belzoni

If Twere Dundracon Twere Well Twere Dundracon Quickly

You can tell I've been going to DunDraCon a lot from the increasingly strained headlines on these posts. And why not? This legendary festival of tabletop RPGs and adequate sunlight in the President's Daily embrace of San Ramon, California provides me ample platform for my manias, expressed as always in the form of three panels, to wit:

Saturday, February 16

01:30-3:00 PM: City Building
Michael Blum, Kenneth Hite, Doc Cross
The long-running seminar about the nuts and bolts of creating and using cities in RPGs. This year we'll discuss how uninhabited cities change and decay.

6:00-7:30 PM: Alternate Histories
Kenneth Hite, Dana Lombardy
The very popular War College panel discussion continues! Authors and game designers Dana Lombardy and Ken Hite examine possible alternate histories and what their impact might have been. Audience participation is encouraged. FREE HAND OUT: an updated guide to sources for alternate histories will be provided to attendees.

Sunday, February 17

10:00-11:00 AM: What's Cool
Bruce Harlick, Kenneth Hite
Two icons of the gaming industry present their unique viewpoints on the best in current game products, straight from the dealer room.

This year, even the War College panels are in the Tri-Valley 2 Room, so BE THERRRRRRE
belzoni

I Never Metatopia I Didn't Like

Next weekend I once more manifest at the finest game-design convention, RPG protospiel, and empanada tourism base-camp in the world, Metatopia in lovely Morristown, New Jersey. If you have any interest in game design, and especially if you have an RPG in process that you'd like knowledgeable people to bang on diagnostically, I urge you to manifest likewise. In between playtests and focus groups and empanada runs, I also have been known to seminarulate, thusly.

Contrary to my usual assertion at this point in a convention schedule post, at Metatopia seminars are usually recorded and eventually wind up on the Web; follow me assiduously across all social media and I shall share those links with you when I know them.

FRIDAY NOVEMBER 2

11:00AM - 12 NOON: "Honing Your Game Pitch" presented by Jim McClure, Kenneth Hite, Cat Tobin. This panel is designed to help you establish the best way to present your game to consumers. From Elevator pitches, to focus points, to mechanical highlights, we will cover what is most important in getting people to buy into your game. Attendees should be prepared to discuss their game project as part of a group, and have an elevator pitch pre-prepared. The panelists will then help each individual attendee to hone their presentation.

2:00PM - 3:00PM: "Horror Mechanics (For More Than Just Horror)" presented by Anne Ratchat, Kenneth Hite, Elsa Henry, Julia Ellingboe, Jabari Weathers. In the genre of horror, game designers and writers have developed an arsenal of tools specifically to disempower the characters in their worlds. These mechanics are assumed one-trick ponies but can also serve as useful mechanics for empowering play as well when understood. The goal of this panel is to break down why specific horror mechanics work and how to use them effectively, regardless of genre.

SATURDAY NOVEMBER 3

6:00PM - 7:00PM: "The Transitive Property of Myth" presented by Kenneth Hite. In this year's installment of "Ken Thinks About Stuff Out Loud", I look at the structural patterns of mythology. Are there actually structures of myth, and if there aren't, can we pretend there are? How can we take real-world myths and make them game material? How can we translate one myth system (that of the "standard fantasy world" for example) into another (e.g., Greek mythology)? And how can we translate any of it into dice, numbers, and heroic player character stories?
belzoni

CIFF Me As Though It Was The Last Time

Well, another CIFF has come and gone, this one three days shorter than the last batch of them. Whether that, along with what felt like a much weaker year this time around, portends trouble behind the screen we shall all learn together. For right now, what we've learned is that Hungary can indeed bring it, that Brazil is on notice, and that it's a good thing the Festival spotlighted Italian films this year. his_regard and I saw 21 movies -- slightly less than usual -- but with the exception of the highly recommended Japanese film Shoplifters (sold out), the Hungarian animated heist flick Ruben Brandt, Collector (only available opposite our Welles fest) and the lone South Korean film I don't think we missed too much. And so, to the rankings ...

The Pinnacle

The Other Side of the Wind (US, Orson Welles, 1976 & 2018) Imperious director J.J. Hannaford (John Huston) returns from European exile to make one last masterpiece but the system (and his own legend) gets in his way. Scripted and shot as a combination of found footage and film-within-a-film, this prodigiously innovative, elliptical movie has finally achieved final cut (Bob Murawski completing the remaining 70% of the editing from Welles’ notes) thanks to Netflix money and hard-working producers Frank Marshall and Filip Jan Rymsza.

