The Mystery Of The Five Golden Frogs

… featuring that inscrutable detective, Chanley Charles

After The Change Came

Series 3

A Day For Geeking Out

As I post this, Roscoe, Ben and I are on the train to San Francisco for QuestCon. Once we hit the City, we’ll meet up with our friend Spike, with whom we’ll be sharing a suite. Gigi, Lily & Grace will drop into the virtual con later today and many of my East Coast & Midwest friends are at the live con in Chicago. Many more friends are at live QuestCons around the world. Many more will be at the virtual con.

As with previous years, both Roscoe and I will be on live panels that will be carried on the net as they happen. In addition, Roscoe will be giving the keynote speech at the Quest Designer’s Conference. That’s my son right there!

Spike, who is relatively new to the design side of QuestWorld, will be on a couple of panels, too.

Our panels, speeches, etc are as follows…

Roscoe: Keynote speech, “Tips & Tricks for WorldMaker 5”, “My Favorite Quest”, “QuestWorld 3: Let The Rumor Mill Commence”, “Quests For Non-Humanoids”, “What’s New At ManDog Game Design” and the ever popular “QuestWorld Year In Review”

Me: “Pulp Era Quest Design”, “…And That’s When It All Went South On Us”, “QuestWorld 3: Let The Rumor Mill Commence”, “What’s New At ManDog Game Design”, “Mining Pre-Change Adventures For QuestWorld”, and “QuestWorld Year In Review”.

Spike: “Print Editors Turn QuestWorld Troubleshooters”, “Mining Pre-Change Adventures For QuestWorld”, and “QuestWorld Year In Review”.

Speaking of the just barely announced third upgrade of QuestWorld, it’s due in about 6 months. Roscoe has been asked to be on the design team, but beyond that, it’s non-disclosure city. The hot rumor about QW3 (as of a day ago) is that it will allow for longer and more complex quests in larger areas. That seems pretty logical. The rumor of single world quest clusters is more of a maybe.

I’ll post more from the con later.

You Can Tune A Piano, But You Can’t Tune A Matamata Turtle

…you thought I’d say “tuna fish”, right?

The Doclopedia #730

What’s That Sound?: Squeee…squeee…squeee…squeee…KLONK!

This is, of course, the sound of one of the new Clockwork Executioners limbering up, then administering the blow that severs head from body. Invented in Bavaria by the possibly mad, but undeniably brilliant, clocksmith Rudolf Gortmann around 1730, these Executioners proved to be very popular. They require no pay, last at least a couple of lifetimes and never miss the mark.

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The Doclopedia #731

What’s That Sound?: Chuggachuggachuggachugga…beedeloopbeedeloopbeeddleee

Well, sir, that there is the sound of the TransMartian Express chugging along and emitting a sonic warning to any Sand Cows that might get too near the track. Doesn’t happen too often nowadays, but when I was a kid and the line was new, they’d hit one of those squishy bugs every few miles. Didn’t hurt the train, but Holy Moley, what a stink! Didn’t look too good having your shiny new locomotive all covered in guts, either. But then they figured out the right sounds to send out and the problem pretty much went away.

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DogCon 5, Con Day 4

Recap of the rest of Saturday: The radio show went very well indeed and I’ve heard that the writers might film the episode later this year so they can show it next year.

The street party was a blast and a half, with lots of free beer and at least 5 bands. Several of us did a sort of rolling nosh from one restaurant to another while checking the party out. I think I ate at least 6 different cuisines. I know I didn’t hit the bed until about 2:30 AM.

Sunday: I did two seminars, one of which was the ever popular “I Hate…” bitchfest. The other was the Con sponsored “Tell us how to improve the con” deal. Surprisingly little got said there, because the con is so damned good to begin with.

The rest of the day was spent saying goodbye to folks and buying games. We bought many games, including several new games designed just for pets. I have no idea how you play them, butthey seem to like them.

Once the con was over, we went to the Post Con Pie Party and, as always, ate way too much delicious pie. I had a pineapple cream pie that was just crazy good. Later, I had some blueberry pie just to clear my palate…for a big slice of coconut cream pie!

Filled with pie, we all climbed on the bus and left Critter City, another DogCon in the history books.

Now: We started out of town with the plan to do a spatial jump to Maryland to drop off the Joneses, followed by jumps to Canada and Washington state to drop of the Mystery family and Sharon the World’s Greatest Petsitter, respectively. Once we were about 30 miles out from Critter City and in the middle of nowhere, I fired up the spatial gizmo and

next thing ya know, we’re in Maryland. After that, things went according to plan and everyone got home safe & sound.

 

Grace, Avis and I decided to drive back to Sacramento from Washington, which was fun. I just put the bus onto Interstate 5 and had Data drive and we watched movies and ate and played games most of the way. Avis popped back to her universe just as we got to Redding, but our Avis called to thank us for a wonderful time. That dual memory stuff must be kinda freaky.

 

So, we’ll be home in a couple of hours and I’ll write the final entry then. Right now, I’m getting a nap in.

 

More bloggage later.

It’s All Fun & Games Until Somebody Opens Up That Jar Of Flesh Eating Spiderwasps

…then it pretty much turns into antifun

CatCon4: Day 10 (Con Day 3) Last day of the con…mucho merch is bought… games are played…seminars are attended…pie is eaten…we head home via the old spacey wacey/timey wimey

This being the last day of the con, our merry band of travelers hit the Dealer’s Room early and hard. There are a whole bunch of sellers who are going to sleep well tonight after counting the $$$ we spent.

