I arrived Saturday evening to run my hastily assembled game, "Caravanserai", in which the players were part of a camel train crossing the Arabian desert, running low on water and eager to reach the caravanserai, where water, rest and provisions could be obtained. As has been my trend, it was light on rules and (hopefully) heavy on storytelling, hand-waving and making shit up.
I was happy with how well I was able to create the setting and mood, though it really helps to have a clutch of good role-players like ian_tiberius, notjenschiz & mewatson, zorker & postgoodism, and the nondistaff half of castlekevorah.
During the aforementioned hasty assemblage of the game, I was less and less satisfied with how my plot ideas gelled into a story with a really satisfying resolution. It seemed like I should be able to do something with scimitar-wielding skeletons on flying carpets, alchemy, a she-ghoul, and the 99 names of Allah.
WIth prep time evaporating, I reached deep into my butt to pull out something resembling a plot. It sufficed for most of the game, and the lack of a satisfying resolution was cleverly avoided by the characters' strong desire to run the hell away. Apart from the young scholar's demise at the hand of the shapeshifting ghouleh, the rest of the party escaped, sadder but wiser men (and one eunuch and one slave-girl).
The push-up competition/inspiration happened a short while later. I knew I was outclassed, but I squeezed out 16 to earn last place out of a field of six, I think. Well, at least that's average, and (unlike some others) no one disparaged my form. And there were lots of skinny nerds there not doing any pushups at all that I bet I could beat up in a barfight. So that's okay then.
Now well past midnight, Pat gathered a large group for a role-playing-tinged version of Armando. The gods of inspiration failed Pat in his hour of need, so we devolved into telling stories of our 'first time' and other meta- discussion of the art of role-playing. I've seen a couple people mention already that what they missed at Maxicon was more time to just hang out and chat with friends, so I think non-Armando allowed some good unstructured time for doing just that. So don't feel bad, Pat! Maybe next Maxicon should have an event that's just the Conversation Lounge.
After that, I chased Ian down the freeway back toward civilization 'til his slightly heavier foot took him out of sight.
Returning Sunday, I squeezed in a little Rock Band and helped the band rack up almost 1.2 million points on Aqualung.
Next up was aaronjv's Cthulhu game involving one of Scientific American's investigations of mediums, along the lines of the famous Margery case. I played William McDougall. I'll forbear further detail [except to mention to Aaron that when you casually mention a Brooklyn brownstone in 1924, my mind turns to 169 Clinton Street, where HPL was living at the time: "Something unwholesome -- something furtive -- something vast lying subterrenely in obnoxious slumber -- that was the soul of 169 Clinton St. at the edge of Red Hook, and in my great northwest room 'The Horror at Red Hook' was written."]
I enjoyed the game, and made one of my better efforts at role-playing. Another player was a little less experienced in the role-playing department, a flaw exacerbated by her realization of and self-consciousness about the fact. Oh well.
For a brief moment before his consciousness was forever extinguished, Dr. McDougall realized his dream of experiencing incontrovertible proof of the supernatural.
Next up, ChrisW ran Midnight Harvest, a modern CoC game involving the peculiar Halloween traditions of a Rhode Island town. From looking at reviews, it looks like Chris scrapped the pre-gen characters and substituted characters (more or less, and with some extensions) from Something Wicked This Way Comes. So Todd and I were Jim and Will, while newtoniancat was my dad. An added older sister and meathead boyfriend (K&A) and a grad student lackey for dad rounded out the cast, and we were on a vacation to the town.
Unfortunately, I think the substitution was a mistake. It provided lots of role-playing hooks, but pestering your sister's boyfriend doesn't advance plot much. And 'family vacation' does not provide a lot of incentive to stay in town when horrible things start to happen. And since Will is the timid one in the Will&Jim duo, I spent a lot of time sheltered in the minivan, while Jim was off executing flying tackles on a hook-wielding assailant.
We came, we saw, we got into deeper and deeper trouble, and then we fled.
Nothing wrong with that, and it was enjoyable, but it seems like there was a lot of (potentially interesting) story, but we didn't get a chance to experience a lot of it. Of course, stuck in the van, I saw a lot less than some of the others did.
After that, a tiny bit of Rock Band until Maxicon officially came to a close. Goodbyes said, it was back on the road for home.