JP On Gaming

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Conglomeration 2019 After Action Report

This year's Conglomeration began long ago. It started during the Holidays when I began plotting what I planned to run. I needed something cool to write about. Now if you follow this blog, you know that I spent a lot of time feeling blue about my writing, with bouts of the blues that struck me during the month of March, my least favorite month.

With the return of April and of the nicer weather, my mood took a positive swing and after grinding through encounters and forcing myself to work. I got to play more, ran more, and planned a bunch of events for the coming summer. Conglomeration was the second event of the year for me (after MidSouthCon), the first out-of-state event. I struggled to complete my adventures. I just could not find the right twist, the right surprise, or the one unique element that made my adventure different from the others.

I knew they were good: they had a mix of encounters, mix of challenges, a mix of story and dungeoncrawl, and unique NPCs providing different perspectives. But they just did not excite me. They missed something. Something that would make them unique. So I grinded and grinded. I mean, this was perhaps the most difficult time I had as I put in elements I took out days later. I powered up and de-buffed combats. Then on the Tuesday before the con, I found it. The twist was so elegant in is simplicity that I immediately snapped jumped with joy.

Conglomeration is the one time a year where I meet a number of good gaming friends, including ex-work-hubby Derek, Chuck, Archie, and it is the time of year when my daughter Jojo meets with her BFF from Kentucky Aubrie. I would also see JD (the mind behind Rhym).

I finished my work day at noon and hoped in the car with the kids as my wife dropped them off here at work. Kitty did not wish to attend, so she spent a weekend of shopping and girl-time with Julie.

We got there around 6pm got our badges and I began looking for a seat. I hoped there would be seats at JD's table, but he was full, running some Rhym. Everyone seemed to have a good time. Aubrie arrived during this time and the girls disappeared on me. Bah, I do not expect two fourteen year old girls wanting to stay near a crusty old man like myself, so I let them roam wild and free.

So I looked around and there was anew GM running some of her 5e stuff. I got ActionMan and we played this little game. A fun adventure with a new GM who has a lot of potential. I will look for her games next year. One of the characters had a great name: Sir John Elton...

As for me, I got the halfling wizard... Harriet Porter. I did my best Minnie Mouse voice to get into character. I had a great time until the gentlemen running the Steve Jackson Games demos came to me and offered me 5$ to stop. I jokingly said "no" so he upped it to $10. That's when I knew he was serious. I agreed and he gave the money and I promptly became Harrie Porter, travelling sage.

The adventure was fun and simple. I really value one-shots that are fairly simple and where the PCs can discover the main elements of the plot within the game. She did a good job. After the game, I gave her a few pointers from an old and grouchy player.

After that, we headed across the road to our hotel and slept. Well I wanted to sleep. ActionMan was out like a light, but the two hens kept clucking until I had to threaten them to throw them out in the hallway that they finally passed out. Perhaps I should not have put on Ridiculousness on TV... I was not to enjoy the peace for long as I gave in to the sweet embrace of Hypnos between "on" and "off" on the lamp.

Morning came too quickly. I had to wake the kids up. Showers, breakfast and we were off to the Marriott. I did not have any game planned for the morning (I thought I did). So I sat with ActionMan to play a Shadowrun Mission adventure. He took a brawler, which he really liked and I took a Shaman, which I normally liked but I was not a fan of the build. Still, we had an interesting group and a fun time.

My first slot, I ran some Akhamet, The Tomb of Prince Tsubeteb. This was the same adventure as the one I ran at MidSouthCon. I took the time between cons to improve and tweak a few things to improve the flow.

For the evening, I ran the new Desert Pearls also set in Akhamet. This adventure is one I had to grind through to get done, but when I figured out one encounter, everything came together really fast into an adventure that has a nice twist.

Then it was time to sleep. I ended up having an interesting adventure. First I get to my room to find my keycard demagnetized. So I went back down and up the three flights of stair. Then I unlock the door to find the kids had pushed the hard lock. After calling for five minutes, the door was finally opened. Not by my kids mind you - they kept sleeping though my banging on the door...

Quick shower before bed. Then sleep.

Sunday morning came quickly enough. We packed everything and headed back to the convention for the final day.

As always, Sunday morning is reserved for a game that includes something binding. This year's adventure was set in Rhym. This is another one I grinded through the writing until I tied it all together at the eleventh hour. I ran it and it was good. In fact, running the adventure made me realize how much what I could be expanded into something bigger. The idea is pretty exciting and may be changed before getting published.

Conglomeration was done. The kids did not last until we hit I-65 before they were sleeping.


- The Game room was swinging from the moment I arrived on Friday through Sunday morning. Multiple events went off and as a player, I had multiple choice of games. Archie ran his typical unique twist on Pathfinder events, the Shadowrun Mission people ran many events, and a few indy games. The crowd here is interested in playing games, any games. In contrast to Lexicon where most players are there for the larger organized play campaign events.

- The kids had a blast. As I said, I barely saw Jojo and Aubrie. Every 3-4 hours, they came to see me, drop a few chips and a soda from the Con Suite, before promptly vanishing once again. ActionMan spent an inordinate amount of time in the video games room. They participated in mini painting, wand making, and participated in cosplay crafting events. They had a blast.

- The attendance was good with a wide variety of events: cosplayers, gamers, writers, and videogamers.

- I was lucky enough to have full tables for all three of my events, which is always a big plus, as people recognize me, my style, and my material. Similarly, JD is becoming something of a local celebrity, which is awesome.

- Speaking of JD, I heard great new about his health. Not specific to the con, but a nice bonus nonetheless. I hope we can attend more events together this year.

- During the car trip, I was able to listen to the Classic Genesis discograph: Nursery Cryme, Foxtrot, Selling England by the Pound, and A Trick of the Tail. But also Misplaced Childhood.


- Have the gaming panels and the game room work together and cross-polinate more. As it was, I had no notice or information as to what was happening panel-wise for gaming. I came and ran events. In all fairness, this is something Derek and Chuck mentioned to me, so I really think this will happen next year.

- Again, I will gripe at the lack of clear and firm gaming slots, as some RPG games started every hour in the evening, from 6-9pm. This meants there were quite a few players who may have joined games instead just stood by and waited for their game not to happen. I'm not talking about board games, but please, hold firm slots for RPGs, even if you have two 2h slots.

- Easter weekend... That causes friction with my significant other who wants me home...


This year's Conglomeration was really a highlight. It was smooth, simple, and pleasant operation for me. The kids loved it too, so that's double points. I will be back next year.

Great crowd and I look forward to seeing again Derek-R, Chuck-W, Archie, Derek-M, Matt-McC, Austin, Dave-M, Pete, OMG I forget so many peoples... If I saw you, I want to see you again.

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