Recommended

Dogman (Italy, Matteo Garrone, 2018) Dog groomer Marcello (Marcello Fonte) plays sidekick and lackey to brutish thug Simone (Edoardo Pesce) until … Garrone’s strong, pure study of a man under pressure depends almost entirely on Fonte‘s acting for its compelling drive. The story is far less complex than Garrone’s amazing Gomorrah, but this is almost its equal as a film.

Border (Sweden, Ali Abbasi, 2018) Tina (Eva Melander) looks Neanderthal, but she can sniff out shame and fear (among other things) making her a valued customs officer — until she meets Vore (Eero Milonoff) who looks like she does. From a story by Jon Ajvide Lindqvist (Let the Right One In) who also co-wrote the script, the film plays effortlessly with many different genres from policier to horror to magical realism.

The Trouble With You (France, Pierre Salvadori, 2018) Upon discovering that her dead super-cop husband corruptly framed Antoine (Pio Marmai) for a jewel heist, Marseille police woman Yvonne (a wonderful Adele Haenel) tries to protect him from the consequences when he gets out of prison. Screwball comedy mashes up romance, crime, and philosophy as unconsidered moral choices lead to ever more ridiculous consequences, all to a fab go-go score by Camille Bazbaz.

They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead (US, Morgan Neville, 2018) Tells the story of Orson Welles’ last great fiasco, the making of The Other Side of the Wind (q.v.). Particularly well cut together explainer weirdly omits the final chapter in which Netflix pays to fix the seemingly intractable problems and finish the film (and create this documentary).

Liverleaf (Japan, Eisuke Naitô, 2018) Bullied transfer student Haruka (Anna Yamada) finally unbottles her rage in ultraviolent revenge, revealing secrets and burying bodies in a blizzard. Based on a manga, some of the scenes are achingly beautiful — and often gory as hell. Maybe some of the story beats could have used some signals or supports, but this is ukiyo-e after all, so maybe not.

The Mercy of the Jungle (Belgium/France/Rwanda, Joel Karekezi, 2018) Career Rwandan Army Sergeant Xavier (Marc Zinga) and peasant private Faustin (Stéphane Bak), left behind during an offensive in the Second Congo War must survive the jungle, a band of rebels, and their own psyches in this effective war movie that occasionally becomes genuinely gripping. The two leads’ strong, lived-in performances give Karekezi a solid core to return to, keeping the picaresque nature of the material reined in.

Overlord (US, Julius Avery, 2018) Just before D-Day the remnants of an American paratrooper squad (Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, John Magaro, et al) must destroy a key Nazi radio jammer in a church, but find the Nazi forces conducting supernatural experiments in the crypt. Remarkably competent war action joins with top-notch zombie action for a thoroughly satisfying, controlled horror-adventure B-movie on an A-budget.

X — the eXploited (Hungary, Karoly Ujj Mészáros, 2018) Brilliant detective Eva (Monika Balsai) can’t function thanks to crippling panic attacks, but still manages to link a series of seeming accidents and suicides as murders with political implications. A solid political thriller, a strong policier, and for an act or two just a very creative variation on the Nero Wolfe model, all filmed with style.

Friedkin Uncut (Italy, Francesco Zippel, 2018) Perhaps with a lesser subject than Chicago’s own William Friedkin, this fairly conventional documentary-about-a-director (direcumentary?) would just be Good, but Friedkin remains a live wire at 83 and the galaxy of talents from Ellen Burstyn to Walter Hill to Quentin Tarantino who pay him homage do so joyfully. (The Willem Dafoe segment also reminded me why and how much To Live and Die in L.A. blew me away when I saw it in the theater.) Friedkin eschews the term “art,” about his own films at least, but like a true artist he stubbornly shoots what he sees.

Good

Animal (Argentina/Spain, Armando Bo, 2018) A civilized man (Guillermo Francella) disintegrates when his kidney fails. Notable for the slow-motion home invasion-demonic possession story featuring the scumbag drifter with a matching blood type who extorts him, but in the end the film feels like a writer with too many directions becoming a director without a clear vision.

