Sunday began at 8am and ended at 9:30am. In between, battle fury raged. Giant mechs staggered across the landscape unleashing blistering fire. “MUDPEEP fires gattling laser. MUDPEEP destroys TARD’s armor…”
Erik Frankhouse of Sunder Studios and I played Battle pods after gaming from Saturday night until Sunday morning. Sunday ended at 9:30am, when I crashed, but resumed at 12 noon when I awoke, showered and ran to play Terrowerks with my friends Nick, Rone, Emily, Erik, Brendan, Shirak, John, and Terry. This is a live action game where a team of Marines and Humanotech execs take a sub down into a research station dark. Think Aliens meets Resident Evil meets True Dungeon, but without the set detail.
They give you airsoft guns, which is fun. Then you run around like mad to “rooms” (cubicles set up to make such) trying to fulfill the personal missions from your character sheets and save the station. Results were mixed. The story elements quickly fell apart as our “marines” lost cohesion and ran around shooting up the alien-scape. Most of us had fun, though one or two were a little bored until the staff offered to let them become aliens!
That said, my story was a blast. I found myself caught between wanting to steal a piece of tech and wanting to use it to start the nuclear detonation countdown. I opted for countdown. A great trick Terrorwerks played: they put a live person behind the out-of-control-computer at the heart of the game. You knew it was someone at the other end of a mic, but the sound quality was great and the illusion of talking to an AI computer was very strong. Well acted.
Overall, I give it a B/B+ and hope they make enough to take the experience to the next level.
Food came next. More battlepods. More floor walking, and now it was time to pick up presents for everyone back home. The goodbyes started to trickle in, as folks not staying until Monday departed. The remainders headed for dinner followed by another rest before one final game.
And what a game. What a strange, marvelous, unexpected fever-dreamy game. Nick Logue ran for Boomer, Tordek (aka Sam), Shirak, myself, and our friend Julian. We used Marvel Superheroes for the engine and flew to a strange world of intergalactic tensions. Nigh unto gods, we struggled against each other and a pervasive chthonic psi threat in which only one of our member believed. Titanic fleets smashed planets. Suns erupted. Whole worlds burned. Then the mysterious alien thing behind the conflict seized mental control over two of us, myself included.
Controlled by the alien, we fought one of our number who foresaw the future, dodging everything we threw his way, but in my warped and alien-dominated state, I conceived a notion for his defeat. Empowered beyond the Unearthly scale to shape and warp high space opera super-science mega-technology to my whim, casually I extended my power and seized a passing fleet of Titan Class Space Cruisers for raw material. Melding all the ships into a single weapon with me at its heart, I aborned the Quantum Uncertainty Cannon (QuaUC). Behold its might! Neither my foe nor myself would know the effects of its blast (beyond disrupting reality) for uncertainty striped the very essence of its energies.
Dodge this, you prognosticating mut* f*ck*! I fired -- QUAUC! And everything changed.
Nick Logue reached calmly into his bag and handed out our Pathfinder Character Sheets. “You’re in a dark cavern, your longbow drawn, and the cultists hold your sister…”
Our wizard declared a sense of déjà vu over the blast of his magic missile, and Nick added, “No. You are having déjà vu over being a wizard who remembers a time in the vastness of space…”
We all sat about reading the newspaper, discussing the fire raging in California, having woken from a dream of adventuring in a cavern with déjà vu triggered by the actinic charge of magic…
We are in the fire, fighting it. Waging war against the blaze. No. We are the equipment on the firefighter, fighting the fire off his skin while the firefighter fights the blaze…
Next page in the newspaper. A black and white photo of a 50s family. Each of us is a member of the family. Domestic violence breaks out. I am the family dog. I pee on the brutal father as he hits his wife…
Laser fire blasts through the table of a guy watching porn, just as he climaxes. The laser fire, reminiscent of a magic missile giving us all déjà vu of a time when space itself bent to our whims and our fires destroyed planets, burns through his jism. That sperm was Nick Logue, who now is never born and therefore, this game never happened.
We ended the game around 3am, wandering away dazed, wondering if the game was actually over or still playing on around us, by us, toying with us, or only solipsistically with us…
And so Gencon 2009 ended.