Subject: Dragonflight '97
Date: Mon, 25 Aug 1997 15:29:03 -0700
From: Phyllis Rostykus <liralen@eskimo.com>

Tired. Happy. Can't see how anyone would be able to last six weeks in Bellamine Hall, as there were rumors that it's the hall that the folks doing Clarion West stay in; but then I'm someone who has a house that's in the midst of nearly five acres of completely empty woods. I'm used to the nights being silent but for the frogs, not periodically filled with the sirens of ambulances going to Swedish Hospital every fine night.

The crew was very fun to be with and to watch and to play with and learn from and share my world with. I had most everyone over for dinner Friday evening, and the getting there was impressively convoluted, but worked out nearly to the five minute mark, as in Bruce, Jason and John got there about five minutes after I got to the house with Chrisber, Trip, Carl, Bryant, Brad, Gretchen, and Teresa in tow. Lots of people. The house and the tables and sofas and the kitchen had no problem containing everyone easily and everyone ate and said that they enjoyed what they had. Pretty simple fare, all in all, just teriyaki salmon and veggie yakisoba, with Mt. Angel root beer and iced Constant Comment.

Had a marvelous time with Gretchen and Chrisber and my odd tea collection and with all the tiny pots that I had. Those two, with John and I shared about three types of tea. I used the egg pot with the silver needle tea, the oolong in the dragon pot, and then the pu-er in a dark brown pot that I've been using for the darker teas. The Yixing pots have a propensity for absorbing the teas that are made in them, and so take on the flavor and taste of that tea. They say that old Confusion scholars, with their most prized pots could make tea in their old pots simply by pouring hot water into them. The tiny Yixing pots kept the amounts reasonable, and they enjoyed the experience, and getting to pour and figure out how the pots worked. Also gave them the URL's for where to get some of the pots and teas. That was really keen to do. It also gave John an in into the conversation, since it had nothing to do with gaming and nearly all the other conversation throughout the house was about gaming.

It was also keen that Gretchen and Chrisber and Trip came up to see the new bathroom and talk about houses and remodelling and how nice it was to work on a house and make it better and to be able to keep it so.

It also worked out that Gretchen and Brad were able to bring a good portion of the folks back to Seattle University while John and I dropped off Jason and Bruce, and then Carl and I were dropped off by John at Seattle U, with all our stuff. The rooms had refridgerators and microwaves along with linen and stuff, so that was very nice, and I loaded up a pitcher with Gatorade and had a sipper bottle that I kept refilling for the next two days. The one thing that I constantly forget to do at Convenstions is drink even close to enough liquids to stay coherent. This was probably the first time I managed to drink enough and not spend a dozen dollars on something that was actually pennies per serving. I should remember that bottle for travelling in the future, it's just so useful.

While I was sitting there, in my room, away from everyone else, it was marvelous to be in the heart of a building filled with people, again. The sounds of the city's flow through that part of itself was something new and wonderous to me, again. I'd forgotten what it was like to live where there were so many other people. And, unlike in a hotel, the presense was close and interactive because of the shared nature of the bathrooms, and the meeting places on every floor. Also, with the convention itself, there was so much to interact with.

The room itself, though, provided a quiet, solitary retreat as well. It was very nice to be able to just be alone, with nothing but my thoughts in what could be interpreted as a concrete cell. Nothing but myself in it. The minimum necessary was there as well, towels, soap, a sink, a plastic cup, and linen and a pillow on the bed. It was warm enough that the blanket was nearly too much, but later in the night the coolness made it necessary.

The next morning, I felt rather differently. After getting woken by sirens and the motor on the 'fridgerator one too many times, I finally put ear plugs in, which rendered my alarm completely useless. So I had had to rely on my usual sense of time while asleep to get me up on time. Which worked, as usual, but, as usual, worked with some cost to the restfulness of my sleep. Ugh. A very, very hard bed as well, much like my futon at home. Good for the back, bad for the circulation nearly everywhere else.

The day was wonderful, though.

