GenCon in Indianapolis is the largest gaming convention in the country. I attended GenCon once before, in 2000 when it was held in Milwaukee. Back then, I went as a gamer, a wide-eyed fanboy obsessed with Deadlands and hoping to meet the people responsible for my favorite hobby.
This time around I went as an author. It's been eight months since Reality Blurs released Ravaged Earth, a pulp setting that took me years to conceive and write. Looking back now, I'd say the sleepless nights, the anguish and worry and hours hunched over the computer writing were worth it. Reality Blurs did a fantastic job with breathing life into my vision, and the number of fans who came up to me at GenCon and told me how they liked the game felt gratifying.
It's a strange feeling when you've played RPGs since 1983 only to find through perseverance, fate and good timing that you have your own game. Usually I'm an outsider looking in. This is a unique opportunity to be included in a network of creative people who love gaming, game creation and the process of making good products.
I snagged several gaming products at GenCon this year: Realms of Cthulhu and RunePunk by Reality Blurs, Weird War II and the Deadlands GM Screen by Pinnacle Entertainment Group, Mysteries of the Hollow Earth by Exile Game Studio, The Battle for Slaughter Gulch board game from Twilight Creations. In addition, I bought some non-gaming related merch: Where the Deep Ones Are, a Lovecraftian children's tale written by Kenneth Hite and illustrated by Andy Hopp, and a Jesus fish in the shape of Cthulhu for my car.
Vendors from all over the country set up booths in the main vendor's hall in the Indiana Convention Center, hawking their products and showcasing their latest games. At the Reality Blurs booth, I had the opportunity to tell people about Ravaged Earth and the upcoming Secrets of Aetherium.
Apart from milling about the vender's hall, I also met several people in the gaming industry. I stayed up into the early morning hours drinking with them. Networking is important with anything, and you know you've bonded when a roomful of gaming professionals laugh at your flimsy Joe Pesci impression.