Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Totally, Completely, and Utterly Idle Thought

I am what some have jokingly called "an extrovert trapped in an introvert's body." Around strangers, I am incredibly shy and retiring, often painfully so. Consequently, I've never been a big conventioneer, though I have attended both Origins and GenCon in the past, as well as smaller local conventions. But I also think conventions are a good thing, perhaps even a vital thing, if we want to ensure that RPGs are actually played rather than just talked about (you're sensing a theme lately, aren't you?).

Recently I was reading about an upcoming old school "mini-con," which is to say, a gathering of a couple dozen individuals who'll spend a weekend playing RPGs together. Something like that strikes me as a really great idea. I suspect I'd enjoy a smaller gathering of likeminded gamers much more than I would a big one filled with hundreds or thousands of people. So, naturally, my mind started thinking about the possibility of a Toronto-area old school mini-con and then I realized that, as poor of a conventioneer as I am, I am an even poorer planner of such gatherings. That's too bad, because I'd enjoy the chance to run some levels of Dwimmermount for new people somewhere other than my dining room or, better yet, get a chance to play an old school RPG instead of referee one.

Anyway, I am most emphatically not advocating that anyone try and put together a Toronto mini-con. More importantly, I'm not stating any intention of my putting one together. However, if someone with better organizational skills than I decided they did want to do this, I'd lend a hand as best I could. I'd certainly attend and offer my services as a referee of some games (OD&D/Labyrinth Lord for sure and maybe some Stormbringer or Traveller). I know there are some old school gamers in the area or not far away; I've just never had the chance to meet many of them. This would be a good way to get to do so.

Not that I am advocating anything. Really.

28 comments:

  1. I'm just a border crossing away, I'd love to visit a Toronto old-school con :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. We had a great experience organizing the two small-scale old school gatherings in Austin (one a social mixer, the other a mini-con) as a rider on the North Texas RPG Con. It really helps ramp up the sense of community.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Funny, I run just such a thing myself down in Cape Cod. And here I thought my idea was all original and stuff. :)

    In all seriousness though, I've been running mine for four years now, so I'd be happy to lend any advice or guidance to anyone who needs it.

    James, if you wanted to find a way to get from Toronto to Massachusetts around the first weekend in April, I'm sure you'd be welcome at our little gathering. I always seem to think Toronto is closer than it really is though. :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'd love to come. Of course I live in Italy, so getting there would be a bit of a trick.

    ReplyDelete
  5. There is a couple of conventions that come to Toronto that feature old school. Toronto Area Gamers (TAG) - will be doing a convention in the near future. FanExpo in late Aug/early Sept always has some form of RPG gaming including old school. Also, there is a SpellStorm 2011 in March this year. Then Ad Astra & Anime North always have gaming tables. All these welcome old school with open arms.

    In the greater Toronto Area, Baycon in Barrie and Hammercon in Hamilton. Gryphon in Guelph.

    True, Pandemonium is gone but the smaller conventions have replaced it are usually better, save, FanExpo which is way too big.

    If Diana can get us a gym rental preferably more Central and a High School and table setup for free, why don't we do a Convention in Toronto?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Here's a fist pump and a shout out for Helgacon (the event to which Paul is referring)!

    Argh! I have to figure out what I'm gonna run this year...

    *sigh*

    ReplyDelete
  7. JoeTheLawyer ran a small one last year in Connecticut. He could probably provide some tips.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Being a 90 minute drive from downtown TO, I, personally, would love to attend a mini-con, I think. I'm very much the same sort of way that you are, James: big crowds make me all hinky, but I'd still rather like to attend a small-scale get-together as you describe.

    ReplyDelete
  9. @Referee - I'd like some information on the con listed in Barrie - Baycon.


    James,
    While Phantasm in Peterborough isn't specifically a 'old-school' con, it is smaller, with a good mix of new and old games, and i'm sure the organizer would love to have you run a slot or two in return for getting a chance to play in a game or two. It's a saturday/sunday con, 5 slots of games.

    http://phantasm.pfgca.ca

    I've been going for almost 10 years now.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Paul's on Cape Cod is highly recommended. Highlight of my gaming year.

