Posts Tagged ‘Gen Con’

A new episode of my podcast, The Round Table, is up on The Tome Show’s website.


I sit down with game design legend Monte Cook to discuss Gen Con and the currently ongoing Kickstarter for Monte’s new RPG Invisible Sun. This podcast was recorded on August 11, 2016.


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DMs Guild Pick of the Episode: The Lightborn

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If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, check out my podcasts, find my products on the DMs Guild, tell your friends about the blog, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

A new episode of my podcast, The Round Table, is up on The Tome Show’s website.


I sit down at Gen Con with Rudy BassoLiz TheisDan DillonJeff Greiner, and Shawn Merwin to discuss the Faithful Unearthed Arcana article and the announcement that Roll20 has an official Dungeons & Dragons license. This podcast was recorded on August 5, 2016.


Please rate and review The Tome Show on iTunes. It helps us a bunch.

Noble Knight pick of the episode: Broncosaurus Rex



If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, check out my podcasts, find my products on the DMs Guild, tell your friends about the blog, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

Last week was pretty amazing. I went to my third and best yet Gen Con. I was busy as ever and I’ve got some great news to share. This very site took home the Gold ENnie award for Best Blog! Thank you so much to everyone who voted for World Builder Blog. I am still over the moon with this win and honored to have such an award on my wall.

While the win is exhilarating and a great recognition of the work done on this blog (not just by me, but also by Geoff Winn and Greg Blair), that was not actually the high point of Gen Con.

For many creators, working on RPGs can actually be a solo business. Adventure writing, mechanic design, worldbuilding, blogging, podcast/video editing, research, and story writing are generally done alone. This is true if you’re working on something professional or for your casual homebrew game. Even projects done with other collaborators are often completed by emailing a draft created by an individual with the message, “Let me know what you think. Thanks!”

Don’t get me wrong. All of that work is fun, but for most of us, it’s not the reason we play roleplaying games.

The Beauty of Gen Con

Gen Con is Nerdvana. Games everywhere and plenty of people eager to sit down and play. Every person you meet knows what Dungeons and Dragons is, understands how to roll initiative, can tell you which edition of the Star Wars RPG is their favorite, and is ready to debate the finer points of story verses mechanics in almost any game. You can buy nearly any gaming product desired, meet your favorite authors, designers, artists, podcasters, bloggers, and streamers, eat nerd-themed food, drink nerd-themed drinks, and sit in panels where big names announce new products or wax poetic about the philosophies of Lovecraft. Throw in a little deep cut cosplay, a few old-school arcade cabinets, and the chance to play exclusive alphas and betas and you can understand why more than 60,000 people flood Indianapolis every year. Holy crap do the people who organize this thing deserve HUGE ups, thanks, and high fives!

While all those things are heavenly, none are the main reason many of us head to Gen Con. The reason we go to Gen Con is the same reason we game. It’s the same reason we go to smaller gaming conventions and sometimes organize our own private weekends with our best friends.

Why We Game

I’ve had a great year in this industry. The blog won an ENnie, Rudy Basso and I launched a new podcast, I got to interview some amazing folks for the Tome Show, got paid to work on at least four published or soon-to-be published adventures, created and sold multiple best-sellers on the DMs Guild, and DMed two games for awesome people at Roll20CON. At Gen Con I got to record a live Round Table Podcast with an audience, moderate a panel about the digital future of Dungeons, record panels with people like Ken Hite, Rob Bowes, Ben Loomes, throw a party for Tome Show fans, and co-run a three-table epic written by Rudy Basso and me.

I’m going to pat myself on the back and say I’ve put in a lot of work these last two-and-a-half years. I am a better designer, writer, podcaster, and worker than I was long ago. I am proud of the accomplishments I’ve made and the person I’ve become in the industry. Without all that I would still play tabletop RPGs. I have since I was nine, and I have no plans of stopping.

Now you can say it’s all about story, which is partly true. It’s fun to play pretend. Or you could say it’s mechanics, which is also true (clearly it plays into our choices of Pathfinder vs D&D vs 13th Age vs Dungeon World). You could say it’s the perfect combination of both. But really, that’s not it either.

