Archive for the ‘Pathfinder’ Category

GENCON 51

Monday, August 6th, 2018

I flew out to Indianapolis again for my 3rd year in a row, to hang with Castor and enjoy the nerd festivities of GENCON.

The trip started on a difficult foot. I had trouble sleeping the night before my flight. I didn’t trust my alarm clock, and I had no backup, so I ended up with only about 4 hours sleep before departing for the airport. I spent that awake time packing and making sure I had everything I would need. I set off early, because I wanted to stop by my dad’s house and take in the empty trash cans. I got a Coffee Bean coffee, then headed over and took care of the trash cans. Then I got a 2-for-$4 deal on bacon burritos at Carl’s Jr. and rolled through traffic to the airport, where I was 2.5 hours early.

The flight itself was packed. Even though I checked in exactly 24 hours in advance, I was boarding at B42, which means near the end of the next-to-last boarding group. I found a window seat at the back and crawled over an old man to get to it. Behind me was a woman and her 9-year-old son, who she desperately wanted to sit next to on the flight, but there were no more open neighboring seats left by the time she got on. The flight attendants started asking if someone would give up their seat, but nobody did. They offered a free drink and still nobody did. I decided I would help, just as the flight attendant was offering 4 free drinks, and the old man next to me was lecturing the mother on the virtues of priority boarding. Fortunately for me, the elderly Jewish couple across the aisle let me sit in their window seat, and they compressed toward the aisle. When it came time to ask for drinks, though, I only wanted water. The flight attendant was disappointed because she wanted to reward me for helping out, but water’s free anyway.

Arrival was also smooth. I disembarked from the plane, walked over to baggage claim, saw my suitcase coming toward me on the carousel, picked it up, and walked outside. My phone needed to be rebooted after airplane mode, and I needed to walk a bit to get signal, but I was able to text Castor that I was ready for pickup. One minute later, I see his red Hyundai rolling in. I was loaded up and driving away from the airport within 5 minutes of leaving the plane. Fortuitous timing!

Castor’s house was no longer in a state of construction. They had their new bathroom exhaust fan installed and working, and the mirror reinstalled. They had even equipped the guest room with a desk for my computer. Nice!

Our first day at GENCON was Thursday, which we started at 9am on the field of Lucas Oil Stadium, where we played a DC Heroes deck building game with an expansion set. I didn’t know what was in the expansion set so I had no way of developing a winning strategy. My record dropped to 1-1.

After that we had Island Noodles with Chicken, consuming them while sitting on the carpeted hallway floor of the Indianapolis Convention Center. We were scheduled for a couple of writing seminars, but they were too far away and we were hungry. After that, we headed off to the Mariott Hotel for a Pathfinder game where we played Christmas monsters and tried to save Santa. That was pretty fun. Afterward, we went to Mikado for dinner and had a nice meal. Then we went back to Lucas Oil Stadium, where we played a Pathfinder tournament where we were tasked with playing villains and sent on several personal missions. That was a painful challenge. After that, we went home and slept.

Bright and early the next morning, Castor and I set off for the convention again. We had 3 hours of writing seminars with Drake. I realized I need to study the Hero’s Journey a lot more. Castor became excited about writing the Metaverse story again, and I had an idea to introduce an old and wise character to help my main character out when he gets too deep into trouble. We wandered the sales floor a bit after that and made a couple purchases before heading to World Market for lunch and then home for a nap. We got up from that to go to Matt’s house for Castor’s regular Pathfinder game, in which he plays a Paladin/Rogue. I played Mike Chambers’ Crane-style Monk. We did alright, but we didn’t leave there until 12:27am and got home around 1am.

We got up Saturday morning at 6am because Castor had all the tickets to the Pathfinder Society game we were playing at 8am. Mike, Alan, Isaiah, Castor, and I (and one other guy) did an intro to PFS adventure. I didn’t get a PFS number until afterward. Next time, though, I’ll be ready! Castor and I had lunch at Harry & Izzy’s, which is across the street from Mikado. It’s a fancy steakhouse with a famous shrimp cocktail with spicy horseradish sauce that burned your sinuses out. I had a hard time deciding between the chicken Caesar salad and the BBQ chicken, finally settling on the latter. After that, we bought some more stuff, watched a little bit of the cosplay parade, and went home. We went to Texas Steak House with Carla for dinner, and I got the Caesar salad I’d been eyeing for lunch.

Sunday was an easy day. We started slow, hit the convention center around noon, spent about 3 hours buying too much stuff, and then headed back home. Castor let me copy some of his media files. I played a little guitar. We talked until late.

Monday morning I was up early. Packed, showered, dressed, and ready by 6:30am. Castor cooked me breakfast and then dropped me off at the airport. Check in was a breeze, and I spent the flight sitting next to a cute little Chapman College student and her mom.

