Saturday, June 13, 2009

1st Annual NTRPG Con Wrap Up

NTRPG Con Wrap Up

June 5-7 saw the first annual North Texas RPG Con come to the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and it was a resounding success. Dedicated to old school gaming, this micro-con saw 55 attendees journey into original dungeon adventures by such classic DMs as Frank Mentzer, Tim Kask and Rob Kuntz, as well as “young guns” Matt Finch (creator of Swords & Wizardry), Jon Hershberger (Converter of Goodman’s DCC line to 1E versions), Mike Stewart (Castles & Crusades), Allan Grohe (Greyhawk scholar extraordinaire), and Al Silcock (crazy brit with the Tegel Manor fixation). With fourteen events over the course of the weekend, everyone had a great time experiencing OOP D&D gaming at it’s finest. The final tally was nine 1E games, two OD&D games, one Holmes basic, one S&W, and one 3.5 game (which actually was the longest run session at the con, taking place from 6 pm Friday night to 5 am Saturday morning!). Especially gratifying was seeing many of the 3.5 players engaging in 1E and other games the rest of the weekend, proving that most differences in editions are merely cosmetic and provide no real barrier to gaming enjoyment.

The two biggest thrills for me were the release of the NTRPG logo version of Goodman Games 4E 2009 con module C9 Tomb of the Blind God, and the debut of Black Blade Publishing’s initial 1E conversion of the DCC line, DCC #7 The Secret of Smuggler’s Cove (conversion by Jon Hershberger and Allan Grohe, and also with the NTRPG logo). Both sold briskly, and the possible conversion of every Dungeon Crawl Classic to 1st edition by BBP is pretty incredible news for the old school community. These guys have put it on the line by releasing genuine old school product, down to the classic blue ink maps (redone from the DCC originals), and anyone that says they support old school gaming that doesn’t throw a few bucks their way is a poser at best and a liar at worst. If this endeavor succeeds, it will signal a legitimate interest in adventures for OOP gaming systems by a 1st tier publisher. Everyone needs to purchase at least one just to give these guys props.

One thing that the NTRPG Con has proven to me is that the old school can support regional mini-cons if the time and effort is taken to promote the event as well as gather guys like Frank, Tim and Rob to run games. Honestly, we lost money on the thing (mostly due to the insistence of Doug Rhea to make as many events as possible free to promote the event) but the actual putting together of the event itself, including pining down special guests Frank, Tim, Rob, Jason Braun, Paul Jaquays and Dennis Sustare, took merely a few months. With an entire year to plan the next one, things are already getting bigger and better with a probably hotel with four times the gaming area!

I would love to see endeavors like the NTRPG Con be repeated across the US, in smaller venues that cannot support a full-fledged convention yet have nearby gamers who want to support systems and gaming styles other than the latest flavor from WOTC. We had attendees from the UK, Canada, California, Ohio, Illinois, Delaware, Missouri, Tennessee and elsewhere drive and fly to get here, which is pretty impressive for a con not boasting any major attractions except for guaranteed authentic old school gaming. We hope to double and triple our numbers next year as word gets around among the community…..and if you didn’t make it, check out the photos and video at the official NTRPG Con website: