Exhibition Adventures

My wife and her sister took their dad for a birthday camping trip. I haven’t been much of a camper since I was a kid (though I loved it then), so this past weekend I got to do some serious gaming at a D&D convention at the Canadian National Exhibition. I’ve been to a few events put on by Adventuring Zone, mostly for the chance to play in “epic” Adventurer’s League adventures. They’re some of the most fun gaming experiences I’ve had, because of the interactivity between tables, and the adventures are generally better-written. You can only play epics at conventions. This season of Adventurer’s League features a kind of death curse, and players who reach a certain level of experience become immune to the effects. Because my main D&D character, Magnus Perrywhimple, was close to this threshold (and I tried to find a few opportunities to get him closer, and guarantee this) I thought it would be great to play a few adventures in this setting, and then play a second epic the next day and make myself immune. It didn’t quite work out that way.

The adventures themselves were a lot of fun. I played in DDAL 07-02 City Over the Edge and DDAL 00-01 A Window in Time on Friday, and DDEP 07-01 Peril at the Port on Saturday. The season 7 adventures on the Island of Chult have been billed as a pulp Indiana Jones type setting, and that feels pretty accurate, but there’s also an element of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean (which is OK if you’re forgetting anything after the first movie), because the epic was mostly about stopping an undead pirate’s revenge being taken out on a city.The table got to choose 5 out of 10 possible missions from combat, exploration, or role-play scenarios. My group ended up having to recreate a play from cut-up to convince some nobles to send troops to help defend the city, explore an old tomb and remove the magic scroll, pretend to be pirates, then beat up some pirates who were attacking a tavern.

City Over the Edge involved a few faction specific adventures to introduce people to the territory. Each mission was to scout out a particular location that had been chosen as a potential base of operations, find out why scouts hadn’t returned, and deal with the problem. It felt similar to some past season’s adventures where all the NPC’s were trying to deceive the characters. Like all of these adventures, they take too long, but were otherwise fun. It helps that Magnus is fairly well-rounded, something that seems to be necessary this season.

That I got to play A Window in Time was a lucky break. There were a few no-shows, so there was space for me. It’s a cosmic horror type adventure, that at points reminds me of recent movie The Void (pyramids, undead monsters, experiments in secret labs, pyramids). It’s definitely a creepy adventure – even in the middle of a brightly lit warehouse with a playlist of 8 dance hits on repeat. Maybe because of it.

The music was actually a big problem. Whoever did the table allocations really had no clue placing a video dance game with its own PA right next to the boardgames and RPG area. Transit was also a pain. There were service outages that drivers weren’t informed about (I heard from friends who had to walk 40 minutes), and I spent 20 minutes waiting in the mini transit station while one streetcar at a time unloaded, then loaded new passengers. That 20 minutes almost made me late, and because my space was only guaranteed if I was on time, I ended up running a bit. That got me on time, but I also did something to my knees. I didn’t notice until that night, however, when I had been sitting for 4 hours.

Sunday I couldn’t walk, and obviously didn’t make it in for the 2 adventures I had registered for. The silver lining in all of that was binge-watching The Mist, and Ozark on Netflix. I didn’t sleep much, and spent all my time icing, elevating, and otherwise resting.

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