So, as anyone that has been to DragonCon knows, it’s basically one big party. What does that means to a blossoming RPG publisher, you ask? Well, instead of how GenCon was with constant interviews, booth manning and business thangs, DragonCon was a lot more open and light. I played in games, ran games and did panels and that’s about it. And it was amazingly fun! I’m going to do a quick rundown of my events and how they all went, but no podcast this time, sorry. The recovery from DragonCon is much longer than GenCon ever was. ha!
First day and it was a doozy. Woke up early and got some breakfast from my Tampa Crew! Chris and Kat are amazing friends and it was fun to spend time at DragonCon with them again, since it had been so long. We tried to hang out more, but it just never happened. lol. After breakfast, I went to the gaming area to kill some time and there it was… my old friend, Battlestar Galactica boardgame (now with a nifty cylon invasion expansion). What fun was had!
After that, I caught lunch with Seraphina Brennan (more on her later), as well as Steven Markley (author of Bahati) and his smoking redhead, Jennifer. We had a blast and discussed so many different things about gaming and design and life and junk.
After that was my first panel, Indie RPG #1. It featured myself, Jason Morningstar, Jamie Chambers (Signalfire Studios) and Andrew Greenberg. It was an odd mix and the discussion seemed to center about what Indie was and how publishing is different for them. Good stuff and a great start!
Two of the audience members (thank you so much Walker and Jerry!) were into playing some Part-Time Gods after the panel. I was totally happy to run a game just for them, but then we ran into one of my friends, Dave Silva and then 3 of Walker’s friends wanted to join in too. All and all, we had a grand time and everyone got into character pretty easily. Good group! One of them was even a first-time roleplayer. I was honored to be the one to break her into the hobby and she took to it like a fish to water anyway, so there was little work on my end. Thanks, Hailey!
After Part-Time Gods was done and they had defeated their competition, I played in a bit of Dave Silva’s RPG – Forgotten Kingdoms. It was fun! We played escaped experiments into dream manipulation and it was awesome. I had to stop playing halfway through, due to passing out, but i didn’t leave before pointing out all the reverse vampires (we found a lot of rooms with blood, but no bodies. What else could it be?!?!?!)
And then i went back to the room and passed out.
So Saturday comes around and I wake up with a horrible headache and just bleh overall. Apparently, i had caught the con-crud early. But i went and bought some motrin and orange juice and was feeling better after a bit. It took me a long time to get out of the bed, which was good because i got to say hi to Rob Schwalb (of Wizards fame) and pick his brain about the industry. We basically had a small “how to get into the industry” discussion in our hotel room.
After that, I decided to make my say to the con, but then… there was the parade. It took me 35 minutes to make a 7 minute walk. Not good. I was headachey and tired and hot, but then i ran into Jamie Chambers again. I got to hear all about the awesome stuff that he’s coming out with for SignalFire Studios and got to talk a bit with Jason Morning Star after he showed up for a bit. Then, of course, i had some panel audience members from Friday come and ask if i was running any pick-up games. Who am i to deny them the greatness of Wu Xing? So, i ran a game for 3 players and it was a blast!
After that i realized that it was 4:30 and that i hadn’t anything but gummies all day! Eek! So, i went and got lunch with my friend Steven again and then headed to a playtest session of Seraphina Brennan’s new Avarice Industries RPG. That, again, was a lot of fun. She did an awesome job of GMing and the die mechanic was pretty ingenius, simple and elegant. I even got to interject some design ideas into one of the special abilities, so i think my job was done there.
After the game, I had the official “Breaking into the RPG Industry” panel. This one was me, Monte Cook (THE Monte Cook), Rob Schwalb and Clint Black. This was an interesting panel, and those that were there know this to be true. I have to admit that i was slightly intimidated because of who I was on the panel with, so i blanked out on the first question to the panel – but i came back around after Monte Cook basically opened the floor to questions… to ME! Most of the questions were directed in some way to starting out or self-publishing and it was truly an honor to be able to guide some new writers/designers into their own careers with a hand of positivity. I got to talk to a few of you after the panel as well, which was great.
On a side note, if you were the gentleman that I saw recording that panel, I would LOVE to be able to link to your video. Let me know.
After the panel, i wandered around a bit and said hi to some people, but i was still pretty beat and not feeling that hot. I stopped by Hooters and got some wings and went back to the room. I ended up watching some of the Superhero Babe Pageant on the DragonCon Channel, hosted by Voltaire… so it was hilarious!
Then I passed out.
Sunday i woke up and I was spry and energetic again. My mid-con crudiness was gone! At the same time, i didn’t have anything to really do. Like, nothing on the schedule. So i wandered for a bit and ended up catching the “Dungeon Design” panel with Rob Schwalb and Jason Bulmahn (Pathfinder). Jason apparently hates Bards… a lot.
After that, i went tried out a CCG called Redakai and I had eyed the day before. It played pretty fast and was easy to learn, so i picked it up so I could try to teach my daughter (who i’d like to report is challenging me to nightly matches now).
Then it was time for the “Indie RPGs #2” panel, which was me, Jason Morningstar (Bull Pulpit Games), Clink Black and Jamie Chambers. I answered a few questions here and there, but this time the panel was much more about Indie Design and that’s right up Jason’s wheelhouse. I was more than happy to listen to him talk on the topic and almost felt like a spectator being schooled as well. So, good job, Jason!
After the panel, it was time to play Fiasco, which Jamie Chambers and I had been trying to find time to do. We were joined by Scott, Holden and another random player that just happened to walk by (he did an awesome job and i hate that i don’t remember his name. Update: Drew Stevens is cool!). The game was exactly as advertised, quick setup, crazy concepts and a crash and burn ending. Me and Jamie played best friends who might have been just a little too close (and i will say no more). Again, REALLY fun!
I had some Salmon for an early dinner and then headed to my second panel of the day and last one for the con, “RPG Design”. That was me, Jason Morningstar, Monte Cook and Jamie Chambers. This was one of the most even panels I was on where everyone had a lot to say and was a lot of fun. I felt honored to be on a panel with those guys and i’d do it again in a heartbeat.
Afterward, i played a game called Pandemonium by GeekyGizmoGames. Doug Wilson invited all the panelist to play, but I was the only one who could make it. And it was well designed and executed. I’m just waiting for the kickstarter so i can have a copy myself. lol.
Then, my friend Rucht (RPG freelancer and DragonCon Gaming programing director) asked me to play a supers game that night. I couldn’t say no and it was SO great. It was called With Great Power and it sucks that I can’t find a copy to buy anywhere (if anyone knows where to get it, help me out).
After that, I went back to the room and passed out.
It was quite the ride. It always is, but this year especially. I felt like with this being my second year as a guest, I made a bigger impact this year than last. There were fans genuinely excited to see me back, almost like they see me as what they want to become. I’ve already received a few “thank you for all your advice” emails and I’m hoping that I get more, since that’s more ammunition i can use to get invited back next year.
Until next time.