TotalCon Expectations

Well here we are, on the eve of another TotalCon. At this time tomorrow I’ll be sitting down to run my first game of the convention. Some years this convention sneaks up on me, and others I seem to be chomping at the bit for it to come around. This year is more the latter, so here’s a little stream of consciousness around what I’m anticipating from this convention.

This year, Delta’s coming. Yes, my long time gaming pal, co-host of the Wandering DMs live cast, and generally just a friend I get to see all too infrequently is coming on up to join me for the convention this year, and I’m pretty excited about that. Last year Dan and I went to GaryCon together, and it was an awesome trip. He wanted to go again this year, but between the timing and the distance I couldn’t make it happen, so I invited him on up to TotalCon instead. For me, GaryCon is like an exotic vacation, while TotalCon is like a trip down to the local pub. I love the homeyness of TotalCon, the feeling like I’m hanging out with a huge gang of old friends, and I worry a little of what Dan might make of it. It feels a bit like introducing your girlfriend to your family (not sure actually which side of that simile you’re on Dan, sorry to have just made it weird). Ultimately I just hope it doesn’t feel like the booby prize for missing out on GaryCon.

Apparently I’ll also be introducing Dan to the Rocky Horror Picture Show. I used to go a lot as teen, down at the 8th Street Theater in New York City. While the RKO Army does a great job at TotalCon, the turn out at a small gaming convention in Marlborough MA doesn’t quite compare to my memories of 8th Street. For me though it’s one of the many traditions of going to TotalCon, and as I know a lot of the lines I try to bring the heat and add what I can for the rest of the audience. Dan is not the first person I’ve introduced to RHPS via TotalCon, and one of these days I really must get a group together to go see it at a proper theater.

As for my games, my schedule is a bit odd thanks to the submission snafu that limited me to only submitting games for Thursday and Sunday, followed by the request from some gamers I only see at this con to run a private game on Friday night. I have a fair amount of GMing up front – two games to run on Thursday, then one on Friday and then the last one on Sunday. Saturday is my biggest day for playing stuff, and I’m going to a couple games run by GMs I’ve never played with before, so I know that’ll be a crapshoot. Here’s hoping for lucky number seven.

My Thursday afternoon game is a straight-forward OD&D game that I’ve run at conventions in the past. I’m really expecting no surprises there. Thursday and Friday night I’ll be running Bryson Springs, and I’m kind of excited about running the same game twice in a row like that. It’ll be very interesting to compare the two experiences. That said, usually for my horror games I do a test run with friends at my house to get a sense of the pacing prior to bringing it to a convention, and I did not do that this time around. I did listen to an actual play recording of someone else running the game, and I’ve just realized that recording is six hours long and he only had four players. Am I foolish for thinking I can do it with 50% more players in two thirds the time? Perhaps. I guess we’ll just see what happens.

Finally, Sunday morning is my quickie Bossfight For Breakfast two hour OD&D game. In the past I’ve run two or three sessions of this, and usually come with many options in hand and decide at the table which specific encounter to run. This year I have just the one, and Dan and I are going to experiment with making it a two DM game. Dan and I did this once a long while back for a campaign, and I’ve waxed poetic on ideas for how to do it at a convention, but this will be our first real attempt. We’re going with the first option of “separate duties”, which fits nicely in the boss fight format. Dan will be playing the boss, doing his best to kill all the PCs, and I’ll be the impartial judge. I’ve even gone so far as to not give Dan access to the character sheets so he doesn’t know exactly what’s coming. It should be interesting.

We have some ideas for a more involved co-run game, but it’s still in development. I had hoped to have it ready for this convention but I just didn’t have the time. That’s probably all for the best, as I’d really like to polish it more, perhaps even bring it up to a full four hour game. I’m sure I’ll have more to post about that as we continue working on it.

Finally, Sunday at 1 PM is the usual time for our Wandering DMs livecast, and we’re thinking we may actually try to do it live from the convention. Our last game ends at noon, and Dan has a 2:30 bus to catch, but we may just have time to pull it off. Also we’ll be bringing recording equipment (ie a phone and a selfie-stick), and hope to do smaller casts throughout to the convention. So, keep an eye on our channel, and definitely check in around 1 PM on Sunday if you can.

I suppose that’s all my pre-convention thoughts. I’m sure I’ll have a lot more to draw on for this blog once it’s over. See you on the other side!

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