Category Archives: GenCon

The Passing of DAT – One Year Later

I saw mention of it on a post on the FB page, David A. Trampier Fan Club.

I jumped over to Wikipedia and confirmed it.

Wow. One year.

So many enjoyed his art. For me, his images are iconic and when I see them I am instantly transported to thinking of all his various RPG art and all the books and modules, and of course, Wormy, and The Dragon.

I wish I could make it to GaryCon. Such remembrances make me nostalgic. I thought it would work out this year. Now, my goal is for next year. I met several from back in the original TSR days at GenCon last year, but I always wanted to go to GenCon when it was in Lake Geneva. I hope GaryCon doesn’t get too big by then. There are a lot of the original creators and movers and shakers still around that I want to meet. Perhaps even get a chance to play.

 

GenCon 2014 Cosplay

I took pictures of the cosplayers and boot people that caught my eye. Far from all of them. I left before the parade and costume contest. Many were so well done it looked like they went home after last GenCon and set to work.

There were very few slave Leias. 🙁 Some were obvious comic book or manga/anime style characters, I just don’t know anything about those characters.

This knight has a cool outfit, not sure what video game or comic it is from. Catwoman had a well done costume.

Catwoman and a Knight
Catwoman and a Knight

Very well done Ghostbuster costume.

Ghostbuster
Ghostbuster

The line to the vendor room started a couple hours early. I found a bench against the wall so I could be comfortable.

Not Cosplayers but the line for the vendors
Not Cosplayers but the line for the vendors
Batman
Batman
Boba Fett
Boba Fett
Girl with a sword
Girl with a sword

This was one of two guys around a model cannon for a company selling a battle game. I didn’t catch the name.

Guy with a Prussian Helmet
Guy with a Prussian Helmet

This young woman was attracting attention to a game product. I didn’t catch its name.

Booth babe with red eyes
Booth babe with red eyes

This young woman’s contacts made her eyes look very red. Unfortunately, my cellphone camera did not do them justice. 🙁

Closeup Red Eyes
Closeup Red Eyes

I remember when this came out in 1983, Dragon’s Lair – the first arcade game on laser disc.

Video Game Character
Video Game Character

Have you ever seen a Storm Trooper in a Kilt?

Braveheart Stormtrooper
Braveheart Stormtrooper

I thought this was a cool idea and well executed.

DM Cosplay
DM Cosplay

GenCon 2014 Goodies

I had meant to post a follow up to my GenCon 2014 post back in August, but time and the realities of life got in the way. Now that I am back on an even keel and have a couple days off work, I am getting caught up.

Of course there was a lot of information about D&D Next (AKA 5e). Pathfinder also had a huge area and people were packed into a hallway to get in when I went by. People were afraid you were after their spot in line and were slow to let you pass.

There is an area with old cards that anyone can use to build anything. At the end of the con, it gets knocked down.

City of Cards - Better than a mere house of cards.
City of Cards – Better than a mere house of cards.

Lots of different street performers. Lots of food trucks outside.

The group is called "One Man Band" Three women and one man.
The group is called “One Man Band” Three women and one man.

Here’s a scary one, a selfie….

Me at Gen Con 2014!
Me at Gen Con 2014!

I peaked in at the auction. No spare cash to get anything.

The Auction - I just peaked in.
The Auction – I just peaked in.

Lots of artists present. I got to speak to Jeff Easley when I bought this print. I need to find a frame to better protect it.

I bought a cool Jeff Easley print and he signed. 28/1500.
I bought a cool Jeff Easley print and he signed. 28/1500.

I have a set of Game Science dice that I have had for 20+ years. I picked up another one. Not the color I wanted, but I wanted a full set. Sadly, no d30’s until later.

I bought a new set of Game Science Dice.
I bought a new set of Game Science Dice.

I spoke to two different people at Inkwell Ideas and each one gave me a Sample Adventure & Encounter Deck. I also bout the RPG poster. It won’t lay flat and I don’t have help to unroll it to get a picture.

Inkwell Ideas Sample Adventure & Encounter Decks
Inkwell Ideas Sample Adventure & Encounter Decks

There are five creatures and three traps.

Inkwell Ideas Encounter Deck Contents
Inkwell Ideas Encounter Deck Contents

I always wanted a battlemat. I don’t have the minis to do much with it, so I got a factory second, and a d30.

Chessex Battlemat and D30
Chessex Battlemat and D30
Chessex Battle Mat Factory Second Square Side
Chessex Battle Mat Factory Second Square Side

My d30 – Now I am an “official” member of the Order of the d30.

Chessex D30 On Hex Side Battle Mat
Chessex D30 On Hex Side Battle Mat

The GenCon swag bag can hold a lot of stuff. I suggest those buying maps and art that is rolled up and sticking out to purchase those things separately to ease travelling the vendor floor and minimize damaging your artwork.

GenCon 2014 Bag & Badge
GenCon 2014 Bag & Badge
Other Side GenCon Bag
Other Side GenCon Bag

There is a coupon book for merchandise and some activities.

Coupon Book Closeup
Coupon Book Closeup

The program book is the size of a small catalog and I recommend early registration so you can plan what to do before you go. The place is so huge that a plan will come in very handy. A lot like for adventurers going out to loot the dungeon….

Program Book Closeup
Program Book Closeup

I also go to visit with Larry Elmore and a fellow congoer behind me in line bought this for me as I had exceeded my budget for artwork and more goodies. It was only $5, and Larry Elmore signed it. I am drawing a blank on the gentleman’s name, I believe it starts with a B and is a city. Thank you, whoever you are!

