More Rooms in the Hampton Inn Charlotte-University Place

We have some Doubles available at the Hampton Inn Charlotte-University Place. The rate is $96 plus tax.

Hampton Inn Charlotte-University Place

704-548-0905

$96 +tax per night. (Double)

This rate includes: complimentary breakfast buffet, high-speed wireless internet, and parking. Ask for the MACE rate when you call.

The cut off date for this rate is Oct 30th, 2015.

At this point we only have 15 rooms, but we will look at adding more as needed.

MACE 2015 Flea Market and Swap Meet

MACE 2015 is bringing back the MACE Flea Market and swap meet.  This is a very casual aspect of our convention and we leave a lot up to you and your judgement.

Sell or Trade your old gaming stuff. MACE is providing a chance for you not sell your old games and accessories like a yard sale. This is not for vendors to sell current games, or game stores to sell their old stock.  This is for regular folks to sell their old out-of-print gaming stuff. You set up your own schedule. We will just set up tables. All sales are final. No retail sales allowed here. Negotiating and bargaining are encouraged.

We are going to set up tables in the hallway outside the elevators. 4 or 5 depending on space. We are going to try and keep it as simple as possible. We did not want to make it any more complicated then it needs to be. Basically these tables are available for you to sell any old, used and/or out of print games and fandom merchandise. This is not a place for new or unopened product or a place for vendors. You can set your own schedule for when you want to sell. If there are not tables available, try again some other time. I would not recommend waiting to the last day because (1) people will have less money by then, (2) I think a lot of people are going to wait last minute.

Contact us if you have any questions.

MACE/MACE West Game Master Instructions

This post is for anyone that is in some fashion or another, involved in volunteering or running events at a MACE event – MACE, and MACE West.  This also can apply in most ways to client events like ConCarolinas.  If you are not involved in running games, volunteering for either game registration or game library or something along those lines, this information does not apply to you.  Much of this information applies to both Organized Play (PFS, D&D AL, SRM) and regular gaming GMs, so please read!

Registering for the con

If you are a GM (and your games are on the schedule) or a volunteer (and you have been a assigned a volunteer schedule), you are registered for the con.  See GM check-in on how to pick up you badge.

Check your OGRe Schedule

If you have not already, please be sure to check out OGRe for your schedule.  Go to http://ogre.justusproductions.com and log in there.  If you are a GM, you have an account ( either you made it or I made it for you) and it is activated.  Volunteer Schedules will also appear on the OGRe schedule by clicking the My Schedule button.

It would be advisable to print your schedule as well as your player list.  The closer to the convention you can print these, the more accurate they will be as change will happen all the way up to the convention and during.  Use the Download tab to download these PDFs

GM Check-in/Badges

All GMs must check-in with Gaming Registration as soon as you get in.  You will sign in and pick up your badge at Gaming Registration.  If you owe money to us for running less than the required to get in free, you pay us there.

We will need to know your name and the fact that you are a GM.  So approaching the table saying “I am a GM and I would like my badge please” is an ideal start to our conversation :-).  And be sure to say that with a smile 🙂

Our list of GMs is usually rather large, especially for our MACE events, so getting your badge early is the best thing.  If you can’t, that is fine but for those that can, please arrive as early as possible.  If all things work out, I will be handing them out as soon as I have them ready.

The badges will have your GM schedule on the back.  Changes to your schedule made after gaming registration closes will not be reflected because I need at least a week to print and ready everything.

Client Conventions Badges

For Client Conventions like ConCarolinas, things may be a little different.  They may have their own system of obtaining badges.  Badges may be obtained in multiple ways, depending on role with the convention.  If your role with the con is more than just gaming, then I suggest you follow the instructions provided by the Con Committee to obtain your badge – this includes guests, dealers, and staff.  GMs should check-in to Gaming Registration to pick your badge, but the location of gaming registration may vary.

Game Registration Tickets

WE NO LONG PRE-PRINT THE TICKETS!  PLEASE PRINT OR DOWNLOAD YOUR OWN!

We use a game pre-registration tickets system.  Players can print out their tickets online.  We no longer pre-print the tickets to pick them up.  These basically represent your reservation for a seat at a particular game you are registered to play.  All players will have tickets as well.

As a GM for a game, you have three requirements…

  •  Do not allow a player sit at your table without a current Convention event badge.  I will be walking through every session in each room doing badge checks.  Please help us be as diligent as possible about this.
  • Always give ticket holding players the priority.  This rule can be overridden by the gaming coordinator or the organized play coordinator.
  •  GMs should allow 5 to 10 minutes for people to show up, however.  If players that registered don’t show up in that allotted time, you are allowed to give the seats to anyone else.  Ticket holding alternates get the priority.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Thanks for running games for us and for all your hard work in that effort.  I look forward to seeing you at our next event.

