third Horizon RPG that I’d be running, and discovered something – it didn’t have any character sheets and there were a lot of handouts to give to the players, plus several maps that were needed to run the adventure! I started to panic, but SteveR calmed me down by saying that we should use the printer in the Westin lobby. We went downstairs to try that and when that didn’t work, I asked the Westin staff if they’d be willing to print out two copies of the character sheets as well as all the hand-outs and ship maps and the like, and they were more then willing to do so! In colour! We used the on-line version of the “Dark Flowers” Quickstart scenario and some of the material off that document. When the Westin printer started having problems printing the character sheets out (perhaps due to lack of ink, or some other malfunction…in either case, I felt somewhat guilty about things), SteveR went over to FedEx to do the rest of the copying for me. I want to thank the folks at the Westin Indianapolis for their terrific assistance with my printing and other issues this day. If you’re reading this, *Thank you!* very, very much.

By the time I finally started to breathe calmly again, I discovered it was getting on towards supper, and since I’d not really snacked properly during the afternoon, I was feeling somewhat light-headed. I took one of my glucose tabs, but that only went so far to help out in this regard. SteveR and I decided to go and eat at High Velocity in the J.W. Marriott area, and so we headed there. By the time we got there, I was literally on my last legs, suffering dizziness and blurred vision. (Too little food during the day, and a lot of exercise.) The hostess at High Velocity told us that the wait would be at least 45 minutes, but they took pity on me when I told them of my diabetic condition (and I guess I must have looked pretty horrible) as we were seated at a table in less than 15 minutes. Looking over the menu, I ordered a caesar salad and the fish ‘n chips. The Caesar salad was extremely salty (though I needed a bit of that, too), but the fish ‘n chips really hit the spot. When we left High Velocity, I was feeling much better but somewhat tired.


Fish ‘n chips at High Velocity

Heading back to the Westin from the J.W. Marriott, I saw this game being played in one of the many hallway alcoves in the ICC, and couldn’t resist the picture opportunity, as it was just so cute.


A game of Oh, Gnome You Don’t! in the ICC area

Got back to the hotel room at the Westin feeling…tired. Just felt like a long day. With a bit of time before my insulin shot, I sat back and read most of “The Dying Ship” adventure one more time. After all, the Darkness is coming tomorrow at GenCon…for two days only. 🙂 Need to be read up on the scenario, obviously.

Also took a couple of other pictures in the hotel room, one of my lovely scarab dice, which will see use tomorrow. hehe (However, those will wait until the loot photos at the end of the convention.)

I took my insulin injection, and followed this by having a bowl of Cheerios with some milk. SteveR joined me in this endeavour (the Cheerios, not the insulin) and we chatted amiably about the day at GenCon 2017 and how things had gone. We both hit the beds, and continued talking for another half hour or so, and then turned off the lights. I didn’t sleep all that easily, but don’t remember the clock reading 1:00 pm. It was a long day, and I would need my rest for Friday and the first running of the Coriolis – The Third Horizon RPG.

Anyway, so that’s the wrap-up on the third day of the trip to Indy, and the first official day of GenCon 2017. Next up will be the Friday report, when I get the chance.

Shopping, Buying a Car, and Boston Pizza August 11, 2017

Posted by jkahane in conventions, food hut, gencon, grocery shopping, health hut, personal, photos.
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It has been a long, stressful day in many ways. But with a good outcome.

Spent part of the morning shopping for supplies and stuff that I need for the trip down to GenCon Indy 2017 and was pretty tired when I got home for lunch. After lunch, I made my final decision as to the car that I wanted, and went over to the Mazda dealership, Dilawri Mazda, and bought my car.

She’s a 2014 Mazda GS, and her colour is Titanium Flash (fancy paint job, that!). 🙂

Since the car won’t be mine until the insurance is set up and new license plates and registration are established, from Mazda it was getting late so time for supper. Headed over to Boston Pizza once more, and ate a lovely meal of a small caesar salad and a Pizza Bella, washed down with a Heineken.

I couldn’t eat the whole pizza, so took the leftovers home with me for lunch or supper tomorrow night.

Just sitting back and relaxing now, about 10:35 pm, before I have to take my insulin shot. Then bed.

