Dr. Manhatten goes to Origins

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Re: Dr. Manhatten goes to Origins

Postby salamanca » Thu Jun 18, 2020 9:41 pm

I own one of the few physical copies ever made of that game. Protip: if you are a game company, the goal should be to turn out some great games and generate revenue. They made good games and tried very hard not to make any money.

We are going to take another sidestep for a couple heroes of Origins.

Matt Muth and Galen Ciscell. These two guys spent years at the con co-ordinating RPGs and LARPs respectively. That means they travelled to Columbus and spent the entire freaking time making sure we had the right number of chairs, rooms were set up, we had tables amd anything else a GM had a problem with. Nothing in the old Larps would have worked out without Galen. He bailed me out with paranoia a couple times too. And he gave up his own fun to do it.

Thwak and I are talking to Galen about an hour before the first larp. All we needed was some permission to move a ton of chairs for a seminar into the side room. Galen rustles us a team to jandle it. While we are there, he is also asking via walkie talkie about another larp needing clearance for a sword as a prop in the room.

The sword response comes over. "It will ne no problem as long as it stays in a GMs control and leaves the room right away...unless it's those 7th sea guys, they seem kinda crazy." Galen shakes his head, apologizes and Theak says, "Sounds accurate."
I don't mind growing old... but I hate growing up.
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Re: Dr. Manhatten goes to Origins

Postby salamanca » Thu Jun 18, 2020 11:39 pm

It is July 4, 1996. Tomorrow morning i will be attending my first Origins...maybe.

We are all staying at the apartment of McJohn and Chris the night before we leave. McJohn is closing manager at a fast food joint so the plan is we all get to the apartment, game a bit, sleep and we take two cars to columbus. Mc John is good for using his car but having little time to sleep wants a different driver.

Good plan, never gonna work. I arrive and Chris looks like hell. Turns out he has been sick all week but insists on going. The other 5 show up and Chris goes to bed. I try to sleep on the couch but the fab 5 are playing Magic on the floor right next to me because using the dining room table would make sense.

At midnight, Chris stumbles out and asks to go to the hospital. So i drive him there. He is severely dehydrated and they stick him with fluids. If you have never tried to nap in an ER waiting room, don't bother. The chairs are uncomfortable and just before 1 they drag a guy in who got beat to hell in a bar fight. His drunk sisters are crying and screaming. Then his dad arrives and starts yelling at them. This goes on until 6 am. Chris gets released at 7, we pick up a perscription and now i have been awake 25 hours.

We walk in the apartment and i fully expect to leave Chris there but he is going. Mc John comes out shocked everyone is awake and ready to go. The fab 5 were up all night playing magic, none of them are able to drive.

It is 8:30 am. McJohn and I are driving two cars to Origins. We have been on the road 10 minutes and all passengers are asleep. To my right is a 14 year old girl with way too permissive parents. Behind her is a 21 year old Filipino guy who is pushing the limit on his education visa. Behind me is "Beef" who is not only asleep but has a blanket over his head. I realize at this moment that if i get pulled over, i am going to jail.

The only thing that keeps me awake on the drive is that there is some sort of RV event going on in the opposite direction. I start counting winebagos amd hit 86 by the time we get to columbus.

Side note on that young girl. She was really lucky to end up with a group of overpritective gamers with some moral decency. Her mom just didn't care who she was out with and we ran off plenty of trouble until she grew up. She ended up working for various gaming companies doing shows and prep work.

Side note on McJohn. He and i have been friends a long time. '95 was a tough year for me and he knew I needed a break and would not take it so he insisted we go to Origins. He was very right.
I don't mind growing old... but I hate growing up.
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Re: Dr. Manhatten goes to Origins

Postby salamanca » Fri Jun 19, 2020 8:53 am

Friday morning, waffle eaten, teady for gaming and at the table really early. This is a good time of morning. I get to set my gear up, review the adventure, maybe even leaf through the program book and coupons. (I hate coupons)

Someone new will show up and we will build them a character. Sam and Alex will show up with some odd local drink or food to try. (Probably orange because Mark made that a thing) Ken will arrive and pretend he got a full night of sleep, i am on to him.

My morning session will start, this is my favorite day for 7th sea when it goes as planned because i get to run 3 sessions and those games are consecutive episodes. If anybody signs up for all three we get a good story flow.

I have all relatively new players, they might all be year one or it has been a spell since we saw any of them. None of them are familiar with our regulars. That is when Stephen comes in hands me Anastasia and says, were running down to the dealer room for a minute, can you watch her? Uncle Sal is cool with this. They race out to try and get something that is limited and exclusive. The players look at me a little confused. I deadpan respond to the looks by saying, "does anybody know who those people were?" Two players fall for it for a minute.

It is 2000, my girlfriend at the time was given full event selection control that year because last year taught me that putting her in games she is not invested in ruins it for the table. (I made some bad life choices back then, i know. But the break up is just a couple months away and life gets better) She picked us out a winner this morning...8 hour session of Vampire, the Masquerade. I hate this game, i hate the white wolf staff, i hate the premise. And now she is going to skip it because she "is tired". I try to scare up a friend to take the ticket. This is the year we got 29 people crammed in 3 rooms. No takers.

But in room 3, Nick yanks the curtain open and taunts his best friend in the world. "You see that, Ryan? It's called the sun!"

Ryan rolls over and mumbles, "I know what the sun is."

