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#5: Nervous Excitement

This article originally appeared in the November 2013 issue.

Just one week to go until TravCon13. The sheer terror of last year isn’t so present, but there’s definitely a nervousness and excitement that’s an interesting mixture and hard to describe. I must remember that this is still only the second game I’ve written or run. Skill level 0, let’s say, rather than the -3 penalty. I don't expect lightning to strike twice and to receive the same warm reception as last year, but I still have absolutely no idea how this adventure is going to go. It’s very different—in fact almost the complete opposite of last year. Instead of ragbag Scouts exploring a new world at the edge of empire, this one is about smart noble dilettantes on a core world with too much time and money on their hands. There’s a bit of me that wonders if it’s even Traveller: it could probably be set in 17th century Europe without too much difficulty.

Last year I prepared some 30,000 words or more in just the month before the Convention (having not done anything for 11 months after a single day splurge of plot writing the day after the previous Con) and I knew I didn’t want that pressure again. Daughter providing another 10,000 words of handwritten diary just three days before really didn't help stress levels either! So this year, I thought I would start earlier and have basically spent the entire year putting some 45,000 words together. It’s interesting how it’s come out at about the same length (100 pages vs. 103 pages this year). This year, however, I have rather more handouts. In fact, I suspect there’s too many—32 depending on how you count them. We’ll see.
On the upside, however, it is looking good—or at least as good as I can make it—and I think I’m about as ready to go as I can be. “The Handout”—the equivalent of the diary from last year—is finished and is with the printshop for glossy paper and a smart finish. The other handouts still need printing in some cases—although the large (A1 size) yacht deckplan has been up in the University map library storage units for some time now. Andy Lilly, organising the convention, has sent out a draft schedule and included me twice, so I need to get last year’s game together if I'm going to run that as well. But I’m not sure I want to do the new adventure only once after all this effort. Still, we can see when we get there; it’s not fixed in stone yet.

But if I’m to do this another year, I need another plan. All in one month is too much, but so is spreading it across a year. I feel as if I’ve done nothing else and really need both a physical and a mental break from this story and these characters.