JP On Gaming

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

JP in LA: SoCal Smackdown

In case you did not know, I spent this past weekeng in LA (Anaheim to be precise) participating in a convention called SoCal Smackdown.

Officially, I was there to run NeoExodus and play a little PFS. Practically, I was there to have a good time.

And Smackdown did not disappoint, on both aspect.


Friday morning, I got up at 4am, showered, loaded the car and off to the airport. Got into LAX at 8:21 (local) and got to see the famed "Encounter restaurant, which has been a landmark of the airport since the 1960s. I remember seeing it in James Bond's Diamonds are forever, the last "real" Bond with Sean Connery. Now I can say that I crossed off Los Angeles from my bucket list. But I have to add to that bucket list "see more of LA".

After a quick shuttle ride, I arrived at the Convention Center. It was 9:30 local, I thought the game started at noon. Having looked at nearby places to eat, I headed to a family restaurant that got good reviews. I did a little work on the NeoExodus Player's Guide as I pigged out. Good, good stuff!

Just before noon, I headed to the convention. SWEET ZOMBIE JESUS! That place is just huge! I mean it's scary how immense the place is. Oh! And for my Denver peeps: the AC was on and it was cold! I mean frikkin' cold! I expected to see my breath late on Saturday...

I sat down with the Warmachine guys.

Then Brian Darnell (whom I only met briefly at PaizoCon) arrived and got things set up. He and I chit-chatted. I knew that our high-level table had been cancelled. Nevertheless I had nowhere else to go.

Since he had a number of new players, I offered to run one of his We Be Goblins tables. The table was run, ran well. Much gobliny things... Fun.

Finally, the late slot! NeoExodus's first appearance at the Con. Encounter at Ramat Bridge... I love running that adventure. I will not spoil it, but Nose Cutter was left behind, his head found on a pike the next morning... Fun times.

You can see on the right a sneak peek at what the players at SoCal Smackdown received... Pre-released versions of our Adventure records! D'Anne did such an awesome job on them. These were well-received by the half-awake crowd (we finished around 1AM).

Then sleep.


Woke up, rearranged my equipment and headed out to Ihop for breakfast. Reading my emails, I realized the game started at 8, not 9 as I originally thought. So I got my food to go, then hustled to the convention center. Did I mention this place is big? Yeah... that means everything is far!

So I got there, and again my high-level game was cancelled. No worries, I had a backup in that slot... I played PFS4-02 In Wrath's Shadow with Viviana. Fun table, good GMing by Will Johnson.

Afternoon slot: NeoExodus. This time was Slavers of the Dominion, an adventure I enjoy running because it is so... Funny, tragic and nasty at the same time. There was a fair amount of enthusiasm for it and I ran a 7 player table. It played well and I believe everyone at the table enjoyed themselves. I certainly did!

My evening game was PFS4-04 King of Korval Stairs using Sahba. Another greatly enjoyable game run by Will. Our group was effective... perhaps a little so much so. Too good for our own good! But we laughed our way through the game, so it was well worth it. Even Will who tried to be serious had to smirk and chuckle...

Although I was dead tired after the game, I walked to Ihop for my second meal of the day (I munched on a few things, but nothing solid).

2AM. Sleep time.


Sunday morning, I woke up, looked at the clock, when HOLY CRAP! It was 7:22 (and we had an 8am slot!). I packed my luggage and was off to run Undying Legacy of the First Ones. However, like Sunday mornings across the world, there wasn't enough people... so the table folded. I was put in a position between playing Cyphermage Dilemma (a module which has neither a Cyphermage nor a Dilemma (as written)). I really did this as a "nothing better to do slot" but Brian Darnell did a great job of making it come to life.

I did drift off at one point and go into a conversation with a wargame rules designer. I will be reviewing and posting in the coming months. I was quickly called back in line by Robyn and finished the adventure. A fun time. As everyone changed the adventure, it is much more palatable than what's written.

The minutes between the end of the slot and when I had to grab the shuttle were spent with Robyn, Will and the vendors... Robyn and I went shopping. I was lucky enough to get my hands on some of the plastic puppets that Wyrd Miniatures (of Malifaux fame) gave away. I can't wait to paint them. I also met Dan Weber, one of Wyrd's developer. I got to listen in on a Malifaux introduction. I love the minis, but I'm not sure that is for me... I may buy a few minis first, then decide.

Then shuttle, LAX, a 15$ burger, flight, CoS, Home.

My trip was over. I was home and ready for more NeoExodus.


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