Take a look at the kind of trash you find in the exhibition hall sewer! Wow, the things you see when you leave your xxxtra flush porta-potty at home [shaking my tentacle].
Just before leaving Game Hole Con, I chatted a bit with Bad Mike and Jeffery Talanian. Just catching up after a long weekend of gaming. Jeffery mentioned a panel with Ed Greenwood and how he's been working on his Forgotten Realms campaign setting since he was 5 or something.
The strong desire, bordering on need, came to me awhile ago, but hearing that only solidified another layer... I'm never leaving Cha'alt. Cha'alt is my RPG home, and I want to keep creating in that eldritch, gonzo, science-fantasy, post-apocalypse sandbox for the rest of my days.
If 5 years of running games in the same world gets you this far [pretend I'm showing you a tentacle and measuring about halfway up], just imagine what 20 years would be like? Now, I'm imagining it [no, I don't actually have a tentacle in front of me... nor do I know what it's like to GM in the same campaign setting for more than 5 years].
My guess is that the answer would be... awesomeness that's commensurate with the wild, untamed joy of PSYCHOCOSM !!! That's what I intend to do, and if you'll stick with me, you can both share in the strange and wonderful awesomeness that is Cha'a'lt, as well as, discover whatever insights I might glean from that particular struggle.
Because make no mistake, it's not all fun and games. Well, yeah, it is... but also no. It is fun, and we are talking about games, but there's work that goes into it, too. And discipline. The mind wanders, attention wavers, we get pulled here and there, sidetracked, distracted; always something fresh to pursue. It takes a certain amount of dedication and focus to stay put and work within the boundaries set out for you, that you set out for yourself years (perhaps decades) ago.
I want to use the phrase "conscious suffering", but again, it's not suffering in the usual sense of the word. If you add up all the hours of imagining, planning, writing, revising, proofreading, finding artwork, and running games, we're talking about a thousand hours of work. And it hasn't all been a cakewalk. Hence the suffering. But I do it intentionally, consciously. In fact, I welcome it.
A man has to have a special plan, a calling, something that gives his life meaning (aside from the usual suspects, of course... family, survival, religion, etc.) If you run from every kind of suffering, you won't be inconvenienced as much, but what will you have to show for yourself when it's all said and done?
Alright, enough philosophizing, how was the Game Hole convention, hoss?
Pretty fucking awesome! Yeah, no real complaints. I gave myself an ideal schedule... a 4-hour game Friday at 10 - 2pm, two 3-hour games on Saturday with a couple hours for lunch in-between, and a 4-hour game to close things off on Sunday, same time slot as Friday.
And what were the games like? Pretty magical... spectacular, you might say! In fact, I was surprised how "game" everyone was. I couldn't be sure if it was me or Cha'alt or the players themselves (probably a combination of all three), but there was humor, pop-culture references, sleaze, and the kind of scary, gross-out horror movie exploitation shit that you don't get to see very often.
- The racial stereotyping of dark-elves having poison on them at all times. Collaboratively, we decided that one dark-elf PC regularly imbibed poison so that he would be immune, while also having poisonous saliva. As ingenious as it is fucked up!
- Taking "murder hobo" to the furthest reaches of sorcerous insanity! The party's wizard: "Is the skinned man eviscerated?" [me: no] Him: "Then let's correct that oversight. I cut him open to see if I can discover signs and portents with his entrails." Along with a pixie-fairy warrior who could be summoned by saying "Tinker-Stab" three times, and loved to skewer eyeballs and drink their juices.
- Care bear and mogwai doxies seducing NPCs at the Palace gala.
- My friend Jacob who has been a player in a number of my games, played in two of my sessions this con. But since it was the same basic scenario (with a number of changes), we decided he was having Groundhog's day visions that led him to believe that he was living the same day over and over again. The analogy was even more layered because a central plot-point was this Shadow Void ceremony where the King's sorcerer stood in front of a yawing black void to see if he could see his shadow. If he did, that meant the next 3 years of Cha'alt would be filled with suffering and doom.
- The demon priestess who single-handedly instigated an insurrection.
- The old fart who used ritual magic to "internal organ implode" the King of A'agrybah (no one respects a weak King).
- Got to try Obsidian Escalation twice. The first time, it didn't come up because no one rolled a crit. The second time, it worked almost too well. Combat was over in 2 rounds, and the results were described in epic gory detail by the player!
- My Friday morning game only had 2 players, so I played an NPC to round out the party. I played a dark-elf (not the one mentioned above) and got to have sex with a damsel about to be devoured by a slimy tentacled abomination (I waited until after the battle was over, obviously... I'm not a monster). Inserting myself into the game like that hasn't happened in awhile.
- BEST WISCONSIN WEATHER EVER!!!!!!! Seriously, it was sunny and warm the entire weekend. This almost never happens here.