Gen Con Haul 2022

What do you do when attending Gen Con, the largest tabletop gaming convention in North America? Enjoy a vacation, connect with friends and creators, play games that you don’t normally get to or with new adventuring parties, learn about upcoming releases, and, for many, shop for brand new and long sought products. I attend Gen Con for all of that and collected a fantastic RPG haul in 2022. A of existing and new, here’s what went home with me.

Dragonlance Age of Mortals Autograph.jpg

Let’s start with a pre-show find: Dragonlance Campaign Setting Companion: Age of Mortals for Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 Edition from Sovereign Press. On the way to Gen Con, I stopped at The Great Escape in Louisville, Kentucky. They had a copy of Age of Mortals autographed in 2006 by designer and project manager, Jamie Chambers. It was a great find made better when Jamie verified that it is an authentic signature. Finding an autographed Dragonlance book on the way to the Gen Con debut of Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman’s Dragons of Deceit suggested a good start to my 2022 experience.

Attendance at the convention continues to expand back to pre-Covid levels. While there, I talked to a variety of creators impressed with the growth, and picked up quite a few books as a result. Tales of the RED: Street Stories for Cyberpunk Red from R. Talsorian Games Inc. This book is nine missions for the latest edition of their tabletop RPG. Full of interesting jobs, hooks, mooks, NPCs, maps, and top tier artwork, it’s a great addition to Cyberpunk Red. I spoke to J Gray, the Cyberpunk RED Project Lead, about R. Talsorian’s free DLC content. For new gaming options, weapons, locations, NPCs, and more, it is worth checking out their downloads page to ramp up your campaign.

Sticking with the cyberpunk theme for another item, let’s talk about Modern AGE: Cyberpunk Slice from Green Ronin Publishing. I interviewed Malcolm Sheppard and Troy Hewitt about this project when it first dropped as a PDF. At the convention, they had the print version so I had to pick up a copy. During the conversation about the book, I kept calling the author “Tom” and he (Malcolm) was too nice to correct me. He signed the book “+2 SP for wit!” and I appreciated the boost (and his name tag so I could realize I was misnaming him). That’s the kind of interaction that can only happen at a convention. Based on a variety of cyberpunk classics, this book codifies the rules you’ll need to take Modern AGE over to cyberpunk. Great writing, well laid out with nice artwork, this offers a great toolkit to cyberpunk your Modern AGE adventures.

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One more ‘punk RPG, this one MoonPunk from Wannabe Games (Try the quickstart here). At the Indie Game Developer Network (IGDN) booth, I talked to Alex Sprague as he worked there and he sold me on his and Jessica Geyer’s RPG. (In late 2021, I interviewed Jessica for another project, so this was a book I wanted to get and read.) MoonPunk is about rebellion on the moon, a place where the lack of gravity means you can’t leave for Earth (your body couldn’t handle Earth’s gravity), where combat is slow, where high jumps are common, and you can make a difference. Using a Powered by the Apocalype variant, I was interested in seeing how they used the engine to tell their tales. MoonPunk was on my list for another reason, I covered the project when it Kickstarted in 2019, so it was cool to get the book and talk to Alex.

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While I was at the booth, I talked to ENNIE Award nominated creator, Craig Campbell. His book, Good Strong Hands, deserved the nod from the ENNIE judges. He game me a keepsake, CAPERS: The Coaster from NerdBurger Games. This coaster is a literal coaster, one that you put your drink on and this one is… nice. It’s not cardboard as most freebies are. It’s acrylic, crisply printed with great edges. On the face is the CAPERS RPG logo, on the back are three recipes for adult beverages which is on theme for a game about superpowered gangsters and vigilantes fighting through Prohibition. As a giveaway, it’s nice and onbrand.

