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Kapcon - Veni, vidi, bacchavi
January 26th, 2011
02:16 am

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Kapcon
So, I went up to Wellington in the weekend for Kapcon. It was the most awesome convention I've ever attended, and I hope that next year continues in this vein.

This is going to be a bit bare bones, I think, I hope to come back and update this some more in the next day or so.

Pre-con:
I had 2 and a bit days precon, having arrived on Wednesday night. Wellington has a lot of nice places to be a foodie, and hang out, and I wound up with 3 successive nights eating out and losing track of all of my funds. It was glorious, though it did mean I didn't get to buy any board games.
Though, I did manage to read :
Harry Harrison - Bill the Galactic Hero: Hilarious, farcical, quick to read.
Charles Stross - The Family Trade: Enthralling read, though I'm very glad I bought the second book the day I finished the first. It's obviously the preamble for a big series.
Pre-con drinks itself, like last year, felt like something I should have enjoyed immensely, standing around talking to like minded gamers, many of whom I've met before, but instead I felt out of place. I know this is just my personal neuroses and bear no ill will to the con, or the people there. It's just hard to mesh with a group that's comprised in large part of people who are quite good friends. It's hard to not feel like you're intruding on conversations sometimes.

Session 1: Dead Man's Chest
A LARP facilitated by Anna Klein. I was definitely the sore thumb for my lack of costuming, and I owe an apology to the people there for this. I had a hard time getting into the swing of things, and while I had a good time, I wonder if the character I plaeyd, the Chef who is secretly a poisoner, is written with worse ins to the group than others. Maybe people are just supposed to have less respect for social station according to the LARP writers, since I understand this to have been a prebought scenario for dinner party use.
Regardless, it was a great start to the con, everyone else looked amazing in costume, and Bryn's captain Jack was awesome. Thanks to the players, and to Anna for running it.

Session 2: Purgatory 13, Descent to Abraxus
I went in with high hopes, and I wasn't disappointed. Though in some ways I think the final session of Purgatory 13 run sounds like it was more of the mania I had hoped this one would be, the GMs having kicked into high gear so that they could reach their target for kills. It was definitely very interesting and strange, and a game I don't regret having played in. The 12 man session was split in two, with two GMs in two rooms, and actions having consequences mirrored in both rooms. We basically doomed the ship utterly by being incompetent, it took us too long to realize that burning through all of your passions was much better than ever failing anything. Or at least, it took me too long to realize it. (Also, I found my initial passion, LUST, to be hard for me to work into the narrative, in the end I just shoehorned it in to burn the character up and achieve -something-.)

Session 3: 3:16 Carnage Amongst the Stars
I ran this one. I'm still not inspired by my performance, though I've had at least 2 of my players say they had a good time. I need to work ongetting things set up better, and not dragging so much. I only got through 2 worlds before I had to call the session. My favourite moments were Scott narrating his combats via what songs were being queued up on his Mandelbrite armour. I really need to find a way to work around recalcitrant Sergeants. Both times I've run, I've felt that part of the slow down came from the sergeant not having enough energy for what I wanted them to do, and other players/characters deferring to them didn't help.

LARP: Al Shir-ma.
I played as Umar al-Aziza, lovesick son of the apothecary/alchemist Aziza. I helped my best friend Jisan recover his memories, in part so that he wouldn't pursue Samia, the woman of my (and most other peoples) dreams.
I spent a lot of time after that skirting the issue, pursuing a job with the listlessness of someone who doesn't have direction, and I spent an ammount of time discussing with people ways for me to show Samia I loved her with a grand gesture.
Eventually, I took a job with the court as junior scribe, bending to my mothers whims, and admitted to Samia my love, admittedly after Jisan got sick of my mooning over Samia and -dragged me to her- and told her I liked her. Things were actually -less- awkward for me after that point, surprisingly.
In the meanwhile, Yehzeed, the barber who was in love with my mother, and was my substitute father figure (my real father having died many years before), had a falling out with my mother. Aziza had discovered his part in my father's death and loss of riches. He begged me to reconcile them, but being emotionally volatile, I just wound up shouting at my mother about how she was letting old hatreds rob her of her chance of happiness.
Somehow in this, Yehzeed came to an agreement with Aziza that he would marry Samia (the woman I loved, who loved him) in exchange for Aziza receiving all of my fathers stolen wealth and power. The moment of this reveal was, however, utterly heart breaking for me as Umar.
Actually, I really would like clarification on if Samia was about to agree to marry me and Yehzeed interrupted, or if I just completely misread what was meant to be a gentle breaking of news as a cause for celebration.
Heart broken, and sure that my mother would never, ever, stop scheming and running my life if I stayed in Al shir-ma, I left with one of the traders, penniless. I did this because it was this, or find a weapon and kill Yehzeed, since my life had no meaning anymore. And because I really just wanted my mother to not get what she wanted, since she'd just arranged to marry the woman she knew I loved to someone else.