We play these games because it brings us closer to our friends. It gives us a reason to get together every week and interact. We can be silly and play pretend together like we’re kids again. Is there anything better?

Think about it. How many times have you sat down with a stranger to play an RPG and by the end of the game you are more comfortable talking to that person than you are some of the folks you see at work everyday? How many of those people go on to become your friends that you see or talk to outside of gaming? How many of those people introduce you to new friends through games?

It’s not just new friends. We stay in touch with our old compadres through gaming. How many people have a gaming group that’s run for years? How many old friends have you re-connected with thanks to virtual tabletops or forum games? How many people have something new to talk about with their friends because they want to praise or tear down the latest supplement for their favorite game? How many people have friends who actually listen when we talk about our character or our campaigns?

These games make our lives better. The people we meet make us better people. The memories we make are good and stay with us forever. The stories we tell together entertain us and ignite our creativity. The mechanics we encounter make us better teachers and students. As a community we build and create something we could never make individually. More importantly, we have a blast doing it.

These games are a communal experience. Never forget that. A horror game only works if everyone agrees to embrace the scary. A gritty game only works, if everyone agrees to think of hit point loss as more than just numbers. In other words the games only work if we all play. If we all pretend.

Thank you all for playing with me over these last few years. I look forward to all the imagining, pretending, and worldbuilding to come.

If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, check out my podcasts, find my products on the DMs Guild, tell your friends about the blog, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

Are you at Gen Con? Well so am I!

GenCon2016-II-672x372

I’m back in Indianapolis at Gen Con for the third time in a row and there’s more opportunities than ever to see Rudy Basso, Jeff Greiner, and me.

Where Can You Find Us at Gen Con
  • Round Table Live
  • Round Table Live After Party
  • The Digital Future of D&D 5th Edition
    • When: Saturday August 6 from 2PM – 3:30PM
    • Where: Crowne Plaza: Grand Central Ballroom C
    • What: The SRD shakes up the landscape for D&D digital tools. Which tools will make an impact? What’s on the horizon? SmiteWorks, Lone Wolf Development, OneBookShelf, Mesa Mundi Inc., and Syrinscape share their visions and answer your questions.
  • The Tome Show Epic 2016 (SOLD OUT!)
    • When: Saturday August 6 from 4:00PM – 8:00PM
    • Where: JW : 308 : 1–3
    • What: The world has been decimated by a beast of colossal proportions! Now three groups of heroes are all that can stop the complete annihilation of good folk. Three parties of level 7 PCs will take on a massive doomsday beast – from the inside! It’s a dungeon crawl like never before. Over the course of the adventure party members will switch tables and all three groups must work together to bring down the largest foe ever! DMed by Tome Show podcast hosts Rudy, Jeff, and me. Written by Rudy and me.

Also if you want to play a D&D Adventurers League adventure I wrote for Baldman Games, check out this event:

  • CORE 2-1 Tales of Good & Evil
    • When: Multiple four-hour blocks throughout Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of Gen Con
    • Where: Hyatt Regency Ballroom HQ
    • What: As the City of a Thousand Forges perseveres in the face of threats both internal and external, the effects of a planar portal continue to make everyone uneasy. When unusual individuals are drawn to the city because of its power, heroes are asked to keep peace and ferret out anyone intending to bring harm to Melvaunt. A D&D Adventurers League adventure for character level 1 to 4 set in Melvaunt.

Finally do you want to see a short film I made? That’s also going to be at Gen Con. The trailer for a short film I made with Jay LetchkoKnight Birds, is below. Details TBA!

There’s more to come for Gen Con! Hope to see you at one of these places.

If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, check out my podcasts, find my products on the DMs Guild, tell your friends about the blog, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

A new episode of my podcast, The Round Table, is up on The Tome Show’s website.


I sit down with game designer Monte Cook of Monte Cook Games to discuss the tenth anniversary of Ptolusplayers and game masters sharing the cost for RPG productsNumenaraThe StrangeGods of the FallNo Thank You, Evil!Gen Con, and more. This podcast was recorded on July 8, 2016.


