My first Gen Con was just as overwhelming as people said it would be. Now that I’m home, I can actually decide how I felt about everything.
- Between the D&D product announcements and the Ask R&D sessions, the announcements I found more exciting were:
- the defender/striker barbarian build (normally a defender, but a striker while raging). Rory said later, and I agree with him, that he wouldn’t mind if EVERY class were built this way, because most players would probably be happy to be playing a striker at least some of the time.
- The possible release of older edition material. I’d like to clarify something, though. From my last post, it might have looked like they came out and announced that this was going to happen. What really happened was that someone asked “Will you release old material?” and Mearls said something like “We are planning something in this vein,” and then talked about how 2e had a lot of good setting material that would still be useful in 4e. They never confirmed that they were going to straight-ahead reprint all the old manuals, in either physical or PDF format. Still, they’re planning something.
- The “german-style” board game. I like their giant Ameritrash games like Ravenloft, but I tend to play one-to-two-hour board games a lot more than two-to-three-hour games.
- The fairy as a race! When 4e first came out, I thought that the eladrin race should have a +2 Charisma and that it should have a fairy variant. Now both of these problems have been addressed. I think the fairy class will be the winner from the Heroes of the Feywild book: in the past, I’ve played with at least two new-to-D&D players who asked if they could be winged fairies.
- I’m excited that Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Emporium is back on the menu. I’m hankering for rare-item support. I’m even more excited about the book since I learned that my buddy and Gygax Memorial Fund stalwart Tavis Allison is one of the co-authors.
- The big minis announcement is something I’m neutral about, since I didn’t play the original minis game, but I could imagine trying it. I’m the opposite of excited about the return of Oriental Adventures and about the Kanji runepriest. (But check out John Kim’s hilarious Caucasian Adventures post.) Still, I’m glad that the runepriest advocates who spoke up in the GenCon Q&A sessions are getting their class support.
- I enjoyed volunteering alongside Gail Gygax, Tavis Allison, Jason Hurst, Ezra Claverie, Ethan Gilsdorf, and the other volunteers at the Gygax Memorial Fund booth. Thanks, guys, for being great booth buddies! I’d never been to a con before, and with nothing to judge our success against, I feel like we did a pretty good job fundraising. I talked to a lot of cool people who felt the way I do about Gary and D&D, and a lot of them had great stories about their meetings with Gary. I also met a bunch of enworld posters and bloggers whose work I admire. Finally, I got to autograph copies of my book for shapers of D&D like Luke Gygax, Frank Mentzer, Tim Kask, Lisa Stevens, Erik Mona, Bruce Cordell, and Bart Carroll. That’s ME giving THEM autographs. (I also got them to autograph my own copy of the book.)
- I got interviewed for an upcoming documentary on D&D, with a boom mic and everything. My friend Nate was in The People vs. George Lucas for about 20 seconds. I’m hoping for 21.
- For the Gygax Memorial Fund booth I drew a poster on which I illustrated the wandering monster tables from OD&D (not unlike my picture of all the 4e monsters, but larger and more elaborate). It sold out, and Bruce Cordell bought the last copy.
- I was in the booth so much that I didn’t get to do as much gaming as I would have liked. I meant to get into a Tower of Gygax game, a True Dungeon game, a Legend of Drizzt boardgame, and a 4e delve, but I never managed to slip away. I also would have liked to play Lejendary Adventures with Jason.
- I would have liked to spend more time and money shopping in the exhibit hall. I did buy a couple of Dragon magazines to fill out my collection, along with a few White Dwarf Magazines and a Conan comic. I also got a great lead miniature of vampire Scarlett O’Hara, holding a severed human head, from the great guys at Badger Games, who had the booth next to us. I think this might be the mini that tips Claire into the dark world of lead miniature painting. I also swagged copies of Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks and Adventurer Conqueror King from my fellow volunteers.
Walking around the convention floor, I heard a little kid say to his dad, “This is a dream come true!” I clearly wasn’t having as great a time as that kid, but I think my first con went about as well as I could have hoped. Next March: GaryCon?