Thursday, October 20, 2016

AVL Scarefest Day 0: A Mountainous Drive And "Not A Single Luxury" (In My Hotel Room)

Good evening gang, and welcome to "Day Zero" of my daily missive from Asheville, NC, (actually the nearby town of Montreat) as I attend the horror-fueled gaming convention "Scarefest 2016"! I've been looking forward to this convention for a while, and now that I've arrived and settled into my room, I'm ready to get started on the live reports from the newest convention on my docket.

As always, keep in mind that these reports are my random thoughts and what I've experienced as the event progresses. Also, since the convention doesn't truly get started until tomorrow, today's report is a summary of the trails and tribulations of getting here. So here's what Sniderman was up to as he winged his way from Ohio to North Carolina...

  • Gotta warn you up front, the Wifi at this location can generously be described as "Spotty". It took me two hours to get this post saved and sent, all the while the signal would cut out at random intervals. So, just in case this series disappears until I return on Sunday, you'll know why. Soldiering on...
  • To get myself into a proper gaming mood for this convention, I loaded up my flash drive with Midnight Syndicate and Nox Arcana MP3s and plugged it into my stereo for a proper scare-event soundtrack. I then plugged in a Gain-scented air freshener, and I was ready to motor out!
  • When I left Ohio this morning, it was overcast, rainy, and foggy. "PERFECT weather for a horror-themed convention," I told my wife. However, she then pointed out that North Carolina was about 500 miles away. "Not only will it not be raining, it'll probably be a bit warmer," she said. She was right. It's about 40 degrees warmer here than Ohio. So my denim jacket isn't going to get much wear.
  • The route from my house to here is as follows: Take 71 South, which becomes 75 South. Take 75 South until you come to 640 East. Take 640 East to Asheville. So, when you look at the Big Picture. I really just had to make one left turn to get here.
  • Wow, I kinda forgot what it's like to drive through a mountainous area. For 50 miles as I meandered through the Smokies/Appalachians, there wasn't a straight section of road with speeds limits of no more than 45 mph. To my left was a sheer cliff face I was staring at. To the right, a dropoff. And straight ahead, big-ass mountains. However, everything was EXPLODING in fall colors, making it a very pretty white-knuckle drive.
  • Upon getting to Asheville, I visited The Wyvern's Tale -- the FLGS and location of the first Scarefest in its upper gaming floors. Over time, the gathering outgrew the store, but I wanted to stop in and see what they had to offer. This place has an AMAZING amount of material in a relatively small amount of space. (Plus their used RPG section had a lot of good stuff.) When the manager found out who I was and what brought me to the area, he said that they carried Cryptworld and were currently sold out! (Neat!) I managed to snag two games I've been looking for while there. If you're in the area, definitely stop by.
  • Next stop, was to get out here to the Montreat Conference Center. The event is being held at this Christian college campus tucked into the NC mountains. This place just LOOKS like it was established and founded in the early 20th century. As I walked up to the Assembly Inn where I was staying, I was struck by how gothic it looked. Very atmospheric.
  • The inn advertises itself as a place to "refresh and renew". That must explain why my room had no television. Or radio. Or phone. (Kinda like Gilligan's Island; "Not a single luxury.") There are apparently no "distractions" for guests. However, the inn has Wifi, so apparently watching Netflix and noodling around on the Internet is fine. (EDITED TO ADD: Ok, so the Wifi must be super-taxed because it keeps cutting out. Everybody here must be hammering the server. Maybe if we had TVs in our rooms....just sayin'...)
  • I swung by Freeland Hall where I met the organizers for about an hour as they set up for the event. Lots of Halloween decorations and other spookifying decor were being put up. I helped out for a bit, but I needed to get back to my room to put this blog post to bed, work on some freelance work, and turn in early 'cause it's been a LONG DAY.

That's it for the trip here. I'm meeting Amie -- one of the organizers -- for breakfast tomorrow morning, then we'll head over to the event for Day 1 of Scarefest! Stay tuned as I report live on the gruesome gaming and horrific happenings over the next few days! And here are some photos of what happened today:

The weather in Ohio set the tone for the entire trip...until I arrived in North Carolina where it's sunny and 80 degrees.

A stop by The Wyvern's Tale was on my to-do list, and I'm glad I made the extra sidetrip to visit!

The gothic look of the Assembly Inn as I walked up.

Scarefest decorating in progress...

The Assembly Inn at night. Whoof....scary indeed...

And a few items I've gotten thus far. Picked up the new expansion for Betrayal at House on the Hill and Heroes Wanted -- a superhero themed game. While I helped decorate, I was given my badge and souvenir T-shirt! Ready to start the scary stuff tomorrow!


  1. Glad the foliage is looking good. We hit the road tomorrow. Hopefully I can swing by the game store if nothing else.

  2. The Wyvern's Tale is a great store and offer a booth at the MACE West game convention in March. Enjoy your stay in NC!