Sunday, August 24, 2008

Saying Goodbye

Please be sure to keep checking back, and don't forget to listen to Fear the Boot every week!

See you next year at Gen Con 2009!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Bust A Move

So after three days of solid gaming, seminars and even LARPing, most gamers are ready to let their hair down and cut it up. The Gen Con dance is the place for that. Held in the Union Station, there's plenty of room to move your feet. This year had an 80s theme, and turnout was pretty good. Here's a few minutes of highlights. Granted, watching other people dance is not always the most exciting, but remember these are gamers, and they do have their own style, plus the guy at around the 2:30 mark makes it worth it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

10 Foot Pole

One of the other activities offered for the non-gamer at Gen Con this year was a pole dancing class. Wisely, the class doors were closed with a large sign hanging outside that read 'No Spectators!' These are gamers we're talking about here...

...In Front of a Live Studio Audience

Fear the Boot did a live recording of Episode 112 at Gen Con. We did this recording to a packed room of easily 50 fans and listeners. I cannot even begin to describe how cool that was. We bantered for a bit as we normally do, then took questions from the crowd. It all worked out quite nicely, but almost did not happen. Thankfully my laptop saved the day. So Hooray for Macs!

A shot of the crowd early on. It filled to capacity within 10 mins.

Chad takes a question from a listener.

Just About Everything

Just when you think you've seen it all at Gen Con, they have something else. Look for the brief appearance by none other than (is he a) real Dr. Lucias Meyer.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Moment for Gary

It's not easy to get 30,000 gamers to shut up, but there was a moment of silence on Saturday for Gary Gygax. It took a moment to kick in where I was standing, but it was worth it. The music in the background was provided by a nearby booth, but it seems almost appropriate.

Late Night Gaming

Gaming is a 24/4 affair at Gen Con, and it literally never stops. And as you'll see at the end of this video, it can make certain Fear the Boot hosts prone to attacks.

Pick Up Games & Demos

Games abound at Gen Con, and it's not just the scheduled events. Pick-up games occur all over. Hell, we played on on Wednesday night. One of the fun spots was the Board Game HQ, where you could rent out a board game from their library, pay a generic ticket ($2) and game to your hearts content. We ran a couple games of Carcassone and Zombies.

Hey, we're playing Zombies!

It's me and Zeke Coppereyes playing Zombies!

Dan attempts to screw with the other players, whist Chad ponders thoughtfully.

One of the other fun things to do is catch a demo or twelve. I was able to sit in on a demo of the game "Mall of Horror" which is very much like 'Survivor' for zombie games. I was also able to sit in on demo of "Last Night on Earth."

Playing 'Mall of Horror.'

The other guys playing with me and the woman giving the demo.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


One of the other activities available for non-gamers was some basics of Kendo instruction. It was real basic, to be sure, but still interesting and informative.

Also, on another note, this will likely be the only update today. I'm posting this on Sunday, which is the end of the Con, and time to head home, so you likely won't see anything until at least Monday. But keep checking back, as I still have more clips and things to post.

Feedback From Feedback

Got to talk to Feedback, winner of Season 1 of 'Who Wants to be a Super Hero?'. Great guy, and a gamer to boot! He also does stuff for charity, which is cool.

Album Updated

I've added the remainder of the pictures to the photo album.
Live Action Hero Clix

WizKids ran some live action demos of Hero Clix. Here's some of the highlights.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

C'mon Chewie!

One of the celebrity Guests at Gen Con was none other than Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca. He was kind enough to spare a few moments for me.

For the Non-Gamer

Gen Con has realized that it is a more family-oriented event, as the gaming population gets older, and thus brings about non-gamer activities. One of those is some Irish Dance basics.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Now With Pictures!

Got my pictures uploaded. You'll see them off to your left. I'll try and let you know when I have added more. Enjoy.
Meet Obi-Wan

Ran into a young Obi-wan Kenobi while at Gen Con. Great costume and the beard is what totally made it for me. But watch the video to find out about the guys efforts with the hair.

