Since I have slacked off on completing my blogging about GaryCon V, I decided that it would be a good idea to bring in a guest blogger. And who better than the man that shared a hotel room with me all convention long, my brother Michael. You know, this guy.
Since Michael and I weren't always in the same place at the same time, we should be able to give you a broader view of the convention. And in those cases where we were together, hopefully different perspectives. And we have both agreed to not go easy on each other, so this should be fun.
Okay, new rule for GaryCon VI, NO MORE 8AM GAMES! As both a player and GM it is way to early in the morning.
My 8am HackMaster game was what I would consider a success. I already had four preregistered players to begin with, and fortunately had two walk-ups come up to fill the fifth and sixth slots. In this case the walk-ups were Patti and Jesse, people I knew from previous GaryCons who played in my A&8s Shootout last year. This was the last year that I would be running this particular adventure. And it still amazes me that despite being the author, I keep forgetting key points about the final encounter, such as the use of missile weapons by the enemies. But things wrapped up well and I found out that fellow HackMaster GM +George Fields would be using my adventure in his home campaign. So overall it was a good way to go out.
After grabbing lunch, Michael and I headed to the bar to listen to Frank Mentzer talk about his time at TSR and his friendship with Gary Gygax. I had heard some of these stories last year when I played in Frank's OD&D game. As someone that never got into the history of things at TSR until much later in life, it was an enlightening discussion of the process of game design, game accessories and the unfortunate ouster of Gary Gygax from the company he helped found. Frankly, I hope these seminars continue at future conventions with more guest speakers.
My evening game was my Basic D&D game. This one filled up right away, but I managed to squeeze one more person in. This was the adventure that I spent the most amount of prep time on. It was also the one where I tossed everything out within an hour of starting. That's not a bad thing in the slightest. The adventure as written was pretty much a 'railroad' adventure requiring the party to behave in a certain way and for various pre-written events to occur in a particular order. The players pretty much prevented that from occurring by committing the number one gamer sin, splitting the party! One elf with an invisibility spell was able to scout ahead for everything. In turn, I was forced to take the information written within the adventure and just wing it. What was supposed to be a one-shot where the players solve a mystery and gain a tidy sum of gold turned into the acquisition of a fort and the plotting to get involved in a scheme of their own.
I don't remember much of what followed that night. My best guess is that I went back to the hotel room and went to bed. I had decided to front-load all the events I was running to earlier in the con, and had just one more to do the following morning. But that is another story.
Huh, I'm supposed to add to this? Little secret here people, my brother may protest that he's unable to write, but the truth of the matter is that what he actually needs half the time is motivation. The kick to the ass. I guess that's what I am for this so let the buttock prodding begin.
First off, go ahead and insert my photo in again. Yeah, that's right. Most appropriate picture of me most of the time. This is the man talking here.
Much better. Now, I think Dave already discussed Day 0 here already. Could get into it much, but won't. I spent the prep days setting myself up for GaryCon in completely different ways than my brother. See, while Dave's a GM and ran, what... Three games over the weekend? I'm a player, and as such my time was spent gaming instead.
Well, was meant to be just a busy vacation weekend at least. My plans were simple. Play as many new games as possible this weekend. If I haven't played it, I'd try it. Simple as that. So Day 1 started with the DCU game, 'DGS Presents: Big Trouble in Gotham's Chinatown!' First year trying a Dead Games Society game and I THINK it went off pretty well. Played the Huntress, dealt with some evil group trying to steal an artifact for magical power. With NINJAS! Bit of an issue as I got labeled a killer for taking out a ninja with repeated crossbow bolts, but the guy playing Hawk gutted two, maybe three ninjas and nobody got on him for it. So unfair.
Still, we did pull it off and saved the day, and freed Katana from Mind Control. So that's good.
After that was the aforementioned lunch and the 'TSR with Gary Gygax (1980 to 1985)' event. Which conveniently enough took place in the very same bar we were having lunch in, we got to sit with our drinks. For me though, this was where I started having restless problems and had to leave half-way through. Just can't sit still at times, unless I'm being active.
So, as that was my last event for the day, this is where I go into how my prep differs from Dave's. For one thing, not being a GM meant that I didn't spend off-time prepping for other events for the most part. Being Day 1, the shops hadn't been set up yet and there were fewer people around than you'd expect. Slow first days and all. But that honestly suited me, I'm nowhere near my brother's level of social activity. For that, I spent some prep work beforehand to keep myself entertained.
Now, Dave didn't mention because he doesn't think like I do, but sometimes you'll have downtime and no interest in going out to do stuff. For that, I brought a few minor things that helped over the four days. Three DVDs, of which I only REALLY watched one. A Laptop of my own this year, which got a good deal of my attention, and most of all a mini media player. Which kinda took away the afternoon on Thursday, spending my time listening to audiobooks and relaxing. It wasn't going to be my busy day. That was supposed to be the next day. But... Well, I'll get to that when we roll to Day 2.