GenCon 2014 In Review

I managed to get out to my second GenCon this summer. I first attended a couple years ago during 2012 and was excited to have a chance to get out again for the launch of 5th Edition. Although, as it turned out, it was really just the launch of Tyranny of Dragons and there was *nothing* special done for D&D’s 40th Anniversary. Sad.

Swag & Games

I limited my purchases this year, with finances being tight. I limited myself to the Advanced Class Guide from Paizo Inc, a copy of the 1e Wilderness Survival Guide to further round out that collection, Shadows of Esteren‘s adventure/locale Monastery of Tuath, a copy of Dreamscarred Press’ Psionic Bestiary, some new minis, an amulet, some comics, and a few odds and ends.

Really, I spent more on food than I did on RPGs. To say nothing of airfare and hotel. The USD to CAD exchange rate was not favourably to me this weekend.

But the prized possessions were swag of a different sort. I spent the weekend hunting down signatures for my copy of Paizo’s Emerald Spire superdungeon, getting 13 of the 16 authors to sign, missing Sean K Reynolds at the Con, Rich Baker, and Nicolas Logue. And I got Rodney Thompson, Mike Mearls, and Jeremy Crawford to sign my copy of the 5e Player’s Handbook.

I played some 5th Edition, some PFS, and tried some FATE and L5R for the first time, along with the Pathfinder Card Game, and the LFG roleplaying game demo. Fun was had.

I even made it into the D&D Celebration. Which was really the end to Corruption at Kryptgarden, the first D&D Epics adventure. 700 people playing the same adventure to thwart the Cult of the Dragon. It was apparently quite well received by the lucky few who could get in: while the turnout was apparently the best of any D&D special, the number of tables was half that of the PFS special, but the event sold out so they could have easily had even more players. The celebration started late because the special went long, and it was pretty much an award ceremony for the special, giving a prize to a player who completed the most mini-quests and the best DM. Plus a thank-you from the D&D team for 5th Edition. This has all the ingredients for a terrible bore of an event, but the MC was in-character the entire time, playing a quest giver and hit it out of the park being continually sarcastic and witty and really making the whole “celebration” surprisingly entertaining.

The Adventures of Niblenock

But much of my time at the Convention was spent on… other activities.

Several months back I tweeted a random thought: I could bring my stuffed Paizo goblin with me to the con and take pictures with him in various places. Much like the Wandering Gnome, but a goblin.  Liz Courts of Paizo encouraged me and thus my faithful goblin cohort, Niblenock, took off on his adventure through GenCon.

Below are the highlights:

Photo 2014-08-13, 4 52 05 AM

Niblenock the goblin patiently awaits his GenCon Flight

Photo 2014-08-13, 10 50 43 AM

The plane has landed, it is safe for Niblenock the goblin to unbuckle.

Photo 2014-08-13, 12 39 32 PM

Niblenock continues his GenCon adventure, arriving at his home for the next four days.

Photo 2014-08-13, 1 10 35 PM

Niblenock joins the Will Call line. If you squint real hard, you can see the halfway mark.

Photo 2014-08-13, 2 16 27 PM

HV’s Gamer Burger has defeated Niblenock. He lies shamed and bloated.

Photo 2014-08-13, 8 06 09 PM

Niblenock crashes a Dungeons of Fate game run by Mike Shea with so many D&D tweelebrities.

Photo 2014-08-14, 5 26 57 AM

Niblenock tries his luck with Giant Catan.

Photo 2014-08-14, 5 29 06 AM

Niblenock meets his hero, another member of a misunderstood “evil” race.

Photo 2014-08-14, 5 29 23 AM

Oh noes!!

Photo 2014-08-14, 5 31 31 AM

Niblenock touches the fabled 5e Monster Manual.

Photo 2014-08-14, 5 33 36 AM

Niblenock gets chill touched by the silicone-blessed lich of Neverwinter.

Photo 2014-08-14, 5 55 22 AM

Right before the dealer’s hall opens. Everyone waits in anticipation.

Photo 2014-08-14, 5 41 09 AM

Niblenock wants to retire to a place like this someday.

Photo 2014-08-14, 5 40 26 AM

Niblenock is impressed by this 3D map of Westeros. Very pretty.