Day 2 Begins

Friday it was up and at 'em, as I had plenty of time before anything I had scheduled, and there were some neat things I wanted to cover.

I checked out the miniature gaming area, and talked with one guy about the level of detail in his setup. Truly this area is one fo the coolest in Gen Con, simply from a visual standpoint. So many of the boards have such interesting detail.

Then made a quick swing through Cardhalla X, and actually caught a guy in the process of building something.

Then finally, took a walk past the Exhibitor's Hall. At about 9:30am. The hall opens at 10:00am

The Ending of Thursday

Sorry no frequent updates today. Been pretty busy getting lots of new details, video, pics and more to have the time. It'll be worth the wait, let me just say that.

Let's recap a bit from last night, though... Thursday evening I finally met up with Dan & Chad and was able to move my stuff over from Grungy's hotel. I had a bad headache most of the day, but a nearby CVS solved that little dilemma. It
didn't relieve the sting from losing my sweet water bottle, but whatcha gonna do?

I should mention that earlier in the day I was able to get some gaming in, notably the new Pathfinder Chronicles, or "Living Pathfinder" if you want to be smarmy. It was fun. I was able to game with a good chunk of my old crew, which made it even more enjoyable. Is this something I will continue? Who knows? I got pretty burnt out and
dissatisfied with Living Greyhawk, but Pathfinder may address some of those issues. Either way, it was still sweet to actually go to Gen Con and game a bit.

Hey, look. It's me, gaming!

Serious battle going on here.

Okay, now on to the FtB Get-to-gether. We had found the place known simply as "The House" whch was a bar located under the old Union Station. Apparently the bar is indeed only open for the four days of Gen Con - which is pretty cool when you think about it. The drink price also reflected it. Beer was pretty standad, but the mixed drinks were a bit spendy. Though the amount of people ebbed and flowed over the evening, I'd say we had about 30-35 folks there. It was rather amusing during the evening as our crowd got larger (we were near the entrance), we'd shout out, "Fear the Boot?" when people would
come in, to see if they were here for us. If not, we gave them a business card. What was amusing about this though, was the looks of shock, concern and even fear on people's faces when they had so many people asking them the same thing, and to them it made no sense. Think about it... would the phrase, "Fear the Boot?" make sense to out if it came out of the blue? I had to several times, tell people it was okay for them to come in, and go into the rest of the bar if they wanted to.

Met some great forum users from the Twin Cities area, and talked to them for a while. They were very cool. The only downer for the evening was learning that Snot, from the famous "Puke & Snot" comedy troupe at the Minnesota Reniessance Festival had died. That sucks.
What was a definate highlight of the night was the generosity. Maritan Bob, along with others bought rounds for the table. It amazes me that people will extend such kindness toward something they love and that is a part of their lives. Truly touching. During the evening, we had some people that didn't know about FtB, but did play a cool cardgame with us called, "Are you a Werewolf?" It's a great large party game, and I may try and find it to pick up. Finally hit the sack around 12:30am on Friday...

A Minnesota contingent. They own two copies.

Hell, the whole group owns two copies.

Just fellow Booters hanging about.

And more... you can see Chad and Dan's hair.

The Lines

Always new product coming out, and this year is no different. Check out the line for Warmachine.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I Talked to Hygena & Defuser

Celebrity guests at Gen Con! W00t! I was able to have a few quick words with Hygena & the Defuser, runner-up and winner from Season 2 of 'Who Wants to Be a Superhero' on Sci-Fi. They were both quite nice.

Some Good 3.5 Deals

Talked to a guy from Goodman Games about the closing out of the Dungeon Crawl Classics line and the launching of their new 4e line.

My apologies for you not being able to hear him as well as I'd like.

