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The Deadly Dangers of Gen Con

Written by MythicParty - Published on August 27, 2012

For those of you who didn’t put any ranks into ‘Knowledge Nerd,’ Gen Con is a Storm Giant-sized annual gaming convention, currently held every August in Indianapolis Indiana.  It is billed as ‘The Best Four Days of Gaming‘” which is actually a complete & total lie because so many people now show up early that they’ve added Wednesday events.  In fact there were 35 games officially happening on Wednesday, despite it not even being an actual day of the Con.  This means that Wednesday is slowly advancing to become one of the cool days, while Tuesday has become the new Wednesday.  Soon Monday will be in the mix & Gen Con will transform into an ongoing festival that is “The Best Several Weeks of Gaming.”

Ok, probably not.  But this last one, the 45th such Geek Gathering, had almost 40,000+ attendees, including yours truly (which is why we’ve been slow as of  late.)  Anywho, the number continues to climb ever upwards:

Above: Proof of an obvious ‘Enlarge Convention’ Spell courtesy of Wikipedia

But why go to all the way out to the Hoosier State with our nation’s 13th largest city in the heat of Summer for gaming?  Well that’s actually very easy.  Because of its size & tradition Gen Con brings together pretty much everyone from the industry.  Want the latest upcoming releases?  Gen Con.  Want exclusive promos found nowhere else?  Gen Con.  Want to meet Guests of Honor or play in games run by their designers?  Origins.  But of course also Gen Con.  There is a reason Gen Con is the Mecca for our hobby & that anyone seriously into it try to make the haj at least once in their lifetime.  Whenever I’m trying to quickly explain why I drive 20 hours roundtrip every August, I simply say ‘Geek Super Bowl.’  To fellow gamers, I simply say, ‘Going to Greyhawk.’  Not that I ever really have to argue the case.  But if I ever did, it’d be easy.

Above: Exhibit A.  The Defense rests.

However despite all this +5 Awesomeness that can’t be fit into a Handy Haversack, the adventure out there is not without peril.  Like any worthwhile quest  there are dangers, some with low Challenge Ratings, some with Tarrasque-like ones.  Here are the most common threats as well as well as how you & your companions can help better protect yourselves.

Save Vs Paralysis

  • Comes from not being able to decide what to buy in the Colossal Dealer Hall with its 315 exhibitors, & tons of things to purchase.
  • Failing causes uncertainty which means delays, which results in either things you wanted being sold out before you can get one or just wasted vacation time from slowness in pulling the trigger.
  • Bonus to saves from doing research into what you might want to buy ahead of time, quick comparison shopping around the Hall + online, & using the map in the Program Guide to circle/mark off those vendors you’ve already visited or want to go back to.

Save Vs Poison

  • Comes from ingesting bad food, imbibing too much alcohol from one of the plethora of parties/bars, or the catchy ‘Con Crud’ sickness.
  • Failing causes literal food poisoning or massive hang overs, either of which can quickly ruin your trip.
  • Bonus to saves from splurging on higher-end restaurants like the legendary Fogo de Chao Brazilian steakhouse instead of burger stands in the ICC + saving seriously heavy drinking for carousing at home, as well as forcing yourself to make time for sleep.  Staying hydrated as well as taking vitamins will further increase your bonus.

Save Vs Death Magic

  • Comes from getting into an automobile accident while traveling over to the “Crossroads of America” thanks to either crazy construction or silly speeding.
  • Failing causes crashes which can literally end in death (none that I know of) or serious injury (one instance I personally know of for sure).  Neither is worth some gaming, mm’kay?
  • Bonus to saves from staggering your driving by making several pit stops, having others share the wheel responsibility, & staying through Monday so you’re all well rested for the return journey.

Save Vs Petrification

  • Comes from whatever crappy carelessness could stop you from being at the Con, such as losing your badge/tickets, wallet, or possessions, whether on your own or from a Rogue’s Sleight of Hand.
  • Failing causes you to miss out on part of the best 4+ days of Gaming, forces you spend even more $ for replacements, & gives you swarms of aggravation.
  • Bonus to saves from ALWAYS knowing where your wallet is, using a solid badge holder for badge/tickets, & having a buddy serve as a 2nd set of guard eyes.  I myself am getting a wallet with a chain.

Save Vs Breath Weapons

  • Comes from rooms full of gamer-sized people sweating in the Summer, aka funk.  So infamous that they named the kick-off gathering ‘the Stink,’ as in that is what a group of geeks would be labeled.
  • Failing causes prolonged discomfort, possibly nausea, especially when in a confined space such as a room, elevator, or Jubilex forbid, a car.
  • Bonus to saves from keeping yourself clean, encouraging everyone in your party to maintain proper hygiene, & applying a body spray/cologne whose scent you particularly enjoy.

Save Vs Rods, Staves, & Wands

  • Comes from negative interaction(s) with non-attendee jerks, rude staff whether they be ICC personnel or Gen Con’s, & those random nerds who are just total tools.  You know the kind.
  • Failing causes arguments & high school drama that will mar your experience & could cause you get booted from the Con or possibly spend a night in the local dungeon.  And I don’t mean True Dungeon.
  • Bonus to saves from sucking it up & acting like an adult but also going to find a supervisor or someone in authority.  Circumstance bonus from witty retorts may vary, so walking away is really your best option.

Save Vs Spells

  • Comes from feeling like you’ve either been Charmed or Cursed during your Gen Con experience, wanting to immediately go right back or avoid it like forever like that psychotic ex that stalks you.
  • Failing causes a denial of the middle-ground that was most likely the actual reality- few trips are completely 100% awesome or completely 100% sucktacular.  Rather they just like the majority of To Hit rolls- somewhere in the average range rather than a Critical Hit or a Fumble.
  • Bonus to saves from having realistic expectations/goals, taking lots of pictures to look back at later, & maybe keeping a short diary or doing a blog for post-Con reflection.

So.  For as amazing as The Best Four/Five Days of Gaming are, you have to be ready for the occasions during your trip that will undoubtedly test your fortitude, reflexes, & will.  But with a little planning you can be ready to game on.  Share with us your own Gen Con saving throws or ask us for further divination.

Written by MythicParty

Dog-loving, movie-watching, pizza aficionado. Content Editor for DMing.com, Project Manager for AvatarArt.com, & player of the coolest characters in a weekly D&D game. Halflings are the real heroes.

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Thanks for reading.

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2 Responses to “The Deadly Dangers of Gen Con”
  1. Darkwarren says:

    Been wanting to go for years. Still on my Gamer’s Bucket list.

    Great rundown of the variety of pitfalls a convention-goer may face.

  2. Garrett says:

    Ran 7 DnD games for Baldman Games/WOTC plus 1 Star Wars Saga game and 1 18 player Star Wars delve. Result: 4 hours to experience and not provide others with experience. Didn’t catch up to MVPs but met incredible people and indulged in nonstop gaming glee.

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