Improvements Anyone?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by OGRE MAGE, Oct 8, 2018.


    OGRE MAGE Footpad

    Since the last attempt at this topic quickly morphed into an AL bash, I would like to try this again if I may......

    I hope we can limit this to relevant improvement ideas, pertinent to Garycon, and forgo the unnecessary arguments and zealot-like defense this time around.

    I’d like to address a few concerns that I’ve seen with this convention over the last 5 or 6 years, not necessarily for my own benefit, but in hopes of making it better for everyone to enjoy for years to come. I’m not worried about the bad food, lack of service, etc. I want to discuss issues that the convention itself has control over. I don’t hold Garycon responsible for things like slow bar service or a wilting salad.

    I’d like to post these concerns individually in hopes of encouraging good discussion while also giving staff a chance to respond to each of them if they so choose. I will start with my number one concern from years past: table assignment.

    Since I started attending this convention, I have listened to numerous horror stories about tables being double booked or times overlapping. Two years ago I actually had a special guest tell me that their game had to be canceled because there was no table designated for it. If a special guest is susceptible to this kind of treatment, what chance did a little nobody like me have? Hearing stories like that has kept me from running a game at GC for many years.

    Last year I finally broke down and decided to run something for the con, thinking, how bad could it really be? Wow, was I disappointed. I realize that there are a lot of games to assign, and a lot of tables, but I still cant figure out how something like this could happen.

    There were several RPG tables positioned on one end of the smaller Forums room. Now, I don’t care about the whole AL vs. Old-schoolers argument on where the games should be scheduled. I played in several games in the big Forum rooms and they went over well. However, my game was scheduled in the smaller room, the one that I later found out was going to be used by the LARP crew.

    Whoever thought it would be a good idea to schedule RPG’s in the LARP room might be better suited to handle the food isssues or something. Seriously, have you ever tried to run a role playing game with 50 excited LARPers about 10 feet away from your table? Shouting, singing, cheering, laughing, fighting all out battles with banging swords, clashing shields, shooting arrows against the wall, overturning tables, etc...... I realize that the weapons and fighting are fake and all, but I can wholeheartedly assure you that the noise they make is very, very real.

    I should mention that I don’t have anything against LARP, and believe everyone should be allowed to do their thing. They probably didn’t want RPG’s scheduled in their room, either. But if the person in charge of table placement thinks that a game master should be required to project over that din, they obviously have never run a game at a convention before, because that was totally ridiculous.

    Needless to say, that game crashed and burned pretty hard since we couldn’t hear each other and couldn’t concentrate with all the chaos going on throughout the room. I talked with a couple of the other DM’s who were running games in there at that time and they all felt the same way. Inexcusable! (and we thought it was loud at the Ridge?)

    I guess my point to these 26 paragraphs (sorry bout that) is, how can I be assured that something like this won’t happen again in the future? I know GC wants more people to register games, but it kinda sucks putting a bunch of work into running a game, only to have it ruined because of a scheduling blunder.

    Can we expect any improvement in that area in the near future?
    Jarlaxle likes this.
  2. fmillard

    fmillard Level 0 Character

    I was in the same vicinity last year when the LARPing group begin to emerge from the shadows. For the first couple of hours it wasn't so bad as they were LARP-foraging or something and were gone for quite some time, but shortly before the game I was running was close to coming to an end they began to grow rather LARPbunctious and it did become quite distracting. We were able to finish our game, but I felt bad for others who were just starting up that day. Perhaps this year it will be a beautiful spring day and the LARPers will be able to LARP where the gods can see them better ... outdoors in the wilderness!? All in all, a good time was had by all, but I do believe that the Ogre Mage has a good point - that being that LARPers and Table Toppers should have a much more defined space between their assigned activities. Good luck to all!
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2018
  3. EOTB

    EOTB Level 0 Character

    I would echo (pardon the pun) on the mixed-group noise levels.

    I understand that not all RPGs are quiet, either. I've had some tabletop games near me that were loud. It is likely that all of us will still feel the din around us even if it's all TTRPG.

    But drums. RPGers don't normally bring drums.
    fmillard likes this.
  4. mwisconsin

    mwisconsin Administrator Staff Member

    Gamehole once (at my urging, because I thought it was cool) thought to bring in a heavy metal band (Madison's own Lords of the Trident) for the lobby. They started tuning up, and admin wisely paid them and told them to stop.

    I imagine playing right next to LARPers would engender the same sort of disruption. It's too bad they don't really have a venue, as it's March in Wisconsin, and not enough of them were wearing Barbarian Furs.
    fmillard likes this.
  5. Scott308

    Scott308 Chevalier

    Memo to self- bring a drum to Gary Con. Especially if I get into a game Rob is running. :p
    Poindexter likes this.
  6. sir jon

    sir jon Spellbinder

    I think I'll stage an all-Keith Moon Cosplay LARP for a late night event that roams the hallways.
    Scott308 likes this.
  7. gmbarry

    gmbarry Footpad

    I was approaching my game time in the Forums when the noise was ramping up... I was seriously concerned about the noise leaching into the other forum.... getting all sorts of anxiety (ok, more like ticked off) and as I entered the forums in the back... it was amazingly normal con noise... because I think that was Saturday... most of the tables had games

    I was very happy where we were but understand it it always is not possible.. I had a whole basically ruined by the unscheduled Werewolf game that decided to sit next to my game because there were open tables
  8. DTaylor

    DTaylor Level 0 Character

    I wholeheartedly concur. I was a player in a large table playing in a Call of Cthulhu game (I think there were 7-8 players) and we were in not that large of a room, with exuberant LARPers that yelled, pounded on drums, shot arrows, and the like. It was beyond distracting and disruptive, and did not reflect well on the scheduling people of Gary Con that they put these two (and many other) dissimilar games in the same area.

