Friday, September 05, 2014

The long postponed GenCon post

More than two weeks have passed from GenCon now, and I'm just finding the time to write about this awesome experience. Catching up with family and work prevented me from doing it, but I also feared that the moment I started writing about it, would be the moment the spell would end. But, guess what? It didn´t. The magic's still there and always will be. Forever.

The people

I believe that going to GenCon it's something a role player should do at least once in a lifetime. It's like a pilgrimage to the source. Never thought I would do such a thing, until I met the +Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad guys and became part of the group. After some of them came back from GenCon 2013, they encouraged me to be there next year. And so I did and met my friends +Adam Muszkiewicz and his wonderful wife +Kathryn Muszkiewicz+Edgar Johnson+Wayne Snyder+James MacGeorge and +Doug Kovacs.

Yes, they're more than gaming buddies, they're my friends. Because for almost 3 years, every week, they were on the big screen in the living room. We played weekly every Thursday, we talked about gaming, about life, they met my wife and saw my son grow up (he's 3 and a half years old by now). The little man wouldn't go to bed without saying hi to the guys on the Google+ Hangout. :)

The Metal Gods family
I had the chance to meet some wonderful people too (forgive me if I miss someone): +Diogo Nogueira (fellow Brazilian gamer and blogger with whom we shared many games), +Tim Callahan (fellow laser wizard fish co-conspirator in the Escape from Catastrophe Island game, who kindly gave me a copy of Demon Drums and ran an awesome Crawljammer game), +James DeYonke (thanks a lot for those tickets for Q1 - Queen of the Demonweb Pits!), +Nathan Panke (you know you punched that dude, haha!), +Steven Bean (nice talking to you man), +Bob Brinkman+Jen Brinkman+Rick Hull (can't believe you asked me to sign your DCC chair), +Donn Stroud+James Smith+Marc Bruner+Robert Leopold+Jim Wampler, +Alex Mayo+Jürgen Mayer+David Baity, +Michael Bolam, +Aaron Koelman, +Roy Snyder+Mark Donkers+Nathan Bethell and, last but not least, the guys from the DCC crew who kindly autographed my DCC rules and Dungeon Alphabet: +Joseph Goodman+Michael Curtis+Harley Stroh (awesome deaths at the Seven Pits of Sezrekan tournament!) and +Dieter Zimmerman

I rolled for corruption and got the horns!
Still can't believe I met my all time favourite D&D artist +Larry Elmore. I grew up with his black & white art from the Basic Set and then the Dragonlance artwork. So there I was, getting The Complete Elmore art book dedicated and autographed. When I told him where I came from and asked for a photograph with him, he invited me into the booth. "You came a long way, so let's do it properly. Come around!", he said.


Another of my favourite artists, Jeff Easley from whom I got an autographed print of the 1983 Dungeon Master's Guide cover.


Legends like +Tim Kask, who we found with Diogo at the Exhibitors Hall,...


...and +Frank Mentzer, who sat next to our table at the Circle City Bar & Grill. He was kind enough to interrupt his breakfast with Tim Kask, to talk and take some photographs. "Drop by my Facebook page and say hi!", he said.


Meeting +Erik Mona was fun. On the first day when the gates of the Exhibition Hall opened, the Pathfinder booth was the first one I saw. Several people in blue shirts were giving away pins and goblin masks which I took. "That guy who gave me the goblin mask looks like Erik Mona.", I told Diogo. "Who?", he said. I went back and told the guy, "Hey, you look just like Erik Mona." and he replied with a smile "I am Erik Mona!". He autographed my goblin mask, and we talked a bit about Greyhawk, and the old Dungeon and Dragon magazines.


The last day at the DCC booth, I met Bob Bledsaw, Jr. from Judges Guild, who kindly gave me an issue of a DragonQuest adventure. It's s good to see old JG material reprinted by Goodman Games.


Thank you all for a wonderful time!

The games

I think I've got a gaming OD. But that's the idea rigth? :)

Since the games I have signed up for got cancelled before GenCon, I only got generic tickets. I spent almost all of them in Harley Stroh's Seven Pits of Sezrekan tournament. The most number of encounters I managed to survive was three, always dying horribly every time.

Once we were in complete darkness walking single file on a 3 ft. wide ledge and chased by some beast-men. Leading the way I managed to secure a rope and everyone climbed down safely, but one of the last guys slipped and fell... on top of me. In the other two, the life of my characters was sucked by the use of a magic item: once a magic spear wiped the whole table and the other a magic crown killed some of us.

Harley's the man.
Every day after GenCon at 8pm in the Embassy Suites, there was DougCon in which we played Escape from Catastrophe Island, a DCC game simultaneously ran by Doug Kovacs, Adam Muszkiewicz, and Wayne Snyder. I think also James McGeorge and Marc Bruner ran the game a couple of times too. You started with a 0-level and if it survived at the end of the night, it leveled up for the next day.

Getting ready to rock & role!
The best part was to die and roll in the Wheel of Doom. You also became a ghost and could possess other creatures or help/harass the other characters.

Doug Kovac's Wheel of Doom
On Saturday morning I got the chance to play old 1st. edition classic module Q1 - Queen of the Demonweb Pits along with other nine players. We went through the portal into a maze of interweaving passages in which we fought giant spiders, until we found a door that led to a series of trapped rooms, that led to a huge room full of zombies with three priestesses of Llolth atop three pyramids and two male magic users. The DM, Richard Meeks, said that in all the years he's been running this module at conventions, he never got the chance to run this battle. We wiped the zombies, but the priestesses and magic users gave us a hell of a hard time and finally, after 4 hours of battling the drow, we realized there was no chance we could win. A lot of fun though!

The final battle.
Later that afternoon before DougCon, Tim Callahan set up Crawljammer game: Lizards crashed on a planet. Fought their way through robots and monster bugs. Found an artifact and released its power. It was a blast!

Crawljamming
All in all it was a great experience being for the first time in the USA and in my first GenCon. I hope I can be back some day, this time with the whole family, maybe to another GenCon or maybe GaryCon or even North Texas RPG Con.

I've got a nice haul from GenCon (books, modules, dices, pins, t-shirts, etc) but that's material for another post.