When word got out that there was going to be a second GaryCon, I immediately made plans to be there. By June of 2009 I was employed again and, thanks to a quirk of my start date and the company's vacation policy, I started 2010 with fifteen days of vacation time instead of ten. This meant that I could go to this convention a bit more relaxed as I would be taking a break from work instead of worrying about looking for work.
This being me second convention, I decided that I would be a more active participant and actually run a game. Kenzer and Company had officially released HackMaster Basic by the time I moved to Indiana. Since I was a fan of the game and the people that created it, I decided to run a 'Learn to Hack' scenario. For those of you unfamiliar with that term it is basically an advanced demo game, with character generation covered as well as a one-shot adventure. On the Thursday before the convention, I packed my car with enough clothes and games to last and drove first to my mother's house, then to Lake Geneva.
I got the the hotel around 5pm, just in time to meet up with the Kenzer team as they were getting their booth set up for the following day. After they were settled in, we all headed to the Next Door Pub to grab dinner and mingle. The Gygax family and the TSR crew were in a separate room, so those of us that were Knights of the Dinner Table fans sat with +Jolly Blackburn. We treated him like a rock star and he took it with a good dose of humility.
After dinner, I went back to my room since I was running my game early Friday morning. My plan was to run a game Friday, play a game Saturday and leave Sunday open. The next morning I got up early to grab breakfast at the hotel restaurant. This was before the restaurant was closed off for open gaming, and offered it's full selection to guests. As I was looking over the menu, I saw a man that I had briefly spoke to at GaryCon I. It was +Derek White , aka The Geekpreacher.I don't know why, but I told the hostess that he was with me and we has breakfast together that morning. During our meal, we talked about gaming and Derek's work as a preacher and struck up a friendship that I hold dear to this day. Derek was in Lake Geneva with his buddy Redd, who I also met at the Next Door Pub. As we finished our meal and I headed back to my room, only one thought came to mind.
"Man, I wish Michael was here to enjoy this."
Next week: My Learn to Hack session, Michael finally arrives at GaryCon, gaming with the Geekpreacher and Trouble on the Sequoyah Star.