Gen Con 2015 Highlights

Updated with some cameraphone pictures I forgot to include the first time.

Gen Con swag and cat

Hey! You know that Kindred of the East chronicle I was so excited about starting? Yeah… It’s not happening.

The reason for this is because I really, really need to buckle down and get back to work on The King is Dead! During Gen Con 2015, +Eric Simon agreed to publish the setting through Four-in-Hand Games. It’s a win-win scenario for both of us; Eric gets to grow his stable of books, and I get to avoid dealing with a bunch of bookkeeping. Given Eric’s incredible generosity and grace on Steamscapes: Asia, I know I can trust him with The King is Dead. We’ll have more to announce as soon as it’s ready (and I get the logo back from Aaron Acevedo).

Gen Con 2015 was huge for me as a writer. Even though my wife and I primarily attended as a 15th anniversary vacation, we both managed to make some great professional connections too. It continually astonishes me how down-to-earth, how popular (in the political sense) the RPG hobby/industry is. I can't get anywhere near an executive in my day job, but at Gen Con I walked right up to +Chris Pramas and asked him if there's going to be an AGE System license. (The answer is yes.) I'll get used to it someday.

In other writing news, +Vickey Beaver of +Obatron Productions  has commissioned several new articles by me for +Savage Insider. One’s going to be about “domain-level play,” another will be an article co-written by +Robin English-Bircher about games and wine, and the third is an official supplement to Steamscapes: Asia spotlighting Tokyo’s Yoshiwara district. I’m looking forward to the Yoshiwara article a lot – it’s practically going to be a setting book in its own right, akin to Waterdeep and the North – but the wine article might be even more fun. The Wine and Savages blog was originally meant to be a joint venture between Robin and I, so it’s a joy to finally be working with my wife again. 

I hounded +John Dunn and +Ross Watson a bit about writing for +Accursed RPG – I'd love to help expand that world – and attended the Onyx Path freelancing panel. Honestly, it felt as if I tried hard enough I could be writing the inevitable Kindred of the East 20th Anniversary edition in a few years. Now I just need to persuade +Pinnacle Entertainment Group that Robin and I are the perfect writers for the new Flash Gordon setting…

Unfortunately, the need to get writing again means I won't be posting any multi-post breakdowns of Gen Con. I'll just have to be content with a list of highlights instead.

The Indianapolis Zoo is not nearly as big as the map makes it look, but it was nice to see a polar bear again for the first time in 30 years.

It also has this underwater dome in the dolphin exhibit where you can watch them swim over you.

The Glitter Guild burlesque show (which did not allow photos) was amusing, but I think Robin enjoyed it more than me. I was somewhat disappointed that no one did any directly RPG-related routines, and a bit baffled by all the crossplaying female performers. Yes, the woman performing as Rufio from Hook was sexy, but why Rufio?

My panel was nearly packed

Robin and I both volunteered at the last minute to join Vickey Beaver on some panels. I improvised my way through a panel on "GMing on the Fly" and Robin used her educational expertise to discuss communication theory at "Women at the Gaming Table" (at which there was no actual table). It says something awesome about how permeable the division between professionals and fans is that two first-time con goers were on panels.

He wasn't even scheduled for this panel

I met TRACE BEAULIEU of MST3K at a a panel on "That State of Puppetry Today." He's every bit as friendly and funny in person as you  might hope.

Front freakin' row at TitansGrave

If +Geek & Sundry posts the TitansGrave panel, then I'd like to point out that Robin and I were the weirdos who applauded for eating at Harry & Izzy's. It's just kind of cool to know that people you admire worked out their own business deals in the same restaurant you used. After the panel, we gave +Wil Wheaton a bottle of wine we've owed him for two years and gave another to Laura Bailey. Laura voiced the lead character in Fruits Basket – the first anime Robin and I discovered as a couple – so it was a real pleasure to brighten up her day. Also, she hugged Robin.

Easley Winery in downtown Indianapolis was incredibly welcoming. I have to admit that their wine is generally too sweet for my super-dry, face-punching taste, but it's always fun to learn about a new wine region regardless. The Indiana-grown Chambourcin was great (and I got the impression the winemakers would rather make dry reds, too).

Given the heat, New Day Craft Mead & Cider was a very welcome (if out of the way) stop. I wish it wasn't an hour's walk from the convention center, because it is a great hangout for those of us with Celiac disease. That whole area – Indianapolis' Fountain Square district – is kinda awesome. I had a rum and ginger ale cocktail named after the pirate Jack Rackham at one of the pubs.

We are FAIRY TAIL!!!

Saturday was mainly seminars and cosplayers. We didn't even try to play any games the whole time; we both love seminars and we don't enjoy all the noise at con games. The trip ended with our second stop at Tastings, a swanky wine bar a block from our hotel. We tipped the bartender with a bottle of Texas wine...

And then we flew back early on Sunday so we could spend Sunday night at a wine mixer hosted by Stephen Amell. Irritatingly, you're not allowed to take pictures with Stephen at those parties – which was all the more irritating to us, because we kept winding up standing two feet from him. Seriously, we'd walk away so we could escape the crowds and five minutes later he brought the crowds with him. It wasn't even like we talked; it was just some weird gravitational effect. And because Robin is an actual professional wine writer, we couldn't break the NDA like all of those jerks snapping pictures with their cell phones.

Anyway, I'm still feeling kind of drained  – but excited at the same time. Our lives have taken a giddy and surreal turn, and the best is yet to come.

Now back to working on my "day for night" photo technique.

The King is Dead is coming!


  1. Congrats on The King Is Dead! Can't wait to get my hands on that... :)

    1. Thanks, David! I hope to have something more official-looking to post in a few weeks!


Post a Comment

Popular Posts