Wednesday 5 September 2018

The Last Days of Summer

For the first time since 2013, August didn't find us jetting off to the States for a games convention.

It must be said, it was a bit of an odd sensation not to be shuffling through Heathrow airport at some ungodly hour, dealing with its ever-surly security staff. (Seriously, every single one of them has had a sense of humour transplant and has apparently never spent a sleepless night on a transatlantic flight based on their total and utter lack of empathy with/sympathy for the poor shambling wrecks trying to work out where it is they're supposed to be going now they've changed all the security procedures. Again.) Mind you, we do at least now know where the half decent seats are for the three to four hour lay-overs we invariably end up having to make.

No, this August we largely spent at home. So while most of the people I work with or know in the gaming industry were getting trampled to death or melting with heat exhaustion in Indianapolis, we enjoyed our beautiful former kingdom, helped by a couple of friends and their families coming up for their holidays.

Northumberland is beautiful, and has the best castles (Bamburgh, Dustanburgh, Warkworth, etc., many of which have featured in a variety of films and television series). It also has wonderful beaches, amazing moorlands, fantastic museums (many of which have been involved in the Great Exhibition of the North this summer, even if the definition of what constitutes "North" has been somewhat elastic. Cheshire? North? Really?) and a ton of other cool historical stuff for us to explore. Which makes it a very inspiring place to live; aspects of which often creep into my work, be it legends, locations, or people. (One of these days I'll get round to writing a Northumbria sourcebook for something - in fact, I was doing research for that when I was hired by Modiphius to head up Achtung! Cthulhu.)

And just because I wasn't at a games convention doesn't mean I wasn't slaving away at the day job (none of that while the cat's away nonsense, thank you very much!). More development and mentoring on an upcoming project for Call of Cthulhu; finishing off proofing the Call of Cthulhu Starter Set (it comes in a box and everything. Plus: dice!); more writing, playtesting, and correcting the Children of Fear campaign; and I also started editing another Call of Cthulhu supplement that's making me determined to plan a return trip to the location it's set in after the fabulous week I spent there last year. (And that's as much of a hint as you're getting for now, I'm afraid!)

There's been quite a bit of peripheral stuff, too: getting costume ready for a World War II WAAF LRP I'm going to in September, sending stuff off to conventions regarding panels and games I'm offering, and confirming attendance at other events. The end of the year is going to be its usual blur, convention-wise, that's for sure, and I'm already making arrangements for OrcaCon and Necronomicon next year, too.

One of the other events I was privileged to take part in over the Bank Holiday weekend was a 24-hour charity fundraiser for Leukaemia Care, organised and hosted by the folks over at the Necronomicon Discord community. I lost a friend to leukaemia when I was a teenager, and one of my jobs back when I was a biomedical research scientist was developing a screening panel to identify chromosomal breakpoints in leukaemias in order to make sure patients received the most effective treatment for their illness, so this one was close to my heart.

Once again, the generous nature and community spirit that I've found among Call of Cthulhu players and professionals came to the fore, and there were numerous panels and three live-streamed games over the course of the 24 hours. (I was on two: one introducing Lovecraft and discussing how a host of writers came to be involved with the game, the other on scenario design, both of which were great fun.) Those who couldn't directly take part donated prizes to help with the fundraising and, at last count, the team had raised £480.

Thank you to everyone who took part, and to everyone who donated. Gaming has its fair share of dark moments, but every now and again, it shows what I'd like to believe are its true colours with events like this. May there be many more.

And on that uplifting note, it's time to get back to the real world and those scenarios. After all, they're not going to write/edit themselves!

No comments:

Post a Comment