Gen Con 2006, Day 4

The saga continues on August 12, 2006.

I wake up Saturday morning after not nearly enough sleep, about 9:30 AM. I have a lunch meeting with Keith Baker at 11 AM, but nothing before that. I get cleaned up, roll out of the hotel about 10:45, and hustle over to the Wizards of the Coast booth in the Gen Con exhibit hall.

Keith and I have been catching up with each other at shows for years. We usually try to set aside an hour or so somewhere, but it’s not always easy. At last year’s Gen Con, we ended up sitting on the floor at one end of the convention center’s main concourse at 4 PM on Sunday, just as the show was closing.

This time, we’ve decided to be civilized and have lunch. Keith’s got another appointment at noon, so we walk across the street to Champions, the sports bar at the Marriott. (Note that this is not Champs in the Hyatt or Champps in the Circle Center Mall. Indy folks adore their sports heroes.)

We chat about everything, but most writing novels, particularly in the Eberron setting. Since Keith came up with the original premise for the setting, he’s rightfully partial to it, and we both get a kick out of exploring it in fiction.

After lunch, I wander back to the exhibit hall to see more of the booths. It occurs to me that I’m going to have to focus on this if I intend to walk the whole floor.

At 1 PM, I hit the Black Library booth again for another signing of my Blood Bowl novels. It goes all right, although a bit slower than the Thursday signing, and I spend some of the time catching up with friends who pass by instead.

At 2 PM, it’s time for Matt: The Gathering. Sometime last year, Matt M. McElroy of Flames Rising realized that there are a lot of Matts in our industry, so he came up with the idea of getting a bunch of us together at Gen Con. Since I had already committed to the Black Library signing at the time that worked best for everyone else, the others kindly agreed to bring the event to me. This time around, it’s only an impromptu gathering for a photo, but Matt McElroy may have larger plans for future years.

All told, we have a total of seven Matts show up: Matt Leonard, Matt Wilson, Matt Wilson, Matt McFarland, Matt McElroy, Matt Robertson, and myself. And yes, there are two Matt Wilsons in the industry. Other Matts should be invited for next year, but I suspect it may turn into an event much like St. Patrick’s Day, in which everyone qualifies (as either Irish or a Matt) if you care too.

Just before 3 PM, I rush out of the Black Library booth for the Hyatt for the panel on Robert E. Howard. I’m the last panelist in, and there are no chairs left on the podium, so I sit in the front row instead. The others already there include Mike Stackpole (who’s writing novels, which I edit, based on Conan‘s lover Bêlit), Shane Hensley (who announced the Solomon Kane RPG from Pinnacle that weekend), Jeremy Atkins and Dirk Wood of Dark Horse Comics (which publishes excellent Conan comics), Charlie Krank (who is developing the Robert E. Howard’s World of Horror RPG for Chaosium); Jason Robinette (who designed the Conan CCG from Comic Images), a friendly representative from Mongoose
(which publishes the Conan RPG) whose name escapes me at the moment, and Thommy Wojciechowski (Manager of Creative Affairs of Paradox Entertainment, which owns all of Howard’s work).

After the seminar, I head back to the hall for my final signing of the show, back in Author’s Alley with my cohort of fellow Eberron authors: Keith Baker, Ed Bolme, Tim Waggoner, and James Wyatt. We have a blast again, even though not too many people show up.

The highlight has to be when Moonglum from the forums at stops by to say hi and get some things signed. He also asks if any of us are fans of H.P. Lovecraft. Those of us who proudly admit it get a rolled bit of architectural drawing paper tied up in a nice ribbon. I didn’t realize what it was until I got it home: a rubbing taken from Lovecraft’s own grave. Many thanks, Moonglum!

As the signing ends, Brett Seymour stops by. We wander out into the exhibit hall so I can see a few more booths. We run into Christian Moore (formerly of Last Unicorn Games, Wizards of the Coast, and the Decipher RPG studio), who invites us to dinner at Indian Garden. Brett takes off to check in with his wife, but he catches up with us at the restaurant later, and we hang out for most of the night.

Dinner includes John and Michelle Nephew (from Atlas Games), John Tynes (of Flying Lab Software), Evan Sass, Nicole Lindroos, and Chris Pramas (all from Green Ronin), Scott Glancy (of Pagan Publishing), Jeff Tidball, Robin Laws, and probably some others I’m now forgetting. Plus Christian, Brett, and me. Many of us have known each other for over a decade, and others are only meeting for the first time tonight. We have a great meal.

Afterward, most of us waddle over to Shula’s at the Westin again. After a while there, I decide that I should make an appearance at the White Wolf party, as I’ve been to every one of their Satuday-night Gen Con bashes they’ve had. Christian, Brett, Shane Defreest (community manager for Neverwinter Nights 2), and I grab a cab to the middle of nowhere, someplace even the cabbie can’t seem to find, despite asking everyone he sees. After wandering lost for a bit, Christian spots the place, and we’re there.

The party’s going hard when get there, and Justin Achilli does a great job as the DJ, spinning fun tunes. Justin left White Wolf earlier in the year, but he’s back to help out at Gen Con. There’s just no getting away from the place. It’s too much fun.

I chat a bit with Jesse Scoble (of NCSoft) and Hal Mangold (of Green Ronin), among others. I meet Christophe Boelinger (designer of Dungeon Twister), who drops an ice cube down my back before I even get his name. He and my pal Gilles Garnier (of Millennium Games in France) make up for it by offering me a drink before I can react.

Sometime after 2 AM, a group of us decide to head back. Dropped near the convention center, I consider grabbing a quick bite at Steak & Shake, but it’s packed, so I pick up a red hot with chili and onions from a hot dog stand instead. I get to bed about 3 AM—which isn’t bad, since I later hear that some of my friends don’t see their rooms until 8 AM. I have a long drive ahead of me later that day, though, so I call it a night.