Friday, August 12, 2011

Gen Con: Day 0

Wednesday was really the beginning of GenCon 2011 for me. I woke up early because I couldn't sleep (thanks to a somewhat rough Tuesday) loaded my van, and headed downtown. One of the great things about my job is that I get to use the Indiana State parking garages, so I pulled up within 20' of the door to the overpass (hereafter referred to as the gerbil tube) between the J. W. Marriott and the convention center. On a whim I walked over to the Westin and asked if they had a room, and they did. I was able to check in at 10 am and move all my stuff right away, which made the day a little more relaxing. The room key was a Neverwinter special, which I thought was pretty darn cool.

My roommate (David Flor, @BrainClouds) was scheduled to arrive at 11:20, so I had some time to explore the convention center and get some breakfast.  Seeing the banners and WotC's statues really increased the excitement level, as it was clear GenCon was finally here for me.

Love him or hate him, he was there
I dropped in to Scotty's for some brunch and to pick up my Wednesday die. I figured I wasn't going to get back there on Wednesday, so it was a good way to have a nice meal and check Daily Die Quest off my list. By that time it was time to head back to my car and drive to the airport. The airport featured more WotC advertising in the form of a huge 3D dragon display and Neverwinter ads on the monitors at the baggage claim. Yep, Wizards really spent some money to get their message out, and since the ads were cool I was really happy to see such a imposing presence. After picking up David, we headed back to the hotel and then out for some lunch at the food court. I also stopped by Will Call, since it was open at this point, and got my badge, tickets, and swag bag.

Scotty's Wednesday die
At this point there wasn't all that much to do in the remaining time for me, so I headed home for a bit to take care of the dogs and get some food. I had a significant amount of pizza left over from the previous night so that was a free meal I couldn't pass up. After that it was back down town and time for the fun to really start. Wednesday night is Critical-Hits Drinking Dungeons and Dragons (DD&D) night!
Airport GenCon Welcome from WotC

DD&D really set the tone for my GenCon experience. An amazing night all around. I met so many of my friends from twitter, I don't even feel like it would be right to attempt to name them all here. The night was like a who's who of the D&D world. In addition to many of the best bloggers and podcasters out there, a goodly number of the Wizards of the Coast employees responsible for the game and big name freelancers were there. Everyone was super nice, and it was great to just hang out and talk gaming. When the game itself got rolling, it was great to get to watch the masters in action (@Davethegame@chattyDM, @Slyfourish and @SarahDarkMagic were the DMs). Without spoiling anything, the game consisted of 4 encounters/rounds. The first was relatively normal, and there didn't seem to be all that much drinking going on. The second round really took off when the roles of DM and player were effectively reversed and people really seem to enjoy this. By the time the third round rolled in, everyone was clearly having a great time. The final round was a sudden death round, but seemed to go well despite it being pretty late.

It was all I could do to roll back to the room and crash at that point. Technically the con hadn't even started yet, and I already had a great night. I hadn't even played a single game yet.

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