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I've been slacking in my updates, but GenCon was such a whirlwind I still haven't quite recovered. Honestly, recovery would be easier if it wasn't for World of Warcraft. *sigh* I'm hopeless.

Anyway, it was a blast. The True Dungeon, a set of rooms that runs a group through their own 2-hour D&D style dungeon crawl, was loads of fun. At least I had fun, despite an idiot GM (who pissed off the other half of the party) and puzzles that ranged from easy to TERRIBLY difficult. I have never enjoyed playing a paladin quite that much. I helped with some of the puzzles, but I pride myself on (eventually) figuring out the numbers-on-the-wall puzzle. Wrapping the front and bottom of the line underneath made it a lot less obvious.

I managed to get my butt kicked SOUNDLY at the Highlander CCG, but my cards I had to work with really were crappy. I did defend my honor in defeating dasquish ... but it really was by a hair. Friday was Mage tournament round 1. The concept of a RPG tournament has always kind of intrigued me as to how you can "win" out of a group. But this really did work out pretty well. I was worried that I was very unfamiliar with the new rules, but the first session cleared that up. We weren't mages, actually, just a bunch of college kids caught in a BAD PLACE. A junkyard inhabited by evil redneck denizens and their vicious demon dogs. I [in the role of the Spooky Kid] got several excellent shots with my camera, managed to avoid a mauling death by dogs only to get lost in the maze and gunned down, and got elected as the best of the group, qualifying me for the second round on Saturday.

The rest of Friday was L5R-related. I found an excellent (albeit short) kimono that was just the right color pattern, along with some paint and a small brush. So, I got in line way early for the LARP and unfurled a large green flag. Thanks to a reference and some help carrying it, I got the whole Mantis family mon painted on the flag by the time the event started. I got some mad props, and hung it from a door so it could dry. The LARP itself was a blast, but we ALL got duped ... and not by who I expected. I even got to interact with the Emperor directly for the first time at one of these. My extra set of green even helped, as I was able to lend my green haori to one of the other players.

Saturday turned out to be Mage day. The 2nd round came up, and this time we were mages rescuing the sole survivor of the round 1 story. My character was a metalworking craftsman, who worked his magic through the things he could build. And my dice-rolling was EXTREMELY fickle. I overcame that with some good usage of skills and items ... and redneck jousting. Yes, you heard me. I originally figured I'd do some jai alai style tricks using a fortified bumper from a '78 El Camino to send a stick of dynamite back to the thrower, but instead he revved his ATV and came charging at me with his shotgun pointed at me butt-first. I had no choice but to yell and charge back at him. dasquish and I were both in the group, and we were the two selected to move on from the group to the final round. That was investigating the "source" of the magickal disturbance in the area, but I must have been tired or just never got in character. My worst roleplaying of the convention ensued, and I even ended up possessed by the spirit of Mournblade ... one of the evil soul-sucking swords from Michael Moorcock's Elric series. The storyteller was pretty good and had plenty of details, but we did get him to spew at one point. I made sure to capture the snarf moment on his digital camera. From the tournament, I won a copy of the Mage book (on a die roll, I almost got a t-shirt instead) and a Spooky Places World of Darkness supplement. We wrapped up at like 1:00 am. We'd started that round at 6:00 pm sharp. Definitely a marathon session.

Sunday was low-key. I dove into the Full Metal Alchemist card game, learned how to play Hecatomb, and watched most of the end of the L5R World Championships. I was cheering for the Mantis, but the last one lost (due to a horrible matchup) in the Top 8. Top 4 was Crane vs. Dragon and Crane vs. Dragon. That kind of bland finale ticked me off, so I left. I hear Crane won. That also ticks me off, especially when the biggest whiners in the player base are Crane players, yet the clan has had many big storyline victories.

And, lest I forget, even the hotel accommodations were cool. The top floor pool & hot tub saw a lot of use, and the room was plenty comfortable, even with 7 or 8 people in the room. The shower rotation was a little interesting, but patience and pool time helped. Also, there were plenty of long chats I was able to have with people. Sometimes more talking, sometimes just being a sounding board. I learned a lot about the crew I went with. From wandering the vendors' hall, to waiting for games, to the long car ride back, even the Steak and Shake hosted a good talk.

It was a lot of fun to be in a rental van with a DVD, but during most of the DVD watching I was driving. So I got to hear Bend It Like Beckham, Dead Camper Lake, and The Gamers. I don't mind. It was fine. After I got home at 5 am Monday morning after dropping everyone off, I really should have taken off of work Monday. Then again, then I wouldn't have been able to work from home on Tuesday.

So this weekend looks to be busy, with graduation party and writing (can't forget my deadline). Hopefully I can keep work to a dull roar, and that looks pretty likely for now but could rear its ugly head at any time. I'll really need to keep track of September events what with concerts and such coming up.

- Pookah

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