Duelles (Belgium/France, Olivier Masset-Depasse, 2018) Story by Hitchcock, shots by Douglas Sirk: In idyllic 1960s Brussels, neighboring housewives Alice (Veerle Baetens) and Celine (Anne Coesens) succumb to paranoia and madness following a fatal accident to Celine’s son. The story moves well, and Baetens plays increasing mania wonderfully. But Masset-Depasse’s relatively conventional treatment and extremely safe and conventional choices raise the question: what is this movie doing, exactly, besides marking time for the inevitable Reese Witherspoon remake?

The Stolen Caravaggio (Italy, Roberto Ando, 2018) Film company secretary Valeria (Micaela Ramazotti), who ghostwrites screenplays for blocked writer Alessandro Pes (Alessandro Gassmann), gets a lead on a story about the titular Caravaggio and to nobody’s surprise winds up inside the action. More propulsive than Ando’s Confessions, this meta-film wants to be Charade or a similarly dizzying romcom thriller, but doesn’t quite reach it. However, the ride is fun, and Maurizio Calvesi’s cinematography makes everything gorgeous.

Boys Cry (Italy, Damiano and Fabio D’Innocenzo, 2018) Vacuous losers Manolo (Andrea Carpanzano) and Mirko (Matteo Olivetti) accidentally run over a snitch, gaining them entry to a minor mafia clan and setting off a slow fuse of moral awakening. With no glamor, an overexposed palette, and lots of close-ups of the thugs, this is not a pretty mob film; your value likely depends on whether you care to identify with these accidental goombahs.

Okay

Ash is Purest White (China/France, Jia Zhangke, 2018) In 2001 in the remote city of Datong, Qiao (Zhao Tao) is the girlfriend of petty mob boss Bin (Liao Fan); in 2006 she gets out of jail to find he has deserted her and she pursues him to Fangjie; in 2017 she’s back in Datong running mah-jongg waiting for him to show up. Too long to let any of the three acts work, and too invested in an unappealing Bin to be enjoyable at any length. The middle act, where Qiao rebuilds her life one grift at a time, could have been great.

Happy as Lazzaro (Italy/Switzerland/France/Germany, Alice Rohrwacher, 2018) The peasants of isolated Inviolata remain serfs in the 1980s, with the good (saintly?) worker Lazzaro (Adriano Tardiolo) bearing his fellows’ burdens in turn. Halfway through the movie, everything changes, and the neo-medieval mise-en-scene becomes today’s urban fringe. Rohrwacher tells a timeless story of exploitation with moments of stark beauty and emotion, but her choice of “golden legend” crosses up her ideological priors to eventually strangling effect.

Sibel (EU/Turkey, Çagla Zencirci and Guillaume Giovanetti, 2018) In rural Turkey, the mute daughter (Damla Sönmez) of the mayor (Emin Gürsoy) communicates using an ancestral whistling language, but most of her day is spent alone hunting a wolf. Zenciri and Giovanetti want to wrap their exoticized-society girl-power movie in fairy tale clothing, but do nothing to reconcile (or play up) the conflict between the two modes. The two leads also play differently, Sönmez bordering on histrionics while Gürsoy dives deep internally; the result is four halves of two movies.

Naples in Veils (Italy, Ferzan Ozpetek, 2017) After a super-hot one-night stand with diver Andrea (Alessandro Borghi) medical examiner Adriana (Giovanna Mezzogiorno) finds herself investigating, and suspected of, his murder the next day. Then she starts seeing his ghost, or his twin, or … ? Lush and beautiful, set in Naples’ avant-garde art scene and ignoring the Camorra or any aspect of reality whatsoever, the film eventually disappears into its own sexy, gorgeously shot ass. Two thirds of a movie — even two thirds of Vertigo — is still not a movie.

Transit (Germany/France, Christian Petzold, 2018) To escape a France fallen to fascist invasion, Georg (Franz Rogowski) assumes the identity of a dead writer; while waiting in Marseille for his papers to clear, he becomes embroiled in both his lives’ complications. Moody, slightly surreal film becomes a case study in why voiceover narration is a terrible idea.

Not Recommended

Ex-Shaman (Brazil, Luiz Bolognesi, 2018) Docudrama leisurely follows Perera, the former shaman of the Paiter Surui tribe in the Brazilian interior. Bolognesi’s general melancholy tone doesn’t provide emotional insight, and the Anthro 101 subject matter doesn’t hold great interest by itself. Strong suspicion that Bolognesi staged some shots and the throughline, and certainly tinkered with the sound, leaches the film of what value it had left.