Photo 2014-08-14, 5 40 40 AM

Niblenock wonders what class of kaiju he is considered.

Photo 2014-08-14, 6 21 37 AM

Niblenock is almost exterminated!

Photo 2014-08-14, 6 22 54 AM

 But he manages to escape into time and space.

Photo 2014-08-14, 6 52 58 AM

An ale barrel golem? What will they think of next?

Photo 2014-08-14, 6 59 26 AM

Niblenock swears his allegiance to ancient Thassilon (with assistance from Campaign Coins).

Photo 2014-08-14, 7 46 21 AM

Niblenock prepares himself for True Dungeon.

Photo 2014-08-14, 9 44 46 AM

Niblenock is manhandled by the Dungeon Bastard and meets Nathan Rice of Zombie Orpheus.

Photo 2014-08-14, 9 56 05 AM

Logon Bonner helps Niblenock to show off the halfway point of the line to get into the Paizo booth.

Photo 2014-08-14, 10 09 02 AM

A game of goblin armies? Niblenock approves!

Photo 2014-08-14, 12 44 53 PM

Niblenock is not monoGamist and happily hangs with Mike Mearls after a D&D5 seminar.

Photo 2014-08-15, 6 37 01 AM Photo 2014-08-15, 7 18 13 AM

Since his name is GREENwood, Niblenock declares Ed an honorary goblin. Mr. Greenwood jokes that Niblenock will never wash again after being touched by him, but Niblenock is familiar with Mr. Greenwood’s reputation and is going to wash extra.

Photo 2014-08-16, 2 20 49 PM

The Adventurer’s League hall shows off the organized play factions. Niblenock is impressed with the crowds.

Photo 2014-08-15, 6 37 01 AM

Tired of lines, Nibelock takes extreme action.

Photo 2014-08-15, 9 50 42 AM

Bad Niblenock: Cosplay does NOT equal consent.

Photo 2014-08-15, 9 01 39 AM

Niblenock thinks it is important to find time to relax. Thankfully beanbags have been provided.

Photo 2014-08-15, 9 11 36 AM

Cardhalla is off to a good start. Soon enough it will be destroyed. For silly reasons like “charity”. Nobody sneeze.

Photo 2014-08-15, 9 11 25 AM

Ah… ah… achoo! Oh noes!!

Photo 2014-08-15, 9 18 38 AM

GeekChic tables are amazing and lovely but Niblebnock will have to mortgage Thistletop to afford one, even with the sale at GenCon.

Photo 2014-08-15, 9 21 25 AM

Someday Niblenock’s captive brothers will be free. Some. Day.

Photo 2014-08-15, 6 37 01 AM Photo 2014-08-15, 9 36 15 AM

Wibbly wobbly, timey wimey is too technical for Niblenock.

Photo 2014-08-15, 9 44 15 AM

Giant axes hold no fear for Niblenock.

Photo 2014-08-15, 10 10 38 AM

Seriously, cosplay does not equal consent.

Photo 2014-08-15, 9 49 45 AMPhoto 2014-08-15, 9 53 35 AMPhoto 2014-08-15, 9 54 51 AM

No Niblenock, fire is not a valid option for rock-paper-scissors-lizard-Spock.

Photo 2014-08-15, 9 54 58 AM(They were trying to break a record, and even had the related Big Bang Theory episodes playing).

Photo 2014-08-15, 9 55 57 AM

Digital card games? Niblenock is confused. How do you turn the cards into towers?

Photo 2014-08-15, 9 07 59 AM

With all the RPG books and swag, GenCon can be hard on the back. Thankfully there are professionals trained in the relaxation arts.

Photo 2014-08-15, 3 16 04 PM

Niblenock is ready for the Pathfinder Society special.

Photo 2014-08-15, 3 50 03 PM

Niblenock delves into the ruins of a mountain fortress.
(Friday Night was the worst, with the choice between the ENnies, Tyranny of Dragons launch, or the Paizo special.)

Photo 2014-08-15, 3 50 03 PM Photo 2014-08-16, 7 08 44 AM

Niblenock is pleased to meet the CEO of Paizo Inc and listen to her stories.

Photo 2014-08-16, 7 15 06 AM

Even when the Special is not on, the PFS hall is packed!

