Escape from DundraCon 34   1 comment



 Actually, I didn’t want to escape from DundraCon this year. I could have gladly stayed another day.  Time, money, having to go back to work–all of these things make us gamers go home eventually, but it was with some reluctance that I left lovely San Ramon and the gracious Marriott Hotel at the Ranch to return to sunny Phoenix, Arizona on Sunday afternoon.

        I go to sci-fi and gaming conventions mostly to see my friends. It turns into real vacation time because I get to stay in luxurious hotel rooms where there is no limit on how long I can stay in a really hot shower. But, I’m not rich. I can’t do this sort of thing very often–once or twice a  year at most. The good thing about attending conventions close to home is that travel costs are minimal, and I usually don’t even get a hotel room.  The good thing about going to distant conventions is that you never have to leave the Con, and you live like a king for the weekend.

I spent the Valentine’s Day/Presidents’ Day living like a king at DundraCon 34 in San Ramon. Since I am a game designer of minimal fame (Tunnels & Trolls, Stormbringer, Wasteland–a few others that you’ve never heard of), the people who run the convention will often give me a free membership, and in return I try to provide programming content for them. As every Game Master knows, it is great to be at a place where lots of gaming is going on. It is even greater if you are the one running the game.

I had five things to do at DundraCon this year–three seminars and 2 demo games of Tunnels and Trolls. That’s enough to keep a guy pretty busy. And I connected with 4 special friends (Rose, Mac, Larry, Steve–last names withheld to protect the innocent) and made a new friend–Ron. I don’t need a lot of friends to make me happy–in fact I’m happiest in a small group, two to six, of intimates–people I know really well and vice versa.

My seminars earned me free admission this year. I did one on the History of Tunnels and Trolls. Rick Loomis (CEO of Flying Buffalo, Inc. and President of GAMA) and I got to talk about all the great things we’ve done with T & T over the years. We created the solo dungeon, the first fantasy gaming art calendar, first American rpg in Japan, first publication of the beautiful fantasy art of Liz Danforth, and several other things since my game was created in 1975. We ran out of time before we ran out of things to say, so we didn’t quite get to tell them about the latest innovations and what might happen in the future. Stay tuned.

The second seminar was with Steve Perrin and Ken Hite and was called “I remember when a D10 had 20 sides.” Did you know that back in the early days of gaming, the only available were the regular polyhedral solids? That meant d4, d6, d8, d12, and d20. Back in the day there were no natural d10s, d30s, d100s. To roll a d10 required having a d20 and simply ignoring the ten’s column except for the 10 itself. In those days, the primitive d20s ran from 0 to 9 twice and the numbers were just stamped into the plastic. Gamers would take magic markers and color in half of them to get the full range of 1 to 20.  So the three of us, old pros all, got to sit in front of a room of people and tell shaggy dog stories about the first five years of rpg-ing. I now know why there were barbarian ducks in the early editions of Runequest.  These things don’t just happen. There are bizarre real world circumstances behind them.  (I’d repeat the story, but I’ve forgotten half of it already–it wasn’t my story.) Again, we ran out of time before we ran out of things to say.

My third talk was about turning your gaming work into fantasy fiction, and it boiled down to just do it. Ken Hite and I explained just how hard and/or how easy it is to do such things today. We mentioned the people who went on to become well-known fantasy and sf writers. Weiss, Hickman, Salvatore, Feist, Stackpole to name a few of the more famous. St. Andre, Stafford, Gygax, Barker, and many others to name a few of the less famous.  It might have been the best of my seminars. One attendee bought two of the three books i brought with me.

My two games of T & T were teaching games and we had a good time while showing new people how T & T really works. In the second one I found myself inventing a new card game on the spot. It’s called Ogreocre, and I’m now trying to improve it, and turn it into a marketable thiing. Although it’s a betting game like poker, it could also be a token collection game.

And I brought a lot of stuff to sell. Rick Loomis of Flying Buffalo, Inc. very kindly transported my merchandise, sold it for me in the dealers’ room, and gave me the money.  The Con probably cost me about $500 to attend, but I got a hundred of it back from sales. It was worth it.

If there are any gaming conventions in your part of the world, let me recommend that you go to them if you possibly can. They are the best fun a gamer can have while gaming.


Posted February 16, 2010 by atroll in Uncategorized

One response to “Escape from DundraCon 34

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Very cool! 😀

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: