Ok, I'm going to primarily talk about the two sessions of Alpha Blue I ran at GaryCon this past weekend.
Even though I was excited to run Alpha Blue (as usual), I was noticeably less so this time around. And even though I had a great time during the game, something felt a little off.
Part of the reason is that I neglected to bring the core rulebook with me. I had a big box of Kort'thalis Publishing softcovers in the back of my car, but inexplicably, Alpha Blue was not among them. And while I did manage to bring this drawing I made of a cantina containing 60+ spacer scum, I forgot to print out the key that would have allowed me to use it properly. Son of the bitch!
Never wait until the last minute, kids. And always triple-check your supplies!
Nevertheless, character creation proceeded smoothly using the three word/phrase method! Easy, quick, and flexible, I think that's definitely the way to go for something like a three-hour convention game.
But there was something else, too. I think it might have been the idea that Alpha Blue has gone "mainstream." The concept still isn't popular, soft-core sci-fi will always be niche. Yet, a lot of the people have played it, and so the newness has worn off. Players familiar with Alpha Blue know what's coming. No longer apprehensive, their illicit expectations guide their characters' behavior.
Take, for instance, the customs officer checking lifeforms over before they can enter Alpha Blue proper. When he started to get handsy with a female droid PC, she was super eager to go into a little room and get banged. Then they do that and it's over and... we're onto the next thing. I guess the potential for conflict was missing and in-game sex seemed like going through the motions.
A similar thing happened with two female droids in the other game. They hooked themselves up to the little shuttle transporting them to an Alpha Blue bar and had "robot sex" in an instant. It was amusing and cool, bordering on "naughty," but even as it was happening I could feel the novelty wearing off.
There's a few different ways of dealing with that issue. But I didn't realize there was an issue until I was in the middle of these games. So, my Cha'alt sessions felt slightly more successful than Alpha Blue, even though I'm pretty sure all 23 (or so) of my players had a great time.
So, how to deal? Well, I wrote something up for Draconic Magazine.
Nevertheless, lots and lots of laughter reverberated through the aether as players kept trying to one-up each other to new heights of inappropriate degradation. Below are some brief highlights...
- Brokeback asteroid.
- Defibrillating ass-chaps (ass-less chaps)
- Treasure chest full of gold, vibrating, diamond-crusted cock-rings.
- Extra-crotchless panties.
- PCs' starship named "The Green Fairy."
- That leaky breathing slot in the forehead I'll never be able to erase from my memory banks.
What else? I bought some cool "diffusion" style dice in a variety of colors. All the numbering is plain white... boring vanilla white. So, I'm in the process of re-coloring the dice numbers. It's... not going well. In hopes of making it permanent, I decided to use oil-paint pens. That was a big mistake. Even the fine-point ones made a big mess.
Cleaning the dice off with turpentine (paint-thinner) proved time consuming while also wearing off the paint within the numbers - even though I did three coats. And even after trying to start from scratch with a turpentine bath, the dice still feel a little tacky.
So, tomorrow I'm going to try starting over again with an acrylic pen. Tentacles crossed!
Will I be back next year? Not sure; I had to pull a lot of strings to attend this GaryCon XI. It'll most likely be 2021 before I return.