Just back from an exciting four and a half day whirlwind trip from Baltimore to Buffalo, then Toronto, then back to Buffalo, before returning home. I had the pleasure of being a Guest of Honour at Breakout up in the not so frozen north of Canada, so after driving through a small snowstorm, dropping the kids off at their grandparents, discovering that all printers don’t accept 3×5 index cards, a humorous exchange at customs (incredulous asking “you have friends in Canada?”), and getting a later start than I wanted, we arrived at the lovely Sheraton Conference center and signed in. Kate Bullock and crew put on an amazing con. Diversity and safety were front and center at every game and panel. Every table had an X-card, every GM and facilitator was asked not if they were using safety tools, but what tools they were using and were asked to actually explain them to a safety coordinator before they went to their games.
I got to play my internet buddy Dymphna‘s game Dreaming the Devil with her. Super intense and intimate game about a witch trial in 16th century Italy. My Friday afternoon Nightingales game didn’t get enough players to play (it needs four and I only had one signed up at the 5PM start time) so I went to dinner with some of my favorite people and found an amazing food court type place across the street from the hotel (the Lemon Drop cupcake was transcendent). I played Masks of the Mummy King with the creator, Nathan Paoletta, who I’m hopefully going to be working with on his newest project set in 1830s Baltimore, Imp of the Perverse. I was actually a responsible adult Friday and went to bed at a reasonable hour. (Okay, we were exhausted from driving unto 2am the night before and crashed while everyone else was in a game.)
Saturday my 10am playtest of the newest playset of Nightingales did make so we had a great session of Black women nurses in the yellow fever wards of Santiago, Cuba during the Spanish American war. Lots of touching one on one scenes between the nurses and their patients and one of my players punched me in the feels during the epilogue scenes. (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU DID!) Lunch at the amazing food court again (lobtser roll was soooo good!) before sitting in on the Blood On the Table: Horror in RPGs with Sarah Richardson, Michelle Lyons-McFarland, and Jaym Gates, three of the best in the business of horror games. My panel, Making Your First RPG, with Mark Richardson, Anna Kreider, and Emily Griggs was next, a fun hour of tips and tricks on writing and publishing your first game. Hung out with some fun people, putting faces to names I know from social media (hi everyone!). Got interviewed by the Terrible Warriors podcast (I’ll link it when the episode comes out) about Nightingales, and Orun, and New Agenda before I had dinner with the husband and swung by the makeup swap before Chill with Matthew McFarland, a game I worked on a supplement for but never had a chance to play. It was every bit of fun I thought it would be. Spent the rest of the evening hanging out with people and drinking the infused cordial/liqueurs I brought and finding the Breakout equivalent of the Saturday Night Cuddle Couch. (Look ma! No hangover!) Sarah, Jenn, and I (we still have yet to play in meatspace together!) took selfies and sent them to torment our Chain World GM Brendan.
Sunday, was the Updating Your Genre panel with Jenn Martin and Dana Cameron, about how to diversify and introduce new ideas into your games, whether as a GM or a designer. We had some great questions and hopefully gave some equally helpful answers.
Leaving a con always makes me sad. Most of the time it’s the only way I get to see people who I work with and laugh with and care about without a screen and a camera. This was no different.
Thanks again to Kate Bullock and the rest of the Breakout crew for a fabulous weekend. 11/10 would go again!