“The Geas” Warhammer 40K Scenario

A geas can be compared with a curse or, paradoxically, a gift.  If someone under a geas violates the associated taboo, the infractor will suffer dishonor or even death.  On the other hand, the observing of one’s geas is believed to bring power.  Often it is women who place geasa upon men. In some cases the woman turns out to be a goddess or other sovereignty figure.

—  From “Geas” on Wikipedia

This scenario is a modified version of the Eternal War scenario ‘The Emperor’s Will’ from the 7th edition Warhammer 40K rule book.  As a Sovereign Lady of Chaos and Sanguine Narrator, the idea of placing geasa upon men appeals to me greatly!

Objectives:  Each player places an objective as per the ‘The Emperor’s Will’ mission.

  • Each player’s objective must be entirely within his own table half.
  • The objectives should should be large.  A 12″ by 12″ base  or scatter terrain enclosing a 12″ x 12″ area is ideal, though it can be larger or smaller so long as each player’s objective is about the same size.
  • Treat the objectives as a Twisted Copse so far as granting models a cover save within the boundary or on the base of the objective.  (If you are playing 7th edition 40K, remember the rules for vehicles and cover on p. 77 of the BRB.)
  • The area within the objective is normal terrain so far as movement is concerned, though the players may agree to make it difficult or even dangerous terrain if they wish.
Grey Knights and Iron Hands vs Orks Feb 2015 Boss standing over dead Draigo

Victorious Warboss Hungry hit Lord Draigo so hard his base fell off!

Geas Special Rule:  Each player’s warlord is under a psychic compulsion or geas.  The general idea is that each warlord is compelled to kill the enemy warlord in close combat.  The following applies to each player’s warlord:

  • The warlord has the Objective Secured special rule, even if he normally cannot.  Any vehicle, retinue or other unit bought with or for your warlord does not have the OS rule unless it normally would.  The warlord does not confer OS to any unit he is part of or vehicle he is embarked on.
  • Must start the game on the table or enter play during turn one.
  • Must, if possible, end each player turn closer to the enemy warlord than he was at the beginning of the player turn.
  • If a warlord is in a close combat containing the enemy warlord, both leaders must issue a challenge to or accept a challenge from the enemy warlord, if possible.

Optionally, if both players desire a more narrative gaming experience, they can collaborate during the list building phase by discussing their choice of warlords.  The idea is to insure that the two leaders have a decent chance against each other so the fight isn’t one-sided.  The objective of this scenario is to encourage the leaders to seek each other out for a fight to the finish!

If using the narrative method, players may agree to allow characters as warlords, who normally couldn’t be nominated as such.  Obviously, it is up to both players to not try to game this for an undue advantage.

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Victory Conditions:   A player receives 3 VP’s if his warlord kills the enemy warlord in a challenge.  If the warlords simultaneously kill each other, both players receive 1 VP.  Victory points are not awarded if a warlord dies in any other manner.

At the end of the game, each player receives 1 VP for each of his units with at least one model within 3″ of an objective, even if they don’t control it.  Units embarked in a vehicle count as one unit.

Additionally, a player receives 2 VP for each objective he controls.  In the case of there being multiple units with the Objective Secured special rule within 3″ of an objective, the side with the most contesting OS units is considered as controlling the objective.  OS units embarked in OS vehicles count as one OS unit for this tally.

There are no secondary objectives for this mission.

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Optional and Alternative Rules

  • You Want Me to do What?  No, For the Greater Good!:  One or both players may elect that his warlord’s geas is fulfilled when he personally kills the enemy warlord with a shooting attack and/or witchfire power instead of in close combat.  This option must be announced as part of declaring which model is your warlord.
  • I Just Want Him Dead!:  The geas is fulfilled if a warlord kills his counterpart with any kind of attack at his disposal.
  • Not Expendable Under Any Circumstances:  A player receives 1 VP at the end of the game if his warlord survives.
  • King of the Hill:  Each player receives 1 VP at the end of his player turn for each objective he controls.  This is in addition to the victory point tally at the end of the game.
  • Hamburger Hill:  There is only one objective in the game and it is centered in the middle of the board.
  • Geas of the Sanguine Sorceress Supreme:  If your warlord is killed by anyone other than your opponent’s warlord and his warlord is still on the table, your character who is closest to your opponent’s warlord is now your new warlord.  Note that the new warlord does not receive a warlord trait nor does he have the Objective Secured special rule unless he already has it.

