Sunday, August 07, 2011

the GenCon haul

So I went to GenCon yesterday mostly for the shopping.  I'm sure there were a ton of people there that would be fun to play some D&D with, but I just didn't feel like navigating both the convention and the bureaucracy needed to sign up for a game.  And is it just me, or is the portion of the GenCon site devoted to con listings a total piece of crap?  I couldn't find jack or squat there.  Anyway, here's what I bought at the big show:

A couple old issues of White Dwarf from the eighties - Found at the auction area second chance consignment shop.

The Dragon Tree Spell Book - Yet another vintage book of spells from some folks' campaign, also from the auction shop.

TSR module UK3 The Gauntlet - My best buddy Dave ran this and UK2 when we were kids, so I never read it. Also from the auction area.

The Swords & Wizardry Core Rules Reference Sheets booklet - I could run a pick-up session of something like D&D with no books at hand, but this represents pretty close to the absolute minimum written rules I would need for a campaign.  Bought at the excellent Old School Renaissance Group booth.

Lamentations of the Flame Princess Weird Fantasy Role-Playing boxed set - Also from the OSR Group booth.  The free PDF rules excerpt convinced me that Raggi knows how D&D is supposed to work mechanically, maybe better than any of the rest of us.  The GM advice in the referee book proves that he doesn't just understand the rules, he understands the game.  The gross art doesn't freak me out.  Most of it is a less whimsical version of the sorts of things that happen to adventurers in nearly every dang illo in the HackMaster line.  The only thing I don't like about the art direction is that everyone seems to be wearing clothes about 5 centuries too modern for my medieval tastes.  My recommendation to everyone: get over the art if you can, as this is one of the best versions of the Game ever made.

Cheers, Gary - This book of compiled Gygaxian wisdom was being offered as a fundraiser for the Gygax Memorial.  It's neat to have a new source to cite for the periodic "Let's pretend we know what Gary was thinking" dramafests.

DungeonMorph Font from Inkwell Ideas - It's a damn shame that Joe Wetzel's sweetass dungeon geomorph dice were delayed, but at least I now have a new font full chock o' geomorphic goodness.  I did get to see the prototype dice up close.  They looked pretty rad.  They were bigger than I expected and the geomorphs were etched in, not just inked on.

None of these purchases were unexpected in any way.  I didn't know exactly what I was going to get at the auction, but it was definitely going to fall into the categories of "old" and "cheap".  This last item was a complete surprise for me.  Some of you may be familiar with my fondness for the Savage Worlds brand customizable GM screen, as pictured in this old pic of a session of mine:



The three panels are laid out landscape style, opening up a little extra space compared to standard screen design. And the front and back of each panel is a transparent pocket, allowing you to custom make your own insert sheets. It's the only thing in my game collection that's almost as universally useful as my dice.

Hammerdog Games, who I had never heard of before, was at the con selling four panel versions of both the landscape and upright customizable screens.  But what caught my eye was their nifty mini-screens.  Each panel only measures 4 inches by six inches, but there are six panels instead of three or four.  I love it.  With it I should be able to have at least six charts handy and still have a security blanket on the table, but on a less obtrusive scale.  And the size of the panels are just right that I could jot a chart or map or whatever comes to mind into one of my ever-present Moleskine pocket notebooks, then later tear it out and slip it into the screen.