Long day, tiring, exhausting, but rewarding. 🙂

TORG 1st Edition Package in Snail Mail June 21, 2017

Posted by jkahane in personal, photos, roleplaying games, rpg hut, torg eternity rpg.
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Got a nice surprise today when I got home.

A selection of the old Torg: The Possibility Wars RPG game products arrived in the snail mail today.

I received the Relics of Power trilogy (including the GM Screen), the Living Land sourcebook, the Queenswrath supplement, and the Character Collection.

Unfortunately, I haven’t found a TORG 1st Edition Boxed Set or set of Drama Deck cards yet (for a reasonable price). 😦

In the meantime, I continue to be psyched for the Torg: Eternity RPG that will hopefully be out to Kickstarter backers in October.

Ambrosia RPG Quickstart Has Arrived June 7, 2017

Posted by jkahane in ambrosia rpg, personal, photos, roleplaying games, rpg hut.
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Been waiting for it for a while, but have finally received my copy of the hardcover Ambrosia: A Gathering of Souls, the English Quickstart book for the Ambrosia RPG. (The link above is to a YouTube video review of the book.)

Deep in our collective memory, hidden by mistakes of forgetfulness, lies a world that balances on that fine edge between sleep and awakening. A world that appears to come from a painting by Jheronimus Bosch or Pieter Brueghel, a world of gods and monsters. This is the world of Ambrosia, a unique role-playing game inspired by the history and folklore of the Low Countries. Ambrosia is based on a relatively low fantasy setting. The game offers a combination of political game and classical adventures, where conflicts in the court can be as deadly as a direct confrontation with a monster-like creature of forgotten times.

The hardcover Quickstart book (it’s available in other formats at DriveThruRPG by following the link) is a beautiful book that is 78 pages in length, and has solid, but manageable, cardstock paper, beautiful art (as seen above), and is about half preview of the rules and a little over half the adventure itself, “A Gathering of Souls”. I’m not going to spoil the adventure for would-be players, but will say that it’s highly evocative of the setting, the writing and editing are pretty good (though there are a few glitches to my editorial eye), but overall this is one snappy looking, well thought out Quickstarter book.

If what I’ve said and the two graphics above intrigue you, take a look at the game through the link I’ve posted above.

Leave Your World Behind, Again June 4, 2017

Posted by jkahane in coriolis rpg, personal, photos, rpg hut, skyrealms of jorune rpg.
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“The time has come,” the walrus said, or something like that.

Once upon a time, in something like late 1982 or perhaps the 1984/1985 period (I can barely remember some of that time, and in my weakened state right now, well…) there was a really cool science fantasy (though I preferred to think of it as science fiction) roleplaying game called SkyRealms of Jorune. It was a very alien world, and had a great motto for the time: Leave Your World Behind.

Well, it’s time for me to Leave My World Behind, Again (to paraphrase somewhat). While I dearly love the Coriolis – The Third Horizon RPG, I’ve had a hankering for a while to go back to Jorune, to experience some of that sheer alien-ness again, and while I’ll continue to run Coriolis as well, I think SkyRealms of Jorune is that “other” science fiction rpg that I want to run.

So with the help of SteveR today, I have taken all the Jorune goodness out of my gaming/books storage cupboard, and have now but to peruse them again.

Can’t wait to revisit Jorune…soon.

Dice to Go, Version 2 May 17, 2017

Posted by jkahane in cangames, conventions, gaming hut, personal, photos, rpg hut.
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As a general rule, when I go to the local gaming convention here in Ottawa, CanGames, I try to take dice and provide for the folks playing in any of the games I run. Well, this year is no exception.

I have one of these very nice wooden, 10″ dice trays that I purchased years ago from Koplow Games (which they still sell, though not on-line), and that’s what I take with me every year for CanGames.

And well… it’s ready to go for this year. Dice to go! 🙂

Book Stacks Arrived (and a CD) March 7, 2017

Posted by jkahane in book hut, music hut, personal, photos, reading hut.
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One of the things I’ve always said is that I’m quite likely to die with a stack of books that I won’t have read left behind.

Here’s proof of this. This load of books arrived in snail mail yesterday, Monday the 6th.

And here’s the second batch of books that was waiting at my door when I got home this afternoon. (There was also a Delta Goodrem CD with this package, but you can’t make that one out too well.)

I’m glad to have received the books, now just gotta find time to read them all. 🙂