Nick misses no beats, "Yeah but you think it starts in the middle of the sky and moves west. You never knew it was in the East."

I go to the game alone because, i got a ticket and any gaming is better than 8 hours of not gaming at Origins. This session belongs in the hall of fame as the absolute worst game i have almost completed. In Aces &Eights, i had friends to laugh with at the bad. In Hollow Earth, I had Charlie and an interest in the game.

In this Vampire game i am alone. The person on either side reek of sweat. We also got a guy at the table that has not learned to stop talking. THAT GUY has also has a dentist surgically cap his incisors so he has permanent fangs because he loves Vampire. (Those teeth give him a lisp that is pure Sylvester) The GM hands out pregens...no selection, you get dealt a character. We are not long into the session when it becomes apparent these are the characters from his home game, borrowed from his players.

And then it gets worse.

2 minutes into play, i am lectured for playing the character "wrong" because that is not the way his real player plays him. The home player is more passive at the table and the GM hates the idea of me displaying leadership. I was less subtle back then, to quote my lisping vampire companion, "thith meanth war".

And it gets worse...

The GM (Can't call him a storyteller, there was little story) lets slip this adventure is really just the next part of his home campaign. It was pacing really weird and this explains it. He literally just picked up where they left the game off last weekend and we are filling in for his players. AND WHATEVER WE DO WILL BE PERMANENT FOR THIS CAMPAIGN.

And then...worse.

This is a session where the players need to use info from a few sessions previous to get the info they will need to put together all the threads leading to the grand finale. HE IS PLANNING TO REVEAL THE CAMPAIGN VITAL INFO IN A SESSION MISSING ALL HIS PLAYERS! Oh, and we can't get that info because we need the code word the characters learned several sessions ago because that is something the GM expects his players to have made a note about or remembered. EXCEPT NONE OF US WERE THE PLAYERS DURING THAT PART OF THIS TWISTED CAMPAIGN!

a wise man would have walked away but this is a train wreck of bad ideas and gaming needs someone to witness this and make sure it never happens again. And it has fallen to me.

The are 7 players, Sylvster has not stopped talking over and around the GM. I may be able to use that but he will be no direct help. 4 of the players are seriously trying to do this the way the GM thinks it should work...useless and smelly. But the guy across the table...him, i can work with. It is an unspoken plan but he is helping make it happen. The two of us dupe the others into plan B since we have no way of guessing the password given to other players.

I mean gamer Plan B. The generic joke Plan B. A footlocker full of explosives followed by a frontal assault on a fortified public location. I have pushed the players to the only thing that will stop this debacle.

The GM stops everything, he just realized what is about to happen and that he has no way out of it. He takes a deep breath as we are about to enter hour 7 (i could have done it in 4 if Sylvester had just shut his drooling, fanged mouth). The GM says, "I am going to stop the game here because i can't see any way it can continue without a TPK and i don't want you to kill my players characters".

Checkmate.

I consider pushing the issue and making him kill us as a favor to his players. But i have had enough of the body odor and sylvester who is still talking through the GM.

As i walk away, the GM mutters, "I should have MADE my players signup for my game".

Yeah, that was the lesson he managed to learn...

As a player, i want you to think about your favorite home campaign. Now imagine spending maybe a year of gaming in some epic campaign, it is obvious that next session will be the one that ties the threads together and reveals the identity of the Shadow King. Now you show up and the GM says he ran that with some other players and the info was revealed but as a player, you were not there so tough luck. Oh, and Bob, your character is dead.
I don't mind growing old... but I hate growing up.
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Re: Dr. Manhatten goes to Origins

Postby salamanca » Fri Jun 19, 2020 9:56 am

It is 1996, i have now been awake 28 hours and we are entering the greater columbus convention center for the first Origins in Columbus. I have been to several local cons in Akron but nothing about those compares in scale. We walk i from the north entrance and registration runs fast and smooth. (Well, at the time, we were impatient and it seemed a little slow but in hindsight, yeah, '96 was efficient.

We have an hour before our game starts at noon. So what is in this room... Oh sweet mother of god...it is the dealer room. Exhibit Hall A. I cannot see the back of the room. I can barely see the sides, the aisles that year run even closer to the front and the guys up front have tall banners and toppers on the displays blocking the view. I look at Mc John, "if we go in now, we may never come out". "Well, I know what we are doing at 4."

So, we walk toward the game in the Hyatt and discover the food court. The first 4 years at the con, we eat exclusively there. It really changes when a remodel forces exploration of the neighborhood.

Tge first game is Feng Shui in the Madison Room. McJohn, Chris and I plus some strangers. I had a karate cop template and the rest of the game is mundane. Chris, still reeling from the ER visit sleeps through most of the game. I win a best player certificate which is just bragging rights over McJohn.
I don't mind growing old... but I hate growing up.
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Re: Dr. Manhatten goes to Origins

Postby kenderleech » Fri Jun 19, 2020 11:32 am

iIts friday. 530am. If the year is an even year, my phone rings Today to let me know that my store didnt open on time.

Its 535am. 2017. this was the year my phone rang Every morening at 535. My assistant manager makes it to work at 730. My Future assistant manager was only 15 minutes late for her shift, so She opened the store at 650. Both of them left early leaving the barely out of training cashier by herself. 2nd shift is late. Corporate inspecter shows up. While im trying to run episode 3. All the tension and urgency i had built up is lost as i spend 20 minutes on the phone.


