Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Advice from a Grey Beard on Attending a Convention

Attending a Convention 
                                  Running Games at a Convention  
                                                                         Volunteering at a convention

Over the years I have been to numerous conventions and gatherings... I have always managed to make the most from being at Conventions...

I am going to break this up into a few different parts because the experience of Attending a Convention is vastly different than running games or organizing conventions

The Following rules apply to every situation

  1. SHOWER EVERYDAY of the CON, more than once if needed
  3. Carry Spare T-Shirt, Deodorant and a travel Towel... Do a quick wipe and dry as needed and change the shirt
  4. Do not use any cologne, chances are you do not know how to apply it and someone next to you will get  NAUSEOUS 
  5. HAND SANITIZER - become very familiar with this, do not trust that others will be diligent 
  6. AVOID ANY KIND OF BODY SPRAY, including Body Washes and Soaps with Scent


Attending a Convention 

Attending is probably the most stress free way to go. All you have to do is:

Buy Tickets:  Check
Clear the date:  Check
Show Up: Check

Now if it is a gaming (RPG, Tabletop or Console) convention, you will need to register for games before you go, and you have to know your logistics as to where the games are so that you can try to avoid running from one end of the con to another to make your games

1.     Try to avoid back to back games that are not within 5 minutes of each other
2.     Try to avoid carrying too many things with you
3.     As player, I try to have: 
a.      Dice 
b.     A Rule book if needed
c.      Spare Character sheets or premade ones 

4.     Some General items to have should be       
a.      Tissues or napkins    
b.     Gum, cough drops, or candy
c.      Hand Sanitize
d.     Drink

Merchant Room - 

When you attend, it is best to have an idea of what you are spending and stay within a budget.
I try to think of what I might spend money on and then bring extra.
What I do look for at a con is something a bit different, so I look at the vendors and if I do not have it in my budget, I get their card and find out where I can see them next or order from them.

Be prepared for an unexpected purchase when you go. For Example, I had planned on playing in one game, talked my way into another game, enjoyed that game so much that I bought the rule book immediately after the game... shown below

Also bring items for Signatures if their are VIP at the con, Most RPG VIPs will sign anything for FREE, others such as at Comic cons, charge fees for Signatures and Pictures.

Signed By Margaret Weis, who produced the game system and played in the game I was in. 

Comic Cons are a world by themselves, Utterly overpriced, over attended and very crowded.

For some of the bigger Comic Cons, you must get tickets in advance because the sell out (Hence the price gauging)  I attend very few of these simply because once you pay the $100 person, then you have to buy Autographs and Autograph packages.  Many of them have become just MONEY GRABS, sign and move on, no chat, no pics unless you have a Pic ticket...

If you can find a smaller one, with a one day ticket available for under $50, then go if you can...

You can find value at Comic Shows and Cons and sometimes, your favorite actor is just a few miles away

Running Games at a Convention

Running game adds a whole new level to the con experience:  People are signing up to play in your games and want a really cool experience.  Plus you are giving back to the CON...

I started running games at cons because I only trust a few people to run games for me as a player.
it was my way to attend and have fun. Almost all CONS will waive the registration fee for the con. and when I first started attending, CONS sold games for 3 dollars and bought back the ticket from the Dungeon Master for 1 dollar.. I ran Lots of games at those CONS and spent a majority of my dollars in the dealer room.. mostly on dice and figures

Typical times for playing are: 
  • 2 Hours (Mini Slot)
  • 4 Hours (the typical amount of time)
  • 8 Hours (Double Slot)
I prefer 4 hour slots because I can run more games, typically, I do 2-4 games a day - 8 AM, 12 PM, 4 PM and 8 PM... sometimes a 12 AM.. .

Your Responsibilities as a DM / GM / Storyteller / Animator / Ombudsman
  • Be on time
  • Be organized
  • Bring Extra Pencils
  • Bring Extra Dice
  • Bring Additional Characters
  • Bring Character Sheets
  • Bring note pads
I try to plan as if someone is walking by and at the last moment decides to play. I do not lend dice easily but I keep 3 sets with me that are expendable and losing them is no issue (You will lose dice and gain dice at conventions if you run games, it just happens)

In Addition, I always try to do the following:
  • Have water and Ice Tea available at the table
  • Napkins, always needed
  • Gum or mints or packets of skittles
I find that if the players are on your side from the beginning, they will accept anything you throw at them or do to them. If I am running a Role Playing intense game, then I usually reserve killing for a bone headed move... 

