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October 29, 2006


Well, last night’s game session went pretty well. In the end, only Tracey and Brett could make it over. After some chat, we sat down at around 3PM to create an InSpectres franchise and its employees. The result was ParaShoot, a BrisVegas (yes, that was the name of the city) start-up whose headquarters was formerly a demountable foreman’s office on a vacant lot – that was actually an old graveyard. It had great views of the beach, though. The employees were an ex-forensic profiler with a taste for gunplay (Tracey), a stage illusionist who was a descendant of Harry Houdini (Vickie) and an Asian computer geek with cybernetic computer interfaces (Brett).

We started playing the company’s first job at around 5PM; a council worker who didn’t believe in spooks was employing ParaShoot to investigate a strange glowing light coming form the second floor of Hopewell’s (an upscale department store); the light was freaking out his boys and they wouldn’t work. Of course, ParaShoot were the only ones he could actually get to take the case. The light turned out to be a spectral gateway between the music section of the store and an old folks’ home in Indooroopilly, where elderly twin daughters, last of the Hopewell’s line, were amusing the other residents with their skill on the flugelhorn and xylophone while guarding the Hopewell dynasty’s fortune. Or, at least, I think that’s what was going on; we got a bit muddled toward the end there. Poor Brett was also feeling a little lost, I think! Anyway, the portal was broken, the spectral light stopped, and the family fortune recovered.

By that time it was 6:30, and things tailed off a little there. I was keen on some world and character burning for Burning Empires, but Vickie was gamed out; she’s still a little ache-y after her fall. She suggested the three of us play some Dogs in the Vineyard, and Tracey wanted to some more RPGing, but Brett’s S.O. called, wanting him back home. So that was pretty much it for the evening. Tracey stayed for a while longer and got subjected to our tastes in Saturday Night Crime TV – New Tricks, The Bill and The Last Detective. We were also glad to see that Zelda and Ziggy had no problems with Tracey.

We're planning to get together again on Saturday week for Burning Empires. I want to see if I can get Shaun and/or Renee along, because all reports indicate BE's sweet-spot for player numbers is four or five. Fingers crossed...

Dining Rooms, Dogs and Fences

It’s been a busy week. I managed to put the finishing touches on the kitchen painting – there’s a little more we need to do, but we have to wait on Karl’s help with another sheet of Villaboard before we can really finish off. In the meantime, though, we shifted the furniture back into the dining room, which we’ve laid out in a much better fashion; the dining room table, formerly up against one wall, is in the middle of the room and we can get around it and the other furniture without a problem! Vickie made some very nice pictures for the dining room wall, and we had a minor splurge on Thursday night on some good picture frames. I’ll get some photos of the new setup!

So, by and large, the current round of renovations are done; we just have to get a couple more small tweaks out of the way and then we can give it all a rest for a while! When we pick up again, we’ll probably do so with the computer room; the rat’s nest of cables needs some organisation and the new desk we’re going to get should help with that immensely.

Vickie, unfortunately, had a fall on Wednesday night. In an attempt to share some of my load, she decided to walk the dogs with me. Normally, I have to take them one at a time, as walking (well, running) them both and controlling them both are mutually exclusive. Vickie took Ziggy, as he’s smaller and less strong than Zelda. Unfortunately, just after we’d left our front yard, Ziggy decided to run instead of walk, yanking Vickie off her feet; she fell on grass, thankfully, but rolled such that the top of her head smacked into the neighbour’s wood fence. Thankfully, there’s been no serious physical damage, but she’s been nursing an achy, foggy head for the past few days. Needless to say, she took Ziggy back while I ran Zelda; Ziggy got walked afterward.

October 18, 2006

The Jury's In: A Successful Get-Together!

I’ve had a few people asking me via IM how the gamers’ get-together at the Courthouse Hotel went. The simple answer: Very well. More complicated, you say? Hokay, let me list the high points:

High Point #1: Everyone Turned Up.
Yep, that’s a big deal considering the last get-together I tried to organise. Now, not everyone was there at the same time, and not everyone could stay for long, but everyone who said they were coming came – which made that afternoon a gratifying one in my book!

Everyone turned out to be five people: Bruce, the local RPGA supremo; Tracey, our Shadowrun GM; Shaun and Renee, whom I’d met a few weeks ago through Gerry Webb of Castaway Arts; and finally, Brett, who e-mailed me in April after seeing my RPGnet post looking for Cairns gamers. Renee, it turns out, used to be one of Bruce’s pupils at Trinity Bay High. She, Shaun and Bruce wound up talking a lot about the local gaming scene, which, it seems, is fairly transitory; people keep moving in and out.