Its 2015. Im not a store manager. Im running episode 2 it was supposed to be episode 7, but Reasons.

Things were good. 1pm, i sit down with a group of people. Sam and alexandra I know, we agreed to sit this one together. My brother of choice Shane is present as well. Everyone else Ive seen around, but hadnt done much with. I have a secret. I am going to die today. I go cheerfully into my fate. My fate doesnt happen, because Things Are Awesome. I make a big deal about how No One is going to die. And then.. when its time.. I.. Just.. Let.. Go. And the player to my right screams as dave and i are (I think) faking tears. She Throws all her drama dice into the middle of the table and jumps up.

Best. Session. Ever.

The bruises I got when she was told that it was a set up took almost 3 weeks to go away.


And then there was episode 10. I was already burned out tho from the emotional impact of the first running of team heretic.
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Re: Dr. Manhatten goes to Origins

Postby salamanca » Fri Jun 19, 2020 11:49 am

That will get my perspective in a bit. And Ken never has a reason to run episode 2, it just happens.

But right now, Charlie has brought me a sandwich to eat between back to back sessions because he is a very nice man (not like an axe murderer).

And i shift to 1997. Year 2 and i am running my first game at Origins. I did not run more than one session so i get no reimbursement, this is just me paying forward for the games i get to play at cons.

It Came from the Late, Late Show: A Bad Dream on Elmwood Street.

I am a nervous wreck. What business do i have running a game in Knox? I'm just a kid from Akron with real gaming "skills". Plus I am monkeying with how the plot is shifting between actor and role and player. This is going to suck. The teenage girl we bring along to events has signed up and ends up being an albatross on the party because she is a fickle easily bored teen. But the rest of the group is pretty good. I don't run a bad game but am not happy with the results.

Darren McClennan future moderator on RPG.net is in that game. He lives in my area and never gets my name but knows my face. Everytime we cross pathss, he tells me it was the most brilliant session he has ever played of any game.

And everytime he does, i wonder about who he is gsming with and how to avoid them.
I don't mind growing old... but I hate growing up.
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Re: Dr. Manhatten goes to Origins

Postby salamanca » Fri Jun 19, 2020 12:05 pm

Downstairs B hall convention center middle room. Christian MacLeod is running at Origins. Floyd and I are in the game and doing NOTHING helpful. I am alsi furiously finishing the character kit envelopes for Larp #2 because the Millenial Army all blew off helping last night. Floyd and I literally do 4 hours of running banter while 5 players try to complete the adventure. We were not long into the game and i knew Christian was getting flustered trying to figure out how to deal with us. I pass him a note that read, "Ignore Floyd and me, focus on the others. We will syep up when it hits the fan. In the meantime, we will entertain ourselves."

I then slip 2 extra drama points in the envelope for his larp character, he will need them.
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Re: Dr. Manhatten goes to Origins

Postby salamanca » Fri Jun 19, 2020 1:03 pm

Kenny and Jason are over at Mark's table. I hear a shout of "Don Gallo!" Don Gallo is at my table and he didn't shout his own name yet. We are a little confused but move on. It happens again and their table and I chorus it as tradition requires. It happens again later and everybody responds as usual but none of it is starting with Don Gallo. (Well some is but unrelated to Kenny and Jason) The other games in the room are probably mad and convinced we are insane.

Turns out that Altamira's most infamous teoublemakers are shouting it to shift blane for their less heroic actions.

C Hall restroom break: two boys walk in maybe 17 or 18 years old from the dealer room. One asks the other, "Are you gonna grab my sack or do I need to hold your package first?" And the legend begins.

Speaking of that CHall room, it had a broken thermostat set at 62 degrees. People were showing up for games wrapped in the carpet trunk liner from their cars. And naturally, it was 95 outside so the transition shock was nasty.
I don't mind growing old... but I hate growing up.
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Re: Dr. Manhatten goes to Origins

Postby salamanca » Fri Jun 19, 2020 1:07 pm

Crimson Valor, table is Me, Mark, Charlie, and Stephen with Frank running. First game i played with Stephen. A year later, in the cold room, Kara would push mu character through the Lil du Bete porte device to activate it. As their new GM she should have known how that worked and it being an instant kill.

I purposely made the replacement to annoy her as revenge. Then they told me what i couldn't carry over and i made it worse to the regrets of the whole CV team.
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Re: Dr. Manhatten goes to Origins

Postby Black Jack Rackham » Fri Jun 19, 2020 1:58 pm

salamanca wrote:As a player, i want you to think about your favorite home campaign. Now imagine spending maybe a year of gaming in some epic campaign, it is obvious that next session will be the one that ties the threads together and reveals the identity of the Shadow King. Now you show up and the GM says he ran that with some other players and the info was revealed but as a player, you were not there so tough luck. Oh, and Bob, your character is dead.

I went a different way with that thought. Imagine you've been playing with this particular GM for some time (at first I questioned why anyone would put themselves through this, but hang in there), you know what a what kind of person/GM he is and that he is probably going to reveal something important during this session (because, after all, he's only running this to get a free badge, I mean it's obvious, he is so uncreative he couldn't even come up with a single other plot besides this one.) So to get the info (and boost his numbers so that Origins won't reject his events in the future) all you have to do is show up. Hell it doesn't even have to be all of you, just one to take the hit. And do they? Nope. They know what he's like, and now the reason they all bagged it becomes apparent. One gigantic F**K You to said GM. And of course, he totally doesn't see it.
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Re: Dr. Manhatten goes to Origins

Postby salamanca » Fri Jun 19, 2020 3:06 pm

Ok, it is time. At the moment i type this (12:54), i have Ken in a hall near Grant room. I am explaining we need a deus ex machina death of a PC and that he will be fine at the end. We just want to ratchet the hell out of the tension levels. So i am not saying when but there will come a moment, and you will die but think about having a quick final words ready.

