This was my fifth ACUS, and pretty much every aspect of it went well. The driving to and from Livonia was pretty much trouble free, the games were fun, and it was, as always, great to see friends old and new.

Slot 1: “Le Cygne: The Oracle’s Light”

I played in the first installment of Ginger & Michael’s Le Cygne series at last year’s TBR, and managed to get my character killed by the ship’s doctor (though not until after some nice swashbuckling occurred). That got me the first pick of the new pregens this time around, since I was a returning player without a character, and I chose Skate, the ship’s bosun. I don’t think that ended up being the best choice for this particular scenario, but I’m hoping I’ll be able to see a way to better involve him in any future adventures. This time around though, I ended up….well, the fact that less than a week after the game I can’t actually recall anything my character did makes me think I didn’t do very much. I had a pretty good time despite that though, watching the other players take some creative approaches to trying to deal with the issues presented. I know my lack of involvement caused a bit of worry for the GMs, so I apologize for that.

Oh, and Chime, the ship’s owner, is crazy. In case anyone wasn’t sure.

This was actually the first time since I started going to ACUS that I played in the Thursday night slot though, and I’m thinking that I’ll plan on skipping it next year. After spending most of Wednesday and then a chunk of Thursday travelling, I think I may just not be up for a Slot 1 game.

Slot 2: “Nine Lives in Amber”

This was Jack Gulick’s cross of the Amber setting and John Wick’s Cat, with the characters taking on the role of cats trying to protect Amber from bogguns while most of the Elder Amberites were off fighting the Patternfall War. It was lots of fun, and there were plenty of interesting cat concepts and nice RP. If you’re going to be at TBR 2005, and Jack actually runs this game again, I highly recommend it.

Slot 3: “Nine Losers in Akron” (GM)

This was my second try at running a kill puppies for satan game using recast Amber Elders, and, much like the first time, lots of sick fun was had. This time around the game more closely resembled the loosely organized “plot” that I had planned out, but still with much wandering and sick behavior. I still have no idea why the best way to dispose of a zombie is to bring it to the mall food court, but it seemed to work. Judging by the comments I’ve heard since the game (like the ones here and here), most everyone had a pretty good time, so I’ll count this as a success. My thanks to all of the players, who were a bunch of sick fucks. I’ll end up sending the quotes off to Kris once I’ve got them all compiled.

Slot 4: “Ill Met in Amber”

There was a very nice party on Friday evening during which some people apparently roleplayed to varying extents. Oh, and Jenn and I brought a bottle of Bowmore Darkest which was well received by the single-malt drinkers in the room.

As someone later pointed out to me, IMiA has apparently become an email game with a con element (rather than it being the other way around). It’s hard to complain too much though, even if I did almost nothing in-character all evening, because both the scotch and the company of friends were very enjoyable. I might have to look into increasing my efforts on the email side of things though, to get Captain Wesley Hobart more involved.

Slot 5: “The Mysterious Affair” (GM)

This was an attempt at what was basically a Victorian police procedural set in Amber City. Jenn and I had tried to come up with a mystery that didn’t need to be solved in a linear fashion, and we told the players that all their characters needed to do was arrest someone for the crime by the end of the slot. In other words, they didn’t have to arrest the person who’d actually committed the murder.

We ended up with three intelligent and motivated players, who worked their way through the various bits of evidence and managed, by the end of things, to arrest the actual killer (and with enough proof in hand to likely get him convicted). Frankly, it all worked out better than the GMs had thought it might, though whether that was due to the cleverness of the scenario design or the skills of the players is debatable. This game may end up getting run again at TBR 2005, but at the moment we’re not sure how it would go with more players (or with players who chose not to be so actively involved).

Slot 6: “Equalizer”

My second Ginger & Michael game of the con, and this one ended up going better for me. I played Conrad, who had, during his time in Shadow, been what was effectively a pulp-era superhero (think The Phantom or The Shadow). Things went pretty well, though Conrad’s decision to ignore a wounded teammate in order to assure the capture of one of the bad guys may not have been particularly well received. In the end, Conrad was able to avoid the need to messily throw himself on a grenade in order to save several of the other team members, which was certainly a relief to him. It was a fun game overall.

Slot 7: “Blaze of Glory: The Shadows Attack”

The insanity continued, with the Elite Guard getting to fight invasion forces from another world led by the evil twins of current and past members of the Guard. There were many strange devices and plenty of swashbuckling action, all at the usual BoG breakneck pace. My character, Amir bin Muhammad bin Ibrahim bin Nasir bin Safwan Al-Majid (aka The Mad Arab) fired himself from a catapult to intercept an incoming glider, and ended up proposing to its pilot just before she died. He also made another attempt to fall to his death, this time in order to bomb an enemy airship, but his life was saved by the skilled piloting of Ewan. All of this after his very lovely (and useful) wives arrived from back in his homeland. I’m definitely looking forward to the next installment of Blaze, which continues to be a very fun way to wrap up the con (since I don’t play in Slot eight).

It was, overall, a very good con indeed, though it definitely felt weird not to see Sarah there. I’m looking forward to next year’s ACUS, and to this year’s TBR (and hopefully ACN too).

Here are some of the other con summaries that I’ve run across so far: