Short version: Con was fun, being a guest is weird. Cheers to Gregor for accomm.
Longer version: I'd managed to screw various things up behind the scenes, so it was 50/50 as to whether I'd actually go to the con. I had a polite email saying I wouldn't be there written up and everything. Then I kicked myself in the head, cancelled the emails, booked the flights and accepted the beta offer of accomm at Gregor's.
A second screw-up (this time atmospheric and technological, not emotional) meant I missed meeting Cat for lunch, so I spent a few hours wandering Edinburgh and raiding bookshops and coffee shops. I finally met up with Gregor in the...fourth coffee shop of the day. Fifth, if you count the one in Ireland that morning. We later visited Cat's place, although arriving just as Black Books was starting meant that we didn't actually say hello until half an hour later.
Friday was wandering around Edinburgh again in a slightly more focussed fashion with Gregor, followed by a quick visit to Falkirk to raid the home of World-Renowned Industry Figure Malcolm "World-Renowned Industry Figure" Craig.
(Digression the first: At the last conpulsion, certain nameless Brian Nisbet's got drunk and started the whole Noted Industry Figure/Gar's Arse meme. The preceding sentence may be entirely false and full of whopping great lies, but it's my blog and I'll smear Brian if I wanna. Anyway, after a year of this, it's with great relief that I pass the Noted Industry Figure mantle onto Malcolm. Assuming it can be passed on, and it's a Mark of Cain-esque stamp that just lingers.)
Anyway, got my copy of A/State that I'd ordered a few weeks ago (and thanks to the vagaries of Paypal, Bank of Ireland and Euro/Sterling exchange rates, it proved more expensive than buying it in Other Realms or at the con or writing it in Malcolm's blood, but hey). Then back to Gregor's (the man has more rpg books than I do, which is an impressive feat. He also has more cool photos of volcanos blowing smoke rings) before heading to Cat's party, which was fun. Considerably more fun than I thought it would be (ref. emotional screw-ups mentioned earlier).
The actual con itself was also fun. The second year of a con is always one of the better ones, as you can put faces to some of the names and vice versa, and the con is familiar enough to be comfortable but not boringly predictable). I didn't actually play anything on the first day other than a few MIB events - oh, apart from the celebrity pictionary, with NIF Malcolm Craig as well as Some Guy Called Rich Wulf (L5r storyline guru).
And we lost to the artists. Bastards.
(In retrospect, I've realised I probably 'know' half the artists present from rpg.net, and really should have said Hi. Especially since one of them did stuff for my Mongoose books. And asked me to sign one of them on the Sunday. Oops.)
Sat night...er. Oh yeah, auction. I was good. I only bought one Buffy book. Which was signed by the artist, went for barely above cover price, and is full of Willow.
Sunday, I was actually down to GM stuff. First was a Nobilis scenario, which went fairly well. Nobilis really polarises players more than any other game I've run - you either get it and love it, or don't get it at all and spend the whole game sitting there being confused and left utterly unmoved by the game. Of the five players, three got it and two didn't. I was also reminded of one of the failures of my own Nobilis campaign - you've got to seriously amp the power levels of the bad guys in a combat or else have lots and lots of assailants, because a Familia of PCs can wipe the floor with a lone bad guy purely because they've got way more Miraculous actions than he does.
Nobilis also had the purtiest character sheets ever.
In between Nobilis and Karma Hotel (the afternoon game) I was part of a panel on the gaming industry (!). I carefully prepared by nicking Ken Hite's State of the Industry report and reading the juicy bits, then babbling for half an hour. Apparently I was witty and insightful. I tried to roll my Avatar: James Wallis score -
(Digression/UA Injoke 2: Argh. The jacket. The height. The growing taste for nice restaurants. I'm so Proxy Ritualing him.)
- but possibly channeled Ryan Dancey or just generic-net-pundit instead. I'm sure I said synergy and networking like they mean something.
Afternoon game was Karma Hotel, which was the Steve Meaniest game ever not actually written by Steve Meaney. Morag deconstructed the premise rather quickly, so the game became a weird commentary on itself (If you're God and therefore omnipotent, aren't these moral tests rather arbitrary hoops you're making us jump through, just to make sure we pick the 'right' answer/If you're the scenario writer, aren't these encounters rather arbitrary hoops you're making us jump through, just to make sure we pick the 'right' plotline?). It still went ok.
Sunday evening was the pub quiz. I seem to have better luck at the Conpulsion pub quiz than I do with any of the Irish ones. After two Icon pub quizzes where my team lost at the very end (cf. the rock/paper/scissors match and the Colm Incident), as well as the most recent Leprecon pub quiz where the tie breaker was about bloody American Football, it was nice to prove my intellectual stature and lord it over lesser mortals by remembering what THAC0 stands for.
Then I vaguely recall dinner, then more stuff in the pub. The con probably ended around then, but I wasn't paying attention. Then a distinct failure to go clubbing in Opium; instead, more bloody pub. Still, this did present time for a Conversation.
And then Gregor whisked me home again - well, back to the flat, which after four days was feeling remarkably homelike. And then I flew back the next day, and that was that.
Present over the weekend was (lj user="half my friends list") and (lj user="half the people who've friended me, too"). Fight it out amongst yourselves. Nice to see you, great con, back next year etc.
Oh, yeah, Morag's photos of the con, for the none of you who haven't seen them already.