September 26th, 2007

Been what I chose

Fencon Report--Too much gaming!

I arrived at Fencon early to check into the room and get our stuff set up, while celticdragonfly picked up the sitter and got her settled with Maggie and Jamie.

That gave me enough time to attend the "To Infinity and Beyond: the Future of Commercial Space Travel" panel. The high point was actually in the hallway waiting for Connie Willis to finish up, when Jarrod Davis adored my Project Orion t-shirt. The panel wasn't really up to talking about commercial space. For most of the panelists (and audience) space equaled NASA. I was polite, but had to say "That's not true" when one of the panelists claimed that there was no regulation of the safety of commercial space companies. I finally got frustrated enough to make my Fedex speech:
responding to a comment that the return to the Moon will be delayed because people think space is unsafe

Do any of you know how reliable Fedex's planes are? Or how many drivers they've lost in traffic accidents? No. And you don't care. You give them money because they provide a useful service. That's what will make space sustainable--producing something worth buying. You can't get there holding out a cup begging people to drop in some tax dollars, that's always going to leave you one election away from going poof.
Don't think I changed anyone's mind but hopefully it planted a seed or two. I'll be making a couple of suggestions about next year's space panels to the concom, once they've had some time to catch up on sleep. Afterwards I went out to dinner with Kip McMurray and his wife Claire. We'd dealt with some of the same NewSpace people and gossiped a bit.

While we were looking for a place to eat we spotted a restaurant named "Firefly - modern asian fusion cuisine". Didn't have time to go there this weekend but I think I may organize an expedition to there next year.

My first game session started with only one player, so we did a free form "pilot on shore leave" game. First time I've had to deal with this kind of player. Then a couple more players joined in and we plunged into a Plot. Since they only wanted to play the junior crew members, I let them be the boarding party for the derelict ship and then take control while the captain continued on with his freight run. Smart move by the captain. This could be a short scenario if the PCs decide to escape once they figure out what's going on, but no. These guys were opening all the trap doors. It's a shame they ran out of time. Visualize a guy fishing off the dock, smoking a cigar while sitting on a case of dynamite, and reeling in the giant squid he's hooked. I would've liked to see how it came out, but they didn't make it to Saturday's game.

Once I was done with the game I found celticdragonfly and listened to some filk before falling down.

Saturday began with the hotel breakfast buffet (good, if limited selection) and then a serious exploration of the dealers' room. Lots of nifty stuff as usual. I went wild at the filk table. And I snagged a copy of the new Serenity Found collection, because I was sure there weren't enough of them to last to the end of the con.

The Saturday afternoon game started off with three players. Robert had his Jayne hat to set the mood.

A couple more players joined us soon after. I dropped them into my favorite con scenario. Early on the captain asked "We're being paranoid, but are we being paranoid enough?" No, as it turned out. They managed to come up with a different approach to solving the situation than the previous three groups--frontal assault. I think I managed to calibrate the battle perfectly. They won with the four attacking PCs each getting shot once . . . that's about as close as I could possibly hope for. The crew faked their way onto the bad guy's ship by having one play kidnap victim, screaming and hollering until the captain turned off her radio. Player: "I have no voicecomm and I must scream."

Here's the shootout in action.

One player blew his first roll and wound up out of control in freefall, bouncing around the compartment as the bullets whizzed past him. Then he finally got it together and put three bullets into a bad guy with his first chance to shoot. The victors received their laurels, or in this case a generous cash reward. There was much rejoicing once their vacc suits were patched and bleeding stopped.

From left: me, Kate, Adam, Robert, Doc, Becky.

We wrapped up in time for me to see the Tom Smith concert. Great show. I have one of his CDs and picked up two more.

We joined Andy and Jazz for dinner in the hotel restaurant. Not too great. I suspect they don't want the low-end items to be good to get people to order the expensive ones. I left the table early to take a very tired Alanna off for a lie-down. She did nap, but only while I was sitting up. When I laid down for a (very tempting) nap she woke up, and it didn't take her long to get me back to the couch for a vertical cuddle. But not soon enough for me to catch Blake's 7 in the video room (one of the shows I've been curious about for years but never seen). The video room wasn't meant to be for me this year--I wanted to see Star Cops too but the timing was impossible.

We went back downstairs to watch the Fencon Cabaret, but it was just too crowded so we bailed out and went to the House MD room party. That was fun, and even though the folks there were totally caught up on the series they were kind enough to not spoil us (we're still on 2nd season).

Then it was filking time again. I went to the theme filk room--they were doing Firefly filk and it just sucked me right in. faxpaladin played the "Blue Sun Blues", which was very close to what my day job is like. Scary. apryl_knight gave a beautiful performance of "Mal's Song" with the whole audience joining in on the choruses. Okay, there was less than a dozen of us, but it beat being shoehorned into the open filk room. celticdragonfly sang "Alliance Unification" and I think that may have been the first time she did it in public. I have to say ziactrice had a Very Fine Hat.

As usual I was the first one to collapse.

Sunday I had to get everything packed up before game time, which ate my chance of any more panels. Everyone else was having the same problem, so my noon game didn't actually start until 1:00. Our Firefly GoH, Jarrod Davis, was in the gaming room and got his first look at MWP's Serenity deckplan. He was impressed. It is a gorgeous piece of art.

This time we started with the violence and then got into the social maneuvering. There's not much the crew won't do to avoid having to lay out real money for ship repairs . . . even go drinking and dancing. Unfortunately we lost players at 3:00 as people came by saying things like "four hour drive" and "really, really tired" so we didn't get to finish.

From left: Doc, Ben, Becca, Becky, Chris, me. Shortly after this Becca had to leave and Kate and Adam joined in again.

I tracked the family down in closing ceremonies and took Alanna out for some cuddle time since she was getting noisy. We headed out for a post-con dinner with kd5mdk and jazz007. Then home. I hadn't done any singing at the con, but we discovered on the drive that Alanna will stop crying for Daddy's rendition of "Och, Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye." For that celticdragonfly will put up with ose.

Overall my take on this Fencon is "nice con, wish I'd seen more of it." I wanted to do a bunch of gaming to support the Lone Star Shindig but with all the set-up time I didn't get to do much else. Plus it's irritating to bust my butt preparing games only to see that the gaming schedule isn't in the program book, only on the website. I noticed gaming seemed to be the only track to not be mentioned during closing ceremonies as well. So next year I'm going to pass on gaming at Fencon.