Originally, I'd planned to write a single post summing up my thoughts and feelings about everything I did and saw while at OSRCon this past weekend, but I've now become convinced that there's enough of interest to justify several posts. Let me start by praising both the convention's organizer, Chris Cunnington, and its sponsor, the Merrill Collection of Science Fiction, Speculation & Fantasy for making this happen. The con went off without any hitch that I could detect and the facilities at the Lillian H. Smith library were fantastic. So, kudos to everyone who helped inaugurate what I hope will be a long-lasting tradition here in Toronto.
As it turned out, I had no reason whatsoever to be concerned. I very quickly felt quite comfortable, due in no small part to Chris Cunnington's excellent organization and discussions with me beforehand. But, much as I wish to praise Chris, even more do I wish to praise the con's attendees, who were, to a man, some of the friendliest and most pleasant gamers I've had the occasion to meet. As I noted in a comment to an earlier post, gamers have a reputation for being socially awkward misfits who are in large part responsible for the bad impressions outsiders have of our shared hobby. I came away from OSRCon with the feeling that, while that description may be true of some gamers, it certainly isn't true of most of them, certainly not any of those with whom I interacted over the course of two days. I won't go so far as to claim that "the ugly gamer" is wholly a myth, even if I am sure that he's not as common a creature as conventional wisdom would have us believe.
On Friday, I ran a single four-hour session of my Dwimmermount megadungeon. This session had six players -- the maximum allowed to register -- and involved the exploration of Level 1 of the mountain fortress. All the players used pre-generated characters, resulting in a party that consisted of two dwarves, a fighting man, a cleric of Typhon, a magic-user, and a thief. I was (mostly) using LBB + Greyhawk OD&D, supplemented with a few minor house rules. I allowed spellcasters to choose their own spells and used Jeff's "deck of stuff" to give each character something unusual to play with. I also provided a frame for the session: the PCs were sent by some dwarves to seek out the whereabouts of a dwarven cemetery reputed to be on the first level, as well as to determine what had become of a previous scouting party, consisting of three dwarves and a gnome, that never returned from their mission. This latter bit proved very useful, since it kept the players focused. Otherwise, four hours could easily have elapsed without any sense of "conclusion," if you catch my meaning.
What was also neat to watch was how quickly this group, consisting of people who didn't know each other before the con, cohered into a unified party. They acted as a group and did so well. Furthermore, their characters, who began as little more than a jumble of stats I handed them, were true characters by the end of the session, so much so in fact that I found myself wishing I could continue to play with this same group again in the future. It was amazing to watch them them develop tactics and procedures as they dealt with the tricks, traps, and monsters they encountered. There were times when I felt myself transported back to those heady days when my friends I did the same and it confirmed for me that it is possible to go home again. Good games never get old and D&D is a very good game.