Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Little Job to Tide Me Over

I'm signed up with a temp agency, that belongs to a contractor that my previous employer utilizes. My previous employer is going to contract me to finish the video project I was in the middle of, when my position was eliminated by a third party efficiency audit.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Free RPG Day 2010—Oddly Successful

In a strange sort of way, Free RPG Day was a weird success.

As I Chronicled Previously. I found that I was going to be in Boise on Free RPG Day 2010. I had found the closest participating store to be in Mountain Home (A smallish city [population aprox. 13,000] about an hour drive from Boise). The store seemed odd on the internet—and it was odd when I got there.

Picture a normal hobby game store. Then Randomly pick a place in the middle and put a shelf up that has collectible statues on it—not the kind of collectible statues that you normally find at a game store like superheroes and nerdy movie properties. No, there were no Star Trek Crew Members, No Star Wars Heroes, no Marvel or DC properties, not even a Cthulhu Idol. There were tiger busts, fairy figurines, cowboys and indians, Precious Moments, and Hallmark type stuff. Then another wall and two random aisles get stocked with Model Airplanes and Model Airplane Parts (The Kinds of Models that you actually fly). Add 2 Cats and one Rather Large Dog into the Mix; put Grandma and Grandpa (who know nothing about hobby gaming) behind the counter to run the cash register.

I'm getting a little ahead of myself. If you recall, I had called around to all the game stores that I could find in Boise, and none were participating. When we got to Boise, I spent some time going to different game stores when I had nothing else to do—it filled the time nicely and I enjoyed it, but I still was unable to find a store participating in Boise Proper.

I had planned to run down to Mountain Home on Saturday morning, and one of my Wife's cousins (Jacob, Age 14) opted to tag along—I thought it would be a good opportunity to introduce him to the role playing scene; unfortunately it turned out badly.

We couldn't communicate very well due to the road noise while driving there. I arrived a few minutes early and we waited for the store to open. We were the first non-employees in the store, and when asked if they could help me find anything particular, I indicated that we were there for Free RPG Day. The woman behind the counter told me that the person in charge of that would arrive soon ("the boys" had gone for a food run to the McDonalds down the street). So I browsed the merchandise, and took in the sights.

Fist thing I noticed was the complete and utter lack of cool dice—all they really had were the opaque flat colors from Koplow. With the board games, they had a lot of expansions for games that I want, but not the base games (Cut Throat Caverns for instance, three expansions but not the base game). They had a lots of figures to paint, for every table top war game I've ever heard of, and more variety than my game store has in many cases (Malifaux had not only starter sets and cards, but single figures as well). I looked for Savage Worlds product and only found one, it was an Adventure for Savage Worlds, published by one of Pinnacle's Licencee's, which is a really strange thing to have in your store if  you don't carry the core product.

So a few minutes later someone came in and the woman told him what we were there for, so I walked over to talk to him and he informed me that they were starting Free RPG day at Noon. I plead may case...that I was from Utah, that I drove an hour from where I was staying just to get Free RPG day stuff, that we were in town for family and we had things going on to which we needed to return. My pleas fell upon deaf ears, he just reiterated that they would be starting at noon.(He was the epitome of the Role Player Stereotype: awkward, quiet, could use a little more attention to personal hygiene) So I browsed the store, my compatriot was less than thrilled (read: bored) but there was enough there to keep me busy for an hour, but not two.

After about half an hour the guy running free RPG day told me they would be starting soon, this excited me because soon in my mind was early.

Their prices really were good, so I picked up some new things for myself: Zombie Dice Game, Cthulhu Dice Game, Warhammer Fantasy Role Play Dice (I'll probably never play this RPG—but it has cool dice). I wanted to get a Chessex Battle Mat (I noticed that they had a good price online), but they only had the ones with 1½ inch squares, and I wanted the one with 1 inch squares. At this point Jacob borrowed 4¢  and went down the street to the McDonald's, and I entered the Gaming Table Section of the Store to open my new stuff.

When Jake got back we played Zombie Dice, no they had not started and it was about a 11:30. Shortly thereafter, they got a box out from under the counter and laid out the Six free adventures, did they tell me it was okay to pick up the free stuff? No. It's not like I had been there since they opened, waiting specifically to pick that stuff up. I thought to myself that perhaps they would make some announcement to the store that the festivities would begin. (And I guess when he told me they would be starting soon, he meant on time. . . weird.)

Then this other guy walked in ans asked about Free RPG Day and they let him take some adventures. So I got up and took the two I knew I wanted, Jake picked up two that were a maybe (He didn't want any so he was just going to give them to me anyway). I didn't want to be greedy, and my game store puts up signs that says two only please.

We left immediately. I think the reason they were waiting, was that they had people scheduled to run the adventures that were available. There were supposed to be some Dice and a Dice Tower as part of the give away; I didn't see the Dice, and it looked like they only had one dice tower, and it looked like they were going to raffle it off. Perhaps they were saving the dice for people who played, but I didn't have time for that.

