Author Archive

No time left

Where did the time go?

I had everything planned out, day to day. I followed the plan. I still have hundreds (so it feels like at least) items I want to do/need to do left in the four days before I leave for the Grand Masquerade. It is time for triage.

I have already had to ditch the idea of sewing a brand new costume, and there is no way I’ll have a mask finished (or room for it in my baggage).

I have to hunt down all my SCA garb and wash it, because that is what I am going to end up having to put together an outfit from for the Succubus party.

The Celiac Disease is kicking my ass, taking a large chunk of time and energy to get things done.

My aunt is moving in with us – it has been an ongoing ordeal for awhile. I will probably end up being in New Orleans when they finally do the actual move.

I’d like to get rid of the grey in my hair, do my nails, and do some henna tattoos as well in lieu of getting costuming done (sokay, I have a freezer full of henna powder and readymade paste).

I have some documents that I’d like to create for my games at New Orleans, but I don’t know if I’ll have the money to print them up, so they are regulated to a wish, not a need at this point.

I have to sort through all the gaming supplies and figure out what to bring and what is going to stay home, and then figure out how much space I have left for things like clothing and personal essentials (like a hair-brush and deodorant). Then I get to see if I can cram in some costuming and make-up and an extra pair of shoes.

Friends are leaving for an unexpected trip due to a family emergency, so the husband has been asked to take care of their dog while they are gone – giving him less time to help me out.

Hard to tell if the panic I feel is due to a normal panic attack, or the adrenaline rush of gearing up for a fantastic event.

Pardon me while I take a few minutes to hyperventilate in a corner.


The Wrecking Crew games at the Grand Masquerade

“Welcome to the show that never ends…”

The Wrecking Crew is pleased to present table-top gaming at The Grand Masquerade: A Gala World of Darkness Convention.

“Oh what terrible wonders we have to share.”

Do you miss oWoD games? Or do you want to try nWoD games? The Wrecking Crew, senior demonstration team for White Wolf, is offering both Old World of Darkness and New World of Darkness table-top games for players of any experience level.

Games have limited seating. For preregistration, or general inquiries, please email Dave Martin at thegrandmasqueradeball@gmail.com.


“The Thornwood Crate”

Thursday 10am – 2pm

Game system: nWoD – Changeling

The story begins on a dark and stormy night with your motley finding themselves on a dock in New Orleans, a hurricane brewing out at sea about to make landfall. A large masted ship is in the process of getting the last of several creates loaded into the hold so that it can depart before the storm makes it impossible. There is only one crate left to be loaded. A petit and scarred woman stands next to it, looking at your motley. The problem is you have no idea why you’re here or how you got there, and no memories of the past 24 hours.

Bring your own nWoD Changeling table top character, LARP character, or play a pre-gen.  Character experience: 50 xp equivalent.


“Down, Down to Goblin Town”

Thursday 1pm – 5:30pm 

Game system: nWoD – Changeling

Round 1 of 2

What happened when you escape your Keeper?  You ended up in Goblin Town, a place carved out between worlds, a hovel in the hedged shadow of the Fae Realms. However, Goblin Town is ageing and there are not enough resources to support all the refugees that call it home.  What do you do when you see your home dying around you and those in charge will not admit to any problems? What, if anything, lives outside the Hedge? Is it suicide to try to leave?

Bring your own nWoD Changeling table top character, LARP character, or play a pre-gen.  Character experience: 50 xp equivalent.

This game will be the first in a two part series culminating in “Smoking is bad for your health…” at 11 am on Saturday.  Players in this game are invited to join us at the final game, and will be given the option to play their original character.


“Storyville”

Thursday 2pm – 6pm     FULL ONLY ALTERNATES LEFT

Game system: oWoD – Vampire (Victorian Age)

Setting: 19th Century New Orleans. When Alderman Sidney Story consolidated all the vice in New Orleans into a single district along Basin Street, he thought he was improving the city’s tarnished image. Instead, he created a playground for the Kindred, with all the comforts one could ask for. However, stranger things hold claim over the Louisiana night, and tonight, they come to collect their due. Expect hoodoo, swamp creatures, and perhaps the odd zombie.

