Well, Ropecon is over. I have returned.
Now, having slept (after having been awake for roughly 36 hours – I awoke in my bed with no memory of having gone to sleep and discovered I had apparently used my blanket as a pillow), eaten (having subsisted the weekend on a standard con diet of caffeine, fat, sugar and shit and last eaten on Sunday morning), shaved (the con stubble becomes conspicuous on day three, usually), and showered (not actually a habit I broke for the con), I am ready to give my report.
The con began on Friday, grey and rainy. Clad in my kilt, with a sporran that would become uncomfortably cramped and burdened with loot as the con progressed, I made my way to Dipoli. (Yeah, I know I’ve worn it before. I like that kilt.)
Got in through the staff entrance, got my con bracelet, my badges (one for GM and one for programming), and set up the Living Greyhawk HQ in the fireplace room, where tables had been allocated to us.
That’s a thing about running organised play – there’s a crapload of paperwork and you need to keep it all somewhere. For Living Greyhawk, we had blank character sheets, Master Item Logsheets, Magic Item Creation Sheets, our very own Ahlissan Serious Crime Record Sheets (A largely superfluous document in that it has only ever been handed out on one occasion, to a bunch of really annoying pre-teen players at Ropecon 2006. However, I have a soft spot for a paper that states your character will face mutilation if caught by the law.), RPGA membership applications (I ordered a stack before Ropecon, but it never arrived. That was Ropecon 2007.), and game reporting forms.
It was the last year of Living Greyhawk at the con, and we had, I think, twelve tables of scheduled games. My first one was NAE7-04 Unyielding, which I ran on Friday before hitting the guest of honour speeches of Chris Pramas and Greg Stolze. I got my Pirates Guide to Freeport and Godlike books signed, yay!
Pramas spoke about RPG publishing in the USA. I came in late so I missed the beginning, but what I remember foremost is that Fantasy Flight Games has contracted Green Ronin to do two Warhammer Fantasy Role-Play products. One of them is going to be about organisations in the Empire with (I think) nine chapters. Each chapter will have a player’s section of the organisation and a Game Master’s section, with the player’s section being what the player gets to read when he joins up and the GM’s section giving them the real dirt on the situation.
I’d bet any amount that one of them will be a respectable knightly order or something else really cool on the player’s section, but is actually a front for the Ruinous Powers on the GM’s bit. Hilarity ensues.
I don’t remember what the other product was, sorry.
Stolze talked about Reign, the ransom model, and his games. Interesting stuff.
I also spent a great deal of time socialising and saying hi to old friends. Indeed, on Saturday, I spent a few hours in meetups with Risingshadow.net and RPG.net‘s Finnpack (complete with a token Swede, cd).
Great fun was had. I also cunningly utilised the Risingshadow.net meet to dispose of some literature I wanted to get rid of from eating up shelf space. A lot of translated Salvatore, some Conan anthologies I had in duplicate, ten books of the godawful Battle Royale manga, a crapload of Eddings, an inferior Neverwhere translation, and eight Shannara novels just went away, never to trouble me again. I even got some money for them.
That money was then put to good use in getting me some con t-shirts, the Dark Passions sourcebook for CthulhuTech, GURPS: Castle Falkenstein, GURPS: Castle Falkenstein – The Ottoman Empire, and a small Cthulhu figurine I can use for a Black Mass, or something (a religious ceremony whose name also describes the guest of honour). I’d say what I think of the books, except I seem to have inadvertently packed them away to boxes that were taken to Tampere this morning. Never pack when tired, kids.
On Saturday, I also spent a good hour manning the badge machine at the Espoo Science Fiction and Fantasy Club booth. Funniest badges of the con.
On Saturday evening, I did a presentation with Sampo Haarlaa on the organised play campaigns – where they came from, what’s happening now, and what’s in the future. Sampo played the straight man and Living Forgotten Realms advocate. I did the comic foil thing, in addition to briefing the audience on Pathfinder Society. I updated the audience on the changes to the Forgotten Realms by taking an overhead transparent of the Faerûn map and then doing a “draw and tell” number.
“Here’s Halruaa. It’s roughly the size of Poland. It exploded, and Chult is now an island.” *furious scrawling*
It was fun. It’s also gratifying to notice that the audience was more interested in Pathfinder Society than Living Forgotten Realms. After the show, I had a long discussion about Pathfinder in the bar with Sampo and a local forum regular. Can’t wait to actually get to play some.
After this, I hit the Sauron as a Statesman presentation, by Jaakko Koivula. It was stuffed in Room 26, which had room for about half the people who eventually showed up. There were people sitting on the windowsills. We ran out of oxygen about 30 minutes into the presentation, and it’s a good thing Koivula got done with lecturing about Pierre Bourdieu around that point and went into the applying Bourdieu to D&D.
I would disagree that the spell create food and water fucks up the economy, though, even if it gave you sides of beef and BBQ sauce instead of the Matrix-style protein porridge that it does. It’s a third-level spell, thus requiring a fifth-level caster. According to the DMG rules on NPC level distribution in a population centre, they’re too rare for it to matter on any significant scale. If every cleric of sufficient level in a city pooled all their available spells slots into creating food and water, they could maybe run a medium-size soup kitchen.
While I popped off to bed in the wee hours of the first night, the second night I didn’t sleep at all. Ropecon stays open around the clock, and things tend to get really weird. Listening in on the Troubleshooter radio can be great fun.
Questions that were answered in the night of Ropecon: yes, there are rocking chairs in the women’s bathroom.
Questions that remained unanswered: whether the penis was, in fact, between the boobs.
The greatest awesomeness, though, was on the Friday night, when we were treated to the performance of five brown-robed monks slowly walking in formation through Dipoli, chanting “Pie Iesu domine, dona eis requiem” and beating themselves on the head with D&D 4th Edition rulebooks.
Sunday was tired and comatose. I ran NAE7-05 Trail of the Serpent to a bunch of Greyhawk regulars, got my DM loot (Denizens of Freeport, some dungeon tiles and a little box of rocks). Then I went home, inadvertently packed all my loot away to be sent to Tampere and woke up some ten hours later.
And next year I’ll do it all over again!