Monday, August 24, 2009

Paint and Take!

Desi and I painted these mini's at Gen Con and brought them home as souvenirs.


From the Schedule
Gen Con LLC
Free Miniatures Paint & Take!
Try your hand at painting minis! We have everything you need, including basic instruction, to help you release your inner artist. We make it easy! Maybe you’ve always wanted to try a certain color? Sign up for a seat onsite only! The hardest part is choosing from the dozens of manufacturers who contribute to this popular event! Use your masterpiece in your next RPG or show it off to your friends and and tell them – I did it at the Paint & Take!
Our Take

Thank you to Gen Con and sponsors of this event. It was a really wonderful thing for my wife and I to do together. We each selected minis that could represent characters we played at the convention. Having these minis as souvenirs is a really tangible memory of the fun we had. We got our mini's on Sunday, the last day of the convention, and even though they must have been running low by that point we had a decent selection. Sunday was family day and they had a special table set up for people who had got in free, and families were taking advantage of it. It was really nice to see how well this was handled. Paying conventioneers had more spots and so the booth was able to accommodate more ticket holders than family day visitors, but still the visitors were provided the opportunity to get their free mini's too. Class act on the part of Gen Con.

Speial thanks to Reaper for supplying the paints, and to all the other sponsors who provided materials to make this event happen. Please let me know who all provided mini's so I can give credit.

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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Designing Dungeons with Monte Cook

Monte Cook

From the Schedule
Monte Cook
Designing Dungeons with Monte Cook
Delve into the dungeon! Dungeons offer unique adventuring opportunities, and can be as dynamic, complex, and believable as any other environment. Come discuss dungeon design with Monte Cook, co-designer of 3rd edition D&D, co-founder of Malhavoc Press and designer of 20+ years of other game products, including the brand new
The Talk

Monte Cook has the author's credit for the 3rd Ed. Dungeon Master's Guide and is widely published. His presentation was a highlight of my Gen Con experience. He gave tips on the theory of dungeon design, but there wasn't much in the way of practical design technique. The general discussion, though, was certainly the price of admission.

Tip One: A dungeon, in it's broadest stroke, is a setting that limits and directs movement. It could be a dungeon proper, or a forest with trails and impenetrable hedges, or a building like a castle. A plain or a stretch of open ocean would not be a dungeon. A dungeon has "walls" and features that can be interacted with.

Tip Two: Cook thinks dungeons have lost some cache in modern games, which is a shame. The purpose of a dungeon is to provide focus for encounters, and to manage player choices. A dungeon provides context to the challenges of the adventure.

Tip Three: It is not important to try to be realistic. It is not necessary to think too much about why this dungeon exists or whether or not someone would go to the trouble or expense to construct it, or whether there really exists the natural forces to form the dungeon. It is enough to say that it exists. Cook compares and contrasts realism with believability. The distinction is that believability is the burden of designing a dungeon so that players don't ask, "How can that possibly work?" As an example, a boulder would not roll up hill. That's not believable. Never mind that it might not be realistic for there to be a bolder trap because nobody would go to that trouble. Another example: the players go down a hall in a dungeon laden with deadly traps and at the end of it these mid-level PC's are good and beat up. Then at the end of the hall is a room with no other exits full of kobolds. It's not so important to justify why there are kobolds or a hall full of traps, but your players will not believe that a room full of healthy kobolds routinely traverse a hall of deadly traps in the course of their existence in the dungeon or that they don't traverse it and stay permanently in that room.

Tip Four: Meaningful decisions. Dungeon design is about offering meaningful decisions to players. A classic example is a "T" intersection in a dungeon. At a "T" intersection with a hall that goes straight left and right as far as you can see without any difference between them the players can not make a meaningful decision. To make it meaningful the players might hear a sound coming from the left, or see a flickering light to the right. Do they want to go toward the light? Do they want to go away from the sound? What they choose makes a difference, and it's a difference the players can control.