Daemonkin vs. IG, Dark Angels & Officio Assassinorum (2000 points)

Santa Cruz Sector, Mythic Games: March 31, 2017

Frantic reports of daemonic incursions emanate from the agricultural hinterlands of the ninth planet in the Ben Lomond system.  Elements of the Dark Angels space marine chapter investigate and find several warp rifts to Khorne apparently opened by means of the ritualistic sacrifice of entire villages.  There is nothing left when they arrive but death, red mist, blood and horror.  Astra Militarum forces, garrisoning the planet, are air lifted to support the quickly beleaguered marines.  This is one of many desperate actions.

IG and friends vs Daemonkin March 31 2017 board

Imperial armored forces cautiously take up positions surrounding the warp rift.

Captain L. Danielus  and I played the Warp Rift scenario.  This time we used the Superior Reconnaissance special rule.  As things turned out, we both agreed this balanced the scenario nicely for a shooting versus assault army and made for an enjoyable game.

The Khornate forces were a Slaughter Cult formation within a Bloodhost Detachment.  In addition to my usual host of uglies, there was quite a lot of small arms potential this time with three squads of extremely angry daemonkin space marines (not Angry Marines though).  The backbone of the imperial forces was mechanized Guard veterans, assisted by nicely painted Dark Angels tactical marines and terminators led by a chaplain.  An eversor assassin rounded out the loyalist forces.  Our good captain as usual led a Combined Arms Detachment into the fray.

IG and friends vs Daemonkin March 31 2017 warp rift

It isn’t too active now, but soon deamons will come screaming from the living stone!

The early stages of the fight didn’t look too promising for the Imperium.  A squad of possessed space marines clamored out of their rhino and up three floors inside a ruin where a Dark Angels devastator squad had taken up excellent firing positions.  Say what you want about possessed, but they are as agile as spider monkeys!  Predictably, after a sharp, gruesome fight, the possessed were in possession of the ruin and the devastators were but a gruesome memory.

Also, a mob of bloodletters erupted out the rift and made straight for Captain Danielus’ massed line of chimerae.  Despite focusing almost all of their considerable firepower on that single group, apparently the daemons were strong with the might of Khorne, for when the red mist settled the remaining daemons, reduced in number but still hissing and howling scuttled onward with their black swords held high.

IG and friends vs Daemonkin March 31 2017 devastatorsjpg

Dark Angel devastators take aim.

Still, the company commander and his men never give up, and of course Dark Angels know no fear (or if they do they are pretty good at hiding it, at least in front of a chaplain), so they stood fast, determined to close the rift or at least sell their lives as dearly as possible.  Not that they would appreciate the sentiment, but they earned a grim salute from your Sanguine Narrator.  Blessings to the Strong!

Only through heroic sacrifice and much blood spilled, mostly on the imperial side, were the loyalist forces able to hold the field.  Their grip was tenacious but weakening by the second.  As the rift energies peaked, shining like a coruscating red giant, disaster was at hand.  A towering bloodthirster strode out of the midst roaring with laughter.  He was unpainted but mighty nonetheless.

The few remaining veteran guardsmen were in no position to help.  They had their hands full with a particularly frisky chaos spawn.  It seemed to have become stimulated while in proximity to one of the glistening stone menhir, which needed to be seized if the gate was to be closed.

IG and friends vs Deamonkin March 31 2017 Deathwing Terminators

Death Wing terminators teleport in to challenge the deamonkin terminators.

Everything pointed to a complete victory for the daemonkin.  In the end the mighty daemon prince stood alone controlling one objective.  He was busy cavorting over a grease spot that used to be an eversor assassin.  A vendetta gunship interrupted its dogfight with a heldrake and hovered over another objective.  To pick what what survivors they could, perhaps?

The plucky guardsmen almost broke against the chaos spawn, as it ate several more of their number.  The tentacled monstrosity seemed impervious to chainsword, krak missile, and that king of weapons, the lasgun.  Fortunately the spawn was so busy vibrating it didn’t notice a single guardsmen, who wasn’t taking part in the fight.  He placed his hands on the menhir and mumble an incantation.  The soldier exploded in a bloody mess but the red mist around the stone abruptly vanished.