I have no qualms about killing players, I prefer providing a tough challenge where they may be killed...

During the Game
  • Know the Material !!!
  • Be Organized
  • Be Energized
  • Dig deep, be unique
  • Don't be afraid to try it
  • Don't Dream It, BE IT !!!!!
The more you bring the game to life, the better your players will respond. I use lots of different vocals and hand gestures... many people can attest to my horrible Jamaican accent and my equally well done other accents... 

I have all my notes ready to go and it is a simple tear of a centimeter to hand it over...

Game flow is important, anything that stops the action or pauses for too long is not helping the players to enjoy the game

My goal has always been to have the most talked about game at the convention, if they are talking about it and people are standing around watching the show.. then I have done it.

Volunteering at a convention

This is another way to enjoy the show without having to pay... I am horrible at this option.. Somehow most cons do not like the large glass of Jack and Coke I like to have while volunteering.. (hey, it's my playtime also) 

My favorite was working the Registration table Friday afternoon, first day of the con, we arrived early and unpacked the booze.. made a large stiff drink and went to the table, we checked people in and sold game tickets... 80% of the crowd knew me and I entertained them as we went about everything... 

Nowadays, you just cannot do things like that... but I implore you to use this option to save a few bucks for the Dealer room

These are Cons I run games at, or attend with the exception of GenCon.. I only included that by default of my own doing

A lot of Cons register themselves using this tool making it easier to find all the information you need

Con that I will be running games at, it raises money for a good cause and this should be a great event

Con for Old school gaming and new games, inspired to Celebrate the life well played - Gary E. Gygay, Co-Creator of Dungeons and Dragons

This is the link to Dexcon in Morristown, NJ, I attended in 2016 and will attend again in 2018
It is a fun con that tries to do alot of things.. Most likely I will be running the Cortex Prime System

Occurs Every August, massive RPG Gaming convention, the largest in the world, 2018 will be the 51st year

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Mythos, Dangerous Journeys... 25 Years later

For GaryCon in 2018, I decided to bring one of the Master's games to life...

So, I started with a concept (The Hour of the Wolf) and began to write the adventure... Then I completely realized that I forgot so much about the game system

When it was released, I bought nearly everything for the system.

Then TSR at the time sued Gary Gygax and GDW to stop the sale of Dangerous Journeys..

Good write up of the issue (Click here)

I don't agree with his assessment of the system, but the lawsuit is summed up nicely

Now I decided that I needed to create the characters because it could not be done at the gaming table.

So I started with the Non magic users, then moved to the "Partial practitioners" and on to the lone "Full Practitioner"

I love that this is such a skill based system. you really do not want to do much combat in this system at the lower levels. but after a while of role playing and adventuring, you can run some decent combats.

I started with a basic character generation but found that typing everything or writing on the sheets was not going to be practical, so I put together a database to make adding KS area, sub areas, weapons, armor, items and anything else easy to build and cut and past e into my character sheets

This cut out lots of time from base generation of characters.. I just select, add in the steep, then run a report. I can then copy past directly into the sheet

I select in this screen
Add the Steep in this step
Copy from this report
Paste into the Character sheet

After creating most of the characters (still adding some things to them) I can say that this is going to be exceptional, the completeness of the characters and background on the game will provide a rich texture for the plot and design... 

You can review the characters and the database at the link below

I knew that character creation would be tough as I am relearning as I go along and had to create modern tools that simply were not available. Nothing prepared me for the sheer amount of line my line input and updates that I needed to make this process smoother.

Now that I am well into the partial practitioners of Heka, I am converting spell lists for the different KS Areas... I have not tackled the large lists for the Magic Users until I have to. It requires me entering them in excel, then putting in the grade, the page and type, then copying to the database

As I am going through the process of creation, I am relearning what made this game great to me.

I love

  • adventure games
  • Games with puzzles
  • Games with lots of interactions 
  • Role playing over combat
  • giving players 20 different options and seeing what happens
  • creating a story line with multiple arcs and branches 
  • being able to use skills in a meaningful way in the story

Now Dangerous Journeys works best with 4-5 players or less. I really think that 3 players is perfect for a JM (Journey Master) because of all that each character can do. This being said, because I am writing this for GaryCon, I want as many players to play as possible, the adventure is going to be a bit more straight forward then I would normally write but, every game of mine has an element that is unique. The plot for this one is so exceptional that the players are going to be either thrilled or hate it.... I won't know until the playtest

I will be adding a video of Character creation to this post in next few days for the few people who may find this interesting  STAY TUNED To this page please...

