After working my half day, I met Tracey for lunch at Longhorn Steakhouse and then went home while she drove over to pick up the boy from school. The plan was for her and the boy to have a 'date' night for some rare quality time. When she pulled in the drive, I could tell she was tired and while she had a handful of movies in hand, the boy had got it in his head he was going with me to the convention.
For the first time in a few years, I decided to not even try to run anything on Friday night. Normally, it is the one day I try to run a board game, but it is rarely attended and requires me to get there early enough to run it and still attend Tom's annual 7pm T&T game. So, I had plenty of time to gather up the boy and head over to the convention, hopefully avoiding the long lines and lackluster staffing of the registration tables.
When I arrived, I found that the UT students running the con this year had everything well under control. They had two separate lines AND two separate tables to handle on-site and pre-registered attendees. I jumped in the line for on-site registration for the boy, told him to stay put, and then went through the pre-reg line in less than 1 minute. I got my free d6, my weekend badge, and the tickets for me events. I then rejoined the boy in the other line which only took another ten minutes or so to get through. I had bought one ticket for my Sunday AD&D game already for the boy, so I purchased a second ticket when the boy registered for the girl. She would be making her first convention appearance as a player on Sunday.
Close to 7pm, I saw Tom and Paul walking away from the main convention room, so we followed them to the big special room that we were assigned. As either Robin or Tom had mentioned, the convention must have thought Ken was running the game, so we got a very large and private room. Paul, Ken St. Andre, Alex, Robin, the Boy, and me all played in Tom's game.
The boy was a bit awestruck by Ken, pointing to the rulebook and asking me if that was the guy who wrote it. He asked for an autograph using my 7.5 rulebook. Ken initially did not address the message to Liam, so you can see he added his name in pencil, his best attempt at forging Ken's script. On Saturday, Ken added the 'To Liam' for me.
As always, Tom runs a very enjoyable game. Light on combat but heavy on role playing, traps, and gravity stew (as I think he calls it). At one point, we reached the hoodoo that we were aiming to get to and Alex's character made friends with some faeries that still lived in the old leprechaun dwelling. The dragon we were looking for had driven away the inhabitants. Robin's character cast a 'Fly Me' spell on my dwarf so I could scout out a way up, or at least to take a rope up to a platform and lower it down. I realized that he had never flown before. In a fit of roleplaying glee, I enacted my dwarf fighter flying with the faeries, 'weee-ing and wooping' around the interior of the hoodoo. We joked that my character's faerie name was now 'Flies with Faeries'. I then realized I forgot the rope, went back down to get it, then found a hidden staircase along the interior wall of the structure.
With the boy, we met Alex, Ken, Robin, and Tom at Applebees and got some needed food, but I cannot believe the drowsy boy was still able to put down a burger and fries. He had eaten a full 'Magic Wok' meal before we left, a lunch bag full of snacks, and a foot long sub from subway prior to this. I headed home and once the boy was sleeping, gathered the needed supplies for my 'Stay Alive!' game in the morning so I could sleep in as long as possible. Next year, no more 9am games.
My morning went well enough. Paul and Tom were back for the continuation of my zombie tale. We were joined by two new players, a couple from Cleveland - Mitch and Susie. I tried my new optional character creation rule where I had the players roll up their attributes and then have someone that knows them assign them. The idea is that someone else would be a bit more accurate assigning the attributes.
We figured out where we left off last year, made an equipment list which included a shotgun, a few handguns, a few replica katanas, and a box of food they scavenged from the restaurant. Tom got things rolling right off the bat, acting all crazy that his wife was not with him, so she must be still alive. He put a gun to the Mitch's head and demanded he turn the car around to go back. Mitch was able to make his SR on the first driving check, but failed on the subsequent roll and crashed into a parked car. Tom jumped out, followed by Paul and proceeded to struggle with some zombies that they had attracted. Tom was bitten at one point, but it did not puncture the skin, They were trying to use melee weapons to avoid making too much noise. They were eventually able to lure them to the creek along side the parking lot and push 2 of the zombies down the embankment. He and Paul finished off the 3rd one as the Mitch and Susie ran to their car and were waiting for Paul and Tom to rejoin them. Tom must have been satisfied that his wife was either dead or unreachable. I think we toyed with the idea of Tom making an INT roll to see if he saw his wife's face in place of one of the zombies. Just like any good comic book, you are not officially dead until you find the body...so Robin, you may still be out there.
Eventually, the group arrived at an NPC family member's house and set up a place to rest and recoup. The power went out and later they were woken by a gunshot from the neighbor's house. An investigation revealed two zombies banging on a door on the 2nd floor - Tom had climbed a tree. Paul picked the lock on the front door (a Talent his character had, and Paul actually had real lock picks with him) and they found a dead body of a man. A picture with his wife and daughter drew them to the conclusion that his family was infected and he could not deal with.
Some looters showed up on the street and began going door to door, but they seemed to be collecting material items like jewelry and money instead of other more sensible things. Tom and Susie stayed in the house with Tom baiting them away from the houses down the street. He was yelling at them out the door and distracting them from Mitch and Paul who were setting up an ambush. A very quick burst of gunfire from Mitch, Paul, and Susie, and a few seconds later, the last of the looters was running back to his van to get out of dodge. Tom walked out and put a bullet in a approaching zombie, thus ending the adventure. There was an interesting conversation regarding murder as opposed to killing monsters, but Paul came to the conclusion that any apocalyptic story will eventually settle down to - the struggle will be people versus people more than anything else. The zombies will just become apart of the environment.
