Garycon 14 – A Review

The RPGBOT team spent the past week in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, for Garycon 14. This was Garycon’s first in-person convention since the beginning of the COVID-19. This was our first time attending Garycon, and we were really excited to be there. We got to do and see a lot of really cool stuff, and we met some great people.

We have some live interviews on the RPGBOT.News with some of the people mentioned below. They shared some cool details about current and upcoming projects. Look for that episode to drop later this week.

The Home of Dungeons and Dragons

A big standout: Yolanda Frontany is running an IndieGoGo campaign to preserve the home of Dungeons and Dragons. This house is the house that Gary Gygax was living in as a sometimes cobbler, sometimes game developer when the original D&D ruleset was developed. The house has become a pilgrimage destination for DnD fans, and the years haven’t been kind to the house. Yolanda is raising funds for some critical maintenance on the house, and she’s turning it into a destination where you can play games, sometimes run by creators dating back to the TSR days who still live in the area.

Yolanda was kind enough to welcome us for a tour. We saw the iconic “Wargaming Room” door to the basement, and the shelves where Gary and his friends stored miniatures.

Luke Gygax is Carrying the Torch

Luke Gygax, the creator of the Okkorim setting, founded and runs Garycon. As is tradition, Luke has written and published tournament modules for Garycon (affiliate link) for several years. He announced at GaryCon 14 a Kickstarter for a new adventure set in his Okkorim setting, then went and raised nearly $30,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project.

Click-Clack Math Rocks

Any tabletop gaming convention will have people selling dice, and Garycon was certainly no exception. Some of our favorite dice people were in attendance, including Easy Roller Dice and our friends from Norse Foundry.

Easy Roller was showing off their hollow metal dice, which make a delightful chiming noise when you roll them. Throwing a handful of them sounds like softly jingling bells, which is an experience that I never knew my dice addiction needed. We took some sets home.

Norse Foundry had some gorgeous pieces. Dice and dice vaults in all sorts of materials, some nice pins, and some very tempting miniatures. Almost every time we walked past the booth (which was often) something caught our eye and we took it home. My wife grabbed a set of beautiful striped blue agate dice. I also learned how to pronounce “agate”, which I’ve somehow never heard spoken aloud. It’s pronounced “agate”.

Did you know that Norse Foundry also makes royalty-free music for use with TTRPGs? Drew from Norse Foundry was kind enough to share it with me, and it’s pretty good. If you’re running a game and like music, or if you’re doing an actual play show, give it a listen. I’ve been listening to some of their stuff, and it’s a lot of fun. Their lo-fi stuff is nice and relaxing, and their themed albums are really great. I really like their Dwarven Kingdom album. You can find it all on Spotify and Youtube.

My Book Shelf Hurts

I love RPG books. I read more RPG books than literally anything else. I should read a novel, but… I probably won’t.

We saw some really neat stuff from a lot of great people. The Kobolds from Kobold Press were there in person with a big banner for Tome of Heroes, and a whole bunch of great books. Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding Volume 2 was there before the official release, and they had signed copies of Kobold Guide to Monsters, which I’m excited to read. I built The Monsterizer to get a handle on building a balanced monster, but “balanced” doesn’t mean “interesting”, so I’m hoping to get some tips here.

Frog God Games also had some of their stuff for sale, including their 5e adaptation of Rapan Athuk, which has been highly-regarded as a great campaign for 30+ years, plus great stuff like their more recent Tome of Alchemy. They’re also planning to kickstart some stuff in the near future that we’re hoping to get more details about soon. They’re working with Alexander Kammer (director of Gamehole Con and True Dungeon, co-author of Thay: Land of the Red Wizards (affiliate link) alongside Ed Greenwood, and very nice guy), who is writing a full-length campaign set in Frog God’s setting. Alexander gave us some more details for the RPGBOT.News.

Steamforged Games had the new Dark Souls TTRPG on display, and we got to thumb through the book. Randall (RPGBOT.Podcast co-host) is a big fan of souls-like games, so we’re excited to see the Dark Souls TTRPG. Sadly, they only had display copies so we didn’t get to take one home. But they did describe some of the mechanics to us, and it sounds like it could be fun.

I’m Going to Need a Basement

I didn’t expect to be looking at furniture at a gaming convention, but here we are. We saw two gaming tables.

Hammered Game Tables was there with a three-section table on display with all the fixings. Dan was kind enough to give us a walkthrough, and and I was really impressed. The tables look gorgeous and everything is meticulously designed. Fun detail: Apparently the drawers under the tables are sized to fit a full bag of Doritos. Hammered is also doing the tables for our friends at Griffin and Gargoyle, too. On Friday Dan rolled out the full display and put a bunch of Dwarven Forge terrain and miniatures into the table. Apparently he painted all the minis himself, and they looked gorgeous up close.

We also saw Wyrmwood’s Prophecy gaming Table, which is similar to Hammered in many ways, but where Hammered captures the feeling of a rustic table imported from a fantasy tavern, Wyrmwood’s tables are cleverly disguised as everyday furniture that would be at home in any formal dining room.

I want both. I have room for neither. I need to get a basement or something.

Please Feed Me More Cheese Curds

I’ve never been to Wisconsin except on the way through to somewhere else. Lake Geneva is beautiful, and the food there is really great. We ate several varieties of cheese curds, fried and otherwise, and sincerely loved all of them. We also sampled some fine local beers and enjoyed those, too.

Conclusion

Garycon was great! We had a wonderful time exploring the exhibition hall, and we saw a few panels that we really enjoyed. We didn’t find time to play any new games because we were also taking advantage of having the whole team together to record a few episodes of the RPGBOT.Podcast.

We’ll definitely be back next year. We might even have a booth next time.

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