Jumpman (Russia/Lithuania/Ireland/France, Ivan I. Tverdovsky, 2018) After dumping him in the baby hatch of an orphanage at birth, Oksana (Anna Slyu) comes back for Denis (Denis Vlasenko) to use his congenital analgesia — inability to feel pain — for fraud. Denis becomes a jumpman, someone who jumps in front of rich people’s cars to extort them for bribes or (thanks to a deep-benched conspiracy) legal judgements. The scam is interesting, unlike the acting or camera work, but (along with a weird Jocasta-complex vibe from Oksana) never pays off because in Russia, movie ends you. Kirill Richter’s score is the only real standout, by turns brooding and atonal.
belzoni

Greg Stafford, R.I.P.

Greg Stafford touched so many lives with such magic that it is literally impossible to describe the feeling of his departure. I'm not even sure I can describe what it means to me -- I found out about three hours ago and I'm still trying to form words.

But I can say that he was everything I ever dreamed and hoped he was when I met him over 25 years ago. He was an unfailingly kind and thoughtful friend, a boon companion, and a magnificent and path-breaking game designer whose 33-year-old masterpiece King Arthur Pendragon remains well in advance of the state of the art. He defined the Charisma stat in person, and the Intelligence and Power stats in conversation and creation.

I have so many fond memories of him, from first cracking open Call of Cthulhu, to getting an email from GREG STAFFORD HIS OWN SELF asking what book I wanted to write for his company, to having him run Pendragon for me one night, to getting my author's copy of the Prince Valiant RPG Episode Book two days ago -- and those are just the gaming-direct memories.

There's also the late-night riffing on the movie Anaconda when we shared a room at some con or other, the walking tour of the Haight peppered with hilariously cruel jokes about the Grateful Dead, the long-form talks about myth and gods and monsters, and the unique delight of introducing Greg to a new drug called Stilton cheese. Dozens of kindnesses, personal and professional; they seemed to grow from him naturally, like leaves off the Green Knight.

Greg was a personal hero of mine, as well as a culture-hero to my people. He showed me his rune, and I've been trying to master it for decades.

Yep, I was right, I can't describe what Greg's departure means to me. This will have to do. Ave atque vale, Greg, rex quondam et rex futurus ludorum.

belzoni

CIFF Meets the Phantom of the Park

Once more it's time for the Chicago International Film Festival, so once more it must be time for me to lay out my schedule as I know it. As usual, all films show at the AMC River East 21. Sadly, the sole South Korean film on offer (tch-tch) plays only against my Orson Welles mini-Fest, so I shall have to check out Clean Up on some other screen somewhere.

THURSDAY OCT 11

6:00: Transit (Germany/France, Christian Petzold) A man fleeing occupied France meets a woman searching for her dead husband -- whose identity he has assumed. Surreal thriller described as "Kafka's Casablanca."

8:15: Animal (Argentina/Spain, Armando Bo) A man in need of a kidney transplant falls under the power of a conniving couple. Dark comic thriller directed by the screenwriter of Birdman.

FRIDAY OCT 12

8:15: The Mercy of the Jungle (Belgium/France/Rwanda, Joël Karakezi) Two soldiers have to make it home across inhospitable jungle during the Second Congo War.

10:30: Liverleaf (Japan, Eisuke Naitô) Schoolgirl meets bullies, schoolgirl gets supernatural powers, carnage ensues.

SUNDAY OCT 14

12:30: Sibel (EU/Turkey, Çağla Zencirci and Guillaume Giovanetti) Modern folktale pits a whistling girl against a wolf.

2:15: Boys Cry (Italy, Damiano and Fabio D'Innocenzo) Two street kids accidentally kill a pedestrian in a hit-and-run, earning them a place in the Mafia. Crime film and coming-of-age movie duke it out in a battle of genres.

4:30: Border (Sweden, Ali Abbasi) Customs officer whose ability to smell fear and shame makes her a standout at her job feels a powerful attraction for a traveler whose Neanderthal-like features resemble her own. Received a coveted robin_d_laws Recommendation!

8:15: Ash is Purest White (China, Jia Zhangke) Released from prison, a gun moll in the Jianghu underworld discovers her boss/lover and gang have moved on in the five years she was away. Gunplay ensues!

TUESDAY OCT 16

12:00: Friedkin Uncut (Italy, Francesco Zippel) A documentary on the films of Chicago's own William Friedkin from The French Connection to Killer Joe.

