My love affair with sweet Gennie
For all the hype, for all the congestion and chaos, for all the frustration, GenCon is an absolutely amazing show. If you’re a gamer, and if you’ve ever wanted to attend, you should do yourself the favor and make the time. Nothing else quite compares.

By now you had the chance to read half a dozen GenCon reports, all penned by smarter, more important people than myself, with more exciting things to report. So we’ll try to keep it short.

First and foremost, the folks. I'm not going to say fans, because in my heart of hearts I know that writing, illustrating, and editing adventures is only a third of the job. Before anything I write for d20 means a lick, it has to be played by GMs and players. You guys are collaborators and without you, this gig is meaningless.

Every time anyone dropped by the booth I had the fierce awareness that GenCon is finite, and that they could have been anywhere else. Instead of playing in some wicked cool game, grabbing some food, or sleeping, you stopped by to see us. I appreciate that. You guys rock.

4E: The big news of GenCon 2007 is the announcement of 4th edition. The generous folks at Wizards announced over the course of the con that 4e will adhere to an open gaming license. What this means to the rest of the world is that 3rd party publishers will continue to be allowed to print material for Dungeons & Dragons.

Put another way, Harley is still employed. Rock over London.

New Titles:This year saw a ton of new releases by yours truly. The very cool new edition of Temple of the Frog, the 1e Saga of the Witch Queen, the GenCon edition of DCC #51.5: Sinister Secret of Whiterock, and the killer box set Saga of the Dragon Cult.

I also contributed to DCC #49: Palace in the Wastes and the mighty, mighty box set DCC #51: Castle Whiterock (though I would never claim to be the primary author on either of these awesome books).

This year the Goodman Gamers hosted a seminar, How To Write Adventures that Don't Suck. This one was a complete surprise. Sold out, with standing room only. We did a head count mid way through the seminar and came up with 62. Um ... to see who again?

My Deathy minions raided the room next door for chairs (this has got to be a MAJOR no-no daffy) , but we were still standing room only. A ton of awesome people turned out and the hour flew by. We could have gone for another hour, easy. The best part is that it was just gamers talking to gamers --- sure we sat up front, but really we were no different from everyone else in the room.

Plus, if you stuck around through the credits, you got to see us demonstrate the new 4e grappling rules. I'm the guy on the right back, crushing the designer of X Crawl in a bear hug. I'm not sure he even knows I'm there ...

ENnies Report: We had 6 nominations this year, but still no prize to take home to Chicago. Last year I was dejected, but this time I just enjoyed the ride. The ENworld folks did an awesome job this year --- it was a great venue, and we even had tables for the nominees (instead of standing in the back along the wall). Of course, being seated up front meant that we couldn't duck out through the kitchen, but such is the price of big fame. (Right, Ice?)

*Photo by the mighty Luke Johnson. Check him out.

White Wolf Party: The Deathy minions, led by El Presidente, trekked out to the White Wolf party. Author and friend Dieter Zimmerman threw down like a rockstar --- many thanks.

As always, the Wolfies were excellent hosts, though the dj'ing seemed a little weaker than last year. Or it could just be that I'm whining because the one Sisters song was run over a lousy, faux techno beat.

We danced regardless, up to and including the music that used to drive us out (that should give you a sense of how poor the previous mix was), but around 2:30 or so they shut down the "drive out" music, and pleaded with us to leave. Timing was perfect, for on our way out, we overheard the following exchange:

"We forgot the dodgeball."

"Anyone want to play dodge rock?"

Made it home around 3 in the morning, but the crew was still pretty amped, so we busted out the skateboard and fell down on some good old fashioned Indy concrete. (Brick actually. There's a very narrow, very sharp, quarter pipe atop ledge, out on the plaza. Got a good ankle smack in, and a couple kick turns, but never quite landed the ollie off the ledge. There's always 2008.)

But Did You Hang Out? Last year I promised to hang with a bunch of folks and failed. This year I promised to hang out with a bunch of folks and actually did managed to hang out with a select few. Saturday night, prior to the WW party, I ran an impromptu sessios of Sinister secret for the talented Mike Ferguson, and the mighty Deathers. I was a little off my game, but the session went okay. I'll do better next year, and maybe even get to see a few more folks ...

And the Deathy Shout-Outs: Of least importance to anyone else, but closest to my heart, are all those people that I've gotten to know. Ultimately, these folks are why I love life, which makes loving GenCon pretty easy. (It's rough because GenCon is a working con, so my "hang out" time gets narrowed down to 11:PM to 2:AM --- by the time I'm ready to go, most folks are asleep.) This list is corny, and incomplete, and linkless until I have another spare hour. You don't have to read it, but it is important to me that I post it, so here goes:

    *The Mighty Deathers: the Saurus, Spackle, Alex, Jacob, Taco & Superfan. A writer could never have a better band of cohorts.

    *The Young Dragons and Ebberites! Thank you to Ed, Scott, Jaliegh, Marce, Lara, Jeff, and especially Kam (who put up with sleeping in the same room as the Deathers, bless him).

    *The Ash-Down Troupe! Never was a more talented group assembled. Fear their skilz! Props to Wentz and Emily, John and Jeff, Jess and Ruth. Here's hoping Marissa makes a showing next year.

