So last weekend we had our mostly-annual Trogland meetup. I say "mostly" annual because we missed last year for the first time since we started doing this thing back in '07. Things just kinda fell apart in 2018. At this point, it's mostly just me planning the thing with some input from some of the others. Not that I mind, really, but it's a significant task.
This year, though, I think went pretty well. We had a different venue which was a little smaller, but our old location inflated the price on us about 700% which was undoable. Sunday we actually spent in the game room of a local game shop, which was actually kind of cool.
We operated at a bit of a deficit this year. I was glad we had some cash left over from previous Troglands to break even. May need to tweak some things for the future, but overall not a big deal.
I think this year's Trogland went quite well. One of the cool things this year was that several of the kids were actually old enough to participate. I guess we're getting to be that age. I mean, we have been doing this for 12 years.
Games at the Trog.
So we played games, of course. I mean, that's what we do. Didn't get to run the Fate game I'd pitched, but after the massive Battletech encounter, several of the participants weren't up for a longer time commitment.
I got to play Stuffed Fables again - still only made it to the junk-pile page, but thoroughly enjoyed it. Played through Mysterium as a player, which was fun even if I was terrible (I'd been the ghost the previous 2 times).
The Mind is a very interesting game in its staggering simplicity.
Sheri played a game called Comanauts, which I understand to be similar to Stuffed Fables but with a darker, more serious sci-fi theme.
I got to play Pandemic again for the first time in years - and, for the first time ever, we won.
Unearth was enjoyable, though we didn't get to play a whole game.
I think the board game highlight of the weekend for me was Spirit Island - will be making a post dedicated to that one.
And, of course, I got to run the Battletech scenario, which always takes a long time but I always enjoy. Ran this one as a double-blind where both sides felt like they were the underdog and a countdown timer brought other conditions into play. It went just about exactly like I'd hoped.
That's just what I made it to the table for (or observed). LOTS of other games were played. Lots more fun was had.
It was a good time, as always.
Oh, and on Sunday at the game store we picked up Folklore, which we heard great things about from some other attenders and we're planning to try out tonight.
|Sunday June 18, 2017 at 8:30pm||little fears, the dark spiral, game session notes, trogland||Comments (0) »|
- Dee Dee, Lexi, Sheri, Mandy (and her little brother Mace) made a new friend on their neighborhood playground - a boy about their age who was new in their part of town.
- While playing tag, they realized too late that this boy didn't know something: you do NOT go down the old, metal, spiral slide on the edge of the playground unless someone is waiting for you at the bottom - if you do, you don't come out. The slide takes you to the Bogeyman's dungeon - where you stay until he eats you.
- As the new kid dove into the slide while running from Mace, they saw dozens of gnarled claws reach out and snatch him out of this reality.
- Mandy's mother took the children back to her house for their sleepover, but something dark was following them, and stephen seemed to be calling to them from wherever he was taken. Shadows of goblins harassed and grabbed at them in the basement, and the girls ended up huddled in Mandy's room - slowly falling asleep.
- They found themselves next in a shared dream, at the base of the slide, before a yawning maw of a hole with a rickety wooden stairway. From its depths, they heard a muffled cry and a malicious laugh...
[new players Ken, Terri, Erica and Zach]
- Angel and some *other* new friends were summoned to Princess Strike's Castle Alley on account of a horrible noise keeping everyone awake. The terrible moaning sounds was coming from somewhere in the junkyard behind the castle.
- While investigating, some of them encountered large bug-like creatures that tried to steal things from them - one of them made off with Terri the robot's arm!
- The group followed the sound to a little cave house in one of the piles of junk, where they found an old, broken robot called Rus Tee sobbing and crying loudly. He told them that he was upset because one of his eyes was missing.
- Suspecting the bugs, the group followed them to their hive where they found a giant robot bug being powered by the sad robot's glowing eye. Erica the spy snatched the eye and made her escape while Zach "Fast-Speeder" wrestled one of the bugs for his toolbelt.
- After fending off the rest of the bugs, the group returned dthe eye to the robot, who stopped moaning so everyone could get some sleep.
[published NTYE adventure; new players Amanda and Jared]
- Angel and some new friends were invited Out the Window to Princess Strike's Bowling Ball. They arrived early to find Professor Wizbang demonstrating his time machine, only something went wrong and it summoned a dinosaur, a pirate, and a robot from different time periods - and each of them made off with a piece of the broken machine!
- The group tracked down the fugitives and the missing buttons and managed to put all to right before the ball.
So last weekend we had our annual Trogland meetup. As I do every year, I spent most of the meetup taking pictures. As I did last year, I rented some gear from lensrentals.com (another great experience, btw) to test drive. This year, I got to play with a 7DII along with the Sigma 8-16mm APS-C ultrawide I rented for my 40D last year - two pieces of gear I have been considering purchasing.
I've had my 40D now for about 7.5 years, and I love this camera. It's a bit old at this point, and doesn't have the stats of newer models, but I love the way it works and, aside from some processing issues I've been having, I love what it produces. I've also spent quite a bit of time shooting with the 5DIII, particularly at our company's annual members' meeting (where I play photographer), and I've now spent a solid weekend+ shooting with the 7DII.