DMs Guild Pick of the Episode: 18 Cursed Magic Items



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If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, check out my podcasts, find my products on the DMs Guild, tell your friends about the blog, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

Just a quick note to let you know that tomorrow (Wednesday 6/29) I’ll be doing a live Google Hangout with Brian Fitzpatrick to talk about designing RPGs. Check out the event! Hope to see you there as we talk Dungeons and Dragons and more!

Also if you want to see me at Gen Con, I’ll be moderating the Digital Future of D&D 5th Edition panel with tons of awesome people. Syrinscape, Lone Wolf Development, Mesa Mundi, Smiteworks, and DriveThruRPG will all be there so come check us out!

If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, check out my podcasts, find my products on the DMs Guild, tell your friends about the blog, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

I’ve been very busy lately! Wanna know why? Let’s talk about conventions! I don’t just mean IntroConso. Read about where you can see me and play adventures I’m writing below!

Roll20CON

Roll20CON is a free, online-only celebration of the Roll20 Community will take place on June 3rd, 2016 for just 24 hours – but you can start preparing, listing, and joining games now! From 12AM – 11:59PM Pacific time, there will be games galore played on my favorite virtual table. You’ll want to join in the action and get to try some of the Plus and Pro subscription features for free. That’s right. Dynamic Lighting (and tons of other awesome features) will be free during Roll20CON.

During the convention, some of your favorite streamers, publishers, podcasters, and I will be live on Twitch helping raise money for Cybersmile, the international non-profit supporting victims of cyberbullying.

If you haven’t seen the schedule for Roll20CON check it out below.

Roll20CON

You’ll notice I’m running two games during the 24-hour live stream. You’ll also notice some of the biggest names in Dungeons and Dragons including my good friend Rudy Basso of the Tome Show’s D&D V&G podcast and Have Spellbook, Will Travel, Nadja Otikor of Misscliks D&D Prophecy, Greg Bilsland of Wizards of the Coast and member of the Dungeons and Dragons team, and, oh yeah, Chris Freakin’ Perkins, a Wizards of the Coast D&D employee who needs no introduction.

Needless to say I am thrilled about this and nervous. I’d love your support and love on game day. So if you’re around at 5AM or 2PM Pacific time on June 3, 2016, check out Twitch and watch us play D&D!

Gen Con

GenCon2016-II-672x372

I’m back in Indianapolis at Gen Con for the third time in a row and there’s more opportunities than ever to see Rudy Basso, Jeff Greiner, and me.

Where Can You Find Us at Gen Con
  • Round Table Live
    • When: Friday August 5 from 5PM – 6:30PM
    • Where: Crowne Plaza: Grand Central Ballroom D
    • What: A live recording of The Round Table podcast with Rudy, Jeff, Liz Theis, me, and others TBA!
  • Round Table Live After Party
  • The Tome Show Epic 2016
    • When: Saturday August 6 from 4:00PM – 8:00PM
    • Where: TBA
    • What: The world has been decimated by a beast of colossal proportions! Now three groups of heroes are all that can stop the complete annihilation of good folk. Three parties of level 7 PCs will take on a massive doomsday beast – from the inside! It’s a dungeon crawl like never before. Over the course of the adventure party members will switch tables and all three groups must work together to bring down the largest foe ever! DMed by Tome Show podcast hosts Rudy, Jeff, and me. Written by Rudy and me.

Also if you want to play a D&D Adventurers League adventure I wrote for Baldman Games, check out this event:

  • CORE 2-1 Tales of Good & Evil
    • When: Multiple four-hour blocks throughout Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of Gen Con
    • Where: Hyatt Regency Ballroom HQ
    • What: As the City of a Thousand Forges perseveres in the face of threats both internal and external, the effects of a planar portal continue to make everyone uneasy. When unusual individuals are drawn to the city because of its power, heroes are asked to keep peace and ferret out anyone intending to bring harm to Melvaunt. A D&D Adventurers League adventure for character level 1 to 4 set in Melvaunt.

Finally do you want to see a short film I made? That’s also going to be at Gen Con. The trailer for a short film I made with Jay LetchkoKnight Birds, is below. Details TBA!