2:30: Jumpman (Russia/Ireland/Lithuania/France, Ivan I. Tverdovsky) A boy born without the ability to feel pain becomes -- an insurance fraud, because Russia. Russian films always sound so cool and then very not always are, but we always come back. Lithuania tho.

5:45: Happy as Lazzaro (Italy/Switzerland/France/Germany, Alice Rohrwacher) An outcast man who can time travel can hopefully also travel out of realism and into magic realism.

WEDNESDAY OCT 17

6:00: Duelles (Belgium/France, Olivier Masset-Depasse) Two identical bourgeois neighbor housewives succumb to paranoia. Belgians love making Hitchcock movies, so let's hope this one is one of the good ones.

8:30: The Stolen Caravaggio (Italy, Roberto Andó) Screenwriter receives a screenplay plot full of intrigue and, one suspects, finds herself living it. Andó directed The Confessions, which we liked in 2016.

THURSDAY OCT 18

6:15: The Belly of the Whale (Ireland, Morgan Bushe) Two teenage hooligans decide to rob a casino and you had me at "rob a casino."

FRIDAY OCT 19

12:30: Ex-Shaman (Brazil, Luiz Bolognesi) Former shaman of a now-Christian village must take up the rattle once more to fight evil spirits.

3:00: Naples in Veils (Italy, Ferzan Ozpetek) A medical examiner wakes up to find that her one-night-stand is dead, and she must explore the darkness of Naples to clear her name. I admit it, I'm just a sucker for movies set in Naples, but you know that sounds pretty good.

5:30: Dogman (Italy/France, Matteo Garrone) Dog groomer pulled into criminality bites back! From the director of the excellent Gomorrah.

8:15: X--The eXploited (Hungary, Károly Ujj Mészáros) Detective battles anxiety and the Communist past to unravel a murder mystery. Hungary usually punches way above its weight, but it has stubbed its toe a couple of times recently.

SATURDAY OCT 20

2:30: They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead (US, Morgan Neville) Documentary about the last 15 years of Orson Welles' life from the maker of 20 Feet From Stardom.

5:45: The Trouble with You (France, Pierre Salvadori) Policewoman learns that her husband was actually a crooked cop; she tries to right his wrongs in this "screwball caper comedy" set in the Riviera which I mean really icing on top of icing here.

11:00: Overlord (US, Julius Avery) Heroic US soldiers killing some Nazi werewolves or zombies or werezombies or wolfensteins or something.

SUNDAY OCT 21

2:30: The Other Side of the Wind (US, Orson Welles, 1976 & 2018) John Huston plays an aging, legendary director blocked at every turn in his attempt to make his final masterpiece. Not so much art imitating life as art diarizing life, this famously unfinished film finally got finished (by Peter Bogdanovich and Frank Marshall, I think) thanks to the deep pockets of Netflix, where you can all see it two weeks after I do. This should definitively break our long-running pattern of the last film of the Fest not always being very good.
belzoni

HPL + PDX + FF = F U N

What ho! Once more I shriekingly adorn the tentacular spectacular that is the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival in scenic (and so far sunny) Portland, Oregon. And once more, my schedule has materialized from out of the ultraviolet in this hideous Form:

THURSDAY October 4

7:00pm-10:00pm: VIP Reception for Kickstarter backers [Tony Starlight's Showroom]

SATURDAY October 6

10:00am - Noon: Carb-load for Cthulhu
Just you, dozens of Voodoo donuts, bagels, and coffee, and some of this Cosmos's most renowned Weird fiction authors signing books and taking names. Provisions are limited, so get there early and enjoy your blasphemous treats while rediscovering the ancient art form of tree pulp inscribed with the ink of sea creatures! [EOD Center]

9:00pm - 10:00pm: Of Vampires and Space Rocks
A look at films with Cosmic Horror themes, from early Universal to more modern, that audiences might have missed. Chris McMilan (moderator), Derek M. Koch, Dominique Lamssies, Ken Hite, Ray Garton [EOD Center]

10:00pm - 11:00pm: Lovecraft Squares!
A trivia Game-show style event! Guests answer trivia questions and the Audience guesses if they’re right or wrong. Test your knowledge of HPL Trivia and see if you can catch the truths and spot the fibs! Sean Branney, Adam Scott Glancy, Lee Moyer, Richard Stanley, Cody Goodfellow, Kenneth Hite, John Skipp, Andrew Leman, Andrew Migliore [EOD Center]

