Year of the Con: Gencon

Let’s assume I’ve made the standard excuses for a long blog absence, and you have decided to forgive me or not.  Stuff that happened during that absence will end up on the blog eventually but it is not part of today’s subject.  Because today’s subject is…

Gencon!

I made it back this year, against some pretty staggering odds.  Hard to complain too much about that, especially when some of those odds were self-inflicted.  Suffice to say I was pretty much not going to make it this year, until, due to the saint-like generosity of a friend, I was.  I can certainly do without the whiplash inducing status changes, but since I am writing this from a coffee shop in Indianapolis I can hardly argue with the result.  So I will say another hearty thank-you to my benefactor, and get on to the meat of this post.

I won’t go too much into the drive down, except that it was better and worse than the drive down last time.  Like last time there were five of us in the vehicle, and despite its spaciousness five seems to be the number that causes “cabin fever” despite wishes to the contrary.  That was enhanced by the fact we were driving straight through, 31 hours in one shot (with appropriate breaks to switch drivers and for intake/outflow).  It was somewhat offset, however, by the most mother-beautiful air conditioning ever.  I can last pretty much indefinitely in an air-conditioned vehicle; without it I become…tetchy.  The only other thing I’ll say about the drive is kudos to Don, who manoeuvred us through some pretty dense Chicago inter-state traffic at midnight, despite the best efforts of teamsters trying to cut our trip short.  Well done, sir!

Today is technically Day Zero, since Gencon proper doesn’t begin until 9am Thursday.  But Wednesday is the day that Indianapolis is invaded by gamers, like zombies descending on an ICU.  And what is so cool among all the other cool things, is how much Indianapolis embraces Gencon and its participants.  For blocks around the Indianapolis Convention Centre (ICC) the city has posted banners welcoming us.  Shops and stores display a variety of posters and signage welcoming us and reminding us of Gencon specials.  Nobody seems terribly dismayed by the high geek concentration in the crowds downtown, and that is a sort of excellent.

Currently I am waiting in the lobby of the Hyatt, where Paizo is putting me up for the weekend.  Check-in time isn’t for a few hours yet, and I don’t want to be one of Those Guests by trying to wheedle my way into my room early.  The lobby has a coffee shop and free wi-fi, so I have everything I need for the moment.  While the weather is not at the same scorching levels it achieved the last time I was here, it is hot enough to make me glad the Hyatt is attached to the ICC by pedway.  Because I will be one of Those Guests and not go outside all weekend unless I have to.

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Pro Traveller Tip: If you want to freak out your American barrista, forget you aren’t in Canada and try to pay for your coffee with a Twonie.  It’s like I tried to pay with diseased Monopoly-money™.  Once she figured out I was Canadian, and I actually had good-ol’ American cash, everything was good.  Update: The barrista has found a collection of Canadian music and is now playing it. Apology? Revenge? Changes song to song.

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Today is a pretty light day for me, certainly compared to my Pathfinder GM schedule over the rest of Gencon.  Meet my roomies for the next four days, then the Venture-Captain dinner tonight.  After the dinner I may or may not check out some gaming goodness at a local game store.  More likely I’ll go back to my room and put the finishing touches on a few of the scenarios I haven’t run prior to this Gencon (they didn’t exist until this Gencon, making me one of the first GMs to run people through them, which is exciting to me).  And then up early to hit the Dealer Room for 9am, because there are folks to visit and games to demo.

I will update daily, as my schedule allows.  Some updates may be more detailed than others, also schedule dependant.  Honestly, one of them might just be a “Squeeee!”.  But they’ll come.

I get the rare privilege of spending five days in the company of My People. So for now I’m just happy to be here, and working to enjoy the moment while the moments come!

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