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:
Niblenock the goblin patiently awaits his GenCon Flight
The plane has landed, it is safe for Niblenock the goblin to unbuckle.
Niblenock continues his GenCon adventure, arriving at his home for the next four days.
Niblenock joins the Will Call line. If you squint real hard, you can see the halfway mark.
HV’s Gamer Burger has defeated Niblenock. He lies shamed and bloated.
Niblenock crashes a Dungeons of Fate game run by Mike Shea with so many D&D tweelebrities.
Niblenock tries his luck with Giant Catan.
Niblenock meets his hero, another member of a misunderstood “evil” race.
Niblenock touches the fabled 5e Monster Manual.
Niblenock gets chill touched by the silicone-blessed lich of Neverwinter.
Right before the dealer’s hall opens. Everyone waits in anticipation.
Niblenock wants to retire to a place like this someday.
Niblenock is impressed by this 3D map of Westeros. Very pretty.
Niblenock wonders what class of kaiju he is considered.
Niblenock is almost exterminated!
But he manages to escape into time and space.
An ale barrel golem? What will they think of next?
Niblenock swears his allegiance to ancient Thassilon (with assistance from Campaign Coins).
Niblenock prepares himself for True Dungeon.
Niblenock is manhandled by the Dungeon Bastard and meets Nathan Rice of Zombie Orpheus.
Logon Bonner helps Niblenock to show off the halfway point of the line to get into the Paizo booth.
A game of goblin armies? Niblenock approves!
Niblenock is not monoGamist and happily hangs with Mike Mearls after a D&D5 seminar.
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.
The Adventurer’s League hall shows off the organized play factions. Niblenock is impressed with the crowds.
Tired of lines, Nibelock takes extreme action.
Bad Niblenock: Cosplay does NOT equal consent.
Niblenock thinks it is important to find time to relax. Thankfully beanbags have been provided.
Cardhalla is off to a good start. Soon enough it will be destroyed. For silly reasons like “charity”. Nobody sneeze.
Ah… ah… achoo! Oh noes!!
GeekChic tables are amazing and lovely but Niblebnock will have to mortgage Thistletop to afford one, even with the sale at GenCon.
Someday Niblenock’s captive brothers will be free. Some. Day.
Wibbly wobbly, timey wimey is too technical for Niblenock.
Giant axes hold no fear for Niblenock.
Seriously, cosplay does not equal consent.
No Niblenock, fire is not a valid option for rock-paper-scissors-lizard-Spock.
Digital card games? Niblenock is confused. How do you turn the cards into towers?
With all the RPG books and swag, GenCon can be hard on the back. Thankfully there are professionals trained in the relaxation arts.
Niblenock is ready for the Pathfinder Society special.
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.)
Niblenock is pleased to meet the CEO of Paizo Inc and listen to her stories.
Even when the Special is not on, the PFS hall is packed!
The famous Reaper miniatures Paint ‘n’ Take.
Giant Lego RoboRally?
Niblenock wonders if there are many games with goblins in the Pick-Up Game / Game Library room.
Niblenock is stunned to meet Frank Mentzer, creator of the D&D Red Box.
Niblenock is photobombed by RA Salvatore and Erin M Evans.
Niblenock watches the line watching the Cosplay parade.
Niblenock readies his dogslicer for the charity balloon popping.
GenCon reminder from Niblenock: always make sure you’re wearing your badge and that the front is visible.
Shuffling giant Yu-Gi-Oh cards proves to be a task beyond the skill of Niblenock.
Niblenock tried to get a photo in the make-your-own card section but only his pants were visible.
Battletech. Niblenock always puts money on the side with giant robots.
Niblenock hears the Star Trek fight them in his head.
LARPing duels. For when someone really cuts in line.
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.
Niblenock is a firm supporter of the 3-2-1 rule for GenCon.
Niblenock joins some youths as they break out the Pathfinder Beginner Box. It warms the heart.
Niblenock crashes a game with Keith Baker, creator of Eberron.
Ryan Dancy created the OGL. The OGL created Pathfinder. Pathfinder created Niblenock.
No cosplay? No problem. Someone at GenCon has you covered.
Even wandering the halls of GenCon you can still play a game.
Crud… and I just lost “The Game”.
Niblenock thinks there’s barely space to swing a dead dog during the D&D Special.
Custom check-out counters? Stylish.
Hallway? Nope. Game space.
Giant gnomes! Niblenock’s worst fear!
Even the hotel bars become a place to roll dice and tap cards.
Lord Davian, host of the D&D Epics event, standing on a bare stage. Why bare? Because he ATE ALL THE SCENERY.
D&D’s Greg Bilsland embracing his inner green.
A lucky player walks away with a Green Dragon Mask, showing that you CAN win at D&D.
Standing room only for the D&D Celebration.
Niblenock approves of teaching kids to revere goblins.
Niblenock opts to fight for Tiamat.
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.