    I hope Ogre Mage's suggestions will be taken to heart. It's not encouraging that he posted this over two months ago and there doesn't appear to be any official response at all. :(
  9. DTaylor

    DTaylor Level 0 Character

    One idea that could help with noise for folks, for those on an outer table (by a wall): as GM, face the wall, rather than facing the middle of the room. That should enable your players to hear you better, and also make it easier for you to hear your players.
    SoulCatcher78 and Poindexter like this.
  10. stahlnee

    stahlnee Spellbinder

    Consider sitting in the middle of the long side of the table as a GM. This way no player is more than half the tables length away from you.
    SoulCatcher78, DTaylor and Poindexter like this.
  11. rickwins

    rickwins Level 0 Character

    I did this last year and it did work very well
    SoulCatcher78, DTaylor and Poindexter like this.
  12. ESpratt

    ESpratt Level 0 Character

    Just re-bumping up as people peruse the schedule and determine what they want to sign up for - Looks like the powers that put the LARP in Forum C on Thursday 12-4, Friday 4-8 and Saturday 4-8. Based on the schedule today, there are multiple games (and some featured event games) that will be competing with the LARP in terms of noise/distractions.

    Fingers crossed that it's a beautiful sunny weekend and the larp-ers can head outside . . . .
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2019
  13. Tim Neppel

    Tim Neppel Level 0 Character

    Just commenting here because of the hours mentioned and the classification of my game, "Mounting Pitons to Hold the Grill" is as a LARP.

    The group that made all the noise, banging drums, shouting, and live-combat... DOES NOT appear to be here this year. I have not noticed any of their events in the Event list. My event, MPTHG, is a LARP in a very-loose sense of the term. It's more of a mobile-RPG with line-reading. I have it listed as a player count of 8, and while I encourage spectators and walk-ups, I don't imagine our group getting larger than 10-12 people at a time. Yes, we will probably make "some" noise, but I would consider it no order of magnitude different than your standard RPG. Furthermore, as a mobile event, we will be travelling from location to location, using the hallways and corridors for the majority of the adventure encounters.

    I do have one final event on Sunday that weather permitting, will be performed outside. If it necessitates that it must be done indoors... it will be both controlled and brief.

    I hope this information quells any concerns about my LARP event... and may you all have the BEST GARYCON experience!
  14. ESpratt

    ESpratt Level 0 Character

    Tim - That actually 100% helps alleviate my anxiety about that:) I saw you all out and about last year and thought it looked fun, but not overwhelmingly distracting (no more than any fun group at a neighboring table) - but I had also visited the Forum last year during one of the times that the more traditional LARP was getting rowdy (and was planning on avoiding that room like the plague this year due to the noise/distraction). But I do not have the same reservation with the your group (I don't remember seeing you all swinging swords at each other - although, i'm sure that's an option reserved in case of rabbit!)

    Tim Neppel likes this.
  15. jim skach

    jim skach Troubadour

    I know of at least one game disturbed by your jaunt among the halls last I was in it.
  16. sir jon

    sir jon Spellbinder

    Aw Jim, you just need to get into the spirit of things. Just say, "Ni!"
  17. jim skach

    jim skach Troubadour

    I could have you disappeared on your way through Chicago, Johnson...I know a guy...
  18. sir jon

    sir jon Spellbinder

    If it's Dennis Franz, I know of him. I blame Spaartuk for not flying us through Milwaukee, anyway.
  19. Melf

    Melf Administrator Staff Member

    Ogre Mage,

    The LARP group was so enthusiastic and a really nice folks that we tried having them at Gary Con. That experiment didn't work well as you stated. This year, and going forward, we won't have anything like that. So that room is solely game space. We also added some additional pipe and drape to help mute some of the noise in the larger forum area. The extra space of the forums is wonderful, without it we would have had to limit attendance already. But the noise accumulation in a larger room can be challenging. The suggestion of putting the GM in the middle works well whenever I have done it. Most conventions have large rooms and get pretty loud at peak times.

  20. francisca

    francisca Troubadour

    I've witnessed sessions of Toon: the RPG at GenCon being disruptively loud. Not fun to be in the same room.

    The only real problem I had at the forums last year was when I was in the corner, by the door, where the wait staff were coming and going. The door itself was squeaky and thumped loudly when it closed, and when open, we caught the sounds of a very busy kitchen trying to get their orders out the door (understandable). I have a big mouth (a football coach voice...), so players hearing me isn't the issue, but me hearing players was the issue.

    Also, yeah, while I didn't experience, several blokes running past my table bangin' two 'alves of coconuts together, would be a bit distracting, to put it charitably.
    Melf and jim skach like this.

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