Getting back to my car was another story. It took 45 minutes for the shuttle to pick me up. I didn’t get my car out until after 1pm and it cost nearly $100. It’s almost cheaper to get a shuttle from my front porch. Then I had to drive home, and that took another couple hours due to a couple of major crashes on the 405 and 101. Got home, unloaded the car, and slept for 2 hours!

Pathfinder 4

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

Got together at Greg’s place to finish up our first Pathfinder campaign. The guys charmed the shock troops, took out the chief, and hit 2nd level.

GENCON 50

Monday, August 21st, 2017

I flew out to Indy to hang out with Castor for GENCON 50!

The flight out was nice. Direct on Southwest. I spent most of the time writing my thoughts on improvements to our sequencing algorithm to better take into account the information we have regarding the user’s learning strength for a particular item.

Castor’s house was in a state of renovation. Wet paint and no mirror in the guest bathroom, so I ended up showering in Castor’s shower for all but the last day.

GENCON was fun. On Thursday we wandered the vendor floor before finding our game, which was a RPG based on the old City of Heroes MMO. It was fun. I was “Tech Support” the tech tank. Whenever I entered a battle, I yelled “Tech Support is here. What is your Customer Identification Number?” and they’d all try to attack me. It was funny.

Friday was a free day. We again wandered the vendor floor, ate some Island Noodles, and in the evening we went to Castor’s boss’ house (Matt) for their regular Pathfinder campaign. I played a mercenary named Cevalla who was formerly a caravan guard but was laid off once the caravan hit town. The first couple hours were an exercise in shopping and trivia, and I was stunned by the lack of wisdom on display. My proudest moment was when I cracked a situational joke in character that cracked up the entire table. That felt good.

First thing Saturday morning, we went to another Pathfinder game. This one was an advanced Legends of the Shining Jewel campaign that we were definitely not qualified for, so they redirected us to the noob table, let us choose a premade level 1 character, and set us off to save the beer festival at the town of Brexton. It was simple and easy. We took more damage from our 2nd level fighter’s critical fumbles than we did from the enemy.

The rest of Saturday was spent shopping for stuff. Then we went home and I talked with Sangeeta, and she made me feel horrible. I didn’t want to go home to that tempest of chaos and pain.

Sunday was just a shopping day. Got coffee in the morning and felt so much better. My optimism returned. We left early and stopped by an authentic Mexican restaurant for lunch, complete with shrink wrapped TVs blasting Ranchero Pop, a bunch of shouting dirty local Mexican workers, an adjacent carniceria, and a real crawly cockroach crawling on the bar. We went back to Castor’s place and ended the day with a Dungeon Crawl board game, which Carla won (of course).

I left Castor’s house on Monday morning, had a moderately leisurely breakfast, made a quick stop at Starbucks for a coffee, spent a bit of time in traffic on the way to the airport, spent 20 minutes to check my suitcase, 15 minutes to get through security, and missed my flight by one minute.

Pathfinder day 2

Saturday, January 7th, 2017

It was supposed to be this terribly rainy day, a Winter deluge of biblical proportions, and it was supposed to turn Kegel canyon into a soup bowl. I bought new windshield wipers on the way over. John arranged for a paved parking spot in his driveway, so I took him up on it. Greg, knowing his Corvette would be no match for the mud, carpooled with me. Serina unfortunately had to study and couldn’t game, though that probably saved her from an uncomfortable ride in the back of my tiny yellow Hyundai. I put the wiper blades on while he went on a quick store run. Greg and I had a useful mutual complaints session on the way over, since both our lives have been difficult lately.

Our arrival preceded that of my brother Rob. He’s been trying to spend more time with his kids, or get a haircut, or do anything really to get out of gaming. Or so it seemed to me. He did do a good job of gaming, and he even requested that I bring Journey Quest season 3 over to screen for the group. I guess he’s just got higher priority activities than gaming (like kids and haircuts, for example).

Anyway, Greg and I settled into John’s house, got him started baking lunch pizzas, and set up for gaming. When Rob ambled in, we got coffee and launched back into our Pathfinder adventure.

This adventure (like the last one) took place in the Black Swan adventure book “Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands” and for sure I bought it because the name was similar to “Keep on the Borderlands” that Rob and I played as our first RPG adventure back in 1980. Of course it’s nothing at all like the old adventure – this one takes place as the adventurers discover and infiltrate an old, abandoned keep in what has become wilderness. Last time, they’d discovered and set off an alchemical fire trap that had burned Greg’s fighter to almost-death, so this time they recovered and set of to discover what was behind the chained-shut doors.

It turns out there were spiders in there, and stairs up. It also turned out that there was a whole other page of description of the room that I didn’t see because it was in PDF form, so I learned my lesson. Buy the paper-form modules to run the adventures!

After we got tired of gaming, we watched Journey Quest season 3 and then everybody went home. It was about 8:30pm.