Kubla 2009 – Saturday 5/23/2009

Here be the tale of my Saturday at Kubla.

Saturday 8:00 AM

I really wanted to get a recording of Justin snoring but by the time I got out of the shower he stopped. Apparently he was wearing ear plugs because I had been snoring earlier. Touché

I headed down to the registration desk to ask them to remove me from the 9:00 AM game. I think I signed up for it accidentally. It was a Watchmen game and I’ve neither read the comics or seen the movie. Also BASH has never been a system I was really excited about, so it was just a bummer that I got into the game in the first place. Con staff was cool and told me they would take me off the list and let the GM know. Kubla staff rocks.

Saturday 9:00 AM till 3:30 PM

So instead of playing RPGs I hung out in the morning. I bumped into people, walked around the dealers room, and generally just chilled out. It was quite nice.

For lunch Sean, Kristin, Blinkie, Todd, Matt and I all went out the Elephant Bar and Grill. Good eats but the sampler platter (which I got) was WAY too much food. I was stuffed.

We played Wasabi in the Atrium. Wasabi is a really fun Z-Man game that mixes scrabble and Freddy’s Fast Food of the Damned into a fun make your sushi roll bonanza. Alex, Meg, Blinkie and all made tasty delights. If I weren’t so gorged from lunch I think playing would have made my tummy rumble. Great production value on that game and enough strategy that it would be fun to replay a few times.

Saturday 3:30 PM – Buried Secrets

Something I’ve been looking forward to for a while is Todd Furler’s Unknown Armies game. This one was even more subtly supernatural than the previous game but kept me on edge about the origins of certain people. As he’ll run it again at Gen Con I don’t want to give away any spoilers, I’ll just go over what rocked and what could have been improved.

What rocked

I got to play with Alex, Matt S., and Mike B. Not that the other players weren’t great, but getting to hang out with my friends while gaming is always a plus. Great players overall.

Todd does a great job of framing the game, giving us a good idea of what to expect and what to drive towards. We all started the game with a common thread in our heads of “let’s make this a great story.”

Todd is very flexible, allowing us to move around the story with ease. For instance, there was a scene where we were questioning an NPC. Clearly he wasn’t supposed to give us all the answers but we put him in such an uncomfortable situation that he finally spilled is guts. I think some GMs would have frozen under that or simply made the NPC act unaffected by his situation, but Todd rolled gracefully with it.

Many of the character interactions, especially between my character and her husband, a senator and his aide and my character’s husband and his friends were just great. We had some excellent dialog and laughs around the table.

The story was very “Twilight zone”. Out there, but not too far out there. Close enough that one could imagine it was real.

Ken’s character’s particular issue. I won’t say it hear but I busted up when I heard what it was.

What could have been improved

Due to the nature of the game there were lots of personal scenes between just two or three players. This felt very LARPish which isn’t a problem per se but it meant that a lot of us missed out on conversations that should have been “on screen”. Not sure what there is to do about that.

I had a secret that I really wanted to get out in the open but couldn’t figure out how to do it. My secret was awesome… just couldn’t fathom a way my character would say it. In our last episode on Secrets, I talk about it a little more. Warning, some spoilers there: http://www.narrativecontrol.com/index.php?post_id=484697

Some of our concerns turned out to just be there to make our characters feel like senators (some political issues to talk about), which was great for giving us fodder for a discussion but later felt like it was brushed aside. Also I didn’t feel a strong threat from outside forces. The mob came up a time or two, but didn’t feel like a real danger. I think both of those could have been solved by having some of our political enemies work against us, creating more urgency for our characters.

The players (and GM) of Buried Secrets:

Saturday 8:00 PM to Midnight

The problem with waiting to write this down, I’ve mostly forgotten. I didn’t make it into Matt Steel’s game, which was okay as I was exhausted. A failed attempt to podcast and drink ending in sleeping around midnight. Will fill in more if/when I can remember it.