On the way back I ran into one of the game stores I had been to earlier in the week and grabbed a Formula D dice set (I wanted a set of these a long time ago and when I went to get them the store no longer had them and the game was out of print), I quickly checked if they had Battle Mats and I was glad that I did, it was even cheaper than the Mountain Home Store (and a dollar less than it would have been to buy a factory second directly from the manufacturer).

Our story doesn't quite end there however. I was in the neighborhood of my Local Gaming Store this week and I stopped in and found they still had copies of the two adventures I had not picked up (and of the four adventures I had picked up, they only had copies of one), so I got all six adventures, and a bunch of stuff I've wanted at discounted prices.

I would call Free RPG Day 2010 a Success.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Free RPG Day 2010—The Pre-game

I was planning to hit my Local Game Store first thing in the morning, so I could pick up some goodies on Free RPG Day (June 19).

I know I want to pick up the D&D Dark Sun 4th Edition Adventure. There's supposed to be some cool Dice Paraphernalia, and Some other  Free Adventure things.

I got the Eberron Adventure, and the Hollow Earth Expedition  Adventure last year—and recently I scrounged around the internet and managed to get my hands on the Paranoia Quick Start Rules for a price that was just a little bit more than free.

When I got to the Game Store last Year there was a sign that said please only take two, and it was all Adventures. I'm guessing all the cool dice stuff was gone, I didn't even know there was Dice Stuff until I looked up everything that was available at a later time.

It seems we're going to be in Boise, ID on the 19th. So I called a bunch of game stores in Boise—no one seems to be participating in Free RPG Game Day 2010.  I checked the web site and there appears to be a game store in Mountain Home, ID—about an hour away from Boise, that is participating in the event, so I guess I'm going to try and make the trip.

I suppose, I could have someone who isn't into gaming here at home go to the Local Gaming Store for me and pick some things up. Any Volunteers? You have to go when they open—the good stuff goes fast.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Onyx Dice

I love it when people feed my obsessive collecting behavior.

The most recent example of this comes from my Wife's Aunt. She picked these up in Seattle, and I love them. Now, that I've finally had a chance to talk to her and thank her, I can post a picture here.

I thought Onyx was black, but apparently that is just one of the more common varieties—however, it is not The most common variety.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Laugh Out Loud—I Can't See My Dice Through the Tears in My Eyes

Saturday's game was one of my favorites. None of the Regulars came (except my wife). The group consisted of my Wife, Two of my friends that I've known since Jr. High and the daughter of one of those friends.

I've only been running games for a year, and I only started running because I wanted to play Savage Worlds and I had a feeling, if I didn't run the game it wasn't going to happen. In that time I have never run a game that was a setting or adventure that I created myself. I just haven't really felt that I have the time to do so, and there are so many great settings for Savage Worlds. So I started Deadlands: Reloaded with the Coffin Rock adventure and then moved it into The Flood plot point campaign—the transition was a little ugly, but the shoehorn seems to be working.

The beginning of The Flood is a little Railroady. I couldn't believe the amount of "box text" that was part of the first few sessions. I try not to read verbatim out of the book, and paraphrase, and say things so they fit the characters—at least in my mind that's what I want to do. I don't know how well it goes, but the session seemed pretty good.

The combat involved fifteen villains, and three extra allies. I'm glad how easy it went, but I feel like I need to come up with a way to make combat a little more interesting. Justin (a.k.a. "Bruce") was reminiscing on a GURPS game he had played and reminded me of something that I've been wanting to do since almost day one of the Zombie Run game, and that is to relinquish a certain amount of narrative control to the players.

I've written a reminder down to do so and pinned it to the back of my Game Master screen multiple times, and then I get caught up in franticly trying to keep a step ahead of the players, but last night it became almost second nature to say, "you killed him, describe what happened." Now I have to relinquish even more responsibility to the players. I keep meaning to tell them the numbers required to hit at the beginning of combat so they can determine their dice rolls ahead of time.

The other thing I need to do is use the more creative combat maneuvers that the non-player characters have at their disposal, so the combat isn't just group A shooting at Group B, or Group A pounding on Group B. I have gotten better at actually remembering to use my Game Master Bennies, so the Wild Card Villains come off more villainous.

I'm pretty sure there were some rules that I was getting a little off. I thought that once I had been running a game for a year that I would have sessions in which I didn't have rules questions—though I think I'm getting a little better at breezing past and looking things up later (For instance, I didn't do the Fear spell right the first time, but I did get it right the second time it was cast).

Joshua had me laughing so hard at one point in the game, that my eyes were literally streaming tears, and I was having trouble breathing. Every time I get together with friends that I have known since Jr. High and High School is a good time (Even when those times are bitter sweet).

I'm looking forward to the next session.