Elmore Character Clip Art
Elmore Character Clip Art

Mr. Elmore and I agreed that we each have a great first name!

Larry Elmore Signed My Book
Larry Elmore Signed My Book

 

What is the OSR?

The perfect answer from Greyhawk Grognard, it even has a d20 table! He does mention that it could easily be a d100 table. It should at least be a d30 table so I can use the d30 I bought at GenCon.

Now everyone should be happy, or not, probably not for some that just can’t let it go. Sounds like a younger me who just couldn’t let go of a fine point of distinction lost on the majority of the world. Get over it, IT’S A GAME! If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong!

GenCon 2014

I made it to GenCon for the first time. I had planned to go to the whole thing this year, but I had a major presentation that I had to do near St. Louis. However, I decided to go anyway.

I did not get there until after 6:00 PM on Friday as I visited some friends near St. Louis that I had not seen in a long time.

I missed out on the Exhibition Hall, as it closed at 6:00 PM. (This was a hazard of deciding to just do it and registering when I got there.)

The benefit of this is that I was able to figure out where everything was. WARNING: The Indianapolis Convention Center is HUGE! If you have never been take advice I read last year from a first time attendee, I forget who it was. Have a bottle of water and a snack,just in case. I suggest also comfortable well-fitting shoes. I got a blister on one toe. I also suggest having a room at one of the downtown hotels and planning to stay until the morning after your last day, so you can get cleaned up as you go. The mid-west is usually very hot a humid in August, but it was very mild this year. However, thousands of bodies in a huge convention center pressed together make it very warm. I sweat through my shirt, socks, and underwear, making things very uncomfortable today.

I did not sleep more than a couple hours last night. I just laid there not sleeping, so I got up and wandered around.

The Exhibition Hall opened at 10:00 AM and I wandered all over until about 12:30 PM. I bought a d30 and battle mat from Chessex and a second set of Game Science dice, and a poster from Inkwell Ideas, and art from Jeff Easley and Larry Elmore. I saw a lot more I wish I could buy. I’ll post pictures of my goodies later.

Overall, I thought it was just too big. I think that is mostly because I had never been and a lot of volunteers did not have answers to my questions, and I showed up late Friday.

The thing I most disliked is for either $50 for a single day, or $80 for four days, MOST of the events other than the Exhibition Hall, auction, and a few others, required paying MORE MONEY to attend. This INCLUDED the organized game play. I can agree with paying to be in a fancy tournament if it has decent prizes, but pay to play just rubbed me wrong. Because I got their late Friday, it was too late to get in on most events I was interested in, so I wondered and observed. I liked that I could at least wander around and observe all the game play.

If there was a sanctioned or organized way to arrange pick up games or anything, I never found it. My impression is that a pick up game would most likely occur if your friends from your regular group, or your GenCon buddies decided to get together.

I have been to other game conventions, and there was no additional fees to join in organized play or even tournaments. I don’t know if the fees at GenCon are only secondarily about the money with a primary emphasis on trying to organize 20 or 30,000 players.

As I mentioned earlier, I wandered the Exhibition Hall until 12:30 and got all the things I limited myself too. I could never afford all that I wanted…. By this time I was starving. They have food inside the convention center, like pizza, subs, etc. I was tired of this, so I went out to the pedestrian mall outside the convention center, where they had a dozen or so food trucks. I found an excellent BBQ truck, I forget their name, but it is local to Indianapolis. If I can find the name, I will add it.

Getting food helped. I recommend not getting to the point of tired, sweaty, and hungry. I should have taken a break rather than do a marathon session of seeing all the exhibitors. I ended up very frustrated that I could not find Howard Taylor of Schlock Mercenary. I conflated the last convention he attended with GenCon and thought he had a booth. He was actually joining Tracy Hickman of XDM games, I see now that I am home. He also did a signing that I learned of about a half hour AFTER it ended. Part of that was my confusion and I did not pick up on the book signing reading the guidebook/schedule. It is probably in there correctly, I think I just had information overload.

I was cranky. I felt a lot better after I ate, but I was still sweaty and had a blister working on one toe. Solving hunger did not help. I decided I was past the point of having fun, so I headed home. On my way out, I passed Frank Mentzer who was going in the opposite direction. I had wanted to talk to him, but by that time, I did not care.

I drove about an hour and had to pull over at a rest stop and snoozed for a couple hours. After that I felt like a new man. Thus my recommendation to keep a room in a hotel nearby until the day AFTER you are done with the convention. Have plenty of clothes so you can go to your room and shower and get a nap.

I left thinking I never wanted to attempt to go back. A lot of that was brought on by being tired. After my snooze I wished I wasn’t an hour away from the convention and started thinking I might actually try to go again next year.

I now know that I will need to save up for a fancier hotel downtown for at least a couple nights, or more if I do all four days. I will need money to attend all the things I want. I will have to review the activities BEFORE it starts so I can plan what to do. As long as GenCon is in the same place, one can plan for the next year. I am also thinking that I really should go to GaryCon, since I always wanted to go to GenCon when it was still in Lake Geneva. Being a smaller Con, I am sure it will have a lot less of the chaos and frustration that a megacon has.

I’m not 100% set on GenCon next year. I will be a grandfather in January, and I expect to be spending a lot of time with my new grandchild. Five years or so  until Disney World, maybe ten until a major Con, time will tell.