another misAdventure

"We are all of us living in the shadow of Manhattan."

Friday, August 25, 2006

Duh! Spiders Count in Base Eight! (Gencon Report - Thursday)

Gencon Report, part 2. Picking up at the actual beginning of Gencon -- Thursday morning.

I woke up Thursday morning at about 6:15, so that I could get a shower and wake everyone else up who had an 8am game. The plan was to stop at the car to get some stuff and then head to the convention center. The first snag, though, was that Matt couldn't find his binders with his Living Greyhawk characters (see his blog for more on that). I offered to trade tickets with him, so he could play Xen'drick Expeditions and I would play the LG special. Then he could either whip up a character for Xen'drick quickly or grab a quick-play character. This idea fell through when we got to the RPGA mustering area and found ... chaos. There was no indication of where various modules should be mustering tables other than "out in the hall". This isn't a great idea at a small con. At a large con, with several hundred gamers, it's just unworkable. Matt got frustrated with this and decided to bail out, so I got my Xen'drick ticket back and gave his LG special ticket to Kalen (who also had a ticket for that event).

I started wandering and shouting the game I was looking for. I managed to find another group of players looking for the same module, so I made sure they clumped together and then tried to gather others of like mind. About this time, and by now it was actually 8am when the slot was to start, they started bringing out large signs indicating where some of the players for a specific module should gather. They brought out two of the Xen'drick factions, and from that I could guess where they were going to put up the sign for my faction (Blackwheel Company). I herded the others toward that spot, and there found even more of us, so we had enough players for three or four tables of that modules. Shortly afterward we had a real marshall show up, and we broke into tables and got assigned spaces and judges. From there, everything went find and the module was fun. We got done in about three hours (11am), so plenty of time before the next RPGA slot, and even more for me since my next game was True Dungeon at about 3pm.

I fingured out where Matt was and joined him in the dealer room, getting a D&D minis demo so I could get a card-stamp and a promo mini (the same one I got at Wizard World Chicago). I talked to Ellen on the phone and agreed to meet her for lunch, and before heading there I found Kathy in the Giant in the Playground/Order of the Stick line. I handed her money so she could get me the three Order of the Stick books and the Goblin Dan's T-shirt.

Matt and I then headed to the food court to meet Ellen for lunch (and Ryan, but I forget exactly when we added Ryan). While enroute there I got a call from Narf, just arrived at the Indy airport. We confirmed that he was to get a cab and I'd pay him back for the fare, since it didn't make sense for us to pick him up (the parking fees, moving a car and breaking up the day into what would have been multiple full-day fees for parking, would have been more than the cab fare). You can see Narf's blog for what happened with that cab ride, but it wound up not costing either one of us a cent.

We got lunch and relaxed for a bit, and when mostly through Narf found us. I gave him directions to the hotel and the room number, and then offered to take his bag there as I wanted to head over to the room relax a bit and get online to send an e-mail for work, while Narf wanted to hit the con with Matt. As it turned out, I didn't realize that it had started raining while we were eating, not horribly hard but enough that I was more than just damp by the time I got to the room. I switched clothes (to my Goblin Dan shirt), got my little bit of work done, and was in the room when housekeeping came so I could ask for some extra towels (and tip her). By the time I headed out for True Dungeon the rain had died down or stopped, so I wasn't soaked when I got back to the Marriott for TD.

While walking back I got the call from our seventh for True Dungeon, Colin Gilbert, son of our D&D friend Dick Gilbert. I had Kalen find him since she was already at the Marriott, and soon we had the whole team together. Matt decided he wasn't in the mood for True Dungeon, so Narf filled his slot.

The True Dungeon run was good -- a lot of fun, and more emphasis on the puzzles than had been in the past couple of years -- more like the first year. I did manage to die in one room when I failed my reflex saving throw against a fireball (I was the wizard, so I had a lousy reflex save and few hit points). However, they changed the rules a bit this year so that a dead character could remain with the party as a "ghost" as long as they didn't say or do anything. And there might be a possibility of recovering the dead character.

As it turned out, the opportunity to restore me was in the very next room. So, I lay out on the "altar", adding to the the flavor of the room, while the others tried to figure out the right order to light the candles to complete the restoration. They managed to do all the right things, including Ellen casting Detect Magic to find the best clue as to what was going on, and I was back in the game.

We successfully finished the whole run without any further casualties. We had some good puzzle solving, as well as apparently some amazing "fighting" skills from Ryan (able to hit the 20 on the shuffleboard "to hit" board almost every time for a critical hit), excellent roguing skills from Colin, and some dumb luck. We totally failed to recognize one puzzle as a takeoff on Minesweeper, and in the final puzzle we managed to come up with the right answer for mostly the wrong reason (I was subtracting 8 rather than using base 8 -- which yielded the same answer anyway).

After True Dungeon it was my slot to play the Living Greyhawk special. I was hoping to play at APL 8 with my 9th level Ranger/Scout. However, I didn't hear anyone looking to muster an APL 8 table right away, but did hear people looking for a couple players to fill out an APL 2 table. So, I went with my near second choice and played my 3rd level Paladin at APL 2. We only had 5 players at the table, three of us level 3 and two level 1, but well balanced in character classes. We didn't have all that much problem with the module -- a couple moments when I thought we might have a tough time but then managed to turn it back to a positive quickly. With that mod and the zero that I played before Verbobonc Pre-Gencon Madness I managed to get my Paladin to 4th level (his fourth level will be taken as "Fighter", as will his fifth, after which he will qualify to take levels of "Outcast Champion").

By the time I was was done with the LG special it was late, after 11pm, and most of the quick-service places to eat were closed. I could have waited in line at Steak 'n' Shake and then carried that back several blocks to the hotel, but I just decided to to straight back and figure out what I could find there -- maybe room service. It was too late for that too, as it turned out, but I could get a burger to warm up in the microwave, and a bag of Combos crackers. I had my "dinner" and played a hand of "Bang" with Matt, Kalen, Ryan, and Narf before calling it a night.


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