 

B-Movie Inspirations: Infini (2015)

Every once in awhile, I come across a movie that came in under the radar; that might not get over 60% on Rotten Tomatoes, that I found well written and the story is well told and that I really like.  I am not sure what that says about me but there have been some key movies that have done that for me.  Pandorum is one of those movies.  It was not well received but I really loved this movie – so much so, that I bought the movie.  Event Horizon was another one I liked a lot.  The Outpost is another.  Sunshine is another, however that one has better reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.

I guess the primary reason I like them is that I can draw a lot of RPG inspiration from them.  There are a lot of elements in these movies that I like to put in my movies.  Mystery, horror and “the universe is big” kind of concepts that I really like in my game.  One of my the themes I love to have in my game is bringing the “silly humans/sentients” back down to size by making them see just how short sighted they are.  Space is big!  The universe is infinite!  The moment you think you have it figured out is the moment something new pops up and blows your mind.

The latest gem … ron-gem? … I have found is a movie called Infini.  This movie has all the elements of a good hard science sci-fi that I like, minus the space ships.  They bypassed that budget-crushing aspect by the advent of something called Slipstreaming, which we can get into later.  It is a science fiction horror film with influences of some of my favorite films –  Aliens, The Thing, and a little of the aforementioned Event Horizon.

It is set in the 23rd century where over-population has driven a majority of the people into poverty.  The highest paying jobs are the most dangerous – deep space exploration, mining and search & rescue.  Once of the main reasons it is dangerous is because of the means of transit – a pretty unique plot device that allows them to avoid the use of CGI space ships – called slipstreaming.  The physics around it are a little wonky but from what I understand, it is like the Star Trek concept of trans-warp.  It’s a form of teleportation that allows instantaneous travel – ” a process of turning matter into a data signal and transmitting it to a fixed coordinate anywhere in the known universe.”  People that engage in this form of transit are fitted with a device that is tapped into their neural system called an Apex device.

There is a downside to this.  Apparently, there is a high rate of fatality and “data corruption” in this form of transit.  That does not sound good at all.  That seen from Star Trek: The Motion Picture where the transporter failed comes to mind.  But they imply in the first few scenes after a transit that the corruptions are more mental.  They have to go through immediate screening upon return that measures their mental faculties.  It does not help that when you come out of transit, you are extremely disoriented.

There is another extremely wonky aspect to this plot device that I can not wrap my head around.  I went through Physics II in college and we covered Relativity and Time Dilation. Core to that is that if you go close to the speed of light, time will go differently for you than people on Earth.  While you might see a few minutes, those on Earth will see hours.  Slipstreaming, however, seems to fly in the face of that theory, and change it around.  The other downside of a transit is “extreme time dilation” – you might spend days at your destination but when you return to your point of origin on a few minutes after you left.  I guess that is a downside in that you are aging faster than anyone else.  You would age days at your destination while your wife is aging hours.  But that is kind of the opposite of what the real time dilation theory says.  That is the part I have a hard time wrapping my head around, but I deal with it.  Magic happens!

I am not even going into the “instantaneous” aspect of this. Not really sure how they found a transmission medium that moves faster than light, let alone instantaneous.

With that said, the story starts by establishing the main character Whit, who has one of those Apex devices in his neck and a pretty pregnant wife living in a hole-in-the-wall apartment in some slum on Earth.  Whit has just joined the “West Coast” Search and Rescue teams to earn a little more money now that he is having a kid.  On his first day, sh*t hits the fan after a team is sent to a remote world called Infini and return with some kind of contagion that makes them go mad.  The West Coast center is then put under lethal decontamination (scorched Earth policy) and Whit escape by using a illegal hack box to slipstream to Infini.

The dialogue during these tense moments is a little confusing and I had to go back to the Wiki to get what was going on.  I did not realize it was a contagion until later in the movie.  This could be one reason why it was not received well.

We then switch over to the “East Coast” facility for the search and rescue teams.  They are getting a team ready to go to Infini.  This is when we get the breakdown of what Infini is and why there is a problem.  Infini is a very cold remote mining world way out in the far reaches of the galaxy.  The nature of the mining is vague except that it is a highly volatile material and if any of it reaches Earth, it would be disastrous.  The S&R team is told that they need to rescue Whit but also stop a payload from launching to Earth.  I am not sure if I missed it, but I guess the payload would be transmitted in Slipstream.