Pre-generated characters will be provided. Direct inquiries to werther@hilander.com


“Make a Run for the Border”

Thursday 2pm – 6pm

Game system: nWoD – Geist

You’re Krewe has turned itself into its own version of a certain ill-luck numbered warehouse. Certain artifacts simply must not be in the hands of the general populace, such as the ones being shipped from Mexico City to Arizona for a museum tour. The items were found in the excavation of the first tomb thought to be of an Aztec ruler. Until now, no tomb of an Aztec ruler has been found since the Spanish conquerors built atop Aztec ceremonial centers. The border patrol and minute men are not the only concerns when planning this heist.

Bring your own nWoD Geist table top character, LARP character, or play a pre-gen.  Character experience: 50 xp equivalent.


“Blood in the water”

Thursday 3pm – 8pm

Vampire: the Requiem  (nWoD)

Round 1 of 2

For 30 years Francheska has been a thorn in the side the Invictus. First she “stole” ASU’s Main Campus out from underneath the Invictus, then she declared it an independent holding, then finally she declared herself Prince. Well little “Miss Clever” seems to have backed herself into a corner. Looks like it’s time to do a little urban political spelunking. Bring your own 70 point Invictus or Invictus asset,  LARP character, or play a pre-gen.

This game will be the first in a two part series culminating in Smoking is bad for your health at 11 am on Saturday.  Players in this game are invited to join us at the final game, and will be given the option to play their original character.


“Sin City Chaperone”

Thursday 4pm – 8pm

Game system: oWoD – Vampire

If Las Vegas is a city of temptation for mortals then it is doubly so for Kindred. A steady stream of delicacies from the world over flows each week in a never ending river of blood.  It’s almost too easy. No… it is too easy. Years ago, after an epic night on the town, Marcellus was driven from the city under threat of blood hunt. Now, he wants back in. As the prince hosts his yearly poker game for the city’s elders, can your coterie keep his presence disguised?

Bring your own oWoD Vampire table top character, LARP character, or play a pre-gen.  Character experience: 30 freebie equivalent on top of standard character creation. .  Any abilities outside the Vampire core book will be allowed with Storyteller approval.


“Survival of the Fittest”

Thursday 6pm – 11pm      FULL ONLY ALTERNATES LEFT

Game system: oWoD – Vampire (Sabbat)

You are all that is left of your pack after the latest failed attempt to take over New Orleans. Other packs have similarly been decimated. The Bishop of Baton Rouge is not very happy with this outcome and has ordered you, among others, to redeem yourselves by any means necessary. The odds are against you in this suicide mission, but the rewards will be equal to the risk you take. Should you manage to take out the Prince and/or his council during your strike, so much the better.

Bring your own oWoD Sabbat table top character, LARP character, or play a pre-gen.  Character experience: 100 freebie point equivalent on top of standard character creation.


“The Fourth Draught”

Thursday 9pm -1am

Game system: nWoD – Vampire

Round 1 of 2

Three nights ago the Prince’s favored Childer had to be put down like a rabid dog after he was found frenzied and naked in the city’s rack, soaked in the blood of his dozen victims.  Their broken and exsanguinated bodies led right to him like a morbid trail of bread crumbs.  He was not the first. Someone… or something is turning the city’s Invictus into frenzied animals.  Draugr.  If this were to get out it would destroy the prince and bring down the Invictus.  This cannot be allowed.  You and your coterie must put an end to this threat, and quickly:  lest you be the next to lose your mind.

Bring your own nWoD Vampire table top character, LARP character, or play a pre-gen (Invictus only, please.)  Any abilities outside the Vampire core book or The Invictus will be allowed with Storyteller approval.  Character experience: 50 xp equivalent.

This game will be the first in a two part series culminating in Smoking is bad for your health at 11 am on Saturday.  Players in this game are invited to join us at the final game, and will be given the option to play their original character.


