Wednesday, June 24, 2015

[Cryptworld] New Thing: The Tooth Fairy

A Demented Dentist for Cryptworld

STR: 4 (60) --- WPR: 2 (30)
DEX: 4 (60) --- PER: 3 (45)
AGL: 4 (60) --- PCN: 5 (75)
STA: 3 (45) --- PWR: NA
ATT: 1/60% --- WND: 12
MV:  L 75†

Experience: 800

The Tooth Fairy is a murderous fiend who covets and collects the teeth of his living victims. No one who has encountered The Tooth Fairy has lived to tell of the encounter. No one is certain what he looks like either, although whispered rumors say that he is a tall, thin, pale man with sunken eyes. They say when he comes for you, he's wearing his trademark leather apron and face mask that conceals his identity, also giving him the appearance of a monstrous dentist.

The Tooth Fairy has a hidden lair that he has set up much like an oral surgeon's office. A decrepit dentist chair (with restraints) sits under a glaring medical lamp. A rolling tray filled with rusty dentist's tools is at hand, as well as powered tools such as a drill and grinder. The Tooth Fairy also has various anesthetics and sedatives at his disposal that he uses to sedate a victim to bring back to his "office." However, he won't begin his craft on a sedated patient, as The Tooth Fairy desires them to be clear-headed for the procedure.

For several agonizing hours, The Tooth Fairy slowly and laboriously removes the victim's teeth, placing each one into a small individual jar filled with alcohol to preserve it. He extracts only those teeth that are pristine and unmarred -- no caps, crowns, or those with fillings. Once he has taken all of the collectible teeth he can from his agonized patient, The Tooth Fairy has no further use for the victim and uses his tools to kill them in the chair. He them dumps the body miles away from his office. When the police find a mutilated body with several teeth surgically removed, they can be certain The Tooth Fairy has struck again.

NOTE: The Tooth Fairy is a specific version of the Harvester to show you how to customize a Cryptworld THING into a local urban legend and threat!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

"Sorry, You're Not On The List."

Sorry folks, but I had to go to comment moderation to deal with some troublesome spammers I've been fighting with. So comment all you want, and I'll approve them while kicking spammers to the curb.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The "Change Your Convention Attendance" Challenge Aftermath: How'd I Do?

So earlier this week, I presented myself with a challenge: Could I fund an entire day at a gaming convention with just the contents of my change jar? So I changed it in at my bank and funded my entire day at Origins with just loose change. My goal was not to "tighten the purse strings," but rather spend as I usually do at one of these events. (After all, I could not buy anything and bring my own food, but that felt like "cheating" on the spirit of the challenge.)

So, for those of you who were following along with The "Change Your Convention Attendance" Challenge, here's how the numbers shaked out:

In 7 1/2 months of saving nothing but spare change, I accumulated $180.64, so that was my starting balance.

-$20.00 to top off my car with gas for the trip there and back.
-$4.50 (rounded up) for breakfast.
-$3.00 for all-day parking.
-$15.00 for my Origins one-day badge.
-$4.00 for my Indie Games on Demand ticket.
-$8.50 (rounded up) for lunch.

-$8.00 for a well-worn copy of Tomb of Horrors
-$35.00 for The Quiet Year Burlap Bag Edition (been wanting this for a while)
-$20.00 for a very good condition DungeonQuest (auction win)
-$25.00 for What's He Building in There? (board game impulse buy)
-$30.00 for DCC RPG goodies (Against the Atomic Overlord and two Lankhmar modules)

Total spent: $173.00

Came home with $6.64, which will be dumped into the change jar as "seed money" for my next convention attendance.

Some of you may protest. "$180!? That's hardly a challenge! That's more than enough to fund a day without stretching your budget or denying yourself!"

Yes, that was the point. It wasn't to show you how to cut corners or tighten your belt with limited funds. It was to show you just how much you CAN accumulate from just saving your pennies. My saved pennies paid for today without me paying a single cent from my checking account or making a single charge on any cards. In my head, I just enjoyed a day for "free."

And that $6.64 remaining will help pay for some gaming awesomeness next year.

Origins Day 1 (And Only): The Quiet Year, No Best Hope, And A Bunch Of Confused "Church Folks"

