It often feels like every weekend there is a geeky convention happening somewhere in the world; sometimes even two. Usually, our style is to give you a preview of the things we are looking forward to seeing, and potentially bring you to our side. Afterwards, we’ll offer a ‘debrief’ of our favorite highlights—plus any interviews we scored on the day. Usual stuff.
However, sometimes we have experiences which don’t really fit into the traditional preview or debrief category. These are the types of stories you are likely to share with a friend or you might read about in social media. The reason these stories are special is because they capture the very essence of what a convention is all about. That spontaneous quirky story or chance meet, or even a simple, solitary experience shared with your kid—they are all the kind of stories to share when you want to talk about the vibe of a convention. These are the stories that build the community, bringing everyone back again and again.
As Evil Genius Mum, I’m kicking this off with a story from my recent weekend with Oz Comic-Con in Sydney, Australia.
Improvise Your Dungeons and Dragons
I love panels! I know there are people who see conventions as a shopping experience, or that one-and-only opportunity to meet their favorite celebrities. But for me, I love the panels and the way they bring the community together. You can learn so much from a good panel, and they often lead to more adventures back on the exhibition floor.
Oz Comic-Con had a great Dungeons and Dragons panel aimed at beginners. Five experienced players gave us a crash-course on some D&D basics, the terminology, and plenty of tips for encouraging others. One of the best tips they shared was the importance of improvisation. The greatest skill of any Game-Master is to go with the flow. This is the story they shared as an example:
A Games-Master prepared an amazing campaign, where, unbeknownst to them at the beginning, the players were going to go and kill the Lich King and save everyone from this undead horror.
The players went into the first bar and started up a conversation with the barkeeper. The barkeeper casually mentioned his boyfriend and the players replied with, “his boyfriend? Why not his husband?”
The GM said, “Uh I don’t know. Um, because gay marriage isn’t legal?” As is the current situation in Australia.
The players derailed the whole plot to be “We have to legalize gay marriage.” They spent the entire campaign going through an intensely strategic mission to bring about a change in the law and allow the barkeeper to marry his one true love. We’re talking “removing” people (yes, assassinations), convincing others to join their mission, even seducing someone to overcome an obstacle!
Eventually, their adventure came to an end as the barkeeper was finally allowed to marry his boyfriend in this elaborate wedding and SUDDENLY!! The Lich King and his army turned up, didn’t even bring gifts, seriously, and just wrecked the place. Despite all the actions of the players, the Games Master had kept the original campaign going in the background and gave the players a good time following their own story!
The lesson from this experience: Have a game-plan but be prepared to follow the momentum of your players. D&D is all about the camaraderie and the adventure, and not always the immaculate plan you have been putting together over the last three months. You can take the story wherever you want so long as you can improvise!