“Long Live the King”

Thursday 10pm – 2am

Game system: oWoD – Changeling

Andrey Varich has ruled over his kingdom for forty years, and should have long given up his reign that started when he was a child. As a fair ruler he had never been challenged over his rule, until now. Given his age, and inordinate time in the Dreaming, as well as his more current decrees it is becoming more obvious that he is quickly slipping into bedlam. Now the rival factions are coming to a head. What do you do now?

Bring your own oWoD Changeling table top character, LARP character, or play a pre-gen.  Character experience: 50 freebie equivalent on top of standard character creation.


“Family Business”

Friday 10-2pm FULL ONLY ALTERNATES LEFT

Game system: nWoD – Hunter: the Vigil

The Chapel family has long and wide-ranging history in the Ashwood Abby. Membership is rumored to be spread across Europe and North America with rumors of many “Friends and Family.” To this end Edith “Mama” Chapel, has asked you to help out with a family problem. It seems that Suzy has gone missing and Mama is concerned.

Bring your own nWoD Hunter table top character, LARP character, or play a pre-gen.  Character experience: 75 xp equivalent.


“Scavenger Hunt”

Friday 11am – 4pm       FULL ONLY ALTERNATES LEFT

Game system: nWoD – Changeling, Vampire, or Werewolf

Round 1 of 2

Traditionally, the Nosferatu have been known to hold a city wide scavenger hunt in New Orleans once a year during All Hollow’s Eve. This year, whispers among the darkest shadows say that the game will spread across several days and nights and span the entire state of Louisiana — and everyone is invited to play. The rules to the game are:

1) The item stolen must be returned without harm done to it on the last day of Bambouches (a voodoo ceremony honoring the Ghedes – the graveyard loas) by dawn.

2) For an item to count, the whole team must deliver it to one of the various checkpoints set up around the state.

3) The Masquerade and similar laws must be maintained.

4) No mortals may be harmed.

5) Stealing other teams’ items is allowed.

This event happens to coincide with a Presidential visit to New Orleans and guess what, or more precisely who, is the first item on the list is.

Bring your own nWoD Vampire, Werewolf or Changeling table top character, LARP character, or play a pre-gen.  Character experience: 50 xp equivalent.

This game will be the first in a two part series culminating in Smoking is bad for your health at 11 am on Saturday.  Players in this game are invited to join us at the final game, and will be given the option to play their original character.


“There Will BP Blood”

Friday 12pm – 5:30pm

Game system: nWoD – Werewolf

Round 1 of 2

Madame Gator Durand is renowned for her power.  But less obvious to those who observe the hunt are her guile and wisdom.  Some game are too large, others are just out of reach.  She lay patiently concealed in the waters, passing up many opportunities until the moment is just right and then…

But Gator’s hunting waters are being poisoned by those chasing after the last few drops of ancient sunlight.  The wetlands die and the twilight grows more blighted each day.  The bayou’s forsaken pack sets out to make right those wrongs.  Like the gator, their strength is not in doubt, but will their jaws tear into the flesh of those who befoul their home? Characters will be provided..

This game will be the first in a two part series culminating in “Smoking is bad for your health…” at 11 am on Saturday.  Players in this game are invited to join us at the final game, and will be given the option to play their original character.


“Down, Down to Goblin Town”

Friday 1pm – 5:30pm  FULL ONLY ALTERNATES LEFT

Game system: nWoD – Changeling

Round 1 of 2

What happened when you escape your Keeper?  You ended up in Goblin Town, a place carved out between worlds, a hovel in the hedged shadow of the Fae Realms. However, Goblin Town is ageing and there are not enough resources to support all the refugees that call it home.  What do you do when you see your home dying around you and those in charge will not admit to any problems? What, if anything, lives outside the Hedge? Is it suicide to try to leave?

Bring your own nWoD Changeling table top character, LARP character, or play a pre-gen.  Character experience: 50 xp equivalent.

This game will be the first in a two part series culminating in “Smoking is bad for your health…” at 11 am on Saturday.  Players in this game are invited to join us at the final game, and will be given the option to play their original character.


