Late last month, Peter, Adrian Swartout (Gen Con), and I saddled up to head to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, so we could attend Gary Con. This is the second year Chaldea has had a presence at the con in an official capacity, and while it’s not the largest convention I’ve been to, it is the friendliest. It’s so inclusive: a group of friends getting together to celebrate the life and legacy of Gary Gygax. It’s like getting a hug…
…which is precisely what happened to me thirty seconds after I’d stepped into the lobby of the Grand Geneva, where the convention is held. Alex Gygax gathered me up into a hug and told me he was so happy we were back. Gary Con felt like coming home after a long weekend. There were children running around and familiar faces and smiles and excitement about this event and activity we all love so much.
The next few days were a blur of dice rolling and parties, but I will try to recount the experience as best I can.
The first night, we drove out to the lovely, rustic home of Frank Mentzer for a kickoff party. Upon entering, I was handed the most delicious brownie I’ve ever had, a d20, and an adorable baby (note that I don’t think she was standard issue for the con). We spent the evening eating wonderful food and telling our favorite gaming stories.
We attended another kickoff party. I know what you’re thinking, but trust me: this whole con is one long party. Truthfully, it felt like a continuation, just moved back to the hotel. This particular party was held in the suite we turned into the Chaldea Room (formerly the Hugh Hefner suite). The Gygaxes threw a shindig—and believe me, they know how to cut loose.
In the afternoon, Peter ran a Burning Wheel game set in the Chaldea universe. His table of players wove a super-interesting tale against a backdrop of religion and heresy…and everyone survived, which is not always the case in our world.
Then, we moved the party to Horticultural Hall in downtown Lake Geneva for Gen Con 50’s Celebration Reception. Fifty years ago, the first Gen Con was held in that very spot. We toasted Gary Gygax and thanked him for creating something that has impacted so many of us on so many levels.
Peter ran a Dungeons & Dragons game set in the Chaldea universe. Of note, our table of players didn’t get pre-generated characters—we developed them as we played the four-hour adventure. We really came together as a party of adventurers. We laughed a lot; lots of our characters died; and I killed an orc with a slingshot.
That night, Peter and I hosted the Chaldea Room Party. The walls were covered with art. A colorful character behind the bar doled out mimosas. We gave a sneak peek of the episode we filmed in November. And we even convinced Peter to do a reading of another script, complete with a multitude of voices. He was spectacular, though he will deny it until his last breath.
Fiasco got the Chaldea treatment that morning. This time, the table of players, including Peter (since Fiasco doesn’t really have a DM), formed a group of thieves trying to pull off a heist. It was heavily political and full of intrigue…and it’s fairly safe to say it didn’t work out too well for the majority of the characters.
In the end, we left Gary Con 2017 richer in friends and memories. We’re looking forward to coming back home next year.