Talking with Catalyst & Paizo

I take a moment before the Exhibitor's Hall opens to talk with Catalyst & Paizo...

Checking out Some 4e Stuff

Gen Con, Day 0 & 1

Well, the trip could have started off a bit better, but I'm here and that's what counts. I had shot some video of my journey, but my camera appears to be a bit wonky, so that video did not turn out. I should have the problem fixed for an update later tonight.

I did get to Indy just fine however. Met up with my old gaming group in Rockford, then off to Indy. Got to the hotel and hooked up with Grungydan from the Fear The Boot Forums. Then it was off to pick up my bag and such, then to find something to eat. Because I'm cheap, I tried to make it to the Mall food court, but it was after 9pm and the mall was closed.

I did find supper and friends at Champions, a sports bar in Marriot. My traveling companions were there eating. After dinner, it was back to the hotel room, where I was thrust into an impromptu game of Torg.

Here' the crew here playing. Ender was GMing.

After that, it was time to sleep. Since I was just crashing there for the night, it was the floor for me, where I didn't sleep too bad actually. Personally, Gen Con isn't really Gen Con if you don't sleep on the floor of a hotel room at least once.

Up early this morning and out the door by 7:15am to grab some Mickey D's for breakfast, then to check out the early morning scene. There is something cool about Gen Con the first morning before everything gets going. There's an excitement in the air you can really feel.

Some folks waiting outside the Pathfinder Society kickoff.

The line waiting to get into the Exhibitor's Hall.

Folks in line for early morning Event Registration.

So, that's about it for now. My biggest beef? Seems that the convention Center has not entered the 21st Century with an offering of Free Wireless. So, I'm posting this from the nearby Hyatt, using the state's Free Wireless. How does that work?

Well, Exhibitor's Hall opens at 10am, so I've got some shooting (and maybe shopping) to do.

I'm At Gen Con!!!

Yup, I'm here. Sorry didn't get to post last night, as planned. I was caught up in an impromptu game of Torg with Grungydan, Ender and others. It was interesting to say the least.

Regular update coming soon...

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Narrowing The Focus

Since we finished the second session with my new group, I've had some time to develop the campaign into more than a vague mention. Taking a cue from my PCs, this is going to be a dwarf-centric campaign (all but 2 are dwarves). I've decided to center it in the Caras Peaks in Dahara. I've developed the main plot, and have now begun the Character Document. This will detail out the world from the PCs perspective, and help them narrow their focus on their characters.

At first I thought this was going to limit them a bit. To a certain extent it will. As I look at it further though, I see that this isn't a bad thing. As new players, I don't need them overwhelmed by all the choices available. Give them a select few within the scope of what I'm planning and things may actually proceed better than before. I think having such wide-open options, as I did with my Dahara: Duke's War campaign made some elements a bit difficult.

We'll see.

So, once I've completed the Character Document, I'll send that and the "20 Questions" document (to help them define their PC backstory) to my players and let them chew on that for a while. This will really help me flesh out the plot better and give me ammo to integrate each character in the larger story.

In other campaign notes, I'm making use of the Obsidian Portal Campaign Wiki site. You can find this campaign, which is now titled: Dahara: Faterl's Forge there. Not much on there yet (just a couple of NPCs), but slowly but surely.

Once the Character Document and 20 Questions are completed I will post them.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

R.I.P Gary

I certainly won't be the first to send you the
news, but I would not be a real gamer if I did not take even a brief moment to thank you, Gary Gygax for your involvement in creating Dungeons & Dragons.

You will never know the true extent of your influence on so many, and it will be our honor to continue to carry the torch, and to see further than 20' if we can.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The First Adventure

Well, I finally sat down for the first session with my new group. In a nutshell - it went well.

With the chargen guidelines sent to them, I really left it up to the players to make what they wanted, knowing that I would worry about the details later. To my surprise, they came up with a group that was somewhat coherent.

