|Photo by Roy Snyder|
Nowhere in that span of many years did Marmalade Dog ever make a splash in my consciousness.
I had expected, entirely unfairly and based on reports from friends and no first-hand experience, that the West Michigan Gamers Guild was a bunch of Dorito-stained neckbeards arguing over vagaries of rules loopholes in some basement somewhere.
In short, I had no fucking idea what shit was like and made up my mind how shit was based on rumor and speculation. That's bullshit.
However, that bullshit had some staying power, and somehow it lingered in my subconscious.
And then it blended with the general disregard I've seen for the old school at other small cons like MichiCon and WinterCon. Again, this is bullshit.
Going into winter, I had no intent on hitting up Marmalade Dog, despite the fact that it's in one of the coolest cities in Michigan (again, Kalamazoo and the me romanticizing it).
One fact and one fact alone changed my mind: Roy Goddamn Snyder.
|All you need to know is ROY|
Well, Roy lives in Kalamazoo (a fact which, I'll admit, endears him to me even further) and he decided to step up and run a bona fide OSR track at Marmalade Dog. So, when Roy asked me to run some events, there was no way I could say "no." Absolutely no way. Yes, Roy, I will be there and we will make this thing happen. I will bring my particular breed of DCC craziness to your backyard, my old stomping grounds, and tear shit up.
I packed up the truck, put Wu-Tang Clan on the Spotify, and took off for K-town.
Friday, I got there too late to participate in any games before my scheduled event, something that I hadn't bothered to name, so Roy did it for me (good job, Roy!). So, instead, I hung out with +Pete Schwab and just bummed around talking to folks like +Follow Me, And Die! Larry. When it came time to game, things got predictably crazy, but that's what happens when a group of vermen steal crates of telepathic sex dust in the Lucrewarren outside of Ur-Hadad. The crew did a great job of rolling with the crazy shit I threw at them and threw a healthy dose back at me. +Laura Rose Williams, +Andrew Moss & +Jared Randall were a blast to game with, along with Pete, Larry & Roy, all of whom made their debut appearances in Ur-Hadad. Afterwards, we all tried to go out for beers, got confused as to which bar we were going to, then got stupid. Well, not all of us. Laura thought she wasn't invited for some reason.
|L-R: Roy, Larry, Rob|
It dawns on me that, at this time, I should call out the fact that, back in the 90's, Georg & Rob (as well as our friends Josh and Kevin and sometimes Aaron) were the dudes I wanted to game with. Having them back in the saddle for this con was badass on a personal level and reminded me of why the 90's were such a good decade for me, gaming-wise. Rob looks at everything with the mind of a fantastic DM and he picks apart everything to figure out how to make it better. Georg is quite simply one of the best players I've ever seen, and his ability to come up with a plan that should be common sense to everyone else at the table including me but isn't is astonishing. The dude has a serious facility for tearing a situation down to its raw parts and making sense out of the senseless. These are the dudes I was gaming with in the 90's. Man, I had it good.
|Me (checking out Roy's ass), Roy, Shane, Larry, Jeremy, Jarod & Pete|
Photo by Roy Snyder
But the next morning, Sunday, as I made my way into K'zoo (I was staying with my folks in South Haven, 1/2 hr west of Kalamazoo), I made some wrong turns and ended up too late to get into any games at the 11a Sunday slot. Rather than wait around to get into games, I decided to hit the road, if only because my beautiful (and pregnant! -- oh, yeah, I haven't said this over here on the blog: we're having a baby!) wife was at home and had the day off and I was getting really lonely for her. Yep, I'm a sap. Still, I'd had two great days of gaming, hanging out with awesome people (many for the first time, but I sure as hell hope not for the last!) and getting in a lot of good, satisfying gaming. It was great seeing friends old and new, and if the con will be something that brings these folks together again, then it's one I'll hit again and again.