Convention Reports
A Visit to GenCon 2004

Well, as usual, I don't get to my GenCon report until much later, but better late than never, I guess.

Again, it was in Indianapolis, and unfortunately will be there for quite a while; hopefully, it will return to Milwaukee at some point, but things look grim. Take a look at last year's report for links to information on the convention center and such. I stayed at the some hotel as last year, about 5 miles away from the convention center, and pretty convenient to get to.

Wednesday, August 18 - Well, this is better than last time...

This year, I drove in on Wednesday, getting there in time for the Members' Meeting. I didn't have time to spend a little extra in sightseeing Indianapolis, like I did last year. However, I did get some time to take some more pictures of the center.

Outside the convention center and RCA Dome Outside the convention center and RCA Dome
RCA Dome - the Colts played there during the convention

RPGA Headquarters
RPGA Members' Meeting
RPGA HQ and the Members' Meeting, and the cavernous hall

The RPGA Members' Meeting location was pretty much undetermined until the last minute, and ended up being in Exhibit Hall A along with all of the other RPGA events. (Look at last year's report for a map of the center - A is in the upper left of the map. True, it was the farthest point from the RPGA judges' hotel, but it was at least all in one room, with easy access to HQ.) There was a raised dais in the center for HQ, and it was used as the focal point of the meeting. It was hard to make out what the speakers were saying, even with the microphone - Ian Richards, head of the RPGA was claiming that his British accent was partially causing problems, but it really was the echos in the room, plus the speakers' unfamiliarity with how to speak into the microphone. The meeting degenerated into a bunch of complaints, unfortunately. Fortunately, I no longer remember much about the complaints. Smiley

Fortunately, I had been able to appear at HQ before the meeting and get my judge badge without an issue - this year, GenCon LLC was much more organized, and Auguist Hahn, the coordinator for the judges, had rode herd on them to get the badges and event tickets prepared. Much better than last year.

Thursday, August 19 - Lots of little toys

This year, GenCon went to three slots a day rather than four, so it was much more civilized judging or playing in all of them. Thursday morning, I ran my first of four slots of Castle Greyhawk. (This was the Living Greyhawk special event for GenCon this year.) There were four versions of it, two high-level and two low-level (the maps were different between the versions, as were the encounters). I was fortunate (?) enough to run each version once. It was a good thing that I prepared all of the versions. It was enjoyable running them, especially the high-level ones with the Mastermaze dungeons. The exception was the one very high-level table that totally overpowered the event, and fought me on nearly every call. That was a quite exhausting four hours for all concerned, but at least I got some use out of all of the D&D Miniatures that I have bought.

Mastermaze for Castle Greyhawk
One of the Castle Greyhawk Mastermaze layouts - ready for some PC smackdown!

Speaking of D&D Minis, I headed up to the Archfiends Sealed tourney after Castle Greyhawk, and did all right for myself. I extracted myself from it after there was no way for me to get into the finals, and managed to explore and spend some time in the Auction. And I saw a Batmobile, in the Trading Card Games hall!

Miniatures hall Lego pirates game
The hall for miniatures A Lego pirate ship game - that is the actual carpet of the hall, quite fitting for the game
Batmobile! Batmobile!
Na na na na na na na na Na na na na na na na na - Batman!

I did try to get to the Block Party, but it was apparently sort of moved into the Crowne Plaza hotel, but was mostly over by the time I got there, with little activity outside and none I could find inside.

Friday, August 20 - Fear my dungeons!

Friday is pretty easy to describe - I ran Castle Greyhawk three times. All day long. There was much death and destruction (most on the side of the monsters, but some lucky rolls did manage to get a PC). No Bones the skeleton checking his instruments (drum, flute, etc.) like the original Castle Greyhawk, but it was a bit wacky.

Saturday, August 21 - We remember this guy - he was green, and a regent...

This was my day to play Legacy of the Green Regent. I played the two regular events, one of which was good, and the other one I wasn't sure about. This was because the judge didn't really like the event, and I'm not entirely certain that what we played really caught what the event was supposed to be. The LGR Special, Undermountain, was judged by someone I knew from my CARP days in Michigan - a good judge. Sure, it was a dungeon crawl, but it was using Mastermaze and it was fun.

Undermountain 1 Undermountain 2
This doesn't seem too hard, just a few orc-like things.... Arrrgh! Where did that come from?????

Sunday, August 22 - That's All, Folks!

In the morning, I played my first Living Force event in a year - I like the campaign a lot, but it's hard to get a game going in my area. (And I missed Winter Fantasy.) It was the low-level one, "The Replacementa". My PC is still technically low-enough in level to play it (6th level), and ended up playing with many 1st level PCs. Unfortunately (or fortunately), my PC is was focused exactly to the challenges of the module (with my own astromech droid), and could likely have done the event all by myself. Still, it was fin playing some Star Wars again.

After that, it was some visiting of the Great Hall (I had managed to make it there a few times earlier in the con, just not in a stretch.) I don't have much in the way of comments there, except that the usual suspects were there again, except of course companies like the lamented FASA.

The d20 is back! Imperial Stormtrooper on security duty
Images from the Great Hall - of course the giant d20 was back!

Well, I'm sure that I will be back next year.

Indiana State Capitol
Indiana State Capitol at night