SUNDAY October 7

3:00pm - 4:00pm: Carcosa Before Chambers: Non-Lovecraftian Forays Into the Weird
Who were Lovecraft and Chambers reading when they were coming up as authors themselves? Edward Morris (moderator), Nathan Carson, Mike Griffin, Ken Hite, Dominique Lamssies, Joe Pulver by Skype! [EOD Center]

4:00pm - 5:00pm: H.P. Lovecraft's Rod Serling's Night Gallery
Rod Serling's Night Gallery anthology series was known for its stories of the macabre and supernatural. It was a perfect fit for adapting some of H. P. Lovecraft's stories to the small screen. Here, we present "Cool Air" and "Pickman's Model" in all their 1971, 4:3 picture ratio glory! Introduction by Kenneth Hite [Upper Left Theater]
belzoni

On and On to DragonCon

Once more the good people of DragonCon have seen fit to make me an ornament of their program, and if you can spare any time from shouldering your way through the humidified masses perhaps I shall be an ornament of yours as well. This year, the beloved Ken and Monte Show adds a second session! Also, as of this writing, THREE of my panels look to be solo affairs, although I suspect ringers, backups, and reinforcements shall be provided come the day.

As always, nobody tells me (and nor should they) whether any of these panels shall be recorded, streamed, beamed, or choreographed in the terpsichorean language of the bees.

Friday, August 31

Title: The Elder Gods
Time: Fri 01:00 pm Location: Augusta 1-2 - Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: How does one portray a supreme, malevolent being in the context of a roleplaying game? If player cannot hope to defeat or fathom such a being, is there a point to the game? Find out here in this panel! [Kenneth Hite, Monte Cook]

Saturday, September 1

Title: Cults, Conspiracies, & Other Craziness!
Time: Sat 11:30 am Location: Augusta 1-2 - Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: Find out about the crazy, the weird...& all of the things your history teacher didn't talk about! With our two published authors who are experts on all things occult, mystical, cult-y, & conspiratorial! [Monte Cook, Kenneth Hite]

Title: Roll for Madness!
Time: Sat 05:30 pm Location: Augusta 1-2 - Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: An Elder Gods-themed panel! How does madness work in a game? How do you roleplay insanity or mental disorders? How can we use this to enhance our understanding of roleplaying? Join our award-winning game designers to find out! [Kenneth Hite]

Title: Horror in Gaming
Time: Sat 07:00 pm Location: Augusta 1-2 - Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: An Elder Gods-themed panel! Find out about how to scare players, what makes a horror game tick, & the great secrets of the dark. From some of the masters of horror gaming! [Kenneth Hite]

Sunday, September 2

Title: Help! My Game Is on Fire!
Time: Sun 11:30 am Location: Augusta 3 - Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: Talk to industry experts Car Talk-style about the problems in your game! Obnoxious player? No place to play? Is the party too powerful? Bring your questions to the experts! [Jason Bulmahn, Monte Cook, Kenneth Hite]

Title: Kill, Stab, Squash! Character Death in the Campaign!
Time: Sun 01:00 pm Location: Augusta 1-2 - Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: An Elder Gods-themed panel! We talk about character death in the campaign. How do different people handle it? How often should it be present in a campaign? Is there such a thing as a game that is too lethal--or one that is not lethal enough? [Jason Bulmahn, Kenneth Hite, Keith Baker]

Title: Vampire the Masquerade, 5th edition
Time: Sun 02:30 pm Location: Augusta 1-2 - Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: Talk with the game's lead designer about the resurrection of the game that started a revolution. The Masquerade is back! [Kenneth Hite]

Title: The Investigative Game
Time: Sun 05:30 pm Location: Augusta 1-2 - Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: An Elder Gods-themed panel! How do you set up a mystery? How do you create clues for players to follow? What about investigative characters? Can investigative games exist in a magical universe like in D&D? Find out! [Keith Baker, Kenneth Hite]
belzoni

GenCon at the End of the Tunnel

Some delightful scamp has moved GenCon up by a week or two again, oh hilarity! The good news is that leaves my schedule for the Noir City Chicago Film Fest free and clear this year. The bad news is that it leaves me just a weensy bit slammed, explaining the late nature of this, my annual Ken's GenCon Schedule Post.

