Did get there in time for filk concerts. Heather Alexander was doing pirate songs by request, as a tie-in to talk like a pirate day. Bedlam Bards were up next. I got to hear them play "On the Drift" from their Firefly CD. Wonderful, wonderful song.
Then it was time for playing "Are You a Werewolf?" celticdragonfly and fordprfct had discovered it at Apollocon. I'd played a bunch of times with with the local browncoats, so I organized a game. The gaming coordinator hadn't reserved a spot for us and the gaming area was full of pick-up games. We could grab one table but Werewolf can be noisy enough to not be a good neighbor. But the registration desk had shut down and was just a ring of empty tables . . . a few more chairs and we were set. Only got eight players which is about the absolute minimum. A couple of experienced players showed up and we dragged in Sarah, David, and patgund. After a few games we switched from two werewolves to one, and then the villagers actually managed to win one. It's a fun game, we kept going for over an hour. Hopefully we'll get a bigger turnout next year.
From left: patgund, me, celticdragonfly, and fordprfct. Also playing: Sarah, David, Laurie, and Ed.
The open filk had a huge turnout. I took a back-row seat and listened until 2am, then it was time to fall down.
Saturday celticdragonfly and I had breakfast with patgund. I'm glad we're getting to see him in person, it's been way too long since he's been out this way.
I went to the panel discussion on space elevators. Not the first time I've been more qualified to talk about something at least half the panelists. A good discussion for laymen though. I tossed in a couple of comments, on why off-equator skyhooks are practical and why rotating ones aren't. Great concept, but I figure any technological breakthrough which makes a space elevator affordable will work even better for improving RLVs, so they're going to be a long way off.
Afterwards I had a quick lunch before prepping for the GURPS Firefly game. Between having a bigger crowd than last year, advertising it with some flyers, and importing a ringer from San Antonio, I had a full table. I'm not sure it's the literary SF vs. anime perspectives, or having a higher average age, but this crew was much less violent than the one I had at A-Kon. These guys used a mix of diplomacy, charm, patient hiding, and sneaking to avoid all combat after the opening bar brawl. No dramatic chases, quick draw shoot-outs, or desperate last stands for these guys. They were still cashing in their "I need a miracle" chips, but for maintenance rolls instead of combat actions. Desperate life-or-death maintenance rolls, mind you.
Our crew (clockwise from right) soldiergrrrl, Cap'n John, Pixie, David, Sarah (hiding behind David), Charles--who'd never played before
The players were an interesting range. The captain had played Traveller from way back. The mechanic had never played an RPG before and wondered what it would be like. Not much GURPS experience, but "See this number? Roll that or less on 3d6." covered everything we needed. I had some turnover during the game--losing players to concerts, sudden emergencies, etc.--but a few more wandered in and there were always at least three.
One of the bits I was setting up worked perfectly. They landed on a moon and were greeted by a panicked deputy sheriff asking "What's your life support capacity?!" Their expressions made it clear they knew this would be very, very bad. Last year I picked up a copy of Zombies!!! as a BGG.con door prize:
I knew a hundred glow in the dark zombies would be useful someday. In this game I declared them stand-ins for a mob of panicked civilians and dropped the whole pile on the deckplan in front of the main hatch. So our merry crew got to handle the question of "just how many refugees can you fit on a Firefly?"
And they managed to keep them all alive the whole way to Paquin. Everybody lived tolerably ever after.
We wrapped up in time for me to join the big dinner expedition to Boston Pizza. Lots of tempting stuff on the menu. Too much, actually. I was dithering over various interesting-sounding options and finally said heck with it and had just a pepperoni pizza. It was fun chattering with everyone (too many to list right now).
Then we all went to the Fencon Caberet. Wonderful filkers, amazing costumes, belly dancers, though in the opposite order. theturbonerd and Mrs. Turbonerd had a lovely purple-themed formal outfit as a circuit judge in the Firefly 'Verse. Geek that I am my instant reaction was "Hmmm, that'd make a good campaign concept." (Great vest) soldiergrrrl looked ready to walk onto the set of Serenity and her speech convinced me she was ready for officer training. There was an unofficial Firefly theme to the night . . . but joyeuse13 didn't need to go with the theme. She was the Pro from Dover and proved it. (She also has pictures of everybody)
The filk concert was a duet with Leslie Fish and Heather Alexander. Those names are a guarantee of good music. I did wind up crying once. They played Hope Eyrie. It's a beautiful song. Most of the room knew the chorus. Hearing so many people chime in on this song looking at Apollo as history drove home for me how much time and effort we've wasted since then. I got angry. Hearing "The wave that carried us up the beach" brought back the fear that we might wind up crawling into some virtual reality and never escaping this gravity well before some asteroid comes along.
March of Cambreadth is a good way to cheer up. Heather had us roaring "HOW MANY OF THEM CAN WE MAKE DIE!" loud enough I wondered if the hotel staff was going to start quitting on the spot. Then we went to the open filk. I fell down at 2:30 or so. celticdragonfly went to 4:45. The circle didn't shut down until 6:45. Filkers.
We packed up and staggered off to brunch first thing in the a.m. Well, noon. The IHOP didn't quite know how to deal with the mob of us so it was 2pm before we got back to the con. First priority was raiding the dealers' room before it was too late (books and filk CDs). Then I got to introduce soldiergrrrl, her cousin-in-law, and a couple of random adventurous types to my Keep Flying card game. Only had time for one game before Leslie Fish's concert, sigh. Afterwards celticdragonfly and I took patgund to dinner. I really hope it won't be 2.5 years before we see him again this time. And then it was time to go home. The Dead Dog was tempting but we were already starting to fade. We're still tired.
The Fencon staff are amazing. It's an extremely well organized con. I've been to cons with over a decade of experience that don't work as well as it. Okay, I'd like the gaming schedule to be in the con program book, but nothing's perfect.
People I saw or heard of and wanted to hang out with but never had the chance: dartpoly, macgyvergal, taerin, balthrop, sandy_tyras, the_blue_fenix, theturbonerd, and tmc4242. Sorry, folks.
People we were filking, dining, or otherwise hanging out with that I missed above: faxpaladin, kd5mdk, jazz007, joyslin, kattelyn, meerkat1, and tygerr.
People I met in real life for the first time: Sarah and David, soldiergrrrl, taral, bonafidelis, ziactrice, and the_blue_fenix's baby Elizabeth.
And so to bed.