Tip Five: Build on conventions of dungeon design. Gary Gygax established a standard of dungeon design; players know that the deeper they go, the more dangerous the dungeon gets. Use that convention. Cook designs his dungeon with an additional progression, the deeper the weirder.

Tip Six: Make dungeons dynamic by including an "on revisit" section for dungeon rooms. Cook defines what players encounter when they come back to a room for the second time. Does anyone or anything come into the room while the PC's are exploring other rooms?

Tip Seven: Avoid the most classic story mistake of dungeon design. Don't create a story for a dungeon, one that buttresses the believability of the dungeon, that the players can not discover. The players should be able to learn all about the story of how this dungeon came to be, its reason for being.

Tip Eight: Add to the epic ambiance of a dungeon by showing them that they're not the first to try the dungeon. This discussion gave me a spark of inspiration. Although he didn't suggest this directly, I think I would like to create a dungeon that has the remains of other adventurers, ones that through knowledge check or back story the PC's recognize as having had some events of some renown and whose ultimate destiny was until that moment in doubt. At lower levels this could be a local youth who disappeared mysteriously weeks or months ago, and was never found. At higher levels this could be a storied person after whom the characters modeled their own carriers, and whose story turns out to have been different than what is commonly known -- and would really enhance the value of the treasure, too. A +2 spear is a kind of ho-hum at a certain point, but the +2 spear that the famous Gorack the barbarian used to slay the Dread Worm of Alasan Heights and which pierced the heart of the Mad Astigor the Red Handed is something special.

I haven't given it a try yet, but during the Q&A Cook said that he uses a program for drawing dungeons. The name I wrote down was "Dungeon Forge" which led me to the site where they have a dungeon drawing program called Dungeon Forge.

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dungeon Mastering Role Players

The second seminar I attended on Friday was billed as a discussion of encouraging role play as a DM. It was more of an ol' timer telling tales of the good old days.

The best I can find for info about Don Prust besides the web site in the schedule...

From the Schedule
Game Code: SEM0901974
Gaming Group: Infinite Imaginations, Inc.
Title: Game Mastering Role Players
Description: Explore the interaction of GM and RP gamers. Presentation of roleplaying styles, discussion of GM's that encourage role playing. All experience levels welcome.
Presenter: Don Prust, Kelly O'Donoghue
Web Site:
The Talk

Like all the other GM'ing experts I heard or talked to at Gen Con Indy 2009, Prust sounded the chime for saying "yes" to players as a GM. He encouraged GM's to let, even encourage, players to try things that the rules don't explicitly allow or are not the character's strength. He regaled us with a stories, like of his favorite gaming session with a kid who had never played before, and he as a GM tossed out the rules for a session in order to let this kid work straight out of his imagination. The result involved a summoned 300' ladder, a feather turned into a 12' long spear, and a death defying dive off the ladder to stab an indesctructible boar.

Prust also did a very good thing to encourage DM's in the room to demand that each player at their tables identify a significant weakness or drawback for their character. He told us that if they don't give a real, significant deficit then DM's should go out of their way to hinge a character's ultimate success on whatever lame excuse they did manage to offer. Players should include and play as part of their character, their character's flaws. If they don't, destroy them.

Paying attention to your players and playing a game they will enjoy is always good advice. His story about one game night where all his players had had a rough day or week and were in a foul mood so he sent them up against four black dragons and contrived to let the players cast more spells and have more hit points and hit more often than they had any right to, just for his players' catharsis, I thought was a good story.

It was a little interesting to hear this probably lifelong and long lived D&D'er talk about the game from a perspective that solidified back in the days when AD&D was new. It did remind me of how I thought of D&D in the days I first started playing, and it was good to be reminded. That was the nuggety goodness of the presentation, but I have to say that on balance the presentation was not good.

He meant well, that's clear. He has some valuable insight. It's just that he wasn't able to translate his insight and intent into an engaging presentation. The room was packed at the start, and less than a dozen people left before I did, but we few did leave before the end and for me it wasn't exactly that I had another event to get to.

