World, run by same bozo as yesterday!
Again one person just never showed up, but Liralen and Jet (wait,
when did Jet become a grownup? what even is time?) made it, along with a
couple of people I didn't previously know.
- Dr Theward Savage, MD (Xander), British imperialist barbarian, born on
safari and eager to publish while the wogs perish.
- Prof Jadaia (Liralen), the wizard who invented the Astral
Resonance Tuner for SCIENCE!
- Allestra (Jet), moon-worshipping paladin.
- Trixie (Andy), halfling thief determined to get rich selling moon rocks.
It was interesting to see how many of the same choices the completely
disjoint sets of players made: having the wizard in the group, the ART being a massive installation in the
wizard's tower that made a portal,
going to the Moon to rescue someone (in this case, a grad student who
had from the locked Astral Tuning lab overnight), heading for Copernicus
(although this time, they said that the crater wasn't there before they
first tested the ART and now it was locked to that spot).
I had better pacing this time, and just had the Lunars kidnap the
wizard and try to use telepathy crystal arrays on her to open
communications, which turned out to be the right approach with this
group. They were all for talking with the locals and explaining the
benefits of being colonized. Dr Savage and Allestra even let the Lunars'
minds grow together with theirs, which certainly wouldn't ever cause
problems. ("This system of exchanging notional tokens for goods and
services seems like it would inevitably lead to perverse incentives.")
But they didn't get distracted (much) from trying to rescue the grad
student from the clutches of the Reassembled. This time I remembered to
mention the poison from the Reassembled, and that was enough to have Dr
Savage cutting open Allestra's chest and pressing her lungs to the
crystal ground while Prof Jadaia poured on their entire supply of
healing potions. I didn't even have to have any mechanical effects!
Fortunately, instead of waiting to be rescued, Trixie was busy luring
her captors into a landslide-based trap.
The grad student had to be killed, unfortunately, but at least then
he was accounted for. The PCs went back to tell the Lunars about what
happened instead of immediately running for the portal, so I had them
finally get to the portal only to find it being occupied and fortified
by the Reassembled. Roll credits!
This time we did use some of my office supplies, although not the
easel pad, and many of the cider donuts were eaten, so that was good. When
we needed to show what was going on, Trixie's player broke out some
little wooden meeples, which was brilliant. I need to get some of
13-14:00 Dealer's room, picked up only a few things
this time, but did get my copy of BFF
from the Kickstarter all those ages ago.
Royal Blood is a Tarot-based magical heist game. The PCs are Royals,
half-human and half-idea, but wanting to be more, and this is the one
night that one of the Major Arcana is vulnerable to having their power
stolen. You have from sunset to sunrise (plus flashbacks) to displace
them from the Tarot.
You can redraw, but we all took what the deck gave us for
- Effervesence, "Ves" (Kona), Prince of Cups, icy manipulator.
- Helen (me), King of Cups, passionate seductress.
- Lady Chaos (Pedro), Queen of Wands, ass-kicker.
- Knight of the Mountain (Jet), Knight of Wands, action hero, the least magical of us and (as it turned out) the only one with a moral compass
We also took the first draw for our target, the Star. Effortless
mastery, glamour, glory, we hates them! We hates them so much! (Also we
determined a reason why each of us hated the specifically, like dissing
Lady Chaos's beloved dive bar.) Then the GM drew for the four obstacles
that we would have to overcome before we could confront the Star
directly: a skilled minion (the best PA in the world), a loyal
bodyguard, vast wealth (embodied in the best security team in the
world), and a rival band of Royals also trying to steal the Star's
power (which we decided was the Princesses of the four suits).
The way Royal Blood works is that you apportion N×3 tokens among
the four obstacles, and then have to go back and remove them, so you get to
pick which one(s) you want to see most of in play. Some instinct toward
symmetry made us put three on each, but really we should have put most of
them on the Four Princesses, because what's more interesting than Carl
NPCs? But it worked out in the end, because the Princesses were going after
the Star for the hell of it, and were content to try again later. (That
will be next year, when Carl does the Four Princess Run as his Royal Blood
game for BBC 2020.) We found out what kind of person Helen was when she was
willing to hospitalize an innocent bystander to get the Star's PA out of
the way, but the Knight of the Mountain wasn't willing to shoot someone in
the head, which is a definite moral victory.
It came right down to the wire (we got some good draws at the very
end, and the next few cards after that were... not so good), but the
Star went down, and the Burning Heart replaced them in every Tarot deck
in the world.
That was pretty intense, even though we had very little Tarot lore
among the five of us. I would play Royal Blood again, if I had serious
gamers and a 4-5 hour slot.
18-20:00 Apparently barbecue is the theme for this
year's BigBadCon, or maybe just this year's Carl, because we went to
house special is "burnt ends" which are not actually burnt but like
twice-spiced and twice-barbecued brisket cubes, and they aren't always
available, so I felt that I should have them even though I normally
eschew mammal meat. My mouth liked them a lot, but later my stomach was
sad that I had not packed antacid.
20:00 Pokemon Go tried to make me late, but couldn't
quite! I got into
a game I own but have never played. It is about elves and oppression:
the PCs are drow living in a fantastical mile-tall city which has been
conquered by the "high elves" with their creepy masks and draconian
cruelty and daylight gods, and are all members of a revolutionary/occult
cell that worships one of the illegal aspects of the drow triple goddess
and plots the overthrow of the oppressive aelfir.
I don't remember any of the names, but this pregen cell had
- Idol: enchanting art (ours was a dancer), with the power to start a party anywhere.
- Firebrand: full-time revolutionary soapboxer and fighter against The Aelfir.
- Knight of the North Docks: more of a knight-themed gangster with an affinity for pubs, but also legally entitled to carry (if not use) a big honking lance.
- Inksmith - detective pulp writer, with the occult ability to make reality more like pulp novels.
- Mask: skilled at passing in masked aelfir society, and disguise in general.
- Azurite: priest of wealth and commerce.
Our assigment from our handler was to steal something from a
particular aelfir and make sure she never reported it stolen to anyone.
In theory we could have done something clever to deal with the second
requirement, but Jenora Ride-The-White-Lotus was busy "improving" the
traditional drow art of blood opera by murdering drow on stage, so we
were all fine with treating it as a straight hit. We came up with a
multi-pronged plan that used everyone's talents whether needed or not,
and somehow it worked. The Mask got everyone lots of bonuses, the Azurite procured a duplicate of the object,
the Idol made the switch and also got everyone in the theater sloshed,
the Knight (me) got cast as someone in the climactic battle, the Firebrand
turned off the lights at the crucial moment so a tragic accident could
happen, and the Inksmith had a visit with the costar our target had
recently dumped, leaving behind a gun that the costar used to shoot the
target dead (and a good thing too, we would have had a lot of trouble
taking her down on our own, stupid aelfir). Despite the complexity of
the plan, we finished by 23:00, which none of the players were really
With pregen characters and a short session, we didn't get into even a
fraction of the occult weirdness that is Spire.
23-24:00 Getting to bed early is not a terrible
thing, even if it seems like a waste of precious con hours. I didn't
have anything scheduled for tomorrow afternoon because everything was
full, but now there's an opening in a
She-Ra game (using
which I don't know but could learn). It's very tempting, but according
to Google, if I try leaving Walnut Creek after 18:00, I will end up
having to walk home from the San Jose train station carrying all my
stuff in the middle of the night and probably die, so apparently I
should just go home after the morning gaming. Next year, I will stay
over Sunday night and go home Monday morning, which will mean both an
extra game and much nicer travel.