Finally, the Dark Angel chaplain and his men advanced toward their objecrtive in the face of harrowing Daemonkin marine bolter fire.  Despite being almost under the bloodthirster’s gray hooves, the giant paid no heed to the angels in his exultation.

IG and friends vs Daemonkin March 31 2017 chaplain and tactical marines

Waiting for the perfect moment to strike.

“For the Emperor and Mankind!” the chaplain screamed as he slammed his crozius arcanum against the stone objective.  It exploded like a malevolent volcano.  Marines were thrown back in all directions.  The chaplain and a couple of men came to a few moments later.  The rift and all trace of the daemonkin were gone.

So it was a 3-1 win for the Imperium.  The warp rift was closed and a great swath of civilization saved.  Huzzah for the loyalist’s Objective Secured!  Without that special rule the game would have ended in an unsatisfying 1-1 tie.

The Blood God was pleased because, as I told (in an appropriately mock serious tone) one skeptical onlooker who innocently wandered over between rounds of Magic, “Khorne cares not from whence the blood flows, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera!”

Let Hate and a halfway decent set of abs be our armor!

Still, the architect of this appalling heresy remains unaccounted for.  Who knows where he will strike next?

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Brimstone Horrors

I finished painting a unit of brimstone horrors recently. I thought they were cute little imps and I’ve always had a soft spot for gribbles that combine the best aspects of ineffectuality and malevolence. (It isn’t a coincidence that the first unit I finished painting when I first started 40K were grots!)

I experimented with a few different looks before I settled on the one I liked best, which was not too heavy on the red, and a green wash for the eyes, mouth and open part on their backs. As is often the case with my cell phone pictures, the green shows up much better in person than in the photos.

I decided to paint the brimstones first because I knew the temptation would be too great to use a bunch of unpainted models in games if I started with the pink horrors what with their splitting rules.  This way, working backward with these guys first, then the blues, and finally the pinks I would be able to avoid this sorry state of affairs and not fall prey to the machinations of Slaanesh!

So these pictures are the obligatory post-battle For the Daemons Back Home photo opportunity. They spent most of the battle strategically hugging the back edge of my deployment zone in such a way that they could target either flank with their miserable psychic power, anticipating the possible arrival of a couple of outflanking Leeman Russ tanks.

The lumbering behemoths never arrived, I’m sure due to the deterrent effect of my stalwart imps. At least that is what they are telling themselves as they prepare for their next encounter.

My next painting projects, so far as Chaos goes, are a unit of blue horrors and finishing up the daemon prince I’ve been picking at off and on (mostly off) since 5th edition!

Mystery of the Mega Mek Armor: 1 of 4

Santa Cruz Sector, Mythic Games: February 17, 2017

We played a 1500 point Orks versus Orks game where as it turned out my opponent’s warlord was the mega-warboss-with-the-lucky-stikk or MWLS for short.  We both ran a single Combined Arms Detachment.  My opponent convinced me to also include a Painmob formation since I had included the models for it.  Rather sporting, I must say.

The mission was Maelstrom War: Deadlock, which is the one where each player gets less cards with each passing turn.

What started out as a seemingly typical ork brawl between elements of Waaagh: Hungry and Waaagh: Derrius ended in something far different as we’ll see.

Orks vs. Orks Feb 17 2017 Board

Early stages from the fight.  I like how the white lines neatly mark our deployment zones.

My forces got out to an early lead, taking key positions in an effort to break the tactical stalemate.  The other (bad) Orks countered by blunting a slow motion Charge of the Light Walkers up the center.  Still, Waaagh: Hungry built up a big lead that was going to be hard to beat, especially given the nature of our mission where each side relied on dwindling supplies.

My nobz attacked on the left flank and were stopped by an impossibly strong, giant ork in a strangely cobbled together suit of heavy mek armor.  He pretty much was able to take on all eleven nobz by himself and easily win.  What few survivors there were left had no choice but to run for it or die uselessly.  Our left flank crumbled.

Fortunately, crack Hungarian artillery kept our positions from being completely overrun.  Mortars pounded infantry bunched up in the aftermath of close assaults, while supremely heroic goblin kannoneers punished cautious meganobz, all the while dueling Derrius’s keen-eyed flashgitz.