Prust had the halting speaking style of a guy who hadn't prepared very well, or else it was an ill conceived device. He had a lot of ticks, and they annoyed me.

If it was just that, I could have forgiven it, maybe. What he lacked in polish he made up for in confidence. The problem, though, was he was a little too confident and full of himself. He name dropped Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax, which maybe he has rights to or doesn't, either way he did it low class. What he was saying about them wasn't germane and served only to prop up his bona fides. Then, there was some discussion of how few women or african americans typically come to Gen Con, although there were a bunch of girls in the room he noted. He didn't mean anything by it, obviously, but it wasn't important to his point so even mentioning it was a little awkward and offputting.

Then he had some notion that he was the only presenter we were likely to see who was not attached to a particular game system or game company pushing a product. That was annoying because I had come from just such a speaker's presentation, which was a good presentation, and which had been given the previous year as well. I suspect that in spite of what Prust thinks, there are more than a couple people giving presentations for Gen Con attendees for nothing more than because they can and want to give back to the community. I don't think there nearly as many corporate whores as Prust imagines.

I thank Mr. Prust for giving the talk. By the audience reaction there were clearly some who really enjoyed the talk and who benefited from it. He told stories about other people who had liked previous years' presentations as well, and I don't doubt it. So, I don't think he should give it up, but maybe he could just walk through it with a more lively step and omit the self aggrandizement next time, to keep those of us with a hangover a little more on our toes.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Improvising: The GM's Backup Plan

The first seminar I went to on Friday was about Improvising a RPG game, hosted by Patrick Benson. While his own blog is at, GnomeStew.Com is where he contributes a lot.

all the links important to this article...
From the schedule
Game Code: SEM0900412
Gaming Group/Company: SinisterForces
Title: Improvising: The GM's Backup Plan
Description: Back from last year! As a GM we've all been there. Your players do something completely unexpected that makes all of your prep work useless! What's a GM to do? Improvise! Learn how you can save your adventure with a few behind the scenes adjustments and keep the action rolling at the gaming table. The secret? Improvisation is always planned in advance. Putting his money where his mouth is, your presenter will improvise this seminar on the spot!
The Talk

A few minutes late, he was introducing the portable GM kit when I walked in. I should point out that his presentation, in the spirit of the subject, was improvised.

The portable GM kit includes a generic flip map, like this one from Paizo, some non-permanent markers, dice, some home-made tokens (more on that presently) and I assume a rule book was discussed before I walked in.

The token idea he said he got from a web site he just learned about couldn't quite remember. I had to find later, but he did mention for DM'ing applications. There you'll find something called the token tool application, which is useful for creating the images for the tokens if you're not into photo editing programs. He passed around some of the tokens he made using the process he'd just learned, and they looked perfect. The wood tokens with glued on images were light, sturdy, and substantive enough that it wouldn't be hard to pick them up and move them around on a map.


In the meat of the program Benson talked about first developing a plot on the fly. His trick was to pick a movie from a genre different than that of the game you're playing. The example he got from suggestions from the audience was "pulp" as the genre of the game, and the movie "Aliens", which is a SciFi genre film. Your players will tell you what genre they want to play and you will simply agree to run something in that genre. The game system you'll use is one you know well, but is otherwise irrelevant to this discussion.

If you're improvising, you can't plan it all out ahead of time, so you take it step by step.

Step One: Intro to the story, characters.

Step one, introduce the NPC's. Like in Aliens where the first scene is of the space marines getting out of the hypersleep pods, quickly throw out some names and something descriptive about each of them. He ticked off a bunch of characteristics or character types to include. What I wrote down was: the jerk, the boss, the annoying guy, the helpful one, etc. Mental note to develop a more expansive list to have on hand as reference material.

Step Two: Setting

Put them in a situation where they are stuck, but from which they can earn a way out. Following the example, he identified this in Aliens: the characters get stranded on the planet with the landing craft destroyed and the plot is basically surviving the aliens while they try to fly down a replacement drop-ship on remote and escape. Translating alien planet to the pulp genre, he suggested setting it in the jungle, and swapping out aliens with pygmies. The boat the expedition came from England aboard struck a high rock and needs to be repaired or some other way for getting out of the jungle needs to be discovered or created.

