Death by Con: Part III
Or “Guess I Really Don’t Know How to Party”

One of the things I learned this year is that nearly everyone in the industry knows everyone else. I had breakfast sitting behind Mike Mearls. Dave Arneson was hanging around and signed some of my brother’s Blackmoor books (which Saurus promptly gave to me). I got to shake Mike “I created the cyberpunk genre” Pondsmith’s hand and thank him for everything he has given us. People know people.

I am not one of these people. Joseph Goodman is. Walking 3 blocks in the evening took us over 45 minutes, because every 4th person was an industry insider that needed to talk to Joseph. Amazing.

One of these groups included the boys from Necromancer games, which has something to do with White Wolf that has to do with lawyers, guns and money, but which nobody seems to talk about. Joseph, being the stellar guy he is, introduced me, and the boys from Necromancer gave us the blood-red tickets – invites to the White Wolf party.

Joseph (industry insider remember?) didn’t care to attend this year. But to me, his little sidekick, this scrap of red paper was my ticket to that hallowed place all would-be novelists yearn to be. Inside.

Like little Charlie en route to the chocolate factory, I carefully folded my ticket and placed it in my skull billfold. Joseph and I met for an hour or so, working out the release schedule for the next 25 DCCs, and then met with 2 writers finalize plans on the big Goodman Games releases planned for next year’s Con. We wrapped up after midnight, the blood-red ticket burning a hole in my pocket.

I hit the street at 1:AM. The party was being thrown at Club Industry, open bar, and the generous hosts had even arranged for a shuttle. Trouble was, the 2 “cross” streets listed on the directions didn’t actually intersect.

Harley needed a cab. Pronto.

I hoofed to the nearest ATM and leapfrogged from ATM to ATM until I found one that worked. Took out cash and was back on the street. Hailed a cabbie and we were off to Club Industry.

Indy is an interesting city in that the downtown is beautiful, but just outside the downtown are the ruins (equally beautiful) of massive factories and refineries. You drive past them, see them surrounded by rubble, and are amazed that they are standing. This is the foundation of Indy, upon which the rest of the city is built: industry, concrete, rusting metal and broken glass.

The perfect venue for a White Wolf party.

I hopped out of the cab, and over tipped the good man. After all, I was drinking on WW tonight. No need to be stingy.

Hammering down an alley flanked by razor wire, came the minor chord wails of "This Corrosion" by the Sisters of Mercy, the same song that was on repeat for the 3 months I was writing the Vampire novel:

”I got nothing to say I ain't said before –
I bled all I can, I won't bleed no more.”

Papa was coming home.

I followed the music to the end of the alley and through a pair of utterly nondescript doors. Inside the bouncers took my ticket and waved me through into darkness.

Sad to say, I never found my editor that night, but I did muster the courage to join my fellow misfits on the dance floor. Back in Fort Collins we had a group of friends that prided themselves in their ability to dance. I’m not much a dancer myself, but with Andrew Eldritch screaming classic goth tunes in your ear, it is hard to go wrong. We danced until 3 in the morning when the club kicked us out.

Savoring the moment, I took one last look and a drink on WW’s tab, and walked back into the alley …

… and directly into the most vicious game of alley dodge ball ever caught on pixels:

The punks from Shadowrun were lined up against a ragtag band of Others. If there was anything I learned from going to college with reformed streetpunks, is that you don’t mess with these people. Lean and hungry, these are the kids that were kicked around their entire lives. They (we) take this whole tribalism thing seriously.

Real seriously.

Men with dyed dreads and facial piercings were working the English on the balls while women were shedding their skirts in order to dodge more effectively. Clothes were coming off, balls were screaming across the alley, and every five minutes the judges had to pull one baller off another. I rooted for the ragtag team, if only because they were getting slaughtered in the alley, but to no avail. The Shadowrun designers led a massacre.

It was now 4 in the morning. One look at that crowd and I knew it would go all night long. I hoofed it back to the hotel, unrolled my sleeping bag and set my alarm for 6:45 AM, just in time to shower and meet with another editor to discuss arrangements for a novel. I picked up a voided ticket on the way for you guys.

This is the other face of GenCon, the distinctly not-for-kids version. When I got home I emailed Stewart thanking him for the good time, and he replied, inviting me to the next WW party.

Rock and roll.

So if you see me on Sunday, next GenCon, and I have a black eye, a twisted ankle and a stupid, zombiefied grin, now you’ll know why.

A huge thanks is due to White Wolf for throwing the party, and a big, Deathy thanks to Rob Boyle, Shadowrun Developer of FanPro, for passing along his photos. Stop by and buy one their award winning releases.

They're good people, but – for the love of god – don’t challenge them to dodge ball.

Shadowrun RPG


At 1:38 AM, Anonymous Rachel said...

Sounds like fun- and I'm glad you didn't get killed ;P

What do you and H say to Matt and I coming to visit sometime this fall? (Before the snow sets in, ideally.)

At 2:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for summary Harley. Reading about everyone's experiences, and then putting them together with Kameron's great video summary, almost made up for not going.


~ J.L. Collins ~

At 11:34 AM, Blogger Grimbones said...


Absolutely. Also, Obi is coming back to town and I want to take your man skating with us.


At 7:43 AM, Blogger ec said...

Great story, well told. :)

At 11:11 AM, Anonymous Rachel said...

You can have him- as long as you promise to give Obi a hard time for looking so darn professorial. ;)

What do you guys think about either 9/30 weekend or 10/14 weekend?

At 11:47 AM, Blogger Grimbones said...

Thanks, EC. Your sign off was what I needed to make sure it wasn't over that "line." Rubbing up against it, but not across.

Silly, but true.


At 2:00 PM, Blogger ec said...

As the William Hurt character observed in the movie "Broadcast News," "It's hard NOT to cross that line; they keep moving it." :)

At 4:13 PM, Blogger Mike said...

I was jealous before that I didn't get to make it to GenCon this year.

Now, I'm really jealous.

2007, for sure. We'll rip up the skateparks and play dodgeball at 3 AM. Doesn't get much better than that - at least to me. ;)

At 5:11 PM, Blogger Grimbones said...

Amen, brother. Bring your deck. The downtown skating is really, really good.


At 1:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Professorial? The greatest compliment a man can receive... thanks Rachel!


Post a Comment

<< Home