Ramblings from the Gryphon Rose

Monday, March 27, 2006

Back from I-Con

Well, I’m back. Here’s the rundown:

My panels went well (though I owe a big thank-you to ivy03 for providing actual on-topic questions in that one about –isms, which had been both deadly dull and completely theoretical until then). The Fiction in RPGs panel meandered a little but not too badly and the audience enjoyed it, and I managed to keep Peter David mostly on topic on the Transitions panel (which I was moderating). I also sat in on a Cyberpunk panel, but really that was just “Listen to Mike Pondsmith talk for an hour” and honestly none of us were complaining.

The signing was a little boring at times, and a bit strained, but thanks to friends like ivy03 and feiran and xenogenesis and touchstone_7 showing up the time flew past.

The reading was okay, also thanks to ivy03 and feiran. Nice to have my own groupies, even if only for the weekend. :)

The party Saturday night was fun as always.

It was great catching up with people, both RPG friends like Eric and Steve and Patrick and author friends like Bob and Glenn.

The accommodations at Casa Hauman were excellent as usual, and much appreciated.

The Green Room had very good food, and lots of it. We also had excellent barbeque the first night and I had a surprisingly good steak the second night.

I was one of the people interviewed on Destinies, the StoneyBrook SF radio show, Friday night. I’ve sat in before but never participated, so that was both exciting and nerve-wracking. You can listen to the show here:
I’m the second one interviewed, after the lead from AeroSith.

I found two more action figures for my office panorama.

Then I came home to see my lovely wife and adorable children, all of whom seemed to miss me, and collapsed that night before coming back to work this morning.

Oh, and when I got home I discovered that cover flats and an advance copy of Day of the Daemon had arrived—on Saturday. Two days too late for me to bring them to the show. Sigh.

Some things could have been organized better, admittedly, and the buildings are too spread out for convenient hopping between events, but it was fun and we had a nice time. I’d certainly go again, and hope to be invited next year.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Come to I-Con!

For those who are curious, and especially those attending, here is my schedule for I-Con 25, which is this weekend out in Stony Brook, NY:

Friday, March 24:
9 pm: Panel--Fiction writing for RPG Worlds, SAC 304

Saturday, March 25:
12pm: Signing, Authors autograph table

Sunday, March 26:
10-10:30am: Reading, SAC 312
11am: Panel--ISM’s in Fiction: Ageism, Racism, sexism, etc., SAC 309
2pm: Panel--Transitions: successfully adapting a story to other media, SAC 311

Come see me, particularly for the signing—I hate hearing that whole “crickets chirping” thing.
I’m a little nervous about the reading, since it’ll be my first. I’m going to read a chapter from Day of the Daemon, which is out next month. I don’t mind reading out loud, of course, but I’m most used to reading my daughter bedtime stories so I’ll have to restrain myself from doing funny voices. Okay, funnier than usual.
The rest of the time I’ll be wandering around. I plan on attending several of the other RPG panels, esp. since a bunch of my friends are on them. And Mr. Greenberger’s Film Previews presentation is a must, as always.

Getting better

Just a quick update on the medical front.
We’re doing much better.
My daughter’s fever was gone by Tuesday morning, though she was still having stomach pains. Yesterday she was doing even better, and after eating something (french fries, a little corn, maybe a nibble of fried chicken and biscuit—go carbs and salt!) she was actually running around and playing and giggling as usual. Major relief on our part.
My lovely wife is doing better as well, and the little boy is fine except for some skin irritation and the ongoing teething discomfort.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


My dad and my youngest sister were here this weekend, plus we had friends over Friday night and went to a birthday party Saturday. So it should have been a good weekend.

And parts of it were.

Friday was our second Serenity session—I’ll post a recap later this week—and it was much fun. Things are definitely moving apace. My lovely wife made corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, and soda bread in honor of St. Patrick’s Day (her actually being of Irish descent and all) and we all feasted. The only downside was that we didn’t start the game until after dinner and so it ran pretty late. Sorry, gang.

My sister showed up partway through the game and took my daughter downstairs to hang out and watch videos. We could hear them squealing with laughter (yes, both of them), which was very entertaining. We all got to bed between 1 and 2am.

The next morning we spent more time with my sis and my dad, who had gotten in Friday night but went out to the beach. We all had breakfast and hung out for a while, until our friend Joe came to pick us (the wife, the kids and I) up so we could go to his son Ray’s party—Ray is my daughter’s playmate and best bud. She’s been talking about this party for weeks, and was thrilled to go, to see Ray, and to wear her new dress and new shoes. We had a lot of fun there, chatting with the other adults and watching the six kids play together. Our daughter had a blast.