Some action happens, like the pygmies chuck a couple spears at NPC's off stage, just before the players start running out of questions. To make up pygmies on the fly, pick up any rule book with monsters in it and use the stats or features of that monster with just a new edifice. Playing d20 modern for the system? Pick up a D&D Monster Manual and look up goblin, call it a pygmy, and roll initiative.

Step 3, Tension

For tension, take cues from the players; be observant. The DM should have been paying attention to the players during the character introduction and setting. Take note of who the PC's like, and who they don't. They're going to need the PC's they don't like in order to succeed, and some --just some-- of the PC's they do like are going to die before the adventure is done, even if you don't know how right then. Also pay attention to the questions they ask. When they ask general questions, like, "What supplies are there on the ship," be general by saying something like, "all kinds of things, tons of things, the typical things you'd find on a ship going to an expedition to the jungle, and even some things you can't guess why they were brought." Obviously, you'll have to throw out something specific at the end, but the great thing about the way the previous answer is constructed is that you can pull out any random item and it will fit, and add interest as well. The players will start asking about specifics, like, "is there a tarp?" This is a good thing, because you can let the players think up the stuff that's there, so yes, there is canvas material.

Step Four: Rising Action

Say yes a lot, but don't give away the store. When they ask if there's canvas material, say, "Yes, but..." Give them what they want, but then there's a complication. Let them succeed, but success breeds a new challenge. The challenges escalate, every success means there's something harder yet to overcome. They succeed in building a hot air balloon from the canvas and found items, but it's not very good and once in the air it starts to come apart and now they have to choose where to land it, and the options are not good. This is the process for everything in the game, yes/but, success followed by complication, over and over.


Try it and see if they buy it. If so, give 'em more. If they don't like it, aren't excited by it, stop what you're doing and go in a different direction. If they love defending the other passengers on the ship from the pygmies, the pygmies are going to attack again, but bring bigger spears next time. If the PC's lazily roll the dice or whine about being confused by the complexities of combat, or just don't seem interested, then that's it for the pygmies. Now the chief pygmy comes to camp to offer a truce and give them something else to do. The fist encounters are the TV show pilot. Don't be afraid to cancel it and spin off a new series out of the old one. This goes for the setting, too. If in the first session the characters hate playing in the jungle, then the air balloon actually works and they sail out of there no problem. The next session one of the NPC's that the PC's had a strong reaction to is the hook for a new adventure in a new setting.


Improvising often equals causing delay. If the players have a plan, and then everything goes to plan, that encounter is over before you know it and now you have to come up with something else. If, though, some piece of their plan goes wrong or something unexpected and possibly better turns up, now they have to stop and discuss what to do. That gives you a minute to breathe and contemplate the next encounter.

He made it clear, though, that this tactic should not be overused. The players can't be foiled at every turn or they'll be frustrated.


In Q&A I asked about tips for improvising characters. He gave his quick character making method in three steps.
  1. Identify a distinguishing feature for the character, like an accent.
  2. Each NPC has one positive feature, one thing that's good or they do well
  3. Each NPC has a negative feature, like something annoying, or weakness or problem

His first tip for improvising maps was to just start drawing random shapes. After you've drawn a bit and when the players ask, "what's that" you then make something up that might kinda sorta fit.

He went on to suggest that every battle map have three characteristics.
  1. Start with normal terrain. Establish what's normal, like the trail.
  2. Include some terrain where there's a tactical advantage, but getting to it is a little difficult
  3. Include some terrain that produces a tactical disadvantage for people stuck in it

The theme of his answers during the Q & A portion of the presentation was that DM's should let players push the improvised campaign in the direction they seem to want it to go. He resisted a particular questioner who seemed frustrated that her players wanted to abandon her carefully crafted plot. His answer to her was, "fine, let them." He suggested she take all the material she developed, dress it up in the new motif the players want to play, and pick it up and put it in front of them in the direction they go.

