We spent most of the day at the First Annual Appalachian Renaissance Festival in Piney Flats. It was fairly small, but a great start - and the Lords of Chivalry put on an enjoyable show, as always. We met some friends there, looked at the booths, watched a couple of shows, saw the joust, and Hannah got to shoot a bow. She and Micah had a good time as well. We'll probably be back next year.
Edit: Posted a bunch of photos from our time at the event here. Lords of Chivalry actually asked if they could share some on their page, which was cool.
So it's saturday.
We don't have too much going on this weekend. I think we are/were going to go walk around at a nearby park (and check out some bike trails), but it's raining at the moment - so that might put a damper on things.
Last weekend, however, was pretty eventful. The first weekend in June is the date of two different local festivals.
First, we went out to Rogersville to the Shakespeare and Friends Renaissance Faire (warning: their website is pretty hideous). It should, perhaps, be noted that I'd never been to a Ren Faire before, so I didn't really know what to expect. I think I had more fun than I thought I would - which is not to say I expected not to like it, I just didn't really know what it would be like.
There were some interesting booths, a lot of impressive costumes and some amusing shows. In particular, I enjoyed the jousting. The guys doing it explained a lot about the competitions, equipment and everything that goes into it.
I took quite a few photos of the faire which I posted on facebook.
Second, there was the Blue Plum in downtown JC. I've been to this festival a few years now. Unlike the Ren Faire, there's not too much to write about it, but we had a good time walking around with our friends enjoying the atmosphere. We also went to a pizza place downtown where we had one of our other friends as a waiter - that was pretty cool (I didn't even know he worked there).
On some gaming and related stuff:
In other news, my WoD campaign has been continuing nicely, though we've yet to get Curtis into it. I've also added some house rules to the core WoD system (surprise, surprise).
I love dice. They give you a nice, tangible connection to what's going on in the game world and they provide an element of unpredictability that's still connected through the rules to what a given character is generally capable of. Dice are great - as a player.
As a gm however, I've found they drive me crazy. I'm trying to juggle the narrative and keep each of the players engaged in the game and I find it to be a huge distraction when I have to stop, roll dice, calculate results and then report numbers back. Therefore, I've basically modified the system such that the players roll all the dice. The WoD system in particular lends itself to this with some only minor tweaks. We're still kind of trying this out and there will still probably be times that I'll roll a dice, but most of the time I'd rather that aspect stayed in the players' hands.
I've also been working on several gaming side projects including another simplistic thematic rpg (like Bot, but completely different in theme) and a couple of board games (which I may or may not be able to manifest).
Patrick ran his Star Wars game on thursday and we ran into a little bit of a hiccup near the end where the mechanics kind of broke down the fun, as it were. I also, unfortunately, found myself to be getting a bit frustrated as I tried to interact with a scene in a way that didn't seem to be jiving with the rest of the group (mostly my fault for not being clear enough).
I mention this not to criticize the game or the players - because I think Patrick's running a great game and the players are participating well - but to point out that even good games can get bogged down by one thing or another. It's just going to happen.
It's easy to look back and say "oh, well person X should have done Y", but when you're actually in the game that's not always so apparent. Still, I think the conversation Rucht, Patrick and I had post-game (even though it was quite late) about how we might address certain issues in the future (both as gms and players) was helpful if only so we didn't all leave on a complete down-note.
Oh yeah, and we gamed at Patrick & Stacie's new house - which is a pretty cool place and about half the distance from here as their old place.
We're two weeks from hosting our FOURTH GitP meetup. This year is shaping up to be much like previous years - which is to say, awesome. As usual, there are some people who can't make it that we'd really like to see, but there are some others we're glad to see returning and a decent number of new people to meet. I think it's pretty cool that this has become a Playground tradition and that people continue to flock to our little town for a great time.
