Saturday night was the highlight of Gary Con II for me. Z and I got to sit at Jim Ward's table for a game of Metamorphosis Alpha. In all, there were fourteen players. It was quite the experience watching Jim run the game. His refereeing style was commanding and he kept the action hot for the entire four-hour session.
I loved how he said up front that player characters with names longer than one syllable had a higher chance of dying. Everyone thus selected one-syllable names—except for that one guy that purposefully chose a two-syllable name. (As a result, he lost his Luck Charge immediately.) I named my character, "Arl." Jim looked me square and asked, "Arrr-rrrrrl?" I was like, "No! One syllable: Arrrrl." "Arrrrr-rrrrrrllllll." "Nonono! Arrrrrrl." This interplay persisted throughout the session. Brilliant.
Just behind us raged the battle of the moathouse. I would have taken more pictures of that event, but I was busy exploring The Warden. The game was hilarious—death and dismemberment were altogether too common. In truth, we were foolish players, touching irradiated things (ahem, purple grass) that would better have been left alone. We also did other stupid things involving barrels of explosive liquid, laser gun wielding androids, disintegration chambers, and more. The crazy antics of the game actually reminded me of Paranoia somewhat, although without the luxury of clones.
Jim would oftentimes veer off into a short side story about one the characters, explaining how they had come to possess some sort of item (usually footwear) or shard of knowledge. He would also frequently make editorial comments regarding various character statistics. For example,"What's your radiation resistance?" "19" "That's a verrrry good radiation resistance. You should be proud of that score." This sort of exchange indicated that the character was getting irradiated. Lovely.
The game was brutal and ended up in a 14-player TPK. Everyone didn't die at once, of course, but the first kill did occur about three minutes into the game. I managed to survive for three hours before my character bought it. I violated a primary rule: don't engage in combat unnecessarily. I threw my "bone" spear at a wolfoid instead of attempting to parley. I missed and it subsequently fragged me with a grenade. I mused to Jim that I hoped it was the mutation-inducing kind of grenade. In true form, Jim replied, "Wouldn't it be nice to mutate? That'd be the cool thing." Then he held out his hand and took my character sheet.
I'd like to take this opportunity to brag on Z. I introduced her to role playing games just one year ago. Now, at her very first con, she outlived me by forty-five minutes at Jim Ward's table. She was second to last to die. Outstanding. I couldn't be more pleased.