Hi gang, and welcome to today's travelogue and review of my one-day-only visit to Origins Game Fair in Columbus, Ohio. Although I live only one hour north of the con, it's one I seem to miss each year due to some other convention conflict that arises. But this year, nothing was stopping me from zipping down for the day, so I decided to enjoy a day at Origins getting a bit o' gaming under my belt this month. And here are some of the highlights of my whirlwind one-day visit:
  • Although the convention center is The Big Building In The Center Of Columbus That's Impossible To Miss, I somehow STILL managed to get a bit lost in a maze of one way streets before I arrived. Damn, I forgot what a pain driving around this town can be. (Former OSU student.)
  • Arrived at 7:30 a.m. and walked right up and grabbed my pre-registration badge. The floor was pretty quiet at this time, though there were a few quiet games being played at some of the tables here and there throughout the concourse.
  • Other than Gen Con, all of the conventions I've been to in recent years have been smaller regional ones held at hotels or smaller venues. I forgot just how damn big Origins is. It fills every room in the convention center with plenty of spillage into the neighboring hotels. Next year, I must attend for the full five days. There's an embarrassment of gaming riches in my own backyard, for Pete's sake.
  • Because I didn't have time to register for gaming events, I bought only one ticket -- to the 9 a.m. Indie Games of Demand room. My thought was that I'd have my choice of different games to play with the purchase of just one ticket. However, when I got to the room, there was a line snaking out the door. Apparently a lot of other folks had the same thought. By the time I got in, the game I wanted to play -- Our Last Best Hope -- was filled. Fiasco? Filled. Dread? Filled. Dungeon and/or Apocalypse World? Filled. The only games NOT filled were a wrestling game and some anime cat-schoolgirl game. So I decided to try back later.
  • The concourse was now hopping-busy. I played a little game of watching for convention shirts to cons I'd been to in the past. Saw two Gary Cons, one U-Con, many Gen Cons, and -- believe it or not -- one Gamicon shirt!
  • I started seeing people dressed in their Sunday best swarming throughout the convention. These "church folks" were obviously confused about where they were and were they should be going. Turns out that a high school graduation was being held on an upper floor, and many folks just entered the convention center on the wrong floor. It was kind of amusing to watch grandparents and relatives from out of town arrive for Johnny's graduation only to be met by vikings, steampunk inventors, and a handful of slutty pirates.
  • Although, post-graduation, these same students came back to get some awesome photos of themselves with their new diplomas with a horde of vikings cheering behind them. That was pretty awesome.
  • Met a guy who was breaking out some cards from a small burlap bag at one of the tables. I recognized it as The Quiet Year, a game I've been wanting to try. I introduced myself, and he and I sat down and fumbled through a two-player game. Very fun little map game. He had just bought it from one of the vendors, and he was kind enough to point me toward the last remaining copy. Thanks again Steve! 
  • Stopped by Games on Demand again. Still full up. Looks like that idea was a bust.
  • And every game I checked on throughout the rest of Saturday was full up. Didn't feel like wandering around with generic tix hoping to score a seat in some random game, so it seems like open gaming and stumbling across games (like Quiet Year) is all I can really do today.
  • Wandered through the dealer's hall. Massive number of vendors and plenty of shopping to be done. I had my heart set on scoring two games (Penny Press and Hostage Negotiator), but came up empty on those. One board game I *did* want -- Extra Extra by Mayfair Games -- had a $65 price tag. So I passed on it. I did pick up a keen "mad scientist taking over the world" resource game called "What's He Building In There?" 
  • Board games are EVERYWHERE nowadays, and RPGs and CCGs seem to be taking a backseat to 'em. Every vendor seemed to have stacks upon stacks of boxes of the latest boardgames rather than racks and racks of rulebooks or ultra-rare cards under glass.
  • Found the Goodman Games booth manned by Roy Snyder, and he and I jawed about games and what-not for a bit. He told me that there would be an announcement at NTRPG Con today that was pretty big. He was right. (Found out about it upon getting home.) Picked up the newest DCC RPG materials, and scampered off.
  • Walked into the HUGE open gaming area next door. A ballroom as large as the vendor's hall was hosting pick-up-and-play games everywhere. The Big Dogs of gaming had their own areas -- Mayfair, AEG, Wizards, Upper Deck, Cryptozoic, etc. I sat down at one table and promptly got trounced at Star Trek Catan. (I wanted to stand up and scream "KHAAAAAN", but was afraid I'd be kicked out.
  • Earlier in the day, I poked my head into the auction room to look at the goodies that were up for bids later that afternoon. Saw a very nice copy of Games Workshop's DungeonQuest -- a game I've wanted for quite some time. Hours later I walked into the auction, got a bidder's card, and sat down. Sure enough, the VERY next item was that copy of DungeonQuest. Snagged it for $20. Talk about right place at the right time!
  • So as afternoon became early evening, and with my back and feet killing me (no hotel room to crash in to energize for late-night gaming), I called it a day and came home. My biggest downfall was not getting more gaming in, but that's due to not pre-registering for events. Next year, I'll do that, but I hardly consider the day a bust as I had a great time. Played some stuff, bought some stuff, met some friends, made some new ones, and came home energized. Isn't that what these are all about anyway?
  • And those who want to know about The Change Your Convention Attendance Challenge and how that worked out, check out the upcoming follow-up post!

And here are pictures taken from around the convention:
Always nice to see the welcome banner at any convention I attend...even if it's just for one day.

I forgot just how big Origins truly is. Both floors of the convention center were occupied by the event.

Registration lines were non-existent when I arrived at 7:30 a.m.

Registration lines snaked throughout the concourse just 2 hours later.

 From a distance, this rocketship made out of balloons looked just like know...

 "Giant" games were being held everywhere. Here, a giant game of Catan is underway.

 And here's a giant game of King of Tokyo (or perhaps it's New York...)

Aside from games held in smaller rooms throughout the building, the open gaming area took up a monstrously huge ballroom as big as the vendor's hall. You name it, it was being played in this area.