Probably the LARP would've gone much differently for me if I'd not been playing a lovesick wimp who put off even declaring his intentions for a long time because he was trying to get something grand and romantic to give to win her fathers approval, but had absolutely nothing to trade whatsoever.

Session 4: The Thursday Crisis
And see, if I hadn't been in Dale Elvy's incredibly awesome game 4th session, I probably would have made the LARP my breakaway best game of the convention. But I had SO MUCH fun with this, that I honestly can't tell if Al Shir-ma, or Session 4, or Session 5 were my best game.
Suffice to say, gaming with Norm, Jenni, and Nasia (and two guys I know less well, and can not name from memory) was awesome. I spent most of the game either appalled by, hating, or looking up to Norm's rendition of my father, CAPTAIN HOPE, and when Jenni's PROFESSOR ETERNITY was falling apart, I felt honestly defensive for my character DANIEL HOPE's mother.
The twist was seen a long way coming, out of character. But I didn't see it at all coming IC.
Oh, and starting off playing by appearing on a breakfast talk show totally rocked too.

Session 5: Best Friends
I was supposed to run 3:16 in this slot, but I didn't get enough players signing up, and I was bone tired, so I canned it and played in Games on Demand instead. There, I saw Jenni who I'd just had a great Session 4 with, and signed up immediately for her game, Best Friends. The game of Bitchy high school girls, where your stats are determined by what people hate you for.
Anyway, it was great, we played as Carebears. I was initially lukewarm to the idea, and I did think of leaving early to go replay Purgatory 13, but I'm glad I stuck with it. The ways in which we ruined Jenni's childhood probably shouldn't be recounted. I will say I'm honestly surprised that Ian's wonderfully played FRUITMOOSE, the enforcer of good diets, didn't actually -kill- me at the end of the game. I was expecting it, but it didn't come. And I'll say that the ventriloquist act was almost certainly planted in my head because of Jenni mentioning the Robot Chicken episode about Carebear Cousin genocide.

Aftercon
Too tired to continue, I helped clean up in Session 6, and then got a lift out to Norm's for the after-con bash. This was awesome too, like last year. I got to talk to a raft of interesting people, and filled my head with more ideas about how to organize things, and how to become a better GM. I also rashly agreed to run a game in the first round of Kapcon next year, and I intend to stick to that. I'll either run a SDC entry from the past, or I'll actually make a scenario. I've got a few months to decide before Idiot starts bugging for blurbs.

Thanks:
Go to Naomi and Sam, for arranging me a place to stay.
Sean and Susan, and their wonderful children, for letting me stay in their spare room.
Con organizers, for running a great con.
All the GMs, for running great games.
All the players, for being swell people to game with.
All the people who gave me a lift while I was in Wellington, you all rock.

I'm sure I've missed important people and things. I'll come back and revisit this at some point, but at this point it's been an hour since I started writing this, and I should really sleep. I'm still nowhere near caught up on sleep after the con.

Final note:
Resolution I made with self after 'The Thursday Crisis'. See if I can get Dale to run those characters again at a future con with the same players. The players were a blast, the characters were a blast, and, well, Norm may have been my favourite gamer of the entire con for the way he constantly said "FOR HOPE!"

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Comments
 
[User Picture]
From:allova
Date:January 25th, 2011 01:24 pm (UTC)
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The first time I ran Dead Man's Chest, the player of Quintus Swelter said the same thing about having not enough ins with the others, so I think there is something wrong with the character. Thanks for mentioning it, I'll keep it in mind for future runs.
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From:confusiontempst
Date:January 25th, 2011 01:29 pm (UTC)
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No problem. I gather what's supposed to happen is that it comes out that the old Captain was murdered by poison, and that it comes out that I'm a vicious poisoner.
Apparently none of the pirates knew I was a poisoner? The governor seemed to tell me he knew.

I did have an in to "make Tom's life miserable", and I half heartedly attempted to. But I wasn't sure how to really accomplish that.
And I failed to trade the cheese immediately at the start, thinking I'd try to barter it to the natives, or maybe for a pardon. But because Sawbones healed Nick(I think that's the name of the guy with the bullet in his head) so fast, I think I missed my only opportunity to use that.

Still, I did help plant the thought that pirates needed to be sacrificed to appease the volcano into the priests head (I'm sure he would've thought of it anyway, if he hadn't already), simply because I figured it'd help stir things up.
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From:anarchangel23
Date:January 25th, 2011 06:35 pm (UTC)
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It's just hard to mesh with a group that's comprised in large part of people who are quite good friends. It's hard to not feel like you're intruding on conversations sometimes.