As always, nobody in their right mind tells me if anything at all ever is being recorded, streamed, or laboriously chiseled into cuneiform for the delectation of Innanna. Except my podcast, I'm pretty sure Robin's recording that one. So herewith, said Schedule Post!

WEDNESDAY AUGUST 1

9:00 p.m.-??: Diana Jones Awards Party
Be there to see storied game-design luminaries act remarkably like regular old drunks! [Undisclosed Location]

FRIDAY AUGUST 3

1:00-2:00 p.m.: Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff LIVE!
Robin D. Laws & Kenneth Hite talk roleplaying, history, conspiracy, occultism, writing, food, movies & whatever you ask them about in this live edition of their award-winning podcast. [Lucas Oil : Mtg Rm 5]

4:00-5:00 p.m.: Investigative Roleplaying MasterClass
Mystery scenario masters Kenneth Hite and Robin D. Laws train their magnifying glasses on clue-gathering adventures to reveal the unlikely suspects behind your tabletop woes. [Lucas Oil : Mtg Rm 5]

6:00-7:00 p.m.: Introducing Vampire: the Masquerade 5th Edition
The Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition development team hosts a panel discussion on meta-plot & game design of Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition. [Lucas Oil : Mtg Rm 3]

7:00-8:00 p.m.: ENnie Awards Pre-Show
Drinking and my beloved fellow nominees, what could be better? [Union Station]

8:00-10:00? p.m.: ENnie Awards Ceremony
I'd like to thank all of you for voting for Delta Green: the Role-Playing Game. Ideally, I shall do so from on stage, while holding one to three ENnies. [Union Station]

SATURDAY AUGUST 4

2:00-3:00 p.m.: Swords, Spies & Shoggoths: The Pelgrane Press Panel
Join Simon Rogers, Cat Tobin & others from the Pelgrane team for a behind-the-scenes look at what the award-winning UK publisher's been up to this year, & what they've planned for the coming year. [Lucas Oil : Mtg Rm 5]

7:00-8:00 p.m.: Delta Green: Inside the Conspiracy
The authors of the award-winning Delta Green: The Role-Playing Game talk about playing & running cosmic horror & conspiracies. Learn what's coming up & ask questions of your own. [Lucas Oil : Mtg Rm 2]

Apart from those brilliant moments in time, if you seek me, seek me out at the old familiar Pelgrane Press stand, located at Booth #1317, or in a bar. I'm always happy to sign books or say "Hi" or just nod briskly as we pass each other in a ginormous crowd of people on their way to play elf games.
belzoni

Area Man Up For Three or One-Half ENnie Awards

It's ENnie Awards voting time again, oh joy oh joy! Once more, I'm in the running, albeit with a few decorous fractional nominations: one-sixth of an ENnie each for Best Game (Delta Green: The RPG), Best Rules (same, really mostly Greg Stolze and Shane Ivey but I'll take my sixth of an ENnie anyway), and Product of the Year (again, that product is Delta Green: The RPG). So please do vote Delta Green: The RPG those coveted '1's across the board.

Robin and I have finally been overturned by a judicial coup d'etat so no Best Podcast nomination to crow over, but Robin is still very much in it for Cthulhu Confidential (a well-deserved Best Rules nod).

Other matters: I also commend to your attention #feminism, which despite being in the wrong category (it's an anthology of RPGs and should be in Best Game) and from 2016 so ineligible to boot should get a similarly devil-may-care nod for Best RPG Related Product.

Actually in the right category and year and also deserving of your various votes is Harlem Unbound (Best Setting, Best Writing, Product of the Year) by Chris Spivey. And also now that I think of it I'm a Guide (Best Family Game) by Shanna Germain who is also up for Uh-Oh Monsters (Best Monster/Adversary) and Predation (Best Setting).

The Best Cover Art is so clearly Brennen Reece's Harlem Unbound cover that I surely didn't have to tell you that. Likewise Zak Sabbath for Best Interior Art for Frostbitten and Mutilated.

So go vote for me and (to an only slightly lesser extent) for all these other great folks!

http://www.ennie-awards.com/blog/2018-ennie-voting-is-live/
belzoni

In Memoriam

Robert Munroe (Ensign, Lexington militia, KIA 19 April 1775, Lexington Green)
Jonathan J. Dunbar (MSG, SOCOM, KIA 30 Apr 2018, Manbij, Aleppo Province, Syria)

And all 559,193 in between.