A Golden Fork in the Road

“I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve”

Furthermore many of you don’t know me very well at all. Don’t worry…we’ll fix that soon enough, but even those who do know me will have missed the awful funk I was in just before convention time this year…you’ll have missed it because for the most part, save a few people who are too close to me to be shielded, I kept it under wraps. Now I know it’s hard to fool you all…but if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s how to be happy on the outside, but none of that is what this is about…quite the opposite actually.

THIS is about the turn around. I’ve heard that sometimes in life all it takes is one good event one good change of the lighting to get things back on track. In my experience…sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t ( just about the same 50:50 ratio you get prayin to Joe Pesci) and sometimes when it works…it doesn’t last long (also like Joe Pesci)…but enough of the time it works and I think Genghis Con may have been it.

Bare with me here, I’m not saying Genghis Con changed my life (sorry Leif…not quite THAT good) but it was a step in the right direction…for me, and just a little bit of what I needed.

This convention brought with it something new to me. A chance to see people who’d had six months to miss me. Six months to mull over conversations…not that I think I was in the forefront of any ones thoughts for all that time that would be ridiculous… but still…I was there. Six months to get a better idea of what they thought of me based purely on one weekend, while I had six months to do the same.

Turns out…people like me even when I’m not around. Years ago someone told me that he would bet that I could walk into a room full of strangers and within 20 minutes know something about everyone, and before I left the room be friends with most of them…I think anyone who has seen me in public would almost have to agree…and anyone who didn’t agree should ask how many friends I ended up with who I didn’t even game with.

This had a point…I swear this was going somewhere…OH, right! I remember now. Genghis Con managed to open a slew of doors for me…it was a chance to look those people in the eye again and say “hey, remember me? Yes…I’m really as awesome as you recall. A hug?…You just want an excuse to press yourself against my boobs don’t you? Well…go ahead then. Very good.”

One of those people, who was less keen on pressing himself against my boobs, actually offered to pay me to promote something that I fell in love with at Tacticon. Tonight I set my mind to doing it, took it with me to work and got all excited about it again because this is something that has so much awesome in it that it makes me happy just to have it in my hands, and now that I’ve got it there…I have too many ideas of what I want to do with it. “What is it?” you ask. “it’s it” I reply…then present my copy of Steampunk Crescendo by Dave M. and this here is why I’m stuck. How the hell do you promote something that you love that isn’t yours? First thought…get to know it, inside and out, but how…how…

Make a group of all of your most active gaming friends and run it (or find a willing sap who will run it for you), and hope that the game sticks…so I think, what I really need now…to spread my love of this to the world…is someone to help me write, and run a game.

So, as life goes we get our ups we get our downs and every once in awhile something comes along that takes you somewhere new, somewhere fascinating, somewhere scary.

When these have become the concerns in my life…I’ve gotta say it’s time to
Forget about your sin – give the audience a grin
Enjoy it – it’s your last chance anyhow.

*walks off humming Always Look on the Bright Side of Life*

-The Mayor

Gaming and the Creative Process

Hi there WombatFans – Andy here. As you may have heard on Episode 70 I lost my voice during GenghisCon and haven’t quite found it yet. It may or may not still be impaled on the horn of the rhino that made sweet but savage sexy-times with my vocal cords and/or larynx. The convention was an amazing time; I met lots of fans, hugged a 6 foot tall anthropomorphic fox, and was given a light-up LED dog collar. I also played a good number of RPGs and laughed for what seems like hours on ends with lots of great players.

Once again, I’m deep in the throes of a post-convention love affair with role playing – I played three Savage Worlds games and a Cyberpunk game at the convention (that is a record for those keeping score at home – 4 games played and 1 kid’s chess clinic taught). But, instead of the normal “Man that was fun, too bad my lifestyle doesn’t have an extra half dozen hours a month in it to play on a regular basis” thinking, I find myself on more of a creative bender. All the playing makes me want to play more, sure – but it also makes me want to write more. Some of you may remember that I wrote and GM’d a Cyberpunk game during the fall last year and had some of the gang over to play it. The reviews post-game were decent but have slipped a bit as time has gone on. I don’t think the game was too bad personally, campy for sure since comedy is an easy out for those of us not experienced enough to make a dramatic game – but it was solid enough to get the job done. Chances are my friends are just all assholes and have trouble giving compliments to yours truly because they have some misguided notion that I’m an egotist. Anyway, I digress. The guys are great…really. Ahem.

After playing in a few really awesome con games, I find myself wanting to write more Cyberpunk plots. To be honest, Cyberpunk appeals to me more than any of the other RPGs out there right now, and also because I don’t know any of them as well as Cyberpunk. Savage Worlds is great but very new to me and I didn’t like 4th Ed. DnD much. Maybe it is all because the more I play RPGs the more confidence I gain in being able to come up with a plot line that might be fun and interesting, or maybe I just get more chances to see the kind of people that turn out otherwise great games and I think “Wow. If that train wreck can do it, so can I!” I always loved the escapism of RPGs and allowed other’s ideas for games to take me away, but this is different – I want to be the one that writes to story now.