And finally, I think I'm actually going to get to go to GenCon this year!(!!!) I've been saying I want to make it up for that for years now, and I'm excited that I'll finally get to do it. In addition to the con itself, there are a few hard-to-find gaming books I'll be looking for, a few random people I'd kinda like to shake hands with, and a couple of forum communities I'll be looking to hook up with for general fun-times and hanging out. Edit: Badges have been ordered. :)
While we're up there, we'll also spend some time with my parents & Sheri's grandpa. Also, the current plan is to rent a uhaul for the trip back so we can empty out a storage unit Sheri still has up there.
|Sunday June 7, 2009 at 4:14pm||festivals, music, gaming, gitp meetup, board games, video games||Comments (0) »|
This weekend was Johnson City's annual Blue Plum Festival. Basically, it's a weekend event that takes over downtown JC the first weekend in June. I did, in fact, see some people selling(?) plums, but they were pretty sparse. Mostly it's a bunch of crafts/vendor booths, tons of festival food, and three stages spaced just far enough apart that they don't overlap acoustically (too much).
This was the first year that I would say we've "gone" to the festival. We went and walked around a little a couple years ago, but didn't do or see much - but that was largely ok since it was about 97 degrees. This year, we met up with some friends and enjoyed an afternoon of meandering around together - and I was having a good time taking some pictures. We also met up with some other friends of Robb & Edie's and also with Mahto and some of his buddies so that by the time we had dinner at Mid City, we were a rather sizable group (aside: we still have to get together with Steven for a game of Munchkin).
After our tasty dinner, we went back to a particular stage to see a band called Cutthroat Shamrock. They had been compared by some friends of mine to groups like Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys. They are basically an Irish-flavored punk group. I wouldn't say they were amazing, but it was a good show: they all played their instruments well and had good stage presence and personality. About the only "critique" i would give is that most of their songs had the same kind of sound. It was a *good* sound, there just wasn't much variety. Still, i think a couple of friends picked up a couple of their records, and i liked them enough to be interested in hearing some more.
Some pictures of the Blue Plum are up in the Gallery.
(kinda) Speaking of, i'm looking into possibly picking up my music hobby again sometime soon for some song writing (maybe for next year's rpm).
In gaming news: I finally got to continue my Little Fears game from RuchtCon! I love this game, and i've greatly enjoyed coming up with spooky stuff to put in it...though after i've been working on it, I find i'm a little edgy at night. I think I empathize a little too much with the children in the story. Anyway, If you've taken a look at the Gaming page recently, you've seen the novel of a session summary i've written up for it.
Still looking to start up Mouse Guard, but it probably won't happen until next month, due to scheduling.
Also, i'm working on finalizing (finally) the simple mechanics for the homebrew roleplaying system (which still needs a name) that i've been working on for the past...too long.
The 3rd Annual GitP Southeast Trogland meetup is fast approaching. We've had several people cancel on us unfortunately, but we're still expecting a decent crowd and fun times. That'll be 26th-28th of this month.
Played the zombie-killing board game Last Night On Earth for the first time on friday. Despite dying in the first 5 minutes, it was pretty fun. It seems pretty much straight-up die rolling players-vs-zombies though, as, apart from trying to get some 'hero cards' (w/ items or special actions) to play, there really isn't much else you can do - and strategy seems to generally boil down to "do we want to be together, or separate?" Answer: together.
Anyway, post-game thoughts: 1) The Sheriff sucks. Yes, i know he's the only character that gets to start with a gun. You know what? He sucks with that gun. He forgets to load it and, even if he has some, he can't hit the broad side of a zombie. 2) If you are the priest, do whatever you can to get the pitchfork. Yes, I know that doesn't make sense, but the priest can't use guns. I (somehow) killed like 8 zombies with the pitchfork. It felt ridiculous, though awesome. 3) In theory (statistically), it's much easier to kill a zombie with a gun than with something like the pitchfork. In practice: yeah right.
As for the Wii, i'm currently addicted to Excite Truck - a stunt-racing game Rucht gave us for christmas. It has a bunch of unlockable stuff, and it's capable of some pretty impressive crashes. Sheri's kind of good at this game, but mostly she just sucks really, really well.
Wanting to go ride our bikes, but we're waiting for Sheri's ankle (which she hurt a while back) to be (more) fully recovered.
Summer has faded into fall just a bit. The weather has been awesome the last week or so - highs in the 60's & 70's. A little rain, but for the most part, beautiful. I love this time of year.
Not too much has been going on here since we got back from vacation. Just kinda getting back into the normal subroutines - so this post is pretty much just that.
Last saturday was our church's 'Block Party' event. Basically, we had food and music and were trying to get to know some random people in the community. I had quite a bit of fun taking pictures of the band. I think it went pretty well despite being relocated when it started to rain.