“All in the shadow of our Patriarch”

Friday 8pm – 1am FULL ONLY ALTERNATES LEFT

Game system: oWoD – Vampire (Dark Ages)

For a while you and your coterie have done well in the start to carving out your individual niches in Constantinople. However, there is still a lot of room to grow because you are not quite to the point of success that you wish to be. Real success seems just out of reach… at least it did until tonight. Tonight there is to be a midnight feast, one typically only attended by the Elders and their sycophant guests, but tonight you and yours have been invited attend as well. What things await you? What opportunities lay in store? Will you and yours finally be given that opportunity to advance?

Bring your own oWoD Dark Ages Vampire table top character, LARP character, or play a pre-gen.  Character experience: 50 xp equivalent.


“The Fourth Draught”

Saturday 9am – 1pm  FULL ONLY ALTERNATES LEFT

Game system: nWoD – Vampire

Round 1 of 2

Three nights ago the Prince’s favored Childer had to be put down like a rabid dog after he was found frenzied and naked in the city’s rack, soaked in the blood of his dozen victims.  Their broken and exsanguinated bodies led right to him like a morbid trail of bread crumbs.  He was not the first. Someone… or something is turning the city’s Invictus into frenzied animals.  Draugr.  If this were to get out it would destroy the prince and bring down the Invictus.  This cannot be allowed.  You and your coterie must put an end to this threat, and quickly:  lest you be the next to lose your mind.

Bring your own nWoD Vampire table top character, LARP character, or play a pre-gen (Invictus only, please.)  Any abilities outside the Vampire core book or The Invictus will be allowed with Storyteller approval.  Character experience: 50 xp equivalent.

This game will be the first in a two part series culminating in Smoking is bad for your health at 11 am on Saturday.  Players in this game are invited to join us at the final game, and will be given the option to play their original character.


“Smoking is bad for your health…”

Saturday 11 am – 5 pm       FULL ONLY ALTERNATES LEFT

Game system: nWoD – Changeling, Vampire, or Werewolf

Round 2 of 2

Recently, you have had it rough. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. For the Vampires things have been tense since word has it the two elders almost went to war last week over a ghoul, or at least that is the rumor. Now no one is safe from being used as a pawn in their conflict. What’s worse: being the pawn or not knowing the real reason behind the elder war?

In the Changeling freehold there is a rumor about Motley that followed The Great Horned Lady of the Forest back to her realm to rescue child. A heroic battle was fought and she was bested… or was she? The details become fuzzy at this point with lots of conjecture as to what really happened. One thing everyone can agree on is the fact that another Gentry who calls himself “Johnny Smokestack” showed up and bought the felled Fae.

The Forsaken are concerned because someone is spiriting away the young kin. Before they disappeared, however, they had started using phrases like “bloke” and “mate” as well as smoking like a factory in a bizarre version of Oliver Twist.

Bring your own nWoD Vampire, Werewolf or Changeling table top character, LARP character, or your character from round 1, to find out what these plots have in common.  Character experience: 50 xp equivalent.


“A Tale of Twisted Love”

Saturday 12pm – 5pm

Game system: nWoD – Geist

Someone you care deeply about has fallen into a coma for no apparent reason. The only clue you have is that of a small coffin painted with voodoo veves that was left on their doorstep. It soon becomes apparent that someone is targeting your Krewe. The investigation will soon lead you on a harrowing journey into the Underworld worthy of Orpheus and Eurydice to plead your case and regain your loved ones souls before time runs out. Just remember, don’t look back.

Bring your own nWoD Geist table top character, LARP character, or play a pre-gen.  Character experience: 75 xp equivalent.


“Conjure”

Saturday 4pm – 9pm

Game system: oWoD – Vampire

A cohort of Kindred blood sorcerers have been called to the midnight court of Marie Laveau for a problem only the mystic arts can solve. Can these vampires put aside the needs of clan and sect long enough to overcome it?

