Monday 22 January 2018

The Best of Intentions

Gosh, it's been a while, hasn't it?

People keep asking me for my blog details, at which point I have to look embarrassed and make noises about not updating it regularly (and I think we can safely say that over two years since the last post definitely counts as "not regularly").

Now, I don't normally do New Year's resolutions, but I'm going to try and update the blog once a month this year so when people ask for my blog details, there's actually something there for them to read. Hopefully.

So, let's get this thing on the road again, eh? It's been a busy month so far. Once again, I was lucky enough to be invited as a guest to OrcaCon, the inclusive games convention that has taken place in the general vicinity of Seattle for the last three years. This year, due to venue issues at the previous location in Everett, the convention moved to the Hilton at Bellevue, which turned out to be a really good choice. No matter where you went in the hotel, there were happy people playing games, and such a wonderful atmosphere.

Now the interesting thing is, I can't honestly remember how I met Donna Prior, the brains behind OrcaCon. She's always been a strong supporter of Cogs, Cakes & Swordsticks, so I'm assuming we bumped into each other on one of the games forums when I was first putting the premise together. We first met face to face at Gen Con, I think in 2013, and the rest is history.

Donna's aim with OrcaCon, which first ran in 2015, was to create a safe, welcoming games convention for people of all ages, genders, and orientations. It's one of my favourite conventions, partly because of the small size (now up to 1200 in its third year), but also because it is full of smashing, enthusiastic people who love their games and want to share that love with others.

This was my third year as a guest, so I was on panel duty as well as running a couple of games. My first panel as moderator was about GMing, and attempting to help people who were thinking about making that first step actually take the plunge. Apparently, this was quite topical, as January is New Game Master Month (although I wasn't aware of this until after the panel!). My second panel was about just what we freelancers get up to during the day, as well as discussing whether No Pants Wednesday is actually a thing. I was supported on both panels by a wonderful array of industry professionals, including Joseph Carriker, Crystal Frasier, Kate Baker, Ari Marmell, Liz Courts, Jenn Sandercock and Erin M. Evans.

As for games, this year I only ran two: Cogs, Cakes & Cthulhu (a Mythos-inspired take on you know what) and Untold: Adventures Await, by the wonderful people at the Creativity Hub. Both sessions were great fun, as always. Apparently, there was quite a queue for the Cogs game, with all sorts of shenanigans threatened by those on the waiting list in their attempts to get into the game! (It's always lovely to be wanted!)

Another reason OrcaCon is a fun one for me is that I actually get to play games. First up was Blue Rose, run by the lovely Joseph Carriker for a group of players that have a Blue Rose game every year at the convention. I was there to help make up the numbers, and it was amusing to play in a scenario I actually edited! I was very good, though, and only reacted to information I was given in character. I had a lovely evening inhabiting the world of Aldis again. I was also lucky enough to play in Steve Kenson's Icons introductory game, where Shadow Dancer and her associates found themselves fighting strange creatures in an intergalactic arena, and stuff my face with Jenn Sandercock's edible games, eventually becoming a member of the Order of the Oven Mitt for my labours!

And I got to have another lovely chat with the gents from the Geeks of Cascadia podcast - at least once Hobbs remembered to plug the microphone in! It's always a pleasure to spend time with Paul, Hobbs, and Co.

But now, sadly, the convention is over and I'm back home again. What's left of this month involves getting the next installment of Children of Fear, my whopping great Chaosium Call of Cthulhu campaign, into shape and submitted, as well as the next assignment in my role as Assistant Editor on Call of Cthulhu. Hopefully more on that next month!

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