Sunday, September 13, 2015

DragonCon 2015: The Last Dragon(con)

Bet you thought I forgot to do this write-up, huh! Well...yeah, I totally did. Ahem. Let's go.

So, I haven't been to DragonCon in a lot of years. The last year I went, I think, was 2003, so that was a good long while ago. This year, I went with +Michelle and +Cheyenne, and there were a whole bunch of people at the con that I knew, but did not see.

We flew down, and my brother had originally planned on picking us up, but we were running late, so we took the train instead. That was a good decision, because the train is exempt from the fucking horrendous Atlanta traffic. Also, we made some train-buddies!

Pictured here.
We had dinner with my brother and sister-in-law and my nephew, and then wandered down the block to get our badges. All in all it was a lot of walking, and then standing in line.

Which would become a theme.
But on the way back, we saw a Ferris wheel!

So there's that.

Then the next day, we had a game in the morning! Which...kinda began one of my first frustrations. Gaming is the unwanted stepchild of DragonCon, you see, so the game slots start at 9AM, but the bus doesn't start running until 9 or 10, meaning if you're staying offsite (which we were, even if only by about a half mile) you're walking. So we walked.

We did make the game on time, though. It was a Savage Worlds conversion of Conspiracy X. I played a priest with former ties to the Mafia, and we were investigating alien activity in this little town in the Grand Canyon.

Let's fight some reptoids!
It was a good time. The conversion was solid, and the scenario was arranged such that characters who weren't overtly fighty (like the one I was playing) had some investigation/face kinds of things to do before the combat sections. The GM paced it well, too. My Grade: A

From there, we decided to go get lunch, and then hit the dealer's room(s).

When you've got 70,000 people in your town spending money, you welcome them.
Michelle ponders her options. 
Getting into the dealer's room required standing in another damn line, down the block. Yay. But once inside, we found lots of interesting costumes, and some storefronts that Michelle and Chey enjoyed. No one was selling RPGs, so I wasn't really so interested (I have enough t-shirts, and I don't want a corset).

This does not do the dealer's room justice. 
After shopping, we headed back to the hotel. I saw some kids playing in the fountain in Olympic park, which is always cool.

I almost joined them; it was hot as balls.
That night, I had a game to run for some Chill backers! They'd made up their characters and given me an HQ to work with in Mobile, Alabama. I used Siris, the ancient ghost (it's in Chill, go look it up), and they all almost died at the end, but made good use of the "flip the tokens to live" thing.

Saturday! I had to get up and run Chill again, actually. I ran Good Fences Make Good Neighbors, and had a decent group; they had fun, seemed to enjoy the characters and the scenario. I forgot to take their pictures, but hey.

Meanwhile, Michelle was running her Clue version of A Tragedy in Five Acts. Three of her players were dressed as Hell's Grannies, which is pretty awesome by itself.

Make tea, not love. 

Directly after that game, I played in a Games on Demand game. Now, GoD works very differently at DragonCon than at other cons, because the Games-of-Thrones-esque leadership of the con is afraid of GoD and doesn't understand it. So we signed up for a session, sat down, and the GM gave us a menu of games. We whittled it down to a couple of choices, and wound up picking Little Fears.

Now, I like Little Fears. We talked a little about similar games, and I mentioned World of Darkness: Innocents, and the GM said (before I finished my sentence), "Yeah, that was really derivative of Little Fears," so I got to say, "I developed it. And no, it's not derivative, it's using a similar premise, which is not the same thing." And then he admitted he hadn't actually read it, so yeah.

Anyway, we wound up with eight players in the game. Two of them got up and left, with no preamble or explanation, about 3/4 of the way through, which sucked. The game itself was...OK. We were in a cul-de-sac, then all appeared in Closetland, but wound up wandering from house to house getting nasty things done to us, until finally one of us (Cheyenne's character) escaped just in time to get hit by a bus.

Honestly, it was a little uncomfortable. The game was presented as "little kids being afraid," which is fine, but at no point was Closetland or the Boogeyman ever mentioned, and certainly not the possibility of real harm coming to the characters. I have a thing about kids being harmed, and I misread the GM on the subject, or else I'd have asked that we play something else. Also, there was no way that we could have gotten the scenario "right." There were no clues as to how we should proceed, no leading questions, and the hints we did get were blatantly false. So, it was fun at the beginning, but by the end it was less "horror game" and more "character abuse," and I wasn't feeling it. My Grade: C-

This was after the other two players fucked off.
And then on the way out, I saw a Deadpool dance party.

All those red things are Deadpool.
And then I went back to the hotel, and saw some Warboys waiting for the bus.

If there's a more perfect metaphor for DragonCon, I don't know it.
And then dinner, after which we saw a thundering herd of football fans coming down the hill toward us.

We fled.
And then Michelle and I hunkered down in the room and bought Inside Out on pay-per-view, and stayed in, and it was glorious.

Finally, Sunday. We had decided that DragonCon had very little else to offer us, so we went to the aquarium instead.

Anybody know what kind of fish this is?
The severed heads of Bertie and Bippy, or something. 
Michelle, Cheyenne, and the Starfish Woman.

And then we flew home. What I have determined about DragonCon is that it was fun when I was 10 years younger and easily able to walk miles, tolerate the heat, and stay up late. Now, I much prefer Origins and GenCon, which have much less of all of those things. But it was a good time, and I'm glad I went at least this once more.