Pre-generated characters will be provided. Direct inquiries to werther@hilander.com


“A Murder on Wizard Island”

Saturday 6pm – 11pm           FULL ONLY ALTERNATES LEFT

Game system: nWoD – Mage

Wizard Island is located in Crater Lake National Park in Oregon. It is the seat of power for the Northern Consilium and the stronghold of American powers north of California.  The solstice brings forth meetings of this Consilium; a gathering that those who are within its influence of power are encouraged to attend. The largest disruptions of power in the region tend to flit through these chambers, but tonight will be even more special.

Under the witches’ cauldron, in the very center of the volcanic cone, something is brewing. There are murmurs of changes in the air, unspoken but vibrant to those of an awakened mind.  It is only a few hours until the meeting is set to begin and already the Council Sentinels have to decree a lock down as things begin to reach a boiling point.

Bring your own nWoD Mage table top character, LARP character, or play a pre-gen.  Character experience: 50 xp equivalent.


Geist the Sin-Eaters

I have been a die-hard vampire fan girl since, well, at least age 11 if not younger. I cut my fangs on the Red-Box edition of D&D ran for me and my girlfriends on my 13th birthday party by a family friend. In high school, towards the end of my senior year, a school mate handed me a book and said I might like it. He wasn’t going to use it. I still wonder to this day why he gave it to me. It was not like we ran in the same circles. I was the local goth-witch-pagan-tarot-card-spell-casting-evilness-in-a-small-town and he was a preacher’s son. That book was the 1st edition Vampire the Masquerade by White Wolf. My girlfriends at the time were not interested; they preferred D&D to Vampire. Me, I fell in love with it at first read.

Two decades later… my goth clothing, corsets, black nail polish, etc have all been passed down to my daughter who has celebrated her 13th birthday. I’m still a die-hard vampire-phile. I mourn the havoc that kids and health have done to my body, because well, being a fat vampire just doesn’t work aesthetically for me.

But…

Buuttttttt…

I have found a new gaming love that sings to me more than Vampire does these days. Who would have thought? Geist the Sin-Eaters is a game about second chances, and so much more. It took me awhile to dissect why I love it so much, and why it has become my absolute favorite White Wolf game.

If I have any sort of specialty when it comes to White Wolf games, old or new, it is that I inherently get the spiritual aspects. The Umbra? My play ground. Spirits? My play things. Voodoo loas? Oh yes. Ghosts? Yep, got that covered to. Anything along those lines, my forte. Toss in a good-old-fashioned interest (obsession?) with death, and you have what I love to read about and role-play about. Vampires, zombies, ghost stories, resurrection, reincarnation… yep, love that stuff.

Wraith just didn’t tickle my fancy in the ways that Vampire did, despite it being about ghosts and life after death and other goodness. Never really got into it, but I did enjoy it when I could play it.

Geist however, combines all the elements in just the right way that reaches that special spot. I love the concept behind the game, I love the Underworld journeys, the duality, the celebration of life because you have been touch by death, the Krewe aspects (I love Mardi Gras), the ability to create your own mythology about why you are the way you are, the creep factor, the powers, the innate abilities… it’s has every aspect of what I love in a game all rolled up into one.

I do think that it boils down to that one phrase: Geist is a celebration of life. You have a second chance to live… and you have some kick ass, spooky, powers to go along with it because of what hitched a ride with you back from the other side.

Having lost a son, my mother, and so many other loved ones to death, I innately and intimately get the philosophy behind it all: “through death we come to celebrate life”. It can be said any number of ways, and it is part of several faiths and philosophies. This is also why the Baron Samedi, the Ghedes, Papa Ghede, Manman Brigitte, or any of that particular family of loas are my favorite.

… Yes, and of course, my name is listed in the book under play tester /might/ also be a reason why Geist overtook 1st place.


Geek fame

I had the experience over GenCon to be asked for my first autograph. I am still stunned. “My Bear Come So Fat, I Wanna Do Laser” makes more sense. Hell, any of Chuck Wendig’s search term bingo phrases make more sense than when I consider that I was asked for my autograph. I mean, all I did was play test the game – yes, that’s my name right there in that book under play-tester… so are a bunch of other names. That’s hardly autograph worthy in my mind. You know, his name is over on the left side column under authors and such. He’s the one that should be asked for an autograph. Hell, my Geist book is autographed by several of those in the left hand side column.

