It was the dawn of a new age of classic role-playing, 20 years after the TSR-Wizards of the Coast War. The Gary Con Project was a dream given form. Its goal: to prevent the end of old school role playing by giving gamers a place to play their favorite games peacefully . It's a port of call--home away from home for wizards, dungeoneers, investigators and travellers. Gamers of all genres wrapped in a posh resort-convention center, all alone on Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. It can be a dangerous place.. for your favorite player character... but it's our last, best hope for decent gaming.
This the story of the first day of this year's Gary Con convention. The year is 2013. The name of the place is Gary Con 5.
(Yes, I've been waiting all year to post that.)
Being an old hat at conventions, the first day's routine is pretty standard: get up groggy-and-early; quickly shower, shave, and get dressed; then hustle down to the convention floor for your first game stopping along the way for an overpriced coffee and doughnut. (No, I didn't take the one's topped with bacon.) My first game was Curse of the Weaver Queen run by its author and TSR alumni, Tim Kask. We we're using original White Box rules, so play was very pretty free-form. Players were given medium level pregens--I, an open atheist, ended playing a human cleric armed with a magical shillelagh--and we wandered about an arachnid-themed dungeon trying to discover the fate of several lost souls from a nearby village.
I won't spoil the module with details it, but for our group it ended in a TPK. Tim is a shrewd DM.
After that I took some time up at the bar to down another hard cider and wolf down a decent Ruben sandwich with fries, when I decided that I was going to run a Savage Worlds/Realms of Cthulhu pick-up for Friday night. I sorted through the various .PDFs on my iPad and found something that could be suitably modified from the original Chaosium rules to the new ones. I tinkered around with the character stats until it was time to go down for my next game.
Next Up: West End's Ghostbusters, another game from my youth. This time around we were actually playing the characters from the movie, and I picked Egon. To play Dr. Spengler convincingly, you have to have to keep up an almost dead-pan tone of voice and use as many ten-dollar, sciencey-sounding words as possible. We're set lose in a New York museum trying to find out why their prized T-Rex fossil is tearing up the place. The highlight of the adventure was when the team was succumbing to the depressing influence of a mesoamerican god of suffering when the unaffected Egon came upon the idea of trying to cheer up his comrades before they killed themselves. My solution: imagine Harold Ramis trying to sing "Rainbow Connection."
After that, I tracked down Victor Raymond and some of his friends, many of whom I played Empire of the Petal Throne with last year, for a discussion of the of the various themes of race, gender, and culture that arise within gaming. Pretty heady stuff, especially when you're nursing another cider. Along the way, my room mate, Anthony Roberson, arrived took up residence in our room. I said my hellos then rejoined Victor and his colleagues in his room to continue our discussion over Coke-and-bourbon. Buzzed--but not "drunk"--I returned to my room to catch some rack time before the next's days shenanigans.