When the team arrives at the mining station, they find a frozen-over gory scene.  People frozen in their positions, tearing their own skin off and some displaying odd mutations.  The frozen effects (as well as the gory thawing effects later) were well done for the budget.  It looks like everyone went crazy, slaughtered each other in various sadistic ways until finally someone turned off the life support and froze everyone.

Eventually, they find Whit who survived everything by holding up sealed part of the outpost.  Somewhere along the lines, it was said that you can tell a person is infected by whatever virus is here by the eyes, and apparently Whit is not showing anything of those signs, fortunately.  But he definitely showing signs of mental trauma after being in this chaos for several days.  With Whit found, the group focuses on their next goal – dealing with this mysterious payload of “volatile ore” that is being sent to Earth.

At this point, we enter into the most confusing and techno-babble scene of the movie. It felt like a contrived scene of made-up tension for the sake of creating a suspenseful scene.  Somehow, stopping the payload became a dangerous thing and people had to split up and work together to accomplish this task.  It was very odd, forced and one of the few scenes that did not sit well with me.  However, it quickly leads to the key turning point of the movie that opens Act 2 of the movie.

Little does the team know that there was another survivor – the crazy scientist who set up the whole payload in the first place.  Once they stop the payload, he bursts into the scene wielding a fire axe and long story short – the use of firearms in enclosed spaces is a bad idea when a contagion is transferable by blood splatter. Everyone gets infected by Whit (we think) and chaos ensues.

We follow Whit as he dodges infected team members until he finally finds out the truth about the infection in the stations science lab/med bay.  … {SPOILER ALERT}  … The truth is that Infini is not a planet at all, but a living organism made up of a frozen primordial soup.  In its frozen state, the ooze is not a problem, but thawed, it becomes a cross between the black ooze of Prometheus and the alien organism from The Thing.  The research Whit finds calls it a “perfect organism.”  It can take over an organism, mutate it, replicate organs and eventually completely replace it with a perfect copy (a la Body Snatchers).  Somewhere in the research, it also says that it is searching for a “alpha host,” which in my mind implies that up until this point, all it has found was Beta hosts.

We do finally find out that Whit is infected (and perhaps the alpha host, although they do not explore that aspect much further), and is driven to suicide.   Meanwhile, the ooze is coalescing all around as it thaws, looking more and more like an intelligent being.  The ending is what really makes the movie great, so I won’t give it away.  It leaves you wanting more, for sure.  I got a subtle clue that might have been intentional or I may be concluding too much, but it seems to imply that being infected may cure the slip streaming disorientation or make humans more resilient to interstellar travel.  I may gave away too much there but the ending really makes the movie.

For a role playing game one-shot, this is an incredible inspiration.  It is a great set up, contained within a solid story structure (if not a little cliched) and a great setting.  It is so self-contained and well-integrated that no single aspect of it is more inspiring than the collective whole of the story.  With the feel of Aliens with elements of John Carpenter’s The Thing, you can’t go wrong.

The GM does have to prepare a little for this, however.  The “dungeon” or outpost has to be well mapped out in detail.  When you have an enclosed location like this outpost, the GM needs to know every detail of the location so to convey it to the players properly.  Part of the attraction to this movie was the claustrophobic aspect of it.

Secondly, you creature concept has be fully flashed out. If there are any holes in it from a plot-perspective, the players will find it.  This primordial ooze concept was very cool, but an entire planet of it was mind-blowing.  Imagine the player’s faces when the GM tells them that they are sitting on an entire planet of this stuff.

The core concept of the creature also begs certain questions – How did it get there?  Did someone intentionally freeze it? If so, who?  These kinds of questions can be explored in a “sequel adventure” perhaps.  I have done this before where I let the movie stand as a background to the adventure and let the players pick up where it left off.  The ending leaves a ton of things to explore and a sequel adventure can just about go anywhere.

I highly recommend this movie for your RPG adventure inspiration.  It can be sci-fi or it can be fantasy.  Instead of a planet, it could be an island.

MACE East: Becoming a Reality

MACE East is becoming a reality.    We have a signed contract with the USS North Carolina and with The Hilton Wilmington Riverside.    So now the real planning begins.    In the coming months, we will be sending out info and requests.  So be on the lookout for these updates.

MACE East 2016
January 08-10 2016
MACE on the USS North Carolina
Wilmington Hilton Riverside
Wilmington, NC

Here is some basic info on the Hilton and MACE East.   Contact information for RESERVATIONS is on our website under MACE East.

