JP On Gaming

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

DragonCon 2016 AAR, Part 2: A Charisma-tolerating Bill Cavalier

Continuing from Part 1 about our time at DragonCon 2016.

Sunday morning, ActionMan and I slept in late. For us two early risers to get up much later than usual was a clear sign of the tiredness we accrued the night before.

It was barely 9AM by the time we were parked and ready for the morning events. I had a single event that day: a book signing at 11:30. This was the second time I participated in such an event, the previous time was at MidSouthCon earlier in the year. DragonCon being a much bigger venue, I was worried and nervous, but also thrilled, much like in the hour preceding my first GMing slot at a con.

Just before our turn, there were a group of other authors there and I took the opportunity to talk briefly with them. I always find interesting and fascinating people's journey into writing.

As ActionMan and I were seated on chairs waiting for our turn, a lady sat next to us and started talking to us. She was nice and all and began telling us about her husband who was a writer and how she wasn't too much into what he wrote at the start, but got into it more and more.

Her husband, Mark Alan Edelheit wrote was she called "military fantasy".

I must've made a fun face for she immediately said. "It's like Romans with fantasy." Suddenly, my interest level rose a few notches.

The two of us went to the ATM to get some money and hopefully buy a buy and see what it was all about.

PANIC! I did not have my wallet! So I took ActionMan and we ran through the hordes of Pikachus, Marios, GI Joes, and Deadpools back to the car where O JOY! The wallet was. Crisis averted. We had just enough time to get back and catch our breath before it would be our turn.

After downing a few glasses of ice water, he came to us and said "do you guys want a free book?" Well say no more to my innate sense of cheapness! I was gonna buy one but if you plan on giving me one, I'd be a fool!

I got to speak to him albeit too briefly about his book, as many others opted to take him on his offer. I had a few questions about it that piqued my interest and curiousity about it and I already started reading it. (I will post a more complete review here later).

Another author was Richard Estep who writes about the paranormal. Now I will admit that I consider myself an agnostic on these things. I don't know whether it is true or not, I am sceptical about it until I find real and definite proof. Too often, I found people who are into these things "want to believe".

Well not me.

I will admit to my own chagrin that I dismissed him a little quickly and I should not have. Chatting with his wife as they were packing, I was happy to hear that they both were much like me in outlook, except they had first-hand experiences. Wow. Interesting.

Then it was our turn. The boy (here posing as if ready to sign books) and I too our places and waited for fans to show up.

I got to speak with Sarah Beth Durst whose newest book, Queen of Blood should be out next week. I am more and more fascinated with fiction writers I meet this year. This book is about (and I paraphrase) epic fantasy about nature fighting back. Interesting concept for sure... I may very well add this to my Amazon wish list as she seemed quite a character herself (and I say this in the nicest way).

A few folks came by, many as they waiting to meet with Brandon Sanderson, but Chris and Laurel chatted with us for a while, about their own games, about how to hold together a RPG group, about Saggakar and why it was good/ different/ same/ awesome and why they should check it out! Time flew by and it was extremely enlightening, as usual. I find that the more I learn and focus on my writing, the more insight I begin to have into people and that is something I find odd. I never thought of myself as anything but a self-centered jerk. Turns out, I may have empathy for people and seek to make their gaming lives better.

Am I turning into a gamer's version of "Dear Aby"? Or a Charisma-tolerating Bill Cavalier?

Tough to say.

Our session over, for we wished to avoid the stampede Brandon Sanderson would create, so we headed back to the gaming area where I chatted with a few folk. I talked with James-R from D20 Hobbies in Lexington KY about his Pathfinder grind event. I can see how people could enjoy it, not my thing, but something a lot of people seemed to enjoy. The basic idea was that you created a character, as cheezy and powerful as you could make it and see how long you could survive in their mega-nasty dungeon.

Throughout the day, ActionMan took part in the kids' track where he had to do one RPG, one board game, one CCG and a miniature game.

We had already taken part in the paint and take, so that was one. We were going to play Adventure League, so that was two.

Saturday, we spent some time with these guys, talking about games, Space 1889, and how old it is. So I was very interested in seeing what they were running today. I mean I have been a fan of Frank Chadwick's Space 1889 since the 80s. I still play it - thought with Savage Worlds, and really am having a blast or it. We moved the hall and looked at a massive game of zombie assault they were running. The GM asked ActionMan to add a few more zombie spawning points. He thought it was really fun to do so, as the players cried and whined at the pain he inflicted upon them. I too thought their tears to be delightful.

Next we spent a few moments at learning to play Guild Ball. I will admit that I stayed away from the game, too worried that I might like it. Well. I liked it. The minis are nice and the game flows really fast. I have been a fan of Blood Bowl for years, but it has been a while since I played it. Could this be an alternative game I could get in with ActionMan? Perhaps. Though he is a tad young. Hopefully, it will be around when he's a little older.

We headed to the Adventure League section and the pair of us sat down to play COR1-01 A Scream in the Night by BMG. A very different experience than the one I had at Gencon. I really enjoyed it, even though it was TOUGH.

Lucky for us, we had Sir Patrick, ActionMan's paladin leading us through or we'd've been mince meat. Still we managed to complete the mission in our schedule time. ActionMan being voted the best player at the table hands down.

With that, it was time to go back home. I wanted us to return before it was too late, as I grew more than a little worried about possible car issues, following our Friday night of fun and adventure.

The drive back was easy and smooth with the two of us chatting about what we would do next year.



  1. Sounds like you had some fun. I like your con reviews.

    1. I try to make them at once entertaining and true.
      Next one will be Imaginarium in Louisville KY...