The 7DII is a solid camera, and I had a great time shooting with it. It's shutter is one of the quietest I've ever heard - which is great if you're shooting over someone's shoulder. It outperforms my 40D in every way, but it still works the way I'm used to. I also like that it has a lens focus microadjustment as I've been having some backfocusing issues with my 50mm 1.4 close at wide apertures. It is a worthy upgrade and I may be looking to pick one up, but I'm not completely sure.
I think the main reason I'm still on the fence is the camera's high ISO performance. I was hoping for parity with the 5DIII. I don't have a side-by-side comparison, but it feels like the 7DII doesn't handle, say, 12,800 quite as well as its big brother. It's definitely a lot better than what I have and it's quite possible my expectations were a little too high. It's even possible that the 7DII does every bit as well and it's only my perceptions that are skewed. As the 5DIII ages its price continues to come down, so at this point I'm considering jumping to that instead - though that would mean a change in the lenses I'm looking at.
As I mentioned last year, the Sigma 8-16mm is a pretty solid lens for a consumer-grade, crop-frame ultra-wide. Images are nice and sharp, particularly at the wide end of its zoom range (where I generally want it anyway). People do look a bit skewed at that focal length - an effect that is sometimes interesting and cool, and is somtimes a bit too "carnival fun house mirror". In addition to the meetup (where I mostly shot people with it, for better or worse), I also went on hike out to Laurel falls and took just a couple of nature shots with this lens and the 7DII. Those look beautiful. If I do end up going with the crop-frame, I think this is the lens I'll end up with - unless canon makes a not-ridiculously-priced 10mm f2.8 before I get around to it...
|Saturday June 27, 2015 at 9:00pm||little fears, simon's things, game session notes, trogland||Comments (0) »|
- A group of kids tries to contain a dark presence coming from a house at the edge of their neighborhood
|Thursday April 23, 2015 at 5:14pm||family, little two, photography, geocaching, gaming, trogland||Comments (0) »|
No blog entries for a while basically means I haven't had much to write about that would be interesting to anyone (not that much of what's here is, so I don't know why that would stop me).
But stuff goes on.
And hey, it's spring. I was more than ready for some warm weather.
Bunguin The Second
The most "significant" development is the news of the eventual arrival of Little Two - Sheri is pregnant! Hannah will be a big sister! Coming this Halloween!
Now that the weather is warming up, I'm shooting a bit more again. Still have my eye on some gear that I'd like to get pick up before Little Two arrives, but don't know what I'll be able to manage.
Some Premium Caching
Still been out caching. Had some great experiences this year so far - actually went out hunting with a guy we met through the hobby last weekend. That was a blast. The AT is always fun. I have upgraded to "premium" membership now (and Tim bought me another year), so there are a few we didn't know about lingering in places we'd previously cleared. That just means we get to go back! I've added a few more things to my gear pack: some rope (see: Pride Rock Hampton), a battery charger for my phone, and a walking stick. I've also placed a couple more caches on the Tweetsie Trail, and Tony and I have plans for a series.
Games & Cons
Our D&D game is still going...I guess because it won't end. Heh. Actually, it continues to be pretty awesome. I don't think I've ever run a game that wasn't pretty unweildy by this point, but this one remains solid. Still want some variety though, and we may set it aside again in the relatively near future to play something else for a while.
I ran a pretty awesome FATE game at RuchtCon last month. I think the card print-outs added a lot and helped out the players with aspects and rp.
Trogland 9 is fast approaching! 63 days! I still have a lot to do for this. Need to get the badges designed and ready for printing, and need to plan my game sessions..
|Sunday June 22, 2014 at 8:00pm||little fears, happy valley, game session notes, trogland||Comments (0) »|
In it for the Cache
Tony and I have already done quite a bit of caching this year. We started early, often in the snow. We've taken to going out on saturday mornings whenever possible. It's been a lot of fun. We've found some pretty cool hides and we keep talking about placing a couple of our own sometime. We even succeeded at our first "puzzle" cache last weekend. We're becoming pretty good at this little game - though recently, for the first time, we had someone find one we had previously failed to locate. I blame snow. And rocks.
We take Sheri & Hannah with us whenever we can, and so, ever since the abortive trip to Buffalo Mtn, I've been trying to find places with easier terrain for their sake. Fortunately, I've found quite a few good locations that have been fun for all. And we'll save the tough stuff for when we go out on our own - or if we can get my dad to come join us.
A couple of weekends ago, I added South Carolina to the list of states I've cached in. My sister, who lives in Columbia, is getting married in a couple of weeks, and we went down so Sheri & Hannah could go to a bridal shower. While they were doing that, Michael (her fiance) and I went caching at Saluda Shoals park. Pretty cool for my first time meeting the guy. He seems pretty cool.