But then, I had to think back a bit. Phoenix Comic Con. I had a couple of people approach me because of the t-shirt I was wearing. It has the Wrecking Crew logo on it, marking me a part of the Wrecking Crew. I was asked questions, I shook hands. Ultimately they wanted Dave, but settled on me, since Dave was a state away doing KublaCon at the same time.

I scratched my head a few times. Hum. You know what; the Wrecking Crew does have a name for itself. The Wrecking Crew has fans that come to conventions just to play in our games.

Our games.

My games are included in that.

I have players that cleared their schedule for GenCon just to try to play in all my games because they loved the game they got to play in of mine at GenCon ’09. They are already planning on returning next year.

I have, loyal followers? I have, fans? One of them asked me to sign his book? And he was serious about it, not just joking around?

Zzzzttt, beep, buzz, twitch… does not compute, error.

Nah. He did it on a lark.

Right?

It was, and still is, surreal to me. Having geek fame. Even this tiny bit of people coming up to you going, “Oh hey, you’re with the Wrecking Crew!” and gushing about us… and I am a part of that.

Weird.

Cool as hell and totally ego boosting, but still surreal and weird as hell.


The flip side…

The worst experience at GenCon was those Star Wars guys. They were complete, inconsiderate, assholes of the first degree.

Usually by the end of a convention, most of our (the Wrecking Crew) voices are either starting to go, or have been lost. We talk so much, we talk a lot, we have to be able to do different voices, pitches, tones, volumes, and we have to be able to be heard by all our players – but not be so loud as to over-power another game at a table next to us. The occasional yell, shout, scream or angry loud dressing down speech does happen.

At a larger convention, I cannot imagine trying to play or run in one of those large grand ballroom size settings with hundreds of other games going on. After one game, my voice would be done. I tend to be soft spoken in everyday life (say, volume set at 3 when most people are set at 4 naturally). I have to speak up and project when I run games, and be conscious of doing so which puts extra strain on vocal cords that really do not get that type of work out unless I am yelling at my kids. I definitely prefer smaller rooms with less competing noise.

The good thing is, that most conventions we do hook us up and give us slight preferential treatment if able to. At DarkCon, a small local convention, we even got our own room to just ourselves. GenCon is no exception. We are marked as premium events, and premium events from what I gather, get better (smaller) rooms to run in and only share with other premium event runners (also from what I have observed).

But it takes just one group of assholes to ruin that for everyone.

A pause to check the event catalogue… yes, they were scheduled for that room. No, they are not marked premium gamers, so there goes the theory that premium games get preferential treatment in that regard.

So, if everyone else in the room had their volume set for 5, these asshats were set at 11. They were that car with the stereo and base speakers cranked at 3am booming down your street. Completely unnecessary, complete asshattery. Nor did they pick up on the subtle social queues of (counts) at least six other tables going shooting them daggers and lasers and burning hot acid in their direction. Mockery had no effect as independently the other tables decided to give them a taste of their own medicine. I think that Dave finally stepped in and told them to behave – or maybe that was wishful thinking.

Seriously unnecessary. They yelled, screamed, shouted, pounded the table, cheered, whooped and hollered… across the hall, a room filled with hundreds of people shouting huzzah! did not come close to the volume this group of players had going on.

The Wrecking Crew was cranky when all was said and done that night. The players also made their displeasure known (each one of the demo forms filled out by my group of players for that game mentioned it).

Moral of the story, don’t be an asshat. Respect your fellow gamers. Or at least learn when you have a whole room of people glaring at you that maybe you are being an asshole and might need to do an internal diagnosis to figure out why.


Favorite GenCon ’10 Moment

It’s been a month since GenCon, far longer than I expected to be writing about it. Life happens though.

After a month, I have to say that one game in particular still leaves me in awe, and not for the game itself, but the people in it. It still makes me smile and shake my head in wonderment. So, frick’in cool. It left me with a deep appreciation and renewed love for the gaming community as a whole.