    Also, check currently in the mail. Ha!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Just go to GaryCon. 11 hours in the car. Totally doable.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Delta, ya head's a freakin' intelligence magnet!

    (Pardon the inside joke, folks. I couldn't resist.)

    ReplyDelete
  13. @barkman - http://www.bayshorehobbies.ca/ are the people to ask about Baycon. Takes place usually in the fall.

    ReplyDelete
  14. The Toronto Area Gamers meetup group would definitely be a good crowd to get on board this wagon. They do occasional general (not old school specific) RPG days fairly frequently, so it's not too far out of the realm of their usual activities.

    Of course, if you changed your mind and decided not to not organize such an event, I can certainly say that I woudn't not come!

    Captcha text: Maginess. How apt!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'm a member at large of The Friends Of The Merril, an auxiliary to the special collection in the Toronto Public Library for science fiction and fantasy.

    The basement of the Lillian H. Smith library is perfect for this. It looks like a flagstone paved dungeon with a circular staircase and electric medieval wall torches. It is used for the annual pulps show and can handle probably up to 200 players.

    http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/detail.jsp?R=LIB011

    The Friends have a meeting next week. If eight people email me (brasspen @ gmail dot com) that will be a total of ten. I'll pitch it to the Merril.

    It's 6:30 at Spadina & Bloor right now. You have T minus 24:00 hours to respond. If I don't get eight by this time tomorrow, you'll hear nothing.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I forgot one more thing:


    Arioch! Arioch! Blood and Souls for my Lord Arioch!


    Chris

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'll put in another plug for www.torontoareagamers.com. We run a monthly RPG meetup that any GM is welcome to sign-up to run a game. If you'd like to have something exclusively focused on 'old-school', I'm sure we can rustle a few GMs and find a suitable location. I'll bring your post to Sandy's attention - he uses S&W himself.

    ReplyDelete
  18. TAG would definitely be interested in helping to get an OSR RPG day off the ground. I've sent you a private message...

    ReplyDelete
  19. Actually it's a great thought.

    I'm reasonably close and would help organize.

    I also think meeting fellow old-schoolers local to Southern Ontario would be awesome.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I'll help out any way I can. James, you know where to reach me.

    ReplyDelete
  21. @referee - Are you sure that baycon is in barrie?
    Bayshore Hobbies is based in Hamilton.

    James,
    i'd be willing to help out as well.....

    ReplyDelete
  22. "an extrovert trapped in an introvert's body."
    does this describe all introverts?
    all people?
    me to for sure.

    anyway, next time you're back in the old line state, let us know

    ReplyDelete
  23. I would love to attend said con as well.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I second the Lillian H. Smith. Also, some of the librarians from the Merrill might come : )

    EDIT: verification code 'DRERP.' : D

    ReplyDelete
  25. @brasspen, @huth

    That space sounds wonderful! TAG's never use any of the the TPL meeting rooms for our events because the we've found the rental hourly rates too high.

    ReplyDelete
  26. @Rob of the North

    As a Merril Collection event I think it shouldn't be to bad. I'll agree with you that the TPL has it's own way of doing things. I'll find out the details next week.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Ah, would that I lived in Buffalo, NY, rather than the West Coast. Perhaps I'll have to try and organize my own...

    ReplyDelete
  28. LOL ... I've been reading Grognardia for a couple of months and it absolutely never occurred to me that James was a fellow T'rontonian.

    Stupidest mistake I ever made: I'd just gotten into gaming and I wanted to join a group (back in the late '70s). I bought a copy of the Dragon and checked its classifieds. There was a North Toronto gaming group listed, it sounded interesting but to get to their (relatively close)location I'd have to take switch buses - that sounded too complicated. The guy advertising for players, somebody called Ed Greenwood.

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.