It could be argued that going to Gaelcon in my current mental state was unwise – it’s hard to relax at a con when your embryos are being defrosted and transferred the next day. I also learned that I actively need to GM at least one game early in a con. Apparently, if I can’t get my godhead on early, I’m too nervous to be social. Instead of GMing, I made the mistake of larping for the whole of the first day. Eamon’s Yes, Grand Duke was fun, and amusingly paralleled a lot of the design of PARANOIA: High Programmers, but then I went straight into a six-hour JumpTech game.
Nick’s JumpTech series is more than two years old now. It’s an ongoing sci-fi epic. It’s primarily intrigue and trade, but there’ve been costumed aliens, nerf gun shootouts, space battles, props and all sorts of other ambitious elements. The six-hour Gaelcon game included a life pod prob that turned out to contain an NPC, a change of set half-way through, an awful lot of heavily armed nerf warriors, and free alien food. In the first half, I continued my ongoing efforts to bring the various factions together, encourage peace and stability, and supported the establishment of an interstellar police force.
In the second half, the fascist Sol Unity showed up. Suddenly, all the factions I’d been trying to unite found a common goal – going to war with Sol. As the ranking human diplomat, I had to choose between joining this alliance (and dragging the human colony into war) or opening up our own negotiations with the Sol Unity. I picked the dark side. It was an immensely frustrating decision, and not one I was in the right headspace to enjoy. Six hours of larping meant I was far too invested in the character and his failure.
I took the next morning off, then played a moderately entertaining Vampire session and a lot of boardgames, which was just what I needed. (Prosperity for Dominion is the craziest set ever).
Monday morning, I was unexpectedly dragooned into running Necessary Evils for Savage Worlds, as the GMs they’d lined up couldn’t make it to the con because of the Dublin city marathon. The game was ok; the characters were relatively rules-heavy, but one of the players knew the system and we bumbled through to an acceptable finale. The afternoon slot was a test drive for my own Rakehell setting, using a simple take on FATE as the engine. It went unexpectedly well; more on that once I get the scenario rewritten and up for download.
The d4 hotel continues to be an excellent venue. My only critiques of the con organisation are minor ones, and the event ran very smoothly. The con’s improved markedly over the last year or two – and having finally gotten to GM and throw off my funk, roll on next year.