There’s more to come for Gen Con! Hope to see you at one of these places.

If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, check out my podcasts, find my products on the DMs Guild, tell your friends about the blog, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

Run Your Own Con!

Posted: April 6, 2016 in General
Tags: , ,

I love games. LOVE them. If you’re like me you have adventures, entire RPGs, and board games on your shelf that you’ve never played… maybe never even opened! Even as a kid I didn’t have time to try everything. Now that I’m an adult, I have more money and even less time so the books continue to pile up behind me. I tend to run long campaigns so my groups only have a chance to switch systems every two years or so. I never really got to try anything new. Then I went to my first Gen Con.

Conventions are a great way to try games you never get to play otherwise. You can run that adventure you’ve been dying to play or experience a complicated board game none of your regular group knows and have a veteran teach you the ropes. When we came home from our first Gen Con, Rudy Basso and I preached the gospel of gaming conventions to our regular game group. We tried so many awesome games surrounded by other who understood the glory of tabletop! We asked our friends to come with us the next year… but when the time came it was just Rudy and me again.

Our friends all had valid excuse for not wanting to attend a gaming convention. “It’s too expensive.” “Too much time off work.” “I can’t leave my wife alone with the baby for that long.” “I don’t really travel well.” “Large crowds make me anxious.” All of those made sense to us. We didn’t want to force our friends to do something they didn’t want to do. Still we couldn’t help but feel a convention would be more fun for us if our regular group of friends attended.

Rudy and I got thinking about why we wanted our friends to come to a convention with us. When it came down to it what we really wanted was to immerse these friends in a weekend of new gaming experiences. We didn’t need Gen Con to do that. We could do it in our own backyards with less expense. We were going to throw our own con.

In November I organized my buds to spend the weekend gaming at one of our friend’s beach homes (which was close for most attendees). It was such a rousing success that we’re in the middle of planning the next one in July! I planned the thing so my friends dubbed the gathering IntroConso and the name stuck. It was such a good time that I want to share with you how you can plan your own weekend with your friends.

Step-By-Step Planning

To create your own IntroConso follow the steps below.

