Friday, August 22, 2014

Meetings with the Metal Gods: Recapping an Epic Gen-Con

People, I've seen the Promised Land. I have traveled across the hills and plains, and found Nerdvana; and it was peopled with My Folk.

I rose in the dark of the morning, and, lacking sleep did sally forth to Bush Field. There did I mount a bird whose food is flammable, whose breath is fire, whose roar is mighty, and rose we did up into the sky. A short journey ensued, to the land of Indy, ere I dismounted and, girding my loins, and taking up my pack and what small weapons and gaming stones I bore with me, strode into a new land. And, Lo! There I saw in the sky, wreathed in fire and smoke, an apparition of Chaos. 'twere the wizard +Wayne Snyder, and I recognized him instantly. Soon we were joined there, in that eyrie by others of our clan and faith: +Gabriel Perez Gallardi and +Doug Kovacs.

Doug and Wayne did depart, riding in a waiting chariot, while I and the Uruguayan, a swarthy, moustachioed  worthy of fell aspect and impeccable manners, awaited our own. Soon did arrive the hulking Pole with booming voice, +Adam Muszkiewicz to bear us away, into the heart of the city. Within mere minutes, our foe, Murphy, did strike against us, casting a spell of heat and imminent fire against the mechanical heart of the chariot, and we were forced to stop at a local oasis. There did we purchase cool drinks while the chariot cooled its temper. We provided an elixir to sooth it, and soon we were on our way, once more.

We approached the monolith, itself limned against others like it, known only as Con-Rad. In this great edifice would we lay our heads, when the opportunity for slumber came (which was not often enough). Our hosts treated us like kings, though we were but princes of the road, and unsavory to look at. It was then that I strode forth to meet the Dark Master, Good-man, who had summoned me from my lair, to bear witness to this annual ritual.

I wound my way through the labryrinth called "Sky Way," and, after many a false turn, was guided by a member of the Con Guard, to the mighty treasure house. There, I communed through the aether with the Dark Master, and he brought forth a talisman for my use. With it I could pass, then, the gate guards and enter the sanctum. Within, men and beast alike arranged in artful ways the treasure of many distant lands, each conclave of wizards within its own ritual circle. Some even did erect edifices of stone and metal to bear their banners, and the jewels of chaos gleamed under the harsh light of the weirdling suns.

Chessex dice display. Yes, I bought a lot of them. How could I not?

For the Dark Master I toiled, long into the eve, ere being granted leave to join my band, the +Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad. We gathered in the tavern of Em-Bas-E for the nightly ritual, contending there each night, our judges calling forth powers fell and terrible: Fish wizards with laser eyes, the dead ones, amazons and squid men, and Young Dave Mustaine. Many died there, from battle, from rains of acid blood, and from corruption. I slew a fish-wizard, garotting him with my sackcloth thong, though my corrupted junk had withered away (not pictured).

In the end, only one escaped from Catastrophe Island. I, however, fell to fierce and furry Chewbacca, whose luck knows no bounds. Then the gods grew weary of play, and their mortal toys were put away.

Let me tell you also of the siege of Exhibition Hall. Each day the ravening hordes did gather outside the gates, ready to sack and to pillage.

Totally ready for ravening. Take our money!
Each day we stood stalwart and steely-eyed (or bleary-eyed, depending on the previous night), behind stout ramparts of merch'.

The Goodman Games booth crew.
Top: Steve Bean, Edgar Johnson
Bottom: Michael Crane (I think?), Keith Labaw, Dieter Zimmerman
For days we were besieged, our merch stocks dwindling, until the hordes broke and retreated to their lairs. Much gold had we gained, and one Hwil Hwheaton (a.k.a. +Wil Wheaton ), skald of the Interwebz, consorted with the Dark Master and +Michael Curtis. I am told he bore from that meeting two tomes of lore. Mayhap he will sing their praises before all is said and done. 

Yeah, I missed this one. Hey, Wil, how about putting DCC RPG on Tabletop?
(Photo from DCC RPG Facebook page)
 Each day was battle and bachanal, each night too short, as we feasted and drank, well-met in taverns and great halls, telling stories, playing games, rolling dice.

Blood for the Serpent King!
Each night grew longer; each morning came earlier. But we were stalwart. Each day dawned to reveal new possibilities and new challenges. We marched on, our line unbroken, under the protection of the Metal Gods.

These are my people.
And on the last night, we met in conclave, hoisted tankards, and drank to our own health. The night was endless and too short, all at once. 

Oh, boy, did I fail my Fort save this night. Almost missed my plane.
So much happened on this campaign, too much to remember, too much to tell. But I was there, surrounded by friends, both old and new.

Joseph Goodman, Nathan Panke, Alex Mayo, Harley Stroh
I finally got to meet Jen Brinkman. She's just as good in person.
Gabriel Perez Gallardi and Wayne Snyder. Also even better in person.

The ritual is complete, the spell is cast, and circle is joined. We call into being a Purple Planet. We summon forth the Metal Gods. You will all die, and you will love it.
The wizard, Harley Stroh, and his team of badasses. We will bring forth
the Purple Planet from our fevered brains. (Photo by Wayne Snyder)
Pictured: Harley Stroh, Edgar Johnson, Doug Kovacs, Tim Callahan.
Photobombing: The rest of the Metal Gods crew.
Not pictured: Daniel J. Bishop and Terry Olson).
The final dawn it came too soon. I bolted from my pallet, reeking of the night before, stomach churning, head pounding, parched and panicked. Without even a proper fare-thee-well, I departed, borne to the hall of the great birds by a hulking black chariot. But all was not well. The bird of my desire had fallen ill, and would not be on time. I was stranded for a time in Indy, and then again in the land of Charlotte, where I bided my time on the edge of sleep and sickness, the corruption from my night's revelry roiling in my guts. Long hours did I wait, until at last I was born home upon wings of steel, to be greeted by my loving clan.  I spilled forth, then, my tale, and gave out the loot I had wrested from that foreign land. A slight repast. A sleep like death, but too short. Far too short. 

Cold morning came early (too early), whisking away half-remembered dreams. Dreams? Was it only a dream? Then how true these dreams, of people and places, and all the things we did, graven upon my heart like a poem, ringing in my mind like a song. I was there, and you were too. Our days were too long, and our hours too few. I hope that yours was just as fine, your friends and your time, as good as mine. That's all I have, and this tale is done.

Author's Note:

Thanks to everyone who made my first Gen-Con (my first gaming con of any kind!) a great one. I know I'm going to miss somebody, but here's a list:

Sadly, I will not return next year. It's at a bad time of year for me (Monday was hell, people...). However, I will attend North Texas RPG Con 2015. I hope to see at least a few old friends there as well.                      

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