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Garycon Update - (Updated Sept 2nd)

GARYCON Update       July 13

but I did get my GaryCon GOLD badge and my Friend at Origins got his too...

Now the Serious Planning begins as I put effort in rewrites and creations

The following are games I am writing for GaryCon

The Master Stoke
             I am fairly well along in the story and the pregens

The Pirates Of Dark Water Saga 
Ø  Changed to Use Cortex Prime Rules
o   Pregens are in Motion, waiting on the Cortex Prime Rules... 
o   Writing the adventure in Mid September
§  Picks up where the Series ended all those years ago

The Hour of the Wolf
            Dangerous Journeys
                       Characters Have Been completed, Part 1 done... 

Rewrites and Transcriptions

AAAHHHH... revision completed for 2018
So you think you have an Attitude, Too -  completed

As of now, here is what I am planning to run

My Goal is to be finished writing the new stuff and revisions by the end of Summer

The Pirates of Darkwater is going to be amazing, I will be using the Cortex Prime system for this and the rules have not come out yet ...  I have a copy of the working rules document

I am Exited to present The Master Stroke, I love taking something and bringing it to life... in this case, a song (Billy Squire ?)

 6        8:00 AM-2:00 PM           Hour of the Wolf -Dangerous Journey
 0         2:00 -6:00         OPEN
10        6:00 -10:00                   The Master Stroke
 0       10:00 -Midnight               Open

14         8:00 AM-Noon             Pizzatoon/ Toon Love Story
18         Noon- 4:00 PM            The Master Stroke
22         4:00 - 8:00 PM            So you think you have an Attitude
26         8:00 - Midnight            AAAHHHH... revised for 2018       


30     8:00 AM-Noon                PODW, Lost Episode
0         Noon- 4:00 PM      OPEN          
34       4:00 - 8:00 PM              So you think you have an Attitude, Too
38       8:00 - Midnight              AAAHHHH... revised for 2018

38  Hours of running games over 3 days

(Titles in bold indicate that these are completed)
GAME Descriptions

Cortex Prime - 

Pirates of Dark Water, The Lost Episode

Based on the Cartoon, 
The alien world of Mer is being devoured by an evil substance known as Dark Water. Only Ren, a young prince, can stop it by finding the lost Thirteen Treasures of Rule. The evil pirate lord, Bloth, will stop at nothing to get the treasures for himself 
Pregenerated characters provided.

Dangerous Journeys - The Hour of the Wolf

The hour between night and dawn. The hour when most people die, when sleep is deepest, when nightmares are most real. It is the hour when the sleepless are haunted by their deepest fears, when ghost and demons are most powerful, the hour of the wolf is also the hour when most children are born.

AD&D - So you think you have an Attitude!

Only Dwarves need apply... 13th-15th level... bring your own or be issued a generic.... The followers of the God of Attitude and Drink are sent on a quest for the Ultimate Ale.
Beginners welcome.
Age 13+ please.
Pregenerated characters provided are lame

AD&D - So you think you have an Attitude, Too !

Only Dwarves need apply... 14th-17th level... bring your own or be issued a generic.... The followers of the God of Attitude and Drink are sent to acquire the ingredients.
Beginners welcome.
Pregenerated characters provided are lame


Pregen Characters Provided... I promise a truly Epic adventure that will generate stories for you to tell in the tavern
This features some of the greatest concepts and Role Play that I have ever put together. The characters provided are all high level
and saying anything further goes would ruin the integrity of the game.
Age 15+ please.
ONLY Pregenerated characters will be used.

AD&D - The Master Stroke

Pregen Characters Provided..
The celebration of the New Cycle of the kingdom is at hand according to the calendar of
the druids...once Every 100 years or so is the Celebration of Marmistal, the Hatching of the
Golden Nut at Nights Noon Time.  You have been selected to find and escort the Golden
Nut to the ceremony

TOON - PizzaToon / A Toon Love Story
2 Shorts
Pizzatoon, deliver pizzas to ....
A Toon Love Story, where is the groom ?
Levels Mild Insanity to Outright bambooled

TOON - Daytoona Beach Party Bingo Blast

Beach Olympics... 'Nuff said
Bring your own or use one provided
Levels 1-1220

No one under age 3 and a half permitted due to goofy content, ability to roll 2 6 sided dice and drool occasionally recommended... bring your best gookie!

Of course all of this is subject to change but so far I think this will all be done... 