Mark and I picked Ken because he is a GM and killing our own is even more scary.

We go in and the table is Ken, Sam, Alexandria, Shane (who at the time I know the least), Tim (Diarmid) and Bruce (Ivan). This will be a loud table. And a good solid session.

Ken takes the plan to heart and is suicidal the entire session. Nobody seems to have noticed but it is out of character. Sam is too busy Bogdaning (yeah, i verbed you, Sam) the NPCs, Alex is busy playing into character and not aware of it. Tim hasn't played enough with Ken to know and Bruce is doing his job like a boss. I think Shane has an idea something is up but he hasn't sussed why.

Sidebar for Bruce: Dude, you are the guy every table needs. You pay attention to the clues, pick your moments and spend most of the adventure just quietly accomplishing the mission while the dwordsmen whoop and ride cows. I would guess most of the players in the campaign have no idea what your specialties are because you play so close to the vest. Every person in this campaign can improve their skill set by watching how you play.

Now, where was I...oh yeah. Looming death. Ken almost dies but doesn't, he looks at me funny and i shrug him off. He nearly kills himself agsin at the wrong time and again i get that look. The good part is that I am in a zone and the tension is buipding to the point that Sam has gone from goofy Bogdan to really pissed Bogdan. It has hit the point that Alex is actively reaching over to grab his arm and settle him down. I make a decision to dial it down because I am pretty sure if I run with it full tilt, Sam is going to have a heart attack.

Another near miss and Ken is starting to wonder when the shoe will drop because he is in the dark. This adventure was not playtested and he has not read it. But it is full of troubles.

The NPCs are not helping matters. Mark turns to interrupt with a funny event in his game and I shoot him a very dark look that spares the interruption.

It is finally the moment. Ken has helped matters by blowing all his Drama Dice on all the previous stuff. It gets orchestrated just like Mark and I planned it. Ken is in Danger, a major NPC is in DANGER. Alex is in Danger. Sam has been purposely placed in a position where he can't help, so have Tim and Shane. Bruce...well, he is always in an operational position but we will get to that.

The players can, at this moment lose to Player Characters and a major NPC unless something happens now. Alex has flipped her sheet over and back 15 times in the next 10 secconds looking for a knack or ability to solve this. I have been in Sam's head all session and he can't punch this. Shane is trying to make suggestions as is Tim. Bruce is silent but I know he is mentally rinning through everything I have told them about the scene looking for the escape solution that should be there.

I push the scene about a minute longer and then start to imply it will all fall apart.

"I let go." Everything at the table stops. Dead silent.

Everybody is looking at Ken after he says this. His voice was resigned and sad, very quiet. He isn't moving until he drops his pencil and pushes his character sheet away from himself and towards me. He can't even look at me when he does it. He is looking at Mark on the other table over his shoulder. There is a lot of regret, disappointment and a dash of frustration in his eyes...he is playing it perfect.

Alex is ready to cry. Sam is dark red in the face and is wearing an expression normally only seen on Charles Bronson. (I am seriously factoring the odds of him coming over the table at me over this) Bruce is sitting upright and stiff, this is bad and he still can't find the escape clue that should be in the scene description but isn't.

Tim Walsh has stopped smiling. At that point, i had run pretty much every session Tim had been in. He is always happy at the table. Even in the darkest dangers, Tim knows it is an adventure and we will pull through like heroes. But right now, Tim, who has never played a session with Ken, looks like his best friend.

Speaking of best friends... Shane is white as a sheet. He hasn't been around the campaign long but he knows how much Ken loves playing his character. His jaw has involuntarily dropped open and the only sound at the table is Shane gasping, "ohhhhhh".

BAM!!!!! We got them all! But the job isn't over. I have to put this thing to bed or it is for nothing.

[Inside Sal's brain and life time]
Mark and I kept this quiet at the time but that year i literally didn't know if i was going to Origins until Tuesday. My grandmother had suffered a stroke that spring and I did what I always do in a family crisis...all the work so the rest of the family can tend to the emergency. She got home Friday before Origins and on Tuesday things were in control enough for me to get clear and game. But the time leading to that was touch and go. All the emotion I had put aside for 2 months got channeled straight into the next moment. The tears were quite real.

(We now return to the game description)

I lean forward, look Ken square in the eye and my view is blurry, I'm starting to cry. "Ken, if you do that, you die." (My voice cracks with grief on the word Die. It is perfect for the moment.

Ken reacts to this by turning into a waterfall of teqrs and sobs, "I know!"

Out of the corner of my eye, Bruce is removing his glasses to wipe his eyes, Happy Tim is rubbing his face on his sleeve. Shane is catatonic. Sam is pounding the table. Alex is not taking this well. She screams ,"Noooo!" and shoves her drama dice at me...and her regular dice...and Sam's dice. She is in years. Everybody starts tossing plans, begging for a reprieve and offering up their own character to save Ken. I give Ken a single check to pull off a way to catch himself with a TN 15 because the players have volunteered ALL their drama dice and anything including first born children to give him a shot.