We had:
  • Human Monk
  • Human Fighter
  • Dwarf Fighter
  • Dwarf Fighter #2
  • Dwarf Wizard
  • Dwarf Wizard #2
Not the most balanced party to be sure, but yet, it did have balance in the sense of having a predominance of dwarves - something I could work with for later. As I've said before, all the players were pretty much new, in the sense they had not played in a couple of years. There was some experience there, but one of the players, James, was brand new to the game.

Rather than bore you with the details of what happened on the adventure, I'll comment on the experience in general. I've never gamed with a new group like this. All my non-con gaming was pretty much with the same group I'd had for 20+ years (with some people adding/subtracting over time), so to sit down with a bunch of strangers was interesting, but strangely, not intimidating.

Once the characters had been set up and we were ready to go, I told the group that all I was really looking for was for all of us to have some fun. I wanted to basically "roll dice and kill things." Character and campaign development could come later. I really just wanted everyone to get re-familiarized with the rules.

Over the roughly five hours of the session, things went well. Rules were indeed grasped, some character personalities started to come out, and some player personalities as well. I have a player who likes to dominate (though I wonder if that was more from lack of experience on the other player's part), I have another player that just likes to "be there" and not say a whole heck of a lot.

I felt it was a success in that some definite "bonding" occurred amongst the players over their characters and each other (I should mention that all of the players know each other in some capacity). Even when one of the PCs died (after valiant efforts to save him), there was some good humor about it all.

If there was one area I think things fell a little flat, it was Pacing. It took too long to get to the meat of the adventure. It was something I wanted to avoid, but I think some old habits of mine kicked in, and I (unintentionally) slowed things down, most likely in an effort to squeeze some role-playing out of them (not much came out in this first session). I was able to move some elements along, but it's something I need to look out for in the future.

In the end, we did not finish the adventure. The PCs actually are being forced to leave the dungeon and head back to town to heal up. This is good because it will allow James to get a new PC in the group, and also force us to get back together (in 2 weeks). Once done, we'll be able to take a closer look at how we want to proceed as a group from that point.

Feels good to roll the dice and stand behind the screen once again though.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Saturday Looms Closer

An update on my upcoming gaming. It's going to be a Saturday Morning-Afternoon affair. Also, it looks as if the size of the group has expanded to 5-6 players.

I honestly don't know what to expect. As I work through my 25th year of gaming, I've never really walked blindly into a group like this outside of a convention setting. It sounds like most, if not all of the players have not gamed in some time, or at all. What I'm really hoping for is some players who want the fun, but also are looking for a little depth beyond just "kill monsters, get loot."

So knowing the little that I do, I've decided to sort of merge my two previous concerns about Campaign vs One-Shot. I have sent my contact, Kevin, the brief character creation guidelines I came up with. That will help set the framework if this does develop into a campaign, rather than telling one of the players that his gnome illusionist can no longer exist (no gnomes in my game). The adventure I'm starting them off with is a pretty simple scenario, but one designed to best ease everyone into the mechanics. If I discover some role-players in the group, I can work with that easy enough.

So, chargen guidelines, huh? This would mean I should post them. I will, when they are in a presentable format, rather than the e-mail I shot off.

Time permitting when the session winds down, I want to try and talk a bit to everyone about what they are looking for, what we have time for, and what type of schedule we could have, if any.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

And Just Like That

I'm going gaming again. I called the guy I met about gaming and he is interested. He, along with his two sons, and possibly one of their friends might be sitting down around a table possibly next weekend.

I'll be running things, which puts me in kind of a bind, because now I have to strike that balance between doing something that could be a one-shot adventure, and something that could lead to a longer campaign. We both expressed a desire to do a longer campaign, and I think it could develop into that, but I need to be careful. You never know what you get with new players.

My initial thought is to just find a simple adventure that has no major impact on things. They haven't played in a while, so the rules will be their biggest concern, as will mine for that matter. Beyond that, I want to set aside some time to find out what they are really looking for in a campaign and in adventures. I found a questionnaire that may help to solve this dilemma.