The hardest part is convincing a few people to try Dangerous Journeys so I can relearn the mechanics of the game... It has been years since I played with the system

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Gary Con 10 and I am intending to go

I have been gaming with Luke Heller and we are making plans to go to GaryCon 10

I have decided on running the following games

So you think you have an Attitude ? 
So you think you have an Attitude, too ?    (Rewrite needed)
AAAAHHHH - Version 2018 with a revised ending     
The Quest for the Gate between worlds
PizzaTOON / A TOON Love Story

The following are games I am developing for GaryCon

The Fairy Fellers Master Stoke
             I am fairly well along in the story and the pregens

The Hour of the Wolf
            Dangerous Journeys
                       Starting work has begun... 

The Pirates Of Dark Water Saga 
            Using Dream Park Rules (Cyberpunk 2.0 Engine)
                       Have not begun to write it, but picks up where the                            Series ended all those years ago

I also have a few other games that I may or may not run depending on how I feel about progress

These may include (titles only)
The Tower and the Keep
The Elves of Sanatoga
TOON Whom it may Concern

Or I may decide not to run any games and just show up to play....

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Poor Treatment from a one day Convention - Legacies Game Day


Unfortunately, due to lack of interest, Legacies is officially cancelled for this year. Refunds are being issued. If you have questions, send them to info@legaciesgameday.com

HA HA HA !!!!!!!!!

So, I attended Legacies gameday in Havertown, PA last year..  I was going to run TOON and AAAHHH (AD&D 1/2 edition)

Anyway, because of Soccer that day, I was running late.. and no one signed up for my toon game anyway.

I did play in a Mutant and Master mind game.. and Ran AAAHHH that night

AAAHHH is a difficult game in that it is Role playing intense and requires puzzle solving... There are lots of player notes shifting around.. .I have also ran it at over a dozen conventions.. and it features several revisions (including a new ending I am creating)

Pregen Characters Provided... I promise a truly Epic adventure that will generate stories for you to tell in the tavern
This features some of the greatest concepts and Role Play that I have ever put together. The characters provided are all high level
and saying anything further goes would ruin the integrity of the game.
Age 15+ please.
ONLY Pregenerated characters will be used.

So I was planning on going back this year (April 22), sent in my games and found out that none were listed...

So I posted about it on their webpage and Facebook page  - See Below

GREG BARRYMarch 1, 2017 at 8:25 pmComment awaiting approval
Ok, I registered to run events but none of mine are listed here or in the sign up. I got a confirmation email… I will assume I have been uninvited…
Confirmation for form GM Sign-Up
Submitted at 01/04/17 4:20 PM
and got this reply

From: Carl Bussler [mailto:timelessadventures@gmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, March 1, 2017 3:33 PM
To: Greg barry <gmbarry@msn.com>
Subject: Legacies Game Day

I knew I forgot something...

At the end of last year's convention, I sent every attendee a Feedback form. I even made a point to speak with people after the games.

Overall, the feedback was positive, but I received numerous complaints about your games.

It's for that reason, that I decided not to include your games in this year's event.


I sent this reply

From: Gregory Barry
Sent: Wednesday, March 1, 2017 4:39 PM
To: Carl Bussler <timelessadventures@gmail.com>
Subject: RE: Legacies Game Day

OK, nice way to let me know, but no hard feelings on the part of 6 or 7  people who did not get what the game was about

Game... single game. It's ok, the game was not for everyone. It's a hard old school adventure.  I thought people had fun, I have had great reception on that game from numerous places

Saves me time and energy. I will just let people I have spoken to know that I will not attend

Good Luck,


Anyway, I volunteered my time to come and support the convention, I had already mentioned it to many more people who were planning on attending...  



So the games running at Legacies Game Day are as follows

  • D&D 5e – Adventurer’s League
  • D&D 5e  – TBA
  • Palladium – “A.E.G.I.S. Rising”
  • WWII: Operation Whitebox 
  • D&D 5e – Adventurer’s League
  • Ghostbusters! – “Who You Should’ve Called”
  • Dungeons & Dragons Fast Play – “Doom)
  • City of Mist 
  • Savage Worlds/Rifts 
  • Mutant Crawl Classics
  • D&D 5e – Adventurer’s League
  • Savage Worlds/Rifts
  • Dungeon Crawl Classics
As you can see, there are no Legacy Games Listed (Meaning AD&D TSR, or 80's/ 90's) 