Still, the situation was fast deteriorating and becoming desperate.

Orks vs. Orks Feb 17 2017 Sneaky Git and the Red Git

One sneaky git tries to ambush another.

With the enemy warboss rampaging toward our lines, someone had to do something.  No one was exactly volunteering to confront this seemingly invincible titan, so Lieutenant Scarbag Flashboy, the last survivor of his squad as usual, knew he had to act.

The situation was all confusion, smoke and screams.  Flashboy knew the most important thing at the moment was information.  He shrugged off his crippled rokkit pack and concentrated on remotely piloting a drone carrier ahead into the fiery chaos.  It was rigged with a camera and piled high with explosives.

Orks vs. Orks Feb 17 2017 Cautious Meganobz

Cautious meganobz pick their way forward.  A feller could get hurt out there!

Flashboy was astounded by what he saw in his video screen from the drone’s vantage point.  The enemy warboss’s suit was obviously a cobbled together abomination of corrupted Tau technical genius and evil mek madness!

Pistons shrieked with each of the mega armored boss’s steps.  Shoota fire pattered against his armor like light hail.  Even direct artillery hits ricochetted harmlessly, though this did put paid to more than a few of his boyz, much to the behemoth’s amusement.  Even energy weapons fire was absorbed by a sparking electric field.  This only seemed to make him stronger.

Orks vs. Orks Feb 17 2017 Killa Kanz Stall

Flashgitz turn the center of the battlefield into a walker scrapyard.

The lieutenant tapped a few keys with a shaking head, sending a video capture to higher headquarters.  He’d done has much as he could for now.  It was time to look to his own precious lilly green hide.

To Flashboy’s horror he saw the warboss point a snapping power klaw at him.  Zog!  He had thought himself well concealed.  His drone was still on the move, though it was taking sporadic hits from cowering shoota boyz, as well as being rocked by friendly mortar fire coming from who knew where.  It’s left tread was damaged and looked in danger of coming apart at any moment.

He punched the drone’s Self Destruct on Impact button and sent it trundling directly at the warboss’s back.  It was a sort of slow motion race as the damaged probe struggled to catch up with its ungainly target.

Flashboy rolled out from the shell crater and hustled behind a friendly battlewagon-turned-pillbox, which had lost its front axle.  Its crew opened up on the advancing warboss.  Their chattering machine guns made a lot of noise but had little other effect.

Orks vs. Orks Feb 17 2017 Lobbas in Ruins

Mortars taking the measure of distant infantry.

There was a massive explosion.  The boss had torn the battlewagon in half with his dizzying collection of power weapons, and some sort of short ranged plasma cutter array.  Predatory growls boomed from his vox caster.  Flashboy was thrown clear.  Dazed, he crawled under some of the burning wreckage.  Ammunition from the destroyed APC cooked off in the heat and flames.  Everything was obscured by thick smoke.  His titan opponent was surrounded by the gleaming nimbus of his force field.  Without this protection nothing could stand in the midst of this atomic wreckage and live.

The boss’s laughter stopped.  There was an explosion, even larger than the first, and screams.  Scarbag Flashboy had no idea what happened or how he later found himself in a ship’s medical bay, agreeing to give a painboy most of his teef to sew his legs and part of his left arm back on.  A young tau nurse shook her head and silently busied herself with the needless task of sterilizing a hacksaw.

Perhaps the drone had done its job after all?

Of the enemy warboss and his strange battle suit there was no sign.  Other than the lieutenant’s video capture, of course.  One thing was for sure, he knew that Warboss Hungry, as a close ally of the Greater Good and honorary Shas’O, would not stop until he solved the mystery of the mega mek armor.

Orks vs. Orks Feb 17 2017 Warboss and Boyz

Mega Mek Warboss and boyz surge over a hedgerow.  Note Flashboy’s drone scout.

So the MWLS gave me an idea.  Why not take advantage of him unexpectedly turning up into a sort of four game narrative campaign of sorts instead of just a one shot deal?  I’ll put the campaign up in a future post and link it is this one, which will be the first game of the series.

