Mystic Moo’s Convention Guide

The following article originally appeared on in August 2007. 

Mystic Moo’s Convention Guide

By Paula Dempsey, alias Mystic Moo.

Editor’s note: The introduction to this column is a little bit British-centric. We have included links for those not familiar with recent bovine news in the UK. I’m afraid I have no better idea than you of the cow-centric aspects of the article.

Welcome cow-fanciers everywhere. The call came this afternoon: “What about a new Mystic Moo column?” he said. Well you may not have noticed, mate, that now is not exactly the best time to be a cow. Cattle movements are restricted, which is playing havoc with Buttercup’s line dancing classes, and as for the Shambo thing, well words fail me. So here I am, struggling to cope with all that bovine angst and you want a “humorous”column for some human magazine. Like I care about you lot!

Then the flannel started. “Your public need you, Mystic Moo. Spread cow wisdom. Help them realise the essential humanity of cows (excuse moo?). Be an ambassador for your species”. And finally, to top it all, “There’s a bottle of Bristol Cream in it for you”. So I thought, maybe you do need some homespun heifer wisdom. But what to write about? Then Buttercup comes crashing through the byre door like a bull in a china shop (but not quite as sexy). “Oi, Moo” she says “I just checked my email and my booking for GenCow has arrived. Lend us your dice bag, old flower”.

Inspiration struck like an over-enthusiastic mozzie. The cow-vention season is upon us and Buttercup’s getting all of a doo-dah over GenCow, the mother of them all and exclusively for those of a bovine persuasion. No humans allowed, so hard cheese.

I’ve asked old Butters to pick out some of the highlights of the event so you can see what you are missing. I’ve never really taken to White Wolf myself, but she reckons Friesian: The Milking is worth a go. She’s also written a LARP, bless her. It’s a Paranoia one where you have to work out who are the cows and who are the blokes from the department of agriculture. She’s a bit keen on Battle Cattle as well, but if you ask me she’s operating under false consciousness. Anyway, the mad cow is throwing things into a suitcase left, right and centre with two weeks to go. Talk about over-enthusiastic…

Then Hamish wanders in. Hamish is a nice bloke who self-identifies as a Hieland Coo. And today he’s not happy. “Mystic Moo”, he says. “I’ve been thinking aboot whether tae go tae GenCoo and I’m wonderin’ whether I’ll have a guid time or whether I’d be better abidin’ here in ma wee stall. How can I decide?”

No problem, Hamish. All you need to do is consult Mystic Moo’s Convention Oracle.

Step One

Reach for your dice bag and roll 273 assorted dice. If you can do this without ransacking the house for dice just play Dogs in the Vineyard all convention long and you’ll have a great time. If this presents a problem for you, go on to:

Step Two

Add together the digits of your age in DD MM YYYY format. For example, Hamish was born on 25th April 2005, so 2+5+4+2+5=18. Then roll a D10 for your lucky number. Hamish rolled a six. 18+6=24. Then roll a D4 to balance your karma and deduct this from your total. Hamish rolled a three. 24-3=21. Finally, add the digits together to get your overall Oracle number. So Hamish’s number is three. And before all you smartarse mathematicians write in to say this is simplistic, you try arithmetic with only two toes on each foot, and connecting with the universal whatnot at the same time!

Now you might be ready for Step Three, but frankly I’m not. All this number crunching really takes it out of a cow, so I’m getting Buttercup to stick the kettle on and Hamish has a tin of Hieland shortbread somewhere. Back in a mo.

Sorry for the gap in service. Someone mentioned drink and that old lush Marigold was right in there. Everyone knows she keeps a bottle of advocaat in her hayrack. Any minute now she’ll start singing. If I hear My Heart Will Go On one more time I’m going to go postal. SHUT UP YOU DRUNKEN MOO! Right, I’ll just dust the last few crumbs off my keyboard and here goes with:

Step Three

Look up your Convention Oracle number on the table below to find out what will be your best Con experience this year, then re-roll and recalculate for your worst experience and once more for what will happen when your just can’t take any more gaming.

Best Time Worst Time Between Times
1 You get shot during an archery demo but your copy of Hero is in your pocket and it’s arrow proof. You reach enlightenment.  Problem is, you realise Jack Chick was right and gaming is a passport straight to Hell. You order a frappacino in the convention coffee bar and it takes two days for your mates to dig you out of the whipped cream.
2 Your street cred goes through the roof when you whip out your signed copy of F.A.T.A.L. and wave it about. (One from Buttercup, there) You accidentally tread on a cosplayer’s tail and get beaten senseless by a six foot raccoon. The Tardis materialises in the Trade Hall.  Fill in the rest according to inclination.
3 You enjoy a game of Best Friends so much that the whole group goes out to a movie together afterwards, then for pizza, then a spot of shopping. Maybe we’ll give this whole convention thing a miss and get a manicure tomorrow. But don’t tell  Kelly ‘cos she’s such a B.I.T.C.H. You find the new edition of your favourite game in a limited edition handblock printed onto hand-made paper and illuminated by Lindisfarne monks.  This happens two minutes after you max out your credit card. A woman engages you in conversation.  After a while she  tells you she’s in touch with her inner cow and offers to cast your horoscope.  Don’t trust her.
4 The Animé cinema runs an all-night Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya marathon (aah, wishful thinking) You get the last ticket for the last available LARP and all the characters are clowns. Your cheap hotel room is pretty good.  And your 15 room-mates think so too.
5 The Trade Hall is selling Fruits Basket merchandise and they have cow hats. Your friend gets a hot date with a booth babe.  And it’s your sister. You eat an Igor bar and keep all your teeth.
6 Your new special friends invite you to play Breaking the Ice, the LARP. Someone compliments you on the detail in your monster costume.  You are not in costume. Fun on Sunday as you watch the Dogs in the Vineyard LARP group getting arrested outside the local Mormon temple.
7 There’s a mix-up at the Awards ceremony and you become the proud recipient of both the Gamer of the Year award and a year’s supply of Jolt Cola. Your hotel is a whole block from the convention and there’s no room on the shuttle bus. After a heavy game of Call of Cthulhu  you fall asleep in the bath and wake up to find the shower hose wrapped around your neck in tentacle-esque fashion.
8 Imagine the best thing that could happen to you at a con.  It happens.  If you can’t imagine anything, you shouldn’t be here. You suffer deep embarrassment during a Changeling freeform when your ears fall into your pint. You spend a whole morning hanging out on the Pokemon stall.  This is fine until a so-called friend sends a photo of you getting jiggy with a Jigglypuff to your significant other.
9 It’s the end of the con. You’re overtired and overdrawn but your plush Shoggoth loves you. You break the catch on your  chain mail bikini and nobody can find a can opener. Day 4 – You discover the mysterious world of Outside and sample the rare alien dish they call “salad”.

Happy Conventioning and Moo for Now!

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