High Point #2: Brett Won Chez Geek.
Yes, we managed to get a game of Chez Geek in. I think we got the odd weird look from the staff (and possibly a patron or two) but I had warned them in advance what we were there for. Unfortunately, Brett, Shaun and Renee couldn’t play, as they had to leave at around one thirty (with most of the time in between being taken up by lunch), and it was looking like Vickie, Tracey and I were going to wind up early until Brett arrived at a little after two. The game was a little slower paced than our last few, mainly because Brett was getting to know us as much as he was learning the rules as he went. Even so, he managed to pull a win from his first (and so far only) game, with me coming in dead last!

High Point #3: Vickie Beat Back Pain.
Last week, Vickie managed to wrench her back while doing some weeding in the garden. She’d been laid up with some nasty pain during the week, and I wasn’t sure whether she’d be able to come along on Saturday. But she refused to let the pain get the better of her and came with me (see what I mean about mutually gratifying?) for a good lunch of tempura prawns. I was also glad that she finally had the chance to meet Bruce, who was advertising his hobby in a red “GAMEMASTER” t-shirt! I made Vickie have a nice long Shiatsu massage the next day while we were at Rusty’s Markets, though. She’s feeling quite a bit better now!

By the end of the get-together, I hadn’t raised the idea of an organised, regular meetup as I’d planned, but I’m in no hurry to wreck things by pushing too hard too early. I’ve met yet another gamer face to face for the first time and introduced Vickie to some more, and a good time was had by all; that’s a more than satisfactory outcome. With Christmas coming up, I might take things easy until early next year.

That said, though, I’ve invited all of the people at the get-together, plus some of those who had to turn down the invitation, to our place on Saturday, October 28th, for some InSpectres and, I hope, a World and Character Burning session of Burning Empires. So far, Brett and Tracey are coming, with Simon and/or Cristel waiting to see whether they can make arrangements for their kids.

P.S.: Gav, Tracey played some Shadowrun 4th Ed. in Sydney recently, and she likes the new rules. So I probably wouldn't have been one-upping the GM after all. Ah, well; it can wait until after Christmas; I'm still glad I blew the cash on Burning Empires instead!

October 14, 2006

Gamers in Court

The kitchen and dining room are almost entirely painted. Actually, the kitchen itself is done, aside from a couple of touch-ups. The dining room still needs a little work, though; the skirting boards need a thorough sanding-off before they can be painted. There’s also a vertical trim in each corner where the dining room walls meet that needs a good smoothing-over. I’ll get those jobs done this weekend; we want our dining room back soon!

Still, we’re going to be a little busy. Today at midday, Vickie and I are meeting some local gaming friends at the Courthouse Hotel for lunch and a few games of Chez Geek; Vickie once said that a few of the people coming will probably be glad that they'll just be meeting people without the expectation of having to play an RPG session. It’ll be just seven of us today, Vickie and I included, but I’d like to make it a regular, maybe monthly thing. Getting together with friends has become a tricky proposition lately, not just because of the renovations; I think people’s schedules are getting a little more crowded. Having something regular that you can plan for in advance would help people keep in touch.

I also think we can get more people involved as we go. There were a few people I invited who simply couldn’t make it along today, and I’m pretty sure at least three of the people coming along today know other gamers around the traps. A successful, steady, regular get-together will pretty much sell itself to people.

I’m also contemplating re-establishing the Cairns Roleplayers Meetup Group on Meetup.com; there’s at least one Cairns gamer signed into Meetup.com who’s looking to meet other D&D players. We just can’t get in touch with him without establishing a Meetup Group. Why not just set one up right now, I hear you ask? Simply because Meetup.com has been asking for monthly fees since mid-last year, and as such I don’t want to commit to starting a Meetup group right at the moment without some help. I’m thinking of raising the matter at the get-together today to see what everyone thinks. We might wait a while until we’re confident that we can have a regular get-together with a steady minimum attendance (even if not everyone can make it each time).

Wish us luck!

October 06, 2006

Happy Birthday, Vickie!

Well, with under two hours left to go in a day where I've let the kitchen and RPGs dominate my mind, I think I'm barely in with a chance of living out the rest of the day by saying:

Happy Birthday, My Lovely Sweetheart!

Now, to give her some more of that fantastic Turkish Delight from the cafe in Cairns...

The Shotgun Approach

While we're doing the kitchen over, I've decided to start recruiting for a play-by-post game of Burning Empires. I've put up notices in a few places:

I've got one player already - the friend in Canada mentioned in some of the above posts (hi, Cheryl!). Anyone else interested?

(Don't worry, darling - I fully intend to start pestering you about Dogs in the Vineyard with Cheryl once the kitchen's out of the way! :-D )

UPDATE 12:30 AM 7 Oct 06: Another pellet of buckshot added to the scatter-pattern; this one's over on the indie-netgaming Yahoo! Group.