I briefly thought about just making last week's post "GENCON!" and moving on...but I didn't even get a moment for that. It's been a busy and fun few weeks...and it's not over yet.
Kantcon was a great success the weekend before GenCon, and a lot of fun. I had full tables for my Star Wars Edge of the Empire, Force and Destiny, and Savage Worlds Last Parsec games. The Delinquent Hutt brought out a lot of player creativity. Paths of Destiny was fun, but still needs more tweaks. The basic issue is that it needs more than 4 hours in its current format.
Speaking of The Last Parsec, PEG decided to release a setting core book much earlier than anticipated, and it's now available as a pdf and preorder print copy. They actually had print copies at GenCon, and it looks great.
So, I guess it's time to move on to GenCon. It was another record setting year with about 61,000 unique attendees. My schedule was and felt a lot lighter, since I didn't have any formal game running duties this time around. Even a lot of the typical seminars I'd try to attend weren't running this year, which opened up some time. It was probably just as well.
Wednesday evening started with a get-together of fans of the Order 66 podcast, hosted by GM Dave. The restaurant was more than a little warm, which was just a warning as to the days to come. This was the hottest GenCon I remember - hottest inside, that is. For at least Thursday and Friday, it seemed like no AC could keep up. The dealers hall was hot, the second floor of the Westin ballrooms were at least 15 degrees warmer than the lower level, the corridors were warm, and so on. Anyway, some of us moved on to the Diana Jones Award presentation/party/get together/etc. and the mass of game designers it always features.
Thursday started off with something unusual for me. My first event was a Star Wars terrain painting class hosted by Hirst Arts staff. Hirst Arts makes molds for casting plaster models, terrain, etc. for miniatures games. They don't have Star Wars specific molds, but was showing how their sci-fi molds could be painted for use in Star Wars games. Really, it was much more of a basic sci-fi painting class than Star Wars specific, which was some of the feedback we gave afterwards. I haven't painted miniature anything for years, so it was good to get the basics of techniques I didn't use previously. We had a variety of pieces. I went with the worn and used look. Wookiee not included.
The Monte Cook Games panel was next on the agenda. Got a look at the next stage of the in-development Numenera film, this time with some of the effects added. It's looking good. There is another Numenera kickstarter in the works, taking the setting to other regions, like space. After that, it was off to a writer's symposium session on RPG tie-in fiction writing.
Thursday night, I ran a pick up game of Edge of the Empire, featuring the aforementioned Delinquent Hutt adventure. It was a bit slow starting, but eventually we got a full table with fellow Star Wars RPG freelancer Jordan Goldfarb, a couple of guys from the Indianapolis Star Wars fan club, two who arrived in response to my tweets (one of which was a host of The Hydian Way podcast), and an Order 66 podcast listener.
Friday brought Fantasy Flight Games Inflight Report, which I'd missed the last year or two having run games at that time. FFG is 20 years old, amazingly enough. They announced new X-Wing ships, which included some really great ships from the Rebels TV series. They covered Armada, Imperial Assault, and the release of Force and Destiny. They didn't announce any new RPG titles. They also confirmed they will have something for The Force Awakens, which is what they've said for at least 3 cons now. Not surprisingly. Here's their overview of GenCon:
The Force and Destiny core rulebook released at the show and in stores this week. I've had more feedback for this one than even Edge. Lots of excitement.
Next was the Chuck Windig Q&A in the writers symposium. He's the author of the highly anticipated Star Wars Aftermath novels. He's also a prolific blogger. He was highly amusing on stage. He famously got the Star Wars writing gig after tweeting that he wanted to write a Star Wars novel and wanted the Internet to make it happen. It did. He said that he originally had 90 days to write the novel, but that quickly became 30 when the release date was moved up.
I hadn't met Chuck before, and my introduction didn't go as anticipated. At the end of the panel, he drew my ticket from the session's event tickets, and I was the lucky winner of a book that wasn't one of his. I then properly introduced myself as the room dissolved into the chaos that usually happens when the crowd splits between those advancing on the stage for autographs and those moving on to their next event.
I had a brief conversation with Mike Mearls and Jeremy Crawford in the always-packed D&D Adventurers League area in the gaming hall. Then it was off to a Realm Works panel. Friday evening was another Star Wars pickup game with half of same cast of players as the previous evening. It finished off with a late night Numernera post-Ennies party that was really a packed surprise 50th birthday party for Charles Ryan.
Unfortunately, I really overdid the walking up to this point, and my ankle took control of much of the rest of the weekend. A previously minor issue turned into something worse with my achilles tendon. I ended up on crutches for Saturday, then my wife pushed me around in a borrowed wheelchair for a final tour of the dealer hall on Sunday. I'll be ok, though I manged to strain/sprain both heels and it will take a few days for things to subside.
Fortunately, Saturday's events were almost all in my hotel anyway. I had another Realm Works seminar. That afternoon was Savage Worlds time. There were two seminars this year. The first was full, and previously moved to a bigger room due to interest in the previously announced Savage Worlds version of the popular Rifts setting. They had also promised a big announcement, and they delivered this:
I'm very much looking forward to it. Nothing more was really said about exactly what the line will hold or a release schedule.
The second seminar featured the Savage Worlds licensees - or at least some of them. There are more than 100 worldwide now. In a somewhat related note, one of Shane Hensley's other projects took off in the form of a kickstarter for a high-quality minis game featuring Conan. I saw the minis at the show, and they are fantastic.
Saturday night wrapped with an informal FFG freelancer get together.
Sunday was wide open, but turned into a final, wheelchair tour of the dealer hall to hit a few places I had missed. It would have been cheaper to stay away, but that's always true of the dealer hall, no matter how big it gets.
So, next weekend is Kansas City Comic Con. I'm the remaining gaming guest since Jim Ward's health prevents him from attending. I'll be running D&D and Star Wars, and there will be other gaming events as well. See you there.