Ken rolls a 14. His dice are in on it too.

Alex is sobbing, Ken is sobbing, Shane looks like he is at a funeral, Sam just keeps clenching his hands into fists. Tim has turned away from the others, he can't even look at Ken. Bruce is running his hands through his hair in utter defeat.

This session is going to end right here, they are broken. I have work arounds for the end if he survives. I make a decision to let a key NPC pull a heroic save and die in Ken's place. The group is physically wrung out at the table. They are out of Drama Dice, equipment, ammo, and have 90 minutes of game to go but Ken is alive.

I call a 15 minute break so they can compose themselves. (That was a lie, the break was so i could get myself back together because i pulled way too much of my own grief out to make that happen. I needed that time more than you all did)

A minute into the break, a text message arrives from Ken who is down the hall. "Was that not the right moment?".

Ken still thinks he is going to die this session. Well no point correcting that.

We get back to table and everybody is relieved but still a wreck. More and worse stuff happens. Ken spends the next 90 minutes playing "the last guy holding the gate waiting to be killed. The favorite NPC that triggered the whole mess has to rescue him twice.

A pact was made by those players to do future adventures together as much as possible. They named themselves "Team Heretic". They are bonded tighter than any other group of characters in HoA.

It was, is and probably always will be the best session i have ever run as a GM.

I am typing this while working. Several interruptions were for customers. A couple were to wipe tears.
I don't mind growing old... but I hate growing up.
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Re: Dr. Manhatten goes to Origins

Postby Black Jack Rackham » Fri Jun 19, 2020 3:14 pm

It is 2009 (or whichever year was the iceberg room). I am playing CV with Frank running things and the usual crew playing. The plot involves us trying to get stuff/people out of a sinking ship. While on the surface, things seem great (its got a solid premise and the fact that things become unobtainable as time goes on is kind of a cool mechanic) underneath the surface, trouble is brewing.

Frank has written this as a kind of morality play where we are supposed to confront our greatest fears/weaknesses. Now don't get me wrong, that is damn ambitious for a con game, and I am suitably impressed he tried to do this. BUT he has done nothing to set this up in previous adventures where we do things that reveal to us our shortcomings. And worse, it's not our characters who are revealing weaknesses, it's US the PLAYERS. So it comes out as a ham-handed "LeT's TaLk AbOuT oUr FeElInGs" play which causes our rescue mission to come to a screeching (and embarrassingly awkward) halt.

In any case there is a silver lining to all this. When we're finished and I've processed what just happened, one inescapable thought keeps popping into my head. "I could write better adventures than this." And that quickly morphs into "I have to write better adventures than this."

It's 2011 I'm still playing with CV but by now I'm working on Heroes of Altamira and still playing with them. (and amazingly I am trying to balance both with nary a thought about how quickly things are going to blow up in my face). We're playing the Dry Dock and it's something entirely forgettable (and as a bonus was still being written earlier in the day). BUT when I sit down to do the duel they have something new in store for me.

Now back in the day when this was still Song of the Seas, Verne Wetherholt went out of his way to write complete duels that had some story to them (He was my inspiration for how I write them nowadays). But when it became CV, that stopped. You got a duel, you fought, won or lost you got rep and got paid and that was it.

BUT since I am consistently showing up and turning these things into heroic opportunities (and when whichever gm I get doesn't want me to do that, I simply use the enthusiasm of other players at the table to browbeat them into submission) they've decided to give in to me. I fight a duel in which I don't actually duel. Instead I help a bullied young man stand up for himself and (as a bonus) Charlie and I act as his seconds to ensure everything is "fair" We use the combined weight of our reputations to crush his opponent socially. Then we privately threaten to return should anything ever happen to this young man. It was glorious and I am lulled into thinking the CV folks are finally starting to get how to do heroism.

(sadly, in just over two months I will play my very last game as Don Miguel Orozco de Torrez y Reina del Mar del Castillo)

It is 2014 and I am just about to experience the most excruciating two hours of gaming I have ever put myself through. I signed up for a short (2-hour) learn-to-play for a new game called, Cosmic Patrol. On the surface it seems great. Its a retro-futurist (think rayguns and bubble helmets) adventure game with some "inventive" mechanics.

I get there to find out that there is no gm, (this was that year RPG companies tried to be inventive) players are supposed to take turns around the table creating the story whole-cloth. The guy setting this up seems like he'd rather be anywhere other than this and his enthusiasm for sitting with us wanes visibly every time I look at him. (he actually said at the outset that he was just there to introduce the game and then he'd be leaving).

At the first break two players take off and I wonder why I didn't also. but hey it's only two hours. Two hours of painful tooth-pulling to get the other players to come up with stuff. I will never buy nor play this game. Instead I spend my money on Rocket Age. It's fun and what I am looking for (though I still have yet to play/run it for players).

Now it's 2015, my one timeslot where I can play a game and I have found someone running Kuro, a Japanese, cyberpunk, horror game I found and bought solely because of the cover (though the game is very cool). We play a game that turns out to be relatively light-hearted given the setup then I learn this is an ongoing thing where they keep the same characters but have three new adventures each year (no repeats) and the third one is always light-hearted. Coolest part is whatever changes we make to the characters roll over to the next go round.