At 10 AM, it was time for Spike and I to hit the “What We Hate!” seminar, which was packed and lots of fun. It lasted until 12, at which point we had an hour for lunch and then went on to the last seminar of the day “What We Did At CatCon 4”. As you might imagine, this was a best/most funny/most awesome/strangest con memories thing and it was often screamingly funny.

Once that was over, at 2 PM, Grace (who had been doing even more shopping) joined Sharon, Avis and I for the Charity Pet Walk (or, in Winker’s case, the “get towed by Dad in a wagon”). People once again ponied up big bucks for local animal charities.

At 3 PM, it was one last sweep of the Dealer’s Room. At 4:00, the dealer’s room closed and we all went back to the hotel for packing up.

At 4:30, we all went to Pizza My Heart for some chow, but left plenty of room for the deliciosity that is the “Post Con Cool Down Party” where pie is the star attraction.

When 6 PM rolled around, we went to the party and just ate the hell outta pie. There was much chatting and goodbye saying and at 7:00, we headed out, got on the Magic Bus and bid adieu to Critter City and CatCon 4.

About an hour after we left, and fortunately after she told us all goodbye, our duplicate Avis popped out of existence. Two minutes later, my cell phone rang and it was the original Avis calling from GenCon to say what fun she had at both cons.

Fifteen minutes later, Joe flipped switches and turned dials and we popped up in the middle of London, circa 1972. We had not been moving, so when we popped out of nowhere, it was a real crowd stopper. Joe said we had to wait 5 minutes before we could teleport again, so I gave in to a mad urge. After running to one of the closets, I hurriedly threw on a rather gaudy outfit, complete with a top hat and cane. Then I left the bus, where a couple of hundred people stood looking at it in slackjawed wonder and trafic was backing up badly.

I walked up to a largish group and said “Hello, I’m the Doctor. Can any of you tell me how to get to California in 2011?” Jaws REALLY dropped then, plus three people fainted and one guy dropped his bag of groceries.

I then got on the bus and, while the Doctor Who theme played through the external speakers, we teleported. Joe informs me that we most likely created the trigger event for spinning off an alternate reality. Cool!

We popped into Toronto, at which point we then drove the Mystery family home. Next stop was Dundalk, Maryland, where the Joneses said goodbye. From there, it was home, sweet home, California.

That was an hour ago. Grace is snoozing, Sharon is gone, Zach is driving home, The Girls are asleep, Flash is in his imaginary cat tree, Abby is in her fictional pygmy goat house and I am drinking a glass of iced tea.

Next year, as always, we hope to get to GenCon. If we don’t, there will still be DogCon 5.

Of course, even if we do make it to GenCon, there’s still that “tempro-spatially replicated” thing that duplicated Avis. It’s a big bathroom…big enough to hold several people, plus critters.

Hmmmm…

CatCon 4 is over, but the Cross Family and Friends will return in…

DogCon 5…maybe

Stalking The Wild Canadian Roleplayer

…in Texas

CatCon2: Day 0, Part One

(NOTE: The following is all fictional.)

Greetings from CatCon2! Well, the con officially starts tomorrow at 9:00 am, but we are here in Wilted Springs now…along with several thousand other gamers.

We actually arrived at 10:30, having been too excited to sleep in late. Initially, our plan was to arrive about noon and meet our friends the Joneses for lunch. Since we arrived early, we checked into the hotel and just kinda relaxed. Did I mention that the entire top floor of this hotel has all of the rooms reserved for Guests of Honor and Featured GMs? Well, it does! Pretty sweet, if you ask me.

About 11:00, Spike called me to say they were in town and on the way to the hotel. We took The Girls to the 10th floor, which is completely given over to an indoor dog park and about 30 minutes later (and several laps of chasing a robotic rabbit for Lucy) we were joined by Spike, Mary and Miranda.

Our lunch of choice was dim sum and it was pretty damned good. Normally, at a con, the next thing we would have done was cruise over and get out badges and goodie bags, but this year, the con had them ready to be handed out by the hotel staff when we checked in. That set the cool meter up to 11, I tell ya.

Anyway, we are all in our room now, comparing swag (which differs for each person, depending on how you filled out your con application back in January) and chatting.

More blogging later.

Junior Muskrat Wins A New Car

…with leather interior

DogCon 1, Day 3

The deal with being a “Featured GM” at this con (and if I didn’t mention it before, I am one of 24 “Featured GM’s”) is that you run at least 16 hours of games over 3 days and participate in one of 3 seminars. You get some pretty nice perks for it, including a snazzy looking badge, 10% off your hotel bill and the invitation to attend the big ol’ Texas style party complete with dinner, drinks (FREE DRINKS!) and not 1, not 2, but 3 different bands.

Which all goes to explain why I ran a 2 hour TOON game from 9:00 am until 11:00 am, then ran an 8 hour BRP Fantasy game from 11:30-7:30. Well, ok, I also didn’t want to run any games on Sunday. Both games went well and as soon as the fantasy game was over (at 7:10, actually), I hauled ass to the hotel, showered, changed clothes and took My Sweet Angel to the big shindig. The Girls, by the way, were attending a sort of LARP for dogs called “Doggie Dungeon”. I’m not sure what it involves, but it takes up something like 8 acres of land just outside of town.

Anyway, the eating and drinking have started and the partying will commence soon. Assuming I don’t wake up in the local jail tomorrow, I’ll give my final days con report as well as tell the Super Secret Origin of DogCon.

Oh, look, a big tray full of chile rellenos. Gotta go.