A few of us went to the new(ish) german restaurant in downtown JC last night. It was quite tasty, though i wasn't nearly hungry enough for the amount of sandwich i got. I thought the building itself was pretty cool - it was a corner lot of a downtown building complex(? what do you call that?) that had a kind of loft (where we sat) and a west-facing window that caught a lot of the setting sun. Our waiter was really friendly and knew what he was doing. They even had live music - a german vocalist accompanied by an accordion. It all kind of sounded the same (to me, anyway), but it was at least interesting and different. It was a pretty cool place all around i think, though i have to say the hostesses' uniforms were trying a bit too hard... ...in at least a couple of different ways.
Today was the second day of the Apple Festival in Erwin. We went out to help with our church's fundraiser - in which they let people park in the lot for said festival for $5. I think it went pretty well and raised a fair amount of money for the youth group. We walked around the festival a bit after too. I took a few pictures of the mayhem. I got
a bit really sunburned through all this too.
Speaking of church, i've been trying to put together the beginnings of a website for them. Again. They've been wanting to do this forever, but, well, our church just takes a longer time getting around to certain things than other people might... ...so i thought i'd put something together and we can all go from there (instead of waiting for people to get around to giving me info).
I did notice one kind of funny thing while we were out there today: A few teenage kids were walking down the street toward the festival, and they happened upon the spot where I had parked the jeep. They stopped, and I noticed one of the kids point at the D&D sticker in my back window. I'm not sure whether they were saying "hey, look at this loser" or "who in Erwin plays d&d?" or what, but it was kind of amusing to witness.
Speaking of gaming, our last session was about a week ago. It was a good one, though almost all combat. A few things happened (or didn't happen) that may have some unforeseen consequences next session or later. That game is approaching the 1-year mark, and it continues to be very enjoyable.
I've been trying to get some work done on my gaming project. I've made significant progress and it continues to get more and more interesting, but I still have a *long* way to go. I've contemplated setting a sort of deadline for myself to help motivate me... ...though i'm not sure if that would be good or bad for the creative process.
I've been listening to commentaries on dvds i have while i work (and/or do other stuff at my desk) a lot lately. I've found that amusing/random dialog is an enjoyable acoustic background - esp when i'm here by myself. In particular, i've been listening to the ones on the Red vs Blue dvds quite a bit, as i really enjoy the creativity that went into that project. I would totally try to do something machinimish if i could think of something truly original. It would probably suck, but i think the experience of learning to do some video editing/production would be cool. I haven't done any of that since high school, and the technology has completely morphed since then.
Sheri and I have been trying to think of some christmas presents for people. This is mostly Sheri's doing, as i probably wouldn't be thinking about this for another month & a half. We're coming up a little short on ideas, but we've got one or two. And at least some time.
So anyway, that's where my stream-of-consciousness ends.
(Please note: that most everything in this post is extremely biased. Extremely. But hey - it's my blog, and if I can't be biased here, where can I?)
In hindsight, this whole thing would be a lot cooler if it involved a lot more gadgetry and geekdom and a lot less produce and arts & crafts. My 2c anyway.
So yeah, yesterday and friday were the days of the Apple Festival here in Erwin (where I happen to be whilst writing this). I may have been over this before, but basically Erwin's annual Apple Festival it's a lot of arts & crafts, locally grown/made apples/jam/honey/the like, and what I would personally classify as annoying quasi-professional southern gospel groups being blasted from a stage that is constructed to resemble the front porch of a log cabin (I just want to make sure you appreciate the level of 'country/redneckdom' we're dealing with here). Oh, and they have pretty much the exact same stuff there every year - so if you've been there once, there's not much of a reason to return. Please.
There is one upside to all of this however. Our church is located very near the festivities and we get to charge $5 for festival-goers to park. This is one of the best fund-raisers we have for our youth group's mission trips, etc.
So yesterday Sheri and I helped direct the parking traffic for about 4 hours. We're both somewhat sunburned to show for it, too. It really wasn't that difficult though - it was a bit slower than we might have expected. We still managed to raise a considerable amount of money, however. We speculate that if the church were on the other side of town (where most people come from) or if we at least had signs over there, we'd do much better.