Photo 2014-08-16, 7 17 49 AM

The famous Reaper miniatures Paint ‘n’ Take.

Photo 2014-08-16, 7 19 16 AM

Giant Lego RoboRally?

Photo 2014-08-16, 7 20 02 AM

Niblenock wonders if there are many games with goblins in the Pick-Up Game / Game Library room.

Photo 2014-08-16, 9 52 47 AM

Niblenock is stunned to meet Frank Mentzer, creator of the D&D Red Box.

Photo 2014-08-16, 10 04 34 AM

Niblenock is photobombed by RA Salvatore and Erin M Evans.

Photo 2014-08-16, 11 09 54 AM

Niblenock watches the line watching the Cosplay parade.

Photo 2014-08-16, 12 13 46 PM

Niblenock readies his dogslicer for the charity balloon popping.

Photo 2014-08-16, 12 21 34 PM

GenCon reminder from Niblenock: always make sure you’re wearing your badge and that the front is visible.

Photo 2014-08-16, 12 23 57 PM

Shuffling giant Yu-Gi-Oh cards proves to be a task beyond the skill of Niblenock.

Photo 2014-08-16, 12 25 01 PM

Niblenock tried to get a photo in the make-your-own card section but only his pants were visible.

Photo 2014-08-16, 12 28 51 PM

Battletech. Niblenock always puts money on the side with giant robots.

Photo 2014-08-16, 12 29 25 PM

Niblenock hears the Star Trek fight them in his head.

Photo 2014-08-16, 12 29 49 PM

LARPing duels. For when someone really cuts in line.

Photo 2014-08-16, 12 30 45 PM

Niblenock approves of a make-your-own-sword station, as goblins are great at that sort of thing. But it looks like they ran out of rusty metal and nails.

Photo 2014-08-17, 3 36 44 AM

Niblenock is a firm supporter of the 3-2-1 rule for GenCon.

Photo 2014-08-16, 1 19 48 PM

Niblenock joins some youths as they break out the Pathfinder Beginner Box. It warms the heart.

Photo 2014-08-16, 1 13 55 PM

Niblenock crashes a game with Keith Baker, creator of Eberron.

Photo 2014-08-16, 2 13 08 PM

Ryan Dancy created the OGL. The OGL created Pathfinder. Pathfinder created Niblenock.
Grandpa!!

Photo 2014-08-16, 2 16 15 PM

No cosplay? No problem. Someone at GenCon has you covered.

Photo 2014-08-16, 2 19 33 PM

Even wandering the halls of GenCon you can still play a game.
Crud… and I just lost “The Game”.

Photo 2014-08-16, 2 20 49 PM

Niblenock thinks there’s barely space to swing a dead dog during the D&D Special.

Photo 2014-08-16, 2 21 11 PM

Custom check-out counters? Stylish.

Photo 2014-08-16, 4 06 50 PM

Hallway? Nope. Game space.

Photo 2014-08-16, 4 11 27 PM

Giant gnomes! Niblenock’s worst fear!

Photo 2014-08-16, 4 02 28 PM

Even the hotel bars become a place to roll dice and tap cards.

Photo 2014-08-16, 5 59 17 PM

Lord Davian, host of the D&D Epics event, standing on a bare stage. Why bare? Because he ATE ALL THE SCENERY.

Photo 2014-08-16, 6 03 54 PM

D&D’s Greg Bilsland embracing his inner green.

Photo 2014-08-16, 6 11 29 PM

 A lucky player walks away with a Green Dragon Mask, showing that you CAN win at D&D.

Photo 2014-08-16, 6 16 07 PM

Standing room only for the D&D Celebration.

Photo 2014-08-16, 6 36 09 PM

Niblenock approves of teaching kids to revere goblins.

Photo 2014-08-16, 5 40 04 PM

Niblenock opts to fight for Tiamat.

Photo 2014-08-17, 10 25 21 AM

And a message for Liz Courts after a successful GenCon of Wandering Goblinhood.

Those are the highlights. There are more on my Twitter feed, or the hashtag #goblinhorde.

I met so many great people, shook hands, took photos, and rolled dice. It was a great time.Photo 2014-08-15, 9 49 45 AM