Another thing he addressed in the Q&A wasn't really about improvising as much as general DM advice, which was how to deal with difficult players. One example was with what to do with parties that are determined to split up. He said to not be too nice to players who are not fair to the DM. He suggested that when players split up to do two different adventure paths, survey the players to find which group each player wants to join, and to send one group home. He was clear about saying "yes, you can do that" and to give the group being sent home a chance to change their minds, rather than saying no you can't do that or being a jerk when players actually respond the way you want.

The question of how to improvise culture, like politics, was answered with a little less well articulated advice, but he was doing his best to hang on at the end of a long, improvised presentation at that point.

Throughout, Benson was energetic, dynamic and engaging. He didn't have any annoying presentation ticks and the whole discussion was very accessible. Because the presentation was improvised, I certainly will try to catch it again next time. It's certain to take twists and turns into territory it did not travel this time. His blogs and articles are also worth the look, too.


You can give us all a hand if you comment on this post and leave your ideas for NPC character archetypes / handles that are easily accessible. "The Boss" is an easy handle, for example. "Drill Sargent" is another. We know how to portray these characters instantly.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Free Beer by Sony

Craig Dalrymple and fans of Everquest

Thursday night was the Sony Online Entertainment Party. My friend from gaming in Kalamazoo, Craig Dalrymple works as the Senior Community Relations Managerg for Sony Online Entertainment. I think he specifically mainly works on Everquest, the MMORPG. There was food, open bar, and loads of Sony shwag. I got a couple T-shirts, a couple bags, and a couple nice leather cover note books. A costumed collegue of Craig's wandered around and interacted with the crowd. Whhat struck me about the whole affair, apart from the serious hangover the following day, was how this party is a nice little perk for fans of the game. It was not a thing for big important industry people, it was for people who play the game. They tend to be people who would like to come to Gen Con, so it seems like a good place to throw this party. So, good on Sony for treating fans at Gen Con well.

I'm not sure I should thank Craig for getting me loaded early on at Gen Con. Friday was kinda rough.
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Photos from Gen Con Indy 2009

I got a bunch of my pictures from Gen Con posted and created this search on Flickr that includes my pictures, and those of others from this year's convention.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Pen and Paper Games

Robert Howard.

At the Sony Online Entertainment party Thursday night I had a chance to meet Robert Howard, the man behind the increasingly popular Pen and Paper Games web site. He is a genuinely nice guy who is really in it with passion and vision. He said the site is getting more and more busy, he's brought in a sales person and they're working on a new look for the site too. Their recent partnership with Obsidian Portal got them a mention in WIRED Magazine.

Pen and Paper Games is all about connecting together players of tabletop games. I happen to have been a member for some time.

I got my Pathfinder RPG rule book! As soon as the doors open we moved quickly. My wonderful wife literally, heroically, ran to the booth to secure our place in line. Good thing, too. We were only about 10 or 20 people deep with our copy in hand to check out. By the time we checked out, got Eric Mona and Sean K Reynolds to autograph my book, the line looped all around the booth and into the hall. When we went back by the Paizo booth just before closing and there were about 20 books or so left on the table.

It's a very nice book, and it was fun making the mad dash for it.

Trade Hall

So I really wamt this one thing, the Pathfinder RPG rule book. If I don't get it here, today, I might have to wait six months. The hall opens at 10:00. There is this teeming mass of humanity, waiting like it's the day after Thanksgiving. Getting here one and a half hours early was not early enough.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Gen Con: Wednesday, Registration

Registration: Get badge if you don't already have one. Then, get shwag bag. That's a separate line. You get a plastic bag that has a few (scant this year apparently) goodies. You can also get a badge holder and lanyard too. It's pretty colors. Then, pick up program book. They're laying around everywhere in the registration area.

