12 to Midnight, Games

Origins 2007 debriefing part III: Friday

07.16.07 | 2 Comments

Read part II.

Friday was my first “real” day at Origins, since the previous day I spent from 7 am to 2 pm in travel and the rest of the afternoon getting settled in, having dinner, and gaming in Sean’s suite. You can read all about that in my previous post.

I grew up a farm boy, and even though I never had to feed chickens or milk cows at the crack of dawn, I did have to catch a 6:15 a.m. school bus. Old habits die hard, and a pair of early-rising toddlers help reinforce those habits. I had no trouble getting up at 7 am to shower, check my e-mail, and get breakfast. Jerry had showered the night before and had even stayed up late blogging about his first day at the con (with pictures!). I’d packed light because I knew our hotel had a laundry room, so while the others were getting ready I started a load of laundry. Before leaving for the trip, I’d promised Mrs. Flametoad that I wouldn’t come back smelling of infamous “con funk”. That was an easy promise, since I had no desire to reek either.

We got to the Con just in time for our first scheduled games at 10 am. Unfortunately there was a major screwup in which people who had preregistered were given a different location than the ones printed in the book. There was a lot of chaos, and the game I was scheduled to run didn’t make. That was okay however, because it let me help other players find their way to Ed’s game and it gave me a little time in the dealer room. After lunch, we hosted a panel discussion on horror gaming. It was well attended, and the 12 to Midnight crew was joined by Sean Preston and Clint Black, who helped us look like we knew what we were doing. Afterward, I ran a game of Ed’s 12 Hours to Midnight: Episode 1 while they checked into our on-site hotel. I convinced the group to get an on-site hotel so we’d have somewhere to drop our stuff and rest. This ended up working out pretty well, because we did exactly that on Friday and Saturday afternoon prior to going back out for late-night gaming. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Shortly after 5, we hooked up with the Black family and started looking for a place to eat. We were all starving. We tried the North Market, but that ended up being exactly what it sounded like– a market. So we peeked into a few places before settling on Brothers’ Bar & Grill. Inside we ordered pizza, appetizers, and drinks. I stuck with iced tea and we convinced our waitress–who claimed to be in the Navy and used to any off-color conversation we could dish out–to leave pitchers of tea and water for us. I’m not used to such low humidity and spent much of the trip feeling dehydrated.

Meanwhile, Ed was becoming concerned about another incoming virtual buddy. Neal has been writing for 12 to Midnight for probably close to two years, and I had no idea what he looked like. He placed a few calls trying to find out when Neal was arriving so that he could coordinate a meet-up, and meet up he did. A travel-weary but enthusiastic Neal arrived at the bar for a new round of introductions (and dinner). After dinner we rested a while in our rooms, then eventually went back down and played the first half of a new adventure by Neal. He’s a great GM and we had a lot of fun, however even ice cream (documented in the photo gallery) couldn’t keep us going much past midnight. We eventually called it quits, and Neal and I retired to the on-site room while the others went back to our “base camp”. When he got back, Jerry also blogged about his day–with many more pictures than I took!

This is probably as good a place is any to talk about the black cowboy hats. You can see them on Ed and Jerry in these photos, and mine in some of the pictures Jerry took. About two months ago I mentioned to Ed over the phone that it might be nice if we all wore cowboy hats as an easy way for people to identify us. It would be in keeping with our Pinebox, Texas setting. Ed replied that he didn’t own a cowboy hat and I admitted that it would probably reinforce stereotypes best left alone. The only reason I own a hat is because my sister gave it to me for Christmas a few years ago. (Don’t get me wrong. It’s a fine hat and I like wearing it, but I usually don’t have anywhere to wear it to, so it’s only something I wear maybe two or three times a year.) Anyway, it didn’t come up in conversation again and I thought that was pretty much that. Until…about a week before the trip Ed called and informed me that he just bought a hat and asked Jerry to do the same. Huh? As it turned out, I think the hats made a great addition. Our 12 to Midnight t-shirts helped identify us, but the hats really set us apart. They were distinctive enough that I could instantly pick my partners out from across a crowded room, and they helped other people recognize us as well. But more on that tomorrow.

If you can’t see the photos in this post (for instance, if you’re viewing this on Livejournal or in an RSS reader), please visit my site or check out the Flickr page.

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Comment by Cassandra
2007-07-16 15:19:04

The hats are pretty classy and a fun idea in keeping with your theme. I also like the toe tags.

I’ve been watching 12 to Midnight since I first heard about your setting. Pinebox, Texas – a perfect name! It sounds just right for a little town, somewhere out in the middle of nowhere – Pinebox, Texas. Pinebox – hey, wait a minute….

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Comment by Jerry
2007-07-16 17:59:54

Man! I look so tired. lol

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