At the other end of the IGDN booth, Eric Bloat was setup. He shared the War for the Wasteland: Playtest Edition from Bloat Games with me. I’ve interviewed Eric several times, played in his game, and try to recommend his projects whenever I can. Using the 24XX ruleset by Jason Tocci, this RPG creates a Mad Max post-apocalypse. 24XX uses d4 to d12 to represent your injuries or skills (injury is a d4, a d6 is the default, higher dice for degrees of skill). Roll against a static chart, the greater the result, the more you accomplish. The zine has a Pallidium vibe to me. I don’t know if that’s just me or if it was intentional with Eric and Phil Stone, but I dig it.

My main purchase at IGDN was Posthuman Pathways from Genesis of Legend Publishing. This was high on my list to obtain. Not specifically Posthuman Pathways, though the RPG is great and deserves its ENNIE recognition, but because the product is a roleplaying pamphlet. I’m a fan of roleplaying pamphlets having released my own (here). I’m always eager to see pamphlets in the wild to see what material they use and how they compress their content to match the real estate. Posthuman Pathways does not disappoint. Presented as five quad-fold pamphlets in a slim box package, this game is fun and useful to me as a physical example to pull from.

Over the Troll Bridge: Limited Playtest Edition from Creature Curation. All-ages RPGs are awesome; I started freelancing for EN World focusing on all-ages content. This all-ages RPG stands out for one simple fact: kids actively contributed to designing this RPG. Brian Colin is a creator with a good resume including Vast Grimm and World of Revilo (5e). For this project, he brought his kids in to design and make this their game. The result is an RPG about trolls doing what they must to save their city with great artwork. Created by children and utilizing the Down We Go system results in a game that feels authentically all-ages.

Randomly I ran into Skylar Simmons, an online friend and creator. We exchanged some RPGs including Tales from the Dungeon Issues 2 to 5 from Black Box Games. Let me state this, I came out much better on this deal than he did as his zines are authentic, passionate products that deserve more attention. These 5e zines have an old school feel. They’re themed content capsules with titles like Epic Weapons, Psychedelic, Secrets, and my favorite, Love, since it covers some of the same territory as my own zines, Love's Labour's Liberated and Love's Labour's Liabilities. They are cool and the only reason I have them is I ran into Skylar at Gen Con. His next RPG zine, Tales from the Dungeon #6 – Monsters, is live on Kickstarter through September 4, 2022 and I recommend checking it out.

Recently, Limitless Adventures crowdfunded Limitless Encounters vol.3. They’re working their way through the post-Kickstarter process. However, I was able to get a late sign up for the Kickstarter book while at the show. The nice part of this, other than getting the book of 100 5e encounters to add to my collection, is that they’re mailing it to me, so no need to carry it around the convention and back home. In addition to picking that up, we talked shop discussing their 5th Evolution superhero series (5e ruleset) and what’s next for it.

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At the Indie Press Revolution (IPR) booth, I grabbed a few offerings. ORUN, Post-Apotheosis Space Opera RPG and ORUN Quickstart from New Agenda Publishing. I’ve wanted to pick up the physical version. Misha Bushyager, Jerry D. Grayson, Eloy Lasanta, Robert Jeffrey, and many more bring this space opera to life. The core book comes in a slipcase and I wanted to grab a copy at the convention to be sure I had a mint version to play.

In my MAZES at MIDNIGHT article, I went into detail about the MONSTERS & MAZES: fantasy roleplaying and MAZE Controller Screen from 9th Level Games so I’ll forego it here. That stated, I picked these products up at the show, adding another zine and a GM screen to my MAZES collection.

Before Gen Con, I spoke to Henry Lopez about the Arcanis 5e – Campaign Setting from Paradigm Concepts, Inc. The campaign interested me because it has a living campaign component that dates back to 2001. At the convention, we talked about their living campaign, how it has survived several RPG engines (currently on 5e), and how their fanbase drives the interest and direction of their setting. As a 5e campaign, fan interaction is important so I was eager to hear about their experience.