When you've looked through the book a little bit to get the feel for the layout and how it works, get in line for event registration. If you just want generic tickets, that's a separate (and shorter) line. The event registration line was about an hour long for us on Wednesday afternoon, around 4:30. Okay, so while you're in line you have time to either find the games you planned to do earlier but for which you missed online registration, or you can find stuff to sign up for while you're in line. At some point you will get to a table with registration slips and little pencils. You fill out the game number/code and how many tickets you want. You only need one ticket per person, per pre-registered events. Generic tickets can be bought from this line too, and you will need as many generic tickets as the "cost" of the event, divided by two. Generic tickets are $2 each.

We moved on to a pick-up game of Pathfinder Society at a nearby hotel in the evening. It was good to get an extra organized play event in before the next days' official events.

Gen Con Schedule as of 8/12/09

I decided that with this being my first time I'd better plan at least a little or else risk getting overwhelmed with choice and confusion.

Wed Aug 12
  • 2pm – 4pm CGM0903647 - Killer Bunnies - Location : Hyatt, Room : Concept
Thu Aug 13
  • 8am – 12pm SEM0904095 - Pathfinder RPG Conversion & Creation Q & A - ICC
  • 10am – 11am WKS0902195 - Build a Foam Weapon Workshop - Location: Union Station, Room: Grand Hall NE
  • 1pm – 5pm RPG0904098 - #29 The Devil We Know Part 1: Shipyard Rats - Location: ICC, Room: 101-103
  • 4pm – 6pm SEM0904333 - Presented by D&D Insider - Location: Marriott, Room: Indiana Bllrm G
  • 6pm – 10pm RPG0904110 - #30 The Devil We Know Part 2: Cassomir's Locker - Location: ICC, Room: 101-103
  • 6pm – 10pm RPG0904131 - #32 Drow of the Darklands Pyramid - Location: ICC, Room: 101-103
  • 7pm – 8pm SEM0900632 - D&D Miniatures Skirmish Seminar - Location: Marriott, Room: Indiana Bllrm C
  • 7pm – 10pm Craig's Sony Party
Fri Aug 14
  • 10am – 12pm SEM0901106 - GM Mastery - Location: Marriott, Room: Indiana Bllrm C
  • 10am – 12pm SEM0904335 - Save My Game: Presented by D&D Insider - Location: Marriott, Room: Indiana Bllrm G
  • 12pm – 2pm SEM0901974 - Game Mastering Role Players - Location: Marriott, Room: Indiana Bllrm D
  • 1pm – 5pm RPG0904103 - #29 The Devil We Know Part 1: Shipyard Rats - Location: ICC, Room: 101-103
  • 3pm – 5pm EM0903777 - Designing Dungeons with Monte Cook - Location: Marriott, Room: Indiana Bllrm F
  • 6pm – 10pm RPG0904113 - #30 The Devil We Know Part 2: Cassomir's Locker - Location: ICC, Room: 101-103
Sat Aug 15
  • 8am – 12pm RPG0904125 - #31 Sniper in the Deep - Location: ICC, Room: 101-103
  • 3pm – 4pm SEM0904080 - Thrilling Adventures on Other Worlds: Paizo's Planet Stories Line - Location: Marriott, Room: Indiana Bllrm B
  • 5pm – 6pm SEM0904081 - Paizo's Pathfinder Adventure Path Q & A - Location: Marriott, Room: Indiana Bllrm E
Sun Aug 16
  • 12pm – 4pm RPG0904174 - #23 Tide of Morning - Location: ICC, Room: 101-103
  • 12pm – 4pm RPG0904134 - #32 Drow of the Darklands Pyramid - Location: ICC, Room: 101-103

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

How To Read A Gen Con Schedule

UPDATE: I was importing the CSV file into Open Office without first setting up the date colums with the right format. Geesh! Can they make it any more difficult?

