Gary Con 2022, Pt 2 – The Aftermath

Rump shakers and monster slayers
Feel the wave of sonic arcane sound
Magic users and boogie blues-ers
Wear well your erudite crowns

Dice Throwers & Rock n’ Rollers, Gygax

Well, I’m back from Gary Con. I played in two games and ran six games. It was a blast to play with people in person for a change. I had a great time.

Let’s talk about the games. (I will avoid spoilers in case some of you play these games at future conventions or otherwise.)

My first game on Thursday at 9:00 AM was a Call of Cthulhu 5th Edition game called “Save Weird Tales”. All of the characters were famous writers of weird fiction. I played Clark Ashton Smith. We were called together by the editor of Weird Tales at their Chicago headquarters. I won’t say any more about it as I don’t want to reveal any details of the adventure. In the end, we prevailed. I had a blast. I love playing Call of Cthulhu.

My second game was also on Thursday at 2:00 PM. It was a session of Hyperborea (AKA AS&SH) titled “Hyperborea: Spirits Of The Land”. I played a cleric of the snake god. We won but it was on our very last breath. Only one character was still up. It was a lot of fun.

For the rest of the con, I ran MCC (Mutant Crawl Classics). I ran two sessions of “Hive of The Overmind”, two sessions of “Reliquary Of The Ancient Ones”, and Two sessions of “Carnage In The Casino”. One of each on Friday and one of each on Saturday.

Each session had four players with four characters each. Each session ran a little short of the full planned 4 hours. There were two sessions that resulted in TPK (Total Party Kills). In the rest of the sessions, the players won. It was a lot of fun for all that played and myself. (All the players said they had fun.)

Overall it really got me excited for the other convention I plan to attend this year, GameHole Con 9. I have big plans for it (which I will detail in future blog posts.)

Gary Con 2022, Pt 1

“Dice throwers and rock n rollers

We need you more than ever now

Shield bearers and denim wearers

We’ve got to play this story out”

Dice Throwers & Rock n’ Rollers, Gygax

I am planning to attend Gary Con 2022 this year. I will be playing 12 hours of games and running 24 hours of games. My schedule is as follows:


0900 – Save Weird Tales!Call of Cthulhu – Player

1400 – Hyperborea: Spirits of the Land –  AS&SH (2E) – Player

2000 – Vitacore 717Mothership – Player


0800 – Hive Of The OvermindMutant Crawl Classics (MCC) – GM

1400 – Reliquary of the Ancient OnesMutant Crawl Classics (MCC) – GM 

2000 – Carnage In The CasinoMutant Crawl Classics (MCC) – GM


0800 – Hive Of The OvermindMutant Crawl Classics (MCC) – GM

1400 – Reliquary of the Ancient OnesMutant Crawl Classics (MCC) – GM 

2000 – Carnage In The CasinoMutant Crawl Classics (MCC) – GM

I’ll post a report on how the games went after the con. If you are a fan of the blog and are going to be at Gary Con 2022 please stop by and say “Hello”.

Pay To Play

Money changes everything

Money Changes EverythingCyndi Lauper

I confess I have, in a way, been paid to game master. This has happened at conventions (both physical and virtual) when I have been given items and swag and/or free memberships for my efforts as a game master. (But I have never been paid money directly to run a game.) So does that make me a professional game master? Or does it require direct payments of cash to a game master to make them a professional? I don’t know.

I confess I have also paid to play games. Usually at a convention (either physical or virtual) when they charge for individual events or via paying for a membership. I admit that when I pay for a game my expectations go up a bit, but I don’t necessarily assume I’m going to play with a “professional” game master. (Although, I have played with gaming professionals at conventions.)

Now normally, I wouldn’t even have thought about this, but when I decided to attend Roll20con, I discovered StartPlaying.Games. StartPlaying.Games is a site that allows “professional” game masters to market their game sessions and campaigns for money to potential players. Roll20con used StartPlaying.Games to manage its sessions. 

Now at a convention, I don’t mind paying for my sessions and I didn’t mind it at Roll20con either (especially when there is no membership fee), but I will say that the costs were a bit out of line with other conventions I attend. Normally, conventions, if they charge for individual events, run about a dollar or less an hour. StartPlaying.Games averages $18 for a 4-hour session which is more than $4 an hour. That is pricey for a one-shot or a campaign session. Even one offered by a so-called professional.

This all leads to what constitutes a professional game master. I’ve played with a lot of game masters most at no cost to me but my time. Most of them are pretty average. (I include myself in this category.) I expect a lot out a game master that calls themself a professional. And that bar is set by my friend Dave Coulson.

Dave Coulson is a gaming professional. He runs a small company called Cut To The Chase Games. Dave is the best game master I have ever played with. He writes great adventures. He knows how to manage a table of gamers and keep everyone involved. He brings life to all his NPCs with his acting skills. He is imaginative and knows when to apply the rules and when not to. He is all around a great game master.

So in the end I guess, I consider the whole idea of professional game masters kind of silly but if people want to charge for their games (outside of a convention) fine, but if you are going charge that game, it better be great.