We got home around 4:30, put her in for a nap, and relaxed a bit ourselves. Not much else went on that day, as we were all exhausted. My sister got back in the wee hours, having been to see friends in the city, and I stayed up to greet her—if you can count falling asleep on the couch downstairs as “staying up.”

And then things went downhill.

Sunday I was woken up by the sound of my daughter crying. Why? Because she’d thrown up all over herself, her stuffed frog, her bedsheets, etc. I gave her a bath and got her into clean clothes, but she threw up again shortly after I brought her downstairs. And that pretty much set the tone for the day. She couldn’t keep anything down, food or liquid, and was listless and miserable. The doctor said it was probably a roto-virus, and that half the kids in the city had it right now. She also said we’d have to take my daughter to the hospital to get an IV if she couldn’t keep anything in her stomach. Fortunately my dad and I went out and got her popsicles and she managed one, plus some Pedialyte. My dad and I took my sister to Penn Station so she could catch her bus back, and then headed back and helped take care of my daughter. After the popsicle she seemed better, and managed several more of them, plus more Pedialyte, until she finally fell asleep that night, utterly exhausted.

We thought that was it. Boy, were we wrong.

Yesterday my daughter woke up miserable again. Not from throwing up—that seems to be over, thank goodness—but from a really high fever and severe stomach pain. She spent most of yesterday screaming in pain, or turning to me and saying “Daddy, ow!” in the most pitiable voice imaginable. Those of you with children will understand when I say that it tore me apart every time she said that. We gave her several baths to cool her down—and despite normally enjoying baths she screamed every time—and tried to get her to drink and eat popsicles to keep her hydrated. Again the doctor said we might need to go to the ER, this time if her fever didn’t drop. But around 11pm we gave my little girl one more bath, followed by Tylenol, and she fell asleep the instant she crawled into bed. She slept through the night without waking, which is great—several times during the day she had dozed off, only to wake up screaming in pain.

I took yesterday off, in part because my wife and I were also under the weather from this thing (my wife much moreso than I) but mainly to be there for my daughter. Today she was sleeping fine when I got up, so I came to work. I’ve talked to my wife since and my daughter is up and eating and drinking—she’s still sore but her temp is below 101ª, which was where the doctor said we needed it.

Not surprisingly, I am tired and sore and stressed. But my daughter seems to be on the mend, which is the important thing.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Serenity, Session One

Sorry this has taken so long, but I’d said I’d put up a recap of our first Serenity game. Here it is:

Serenity: From a Sow’s Ear
DaiXa: captain and doctor
Nelia: gunbunny/security expert
Ronny: pothead engineer
John Wrack: engineer and salvage expert
Tad Williams: pilot (former Alliance, still very military fly-boy)

Session One: Ronny Yi is released after three years of prison on the desert moon Perdition, and steps out the prison doors to find his two friends and partners—the stern DaiXa and the alluring Nelia—waiting for him. They catch up and then take the shuttle from the prison back to Perdition itself.

Meanwhile, John Wrack and Tad Williams have been left on the Lucky 13. Tad takes a stroll and winds up in the spaceport bar while John stays on the ship. A stranger calls, asking if the captain is around, and tells John he’s an old friend who was just stopping to say hello.

The others return, and Ronny meets Tad and John for the first time. John describes the visitor, who sounds suspiciously like Gustavus “Booger” Leale, the local bully responsible for putting Ronny in prison. Nelia informs them all that she has rooms for everyone at the casino, where she’s been working security these past three years to stay close to Ronny. They all go over to the casino for dinner. Afterward Nelia tells the casino owner, Linc, that she’s moving on with the ship. He understands but is sorry to see her go. He mentions that one of the casino regulars had been looking to ship some cargo, and Nelia talks to him—the man is a glassblower (Perdition has nothing but sand and produces a lot of glass) and has a shipment of goblets bound for the magistrate of Hogwash. Hogwash is a small colony on an asteroid that orbits the moon Dizhu, roughly eight days away.

After dinner Ronny and Tad take advantage of the casino rooms to get some sleep. John returns to the ship, however, and Nelia does as well—she goes to install a few new security measures while he’s simply more comfortable there. DaiXa goes back as well.

