22 August 2007


So I had a mostly adequate time at GenCon. That's an understatement. I don't even know where to begin. As I type this, I'm watching Blood Diamond, which is one of the most upbeat and happy movies I've ever seen. That's a just a lie. But Blood Diamond is a fitting place to begin the tale of how I went to GenCon 2007 and had an indescribable time, and sold a bunch of copies of a game about slavery. By the way, the only diamonds I own are in my engagement ring, which is over 100 years old. It was my mother in law's grandmother's ring from Sweden. No more diamonds for us.

I'll start with the commerce aspect. I demoed my ass off at the Forge/IPR booth, which paid off. Steal Away Jordan made people uncomfortable, sometimes pleasantly so, sometimes unpleasantly so, sometimes somewhere in between. I had one couple pretend to get a cell phone call that they had to take. I had another guy tell me that he couldn't relate because, "there never was slavery in Canada." What-evah.. You can read an account of that incident at Alexis' LiveJournal., starting with "GenCon also had downside". But lots more people stayed on the ride, and came out the other side. This account from The Forge is my favorite so far. I sold 40 copies of Steal Away Jordan, and tied Dogs in the Vineyard for third top seller at the IPR/Forge booth. Vincent, you are the awesomest person ever. I just buy good candy, and pay attention.

Then there was the socializing and gaming aspect. After hours I had dinner with people I'd either first met at GenCon, or had met in passing on the internet. Too many to list and include everyone. I played Adventures in the Land of 1000 Kings, Best Friends, Poison'd, and Acts of Evil.

With Land of 1000 Kings, I met John Harper, whom I mentioned on the Stone Baby Games blog. (Oh yeah. It's up and chugging along, by the way.) I also got to know Seth Ben Ezra, who adopted some of my kombucha babies a few months ago. Also there was Matt Wilson, who designed the first rpg I ever played (as an adult), Ben Lehman, and Vincent. Now here's the cool thing about Land of 1000 Kings. You go around the table and basically say nice things about each other and what people say about you are marked as your stats: Brave, Strong, Sharp, Kind, and Beautiful. It was not difficult to find something heartfelt to say about each person there. By the end of the game, I could have added more loving kindness to each person's stats. Warm and mushy feelings abounded, and I got to work through some of my issues with raw tomatoes.

I'm going to skip to Saturday night's game, Poison'd, just for contrast. Now I've started two sessions of this already, and used the same character (Abyssinia de Cortez, daughter of a Barbary pirate), more or less. I recycled her for a third time, and am so happy I did, because I finally got to tell her story, and then some. So in this game there was Matt, John, and Vincent from last night, and Rich Harper, whom I'd met earlier in the day, and who has some of the most beautiful tattoos--and a dragony fishy sleeve, no less. While we didn't say very kind or flattering things about each other, we certainly got to know each other by the end of the session. It was one of the most intimate gaming experiences I've ever had and one of the most violent and brutal stories I've ever been in on. It was beautiful and disturbing and mind-blowing. We played themes of sexuality, power, gender, and violence. One of my favorite story lines was about the young pirate who tried to do all the nasty acts that the older ones did, but either we stood in his way, or just plain condemned him when he did it. Sorry, no actual play accounts here. I'm still sorta working through it. We played like a tight chamber ensemble, and we didn't need to look at the music. Ever.

In contrast to the Poison'd game, there was Best Friends, with John Kim, Marc Majcher, John (who gave me the fantastic list of Ghanan names, and whose last name escapes me at the moment), Gregor Hutton, and Emily. I've been wanting to play a full game ever since I had to leave the session at JiffyCon when Ingrid stuck a bead in her nose. This one was just absurdly hilarious. I have not laughed that hard and for that long in a while.

The ride home was fun, too. I dozed off and on, chatted with the van mates, reveled in the joy of sour cherries and homemade fudge, snuggled with Joshua, and missed Bea, Ingrid, and Chris. When I got home, Ingrid and Bea had grown up into young ladies, Chris was handsomer than when I had left, the cats were still fat, the house still messy, and I think my frogs are mating again. Ingrid did not wean as I had hoped, but we're working on it. We're substituting the marathon nursing sessions with stories about Razzle Dazzle the Chicken. A desperate mother's imagination will go to odd places if it's late enough and her breasts are on fire.

I'm leaving out a lot, I know, like how I lost my Dungeons and Dragons virginity. It'll all come back to me eventually. Stay tuned.

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