Room Rates:

1-2 People: $99 plus tax/fees

3 People: $109 plus tax/fees

4 People: $119 plus tax/fees

In the event a guest who has requested a room within your block checks out prior to his or her reserved departure date, the Hotel will add an early departure fee of $50.00 to that guest’s individual account.  Guests wishing to avoid an early departure fee should advise the Hotel at or before check-in of any change in planned length of stay.

Parking
$11 per day

$15 per day for Valet Parking

MACE East Information

Registration is open for MACE East and for hotel reservations.

Registration Prices:

ADULTS (12 and up)

KIDS (8-11 years old)

7 and Under Free

WEEKEND

$20 Adult / $15 Kid pre-registration for MACE East – this weekend registration price will last until November 15th.  This price is non-refundable.

$28 Adult / $18 Kid pre-registration – this price will start on November 16th and will continue until Tuesday, January 5th.

At the Door Pricing:

Adult     Kid

Weekend:           $45         $30

Friday:                  $15         $10

Saturday:             $25         $15

Sunday:                $15         $10

 

Food:

We will have concessions on site provided by the Hilton.   I will be working on menu items after MACE and should have everything scheduled with pricing the first of December.

 

Gaming Schedule:

We will have games at the hotel all weekend.   Our hours are:

Friday

Registration opens at 2 PM

Gaming Begins at 3 PM until 2 AM

Saturday

Registration opens at 8 AM

Gaming Begins at 9 AM until 2 AM

Sunday

Registration opens at 9 AM

Gaming Begins at 9 PM until 6 PM

The Battleship Plans:

We will be offering gaming on the USS North Carolina and at the hotel during the day on Saturday.   We will be on the Battleship from 9 AM until 6 PM.   We will be playing in 2 rooms, the Ward room and the Auditorium.   Our goal is to accommodate as much gaming as possible on the Battleship or in their visitor center, but we are limited in space.

We are working on shuttles to take us to and from the Battleship.  You can drive if needed though.   If things work the way I would like, we will have a shuttle drive us over in the morning and a water taxi bringing us back to the hotel at 6 PM.  I am also hoping to have the water taxi available to bring people to and from around the 1:00-2:00 slot change.

There may be a charge for the shuttles. I am still working on this.   If so, we will have a way to pre-pay online.

 

Thanks,

Jeff

Warmachine, Hordes and Gunbunnies!! Oh My!

The Carolina Gunbunnies return with the Carolina Invitational tournament.  We just finalized plans for all the Privateer Press events, including the Last Chance Invitational Tournament (35pt Steamroller. Variant: Deathclock), Iron Arena events all weekend, as well as Press Gang Demos of all the Privateer Press board and card games.  Learn to play one of the Bodger games, High Commend or Level 7.  Play in the Iron Kingdoms RPG.  Learn to play Warmachine or Hordes so you can try out for next year’s invitational.

About Warmachine

WARMACHINE players take on the role of warcasters as they lead their titanic forces into battle. Warcasters possess significant martial prowess of their own as well as having hardened warriors and magical spells to bring to bear. Players collect, assemble, and paint fantastically detailed models representing the varied warriors, machines, and creatures in their armies. WARMACHINE is fully compatible with its feral twin, the monstrous miniatures combat game of HORDES.

About Hordes

HORDES players take on the role of warlocks as they lead their wild forces into battle. Warlocks are formidable combatants in their own right, and their armies make use of both hardened and brutal warriors and packs of savage warbeasts, allowing them to contend on equal footing with the greatest armies of the Iron Kingdoms. Players collect, assemble, and paint fantastically detailed models representing the varied warriors, minions, and beasts in their hordes. HORDES is the feral twin of the steam-powered combat game of WARMACHINE, and the two are fully compatible.

See more about Privateer Press here.

More about the Carolina Gunbunnies here

 

Special Guest GM: Mike Welham

Mike Welham won Paizo’s annual RPG Superstar contest in 2012 when his adventure proposal for Doom Comes to Dustpawn was selected for publication in 2013. Prior to his winning of the contest, Mike had RPG design credits with such companies as Rite Publishing, Open Design, and Paizo. At MACE 2015, he is running Pathfinder Society as well as Legendary Planet prequel Adventure, co-written by Neil Spicer (RPG Superstar 2009).

About Legendary Planet

Interplanetary Adventure, New Worlds, Ancient Civilizations, Alien Species, and more, with a delightful mix of magic and technology, with a dash of psionics and mythic challenges! Legendary Games brings you an eight-part, sword-and-planet adventure path; authored by some of the biggest names in the RPG business. Legendary Planet will take your characters across the multiverse, traveling alien gateways created by ancient, god-like beings to exotic worlds and back again in an incredible campaign like none other. Sword-swingers and spell-slingers stand alongside scoundrels and seekers for cosmic enlightenment as they unravel conspiracies and cryptic alliances bent on universal domination… or annihilation!

