Sunday, October 26, 2014

Best. Wife. Ever.

I got a great surprise for my birthday today. My wife gives me a gift in a five-foot long box.  I look at it wondering, what the heck did she get me?! Usually we get each other small stuff for birthdays. A book, a CD, a DVD, something like that. I pick up the box and that bad boy is heavy. Now I'm completely puzzled. I get it open and what do I find inside? A beautiful replica of Narsil!

I totally did not see that one coming. Now I have this terrible urge to run around the yard swinging it over my head screaming at the top of my lungs. Of course if I did, I'd no doubt do serious injury to myself and others. So I won't. But you know I want to!

All I can say is: Best. Wife. Ever.

I totally don't deserve her.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Saturday Anime: Sword Art Online

Title: Sword Art Online

Creators: Based on a light novel series written by Reki Kawahara and illustrated by abec.

Basic Premise: Nerve Gear is a new tech that allows MMO players to engage in a "full dive," experiencing a virtual world as if it were real in every way, and feeling as if they were just as present there as in the physical universe. On the release of the "Sword Art Online" fantasy MMO, thousands of players sign up and log in – only to find that they cannot log out again. If they die in game, their bodies will die in the real world as well (talk about permadeath). If anyone on the outside tries to disconnect them from the system, their bodies die as well. The only way to escape alive is to clear the game.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Con on the Cob Report

Wherein I play in three excellent games, pick up some loot,
and learn a lesson about getting older.

The Summary

Con on the Cob was a great time, just as it was last year. I got to game with +Tim Shorts, +Rob Conley and +Daniel McEntee in person once again, and got to meet +Ken H face to face for the first time. And like last year, we all had a blast.

My Three Games

My three games each represented either a first for me, or else the making of a tradition.


Friday Night: +Tim Shorts' Esoterrorists Game
(my first non-medieval-fantasy RPG)

This was the first non-medieval-fantasy RPG I ever played in. Yep, playing RPGs since 1981, and I've only played medieval fantasy (various editions and clones of D&D, some GURPS, some Fate/Fudge). And it was pretty cool. My character, Jules Bonnot (name chosen by Tim), works by day as the manager of the Erie Historical Society. By night, he and the other PCs are part of a team working for AEGIS, whose job is to investigate supernatural threats to the world. Tim's game was centered on the suspicious suicide of a young man near a creepy abandoned house. The course of our investigation led us to discover, among other things, a summoning circle, a small demon, a sigil keeping an ex-AEGIS agent locked up in a rest-home, and a cemetery that recently experienced a mass exodus of all the souls whose bodies are buried there. A fun game that I hope we'll continue on Monday nights.


Saturday Afternoon: Roy Snyder's Dungeon Crawl Classics Tower Out of Time Game
(character death as tradition)

This one seems to have started a con tradition for me, since this was the second time in two years that my character was killed in the final minutes of the game (last year my PC Albus the Cleric died in the Blasphemous Brewery of Pilz). I played a potato-farmer-turned-warrior named Spud Clodhopper. The other PCs and I worked for the Bannockburn Forestry and Mining Company as security, and we were charged with getting rid of a tower that had recently and mysteriously appeared on land belonging to, and currently being forested by, the company. We even had badges from the company to show we meant business. Long story short, we got to the leader of the bad guys in the tower. Spud maimed one of the bad guys which drew the leader's attention and it was all over for the ex-potato-farmer in one round.

GM Roy Snyder drafted an honest-to-goodness death certificate for my character.

Spud did manage to hang around a bit as a ghost, even briefly inhabiting the body of a strange monkey-creature, then winding up with his soul grafted onto that of the host. So not only was he dead, but he was now a confused mix of human and simian souls.


Saturday Evening: +Rob Conley's Swords and Wizardry Outpost on the Orclands Game
(my first chaotic character)

Another first for me as I had never played a chaotic character before. Yes, I know. How do you go a whole for 30+ years and not play a chaotic? Beats me. I've played a lot of neutral character who were morally ambiguous, but I never actually went the chaotic route. Even this time I tried to make my PC, Steiner, subtly chaotic. Not a village-burner or baby-killer, but just a guy whose ambition clearly outweighs his empathy. A guy willing to betray people around him to "get in good" with the people in power. Interestingly enough, this paradoxically led to a situation where he and the party's paladin (played by +Tim Shorts) actually had a common agenda, but for different reasons. At one point, a young man who had run off with the Bailiff's daughter and been caught was going to be hanged. Most of the party wanted to rescue him, since the punishment seemed unfair and excessive. The lawful paladin wanted to support the Bailiff in exercising his legal authority to hang the boy. My chaotic fighter wanted to support the Bailiff in order to score brownie points with the Bailiff in the hope of future advancement, and also because, as he said to the party "I just enjoy a good hanging."


Here's what I picked up at the con:

Lesson Learned

I'm not a college-aged kid with college-age stamina anymore. I'm 46. And trying to squeeze in three 4-hour game sessions (one Friday night and two Saturday) between two 4-hour drives (one Friday evening and one Sunday morning) while getting 5 hours of sleep per night two nights in a row is not feasible for me. This hypothesis started forming in my mind last year, and I confirmed it this year. I get to my fatigue threshold faster than I used to, and I end up enjoying things less than I would like – and less than they deserve – just from exhaustion.  Don't get me wrong. It was all still a lot of fun. But when you're struggling to stay awake, it ends up being less fun than it could have been otherwise. I definitely plan to go back again next year, but I'm going to limit my gaming to Saturday, two sessions only, and make sure I get a full eight hours of sleep each night.