Carnagecast 53: A Fistful of Carnage

carnagecast-rss-image-300A new episode of Carnagecast posted last night. Carnage staffer Ray joined me to talk about the upcoming A Fistful of Carnage game convention in Killington, Vermont next month, November 7th through the 9th.

We talked a bit about what’s on the schedule — keeping it spoiler-free, of course — and some things to keep in mind when planning a trip to Killington. It gets cool up there on the mountain in November!

The convention book should be mailing out and appearing online imminently, so I took this episode as an opportunity to get back into the swing of recording, as well as recognize the culmination of a great deal of background work is about to pay off for all the attendees who have been looking forward to another great weekend of playing games at Carnage.

And seriously, I will be hanging out at the Snowshed information desk most of the weekend. Come say hi!

The Game with No Name Math Trade at Carnage

I am pleased to hear that Matt Golec has again stepped up to coordinate the no-ship math trade at Carnage this year. He’s done the legwork the last four years, and every year the selection of games gets wider and more appealing. The math trade’s a little funny in that the hot and heavy part comes before the convention ever happens, when everyone fills out their want lists, then anxiously waits for the news of how the algorithm determines who trades what. During the convention itself, it’s a pretty sedate “pick up what you scored, drop off what you traded away.”

One math trade, I scored a pair of Call of Cthulhu starter decks, which sent me down a path to the living card game incarnation, which I’m still enjoying today. So I’m always hopeful that I’ll stumble on some unregarded gem that I wind up really enjoying.

Most of what I have to offer in the trade are role-playing books. I can’t recall if I’ve ever successfully swapped any of them, but I’ll keep making them available. This year, I’m also going to take a hard look at the card and board games on my shelves, and figure out what I’m likely never going to play again. That number is probably going to be higher than I want to admit.

Carnage Noir

Carnage Noir happened over the weekend. It was, in short, good. I ran my Ghostbusters adventure — more on that in a later post — played Igor in a Discworld game with a lisp deemed incomprehensible, hooted and hollered during the Cube of Death geek trivia game show in the theater, caught up with many friends I hadn’t seen in a while and generally had a very, very good time.

2012 was a little bittersweet for me. Carnage is leaving the Lake Morey Resort in Fairlee to take up residence in Killington come November 2013. So all weekend, I had little “this is the last time” moments: the last breakfast at Gilman’s Diner, the last sprint through the hotel’s warren-like halls with its inexplicable nooks, zigs and zags, the last pick-up game in the lounge and many more. Conventions move from hotel to hotel all the time and I recognize there will be some new lounge in which to hang and play games, but Lake Morey will always be special to me.

The prospect of going to Carnage came completely out of the blue in 2005. Days beforehand, a friend asked, “Hey, do you want to go to this?” I had no idea what it was, but signed on. I’ve gone every year since, as a player, as a GM, as a staff member. Clearly I am stuck in deep with the Carnage culture and community.

And that’s where Carnage shines. It has an air of conviviality, the feeling of a far-flung clan of kindred souls — now flung as far as Arizona and British Columbia, thanks to Monk and Munk — gathering for three days out of which everyone’s going to wring what they love best. It’s not just about playing games. That’s the vehicle. What that vehicle transports is community, shared joy and a good time.

In my eight years at Carnage, I’ve watched lasting friendships form and children grow up. The kids playing in the pool a few years ago are now playing games and running them. The newest generation of Carnage GMs stepped up this year with Dungeons & Dragons and Clay-O-Rama. A couple of adults hovered nearby, but you know, they weren’t needed. Those young GMs knew exactly what they were doing. And that’s pretty awesome.

Here’s to Carnage on the Mountain at Killington next year. We’re going to help make it exceptional all over again.

Greetings from Studio B!

Carnagecast's Studio BAs preparations for Carnage pick up speed, more of the not-work portions of my brain are given over to the many interlocking, moving parts whizzing about at every increasing speed that go into putting on a convention. Just this evening, I took a pass through proofreading the convention book, soon to hit an inbox, physical or electronic, near you.

Additionally, I made some upgrades to the Carnagecast recording setup in here “Studio B.” A shiny new mixer firmly wedges open vistas of remote interviews over the telephone and VOIP. We’ve done those before, certainly, talking to luminaries like Lorien Green, director of Going Cardboard, and Dave Chapman, line developer of Conspiracy X 2.0. Those recording sessions were special set-ups. Now it’ll be easier to pull them off. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll work our way up to a live show at Carnage.

In the meantime, I’ll be recording more Carnagecast episodes, assembling the schedule grid for cross-referencing with the Carnage book, playtesting my adventures, Reavers of the Pearl Bright Ocean and The Ice Giants of Mansfield, and doing whatever else needs to get done to make our last year at Lake Morey — we’re moving to Killington in 2013, you know — memorable and fun.

Farewell, Lake Morey; Hello, Killington!