This epic saga begins with an optional prelude adventure, for those who would rather begin their campaign in a more traditionally prosaic fantasy setting, a pastoral world to which only the first fingers of alien influence have yet been stretched.

About The Assimilation Strain

A strange sickness afflicts the frontier settlement of Holver’s Ferry, threatening to overwhelm its citizens with an alien madness. Already the town has nearly torn itself apart, and the local sheriff is missing. When the PCs brave the surrounding wilderness as the village’s latest newcomers, the beleaguered townsfolk desperately turn to them for assistance. But can these erstwhile heroes trace the diseased carrier to its source and solve the mystery before they, too, succumb to The Assimilation Strain?

 

Special Guest GM: Neil Spicer

Neil Spicer, a long time supporter and friend to MACE and Charlotte gaming community, is well known for his work as a freelancer for Pathfinder RPG, as well as being the 2009 RPG Superstar for his work on Realm of the Fellnight Queen.  He has recently begun working with LEgendary Games on their line of Legendary Planet sword and planet adventures.  Neil will be joining us at MACE 2015 to run the prequel adventure for the new adventure path that he co-wrote called The Assimilation Strain.

See his entry in Pathfinder Wiki

About Legendary Planet

Interplanetary Adventure, New Worlds, Ancient Civilizations, Alien Species, and more, with a delightful mix of magic and technology, with a dash of psionics and mythic challenges! Legendary Games brings you an eight-part, sword-and-planet adventure path; authored by some of the biggest names in the RPG business. Legendary Planet will take your characters across the multiverse, traveling alien gateways created by ancient, god-like beings to exotic worlds and back again in an incredible campaign like none other. Sword-swingers and spell-slingers stand alongside scoundrels and seekers for cosmic enlightenment as they unravel conspiracies and cryptic alliances bent on universal domination… or annihilation!

This epic saga begins with an optional prelude adventure, for those who would rather begin their campaign in a more traditionally prosaic fantasy setting, a pastoral world to which only the first fingers of alien influence have yet been stretched.

About The Assimilation Strain

A strange sickness afflicts the frontier settlement of Holver’s Ferry, threatening to overwhelm its citizens with an alien madness. Already the town has nearly torn itself apart, and the local sheriff is missing. When the PCs brave the surrounding wilderness as the village’s latest newcomers, the beleaguered townsfolk desperately turn to them for assistance. But can these erstwhile heroes trace the diseased carrier to its source and solve the mystery before they, too, succumb to The Assimilation Strain?

Special Guest GM: Christina Stiles

MACE 2015 is once again proud to have the illustrious and inspiring freelance game writer, Christina Stiles, returning to run games for us.

Christina Stiles is a ENnie Award winning freelance role-playing game writer and editor living in upstate South Carolina. She is a member of Misfit Studios, and is Associate Editor for Kobold Quarterly magazine. Her current works include: the Rogue Mage roleplaying game with fiction author Faith Hunter, the Zobeck Gazetteer for Pathfinder, and Streets of Zobeck. Christina has written or edited for Misfit Studios, Open Design, Troll Lord Games, Green Ronin Publishing, Atlas Games, and White Wolf Studios, among others.

She will be running Midgard Campaign Setting (Kobold Press) in the Fantasy Age System by Green Ronin Publishing as well as Will Wheaton’s campaign setting – Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana in the same system.

Abou Midgard Campaign Setting

The Midgard Campaign Setting is the culmination of five years of adventures and sourcebooks from Kobold Press. It brings to life a world of dark fantasy drawn from the great European traditions. Here you will find ley lines and deep magic; the Western Waste’s giant, shambling horrors and magic-blasted landscapes; diabolical gnomes and the schemes of immortal Baba Yaga; wild, wind-riding elves and swashbuckling minotaur corsairs; the Mharoti Empire’s lethal assassins and exotic splendors; and the dragon-haunted crags of the icy Northlands.

About Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana

Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana is Wil Wheaton’s new tabletop RPG show on Geek & Sundry. It introduces an original science fantasy setting that mixes high magic and hi-tech. Written by a stellar team of award-winning designers, this companion book for the Fantasy AGE RPG gives you background info on Titansgrave, and all the adventures you saw on the show. The adventures include new encounters and options that will let you make the story your own. So grab your blaster and ready your spells, Titansgrave needs heroes!

titansgrave3