Saturday, 3 April 2021

Virtual Gary con Recap

Ethereal Gary Con XIII ran from March 25th to 28th, and - not surprisingly - it was a virtual event. The advantage of virtual events is that, in addition to people in North America, I got to play with individuals in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Serbia. The disadvantage is that I am not just rolling out of bed at the Timber Ridge Lodge to jump into games. I am using an area that I share with my family, and that means trying to balance home and play in a way that I don't have to worry about at a physical convention.

Of course, that is all just a long-winded way of saying that I miss physical conventions.

On Thursday, I got to play Stephen Newton's Shadow Under Devil's Reef hosted by Judge Julian Bernick of Spellburn fame. I have run games for Julian twice before, but this was the first time that I got to play an adventure he was running. With enormous luck, I left the adventure virtually unscathed!

Also on Thursday, I played Slowly the sloth in Dan Steeby's The Big Bop Back to Brooklyn, using the Bronx Beasts rules, and that was a load of fun. I can't really talk about the adventure, as it isn't out yet, but I can say that the rules and action really did catch the feel of an 80s Saturday Morning cartoon. The rules for various beasts trying to be the dominant member of the pack came into play several times, and they were definitely fun to use.

On Friday, I played in Michael Curtis' To Free the King of Elfland, a sequel to the most excellent The Queen of Elfland's Son. Again, as this adventure is unpublished (and still in the playtest stage), there is little I can say. One experience along the way was both charming and fantastic. Although Michael Curtis' vision of Elfland has many points of contact with Lord Dunsany's, it is even more a thing that bears his own stamp.

(If I had been at the Con physically, I would have tried to get 3+ games in from Thursday to Saturday, so you can see how being at a virtual Con is more limiting, for me at least, than being at a physical Con. I am really, really hoping to see people in meatspace next year!)

On Saturday, I switched hats from player to judge, and ran The Fence's Fortuitous Folly (DCC Lankhmar) for Martin Saunders, Paul Gyugyi, Adrian Hermann, and Mihailo Tešić. As became a theme for the convention, the players finished with time to space, so we also did a little carousing and a second expedition.

Later that day, I ran The Dread God Al-Khazadar for Eric Rollins, Adrian Hermann, Scott McKinley, and Geoff Knox. I used these special characters, so the party consisted of Prospero, Conan, Princess Ariel, and Bilbo Baggins. To start the game, I had to get the previous tenants of WA_1 to decamp, and it was not at all easy. This was the first time something like that had occurred at a virtual convention for me, and as it was repeated on Sunday, I think I will stick to my own Discord for virtual gaming hereafter. Of course, when I ran games at AlbaCon, either they had more courteous attendees or they monitored their servers better, because the same problems did not occur.

On Sunday, I ran Apotheosis in Green and Gold, an 8th level playtest, for Chris Zank, Randall Harris, Adrian Hermann, and Jason Menard. Again I had to remove the current inhabitants of the Discord room, but, unlike the first case, the previous inhabitants were polite about it. Because this was a playtest, I won't say much about it, but fun was had,

Overall, I enjoyed the convention, but I really miss physical cons. Whether your beverage of choice is a Spotted Cow, black coffee, Mountain Dew, or just water, it is nice to share that directly while the dice roll. It is also nice to have the Con be a thing unto itself, rather than feeling like you are interrupting the weekend for your family.

Thank you to all the awesome folks who played in my games, and those who ran the games I played in, or put up with me as a player in those games! DCC folks really are the best folks.


  1. Thanks for playing in The Big Bop Back to Brooklyn. Can't wait to have this adventure published in October!