Sunday, June 18, 2017

Free RPG Day: The annual holiday of our people!

Free RPG Day 2017...so many highlights in a 14-hr span!


~ Reuniting with Troy Tucker, the guy responsible for "all this",  and bringing my 1st printing #DCCRPG tome to its *6th* Free RPG Day event. I will eventually have to retire the poor thing, but yesterday was not that day.

~ Running Dieter Zimmerman's Not in Kansas Anymore for a group of not-quite beginners, including one of the FLGS owners, and player Riley stealing the show (he made the whole damn thing so enjoyable, I felt zero pressure - I officially want him in EVERY GAME I EVER RUN UNTIL THE END OF TIME... "Live your truth, man!").

~ Ran The Arwich Grinder for the first time ever. I unabashedly used different voices and inflections and made sound effects (which were probably as atrocious as my mapping skills) and a whole bunch of stuff that I usually shy away from, all because I could tell it was weirding out David and his kid (who were over from FLL). A+++, will run again, has potential to let me run something that might actually surprise/impress Bob!

~ Seeing familiar faces from folks who came out last year, and meeting new people who traveled from St. Pete, Tampa, Sarasota, and Ft. Lauderdale (2-3 hrs one way) just to come to Dungeon Games and play games.

~ After busting ass to coordinate GMs and sign-up sheets for scheduled games that some people poo-pooed, the FLGS had their highest sales day in the store's history. Yeah, I take a little pride in that. We do what we can to help those we love.

~ Handing out the first-ever print product from Sanctum Secorum...

~ Getting to surprise players with DCC RPG swag that rarely makes it into the wild! I'd been sitting on the stadium cup set from last year, so I brought one for each game and let them dice off for it. Some of the new players were as ravenous for "one of everything" as I've been in the past. Kindred spirits!

~ And, finally, the payoff that's stuck with me for the past 12 hours: My last table was a DCC Lankhmar demo, with players rolling up characters from scratch, which really helps immerse them into the literary material and showcases a few of the fundamental system changes from "regular" DCC. One of the players had been in last year's playtest campaign but the others were inexperienced and pretty rapt...until the characters continued to separate and go their own ways, despite leads and prompts to join up. At some point I stopped trying to fight it, and just gave them each 5-10 minutes of their own little "chapters", then they finally merged together for the primary story thread with about 90 minutes remaining. I embellished "Literary Lankhmar" and created a challenge with the promise of a tidy settling of debts...and the ending left me with the resolve that, while it's a great setting and I'm a little tied to both Leiber's and DCC Lankhmar, it really feels better in an ongoing capacity. (More on that pontification later.) One of the players who'd driven from Sarasota had been sitting with a nonplussed expression for the better part of 3 hours, but at the end he said, "I really wasn't sure. I was thrown off by the lack of 'party' activity...but now I realize, it's just like the books! Even Fafhrd & the Gray Mouser are rarely side-by-side for the whole thing! I'm really looking forward to this now!" Not only did I breathe a sigh of relief at not bogging things down for the player or diminishing his enjoyment of the past 4 hours...but apparently I succeeded in my translation of the material - and even better, I invoked the feel of Leiber!! I may do ya proud after all, Michael Curtis. :)

{more pics may come, just so I can keep them all in one place for archival purposes}


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Get these guys some cue cards.

Recording late at night during the cooler months (y'know, when it's not ~80 degrees at 10pm) is great.

Recording late at night these days results in comments like, "Huh. I hear crickets."

Me: You bein' funny?

"No, I really hear crickets."

Me: <mute> <unmute>

"Yep, it's Jen." 

Me: What the...? <take off headphones as I move away from the computer> Huh? Oh hey waitasec... <return to desk> Yep. You're right, guys. We've got crickets tonight. At least we're storm-free...

~~~~

So, um, fair warning: while my sound editors rock, we might have crickets in the show(s). Both podcasts, even. Damn. And the more I mute, the more noticeable they'll be when I unmute. 

Asshole crickets. They're not even on cue.

And now, every single night, my awareness of the noisome nuisances has heightened exponentially. Holy hell, these crickets sound like they're lined up around my window like there's an iPhone release for insect-kind at midnight, followed by a rave giving out free Fireball. I suppose it could be worse; could be tree frogs after a good rain -- they'll keep me up at night -- or those damned whippoorwills... God bless the silent lizards who eat these things.


~~~~

**Related, but not really: Any first-hand experience with/suggestions for a standalone mic with an on-board mute button?

Friday, April 21, 2017

Not much on the DCC front. In the meantime...

This week has left me feeling ... fragile.

We rejoiced at being able to get back to our home AD&D game after the pile of deadlines. And then this...?! Sheesh. It's been two days, and I think I can finally talk about it now:

Active Cast:
Me: Roska, lvl 11 half-orc fighter
Toni: Nimue, lvl 12(?) elven ranger (polymorphed to look like a drow a year+ ago)
Neil: Bactine, lvl 14(?) gnome cleric

Roska tried to save her longtime friend, Nimue, who was fighting an invisible (to the rest of us) foe. After seeing a cleric get thrown back by some force, Roska asked Nimue if she needed help. She said yes, so Roska ran in, knowing something bad might happen, but - Nimue FRIEND! Roska tried to use Wave -- yes, THAT Wave -- to shield her. All of a sudden Wave EXPLODES and a mirror image of the drow (which only she & Nimue can see) is charging in to attack her.

Didn't expect THAT kind of bad. :(

The shock of Wave's destruction was definitely felt around the table, to a person. The Cube of Friendship shall be missed...especially by the squishy magic-users.

{At that point, I may have been heard to say something glib like, "I'd rather Roska had died, than lose Wave."}

The faux-drow kept pursuing Roska even after Nimue's body hit the ground. What kind of screwed-up betrayal is this?? The little half-orc brain couldn't process it. She ended up relenting to the mirror image of Blackrazor.

Oh, yeah, did I mention our friend was wielding Blackrazor?

Throughout all this, I don't know if having Toni at the table in person vs. via Skype would've made things better or not. If she'd been here, there probably would've been real tears and Bob would've felt even worse. It was definitely tense. (I still love you, Toni! I promise!!)

Luckily it was just a mirror image of Blackrazor, so Roska's soul wasn't irrevocably gone. In the clusterf*** we also lost our highest-level cleric in the party. Roska was brought back via "poor man's resurrection" (raise dead + animate dead) by the 9th-level cleric at the scene; Nimue was left with 1/2 her XP and NOTHING but the sword - but looks like HER again; Bactine was irrecoverable. It's gonna take quite a bit of equipment-juggling to get through the rest of the Demonweb Pits at this point, especially without Bactine and the 2 absent clerics. GRR. NO MORE ALIGNMENT SHIFTS, 'KAY PEOPLE??
....
And that's how my week went. *sigh* Starting to remember why funnels are better: no time to get attached to characters or crucial items...