GenCon 2010 – Day 2 (What everyone else is calling Day 1)

Yeah,, I guess I started my day count a little early since technically the convention didn’t start until yesterday. So, if you’re trying to keep score at home, yesterday was the official first day of the convention, but since it was my second day onsite, I’m going to stick with the date that brought me to the dance. So yesterday was my Day 2, and today is my Day 3.

Shall we proceed? Lets.

Exhibitor’s Hall Early Entrance

Day 2 started off on a  really good note for me. You see, at GenCon, Press get access to the Exhibitor’s Hall an hour early on the first day. We’re technically not supposed to buy anything, which is no big deal, but it means that we get a chance to talk to some of the folks running the booths before they get mobbed by the mass of attendees waiting outside.

I got some face time with some really cool people, including Sean Preston of Reality Blurs, and Matthew Grau of Wildfire Games/Infrno. I also got to meet Clint Black of Pinnacle Entertainment, and Adam Jury of Posthuman Studios. I took some time and stopped at a bunch of different booths, trying to at least talk to some people and find out when it would be a good idea to stop back to do an interview later in the convention. You should see some results from those efforts as the convention continues.

Following my time in Exhibitor’s Hall, was the much-anticipated DM’s Gauntlet.

The DM’s Gauntlet

I have never DMed for that long, straight, ever. I talked about the DM’s Gauntlet in a post a while ago, but to recap it for you, they toss you into a room with a bunch of gamers, give you a module to run, whcih you then have to run for two separate groups, and that’s all capped off by co-DMing an epic boss battle for two different groups of gamers. So, all in all, you’re supposed to DM for four separate groups of gamers, all of whom you have to play off of to do well. As well, there are player-judges planted in the gaming groups who are grading you in addition to the judges that are walking around the room, grading you.

My day, suffice it to say, did not quite go as planned. My first group of gamers didn’t have their characters ready when I got to the table.

90 minutes later, they finished.

Now, we were DMing under pressure, and when it comes to a convention game, it’s okay to toss some of the rules out of the window and just roll with it. However, my sense of some of the folks in the group told me that if I tried to do that, they might just quit, leaving me groupless. So, I waited. Once we got to playing, I had a really good time with them. The only issue was that they didn’t make it more than 1/3 of the way through the module. Not a problem for me, but it caused issues for them as they moved on to their second module.

Following that, I went over to the group that I was supposed to run next… and they were packing up their gear. Turns out that folks had the ability to only buy in to sections of the player side of the tournament, and the group I was supposed to DM had only signed up for the first section. After some deliberating, a group of the judges sat down at a table and I ran them through the module just so I would have someone to DM.

We had an absolute blast with it. They were a great group of people to game with, and I think I acquitted myself well.

And that brings us to the final, epic boss battle. Let me tell you, it was indeed epic. The only snag was that I got to the table and found out that the groups that I would be co-DMing were, wait for it…. doing the boss battle as a one-shot. They hadn’t been through the rest of the player tournament, and so did not have any way to rate my performance.

To the credit of the people running the DMs Gauntlet, they figured out a way to get me scored so I would be on the level with the other DMs. I even found out that I ultimately came in somewhere near 3rd place, and was even tied for first coming into the last round.

So, the tournament itself was something of a comedy of errors for me. I don’t think that anyone could have predicted the way that things would play out, so I can’t and won’t lay blame on anyone there for how things went down. When I was actually running the games, I had a really good time, and that’s the whole reason I signed up in the first place.

Also, due to my first group starting so late, and the confusion that followed, I was not able to get the audio for those game sessions recorded. My apologies for that, if you enjoyed my Origins audio. I’ll do my best to get the rest of my stuff recorded as well as I can.

After Hours

Finally, after DMing for almost 8 hours straight, I met up with some friends, got some food, relaxed for a bit… and then ran those friends through a Deadlands adventure that I had set up. I must be a glutton for punishment. Still, we had a great time, and the audio for that did get recorded and will be available soon via The Gamer’s Haven (guess who I gamed with?)

The Wrap-Up

All in all, a really good Day 2(1). I’m heading to Exhibitor’s Hall to talk to some more folks this morning, then I have a Dresden Files game in the afternoon. Following that, it’s dinner and then the Ennie Awards, which I will be attending with members of the Gamer’s Haven and All Games Considered podcasts (Ennie Honorable Mention and Ennie Nominated, respectively).

As a final note, I also want to say that one of the things I have been doing a lot of it talking about The Aruneus Project. Writing for Troll in the Corner is the whole reason I’m able to do what I’m doing at this convention, and it has been an awesome experience. Ben is working on putting together a really cool project, and it’s 82% funded, as of the writing of this post. Every business card I had out has the Aruneus stuff stamped all over it, so a bunch of great people are putting eyes on what Ben is doing. If you get a chance, check it out. If you want to, kick some money his way and get this baby printed. After all, we all want more zombies in out game, right?

[tags]rpg rpgs, role playing games, tabletop games, card games, GenCon, conventions[/tags]

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