I worked with Harley Stroh, our Godfather of Cyberpunk Awesomeness after TactiCon last September to get advice in creating the game I wanted to run and to get a grasp of how he streamlined the core rules for Cyberpunk to be more non-campaign, one-shot friendly. The normal game rules are pretty intensive as far as skills and cybernetics and whatnot and that level of complexity would never work with first time players or with pre-gen characters. He’s been an amazing resource and we’ve traded ideas back and forth on how things can be changed up to fit convention play better and we have even come up with things that players at the next Cyberpunk game will get to try out for the first time. Being able to have Cyberpunk side-projects like wound charts and drug reactions, I find myself itching to write more games. I’ve even started making custom Cyberpunk characters for some friends for Harley’s next convention game. I’d like to run another game before then but I’m not sure – I’m pretty fucking sure of my own awesomeness but maybe not sure enough to balls-up enough to run a game at a convention. I do hope to run something for the gang again in a month or two so they can try out new characters and rule-tweaks. I don’t think it’s possible to write good games without being a GM because you’d lack the understanding of the ebb and flow of leading a game, so I probably need to man up a bit and just run a game or two before TactiCon in September.

Anyway my point is that my creative juices are flowing! Mmmmm….juices. God, I gross myself out sometimes. What I mean is that plots for games are on my mind all the time now, with little twists here and there and I love it. It fits my love of writing into my annoyingly full schedule in a nice way. I don’t have the stamina or time to write a novel or a short story, or even a blog post most days – but a game plot is really only a page or two. Justin gave me great advice last year that the core ideas of the game should be outlined, along with any key encounters, but otherwise you leave it open to what the party does and what you can come up with on the fly. That makes for easy writing as all you need is a 3-act idea that you can flesh in as you go. We played my Cyberpunk game for 4 solid hours and all I had was 2 pages of notes. All the nuances were in my head and when I wasn’t too nervous to remember them, I put them into the game.

I guess the salient thing here is that I love the creative process. I have a dozen game plots sketched out and I even kind of look forward to walking the dog so I can ponder new ideas and new twists. It has awakened the creative part of my brain again and I hope to continue down this road as long as possible. If something creative strikes you, write it down, type it out, or do like I do and Dragon App it on your phone – just don’t lose it. Keep a notebook of ideas like Justin does. Whatever! Just keep the ideas flowing for whatever you are working on – don’t let it dry up or you’ll end up like me – I only get inspired every 6 months so hold onto it as long as you can.

Andy out.

Genghis Con 2012 After Action Report


WombatCast playing Cyberpunk

I’m tired.  Genghis Con 2012 was awesome!  I ran three games that all went off famously!  I played in two games ran by excellent GMs.  One was Cyberpunk run by Harley Stroh (pictured) and the other was Agents of Oblivion with Sean Preston, who wrote the game.  I got to run a game of Deadlands for one of the people involved in it’s creation, Clint Black (no not that Clint Black).

Being a part of WombatCast has given me the chance to meet some great people.  It has allowed me, Matt, and Andy to hang out with people we may not get a chance to talk to normally.  And I hope we are able to benefit the Wombat Army in some way by exposing you to these interesting people.

I talked a lot.  My voice is a little horse right now, and on the episode we release that was recorded late Saturday night at the con you will hear that Andy’s voice sounded like a horse made sweet love to his throat.

The Denver Gamers Association and the volunteers did an excellent job, yet again.  You have never met friendlier people who are so willing to make sure you have a good time.  I thank them for welcoming WombatCast to the convention with open arms.

The Games the Thing recorded their 100th and final episode today, and I got to sit in on that show.  I was honored to be asked to sit in on such a special recording.  Ron and Vern are the very definition of what it is to be a great podcaster.  And to hear the emotion in their voices near the end of the show touched me.  They aren’t stopping by any means and have already announced their new show, RoleplayDNA.  But they still were saying goodbye to something they have been doing for years.  I can’t imagine what that would feel  like to let go of WombatCast, if I am lucky enough to record it for five or more years.  The episode will be released soon, so keep your eye out for it!

I never had a moment where I wasn’t having fun, laughing, smiling, and just loving being around such wonderful people.  If you were at Genghis I hope you had just as good of a time.  I think every gamer should experience a gaming convention at least once in their lives, it is truly a unique experience to be surrounded by like minded geeks.

By the way, the recording we made at Genghis was fun but chaotic.  I hope when you hear it (releasing on Tuesday) you will enjoy it for what it is.  =)

-Justin

Convention Excitement

Justin and Ron recording at Tacticon

 

As most of you know, the crew of WombatCast is heading to Genghis Con 2012 this week.  I’m excited for the upcoming convention (well I always am) but this one feels different somehow.

I think it is mostly because I am a grizzled vet of these conventions.  Well this will be my third.  But I know what to expect and what to look forward to.  I get to see friends that I don’t get to hang out with all the time.  I get to interact with a few fans of the show who will be there (Fans would it kill you to ask me for my autograph in public?  It makes our show look better!).  I am signed up for some great games and I will be running some (hopefully) good games.

WombatCast has partnered with the Denver Gamers Association to give everyone attending a lanyard to hold their badges.  I’m excited to have the show’s name out there even more.  And I love to be able to partner with the DGA to make the convention just a little better somehow.  It isn’t a lot but it is something.

And I always look forward to recording at the convention.  This year we are trying a late night recording on Saturday night, around 11:30 pm.  I want the show to be a little nuts (unlike our sane ones) and get some fans of the show and gaming in that space with us.  While I want to talk to the writers and publishers that will be attending I want to feel the excitement and energy of the fellow gamers and the Wombat Army on the recording!  Also our friends, The Games the Thing, will be recording their 100th and final episode at the convention.  You should check that out Sunday morning if you can!

If you are going to the Con I hope to see you there.  If you aren’t, pay attention to this space and watch for updates!

-Justin