It was a good fight and a close one.  A battle that definitely highlights the maxim of never giving up.  Especially with the Maelstrom missions.  Although my opponent rolled double 1’s with his lucky stikk and killed off his own warboss inches from my deployment zone, which was unquestionably the high point of our game,  he did manage to squeak out a 13-12 victory point win despite my achieving the all important First Blood in addition to the aforementioned seemingly insurmountable early  battle lead!

Still, thanks to the indomitable senior lieutenant, higher command is in possession of some very interesting intelligence.  One wonders what the Earth Caste will have to say about all of this?  As Warboss Hungry likes to say, “Wot’s all dis den?”

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IG vs. Daemonkin (1850 Points)

Santa Clara Sector, Mountain View Game Kastle: March 17, 2017

Commissar Alex and I played the Warp Rift scenario for the first time.  We used the Rift Gate as well as the Tactics and Mystics (maelstrom cards) optional rules.  My army was 1850 points of Khorne Daemonkin.  I ran a Blood Host Detachment with a Slaughter Cult formation, as well as a CAD.  Alex, playing Imperial Guard, ran a CAD with an Emperor’s Wrath Artillery Company formation.

Commissar Alex wrote the summary for our game or rather the good General Nesson did.  I’m not revealing how I got my hands on it, though rest assured I have my sources!

IG vs. Daemonkin Mar 17 2017 board.jpg

The blue boxes were the objective markers.  The warp rift is the tower.

The forces of chaos struck once again against the Imperium, attacking an imperial planet in the Segmentum Ultima.  [Name and location of planet withheld under security edicts.] The local planetary defense forces were no match for the traitors and after just a few months the planetary defense force had no presence outside of a few major cities.

After several more months the Imperial navy arrived, bringing with it the forces of the Imperial Guard. After a few weeks the traitors were driven back towards the equator by our numerically superior forces.

However the deaths from all the fighting caught Khorne’s attention and the vales between realities weakened. Using this to their advantage, the forces of chaos enacted obscene rituals and the sacrifice of an entire village to break open a warp rift, which allowed daemons into material space.

IG vs. Daemonkin March 17 2017 Synchronized Bloodletters and Demolisher

Synchronized Summoning ought to be an olympic sport!

The ritual was successful but only allowed for a few daemons to come at a time; however the deaths of guardsmen and traitors fueled the warp rift and soon the trickle became a stream. As the rift grew our commanders realized that if they wanted to have any hope of preventing [name of system redacted] from becoming a daemon world they would need to seal the rift before it enveloped the entire planet.

In a desperate gamble they headed directly towards the rift hoping either the priests or sanctioned psykers attached to the regiments could find a way to close the rift before it was too late.  As they approached it reality began to distort and madness reigned.

IG vs. Daemonkin March 17 2017 Vendetta

Vendetta on an attack run against a Chaos Space Marine rhino.

While the exact events are unknown what is undeniable is that the imperial guard forces failed to seal the breach. After a few hours the rift began to grow rapidly and soon enveloped the planet in just a few days. Imperial command on the planet sent reports to orbital assets for as long as they could but the last transmissions degenerated into gunfire and maddening screams. The planet in question is currently under quarantine by the Imperial navy.

— Administratum Summary based off the final reports of Imperial General Asher Nesson

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As a sort of post script, we found this scenario gave a bit of an advantage to the assault-based army, all other things being equal.  I have to say this was not unexpected.  So we came up with the following optional rules and I added it to the scenario page.

Superior Reconnaissance:  The daemon player’s board edge for purposes of moving reserves onto the battlefield must be the same as the board edge she picked for deployment on turn one.  This is to help balance the scenario, since assault armies seem to be advantaged over shooting armies, all other things being equal.  If further balancing is needed, the daemon player must declare her board edge before the enemy player deploys.

The Emperor’s Tarot:  This is used with the Tactics and Mystics optional rule to help balance the scenario, if needed.  The enemy player deploys and draws his tactical objective cards before the daemon player deploys.  The enemy player may then decide to roll off to see who takes the first turn if he likes the look of his cards, or if both players agree the enemy player can take the first turn without a roll.  Note there is no Seize the Initiative rule in this scenario.

Terrain: Two new houses

So I recently decided to start acquiring some of my own gaming terrain.  I thought I’d work on collecting along the theme of a generic farm or ranch.  One can use just about any sort of terrain for Warhammer 40K, since battles can take place on almost any sort of landscape.  I have been getting into the WWII game Bolt Action lately, and I also occasionally play battles set in the mid to late 18th Century using Muskets & Tomahawks.  So the terrain has to suit for those games too.  I think these buildings would also look nice in games set in the American West.

