Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Gary Con IX


I left Friday mid-morning and returned Sunday late-afternoon.  I really shouldn't have gotten so much convention time, but plans changed and I got lucky.

Overall, it was a great time.  I ran into, met, gamed with, or became reacquainted with many awesome individuals during those three days. Such as... +Erik Tenkar +Clint Bohaty +Jeff Bernstein +Timothy Brannan +Follow Me, And Die! +Julian Bernick +Harley Stroh +Forrest Aguirre +Del Teigeler +Jeff Talanian +Bill Webb +Satine Phoenix and many others (I'm terrible with names... and sometimes faces).

It surprises me to hear someone say they're a fan of my work, and I was pleasantly surprised quite a few times.  So, that was really cool.

Volunteering to GM is one of the things I love about RPG conventions.  Although, I'm never sure what's going on 4 - 6 months in advance.  I might have a new product out, I might want to playtest something I'm currently working on, or I might feel like running something completely different.

Over the last year, I've become increasingly comfortable with and excited by Alpha Blue, my sleazy scifi RPG.  Every half-dozen times I describe Alpha Blue to people who don't know what it is, I find myself coming up with new ways to characterize it.  Over the weekend I came up with this - it's like Star Wars... with a money shot.

I signed up to run The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence using Crimson Dragon Slayer on Friday afternoon, Alpha Blue Saturday night, and Alpha Blue again on Sunday afternoon.  I was able to sneak in an off-the-books session of Alpha Blue on Friday night.  That's a lot of sex, sleaze, and exploitation in space!

So much happened this weekend!  It's probably a fool's errand to try and document it all.  Instead of going through each day, I'm just going to bullet-point some random highlights.  That way, if I suddenly remember a detail (or someone who was there reminds me) I can just add it to the list...


  • For whatever reason, I decided to start the session by using The Outer Presence character creation.  Everyone was a "normal" human in the real world.  It made the purple islands seem more like Lost and Land of the Lost rather than D&Desque science-fantasy gonzo.
  • There's usually at least one "table captain" in each game.  This is the kind of player I talk about in my latest book - Play Your Character Like A Fucking Boss
  • The Doctor-without-borders character (Dr. Haywood) who crashed onto the beach of a purple island was the most devious PC in recent memory, and when he stranded his former guide and now prisoner of the lizardfolk (Enik-type Sleestaks) while capturing a lizardman to bring home for showbiz riches before closing the pylon's gateway, we all thought the adventure was over.  And then the Purple Putrescence ripped its terrible way into our world...
  • I really love the movie StarChaser: The Legend of Orin.  I had the PCs start as subterranean mind-wiped slaves mining for blue crystal.  It was a good setup which I'll be using again in the future.  And from there, it went off the rails - in a good way.  
  • An ooze with bio-luminescence when turned on rubbing up against a lamppost in the red hologram district while various other PCs were having sex on the street.  
  • The telepathic pimp kept me laughing throughout Saturday night's session, but everyone was in rare form - both getting their sleaze on and doing a deal with one of Grabba the Butt's girls.
  • Another space pimp was looking to further his business by stealing one of the most popular Satisfiers of Alpha Blue - Jessica 3.  After the indigo haze roofie, he was having sex with her (while she was unconscious) while a laser shootout was going on in their hotel room.  
  • Arra was played by a woman who'd been in one of my Crimson Dragon Slayer games from last Gary Con.  Her character was a really interesting alien - humanoid with slimy with translucent seaglass skin.  She rolled "lesbian" for Arra's sexual fantasy/fetish, and that led to some interesting moments.  
  • There was a player who randomly rolled "pirate" as his profession and "noble" on the something special table.  Confused with the juxtaposition at first, we discussed it for a couple minutes and decided that he was a pirate king, so well-versed at pirating that he became lord of the seven space seas aka The Pink Diver because of his pink, magenta, and pink pirate outfit.
  • Finally getting to play Alpha Blue with girls was a nice treat.  Despite close-minded and just plain wrong "conventional wisdom," women can be and often are just as dirty, depraved, and wild as men... if not more so!  Anyway, the ladies impressed me by being just as sleazy as the guys.  
  • There was so much sex in that session that I should have had PCs roll for acquiring a venereal disease, but forgot all about such things in the heat of all those moments.
  • Speaking of which, I got a big reaction from debuting the desert planet Akockiss, commonly known as P'oon.  The players came up with a great new villain - Acock'n'lips (or Acock'n'licks... season to taste).
  • Had a wonderful dinner at the Grand Geneva Resort hotel Friday night.  The prime rim, mashed potatoes, and shrimp were fantastic.  I also was in great company with Peter Tiso (who played in the purple islands game).
  • Had a very satisfying breakfast with Erik Tenkar on Saturday morning.  We demolished our omelettes like a pair of fucking bosses!
  • Only a single game was in one of those big rooms full of tables and gamers - the first.  All my other games, I made sure they were in quieter and less distracting areas of the convention.
  • Speaking of places to game, my favorite was on Sunday afternoon.  I asked the con staff if any of the fancy private gaming rooms were going to be free as of noon.  One of them was, and I got to run the last Alpha Blue game of the weekend in the Geneva Room (or something like that).  It was so peaceful and awesome that I almost wept for joy!
  • Brought a dozen books with me to use and possibly sell if people wanted and came back with only one!
  • Got to try out my latest dice rolling tray - scifi themed.  Lots of compliments.  
  • Had a chance to talk about the philosophy of Game Mastering with a purple island player named Jeff.
  • Bought a bunch of gaming stuff - most notably (and expensively) books at the DCC booth.  Finally took the Metamorphosis Alpha plunge, got a nicely illustrated hardcover book on adventure design (cause even old Venger runs into writer's block), and had a 20% off ticket for the mammoth leatherbound tome on Traps.  I don't do enough with traps, so this should open up a whole new universe for me!

That's about it, though I'm well aware that I'm leaving many terrific moments out.  Oh well, those are for my fellow gamers to document!

VS