Maybe it's because I'm a Gen Con noob, but the schedule you get from the Gen Con web site (a CSV file you download) is very confusing. In particular, the start time for events seems off. Below is a typical event from the schedule.
Game Code: RPG0904098
Gaming Group/Company: Paizo Publishing, LLC
Title: Paizo Publishing, LLC
When simultaneous kidnappings of Pathfinder and Aspis Consortium agents rock Cassomir's imperial shipyards, the Society orders you to join forces with hated Aspis agents to solve the mystery. Can you work together with the enemies of the Society to uncover the source of the kidnappings, or will you perish in the shipyards of Cassomir? (Tier 1-7 by Joshua J. Frost) Pt 1 of 2.

Event Type: RPG - Role Playing Game
Game System: Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
Rules Edition: 3.5 OGL
Maximum Number of Players: 144
Event Cost: 6
Start Time: 08/14/09 01:00 AM
Duration (hours): 4
End Time: 08/14/09 05:00 AM
Age Required: Teen (13+)
Experience Required: Some (you’ve played once or twice)
Are Materials Provided?: No
GM Names: Joshua J. Frost
Web Site for More Info:
Email Address for More Info:
Is this a tournament?: No
Location: ICC
Room: 101-103
Special Category: Premier Event
Tickets Available: 39
Last Modified: 06/26/09 11:47 PM
I seriously doubt this game runs from 1:00 AM to 5:00 AM. But it could, I guess. The convention center is open 24/7 I understand. The thing is, though, there are no events on the sheet that have a starting time later than 12:59 PM, so obviously someone was just typing in 4:00 without bothering to put in AM or PM. Fine for the most part, because if you assume the above game isn't running at 1:00 AM you can translate, but what about those games listed as 7:00 AM or 8:00 AM. I'm sure some things start at 8:00 AM, yeah? So is there nothing that starts at 8:00 PM?

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Gen Con Blog 2009

I'm headed to Gen Con Indy in a couple of days. Taking both the Flip video camera and the new Nikon P6000 to document, and hopefully with the netbook we just got I'll be able to post to this blog (follow tag: gencon). This is our first ever trip to Gen Con. I've heard about it for the last 18 years, but never been.

My plan is to arrive at the convention center on Wednesday at about 2:00 pm. Google maps puts the trip at 3 hours 52 mins, so we'll have to leave at about 10:00 am. I'm eager to get registered and take a look around the place. I hear there are pick-up games throughout the day on Wednesday.

First thing Thursday morning I want to be at booth #2312, Paizo Publishing, to be sure I get a copy of the Pathfinder Role Playing Game rulebook. After that, I'm pretty open to experiencing the convention as it comes. I didn't sign up for any games beforehand, but what I'll be looking for will be Pathfinder Society games, maybe looking for the A Game of Thrones roleplaying game (maybe called A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying) by Green Ronin, since I'm reading that book right now.

I'll be going with my semi-gamer, full-on knitter wife, Desi. She is very much looking forward to the craft session, and is just this minute trying to get a dice bag made out of wire and beads knitted for me in time for our trip.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Getting Very Portable.

This Acer notebook goes by AOA110-1995 but also by ZG5 on the box. I got one today for blogging on the go. I've been half-looking for a notebook for a while, but on the spur of the moment at the computer store down the street I decided to pick one up. I'm making this post from it right now.

This model isn't the newest and I paid maybe $50 too much for it as convenience tax, but after playing with it all day and getting it set up to suit my tastes I'm loving it, and would get another in this line again, or if I could get a good deal I'd pick another one if I needed to pick one up for an employee.

These ultra-portable devices are really where it's at. Although they don't have the power you might need for editing large video projects or playing graphic intensive anything, they're certainly a suitable fit for the one-the-go new media professional. They're also good to have in the living room for when you get a powerful need to Google.

I'm including this in my list of devices which will comprise the ultimate portable, new-media kit. The kit I'm building includes a notebook computer, a Flip video camera, a digital still camera (TBD) , a light of some kind, a Joby tripod, ear buds and a USB microphone. With this kit a blogger can pretty much do it all, and if you throw in a MyFi 2200 you can do it anywhere.