JP On Gaming

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Conglomeration 2017 After Action Report Part 1

This past weekend was Conglomeration 2017 in Louisville, a convention dedicated to all forms of geekdom. This is the second consecutive time I went, after skipping 2015. This is a con that was literally just around the corner from my house there. One of the game organizer is none other than my good friend Derek-R.

I had been working like crazy to get everything done: the Saggakar special, the Rhym Campaign Setting book, the terrain for the special, get it all printing, sorted and ready. In short, I have been working like a madman to get a million things done.

Thus is the glorious life of a small-time publisher!

Let's see how it went...

My weekend started Friday around 11:45 when I took my wife to a local Indian restaurant we like. We had a great meal before I got on the road heading north on I-65.

I stopped to fill up and refill my coffee in Kentucky and saw I received a text from JD (the creator of Rhym). His wife just reminded him the con was this weekend. Quick text back on the road.

I got there a little later than I planned but with ample time to do some catching up, chat, see what's going on, and just enjoy the con.

I got to chat up a little with Derek-R, Chuck, Jake, and so many others, say hello to people I hadn't seen in a long time. You know, just get into the beat of things.

Then JD showed up and he invited me to dinner at a local Asian restaurant. It was just great. We talked about Rhym, traded ideas and realigned the next step(s) for Rhym. A great time around food.

Back at the con, he set up a Rhym impromptu game that got four names very quickly, a very encouraging start indeed! I gave him a copy of the iconic characters and headed off to my panel.

GM Panel was a panel I was looking forward - and my only one this year - the panel was composed of fellow GMs I meat last year. One GM owns a store in Louisville, one runs games only at his house for friends, one was a big fan of story games and ran LARPs, and me: organize play GM... There was no fixed agenda, we fielded questions from the audience and from our moderator, Carol. This was a very entertaining panel which definitely reinforce my growing view that gaming is not a one-size fits all and that everyone approaches it differently. Preparation, handling groups, GMing horror stories, pitfall of character creation. A lot of fun stuff.

After that, I returned to the gaming room where I sought a game of something. I found a game of 5e ran by a kid named Rowan. The game ended up being a long-running series of gags. Having just come out of a panel with so many great GM, this was somewhat different. He has much to go, but I think it was a good formative session for him. Talking to the other players, it seems he is used to coercing his players into doing anything.

Saturday morning rose to a beautiful day, I made my slot and... no one signed up. I was sad. I declined an offer to play in a PFS game (especially since it was one where you had to play a pre-gen, and while I do my best to avoid PFS at conventions, I flat out refuse to play anything with a pregen). Saddened, I moved my start time from 9 to 11 (since the games I was offering was the "Service and Rewards" series, which are all about two hours long).

At 11, six people sat down and I was able to run my one Saggakar adventure.

My next slot was in the afternoon and I ran my first Rhym adventure: Black Sails. A tale of pirates, dragons, and paranoia... The adventure can run a little long, but is quite fun to run and play. The basic idea of that adventure had been rattling around in my head for a long time, even before I started working full-time on Saggakar.

Finally, the time for the special came and it could not come fast enough. I had secured one of the larger tables, and waited.

And waited.

Turns out I had no sign-ups!

I talked to Chad about this and that, unfortunately he could not play himself.

JD came to the rescue by offering to run a second table of his adventure, which I had not played yet and was quite curious. Yes, this meant that there were TWO Rhym adventures available at the con! I got to play Juri-Sho, the fire-elemental sorceress. The adventure had a very home game feel to it, which was both exciting and refreshing. Very interesting intro to the campaign.

Sunday started with a similar day: nice and warm.

My 9am table had nine sign-ups. I was both flattered and freaked out by this, but knowing JD would be coming back, if push came to shove, we would divide the players into to tables and run distinct adventures. (Remember, when I noted with some elation that we did have two available adventures? Another plus!)

Turns out that five players showed up - mostly on time (Randy) - and we were able to start at a decent time. In a similar situation as the night before, now JD got to sit down and play! He ended with Lady Hanalyr, our paladin iconic.

The adventure over, I packed up, said goodbye to folks and hit the road back to Nashville. All under a beautiful sun.

Next time: The good, the bad and the conclusion!


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