Of course I grabbed the Crystal Castle commemorative Gen Con 2022 d6. While I’m happy with the books that I grabbed at the convention, I missed a lot of products. Among them were the aforementioned Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman’s Dragons of Deceit. Another want was Shadows in Genzacon from Gooey Cube. I spoke to Alphinius Goo of Gooey Cube about their 5e homage to Gen Con including some character images that resemble some of the important members of the GC family. The adventure looked fun, the artwork even better, and Alphinius’ salespersonship put it over the top for me.

Not to say these were the only items that caught my eye, but these are the ones I picked up. What did you pick up at Gen Con 2022?

Egg Embry attends conventions as a member of the press. I attended with John McGuire, read his thoughts on the con here. He participates in the OneBookShelf Affiliate Program, Noble Knight Games’ Affiliate Program, and is an Amazon Associate. These programs provide advertising fees by linking to DriveThruRPG, Noble Knight Games, and Amazon.
 

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Egg Embry

Egg Embry

Ath-kethin

Elder Thing
At Gen Con this year, I both volunteered at the Goodman Games booth and ran two sessions of a DCC module I wrote. I'd have run four sessions and got the comp ticket, but I had my 8yo with me and thought 16 hours of gaming might be a little too much for even them.

I grossly underestimated how time consuming volunteering and running games would be, so I only ended up with a few hours to actually attend the convention. The highlight was when my 8yo was starstruck and tongue-tied at meeting Joe Goodman, who was incredibly gracious and kind and even surprised us all by giving the kid a signed copy of the DCC core rulebook.

Aside from that unexpected gift, we picked up a couple of other DCC modules and the DCC Lankhmar boxed set - I'd backed the Kickstarter as PDF only and had been regretting it ever since. We also grabbed some T-shirts and refrigerator magnets and dice, and I bought a pair of d20 earrings.

Those earrings even managed to get us past the security line at the airport on the way home, since one of the TSA agents saw them, talked to me about them (and about Gen Con) for a bit, then moved us ahead to the X-ray machines. The $15 I spent on those earrings probably saved us upwards of 20-30 minutes of standing in that queue, making it probably the best investment I've made in a while.

All in all, a great experience.
 


Hand of Evil

Adventurer
Been a couple of years but when I go...
Wednesday is walking the halls and getting a lay of the land and then heading to The Stink to meet up with people. Thursday is the opening of the Dealer Hall, which is just window, touch and feel of things. I will make note of stuff I want and come back Friday or Saturday. After the four hours in the Dealer Hall it is gaming until late (latest has been 4AM). Friday, gaming and maybe a few SPA events or Seminars and then off to the ENNies. After maybe dinner with friends or more gaming or both. Saturday, gaming, Dealer Hall, gaming. Sunday, packing and hitting the road home.
 


Mercador

Adventurer
I haven't read Cyberpunk RED yet, is it good? I got it but haven't opened it yet. Not sure I can find a group in my language unfortunately, maybe I'll have to open a table as I did 30 years ago (!!).
 



pogre

Legend
Picked up DCC Core rules and a module with the coupon, some fancy hollow metal dice from Easy Roller Dice, Birth of America: 1775 The American Revolution board game from Academy Games, the complete Stat trackers box, the Mini-Dungeon Tome from Adventure A Week, Ubersreik Adventures II for WFRP 4e, and a few pieces of terrain and miniatures.
 

Hand of Evil

Adventurer
Oh, things I have picked up at Gen Con (different ones), not the run-of-the mill stuff
 

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jhallum

Explorer
Picked up Achtung Cthultu GMG, Player's Guide, and adventure from Modiphius (and running the intro adventure at an upcoming con), a Strahd promo mini from WizKids (along with the Crit Role NPC box), a bunch of maps for cheap from Studio2 (4 for $10), and the Star Trek Tricorder set from the local gaming store in downtown Indy at a discount. We played in 7 slots, all games were pretty average except for the Sunday Morning Delta Green slot which was outstanding. Played one slot of PbtA, and it's still not my thing. I tried, I really tried.
 

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