Monday, March 18, 2013

Gary Con V: The Rest Of The Con

Things got REALLY hectic on Saturday, so blogging was out of the question. I'll try now to sum up the rest of the con here.


My first, and only official game was a return to the game that got me into this crazy, mixed-up hobby: Star Frontiers! Due to some issues with the hotel's business suite (their computer didn't have Acrobat Reader at the time) the GM had some issues getting the game up and running, but he pulled through, thanks to the resourcefulness of some of the players. We were playing a party of UPF representatives sent on a diplomatic mission to participate in something the newly discovered aliens refer to as "The Game."  When we arrived we were visited by two shuttle pods that deposited several fighting robots. Hilarity ensued.
After the game I got to work finishing up my pick-up Savage Worlds/Realms of Cthulhu. I had made up announcement flyers and posted to the Gary Con forums and Facebook wall. I chose a pre-written adventure that I had on my account and quickly reinterpreted the Chaosium stats into Savage Worlds. After the business center got it's computer problems sorted out, I printed up maps and record sheets. I went the open gaming area in the restaurant and found the perfect spot: a shadowy corner booth. I laid out everything I would need and waited until 10 pm to roll around...

The perfect gaming spread. (Note what I've got playing on my iPad.)

...only one person showed up. We waited a little while longer but no one else came. I showed the fellow who to create a Savage World's PC and gave him a quick rundown of the mechanics. It turns out that Joe, for that was his name, was also a fan of the Ganesha Games series of skirmish wargames including Song of Blades Of Heroes, a very old school style fantasy game.


Here it was, Saturday! The day I've been waiting for all year. It was time to leave this reality and travel to the pocket universe that imprisons the world known as Tékumel!

The first game dealt with some of the more esoteric aspects of the Tékumel setting. Our group played a group of adventurers in the serve is an immortal wizard who dwells in the Jakállan underworld. Our mission was to retrieve a series of valuable items from various locations. I played a Livyáni sorcerer priestess who was trained in creating nexus points (I was the rest of the parties ride.). We first visited a spaceship outside of Tékumel's reality commanded by the dreaded Shunned Ones. After we acquired the mysterious black stones were cent to retrieved I open a nexus point to the city of scholars controlled by what I assume was an ancient super computer. We acquired a vial of the strange liquid our master demanded we returned with when... we ran out of time.

After that, we-myself, Victor Raymond, and several of his friends-went into Lake Geneva for a quick dinner. We tried the Sprecher's restaurant, but there was an hour wait. So we ate at the greasy spoon a block away where we discussed the problems with 3rd and 4th Editions.

Afterwards, we set up for the second EPT game of the night. We rolled up characters, and in an rare move, Victor allowed us to create a mixed alignment party. I created a not-so-skilled priest of Lord Chegárra. We descended into the Jakállan underworld to find fortune and glory. Our party ran into a wounded priest of Lord Belkhánu who claimed that he had run into a underworld beasts. Knowing a thing about the setting, I had my immediate suspicions about what the priest really was, but I was not going to spoil things by metagaming. After a run in with a party of serpentine Qól and the rat-like Kúrga (I nearly died once during that battle, but we had a Eye of Ineluctable Eye of Healing that saved my bacon.) we came upon a richly appointed temple dedicated to Lord Chiténg.

While we attempted to make off with the valuables. We were come upon by a pair of the dreaded Ssú. After an epic battle, we killed one of the foul aliens and made drove off the other. Victor rolled up the random treasure for the Ssú we slew and JACKPOT! He had five Eyes on him! That was more princely find that could set us up for some time. After the battle, we were asked to take a break while the GM talked to the PC who was protecting the "priest." When we got back, that player was gone and the priest's claim that our colleague left objecting to desecration of a temple.

