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June 27, 2005

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Well, now I'm back from The Black Road. Fun was had. Details below the fold.

No surprises on the drive down, except for how little I miss driving the outer loop around Boston every other week. It's now been most of a year since I've done that, and 495 is still as crowded (albeit mostly moving at speed) as I remembered.

The hotel was less hockey-youth overwhelmed than it has been in the past, it being summer and, therefore, not really hockey season. Still, there are apparently summer "skill camps" and the like, so we weren't completely without pre- and barely- teens with big bags of gear. There were no noticeable problems this year, and that may be more than just reduced numbers... Apparently the hotel has taken to having hockey-youth parents sign promises to keep the kids under control as well.

First slot was my GM'ing, and "Nine Lives in Amber" went reasonably well. This set of cats managed to unite into an effective team rather quickly, with much of the credit for that going to Jenn's PC, who ignored a couple of provocations from other cats and focused on her (mostly self-assigned) "save the castle" mission. The image of Gerard with a 30+lbs Maine Coon on his head and a full boat of hot turkey gravy in his lap (all for his own good, mind you) won't vanish from my head anytime soon.

My second slot were unfortunately derailed by Bryant's last-minute absence, which prevented him from GMing his "Dogs in the Vineyard"/"Amber" crossover. I decided to take the slot off to try to catch up on some sleep and get onto a more con-friendly schedule (my own normal 5AM - 9 PM doesn't fit to a con that runs more like 9 AM to midnight). It was probably a good choice, because I was pretty tired by Sunday's slot even with this break!

Third slot was a challenging experiment by Michael Curry, "Mountain of the Sorcerer King", an Amber-flavored recasting of The Mountain Witch. We didn't quite have the time to develop the whole feel of the game (we only had 3 "chapters", and we over-ran our slot by 90 minutes even with just that), and all of us had trouble getting into the conflict-resolution mindset. Still, there was some very nice play, character Fates were well (if quickly) developed, and the final resolution was satisfying and appropriately bloody. The Trust mechanic (the revolutionary idea of the game) made for some very interesting dynamics in the group, though I'm not sure if it was the relatively small number of chapters (where Trust is re-set), the lack of a direct way to use Trust to hamper another PC, or our skittishness about using Trust to swipe narration and undercut other PCs (only done once or twice)... Still, the overall result was quite enjoyable.

Slot Four and I played in Meera Barry's Monsters! There were frights and funnies galore, and the most disturbingly right portrayal of Flora I've seen in a long time. Amber kept a ton of quotes from this one, which I expect will be up soon.

And last slot it was back to M. Curry's indie games crossovers, with a 2nd go at kill puppies for satan mixed with Amber, The Puppies of Tijuana. Having been run out of Akron last year, the ultimate pale shadows of the Amber Royal Family play their trashy, petty games south of the border. As Eric, I focused on a couple really crappy schemes, then on taking over when Dad was killed (for real, this time), and then on making others believe I really had taken over (since no matter how clearly I pointed at Dad's door, now painted "Eric's Room", few believed me). I ended up dead in a drug war crossfire, killed at the end of the 2nd chapter in an effort to defend the family. Well, okay, the parallel to the original story is thinner than that... Corwin used Eric for cover as he ran off, Eric having not exactly noticed what was going on yet.

Great fun! I didn't want it to end!

Posted by ghoul at June 27, 2005 07:10 PM

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I've got the quotes up over at Amber's Amber. Even after a four hour nap when I got home, I'm too tired for a more complete review. But that should be up at some point tomorrow.

It was great to finally game with you - as well as to talk over Doctor Who a bit!

Posted by: Amber at June 27, 2005 09:47 PM

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