Tentacles 2004

Tentacles Monstrous was held 28-31 May 2004 at Burg Stahleck, a picturesque castle above the town of Bacharach. The castle overlooks the Rhine valley, and has been converted into a comfortable youth hostel. Conveniently, the hostel provides breakfast (the traditional roll and cold cuts) and dinner (nothing to write home about). Even more conveniently, it also sells beer, wine, and mead, as well as late night snacks.

I had the good fortune to be able to attend this year, five years after the first time I'd gone. Some things have changed -- there's now an animated tentacle, which enlivens the evening, and colored lights -- but the convention is still a ton of fun and organized by Fabian Küchler, who does a great job. He's also a heck of a host, picking up me and the Petersens early in the morning at Frankfurt airport, and bringing us to his parent's house for breakfast. I think I wandered around in something of a daze that day, having inadverently scheduled two consecutive redeye flights on my way to Germany.

Burg Stahleck
Testing the Tentacle

For the first time, Sandy Petersen took some of his sons to a convention -- and his parents! His youngest, Spencer, was on crutches, but seemed to have no trouble getting around (though he ended up being carried during the later sight-seeing). Grant and Lincoln played in Sandy's Call of Cthulhu freeform game, with such incredible costumes that some people didn't realize who they were.

John Hughes had probably travelled the furthest, from Canberra, Australia. He had prepared PowerPoint presentations on a number of subjects near and dear to his heart, including Whitewall and Far Point. He also led the Heortling Poetry Slam (though I think my limerick was the only poem -- other people told myths and stories, Lewis Jardine's tale of Vinga edging out several others as audience favorite).

Sandy's "Evil High Priest" freeeform
John Hughes and his PowerPoints

Unfortunately, Nick Brooke wasn't able to attend this year since his wife was in the hospital. This apparently resulted in a much quieter sing-along (supposedly the police were called the previous year!).

Stop-action trollball is still popular, though I don't remember quite as many water balloons five years ago. Claudia, as six-breasted Xiola Umbar priestess, still provides healing. John and MOB (who only had to travel from the Emirates) played the giant referees.

Some of the Petersens: Bernice, Spencer, Wendy, Sandy, Grant

The schedule was so packed that I didn't have the opportunity to do much official as a guest. I did run a HeroQuest game set in the early days of the Jrusteli age of exploration. Unfortunately, while I had brought the player handouts, I had forgotten to bring the notebook which had the actual adventure. Fortunately, I was able to improvise things anyway. (Since the players sailed south instead of north this time, it probably didn't matter too much.) The players seemed not to mind.

MOB gave me a guthra to wear for Simon Bray's Fonritan freeform, which not only lent an air of authenticity to my somewhat minimalist costume (though I'm sure actual scruffy Gulf Arabs can fasten it better than I could), but also kept me from getting sunburned, like a number of people in the previous day's freeform. (The weather was gorgeous the whole con, with the only rain falling after about 01:00 after the closing ceremonies.) The freeform itself was fun. My character managed to achieve over half his goals, though sadly the Jann of Afadjann managed to find 17 portions of Garangordos and heroquested to replace Ompalam as the main god of Fonrit.

Convention organizer Fabian Küchler with guest Lawrence Whitaker
"Harem Nights" freeform

I was able to sell some of Stefano Gaudiano's original artwork from King of Dragon Pass for him, and picked up the latest issue of TradeTalk and the latest Pavis book. There were also a number of fine color maps for sale, but I figured they might be too difficult to bring home without mangling.

Unfortunately, Greg Stafford was not able to attend this year, but he had sent some of his recent Lunar writings for a public reading. Unfortunately, due to scheduling problems, this didn't take place until after the con had technically ended. Fortunately, most of the interested people hadn't left yet. I was able to earn my keep as a guest, reading one of the stories (augmenting John Hughes's heroforming of Greg using my American Accent).

I'm sure I'm leaving something out -- there was lots of hanging out and drinking, and trips down to the Rhine and to the doner kebab shop, among various unscheduled activities.

After the con, Fabian took myself, John, and the Petersens back to Dreieich for some authentic German food. The next day, he acted as tour guide, showing us Frankenstein's Castle and the place where Charlemagne was crowned Emperor (in Frankfurt).

Just like five years earlier, I had a wonderful time. The castle is the perfect setting for a convention. The people are friendly, and the con well organized. I'm still amazed that all official businesss is held in English. And Fabian continues to earn his reputation as an all around nice guy (augmented by his parents). I hope I'll be able to get back sooner than five years!

Copyright ©2004 David Dunham. Last updated 5 Jun 04.

David Dunham Page | Glorantha Page