Wednesday, June 11, 2014

NTRPG Con: What To Do / Not To Do Next Time

Well, I'm back from North Texas RPG Con, and I've had a few days to unpack, unwind, and get my circadian rhythms back in sync. Had a great time, met some great people, and played a lot of games. As I look back over the Week That Was, I see that I've also made a few rookie con-attending mistakes I need to correct/adjust before my next gaming sojourn. So this post is more of a reminder to myself to not make these mistake again, and perhaps you can take something away from this "advice to myself":

** I need to remember to take a sturdier carry-on. Having my bag start to split along the seams while boarding was embarrassing and potentially disastrous. I also need to take a smaller carry-on. The one I had wouldn't fit in the overhead compartment, so they had to hold the plane while I disembarked to check it. (Yes, I was "that guy.") So, next time, take a hardshell carry-on, and spring for the extra baggage and take a second bigger suitcaser

** I am no longer the young "party all night, game all day" youth I once was. I need -- nay -- require a minimum of 6 hours of sleep to function. Fortunately my alcohol tolerance is about the same, but my body's need for rest cannot be ignored. So turn in at a decent time and don't let your pals goad you into hanging out later. There is plenty to do during the daylight hours, and you won't miss anything happening after 1 a.m.

** Along those same lines, after 3-4 days of shouting and screaming while I run my games, my voice is always SHOT near the end of the final day. On Sat. evening, I could barely croak out an apology to Mike Curtis that I had to bow out of his game that night. Even though I had packed lozenges for just such an event, this seems to be a regular occurrance to plan for. Therefore, no more gaming on that final day, as your voice will be gone by the time the sun rises. From here on out, my last day of con attendance will be socializing and shopping. No running or playing any games. (Well, maybe board games or something less verbally intensive...)

** It was great getting together with some members of the bloggersphere, putting faces to screen names and just getting to know each other away from the gaming tables. So I propose trying to schedule a "Blogger BS Bullpen" on that first night where folks who yammer on these here blog-things can get together and meet. I'll give that some organizational thought...

** My traveling tablet keyboard set up worked well enough for me to keep the daily You Are There blog posts coming, but it was incredibly cumbersome and too utilitarian. Although I could still type up and post, I couldn't insert links, caption and position photos, and add other details I prefer. So it was a grand experiment, and it worked OK, but next time I take my full-sized laptop so I can do it properly.


** When I run games at cons, I have a bit of a ritual. I print out my game notes and place them in a pocketed folder. Each game has its own folder, which I then take with me to the gaming table. It's my way of keeping all of the materials together and at-hand. However, by the time the game is over, my notes are marked up and written upon, completely disorganized, and often a page or two gets lost. I usually just throw away the notes I brought, knowing I can print it out again. But I also LOSE any new additions I've jotted down on the fly during gameplay. SO I've LOST a lot of good material too. While playing Cavemaster with Jeff Dee, I saw him use 3-ring binder with his game notes. Each scenario's pages were inserted into plastic sleeves, that he could write upon with erasable marker. So all of his gaming stuff was in one binder; it stayed organized, and he could make notes on the fly that he could refer to later when editing/updating his game. I am totally going to start using that system. (Of course, if I leave that binder behind, I'm screwed...)

** The Pacesetter system is still a popular option for gamers as I had full tables at both my Timemaster and Cryptworld sessions. I think the players were really able to grasp both the simplicity of the Action Table system as well as its complexity to handle ranged and HTH combat, skill checks, saving throws, etc. I'm glad to see the resurrected brand so well received and I may have to focus more on running games of Majus and Rotworld as well in the future.

** Overall, it was great going to NTRPG Con for the first time, and it's energized me for some of the other regional cons across the country. Sure, there are several major cons within driving distance (I'm lucky that way), but there's something exciting about flying to a new convention that reminds you why you do this stuff in the first place. When you have to make a true effort to get there, it becomes a bit more "special," if that makes sense. So my new gaming goal is to visit at least one new regional gaming con I've never attended each year. Keep an eye out for me, and buy me a round if you see me. But not after 11 p.m. since I need my sleep.


  1. Very cool. Thanks for keeping us updated. I agree, BTW, with the sleep/beer/shouting piece and will plan accordingly for Gencon.

  2. On the plus side, you didn't miss the Saturday night game. Due to other people being in your condition and the auction, we had only four people turn up...and the game needed six minimum. I scrapped the game and when I later saw the four players in the bar, they all admitted they would have been fading away after about two hours of game play anyway. It was a win all around.

    On lozenges: I buy a small pack with 25 lozenges before the con and they're gone by the end of it. I pop them as preventative measures and so far my voice has held up through all four days of gaming.

  3. Glad you made it this year. Sorry I didn't get to meet or if we did I didn't know your were blogger. We should organize a blogger get together next year.

  4. I like to follow the 6-3-1 rule. Six hours sleep, 3 meals, and 1 shower per 24 hour period.

  5. It was, as always, awesome seeing you!

  6. It was great to play Cryptworld with you and chat afterwards. Cheers!