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.
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.
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.
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.
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!"