Archive for the ‘ conventions ’ Category

Warpcon 24, D&D 40, Boys 1, Infinity

Warpcon is done for another year. I always feel like my year really starts at Warpcon – more than the new year, more than Christmas, more than my birthday, it’s the axis around which the seasons turn. Every con brings with it revelation, or at least the illusion of revelation, some motif for the year to come, and this year I think it must have been continuity. The convention committee were young and inexperienced, but that’s how things should be. It’s in good hands. I remember feeling that things couldn’t possibly continue after my generation left college, that things would fall apart. They didn’t.

Dungeons and Dragons is 40 years old today. I can’t begin to quantify how big an influence roleplaying games are on me. Like Warpcon, I’ve always felt a sort of melancholy desperation about gaming; I was unable to shake the feeling that I’d come in at the end of the party, just before everything ended, that the great days were over and gone before I arrived, but that if I kept gaming, I could stave off that end for a little while. Fight the long defeat, as Tolkien put it.

(Tolkien has a lot to answer for.)

Screw all that. Here’s to Warpcon 25, and 35, and 50. Here’s to the next century of D&D. Here’s to making the future out of the best pieces of the past. Here’s to being part of an ongoing campaign, not a story moving inexorably towards an unwanted ending.





Dragonmeet 10

The fact that Dragonmeet is still mentally tagged as ‘the new con’ despite being ten years old in its current incarnation is somewhat alarming – where did those ten years go?

I arrived two days early for this year’s event, to the slight surprise of my gracious hosts (“Want anything from the airport?” “Sausages and tea.” “Cool, got them.” “Great, see you tomorrow.” “Er, just landed.”) but the usual hospitality was undiminished. Thursday, I was invited for dinner Chez Wallis, where we discussed gaming, writing and sundry matters, as well as James’ delight in the Most Boring Book Ever. (It’s a book of statistics, from 18something. If you ever want to know how many weavers there were in Antrim, it’s in there. If you ever want to know what eternity feels like, it’s there too.) Friday, I wrote and wandered, and was delighted to find a reprint of The Stress of Her Regard.

Saturday was the con itself. It started excellently with friends old and new, freelance gigs, and shiny shiny copies of The Laundry. I was on the Cubicle 7 panel where we announced my current big project. the Primeval rpg (due out sometime next year). It’s using the same system as Doctor Who, should you wish to pit dinosaurs against UNIT. Well, more or less the same system - for one thing, the cherished DW initiative system really doesn’t hold true in the Primeverse (“I start talking and -” “The Future Predator bites your head off. Next!”)

After lunch and the plotting of future C7 stuff, I was tangentially present for the Pelgrane GUMSHOE Showcase, aka the investigative gaming seminar, where Robin and Ken spoke intelligently about adventure design and I muttered and babbled. I also grabbed a copy of Bookhounds of London – which I might use as the basis of a mooted RPG in the Lonesome October next year, of which more anon. Any free space was filled with a pile of author’s copies and reference books from Mongoose.

I was very good in the auction and didn’t buy anything.

Sunday, I made a flying visit to the Book of the Dead exhibition in the British Museum. Apparently, the Ancient Egyptians believed the afterlife was a dungeon crawl you could rules-lawyer through with the right spells. Actually, it was possibly more like playing Magic: the Gathering for your soul, as rich people could afford custom decks. Anyway, there’s a game in there. The exhibition itself was good, but crowded beyond belief. After that and pancakes, there was the post-con pub meet, where I gave my report on the Irish debt crisis (tl;dr: DOOOOM).

And then home, through snow and tube strikes. Here’s to next year.