It was a Geist game, but it could have been any of them. It was just the one that this one player happened to sign up for. This one player, well, she was blind.

A blind gamer, someone who cannot see the character sheet or the rules or the dice when she rolled them. That in itself was cool, but the most awesome part of the experience was twofold: first the level of trust that she had for her fellow players and the Storyteller (me), and second how everyone at the table adapted to having her in the game.

I have been gaming for over 20 years now. There are people that I know will no cheat on rolls or stats or rules, and there are people that I know will do so if it suits them or their story – both players and storytellers. These are people that I know, that I am friends with. Despite friendship, there are some that I would not trust to play it straight.

Now, imagine doing this with perfect strangers. Would you be able to trust perfect strangers to be your eyes for you at a gaming table? I’m not sure if I could without reservation. If this woman had any, they did not show. Her willingness to put her trust in us still makes me shake my head a bit with awe and disbelief.

On the other side of the equation were the other players. No one did not a single one of them complain, but everyone was willing to include her and help her out. Be it helping her with her rolls, explaining a stat or ability, helping her learn what was on her character sheet, or recapping a scene when I had to focus on a different player. I was damn proud of everyone. Each person took her trust and did not abuse it. I wish I could say that for some of my home games in the past.

It was also really interesting to see how people naturally adapted. Even I found myself being more descriptive or make sure that if I nodded or shook my head, I would vocalize it as well. A few times you could see a nod from a player and then actually see the realization on their faces that they needed to speak as well so she could hear them.

On top of it all, she was a damn fine role-player. She got the book.

If you have not been in a Wrecking Crew game, at the end of the session, a vote takes place among the players on who they thought was the best role-player – the one with the most votes gets the main prize: a shiny new White Wolf book.

Did people vote because she was blind but a mediocre role-player? No, not at all. She was clearly the best role-player at the table no matter how you define ‘best’. She played her character and gave it a personality that was clear, she helped along the story, she followed the story, she contributed without dominating, she asked questions when needed, and she helped clarify scenes for those that were at the far end of the table and could not always hear the other end (thanks to those Star Wars guys at the table next to us… grrr!).

In fact, her mad skillz actually helped raise the bar over all. I saw that because of her abilities, other players who started off weak, improved because of the example she was setting.

It was one of the highlights of GenCon for me. It made me proud to be a member of the gaming community, and humble to have been able to experience it.


The Wrecking Crew

The original purpose of this blog was to blog mainly about gaming. It has been a week, the imaginary people in the nose-bleed section of my mind are getting riled up and telling me to get on with it already. So start off, I will talk about The Wrecking Crew.

Nine years ago my family fell on hard times. As a family we made some of the hardest decisions of our life, and the end result was my husband joined the army. My children and I moved back in with my parents. I needed something to do with my time rather than mope around the house. I’m not sure who suggested it, but I’m pretty sure that it might have been Adam. That said there was this WoD group that met down at this local game store and were doing a demo there that coming Saturday.

I was interested, and I showed up.

I brought with me a Setite character, an ugly ass bitch. I got a strange look from the Storyteller when I related my character concept to him. He scratched his head a bit and said, okay.

We get about a half hour into the story and my character needs to get into this house being guarded by some ghouls. Others in the group had already gotten in through their own means, so I was left to my own devices, as I remember it.

So the guards riled my character for a bit while I did some quick thinking. I think that they asked me what I was going to do either get them not to rat me out, or to let me in, or something. Either way, in a rare flash of inspiration, my character started to unbutton her shirt.

Now, remember, I am playing an Appearance 0 Follow of Set.

The guards get alarmed, “What are you doing?!”

“Tell you what, you let me in, I’ll keep my clothes on.”

The Storyteller just stared at me for a second or two, then the guards ushered my character on into the building, looking over their shoulders at my character and shuddering.

The next day, the Storyteller gives me a call and says, “Hey, we talked about it, and we’d like to invite you to our private games.”

That was my introduction to Dave Martin and indoctrination into The Wrecking Crew.