I have never felt a need to trash a Game master, even if the style is not to my liking.  I am not a big hack and slash person.  I love to create puzzles and challenges. 
Now if you want to complain about me being an asshole or my personality.. go for it... Tell me what you do not like about the game. Not every game is to everyone's  liking and I know when one or 2 players are not "into" the game

So yeah, it chaps my ass that Carl responded AFTER I had inquired.. So every year when he has this, instead of directing people to his event, I will run my own game... I hope people realize that people volunteer to run games because they want to and if you treat them like I was treated, you get stuck with people who will not want to run games and you end up with only your friends playing

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Firefly.. updates and Cargo Crate

Since playing in the Firefly game at GaryCon last year, I have been getting into the show and collectibles 

It started with the Firefly RPG that I bought at GaryCon and Margaret Weis was kind enough to find me and sign my book the following day

So now I am into collectibles and playing different games. Every other month I get a Cargo Crate with stuff from the shows. It usually has a figure, Tshirt, a Pin, some print outs stickers and other stuff... 

Reviews of Firefly Related Merchandice

So now I decided to review other items as well...  I will update and review other items as find them or play them

Firefly Role Playing Games (********)

I learned how to play this by playing a Gamemaster Character at Garycon. I was playing the major role of the buyer for the Lassiter and Margaret Weis was playing Jayne in the game...

It was my first exposure to the Cortex system and Dice pools...

Having a Major success with one die roll and taking out Inara (she planned to use her feminine ways to tire me out before the negotiations) I enjoyed the game very much...

Margaret said if I bought the game, she would find me the next day and sign it... I was hooked...

I have since ran this at a con in New Jersey and 2 sessions for my Friday night group... It takes a bit to get used to it and the shooting / Fighting is a bit loosely defined.. but if you want to play as the Crew of Serenity, it is pretty cool...

Firefly Cargo Crate (Bi Monthly Subscription) (**********)

Firefly Cargo Crate Sign up

best Serenity Model

If you want collectibles and some of the Shiniest damn stuff, this is for you. At about $40, you get a box packed with stuff.

Shirt, Pin, Sticker, Book of schematics, Cargo Crate Labels and so much more... Every month is a different theme.. this was from Serenity

Previous Themes

Shiny - Kaylee Figure
Let's be bad Guys - Jayne
Big Damn Heroes - Zoe
Leaf on the Wind - Wash

February - YOSAFFBRIDGE - That Special Hell
April - THE WORTHIER PART!  - Sheppard Book

Firefly Fluxx (********)

LINK  - Firefly Fluxx Products

Fluxx is a game where things change, Rules, Goals and keepers all change. 
Even people not exposed to Firefly will enjoy this game. 
I received the Safron Expansion pack in a Cargo Crate, so this worked on getting me to buy the game.. we enjoyed Fluxx and then got the Batman version version a few days later

It is best played with 4 or more players
I like the Expansion cards, all of the expansion cards available are pictured below

Best Strategy, Get Zoe, she can take Wash, he can take Serenity, It can take Stolen goods
bonus if you have Simon, He can take River

Our Mistake when playing: All cards are active for the person that played the card... so if a Play one is in effect, the player plays the "Play 4" card, they now get to play 3 more cards... we thought they did not get active until the persons next turn

Firefly Yatzee  (****)

First, I am not a fan of Yatzee, it takes to long to play and I lose interest after 10 rolls

So here it is, I bought this because the rendering of the Firefly is pretty good.. not outstanding
I am really into dice and these are ok, would have been better with engraving the image but at least they are not stickers. I like the orange color for the dice, but  Yellow Dice would be preferred

The Scoring pad is tiny, so I recommend that you can it and print it on larger paper... 

Gameplay: Using the Ship for the dice cup is cumbersome, just roll the dice in a cup or your hand, that will speed up play

Serenity Adult Coloring Book (*****)

I bought this for my 11 years old Browncoat... I have to say for every page that is great, there is one that is not very good... I like the Quotes on the pages opposite the coloring pages and the layout is well done. The drawings with people in them are poorly done and not enough objects only pictures

Firefly, The Game 

I have not gotten this or played this yet, The reviews have been positive, so I will update this section soon

Firefly Clue

I am not too trilled about the premise of this game... River has been betrayed to the alliance and you have to figure out who, with what and where. Classic Clue elements

If I find this for a good bargain, it may be worth picking up

Firefly Monopoly  (*)

I think I am going to avoid getting this... it seems badly thought out and the placement of spaces is haphazard. Has gotten bad reviews across many sites