So, I just got back from a crazy few days in Atlanta, GA. For those that don’t know, there’s a little con that’s been going on for decades called DragonCon. It holds a special place in my heart because it was the first major con that ever went to and I went religiously for years, until I need money to start a company. But that’s neither here nor there. On with the summary!
I arrive at Midnight and then have to wait for the room to be paid for. Not really a problem for me cause I just ended up using the time (until 1am) to do some writing after a long drive of awesome ideas for 6 hours (I get a lot of my idea while driving). I meet up with my friend Rucht Lilavivat and am whisked away to our suite and it is very nice (sweet even).
Then after sleeping the most hours my children’s alarm clock in my head would let me, we set off to start our day. We got badges and that’s where I learned about the new game from a publisher that I really admired and now kind of despise, but I’ll talk about that another time. After getting our badges we went to set up for the Indie Game Panel 1 and it was good. It consisted of myself and Fred Hicks talking about our careers and methods that we used through the gaming biz. I really feel like I learned a lot about the man beyond playing “Word with Friends” and hope that I get to hang out with him more than just this year. So yeah, blue hair makes you cool apparently. After that, since people knew about my game, I had a lemming trail follow me to run an API game. The goal of the panel was to introduce the games and then the following day have the players come back and talk about what they played. I love the idea and hope it sticks around.
After running my game (which went well – chalk one up for another Seafood Chowder run at a con), I met up with Rucht and his friends at Trader Vics, a really good Asian place. I had the best Mongolian beef ever… but it was kind of expensive. Then we went and just hung out. I got a coffee and Rucht and I people-watched and gawked at all the awesome costumes. My favorites were the entire cast of lost and the Doctor and Rose standing with three really well done Weeping Angel cosplayers.
I turned in early and ended up missing a lot of other awesome costumes apparently. I needed the sleep though, what can I say.
The second day started with a bang. I woke up in an attempt to go and run another API game. Failing to actually wake up on time, Rucht and I went to have breakfast (mmmmm, bacon egg and cheese croissant) and I got to talk to Dom (a local gaming organizer) about how to do Living campaigns, since I’ve been thinking that would be cool for Third Eye Games. We’ll see… not entirely convinced, but it’s worth pursuing.
I had some time to kill before my first panel of the day so I went to walk around the dealers hall. It seemed really lackluster without the cool gaming booths. It was mostly cosplay for steampunk and a few places for movies. It was fun. I got to go and see Ted and Kelly (Ted Naifeh – wonderful artist) after 3 years of not seeing them and caught up a bit. Got invited to her b-day party (like I was hoping). I love them.
Then came the “How to get a job in the industry” panel. Now to be honest, about 70% of the people there were interested in video games. But we had a great panel. We had Jason Bulmahn from Paizo representing big RPGs and Mike Capps from Epic Games repping for Video Games and then me representing Indie Games. It was a really good mix and we tried to answer EVERY question from all 3 points of view. I think we got through to a lot of people and I hope that they will pursue their dreams. Immediately after that (and I was loving the attention my games were getting so far) was the Indie Game Panel 2. There, I had one of the players from the game the day before stand up and proclaim that “It was an awesome game with races that make sense and there’s tension and if you only play it for the combat system, you should”. I could only blush. I got to hear some more great things about the Dresden Files game too, cause lets face it… it is amazing. Joining me and Fred on the panel this time was Brannon Hall from the Untold RPG, the first (as far as I’ve seen) Card-based RPG. It was enticing, so I promised it’d try it on Sunday.
After that panel I ran another API game, half of “Danger at the Mine”, but they didn’t even get the mine before we had to stop due to other schedules going wonky on Saturday. I know exactly how that works. I had a fan that I met back in October come to the game too WEARING AN API SHIRT!!!! I was blow away and that just speaks to how big the game is getting I think (I hope). I had dinner with her and her friends and then it was off to the B-day party for Kelly.
Now, Ted and Kelly were dressed as Gideon Graves and Ramona Flowers from the Scott Pilgrim movie and they played it to a tee. We talked and talk and laughed and I got to eat a Banana Caramel cupcake (if you ever get the chance, do not pass it up). I was supposed to leave so that I try to run a Wu Xing game at 10pm, but it just didn’t happen. I ended up in the dealer’s room after 11pm. But that was fortuitous because I ran into a group that Fred was playing Fiasco with. Didn’t really get to see it played, but I will someday. Lol. I didn get to meet a bunch of cool people and one of the artists of the DFRPG (Melissa Gay) that also has a son with autism. Man did we take over that conversation for hours. Lol.
After playing some dominion (cause my brain was kinda shot), I went back to my room and passed out.
Ah yes, day 3. I promised that I’d wake up early (big mistake at DragonCon) to play the Untold RPG. I got there late, but that actually meant that I got one on one attention from the creator. Really awesome game and if you haven’t tried it out, you should. It’s innovative and very different. So, I played that for a few hours, just learning how it tweaks and how I would run it if I did.
Lunch was had with my good friends Clint and Jodie Black and their daughters Trinity and Bethany. They were just great, great people and I love every time I get to hang with them (and I’m not just saying that in case they are reading). Lol. Lunch was short though.
After that, I went up to see how the “Dungeon Building” panel was going and it was Rucht in front of a whole audience answering questions. I was in awe, cause I don’t think I could do it. I mean, I probably could if I had too, but I’m so glad I didn’t have to. I have even more respect for this man now.
The following panel was “the future of the pen and paper RPG industry” and it was going to be just Jason cause I wasn’t supposed to be on it. But I leapt up there anyway and “made” myself a guest on the panel cause, I wanted to have fun answering nonsensical questions too. My favorite reaction was when someone asked “How do we get more players?”, I said “Have children and teach them to roleplay”. It got a bigger laugh that I thought it was going to too and that made me super happy.
After that, I went and played in an actual Untold RPG game, which was as good as I thought it’d be. So, props.
Then came my chance to run Wu Xing. I had already run 2 API games and was really itching to show people some ninja. I got some players (some of the same players from the other 2 games too) and ran a one-shot that I had in the back of my brain. It went off amazingly. They enjoyed he investigative aspects and the combat aspects equally, but it was decided that they need to have at least 3 players at a time to win. We started with 3, then one left. Another person joined, then left and then another came and left as well. Then we had someone who just wanted to try the combat, so he also jumped in for just a moment. The Executioner and guards were wiping the floor with them unless they had a 3rd to back them up. Remember that people. Expect that adventure to be out for download sometime soon, I’m sure.
That took me until about 2am (mostly due to an argument about Buffy) and I had to go back to the room to sleep cause I couldn’t talk anymore and my headache was bothering me. Bleh, the pain sucks, but it was so fun developing it.
With my first big con out of the way, I basically think I can tackle any con now. I was very intimidated at the beginning and that slowly faded over this short time. Having others on the panels with me that people already respected and cared about created buzz about me and lots of people were receptive to both API and WX. There were lots of people that came up to me to say “Where can I buy your book again” or “That was an awesome panel, thanks a lot.” I had a couple of people come up and say that “I liked it when you said…” So that, to me, means that I’m kinda making it right now. And who can ask for more, really?
Until next time.