The pieces have to be suitable for “heroic 28mm” figures. The roofs can be removed so models can be placed inside and moved around, which is important to me, because all of the aforementioned games include rules for having forces inside buildings of various sorts.

The boyz seem pretty happy with their new digs.

I purchased another building already that is between the size of the two pictured here.  I am also hopefully going to add a fenced garden, an outhouse, a well, and maybe some details like stacks of hay and the like.

Maybe I can make a big tentacle out of green stuff that I can show coming up out of the well (or even better — from the outhouse!) when we are using it for science fiction games.  I think I’d dispense with such whimsy for our Second World War battles.  Our forces have enough to cope with without Cthulhu or some random monstrosity oozing out the Sicilian underdark.

Photos from Pacificon 2015

I spent the weekend in Santa Clara, California attending the Pacificon game convention this year.  It was a lot of fun and I got to play quite a few interesting games and watch even more.  As per my usual policy with conventions, since I wasn’t playing in a tournament I left my 40K miniatures at home because I like to take the opportunity to try games I either don’t get a chance to play very often or have never played at all.

My tricky French battleship group. Rockets away!

I have seen other people playing the Dystopian Wars naval game off and on for a few years now, but I have never played it myself.  So I jumped into a four player demo game on the French side.  I found the game to be a lot of fun and am considering buying into the game now that I’ve had a chance to play it.

Russian ships attempt to close the range.

Battle of Borodino, September 7, 1812

Although I only took a close up of one unit, this game was a large, cinematic affair with loads of well painted figures spread out over a number of tables.  I also found it neat that the GM thought to run the battle on the weekend of the 203rd anniversary of the battle.

Here was a game of Battlefleet Gothic.  I didn’t play in this game, but what made me take notice was the colorful game mat and especially the inventive ringed planet terrain piece in one corner.

One thing about many naval games, both historical and fantastic, is they sometimes lack interesting terrain.  I thought this GM’s scratch built piece was attractive and whimsical.

It looks like rhinos on the attack but really they are hiding trying not to give up kill points.

Another game I’ve seen played but have never participated in: Epic 40K.  I played on the space marine side and controlled a large wing of Dark Raven land speeders, a few bikes, and squadron of rhinos headed by a chaplain, who never set foot out of his rhino for the entire battle.  He did do some good command and control work though directing the marines around him. I also commanded a reserve thunderhawk with a group of assault marines.

The Tyranids sport some rather unusual artillery, I must say!

It was interesting thinking about 40K battles in battalion or brigade level terms rather than the platoon and company level scale that I’m used to.  One thing I had to get used to was how much more fragile units apparently are in Epic.  (At least the version we were playing.) Even our numerous land raiders turned out to be rather easily destroyed with non-specialist weapons.  In addition to the number of units this general fragility forced me to look more at the overall big picture rather than worrying so much about individual squads.  We certainly didn’t have anything that I would call a lynchpin in our sizeable forces.

Watch out for those crazy elephants!

A picture from one of the ancients games Bill Butler of the South Bay Game Club in Saratoga, CA ran over the weekend. One thing I’ve been reminded about playing in ancients games is that you don’t want to get too close to the elephants, because once they get their blood up they are likely to go rampaging in any direction. The poor beasties!

“Twill be the yardarm for every man jack of thee!”

Noticed this interesting looking pirate game and took a picture on my way by.  The ship in the corner with the wolf head on the sail reminded me of the Space Wolves.  Perhaps someone’s island sunk and the men of Fenris are fighting over the scraps of arable land that remain?  Or perhaps they are just a random bunch of priates after rum, doubloons and slaughter?

One of my con roommates enjoying Hotel Life with her wretched cup of Fruit Loops.

My friends were kind enough to allow me to share their hotel room for the weekend with a few other people.  It was charming and fun with people sleeping on the floor, which brought back fond memories of going to cons when I was a teenager.  Back then if we weren’t sleeping under the gaming tables in the convention hall we were stacked twenty five in a room.  Good times those and it was fun living a friendly shadow of those olden days.