#RPGaDAY 2017, Day 10: An Unexpected Gaming Experience

Today’s #RPGaDAY topic is “An Unexpected Gaming Experience”. This is actually last year’s Day 10 topic, or rather, it was my take on Day 10’s topic, which was “Largest In-Game Surprise Experienced”, which wasn’t all that interesting to me back then. This year it’s supposed to be “Where Do You Find RPG Reviews”, which is also… meh.

A different unexpected gaming experience than last year: it was the last time I was at Gen Con, I believe. I had moved away from Maine, not thinking that I’d see those people again in the flesh except for rare occasions, and I get a message: our friend Derek suddenly got the weekend off, so he came up from Arizona and would I like to play Call of Cthulhu with him?

Continue reading →

#RPGaDAY, Last Year: Day 15 – Your Favorite Convention Game

As I mentioned in the yesterday’s Last Year post, I haven’t been to a convention since this was written. The last convention game I ran was a year before this was written, which was pretty good. If the game I wrote about below didn’t happen, the Edge of the Empire game I ran for a group of friends who moved away from each other, only getting to see each other at Gen Con would be my favorite. But the Call of Cthulhu game that Derek ran was also a “group of friends who moved away” story, only this time I was one of the friends.

This post is all about my friend, Derek, who I wish I could play games with just one more time.

Favorite Convention Game. Despite organizing and running a game convention and attending multiple Gen Cons, I haven’t played many RPGs at conventions. Boardgames, sure. RPGs? Few.

No, wait.

It has to be the Call of Cthulhu game at Gen Con, run by Derek Rex.

Derek hadn’t been to Gen Con for a while and it looked like he wasn’t going to be able to go when he realized that certain things in his schedule at work fell into place that he could attend the last half of it. So he went from Arizona to Indiana on a whim and I had a call from a friend saying that Derek was up and would I like to play Call of Cthulhu with him?

CoC was Derek’s favorite rpg. I would see him spending hours prepping for his CoC games at RinCon. He would go to the Tucson Historical Society to get a copy of a map of 1920’s Bisbee and photocopies of early 20th century phonebooks for props and inspiration. He would skip playing a session of gaming to put the final details on the pregenerated characters for his next game slot. He loved playing CoC and loved running it. He was one of the best game runners I knew.

You may notice I’ve been using past tense when writing about him.

Derek died not that long ago. The cancer came back. He was an amazing man and a great friend. It’s strange to think that there’s a world without him in it. It’s strange to think that night was the last time I saw him.

But when we were playing – finally able to sit in on one of Derek’s games – he was alive, so alive! The boyish twinkle in his eye, the smiles as we puzzled out the mysteries, the laughter at the surprises we took! Oh, my, he was fantastic! That was a great evening, then it was over, and I never saw him again.

I remember him from when he ran a Pathfinder game at our house every two weeks. We were playing through Rise of the Runelords and our characters were being interrogated and we’re all having a lot of fun and then it was my character’s turn to be put in the interrogation box and that’s when I remembered that Derek used to be an interrogator for the US Army. And his current job was training interrogators. And that’s when I realized that my character was in serious trouble.

That was amazing.

It was great to finally play Derek’s favorite game with him. After knowing him for so many years, I’m glad the last thing I did with him was something that he loved so much.