    *The Trolls, Necros, and Cimmerians: Case and Ashley, James and the Chenaults, Vicki and Marcey, and Eric and Vincent. I'm only now realizing that we lost my bag and Taco's camera the same night. (Note to self: divest of any gear before heading out with this crew. You'll be naked at the end of the night anyway.)

    *The 2007 DCC Tournament Judges. These are the guys that ran a game for Monte Cook, the man that designed 3rd Edition. They're that hard core. Do I need to say more?

    *And of course the Goodman Games crew. Joseph, Mike, April, Jason, Ken, Adrian, Chris, Ken, Kenwig, Jeremy, Jess, Kam, Ruth, Jeff, Aeryn, Luke, Lyz, Brandon ... the list goes on.

A final thank you to the gracious Marce Rockwell. Eberron author and friend, this is the woman that commanded me to eat on day 3 (or 2?). Regardless, she took good care of me, and didn't have to. Go buy her book, Legacy of Wolves, you won't regret it.

So you made it through the thank you credits. (I'm sure I'll be updating to add more as I get more sleep.) Of course you deserve a carrot for making it to the end of this blog stick. And here it is:

There are lots of kind, good-hearted people in this business, and I get to hang out with some of the best. But perhaps the single most polite and genuine person I spent time with at GenCon was this person. We hung out for 2 of the 4 nights, and she was always a lady. Whatever else you'd like to say, those down south girls certainly know their manners. (Photo by Jay Adan.)

True story. A really nice kid.

Remember that for next year, kids. Booth babes are people, too.

Till next year,

(And just in case you were worried, "Sweet Gennie" refers to GenCon, not the Troll Lords' booth bait.)


At 3:25 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Awesome to finally meet up with you in person, sir. We'll have to do this more often.

And apologies for not White Wolfing. You'll eventually see it in my blog (as always, your recap was beautifully short and eloquent compared to mine), but suffice it to say that I took a cab to drop my crap off at my airport-located hotel ... and then the cab driver got lost. By the time I got there, it was 1 AM and I was super pissed-off and dead tired. :P

Lesson learned. Stay downtown, cost be damned.

And stay longer, to hang out more with friends like you.

Already looking forward to 2008.

At 3:40 PM, Blogger Grimbones said...


Next year think about rooming with us. I think it came out to @$60 a night, give or take.

And thanks for playing in the Sinister game. Sorry my GM skills were so weak --- I'll get more sleep and run a better game next year.

And don't sweat the WW party dude. I would have been bummed anyway, for you, because of the music. Next year for certain ...


At 4:46 PM, Anonymous Cassandra said...

To me, GenCon is an addiction. It's a highly controlled substance with a 4-day high. Immediately after coming down one starts planning and scheming for how to get the next fix, and despite imitators there are no substitutes.

I'm sorry I didn't get to talk to you more. Too many people to see once a year; way too little time.

At 7:49 PM, Blogger Marcy said...

No thanks necessary, Grimmy. It was my pleasure, and the least I could do for the nicest guy in showbiz. ;)

At 9:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Stealth kisser," indeed. El Presidente rides again. ;)


At 8:02 AM, Blogger Steinkel said...

It must have been fun. Thanks for this recap.
We're saving money to travel to next Gen Con. I hope we can meet you there.

Take care, Harley.

Avetureros Errantes de la Marca del Este

At 12:01 PM, Blogger Grimbones said...


We would _love_ to have you and your crew come to GenCon. It is a fantastic time.

If you do end up coming next year, let me know, so we can cook up something special for our overseas friends.


At 12:03 PM, Blogger Kameron said...

I've already decided that if I make GenCon next year, I'm going to be a Harley groupie and just follow him around, basking in his presence.

Well, at least I won't schedule myself for any events after 8pm so we can hang more. :)

At 12:47 PM, Blogger Grimbones said...

Phhbbbbt. We all began as fans of Kam, and fans of Kam we will remain!


At 1:15 PM, Blogger Matt said...

Had a blast H. Thanks to the other Deathers for making it such a great time. It took me three years to join you at one of these but I'm already planning on next year. ;)

(and Kam,, I'll pitch in a few bucks toward your pass if it gives you more free time next year. ;) )

At 1:23 PM, Blogger Steinkel said...

We hope we can make to next year Gen Con. But if we finally can't, we shall be there by 2009 for sure.

At 1:32 PM, Blogger Grimbones said...


Heather and I are headed down the mountain tomorrow, and it just occured to me that you won't be in town.

Man, we miss you.



Understood! But if you guys do can make it, let me know and we'll have a care package waiting. :)


At 10:20 PM, Blogger saurus said...

i grab my d20 and make a saving throw vs. fun!

okay, that sounded lame. i love booth babes.

At 9:58 AM, Blogger Jeff LaSala said...

GenCon was excellent, as always. And as always, it isn't sufficient time to see the people you want to see. No, not see, spend time with. Such an impossibility to do so and be satisfied.

Nevertheless, I'll always know that Mr. Harley Stroh is a fixture of my every August (and sometimes July). Thanks for that, and a great deal more!

At 2:23 PM, Anonymous Erik said...

Cheers, Grim, for another great year. Sure, I only saw you for about 15 minutes or something, but hey, that's quite an accomplishment considering how hard and much you work. :D

ENnie next year, H! Fingers crossed!


P.S. "Remember that for next year, kids. Booth babes are people, too. "

People in chainmail bikinis.

Harley, you hound! ;)


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