I'd ordered six deep purple dice from a dealer the day before, along with four silver ones, but he didn't have either of those in stock enough to supply them. So, instead, I bought ten ten-siders in pairs of different colors. They were the sparkly dice, made of a clear plastic with bits of colored sparkles suspended through them, silver, red, blue, green, and black, for air, fire, water, earth, and void. The Void dice were really keen, because they look black, until you look at them closely and then you see that they're actually clear... but with black sparkles through it. They all corresponded with my character Harumi's stats in those rings for Legend of the Five Rings.

Got to play Harumi in the on-going game that Bryant was running. It started by saving a Ronin and his lieutenant from a mob of ten bandits, and then following him to save his village from the other bandits and their huge leader. (At one point, someone asked, "Shouldn't there be seven of us instead of five?") Trip's character, Tokame, managed to lop the head off an ogre with just one swing of her battleaxe. Harumi and Chrisber's char had the fun of being in perfect synch in chopping down two entire lines of bandits from the sides. There was also the really keen romance story between Saburo and the Lieutenant, who went ronin when she realized that her love for Saburo was interfering with her ability to obey her Bushi.

The above will be written down in more detail. Bryant has promised me experience points to be spent on Harumi if I write stuff up. Admittedly, I should probably have had Harmui face Saburo on his lack of duty, especially since the most romatic of Japanese romances keep the two lovers completely apart. The basic feeling is that there cannot be a truly *great* romance unless there is a unsolvable barrier between the two lovers. Harumi has a lost love flaw to her character, however, so I thought that, in character, she would have suffered the small loss of her personal honor to allow Saburo and his love some small measure of happiness in the village in the shadow of the Wall. And so it happened.

The rest of the evening was spent happily eating from the cafeteria and playing this really keen game called Mythos with Trip and Chrisber and Bruce. I hadn't ever played before, so we had our hands open, because I'll admit it and I'm lousey at learning things serially. I like learning things while they're in motion, in play, all connected the way they are when they're living and working. Chrisber tried to explain it all to me, but it was much faster and more fun in play. Not a fault of his teaching, I'm sure, just in the way I learn and how I like to learn card games.

Mythos is based on Lovecraftian themes, Cthulloid stuff of horror and nightmares. Lots of keen monsters, creepy locations, and odd characters, all combined into adventures that are to be completed by connecting up odd lots of happenstance and planning. It was very fun, and there are many good opporturnities for insane cackling. Chrisber was very good at that.

So we played until about midnight, when we all trooped up to a game called Pulp Scripture, which was a Quintin Terrentino based game of In Nomine, which is a game based on angels, demons, and all the mythos of that base of stories and themes and ideas. The GM did a masterful job of setting up all the charcters as Celestials of the In Nomine types, and of making the main goal of the game something that they all wanted and all needed to get to and, possibly, destroy everyone else. He also did it in four hours, which is truly masterful. Trip bowed out as he needed to get sleep because he was due to WorldCon in a few days and couldn't burn himself out completely early. Carl, Gretchen, and Brad had signed up for the game, Bryant got the alternates slot. Chrisber and I had the priviledge of watching and hearing everything the GM told everyone. It's such a lovely setup and story and plot, I'm not going to do any spoilers here just in case you get a chance to ever play in it.

Besides, I didn't get his permission to publish what is, essentially, a plot and setup that came from him. So there.

All of which meant that I didn't really get into bed until the dawn twilight... about 5am. Which was kinda painful. We all got together around 1pm, I set my stuff in Trip and Bryant's room, checked out easily, and at 2pm we wandered down in case John had gotten there early. We got to see Stargate and the beginning of Big Trouble in Little China when it got to be 4pm and John arrived to get everyone to the airport. Since the cafeteria had closed at noon, there wasn't really anything to eat, and we didn't really want to walk the whole way to places on Broadway. So, on the way to the airport, we stopped at a Subway and got sandwiches for everyone and then dropped them all off at their respective airlines.

John and I went to the Golden Wok on the way home and sat and talked and I showed him fun gaming stuff. The dice, a box of Everway Vision cards, for cool pictures to look at and think about. He's very visual, so that worked out very well for him. He's not into the stats and figures of gaming, and the mechanics just don't work in his head at all. They work okay for me, when I actually focus on them, but I'll admit that I rarely do. John can't get into them at all, though. The Everway stuff, though, he could get into and associate from very easily.

After dinner we went home and we went to sleep. Slept for 14 hours and still wanted more.

A very, very worthwhile convention, all in all.


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