I want to play this game. But more than that, I want to help them write stuff. Sure I am writing HoA but I can find some time to write Japanese Cyberpunk Horror, Right? Sadly, I will never get my chance as, after 2016, the group stops coming to Origins. I try to find them at any other con I go to (even emailing them at one point) but they go radio silent. :( And worse, once they're gone, NO ONE runs Kuro anymore

On the bright side though, the GM had her own personal dice made (with a kanji on the "4" which is part of the game) I think they're awesome and I buy three sets BECAUSE I CAN!

(EDIT: I didn't see that Dave had posted the Team Heretic story, now I feel like I just interrupted something important).
smafdi wrote:STOP BEING SO DARN POPULAR GUYZ SRSLY I NEEDZ MEH GAMEZ TIHS YAER!!!

kenderleech wrote:If the cows were not meant to be ridden, why would they be so close to the chase scenes?
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Re: Dr. Manhatten goes to Origins

Postby daundelyon » Fri Jun 19, 2020 4:15 pm

I don't like being called Alex.

I'm not going to go into my own reaction to that scene because there's no use raking it up. All I will say is, Ken, an orange arm band is your friend. :twisted:
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Re: Dr. Manhatten goes to Origins

Postby salamanca » Fri Jun 19, 2020 4:27 pm

Drydock...yeah. for the record i hate that format. I hate running one on one sessions and despise playing them. Even PA time for solo goals just bugs me.

Drydock had one memorable session for me.
They were short on GMs that night so Frank piles everybody into one play session. We have something like 16 people at the table. And, being CV, a number of them are stat crunching combat monsters only out for their precious xp. We have not started and i am bored. Mark, Charlie, Stephen, Mike B and Kara are in the group and I am bored.

Frank starts his plot and two sentences in, i know how and where he is going to wrap things up. So, so bored.

How does one entertain himself without destroying a living campaign? By not playing his own character. I'm going to play the other players. Ah, what the hell, i will steal control from the GM and reroute the session while i am at it.

I use Charlie to help sideline Mark because all the playera gravitate to the whims of Don Miguel. Then I start breaking this down into a couple subgroups. Stephen at this point hadn't been a focal character, i change that and get him leading a crew of players that lean towards support. I push Kara into maki g some decisions...any decisions...without being told which way to go. I use those two moves to knock the plot off course and Frank is in the woods trying to catch up. And now for the coup de grace... I get them all in a situation where the only logical choice as team leader and decision maker is Mike who never takes the lead spot. The rest is easy after that. I even get the guy whose name i never bothered to learn to roleplay a social interaction instead of just rolling dice. Then i ease the plot back to where Frank probably wanted to finish in time for his finale scene.

I kept what i did a secret for a couple years. Then i explained it to Mark and blew his mind.
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Re: Dr. Manhatten goes to Origins

Postby salamanca » Fri Jun 19, 2020 4:28 pm

Well, i prefer Alexandria to Alex but that was a long, long post. I will not repeat it in the rest of the thread because i do not want an Orange arm band.
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Re: Dr. Manhatten goes to Origins

Postby salamanca » Fri Jun 19, 2020 5:27 pm

Worst game in Origins history.

Blue Hen Games sponsored this debacle. Late 90's D&D. The players are all members of some Lawful Good Holy Organization bent on thwarting evil. Or we will be in a while...

Seems nobody planned ahead for this game.
Tge character sheets have not been printed. It is '98 so that means this guy at the table is playing placegolder while the GM tries to find someone who has a printer compatible with the PC tower he drug to the con to print the sheets. We wait an hour while I and two others keep pointing out he coukd hand copy the damn stats and just start much more quickly.

We finally get underway and the plot gets sidetracked. The GM mentioned something about the situation and it triggers a response from player one who has played too much Cthulhu or read too many horror books. He immediately latches onto a throw away comment about one of the sacks containing salt.

All game progress stops because player one insists on investigating the salt and refuses to believe the GM when told it is insignificant. His obsession is twice what Roger poured into the building with no door. We try to move the plot without him and the GM insists that as Lawful Good agents of this order, we are seorn to follow our leader no matter what. Guess who is the leader? Yeah, Salty. After being told I am not allowed to just walk off amd continue the actual assig ment twice, i quit. I have been in this spot before. 3 hours will not change it. Another player sees me the next day and tegrets not having bailed with me.

Chain of command with strange players never, ever works.
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Re: Dr. Manhatten goes to Origins

Postby salamanca » Fri Jun 19, 2020 5:32 pm

Mark is gonna run long again tonight, isn't he.

It is 2010 and my birthday. Last time origins did july if i recall. The home crew takes me to Buca to celebrate. Somebody clues the waitstaff in and a sundae i cannot eat is brought out. Then they start guessing my age and are way, way low. I tell them i am not the one leaving the tip, be honest i guessing and they are still way short.

I finally reveal ot is my 40th birthday. The woman with the family behind us looks up at me, looks at her husband and slumps with a dejected look on her face...best gift ever!
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Re: Dr. Manhatten goes to Origins

Postby CaitlinCallahan » Fri Jun 19, 2020 5:34 pm

I never got into the CV campaign. I tried, but I was too late. They basically said that previous sessions (no longer offered) were prerequisites for the newer sessions. Doesn't sound like I missed too much.

Fridays are good days. I generally keep Friday morning open, and spend it (as well as more of my money than I probably should) in the dealer hall. I'll swing by wherever we're gaming shortly before lunch time to see if anyone needs anything to eat.