Some foam-boffer LARP folks were taking on all-comers. This little girl was giving the training knight 40 kinds of hell.

Of course, I always need to stop by the Goodman Games booth to pick up the newest DCC RPG stuff! (And hang out for a few minutes with Roy Snyder -- no relation.)

The Origins auction in full swing. Many good deals were being had by the folks. I snagged a personal grail while I was there.

And my purchases made throughout the day. Yes, that's a quite-well-used Tomb of Horrors on the bottom right purchased from a vendor who was apparently just offloading his well-used gaming materials!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Join Me Tomorrow For My "Change Your Convention Attendance" Challenge At Origins

Tomorrow I'll be heading to Origins Game Fair in Columbus, Ohio, for a one-day-only whirlwind of gaming and shopping. It's been a while since I've been to a convention for only one day -- especially one as large as Origins -- so I plan to cram in as much as I possibly can in a limited amount of time. And, as always, join me for a "you are there" travelogue as I bring you my experiences from throughout the convention!

What makes this convention visit even more exciting is that I've put forth a challenge to myself as spelled out in a previous blog post. To show folks that you don't need a bottomless wallet of cash or unlimited credit card accounts to attend let alone ENJOY a gaming convention, all of tomorrow's activities will be funded SOLELY by a jar of loose change I've accumulated in 7 1/2 months. As I explained in "Change Your Convention Attendance," I have turned in this jar of change to my bank for some crisp foldin' bills, and everything I do and purchase will come from this "found money" fund. And if I can have a convention-rockin' good time with just my pocket change -- without cutting corners or denying myself anything I truly want -- you can do the same, proving you CAN afford to go to that game con you've always wanted to attend if you just apply some self-discipline and start saving the coinage.

So the challenge is set. I turned in my saved coinage to the bank this afternoon and have set aside my meager funds. Tomorrow I'll enjoy myself and tell you alllll about it in a Live From Origins travelogue. And at the end of the day, I'll reveal how much I took with me, what my expenses and purchases were, and how successful the "Change Your Convention Attendance Challenge" was! Wish me luck!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

"Change" Your Convention Attendance: An Experiment

As the convention season gets well underway, I start hearing the same complaints and moaning that I hear every year. "Woe is me. I'm so broke. You gotta be 'Moneybags Von Richeyrich' to afford to go to a game con." To these Murderhoboes-Without-Funds, I'm offering you these words of advice:

Check your pockets.
Those loose coins are instrumental in getting you there.

I sure I'm not alone when it comes to saving my loose change in a change jar at home. But how many of you have any purpose for those coins? My college roommate used to drop all of his spare change into a big ol' jug every night. At the end of the year, that change jar paid his share of the rent for that month. And the money he saved by doing that would buy him a night's debauchery at the campus bars. So I started to save my change in a similar manner.

For years, I've dropped every penny, every nickle, every dime, quarter, and silver dollar into my change jar. I never spend change. I always break a dollar with every purchase, just to build up that extra change. (It drives my wife nuts -- she always pays with exact change.) I'll even stoop to pick up pennies found in the parking lot. I'm not picky at all. It all goes into the change jug. Then, once a year, I'll change it out, and I'm always pleasantly surprised by how much has built up.  It's like "found money" in my mind, since I really don't miss the coins I toss into the jug. So what do I do with all these coins? Ah...

For years, I've used my yearly accumulated coinage to somehow fund part of a vacation that year. One year, my spare change bought me a round trip plane ticket to Vegas and back. Another year, I used my accumulated spare change for all of my Gen Con Dealer's Room purchases. My spare change has been earmarked for hotel rooms, admission fees, and extra-special purchases costing far more than I'd normally pay.

It's ironic, but I've made "2,000 copper pieces" work for me!

I hope some of my cheerleading for spare change hoarding gets some of you "Always-Brokes" thinking about starting your own change jar. Dump your forgotten coins into it, let it grow, don't raid it for beer and cigars, and in a year, you'll have enough to help fund that convention sojourn you've always wanted to take.

Now about that "experiment" I mentioned in this post's title. I'm planning on putting my money where my mouth is. That pile of coins you see in the photo above is part of this year's coin fund. I've been saving up since last October. (My Con on the Cob attendance was partially funded last year by The Coins.) So that's roughly 7 1/2 months of coinage accumulated. This Saturday, I'm going to make a day trip to Origins Game Fair in Columbus. And that entire day will be solely funded by the contents of my coin jug. (Cashed out into bills, of course. I don't want to pay the vendors with rolled pennies...) To avoid temptation, I'll leave any additional cash at home, as well as my credit cards. Gas there and back, parking fees, badge registration, game tickets, vendor purchases, food, etc. Everything will be funded by my accumulated spare change that day. (I'll provide the financial breakdown once the day has ended.)

So that's the challenge. This weekend, I'll live-blog from Origins as I usually do from game cons. (Although, since it's a day trip, I'll blog about it upon my return home.) And if I can afford to attend a game convention for one day with nothing more than the coins in my pockets and the change between the couch cushions, I hope it might inspire some of you "Always-Brokes" to save up for one year so you can do the same.