Over the next two years, I play with them almost every Saturday. I get asked to run at my first convention with them, then another and another. This is when we were just one of the many demo teams for White Wolf.

Sadly, real life interfered with my ability to keep playing with them. First, moving an hour and a half away made it more and more difficult to pack up the then toddlers and head out for an evening of gaming. Second, well, I was being torn in two different directions. I had to make a choice between two people who were upset with me for different reasons but related reasons, and there was really only one choice I could make at that time.

I regretted having to make that decision; I resented having been put in that position to begin with. Dave helped me out of some bad places and was a great friend, one of the few I had at that time. I had to walk away, and I walked away without an explanation. Dave made his displeasure known regarding my behavior, but I was not willing to talk about why I was doing what I was doing. On the way back from that convention, our car broke down on the side of the road and we were without reliable transportation – well, until the past two years actually.

Fast forward many years. We were at Gamers’ Inn for one reason or another, and I spy at the far table, some of my brother’s friends – and Dave. Holy cow! I got up, nervous as all hell and say hi, how it is going. We exchange numbers. I leave, but I’m pleased to see that he’s doing well.

Next week I get a phone call inviting me back into the group. I accepted. A little older, a litter wiser, I laid down some ground rules for the husband this time around. He’s also a little older and a little wiser, so understands them and apologizes for being an ass the last time.

After awhile, it came up that we were a senior demo team. I really did not understand exactly what that meant at the time other than additional perks. A couple of months after I rejoin, Dave emails us and says the next game is a play-test session, please print, sign and bring a copy of the attached file.

Oh, it’s an NDA for White Wolf. How cool is this? Around the same time I was asked if I could possibly afford a plane ticket to GenCon. One guy had to drop out, and there were slots to fill, would I be interested and able to.

Flash back to the last convention I did with him where I was less than reliable. I was being given a second chance. I took it – with the caveat that I need to clear it with the husband of course. I had a job at the time, so I could pay for my own plane ticket.

My first GenCon in 2009 was awesome in so many ways. Of course, I was in total shock through most of it. What the hell did I get myself into?

The Wrecking Crew at GenCon 09

RinCon 2009 was the next convention I did after that. I made sure to sit in on panels since I had no opportunity at the GenCon to do anything but work. Several panels were on game design and pitching, and one was on the state of the industry with Andrew Hackard and Kelley Barnes. There were three of us in the audience, which made it absolutely awesome to have two industry people to interrogate all to ourselves.

Well, the question about the role of demo teams came up. Kelley spoke about the importance of their role, and specifically about The Wrecking Crew. This prompted me to ask what the role of senior demo team entailed and how it differed from other demo teams.

The answer blew my mind. After picking up what was left of my mind after her answer, I sat there shell-shocked again. It entailed things like the team they had as senior was not up to par and were getting complaints from both players and White Wolf employees. Out of the other official demo teams, Dave’s reputation was the best. He made sure to get paperwork in on time, his team was profession, his team bathed… things like that. Kelley had nothing but good things to say about Dave and his team, which, included me now. Blink. Blink. Blink.

This GenCon, was even more awesome than my first one – and I got to get out and sit in on panels too!

Kelley Barnes has been made HR director, and Shane Defreest is now our handler. He said some really awesome things about us over here in this article on the Grand Masquerade. It’s hard to believe that includes me. This still has a very surreal feeling to it. The fangirl and the cynic war with each other in me on a daily basis.

Which leaves me with a list of pure awesomeness that has come about since returning to the Wrecking Crew:

  • I get to do volunteer work for my absolute first and favorite RPG game company.
  • My name is in the play-tester credits for Geist the Sin-Eater.
  • I have my foot in the (back) door into an industry that is hard to get into.
  • I’ve been to GenCon, twice, and I only had to pay for my plane tickets.
  • Gaming conventions are free, as a general rule.
  • I’ve been stopped and asked questions by VIPs at conventions just because I’m wearing the Wrecking Crew t-shirt.
  • I’ve meet some awesome fans from around the world.
  • I have fans.
  • I have been asked for my autograph.
  • I get to go to New Orleans!!!