I am thinking about Dahara though. I'll need to really think about and quickly compile together character creation guidelines for them.

Most of all though, I'm excited. It has struck me as odd to be writing a gaming blog when I'm not even doing what I'm writing about. That, hopefully will now change.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

I'd Forgotten How Much I've Missed It

On Saturday, we were picking up our daughter from a birthday party at a local bowling alley. This alley is across the street from the FLGS (Friendly Local Gaming Store, for those who don't know). We had some extra time, and it'd been a few weeks since I'd been in the store, so I thought I'd pop in.

There were a number of other guys in the store, and they were all gathered around the tables were the store hosts a variety of games each night. That night it looked as if a local group was getting ready to play some D&D. All the components were there: Game books, soda, backpacks, conversations about characters, adventures and past exploits. Yes, even the sadly requisite body odor was there. As I looked over the books in the store, I eavesdropped on their conversation. It seemed that there was someone new in the group and he was going to be falling on the "cleric grenade." It sounded as if the whole things was all a bunch of first level characters. Ahhh, the smell of fresh adventure! Between the the books on the shelves and their words, I suddenly found myself feeling some unexpected sadness.

See, it's been almost two years since I've sat down with some friends to play RPGs. I don't count my kids in this, because while enjoyable, the sessions I've had with them have been more of an instructional nature. But sitting with other adults and really getting down to some rolling and role-ing... it's been far too long.

And I'd forgotten how much I missed it. And how much it is a part of me. I really felt like something inside was missing as I stood there in the store, feeling like I was on the outside looking in. I longed to be at the table, behind the screen, laying out the open road to adventure in front of my players.

I need to get that back. I can't make the gaming nights at the FLGS, but I do have another option that I've talked about before. It's time to pursue that.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Devil's In The... Well You Know.

I'm always on the lookout for neat ideas to take and use in a game, and I've mined many a scene, plot hook, adventure or even a campaign from both TV and movies. It's a pretty common practice for most GMs, and something I strongly encourage you to do so, if you don't already.

I finally got to see I Am Legend today. This was a movie I definitely wanted to check out after seeing the first trailer. I love post-apocalyptic stories, regardless of the origination. I've never read the book, but I've heard the movie is a departure from it. That's cool. The movie made me want to read the book anyway.

Now, I'm not going to review the movie here, though I should say there was little I found lacking with it. Where the movie really shined for me was in the visuals. Not in the creatures Will Smith's character was trying to help, but in the depiction of New York City. It was obvious, and the movie went to great lengths to establish this, that the city was empty. No human, save Will Smith lived in this once great city. The grass growing up in the streets, the cars left in neat rows on the side, or traffic clogged roadways. All this and more give you the clear feeling of emptiness. In fact, a very telling long pull back shot as Smith drives his vehicle down a street show just how empty the city is of human life.

What does this have to do with gaming? Almost any adventure lives or dies by the mood, set-up or feeling put forth by the GM at the start of the adventure. I Am Legend set up the adventure perfectly for this player as I sat back in my seat, yet became immersed in where the hero was located. I was in the game.

And it's in the details, details, details. Your set-up can succeed by laying out the details when you start out. Not only will it set the stage properly, but it'll give the players something to grab on to, and then give back to you. Get your players immersed, and they will contribute to your story more than you'd ever expect. Plus as an added bonus, it may throw them off.

If you provide more description than usual for the minstrel playing by the hearth in the tavern, the players will wonder why so much attention is being given to this NPC. Why all the text to the serving girl? Their mind will race. The table of dwarves? The smell of the food? The conversation going on at the table next to us? The list can go on. One of my favorite products for this? Masterworks Maps: Inns & Taverns by Darkfuries Publishing.

Yes, it may indeed slow your game down, but are you really in a hurry?