Gothcon 2023

Where I’ll be leading two workshops and two games, in addition to the pick-up play and discussion shenanigans that I always get into at these things. That’s why I’ve been shoddy about posting and commenting lately, to get ready for this. Also for my role-playing teaching trip to Rome the week afterwards, which is other news for another post, and Lincon in May.

So, “watch! this! space!” for more comments, more about the activities and the games, more about people to meet, and the inappropriate things I say inadvertently and inevitably, based on past experience.

One of the activies in the first workshop is called What Remains and involves interesting aliens, so that’s what the weird pictures are about.

2 responses to “Gothcon 2023”

  1. I survived. Better than that, as it was a more relaxed convention experience in some ways. I avoided socializing into the late hours, and I didn’t have any sort of table or booth to mind. The social moments were all the better for being about friendship and curiosity.

    Briefly: the two workshops were under-attended but the people who did come attended well. I found that the play-activity materials I used work better in person than they do via screen, which is a good thing. The Fantasy in Role-playing event attracted a significant attendee, upping my insight and access into Swedish role-playing culture by a big jump (more about this later).

    My big lesson is that promoting the workshop needs to be a lot more sophisticated: a pipeline at the convention page to provocative or interesting preparation materials here, for example. Or even something do here which establishes an informal connection prior to the convention. The second half of this concept is something I’d already been thinking about, which is a meaningful packet to give out at the event: small games to play, helpful encouragement and instructions for participating at Adept Play, contact information. It’s the kind of thing I can’t really do well until I’ve seen the battlefield, so to speak, so now I’m better oriented for exactly what to design for it.

    The games were a blast. Super good Circle of Hands and super good Khaotic, fun people who grabbed the content with both hands, extremely eventful play. I have eight hours of recordings to edit into watchable chunks for posting here.

    Finally, socializing and networking did happen after all, especially in the way I like best: discovery of potential and unique connection between Adept Play and some other entity, whether scholastic or community, during the course of ordinary socializing. Non-aggressive, more about “hey, we should do something together” rather than pitching and promotion.

    I’m really busy now getting ready for the next trip, but I’ll work on more Gothcon follow-up content as much as I can.

  2. It took longer than I anticipated to find a breathing-point to post this. Work with me through a couple of steps.

    1. I use these three aliens for an exercise in People and Play which I don’t think has ever worked out as well as I’d hoped. I’ve realized that one problem is using all three of the characters at once, meaning a lot of processing and shifting-up of roles among the table; and that the other problem is that although I minimize conflict and dramatic outcomes, people zap directly to doing that in some habit of “story game.”

    2. OK, to clarify: the exercise is supposed to be about reincorporation. Merely using what’s been said as the primary content for what you say, both to assert things (those things which are your “job”) and to ask things (of the person who holds those “jobs”) when you need to know them. That’s it. But it didn’t work well in the course. The trouble is that I’d included a card system that contributed to building events and eventual oucomes during play, and when people see that, and they have cards, they start trying to play cards “on” each other. So when someone gets all story-building and conflict-conflict on the others, the purpose is lost and, worse, the people don’t realize that they’re failing-out with it and make up some other thing they think was the lesson.

    3. So this time, for Gothcon, I made three separate sheets and only one was used for a given group. It so happened that every time I did it people picked Kesh, so here’s that sheet (the others are almost identical, but with different priorities). You will see, I think, that there is no conflict whatsoever, in terms of resolution. Anything Kesh really wants to accomplish or to resolve about an immediate situation, well, she just does it. The point is only to build the skill of reincorporation, and how far we “get” or “what happens” is not the concern.

    How did it go? I think it went well. Even better, “plot” things did happen and several characters turned out to have understandable, reasonably inspiring emotional profiles which could theoretically generate better, emergent conflicts later. So my plan is to return to the course design and work up the exercise there into a form more like this one, making it clear that I am not teaching them a game but conducting a learning activity, and also stressing that they are not invent conflict and will be resolving no events through any handled-devices. I think it will be much more successful.

Leave a Reply