I rushed off to the auction where I met my friend from the Gen Con Auction, Matt T. This year, the auction was horrible. The regular host was not present this year and a two other guys did their best, but just do not have the experience to run such an event. It is always comical to me that while they struggle in Alex's absence, myself and Matt have been auctioneers at Gen Con for many years. I think I bid on two things (a board game I cannot remember and some miniatures maybe?), and then after about an hour and a half gave up and decided to get some lunch with Matt T at the Phoenicia restaurant on the 2nd floor.
Met back up with Tom, Robin, Ken, and briefly with Paul. Paul went off for a few hours to get some cash and run some errands, but I ended buying from Ken some of the books he was going to buy (sorry Paul). Ken had a bag full of goodies on Friday, but Tom did not end up getting the booth they had planned for. Ken only brought 1 of each of his books on Saturday.
I asked Ken to personalize two of the books. 'Battle School' for me since I was given credit by Ken for play testing and proofreading it. I asked him to personalize the copy of 'Rescue Mission' for the boy.
Soon after, it was time for Ken to run his second seminar, this one was 'How to T&T' where players rolled up some characters and played some short encounters with Ken. More information on this can be found here.
I then rushed off to join Tom and Paul running the Ragnarok Mega-Event. More information on that can be found here.
I got home after Midnight, exhausted, but needing to get ready for my AD&D game the next morning, another 9am game. I pulled together everything I needed including the books and my miniatures. Liam had his character binder and all the PC character miniatures already sitting out and waiting for me.
I woke up and made sure I had everything I needed for the game. The girl was coming with us this year, and I had to drive across town to pick up the boy at his dad's house. Got the girl dressed and out the door...picked up the boy and headed to the convention with 15 minutes to spare. We were first in line before 9am to buy Irelynn's badge. She was happy to get a new d6.
The usual crew was at the table. My friend Garry was playing his PC, 'Bill' the halfling. Bill is the brother of 'Gill' the halfling, whom Robin usually plays each year. Robin and Tom were running late, but called me to let me know so we started without them, but it was not long before they arrived. Alex played the archer 'Talwin', Tom the werebear berserker 'Kraze', Liam played his barbarian 'Lorian', and Irelynn played her character, the mage named 'Rose'.
The adventure went well enough I think. The group was on the trail of a new group of slavers which led them back to the bandit outpost they cleared out a few years prior. They ambushed a raiding party from the outpost and then attacked the outpost itself, which was being led by a mage, a few bandits, and his 2 stone giant friends. Gill and Bill were going invisible, sneaking over the wall, and put themselves in position to ambush the unsuspecting mage as the outpost was attacked by the rest. Irelynn opened up with a Lightning Bolt to the chest of a giant, followed by a charging attack from Liam and Tom while Alex rained down arrows on the bad guys.
Sure enough, the halflings were in the right place at the right time. A coordinated sneak attack from Robin and Garry blasted the mage out of his boots. I think it was Alex that coined the phrase 'Triple D', the 'Diminutive Death Dealers' (or was it D Cubed?).
The group then found their way to the real slavers, a group of elves living in tree houses with a Slithering Shambling Mound defender. The had gathered rumors from the bandits that the forest around Black Jack's base was haunted and alive, protecting the nefarious brigand and his two right hand men, the brothers Ariok and Skalimar.
A well planned 'Hold Person' by Robin took the archer Skalimar out of the fight early, but he had done some damage to Liam and Tom. Triple D climbed up to the tree house walkways behind Liam and made their way over to the other elf Ariok, who was fighting with Liam. Alex was climbing up a rope ladder when he was attacked by the leader Black Jack, but his own 'Hold Person' spell did not work on Alex. Alex and Irelynn finished off Black Jack, while Garry and Robin rushed in to help Liam once he was dropped by Ariok. Irelynn finished things off with one final Lightning Bolt to drop the brother before he could use his sword to heal.
During this fight in the treetops, Tom was battling against the Slithering Shambler and had transformed into his bear form when his attack with his mace had no affect on the monster. Tom was actually beat up pretty good and reduced to 2 hit points. Once the 3 elves were defeated, the beast retreated back into the woods.
Irelynn was a bit restless and she may not be ready for conventions yet. She was quite disruptive at times and hopefully this did not detract from the game. Tom assures me it did not, which is good to know. We said goodbye to Alex, Tom, and Robin. Ken had stopped by during the game to say goodbye before heading back to the airport. Garry and I set up a date for our next game at my house.
After I turned in my tickets to get my GM refund, we had one last trip through the Dealer Hall so the kids could buy something. Earlier, my good friends Jane and Laurie gave Irelynn a necklace from their 'Hell on Wheels' traveling game store. I met the sisters through volunteering for the Gen Con auction years and years ago. Liam bought a costume rubber hatchet from them, while Irelynn got some Reaper 'Cupid and Cherub' minis from another retailer.
Whew....I am sure I left out many other details, but this will have to do.