Convention Report Tentacles X

Convention Report Tentacles X By Greg Stafford

My really extreme jet lag has damaged the promptness of this report from the tenth Tentacles convention, held once again in historic Bacharach, in the classy Castle Stahleck, high on the banks overlooking the scenic Rhine. It was the tenth Tentacles, the 25 years of CoC and 20 years of CoC in German.

I had a great time, as always.

I left California a bit later than usual, and thus the morning that I landed in Frankfurt was the day we headed off to the con. I generally travel badly, but this time I actually got some sleep on the plane and wasn’t as bad off as I might havebeen. But bad enough. That night I went to early and hardly even woke up when David Dunham and Jeff Richard came in much, much later.

I never quite got over the jet lag, and spent much time in half of a haze. Not when playing, fortunately. Interesting how that provokes a certain kind of alertness and attention!

FRIDAY

The con opened with the usual mass meeting in the Rittersaal (knights’ hall) of the castle. Funniest quote of the evening:
Fabian, trying to get everyone’s attention and to quiet down: “This is a German convention.”
“What’s that mean?”
“No questions.” Big laughter. And then he launched into the announcements.We then retired to the big barbecue sponsored by Chaosium, and overseen by Charlie Krank dishing out the masses of cooked meat.

Rick Meints and I then addressed the crowd concerning the future of HeroQuest and Glorantha (with a few comments sneaked in about Mongoose’s plans for RuneQuest.)Rick handed out the pre-release copies of Under the Red Moon, ILH2, to the GTA members who were present; and I gifted them with copies of Sedenya Mythology. Other GTA members will be getting their copies shortly, and Sedenya will be online auction for others on eBay.

I’d intended to go to bed early, but actually got there at 2AM. I even slept through the usual raucous Singalong, led by Nick. Since the cops didn’t come by to shut them up this year, it must have been in a specially prepared soundproof room, I guess.

SATURDAY

Start, as usual, with breakfast in the common room. Cold cereal, yogurt, cold cuts. Strange sausages-David Dunham actually had some broccoli loaf! You could see the shape, with the stalk and the bushy heads, cut thin in the piece like baloney. Wow, strange.

Then the “horror lottery.” People bought tickets and Sandy Petersen and I drew names from the hat to see who would be in our games. Pendragon game was full. There were only two people in the proposed HQ game, so we cancelled that. I hope the two got their money back!

The traditional trollball game began. The spectators had a water balloon fight instead of saving them for the contestants, for a while and of course, the beautiful six-breasted Xiola Umbar priestess covered the contestants with her healing powder so everyone ended up covered with paste.

The Griffin Mountain Freeform seemed to go well, from what I saw. I had other events to do though, so didn’t play. I had a Pendragon panel, with about 8 in the audience. Afterwards I just invited everyone to be in the game, so two people got in without having been among the winning tickets. Hope the others didn’t mind! Some players were new so we went through some courtly stuff to learn the game system, and didn’t really finish it before dinner. But fun was had by all.

SUNDAY

Sunday was the big LARP by Sandy, Conjunction of the Bazillion Spheres. It was the second Zanzibar larp by him. Last year I was Galactacus and ate planets. This year I was King Arthur, head of the Faction of Law.

It was quite fun being a high and mighty do-gooder. I ended up marrying Galadriel and helping her to found the Faction of Good. We traveled to other worlds, such as Disneyland. I got Judge Dredd to join our faction. I fought and beat an orc/hobbit. We found he Holy Grail. I discovered my lost son, Mordred, and despite the efforts of his evil mother, converted him to our Faction through good deeds. I also discovered my own lost father, Darth Vader(!). That was a stunner! I had just joined, and told my dear ol’ Dad, “Let’s go do some evil,” (I was going to kill my half sister, actually) when Sir Galahad came up, challenged me to a duel and killed me, then resurrected me again with the Holy Grail to his faction. The whole thing ended with a battle of Giant Robots in which the Faction of Law was destroyed, and the field was left to the Factions of Good and of Technology.

I spent a fair part of the afternoon sleeping, trying still to catch up-or rather back-to the local time.

That night I read some of the latest Harmast Saga at the “Greg Reads” session, which seemed to be well received. Some people had access to it through the FoG, but most had not.

Then was the Auction. The nature of this event has changed radically with the advent of eBay, and I am betting that it may not occur again. The biggest ticket item was a special copy of Our Great Empire, a booklet Jeff Richard and I compiled especially as a fund raiser for the convention. It is hard back, quality paper of beige color, a ribbon marker, two colored text and a couple of gorgeous maps. It was done by Claudia, who would show it to people preceded by the statement, “Wash your hands.”

Later, after the protective cloak of darkness had shrouded all in secrecy, was the ritual burning of a copy of Daughters of Darkness, accompanied by the changing of “The Gods of Glorantha really are happy with what we are doing tonight.”

As the hours slipped away I was engaged in deep discussion with Charles Corrigan and Daniel Fahey. I even drank some of what Daniel was offering, which is actually verboten for anyone with sanity. So disordered was my sleeping that we stayed up until dawn.

AFTER

I stayed with Fabian for a few days, and so got some face time with Sandy and his two younger kids, Spencer and Lincoln. It’s become something of a ritual to go to the local fair and gorge on Hessian food and Apple Wine with some of the staff and guests. Then we went and did our annual shooting contest. Again, I as neither first nor last. The winning score is calculated by whoever has the least to reach 100 points. This year they were, in descending order, were: David Dunham, 22; Jeff Richard, 19; Me, 18; Hauke, 17; Christian and Spencer, 14; Claudia, 10; Fabian and Link, 8.

A couple days later we were German tourists. We went to the Odenvald (Odin’s Wood) which is a steep hill that has a really strange tumbled path of gigantic rounded boulders. At the bottom is the site where Sigurd killed Fafnir, a key moment in the Volsung Saga. At the top is a Roman Pillar that’s fallen over. It was quite a walk, but the young had mercy on the old and so we made it to the top without fatalities, listening to the always-entertaining Sandy expound on military, games, history, movies, horror and whatever else he has in his always fertile brain.

We also went to the Gutenburg museum. We got to see a couple of copies of the first book ever made with movable type. It was a bit moving, really. Oh yea, there were also a whole batch of ancient books and machinery. Then we went to the zoo where we ate the German version of Mexican food. Need I say, not very Mexican? I loved the monkey island which I watched while Fabian snoozed and the Petersens checked out the rest of the critters. They have some Indian lions there, which was quite interesting. We finished the day with pizza at a little place called The Hobbit, which was a very fitting end to the day.

On the last day we also watched, once again, Wild Zero, a rock and roll zombie movie. When we realized that the date as 6/6/6 we convinced Sandy to run a Call of Cthulhu game that was a great bit of fun, as is inevitable with the Master GM. And of course, to commemorate the date, it ended with the end of the world. Maybe. The movie-I mean game-ended with our characters surrounded by about a million zombies that’d just come out of Hell and were closing in on us, while the entire Pacific Oceans was collapsing into the center of the earth…

OK, a few final amusing “Sandy things:”Sandy reminded us of the famous Texas governor Hogg, who had to be one of the meanest son of a bitches alive to have named his two daughters Ima and Ura. The women never married, and are renown for their philanthropy in the state.My favorite phrase for the trip: “Too much college , not enough high school.”

Once again, I’d like to give my thanks to Fabian and the great guys who work so hard every year to make Tentacles a hit, and also who is such a great host to the guests afterwards.

I’ll be there next year!

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