I didn’t plan for Friday to be my shortest day at Con on the Cob, but a bunch of bacteria hit me with a vicious gut punch and my plans changed; instead of staying until the wee hours of Saturday morning, I was on the road home at 6:30pm.
Unfortunately, leaving early meant missing missing performances by The FuMP artists Positive Attitude, Power Salad and Worm Quartet. Fortunately, I was treated to a Dementia Circle hosted by Rob Balder the night before. In attendance: the great Luke Ski, Chris Mezzolesta (at most half of Power Salad), Alchav (at least half of Soggy Potato Chips), several con attendees and a bottle of Coconut Jack.
Before my untimely departure, I managed to:
- Play in Sean Patrick Fannon’s Shaintar: Immortal Legends game. The session, entitled “A Legend of Your Own”, was created on the fly using the Modular Adventure Creation System (M.A.C.S.), which defines essential elements of the upcoming story through a tarot-like card layout. Dispatched to a small southern mining town to investigate a potentially illegal local governance change, our party found the local populace under the watchful (and stern) eye of a mercenary band. After an intense battle involving a showdown between our ogre and their orc/ogre hybrid and the unexpected arrival and subsequent nullification of a warrior-mage, the party learned that the administrator of the silver mine had been abducted (along with his family) and were being transported to the nearest hive of scum and villainy. Horses and heroics followed, leading to a final showdown that extended the game beyond its alotted four-hour time slot, but ultimately resulted in free and grateful dwarves, a beaten and bruised party of adventurers and a slew of dead bad guys.
- Buy more dice. Yes. Because I needed them.
- Hear CRAP perform. Perhaps my irony sensor was on the fritz due to a headache and mounting stomach problems, but this did not rank as the highlight of my day.
Here’s how it went down: Chris Miller and I hit the road in the MVoD at approximately 6:00 Friday morning, armed with a cooler full of bottled water, some geeky t-shirts and our Zoom H2 digital voice recorder.
- Arriving at around 9:00, we met Mur Lafferty, Jim Van Verth, the Pink Tornado, Cmaaarrr and SciFi Laura for breakfast at Max & Erma’s, buffet style.
- Registration. Piece of cake! Pro tip: pre-register; it saves time and money. I decided not to buy any event passes because I wanted to play it by ear. I didn’t even pick up a handy program guide; I was totally footloose and fancy free.
- The Board Room: Rio Grande Games was giving away two free games with the purchase of a $16 pass to the Board Room. I snagged Crocodile Pool Party and Dragonriders. I wound up selling Dragonriders for $10 to a random guy in the hall about four hours later.
- While in the Board Room, we played Pandemic with Mur, Jim, Cmar and Laura. I want this game, but it is apparently very scarce at the moment.
- Lunch at The North Market. I played it safe and went with a known quantity: General Tso’s Chicken. During lunch the phrase “Give in to your sapphic desires!” was uttered, entirely within the context of the conversation.
- Back to the Board Room for some Arkham Horror with all the expansions. We were joined by Shannon Farrell and Carlos (whose last name I can never remember). Three and a half hours later, we had to wrap up the game due to time constraints. By the end of the game, Cmar had tapped Granny no less than fifteen times; she was exhausted, but he was not.
- Eventually we found ourselves gathered for dinner at Buca di Beppo with all of the above plus David Moore, Mario Dongu, Rachel Ross, John and JD. No vicious Internet rumors were started after I finished my linguine. None.
- Karaoke at The Big Bar on Two in the Hyatt. Paul Tevis nailed Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” and Rob Balder performed “Always a Goth Chick”, his parody of Billy Joel’s “Always a Woman.” Everyone else sucked. One whiskey sour, one Long Island Iced Tea and two gin and tonics later, it was…
- Breakfast with David, Shannon, Cmaaarrr and SciFi Laura at Max & Erma’s.
- Chris had to return home unexpectedly due to an emergency (don’t worry, everyone’s fine).
- I took a quick trip to Best Buy, where I bought a Fujifilm Finepix J10 digital camera.
- I met up with Gunnar “Miscellaneous G™” Hultgren and Jon “Man Mountain” Pollom for lunch at The North Market. How many days in a row can I eat General Tso’s Chicken for lunch? The world may never know.
- Armed with my new camera, I roamed the halls of the convention center looking for photo-ops. I managed to get a picture of Wonder Woman, but that was about it. I also visited the dealer’s room and carefully avoided the Chessex Bin o’ Hepatitis (more commonly referred to as the big dice bin; I was tempted to pick up some cheap dice, but the idea of rooting around in there just wasn’t very appealing).
- Later in the afternoon, I attended the Heroes and Villains costume contest, sponsored by the Ohio Gamers Association. There weren’t hundreds (or even hundred, singular) of contestants, but there were some very good costumes. Matthew “Feedback” Atherton, winner of season one of Who Wants to Be a Superhero? was the master of ceremonies and he did a very good job and hung around to chat with people afterward. He even did a promo for the upcoming release of Mur’s superhero novel, Playing For Keeps (available on Amazon.com, August 25th). The guy is just too damn likable.
- Mur “dragged” us to a barbecue where we played Mad Scientist University. The card game was ridiculously fun, owing to some excellent players with truly wild imaginations. I knew we were in for a treat early on when Ralph Melton equipped dwarfs with decoder rings, shrunk them down Inner Space-style and injected them into a human being to decode RNA. We created a bizarre continuity involving vampires, penguins, the Moore sphere, and a fifty-page index written by mosquitos. Much of the game was recorded by David Moore and may eventually be released to the public, but only after heavy censoring by the Department of Homeland Security.
- David had to run off to play the role of an NPC in an ARG and it was Mur’s evening with The Pink Tornado, so Jim, Cmar, Laura and I went to the Board Room and broke out Tannhäuser, which is essentially a first-person shooter board game. I had played once before but opted not to participate, instead providing occasional helpful (I hope) tips with the rules based on my prior experience. I started zonking out around midnight, so it was soon…
- At 10:00, we met for breakfast with the gang and Max & Erma’s. How many days in a row can I eat the same buffet for breakfast? Three.
- After breakfast, David, Mario and I returned to Room 929 to record The Secret Lair Origins Report. Assuming I didn’t completely fail my Use Zoom H2 Digital Recorder roll, we should have that posted in the next couple of days.
- At noon, I dashed to the dealer’s room to buy AmuseAmaze, a word game that I thought Laura might enjoy. By some stroke of luck, I found the rest of our merry gang playing some sort of card game and managed to say my goodbyes before dashing back to the Crown Plaza to…
- Pile my luggage and loot onto a cart, load up the MVoD and hit the highway.
And that pretty much wrapped it up for Origins 2008. With Mr. Miller soon moving to the Los Angeles area, I don’t know whether I’ll be inclined to attend Origins 2009, but I do know that my next convention is Con on the Cob in early October.