Our efforts at looting the temple where fruitless. The player try to chip the deeply-set flame emeralds from a statute of Lord Chiténg had failed his Strength rolls. However, we decided that the Eyes were a good enough haul, so we tried to make our way out. That is, until a priest of that temple came upon us who, before he died by the hands of our tank, cast a spell that created a carpet of lava that slowly rolled it's way toward us and forced us into a dead end hall way. The character holding the Eyes, tried each one, hoping that one of them could cease the deadly magma flow creeping at us. One gave off a red flash, and the "priest" offered to show the user how to properly use it. The PC gave the Eye to him...
In a matter of a few combat rounds, he and 3 other players were frozen by the Excellent Ruby Eye, my PC had fallen in the lava. Only one player, a female friend of Victor's who was playing a Lord Hrü’ü-worshipping adventurer with assassin training, was left. Thinking quickly she tossed a flask of oil at the priest who caught in fire from the heat of the lava flow. As the priest was immolated, my suspicions were confirmed: he was really a Marashyalu Tsú uru, a shape-shifting creature that takes a pathetic form to work their way into a party so it can feed upon them when they are wounded or dying. The missing party member had tried to kill the priest while we were engaged with the Ssú.

Our lone surviving adventuress had quickly figured out how the Excellent Ruby Eye worked and unfroze the character with the eyes. While his back was turned to help with the others, she slit his throat and retrieved the Eyes, and was able to escape back to the surface with a small fortune in ancient techno-magical weapons.


My final game started at 10 am, so I got up bright and early to pack up and load up the card. After I got everything squared away, I sat down for a nice game of Traveller where the GM recognized my real name from several Traveller-forums. We were playing a party of complete strangers riding on a lunar crawler with many civilians on the moon of heavily balkanized planet. I played a grouchy female Aslan belter with a shotgun. Along the way to our spaceport destination we were set upon by troops for one of the systems' governments who planted a nuke on the vehicle and left a single man on to drive in into another power's colony. Yes, I got to use my character's shotgun.

After the game was over, I made sure that I had everything. I got into my car. I got home by 1:30 pm, unpacked my car, made myself a sandwich, and took a well-deserved nap.

And that's it! All in all, despite the noise issues and an unexpected bout of depression that hit me after the last EPT game, it was yet another awesome Gary Con. Of course, I made a trip through the dealer's room and I came out with quite a haul.

Treasures from beyond the spheres!
I picked up Castles & Crusades Castle Keepers Guide, now I've got all three of the "main" books in my collection. Noble Knight had a discounted copy of Realms of Cthulhu that I could not pass up, and is what inspired me to attempt my failed Savage Worlds game the Friday night. I also picked up Barrowmaze, a megadungeon designed for Labyrinth Lord and B/X. If I can ever get my schedule straightened out, I will definitely want to run this for my OSR group. Also, I found a vendor selling Lamentations of the Flame Princess products so I successfully nabbed a copy of  Zak S's Vornheim before they were out of print.  I was also able to snag used copies of Realms of Crawling Chaos and Jim Raggi's The Esoteric Random Creature Generator. 

In closing there are a few things I'd like to note for next year's Gary Con:
  • Get a dedicated digital camera: My iPhone camera is problematic. I need something that's universally compatible. 
  • Bring my own booze and a flask: I'm not much of a drinker. I only had about five drinks the entire weekend which is all the alcohol I've had in about 6 months. Still, it's nice to cut loose.  However, as great as the bar service is, 5 bucks for a rum and Coke is a bit much.
  • Don't forget sandwich bags, garbage bags, and plastic ware: These were hard to come by and I wasn't able to make my peanut butter and apricot preserves sandwiches without them.
  • Don't trust the hotel microwave: I tried to cook one of those instant mac-and-cheese cups to go with my tuna-on-wheat. After the prescribed 3 1/2 minutes, the water was barely warm and the macaroni was still hard. I hate see what it would do with popcorn.
  • Run my Cthulhu/Savage World game next year!


  1. Thank you for playing in my games, Mark! Always makes things easier when a player knows something of the setting, especially as well as you do!

    One minor correction: it was a Tsuru'u, not a Marashyalu, that almost managed a TPK. :)