I found the same thing at the Kapcon drinks I attended a couple of years ago. It's always tricky being at a big con where you only know a handful of people.


I need to work ongetting things set up better, and not dragging so much.

We should play a couple of games when I'm down later in the year.


Scott narrating his combats via what songs were being queued up on his Mandelbrite armour.

That's awesome! When I played Inspectres in a lobby area at Neoncon in Vegas I used the piped musak as inspiration for a few character moments, but nothing that cool.


I really need to find a way to work around recalcitrant Sergeants.

That's an interesting problem. I don't think I've ever encountered that. It could be that there's something in my style that pulls people out of turtling, but it's probably just dumb luck (and on at least one occasion, collusion!)
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From:confusiontempst
Date:January 25th, 2011 09:03 pm (UTC)
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Well, the first time I ran my sergeant, an otherwise awesome person that I've never had an opportunity to game with, actually fell asleep during the game because it was the final session of Buckets and she was exhausted.
The second time I ran, (the Kapcon time), my sergeant started directly disobeying orders right at the end. Maybe I should have just used instant field demotion and promoted someone else to sergeant in his place? (He was balking at continuing on into another combat when half his squad was on the verge of death, since his mission was obviously pointless. I don't think he quite got what 3:16 is all about.
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From:anarchangel23
Date:January 25th, 2011 10:16 pm (UTC)
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Ugh, sleeping players... that's impolite. They really should have sat out.

I wish I had a sergeant disobey orders! That's fantastic! I would have tried to prompt a mutiny :)
Incidentally, that sergeant's situation is what the E-Vac command is for. :D
[User Picture]
From:confusiontempst
Date:January 25th, 2011 10:20 pm (UTC)
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I think I didn't explain weaknesses properly, no oen used one. Then again, no one died either. (Mike Sands advised me to just crank the diff up to 8 or 9, or even 10, for every planet)

He did so in front of a propaganda officer, who turned to the 2 corporals and ordered them to shoot the sergeant. One fired, and intentionally missed. I think if it happens again I'll just have to say "the man who kills the traitor will be promoted."
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From:anarchangel23
Date:January 25th, 2011 10:26 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, 8+ is where it gets challenging. I usually set the first one at 6 or 7, then roll after that. Then the opening planet is hard, but probably not fatal, and the roleplaying carries it more than the danger after that. I've run it three times at US cons and killed... one character? Maybe two?

At the point where the ranking officer has mutinied, I think you've won. I'd just it into a chase game at that point. Nothing says 3:16 like dying in a blaze of gunfire at the hands of the 3:16.
[User Picture]
From:confusiontempst
Date:January 25th, 2011 10:38 pm (UTC)
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That's true. I really should've just run with that. Need to think better on my feat. And take Mash's "yes, but" advice to heart.
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From:anarchangel23
Date:January 26th, 2011 04:25 am (UTC)
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Yeah, it's all well and good for me to say it now though right. :) I may not always agree with Mash's advice, but it's always worth thinking about.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:January 26th, 2011 03:29 am (UTC)
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I found the same thing at the Kapcon drinks I attended a couple of years ago. It's always tricky being at a big con where you only know a handful of people.

Actually, I feel this way at times and I know most people there most of the time. It might be more to do with the set-up than with the people. You end up at a table talking, and those floating around assume they can't just join in. It's usually false. But that's why my favourite part of the pre-drinks is after most people have left.
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From:adrexia
Date:January 26th, 2011 03:31 am (UTC)
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Ahh...that was me. :)
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From:anarchangel23
Date:January 26th, 2011 04:26 am (UTC)
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I agree with that. Groups of people conversing usually seem much more exclusive than they are.
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From:jenni_talula
Date:January 27th, 2011 03:25 am (UTC)
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Yep, Dale has strict orders from me to never stop writing games with Prof Eternity and Captain Hope. <3 that game, although it's not usually that emotional!
[User Picture]
From:confusiontempst
Date:January 27th, 2011 04:28 am (UTC)
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:D As I say, I would happily play Daniel again. There's a certain part of my mind that's been thinking "if Daniel grows up a little bit and wanted a superhero name, and a costume, what would he pick?" ever since I originally got asked for what costume I was wearing and I decided that wearing my own band T-shirt seemed like it'd fit the character.
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From:jenni_talula
Date:January 27th, 2011 10:08 pm (UTC)
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Yep, wearing his own band T shirt was incredibly right and excellent.
[User Picture]
From:confusiontempst
Date:February 13th, 2011 01:04 am (UTC)
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I just now watched this icon for the first time. I's amazing, but I think I lost a few braincells.
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