Going to Gen Con

Sarah Darkmagic - Posted on 23 May 2010

To add to a year of firsts, Fred and I are going to Gen Con this year. I'm really excited about this as I'll be seeing some people I've met online and at PAX East and hopefully meeting a ton of really cool people. With my experience at PAX East, I know a bit more about what to expect.

One of the nice things is I've signed up in advance to judge for RPGA. A huge thanks to @Wolfstar76 and @Mudbunny74 for pointing me in the proper direction. Without their assistance I would have had no idea where to look. For those who are interested in judging at Gen Con, you can sign up on the Baldman Games website. The sign up process is simple and Dave is a really nice guy. Judges get rewards for running games and you get a chance to learn about a lot of different play styles in a compressed time period. An added bonus for me is knowing that I might be giving people who lack a home game a chance to play the game they love.

In the additional info section, I told Dave about my experience at PAX East and he thought I might be a good candidate for the Learn to Play sessions. These are the ones I really wanted to run at PAX East but they lacked enough kits to allow me to run one. So I'm pretty psyched about this although a little intimidated as well. Chances are the players at my table are either going to be brand-new players, perhaps even kids, or people who've played earlier editions and want to give 4th edition a try. To be honest, the former scares me a bit more than the latter, in large part because I have to help introduce them to the entire concept. Besides, I'm not much taller than the kids, so holding their attention and being an "authority figure" scares me a bit. I've dealt with my fair share of people who have a thing against 4e, so I'm not too worried about holding my own against any older edition players who want to show their ugly side. Besides, I just need to remind myself that the people playing want to have fun and I'll be wearing a super awesome DM shirt. Between those factors and my natural charm, I shouldn't get into too much trouble with maintaining the table. If I get challenged by someone, I just need to pause, take a deep breath and crush them with the monsters (mostly joking about that last part).

That just leaves running a great adventure. I won't be getting an adventure in advance, so that makes things a bit harder for me. But since it's learn to play, I can make some pretty good assumptions about the types of creatures they are likely to come up against. I'm also going to spend some amount of time with the PHB and the DMGs to make sure I have the core rules down pretty well. Recently passing the Herald Exam helped bolster my confidence in this area as well. And the rules aren't everything and the emphasis here is definitely on the fun. This means if I forget a monster power that nerfs the monster a bit, it's no big deal. I'm not promising them an adventure where the challenge is to just survive. Beyond that, I just need to be descriptive and be willing to roll with things. I'm really good at the latter and the former tends to be easy for me unless I end up in competition mode, which is unlikely. So all around, the odds seem stacked in my favor.

Beyond judging, I'm really looking forward to sitting in on a few seminars, playing a few games and hopefully even running one of my own creations. I've improved my skills since PAX East and if there is another DM challenge, I'm ready, willing and able to participate. I'm also looking for a few opportunities for chaos, although I'm not sure how yet. Another goal is to meet with some publishers about finding ways to get their adventures included in my RPG Adventure database. Somewhere in there I need to sleep and eat. Hopefully I'll make all my endurance checks. If you are going, definitely let me know!


GenCon isn't an option this year, but I think I really need to be at the next GenCon.

As people go, I'm on the lower side of average, but I never let that bother me.

If there is a community college nearby, consider taking a public speaking class. It could do wonder for your confidence at speaking in front of other people. I know it helped me immensely. When I was younger, I was terribly shy. When I took a course in public speaking in college, something clicked and I have not been afraid to speak in front of people since.

Since then, I have delivered sermons, taught technical courses in the Navy, and run a few games in my time.

In any case, I would glady sit at your table as a player anytime.

GenCon is great fun. It is amazing to be surrounded by thousands of people who share your love of this wonderful hobby.

I will be there again this year working booth demos for AEG so if you want to learn the Legend of the Five Rings CCG or any of our fine board games, drop by and I will be happy to show them off.

I played LFR at a small Con yesterday. The Judge and players forgot the most important part of roleplaying games. We had 3 encounters and not once did the players ask what we were fighting. I couldn't believe it. I wish that I would have played something else. Even just a little roleplay would have been welcome.

I am so sorry to hear that! I'll admit that sometimes I fall back to running through the mechanics, but I try to give some personality to the NPCs, even if it's just having characters like the brothers Hanz and Franz who yell out the other's name when witnessing him get hit. At PAX East, I brought index cards so players could write their characters names down and display it in front of them and I try to always refer to the characters' names rather than the players'.

That's a good idea. I had some "Hello my name is" badges, but they all looked at me. They were nice folks, but it felt more like a poker game than a D&D game. I guess I'm spoiled by my regular group.

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