Nothing like a bad chest cold combined with two choir gigs to really take the bloom off the rose, at least potentially. For some reason, I seem to run into conflict after conflict every time that the local Gamestorm con is on, and this year was no exception. Usually, it involves my wife being out of town and me unable to leave the house for more than five hours (or the dogs will eat the Persian carpet), or going to Cuba, or a 20th anniversary, or something else equally lame. As such, I've been to about three of the past seven Gamestorms. This year I had the entire weekend wide open, but fate was to play a bigger role.
First up was two choir appearances by the University Singers (of U Portland, my alma mater). I'd agreed to direct a few pop tunes, including an ABBA medley I'd arranged back in grad school. The main concert was last week, but I hadn't really thought ahead and didn't notice that there were two gigs the following weekend, one on Friday night and the other early Saturday morning. I'd told the director that I wasn't available for the gigs (at most I was to direct two pieces at each concert), but I got guilted into doing them both. To be fair, the choir (made up mostly of non-music majors) did an amazing job and not just with the material I was responsible for. They outsang the Radcliffe Choral Union women's choir, which is one of the preeminent groups in the country, and represented the school well at the early morning performance for prospective students and their parents, so I have to admit that I was happy to be able to be a part of both events.
What I wasn't expecting was to get a bad chest cold starting Monday night, building to a crescendo on Thursday, and starting to lighten up a little on Friday. A little. In fact, I could barely speak, and then only in a husky Barry White imitation. Yeah, baby. As you can imagine, I was thinking that I was going to have just enough energy for the two gigs, and little left for Gamestorm. So it was that I decided to sleep in a bit on Friday and go to the con around 1pm, which in hindsight was a very good idea. I was forced to miss Mike's Combat Commander event, but he got me back by skipping mine on Saturday.
After sitting in the Kniziathon booth (the good Doctor, who is very pleasant in person, was the guest of honor) for a couple of hours, and meeting some nice people in the process, I made my way to the World of Warcraft game I'd signed up for at 3pm. I was a bit concerned that I'd have to bow out early in order to make my evening gig, and indeed I did leave just before 7pm. While I didn't actually start waving my arms until after 8pm, I was glad to get there and let everyone know that I would indeed be there to direct - let's just say I have a way with popular music styles that the real director doesn't.
We had a 6-player game, with me playing the Paly on the Alliance side. I was a bit disappointed to discover that I was the only player who had actually gotten in a game before, so I ended up playing assistant GM to help out with rules and keeping the game going. We played with the Shadows of War expansion, at least with the expanded skills/talents and blue creature cards (which played almost exactly as big a role as if we hadn't used them at all). As usual, players were able to pick up the game quickly, and by the fourth turn I was giving very little coaching to either side (although for some reason one guy on the Horde side had trouble understanding that attacking Blue critters wasn't going to do much to help him advance in levels).
I had a nearly perfect game, although as I'd never played a paladin before I was not as good at choosing skills as I might have and as such was a die or two short of a full load by game end. I did manage to make 5th level before turn 24, even taking down a boss by myself to get some very sweet Avenger armor, and was looking like we'd do well in the endgame. However, I was very surprised to see the Horde group making a run on Thel'Kezzad. Just before 7pm, I decided that I'd rather not sit and wait to see if they'd succeed, seeing as even though they were two third-levels and a fourth, they were rather nicely spec'ed out.
The next day, I found the GM, and he told me that they'd barely beat the overlord, having a single player with a single hit point surviving the fight. Just for fun, the Alliance side (with two 4ths and a 5th level player) tried taking on the overlord as well, and I was disappointed to hear that they failed! This surprised me, as I had gotten to a point where I was rolling pretty much every die in the game, maybe two or three short. Eli told me that he hadn't spotted a red 8, needed to roll an additional 6 blue dice, and I said that was strange as I had a skill that would change a 5+ to an 8. Doh.
Not that it mattered, as the Horde won regardless. It was kind of an odd game, as one of the Horde players looked remarkably like gnome with a pituitary problem, and I spent much of the night trying not to giggle. Also, I was trying to explain rules with laryngitis, and by the time I got home after the gig I sounded like the Frog Prince gone horribly wrong. On the plus side, I actually had a good night's sleep when I got home because I was so tired.
More in part 2...