RPPR Episode 36: Gencon 2009 Wrapup

We’re back from Gencon and we’ve gathered our thoughts. It was an exhausting, exhilarating and expensive four days but well worth it. We cover everything from the trip to Indy, hotels, to the actual games we played or ran and our purchases. Tom tried out a few official games while I ran seven games, including an after hours Call of Cthulhu game. Of course the big news is that we played in a 2 part, 12 hour WW1 CoC scenario run by Adam Scott Glancy of Pagan Publishing. It was suitably epic. On top of that, we have some tips for all you con-goers including a few of my hints on running games at a con.


Eclipse Phase: Transhumanist Sci-Fi Horror Rpg. Very awesome, very pretty and well worth a look.
Mecha & Manga: Mutants and Masterminds Animu setting book. If you want school girl ninjas and giant robots in M&M, try this.
Shotgun Diaries: John Wick’s zombie survival horror rules-lite rpg. No link because there’s no website for the game.
Shard: High-concept fantasy furry rpg.
Zombie Cinema: A story game about zombies, sold in a VHS box. Very cool.
Hills Rise Wild: Pagan Publishing’s Cthulhu Mythos board game.
Mysteries of Mesoamerica: A Call of Cthulhu 1920s sourcebook for central america and has 4 scenarios.
Hobocon: A documentary about some gamers trying to survive Gencon with no cash and no plan.
Dragon Magazine Annual 2009: A collection of some of WOTC’s best stuff from Dragon magazine. Great material on kobolds and more
Grim Wars: A new setting for Wild Talents written by Greg Stolze and Ken Hite.
Damnation City: A nWoD sourcebook for cities – building your own, pulling the strings and so on.
America the Audiobook: Hilarious audiobook from the Daily Show.
I’m America and So Can You: Another funny audiobook, this one from Stephen Colbert.

Music: Untitled song from Click Clack Kaboom.

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  1. Ross how does it feel to be internet famous? Hey, speaking of audiobooks, did you check out any of those H.P. Lovecraft audiobooks at Librivox?

  2. Looking forward to the CoC game, and all of the others. And defintally excited to hear about the Actual Play feed. Finally, a steady stream of feed for the monkey on my back.

    Listening to you guys talk about the game you played gave me some ideas of things I’d like to try running, so thanks for that too.


  4. This one’s for Tom.

    I think it was last year I heard a tip from Trey Riley in a GAMA Trade Show episode hosted by the Pulp Gamer guys about con hosting. What she said was that those hotel blocks of discounted rooms can be retroactively discounted for people who don’t get into them. If you didn’t get a discounted room check with the con organizers and/or the hotel staff and see what you can have done to get your bill changed.

    The benefit the con organizers get out of this is they have leverage to get larger quantities of blocked rooms the next year when they find out there are more people than they had planned.

    Anyway, great con wrap-up.

    And how did the Breakfast Club All Flesh game go? I remember you mentioning you were scheduled for a session of it in a past episode. I was in that one on Sunday morning. It was okay. Nothing to write home about.

  5. Pee pee doo doo Spoilers.

  6. Author

    Well, If I were referring to a movie, then you would be right. However, I am applying the term to a RPG so the term has a slightly different meaning. Look at http://www.rpg.net/columns/soap/soap116.phtml as an example. Within the context of RPGs, high concept games are ones with unusual or unique settings or premises that deviate from rpg genre conventions. I classified Shard as a high concept RPG because the setting is quite unusual, even when ignoring the furry elements (no metal, living on shards of a planet etc). The same is true for Eclipse Phase, which creates a mind/body divide for PCs and other transhumanist themes.

  7. “I am America and so can you” is perfect in audiobook.

  8. Sounds like someone in the RPG world started using the Hollywood phrase wrong so now it’s supposedly okay. I can point to a hundred URLs where people make the same grammatical error as I have made. To do so does not prove the grammatical error is correct. There’s nothing in the phrase “high concept” that connotes “deviation from convention.”

  9. Author

    The great thing about English is that it changes so easily. If enough people start using a term with a different meaning then it takes on that meaning. Look at this part of the wiki entry:

    “In music, it has been applied to artist’s works that go outside the boundaries of normal standards, e.g. the “boy-girl” dynamic in pop music. Examples of this would be “Kings of the Wild Frontier” and “Prince Charming” by the band Adam and the Ants, which include themes from 19th Century history and Native American history. The works of bands such as T.Rex, Pink Floyd, and Blur have also been described as high-concept. Again, pop music that goes past the standard topics of love or romance seems to qualify for this description.”

    If you replace music with RPGs, then it works fine.

  10. I would play a Pink Floyd RPG, but only if Tom was GMing.

  11. What about a King Crimson RPG?

  12. Hey, Ross. I’m one of the folks who played in your Candlewick Manor and Wild Talents sessions at GenCon. Glad I decided to check out your webpage as the podcasts are really well done and semi-addictive. I’m now eager to hear more about this Night Shift scenario. Mad props, etc.

  13. I am severely disappointed by you encouraging GMs to not follow the event host policies in regards to things like tickets. I know I’d be a little annoyed if I paid two generics to get into your game (or bought an actual ticket) and you let the idiot next to me into the game with only one generic. I sincerely doubt that I will ever bother listening to your podcast again.

  14. Author

    No one goes to Gencon thinking “oh boy I’m going to trick GMs into letting me into their games with only 1 generic ticket instead of 2! I’ll save 2 bucks through this skulduggery!” I only let in a few people who didn’t have the right amount of tickets and that was due to administrative errors on the part of the Gencon staff. The players could not get their hands on tickets because of factors outside their own control.

    Gencon costs quite a bit of cash to attend and the costs of the tickets are quite minor compared to that. If you manage to show up on time for one of my games, I’ll let you in unless I am totally overwhelmed with players who pre-bought their tickets for that specific game.

    Gencon is about having fun playing games and I think it’s wrong to deny someone that fun for something outside of their control, ESPECIALLY since I did NOT deny ANY gamer who DID have a legit ticket.

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