My favorite game convention[1], Carnage, announced it’s moving to the Killington Grand in 2013. I’m excited by the venue change in 2013 because Killington’s a nice joint and there’s plenty of space for the convention to grow.

Leaving Lake Morey is a little bittersweet, though. Being right on such a picturesque lake has been lovely. I’m always comforted slowly rolling through the sleepy town of Fairlee, wondering what restaurant might possibly be open on a Saturday evening.

The Lake Morey resort itself has character that can’t be beat: wing after addition after extension ramble along the lake shore in directions that only start to make sense after a weekend or two of trial and error, trying to figure out how to get down to the ballroom, or where on Earth the third floor went. There’s nothing quite like bursting out of a little stairwell to find yourself suddenly in the role-playing area when you thought you were well on your way to the bar.

So farewell, Lake Morey! I’ll miss watching the mist rise up off your waters in the early morning. I’ll miss the thunderous roar of LARPers passing through the hallway overhead. I’ll miss the camaraderie of the Steamboat Lounge on Thursday night as Tom urgently scribbles out tomorrow morning’s characters and the first of many, many pick-up games hit the tables.

It’s time to move on to Killington. There are traditions to carry over, new rites to shape and lapsed customs to resume. And here’s to the many, many anecdotes that will begin, “One time when Carnage was at Lake Morey . . . “[2]


[1] I liked it so much, I joined the staff.

[2] In fact, I’ve got a great one that is generally fit only for verbal recounting. Ask me at Carnage sometime!

Carnage Noir Accepting Game Submissions

I would be remiss in passing on the word that the game convention near and dear to my heart, Carnage, has opened up their event submissions to GMs eager to run games. The game submission form is right there on the Carnage website.

As for my own endeavors, I haven’t quite decided what to run this year. I know I’ll do a Ghostbusters game. And after the test run of my GURPS Cabal mini-setting of Martense College, I’d like to go back there, but with a better idea of what to do and how — less “step and fetch it,” more dizzying possibilities and lunatic history.

We’ll see. Five months is an admittedly long time to think and plan. And I have until the end of July before they get serious about cutting off material to fit in the convention book.

Link

If I’m producing a podcast, you know it won’t be long before Arkham Horror gets into the mix. Episode 3 of Carnagecast is the first in a multi-part recording of an Arkham Horror session from last month. We played with the Dunwich, Kingsport and Miskatonic Horror expansions, so there were cards flying every which way.

Give it a listen, won’t you? I would love to get some feedback.

Carnagecast

One of my goals the last couple years has been to produce a podcast. Since my first days of listening to All Games Considered and Never Not Funny, the medium has appealed. Not only does it vaguely overlap skills and knowledge utilized in my professional life, but it has a strong DIY ethic, which I appreciate. My biggest hurdle was finding a cause or entity to which I could hitch my good intentions.

After a couple false starts, I’m finally on my way. Carnagecast acts as a component of  Carnage Gaming’s presence on the web and in social media in particular. Episodes will visit with members of the Carnage community to talk about their gaming endeavors, thoughts about the games they love — or not — conventions they go to and more.

Heigh Ho, It’s Off to Carnage I Go

Oh my giddy aunt, where did the fall go?

Carnage is this Friday. My scarce spare time in the last couple months has gone to ironing out scheduling issues, helping with logistics and, of course, working on Eye of the Qlippothim and The Girl in the Looking Glass.

It’s gonna be a good time!

Quiet Drifting

Held Action lapsed into quietude again. The same thing happened about this time last year. I think it’s a combination of my real life job ramping up, prepping for Carnage in November and general blogging fatigue; the charge of blogging comes from the flow between writers and commenters, otherwise it’s typing in the wind.

The current state of things is I have a heap of post ideas in single sentence draft form that I’m not moved to expand upon, a half dozen role-playing sessions of Scions of Time and Masks of Nyarlathotep to write up — though Masks is on hiatus for September as our earnest Keeper commits rites of matrimony with his chosen other — that, while fun, are fading into memory such that I don’t know if I can recreate the energy this far out. And that’s my own bad for filling my days with other activities. I’m taking a class this fall and it’s been long enough since college that I’m readjusting not only to blocking time for class itself, but homework, readings and so on.

It’s been a bit surreal to dig out my last college notebook. In the intervening years since graduation, I filled many of the blank with game-related notes: character creation, adventure outlines, card counts, etc. Then I had to sift through my final semester of classes and years of gaming notes to find a stretch of blank pages to keep me through the middle of December. We’ll see how that goes. I may have to break down and buy a single subject notebook after all.

I don’t want to give up writing here, but the old charge is gone. I need to feel like this is productive or useful to someone. And I know I’m talking about a gaming blog on the internet, so clearly my expectations need to adjust to fit reality. But it’s how my brain feels right now.

In the meantime, I’ve got a few linky-loo posts to clear out of the inbox. They’ll appear in due course here, just to give the appearance of the lights staying on.