  1. Make Your Guest List. First things first, figure out everyone you want to invite to this shindig. Put all of their email addresses (or Snapchat names or Twitter handles or whatever you use to keep in touch with your friends) into a group because you are going to be contacting them regularly to get this thing off the ground.
  2. Find a Weekend. Or a day. Or a week. Or month! Figure out how long you want your private con to be. We settled on a weekend from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon so people wouldn’t have to take too much time off from work. To plan the event you need to find the right time when most of your friends are free. Even with 15 people this can be a headache, but free apps like When Is Good or Doodle make scheduling a lot easier. Try to start planning at least 3 or 4 months out so people have a maximum heads up for family and work commitments. Even then odds are not everyone will be available at a given time, so pick the time when the most people can attend for maximum fun and promise those left behind they’ll remain on the guest list for future cons.
  3. Find a Place. Once you have your dates, find a place to throw your con. Pick some place close so that travel isn’t a pain in the butt. IntroConso has been lucky in that an attendee has always donated a place for us to stay. Maybe that’s the case for you. If one of your friends has a house or the extra space somewhere that can fit everyone and is willing, free is always good. It’s not too many people for a home. If you’re not so lucky, have no fear. Airbnb is a great way to find entire homes for rent near you for cheap. If everyone chips in it could cost you less than $100. Another option would be a cheap hotels where you might be able to also grab a conference room.
  4. Ask for GMs. Ask your friends what they want to run be it a board game or RPG. Even ask those folks who are always players. Many may be fine remaining such, but this con experience will give others a chance to be a game master for the first time. They can do so without fear of failure or a ton of prep, since it’ll only be a couple of hours and not a couple of years. When people sign up to run a game be sure to ask the following questions…
    1. What game(s) do you want to run? Please list in priority order.
    2. How much time do you need to run your game? (include any time caps here like 4 hours max, etc.)
    3. How many players (not including you) does your game need to play?
    4. How many players (not including you) are the max for your game?
    5. When do you plan on arriving to and leaving from the con?
  5. Make a Schedule. Armed with information from your GMs, you can now make a schedule.
    1. Figure out how many tables you can run at once.  First figure out how many games you can run at once based on the number of attendees. In general I figure 5-7 people to a table (including the GM for RPGs). So if you have 7 or less attendees, you can probably run one game at a time, 14 or less, two at a time, and so on. Keep in mind you may less attendees at the beginning and the end of the con based on who is coming or going early.
    2. Make slots for games. Create time slots for games. For IntroConso we break our days up into four-hour time slots with all the tables on the same schedule. This way when one table ends a game, so do the others, which makes it easier for people to schedule themselves and easier on you as a scheduler. Four hours is enough time to get in a solid adventure and time with an awesome board game. With the first IntroConso we found that games tended to run a little over their time limits and that people liked to take a break between sessions to eat, chat, etc. Realistically you can fit about three four-hour sessions of gaming in a full day of a private con. That’s accounting for games running over, food breaks, etc. It’s not really fun if you’re watching the clock the entire time you’re rolling bones, so I recommend scheduling your games this way. Of course you may have a different idea for your con and that’s ok too. Maybe one table wants to run Curse of Strahd for an entire day while another table runs a new game every two hours. The choice is yours!
    3.  Fill the slots with games. I like to make sure each GM gets to run their first choice and then go down the list and see what’s left. If something looks like it might run short, I put it toward the beginning of the day and if something might run long I put it at the end of the day.
    4. Example. Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 3.55.46 PM
  6. Send the Schedule to Attendees. I make the schedule in Google Drive, duplicate it, and then send it to the attendees to fill in their names. If you make a spreadsheet like the example above it should keep everything clear. The main point is that they can’t sign up for more than one table in the same time slot.
    • Subnote: To cut down on costs, I recommend scheduling people to take care of meals, snacks, drinks as well. Here’s what our food schedule looks like if you’re curious. Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 4.31.45 PM
  7. Have GMs Prepare Their Stuff. GMs need to be ready to teach the game to their players and have an adventure good to go. That usually means a lot of work on the GMs part so make sure a busy person has the time to run a bunch of new games. Published adventures will save prep time and can often be found for cheap or free online. Then the GM has to decide if pregenerated characters will be provided for the PCs or if character generation will happen at the table. If you’re playing a game where character generation requires everyone to have a copy of the book or takes more than 10 minutes, go for pregens. A quick Google search will probably help you find what you need. If there’s a starter set for a new game you want to play, that’s always a great place to start since you get quick rules, an adventure, and pregens all at once. Don’t forget to double check everything after you pack to make sure you have the promised games and food you’re bringing.
  8. Have fun!  No notes needed.

Has anyone else ever done anything like this? Do you want to? How can I improve IntroConso? Sound off in the comments below!

If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, check out my podcasts, find my products on the DMs Guild, tell your friends about the blog, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!


James Introcaso sits down with the largest Round Table crew ever to talk about the Dungeons and Dragons fifth edition Open Gaming License and System Reference Document and the surprising new Dungeon Masters Guild. Topher Kohan, Dave Gibson, Rich Howard, Sam Dillon, Jeff Greiner, Liz Theis of Lone Wolf Development, Shawn Merwin of Encoded Designs, and Wolfgang Baur of Kobold Press talk about the big news. Included are two interviews, one with Nolan Jones of Roll20 and another with Robert Adducci of the Adventurers League to discuss how the announcement will affect their companies. They even touch on the Ravenloft leak and the announcement that Wizards of the Coast D&D team will not be at Gen Con. This podcast was recorded on January 12, 13, and 17, 2016.



A new episode of my podcast, The Round Table, is up on The Tome Show’s website.


I sit down with Rudy BassoAlex Basso, and Round Table newbie Rich Howard to discuss the Unearthed Arcana variant Ranger and September D&D survey. This podcast was recorded on September 23, 2015.

Please rate and review us on iTunes, it helps a boat load!

If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, check out my other podcasts, Bonus Action and Gamer to Gamer, tell your friends, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!