The next morning they all gather for breakfast at the casino. DaiXa announces that she’ll be seeing patients at the ship for the next few days while they try to find cargo and passengers. They agree to carry the goblets to Hogwash, and find out that one of the men in the bar Tad saw yesterday is looking for passage to Dizhu itself. Nelia goes to meet the man, a sad-eyed bloke named Booth Reilly, and arranges for him to take passage with them. Ronny and John go scrounging for engine parts, and Ronny also looks for pot—he’s jonesing badly. But the only person on Perdition who seems to have any is Booger! Ronny does agree to carry a hand-carved wooden car from one pothead to his cousin on Tusker, however. Tusker is another of Dizhu’s satellites, and the cousin will pay him in pot for his trouble. He does finally find a ship’s mate who offers him a tiny bag of mediocre pot, and Ronny uses the seeds to restart his long-dead garden.

DaiXa has just finished seeing passengers for the day and decides to stretch her legs when she runs into Booger and his two bully-boys not two ships away. She warns the others through their shipcomms, and most of them come running. Nelia, unfortunately, has dallied with a pretty pilot she met in the bar, and does not hear the call. Booger pretends to be civil to DaiXa but turns cold and nasty once he sees Ronny. The thug starts backing away, however, when he realizes he’s outnumbered and outgunned. Nelia shows up just as Booger says something particularly nasty to Ronny. Furious at seeing her friend insulted, she grabs Booger and headbutts him senseless. His two cronies attack, but DaiXa cows the bigger one into picking Booger up and fleeing the scene. The smaller one draws a gun and gets shot by Tad for his trouble, before being clobbered senseless by the butt of John's gun.

DaiXa brings the wounded thug back to the ship and patches him up so he’ll feel indebted to her. Meanwhile Nelia gathers Booth Reilly and warns the glassblower to get his shipment ready. Change of plans—the Lucky 13 is leaving right away. They take off within the hour without any more trouble, and breathe a sigh of relief to be safely away.

The next four days are uneventful. Mr. Reilly proves to be an excellent passenger, quiet and polite and willing to play cards or sit and quietly read a dime novel. Ronny and John go over the ship together, comparing notes—Ronny was the ship engineer but now he’s sharing that role with John, whose approach is more intuitive than studied. The journey to Hogwash is half-over when Tad spots something on the sensors. It’s a ship distress beacon.

They detour to check it out, and find a Naiad-class ship floating adrift. It has no life signs, no activity save the beacon, and a gaping hole in its side. Most of the crew immediately think “Reaver!” but John isn’t so sure.
End of Session One

It was much fun.
Our next game is tomorrow night. I’ll try to get a recap up more quickly this time. :)

Friday, March 10, 2006

Still breathing

I know I haven’t posted in over a week. Sorry about that. Nothing earth-shattering going on, but I have been pretty busy:
Wassail went so well that I’m starting a Serenity game tonight. Should be fun and I have several things in the works for the players, but of course I’ve been doing prep for the past ten days.
I’m starting my next novel—this is the second in the Warhammer trilogy.
I’m also working on an RPG supplement that ties into that novel. Which is fun, and a little weird, having to think of things simultaneously as fiction and roleplaying material.
The children have been keeping us busy, esp. since our son is already teething—at two months! Ugh. We’re hoping that means he’ll be done with it early as well.
I’m hoping to finally put up the child gate this weekend, and then convert my daughter’s crib to a daybed. That’ll give her more freedom while keeping her safer.
We’ve been watching movies at night thanks to NetFlix. The last two were Sky High and Corpse Bride, both of which were fun. This weekend is The Fog (the remake—yes, I know it’ll be cheesy) and The Swimming Pool.
I’m working on proposals for a few other things I can’t talk about yet.
And that’s about it for now. :)

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Wassail recap

This past Saturday was our annual Wassail—for those of you new to my LJ, we gather for an entire day of food, gaming, and drinking Wassail, a spiced, spiked, hot apple cider concoction. This year we had my wife’s famous Guinness-basted turkey, stuffing, homemade mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and salad (there was bread but it got lost in the shuffle). Dessert was chocolate-orange Guinness cake, pumpkin crunch, bread pudding with spirited sauce, and brownies.

The game this year was Serenity. We were curious about the system, and decided to test it out with a one-shot using the actual crew and ship. Wassail seemed the perfect time to try it.

For those interested, I put up a full synopsis on my LJ. I would put it up here but I'm not sure how to do cuts here and it's a bit long. :)

Everyone had a good time, and we’re actually going to do an original Serenity campaign now, using new characters and a new ship. Should be fun.