One for the History Books
In other news, I was doing a bit of history reading (ok, so it was on wikipedia) the other night as I'm preparing for my game for Ruchtcon IV at the end of the month. I'm running a gold-rush era supernatual game. Just for fun, I'm actually using names and info from real historical people and places, and then morphing them a bit into my own fiction. It's something I really haven't done before, and it's been quite interesting. Hopefully the game will be as well.
Oh, and I've actually been reading a history *book* for fun, too - found one called 'Atlas of the Celtic World' at Books-a-million a while back. It's interesting.
Speaking of cons, we've also started talking about Trogland 8. I really need to get the site back up & running. O.o
Well, it's August.
In The Works
I haven't been on here much lately, have I? I have found that, generally speaking, when I'm working on a new site design, I tend to begin neglecting the current incarnation - even though I'm going to migrate everything to the new layout (so it's not as if anything would be "lost" or "wasted"). I'm not 100% sure why this is, but I suspect it comes from my subconscious desire to finalize framework and structure before I bother with such dressings as "content"... ...even if that's the point. I'm making a conscious effort to supercede this tendency now.
So, about a month and a half ago, Trogland 7 happened. As I mentioned before, this was our first year trying to be completely organized on the front-end instead of just "winging it" based on what feels right at the time. I think we were 90% successful. The registration site did it's job, funds were collected and adequate, and I think it was less stressful all-around for most people - perhaps myself excluded.
The meetup itself was, as always, a lot of fun. I ran two games and, as is now expected, spent most of saturday taking photos of the event.
The first game I ran was something I dubbed "Gaslamp Vanguard", and was a steampunk-inspirted indiana-jones style adventure game using the new Fate Core rules set. I really liked Fate when I played it in Dresden, and the still more free-form approach this new publication puts out is even better for someone like me who likes to "tweak" rules/systems/settings. The game itself was a lot of fun, and I think everyone enjoyed themselves. The scenario was actually the second game I've fun based on a young adult book called "The Door in the Dragon's Throat" - because I think the premise therein is awesome as an rpg.
Little Fears II
The other game I ran was a sequel to last year's wildely successful Little Fears game (once again, using my modified "v1.5" rules) - by popular demand. I don't think it was quite the homerun of last year's (at least, I didn't actually scare people), but it was a different part of the story, and I think it was still a great game. This session was less about the tension and fear, and more about realization and deciding on action. It still had some pretty creepy moments though. I plan the "end of the trilogy" next summer, which will probably involve the "party" diving headlong into Faerie.
Been very busy, but not much for the blog. Mostly, I've been working on my current campaign (Cyrran Reaches), gearing up for Trogland 7, and playing a little with my camera. I've also been trying to get some creative ideas for some recording projects going, but it's been a little hit or miss.
I think my D&D 3.5 game is going quite well. Last session was a little slow, but there's been some great plot, some fun action, and some aspects I haven't addressed much in games before. I've enjoyed developing the setting area as well, and there are a lot of possibilities for it, I think.
This year's meetup is coming up soon - we're just about a month away. Today was the last day for pre-registration. I built trogland.penguinsushi.com for this purpose, and I'm fairly proud of it. Getting the meetup funded up-front this year has allowed us to do some new things with less stress. Win-win all around. I'll also be running a sequel to last year's Little Fears game - which was awesome to the point that I'm not sure I can possibly live up to it. Still, it should be fun. If I can get that together soon, I may also try to run something else on friday night.
I've also, as usual, been playing with my camera. I actually had a chance to play with the 5D mk III one of my coworkers uses at work... ...and now I kind of want one. It's pretty nice. I would settle for a 6D though, and since that one is about 1.5k cheaper, it's a bit more likely than the former. I'm also still wanting to get a nice telephoto lens.
Unfortunately, I also discovered my beloved 50mm prime has a bit of a backfocusing issue. I'm not sure if it's always done this and increased experience now has me noticing, or whether it has developed the behvior recently. On the good side, it is extremely mild - to the point that I can't quite tell if it always does it or not, and it's really only noticeable up close and at a wide aperture. Also, if I do manage to get a newer camera, a lot of the nice digital bodies have the ability to compensate for this sort of thing.
"It's just like the dream..."
"Hold it right there, partner!"
"I wanted to be a hero!"
"Batman has forsaken me..."
|Saturday June 30, 2012 at 9:00pm||little fears, happy valley, game session notes, trogland||Comments (0) »|
Dee Dee, Tommy, James, Suzie, [Reverent]
"I'm going to the retillary room..."
"What? My mommy said it means 'baby mice'..."
"I'm invisible...I'm invisible...I'm baby mice-ing invisible!"
"I've seen the counselors go up there. They always use the buddy system."
"Yeah, I just faint."
|Friday June 29, 2012 at 9:00pm||little fears, happy valley, game session notes, trogland||Comments (0) »|
Sheri, Scotty, Katie, 'Manda, Phil, Mason
"I'm squishing myself into the corner as tightly as I can."
"My sister's mean..."
"Then why are you scared?"
"We have to all hold hands in a circle, with one person in the middle, and sing the camp song..."