Horror on the convention season

PAX Australia 2013

PAX Australia panel “Writing for Tabletop RPGs” [Photo: Marion Anderson]

The manuscript is done. Done late, but it’s done. Now we’re laying out, tweaking and proofing, but at last the editing work is over. In its place, the convention scene has begun.

This weekend was the inaugural PAX Australia, and it was a beautiful thing. It’s the largest games convention ever held here, and the PAX banner brings in gamers of all stripes: PC, console, handheld and tabletop. Seeing the massive boardgames area, swathes of Magic the Gathering tables and the Pathfinder Society area booked solid was an amazing sight. I’m in awe of the efforts of the PAX Australia and US teams in staging this, with the sterling efforts of the local volunteer Enforcers in keeping everything so friendly and welcoming. It had an amazing vibe of gamers gaming together; everybody really would play anything, with anyone.

I proposed a panel on “Writing for Tabletop RPGs”, with an eye to encouraging other local writers to refine their work and take the step to get into print. I was joined by Patrick O’Duffy, one of the original writers of Green Ronin’s Freeport, and Matt Goodall, a homegrown winner of Paizo’s RPG Superstar competition. Between the three of us we have been published in around 50 RPG books over the years, and I learned tons from listening to Patrick and Matt (in fact, I really wanted to take notes, but that’s not the done thing when you’re on a panel!)

We talked about designing locations, so I chose Paris; I spoke about how research uncovers secrets about our own world and gives ideas for adventures. Marion Anderson (Orient Express author, and also The Cairo Guidebook) was able to get a few snaps of us talking away. So, up above is a sneak preview in a darkened room of Steff Worthington’s fantastic new Paris map (it’s the player version, so it’s spoiler free). That’s me on the left, Matt on the right, and Patrick is just out of shot.

I also ran an RPG session, the first time doing so at a con in many years; I ran A Cold Death, the free scenario I wrote for Pedro Ziviani’s  Mythic Iceland, which has just been nominated for an ENnie (go Pedro!). I played with brand new friends and Cthulhoid cultists Tristan and Eric from Adelaide, and we also kidnapped four players at random who were all fairly new to roleplaying. It was an absolute blast, and once they got into their characters and the story kicked in I completely forgot we were in the massive big top exhibition building surrounded by thousands of gamers; it was just us six, on a mountain in Iceland. That’s the magic circle that surrounds us when we roleplay, and why I still love this pastime after 33 years.

Anyway, I need the practice; con season has begun. Next month it’s GenCon Indy and then NecronomiCon Providence. I’m down for a new scenario at each, so break’s over, I have some more writing to do!

PAX 005

Gaming in the Big Top at PAX Australia 2013.

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2 Comments

Filed under Conventions

2 responses to “Horror on the convention season

  1. My word! I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of my maps so big!

  2. MrBlueSky

    Mark neglected to mention that his panel had standing room only, to the point where you could barely see the projector screen, let alone Mark, Patrick and Matt.

    I was in that game (Tristan) and it was fantastic. I’m usually the Keeper, but that’s easily the best game I’ve ever played in.

    Mark was also way too nice to two random people who accosted him online. Seriously my pitch was “let’s chat, we will buy you food…”. He clearly has something to hide and didn’t want us digging too deep.

    Tristan

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