Friday afternoon is usually the first of the new episodes (often times, I've played the second on Thursday afternoon - I know it's out of order, but that's how I get to sit at both Mark's and Dave's tables).

Friday night is always fun, but is especially so the years we've done a LARP.

The first LARP (Villanova's Ball) was also my first Origins. I spent months working with Vicki to make my costume. Unfortunately, it wasn't quite finished - the hem at the bottom of the skirt had not been sewn. Vicki pinned it for me. Even more unfortunately, she used straight pins, which resulted in my ankles getting stabbed every time I took a step. I did not make it to the end of the LARP.

The second LARP was fun (and not painful at all). It was Floyd's first Origins, and the LARP was definitely memorable. I will never forget the way everything stopped when "Muffin!" wasF screamed from the other end of the room.

But the third LARP was my favorite. It was set in Freiburg, and I got to play my character from our home campaign. I remember making my way down to the room, very excited to be in costume. I walked in, and Dave took me aside. He told me I had one job that evening (other than LARPing). I had to choose who would be playing Logan Seiger, the host for the evening's festivities. This suddenly put a new level of pressure on me. You see, in our home campaign, my character was involved with Logan (actually ended up marrying him), and I was a relative novice when it came to LARPs (this being the third one I had ever participated in). Who was I comfortable enough RPing with to ask? My first thought was Floyd, but he was a GM, and couldn't play a main character for the LARP. Dave was the second name that popped into my head, but since he ALSO was a GM, he was out as well. That's when John walked through the door. I am sure I was absolutely beaming as I walked up to him (which likely made him a bit nervous). He told me how much he was looking forward to a laid back session that evening (which should have made me feel bad about what I was about to ask him, but didn't). I explained to him that I had been tasked to assign a character to a player I was comfortable with, given that my character was romantically involved with him. John, being the good friend that he is, agreed, and I handed him the envelope. He opened it and stepped away to read the contents. Suddenly, he was back at my side. I had neglected to mention that in addition to the romantic involvement, that he would be playing host for the party. I begged shamelessly, and he agreed to play the part. On the up side, he did tell me afterwards that he had a lot of fun.

A couple other memorable moments from that LARP:
-Charlie played Logan's guard, and wouldn't let me in to talk to him (I eventually gave up).
-Mike and Katie were playing performers again that year, and did their best to talk me into
dancing the Can-Can.
-My half-blooded Pyeryem spoke to Muffin (the entertainers' cat) when it reacted poorly to
another guest. This turned out to be rather important, given that very few people knew
that she was a sorceress, and Muffin turned out to be a full-blooded pyeryem who staged
his own death at the party in order to join the DK. (Not that any of us knew that in
character.)
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Re: Dr. Manhatten goes to Origins

Postby Lady Grace » Fri Jun 19, 2020 5:44 pm

"We want to kidnap the cat."

"...

...

...

...OK, reach into my pouch and grab as many Drama Dice as you can for that."

Yes, the year Muffin became more (in)famous than either I or Mike were expecting. This is also the year that we established that Muffin was smarter than Francoise & Antoine put together.

To this day, Mike regrets he didn't ask if he could drop his dance partner after we found out Muffin was catnapped.
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Re: Dr. Manhatten goes to Origins

Postby salamanca » Fri Jun 19, 2020 6:43 pm

3 years before Larp: AEG schedules one and cancels the day of because they think they will win Origins Awards...they don't. We get stuck with a bunch of generics. End up spendi g the time slot playing life size Kill Dr. Lucky. In retrospect, i probably had a better time.

Year before Larp. Run a pick up game for Thwak and the home group. Afterwards, he suggests we run the larp. I am not into the idea but agree to consider it and plan to let it drop. I get home to discover he has announced to on Rev's and i am obligated to do it.

Night before the LARP. After begging for more help and input back in February, we are at a final planning session at the Crowne Plaza Bar. I have Thwak and 10 of his GMs to help run this event...and nobody has read a single mechanic or plot. They have no idea what is happening, how to resolve it or what info they can or should hand out when asked. And nobody wants to bother learning it now.

I have been chucked under a 105 player bus.

Roger Bechtel is playing and at this point i am still awestruck by him. Michael Mirth is here. His real name is Paul and he was a founder of Larp play in the Akron/Kent area...a legend. I gotta impress or at least hold my own with them participating.

My two friends from home are playing the villanova look alikes...they are both costumed inappropriately and too drunk to stand up. It cannot go downhill from this...

Wait for it...we start and 30 seconds into our murder mystery, Thwak, in character, is suppossed to make a party game of solving a poisoning. Instead he executes a servant and removes the main plot. We are 30 seconds into game and my main plot is gone!

None of the GMs are helping. Thwak is handing out drama chips like a drunk tossing beads at mardi gras tossing the mechanic balance out the window. And I am getting swarmed by people needing info and stuff resolved. If i stop moving, i will never get ti take a step again. On top of that, i have a fate witch trying to read every combo of players in the game. Now i hav to identify who is playing who from across the room amd which subplots they share.

And I drop into the zone...

I start clicking on all mental cylinders (not migo brain cylinders) i am weaving a dance through everybody. Answer and shift, faster and faster. It all works out.

There are glorious moments, mildly embarrassing ones, and some really silly ones. But people have fun. Steven Black shows up 4 hours late, every plot he is involved with is long over but Paul is making a move and needs a bodyguard. Steven spends the rest of the game trying to look menacing and tells me after it was the most fun he had all weekend.

After the game, Roger, my mentor in all things taes me aside. He asks me about a specific thing that happened in hour 2 and wat my reasoning was in how i resolved it.

I honestly answer, "I had no idea what to do so i asked myself, what would Roger do?"

He laughs and says, "that's funny, i watched that and thought, you know...that's just what i would do."
And that is how i got recruited to help run megaparanoia.
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Re: Dr. Manhatten goes to Origins

Postby salamanca » Fri Jun 19, 2020 9:20 pm

Larp #2 castille.

With all due respect to other opinions, i had the most fun at this one. There were still plotting problems, having Floyd to back me up made everything massively easier. And then the players ditched or ignored the plots and made their own.

The main focus had to do with a smuggled item that turned out to be the final sermon of the second prophet. What we had not told anybody was that whatever happened in the LARP was going to end up in Rapier's Edge in some way. The only strict restriction on the players was to keep it out of the hands of the Cardinal. (Played by Christian) somehow, the player that had the item, with 119 options to sell it to literally anyone else in the room, tead that instruction and said..." I am hunted by 3 factions in this room, i owe money to another 6 people...but if i give it to the cardinal, he will hang me for heresy...Hey, Cardinal, i got you something!"

That is how a certain NPC got the leverage to be named Heirophant in Rapier's Edge.

But Christian was just getting started. Mike and Katie swooning over that plush cat was annoying the hell out of him so he got a crew together and planned a cat napping. "MUFFIN! NOOOOOO!!!!!" is one of my favorite moments of Origins.

So we had one issue. The pirate merchants. Guys from the dealer room selling pirate headscarves. They showed up asked about being background and maybe selling a few scarves. Ok, i like retail, sure just don't hassle anybody. Next thing i lnow one of them has a female player pinned to the wall and he is tryi g to kiss her. I told Floyd, he was in charge and i was going to jail. I carried tthat guy out of the room by his throat and to be honest, i had no intention of letting him live. Thwak pulled me off him. Most of the room never saw it happen. Nobody messes with my players.

Then there were the costumes. Thwak's buddy tthey made wear the pink velvet with the ludicrous codpiece. Charlie's long brown wig, and Mike in the homemade blue nun outfit for sister sonya. That was a bold, bold choice. That was a great night including the attempted murder. We got out real late though. Everybody wanted to talk after. Game ended at 1 but i got back to the room around 3.
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Re: Dr. Manhatten goes to Origins

Postby salamanca » Fri Jun 19, 2020 9:44 pm

Larp #3 Freiburg.
We had something like 130 characters in this game. It was huge. And the reason i quit doing them. I overwrote it to make it Thwak proof. 3 main plots, 9 subplots and about 30 personal arcs for loyal returners. (Like Deb) Everything and everyone had at least triple redundancy in case a character was not used or someone split after 30 minutes. We had way more going on than we needed but it worked. I was watching trade negotiations happen, bribes, extortion, justice served, etc, etc. All 3 main plots got done but they all ran at least 3 of the 4 hours of play. All the personal stuff happened.

And then there was Steven's (floki) personal arc.
So, Steven was the only person to send us a home character for the original larp. And his Ussuran woodsman was totally out of his element in all the events but he showed up to all of them, had fun and kept telling me how great this game was. He is a big part of why i got back so late from larp 2. I heard about his home game and a couple things stuck in my head the whole year. His GM at home had told him that anything we did to his character counted in his home game. (A huge, huge mistake) and HIS GM HAD NEVER, EVER GIVEN A MINUTE OF GANE TIME TO HIS ONLY TWO PERSONAL GOALS.

So I took my carte blanche permit to alter this guys home game and finished both quests.

I have posted about this before. I turned the task over to Lukas who I trusted to do it right. And his method was weird, disturbing on a level but Steven thought is was awesome at the time so it is a win.

But if ANYONE tries to make you kneel in a restroom stall during any game for any teason, call time and get out of that game.
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Re: Dr. Manhatten goes to Origins

Postby salamanca » Fri Jun 19, 2020 9:46 pm

Hey, this Origins memory is just for Charlie.

I think it might possibly be...THE BARON!
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Re: Dr. Manhatten goes to Origins

Postby salamanca » Fri Jun 19, 2020 9:59 pm

Larp for HoA1 & 2

Mark was worried crazy about the first. We had Amanda afraid to play and that re-enactor couple with no roleplay experience. (Also worried about fitting in.) 10 minutes in, both those ladies were having an in character arguement over a plot issue. I looked at Mark and told him we were done for the night, this was a success.

Then we gave you all the "cheese wheel" i expected 10 minutes out of that and you all went crazy for it. Easiest larp i ever ran.

#2 Mark wrote it, redid it and changed it again. Once we got you all chasing the 3 of us for favors, it was a breeze. But you all were there, i don't have to tell you how it went.
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Re: Dr. Manhatten goes to Origins

Postby salamanca » Fri Jun 19, 2020 10:04 pm

Off the books friday games...

Caligari's Angels...Thank you for that, Grace. I laughed hard that night.

Mark's Fate Witch game where i trashed his whole follow the strands plot with a simple social check. (And a "dammit dave")

The Late, Late show sci fi game where i made you draw your ship and stuck you with only those rooms to use.

And the O'Bannon pub crawl. The game was great, the friendship better. Jeremy trying on Grace's wedding kilt...well, that image is stuck in my brain forever no matter the therapy to remove it.
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