What is this thing?
GauntletCon is the online indie RPG game convention hosted by The Gauntlet RPG community. GauntletCon 2017 was the first such convention, and I got to attend minimally back then. My biggest issue is that it’s one week after Big Bad Con, and that particular convention requires me to spend quite a bit of away-time currency in regards to the family. It’s usually framed as my belated birthday present… and it’s really the best birthday present… but it also means there is no way I’d be able to game this next weekend away.
However, this time around I actually got a lot more gaming, now that the con is more mature and is running for a bit more of an extended weekend. It also helps that I’m much more in tune with the community, so I can make the gaming happen around my schedule and what I want to see.
A word about how amazing this thing is
One of the things I found so impressive about GauntletCon 2017, was how much the Gauntlet Discord - which is rarely used for the Gauntlet in day-to-day - felt like a hotel lobby. People coming in and out, conversations happening and moving on, impossible to keep track of it all, and people just running off to game or running back from gaming.
This year was that plus some. There were more people and more action. And there was more… stuff. Channels for discussions, for sure, and various channels for logistics (for the help desk, for mustering up prior to games, for pickup games). But also channels like #dreams-and-prizes, where you could give shout-outs (dreams) to players and GMs and staff for their various awesomeness, with the bonus of prizes given away with random drawings. And then just other random pop-up channels such as #pets-of-gauntlet-con for posting all the various creatures that would sometimes invade the videos of games, or the #which-skin-are-you channel for discussing your Monster Hearts skins.
The constant positive feedback loop in the public space of the convention was very encouraging, and helped immensely even when hiccups would occur (like cancelled games). There was help finding new games, and people running pickup games to assist. I myself did that thing when one of the games hit a snag. In that vein… gaming…
Thursday early gaming… For The Space Queen Bee
Although the formal convention starts on Friday, premier member and close friend Yoshi was going to run some Gauntlet Games Now (aka Games on Demand) on Thursday evening. The problem is that I couldn’t really do those hours either. But what I could do is organize some pre-GauntletCon gaming with my Euro-timezone friendly gamers who also couldn’t easily make those hours.
And so I set up For The Queen. Only, this was the version where you are a Space Bee! I invited whomever could make it (as I learned that For The Queen is also a party game RPG at Big Bad Con; more on that in a separate post), and we ended up with about 7 players total. The game was a little on the silly side, but hey: Party game. It was a great little way to kick off the game convention, and got many of us to whet our appetite for the gaming to come. And expose more people to the absolute love which is For The Queen (which they all raved about afterwards). Video linked below.
(At the time of this writing there isn't an official website for the game, but you can signup for further information and to be informed, here: http://eepurl.com/dzxosr.)
Dads on Mowers For The Queen, again!
The next morning I had signed up for Dads on Mowers, which is Banana-chan’s Kids on Bikes hack. Kids on Bikes is a game that emulates those 80’s style movies about kids solving crimes (a genre made increasingly popular with shows such as Stranger Things). But we had a snafu! The game was mis-scheduled, and they had to leave the house shortly after the start time.
She was very cool about it and has begun to reschedule the game so we can play it in the coming month, but at that moment, I said I could run a similarly short RPG that I was ready to… For The Queen! (I really can’t get enough).
Honestly though, this was the first time I played according to the actual rules in a while, so it was a refreshing change to just play according to the basic rules with a basic-sized table.
I loved our little story which included the most videography I’ve ever experienced in a fantasy world. The short pitch ended up looking something like this: Join the Landless Baron, the 3rd In Line, the Royal Executioner, the Royal crash-test dummy, and the Royal videographer in a journey with the white-winged Queen through lands of goblins, bipedal creatures, and bats! (Video linked below.)
Then it was off to Pinecon, which I’ve written about elsewhere, but I returned home a few days later to play in a final GauntletCon game.
Monster Hearts 2: The Institute
Ferret is a newer member in the Gauntlet, and was posed to run a Monster Hearts 2 pickup game during the weekend, set in his “The Institute” setting. Normally MH is about teenagers being secret monsters in a normal setting or school, but in this case the institute is a school created by monsters for monsters.
A few of us were around in the later hours, and so pickup game we had. Maria, Bryan, and I played in this relatively short (2 hour?) session. It definitely had more of that Harry Potter type vibe, and didn’t lend itself to the sort of dark play you usually find in MH. Although Ferret was worried that he was steering us too hard and railroading the adventure, I don’t think that’s accurate at all. 1. It was 2 hours, so you need some serious hard framing, and 2. we all bought into the premise of “it’s prom and we don’t have dates”, so that was exactly what we had signed up for.
Additionally, Ferret ran a smooth and collaborative adventure, as we all got to create our various stories and backgrounds. I know most of the players were pretty fried at that point, and I myself was running on fumes from my weekend as well, but it was the perfect little beer and pretzels version of MH that was lovely and a great way to bookend the con.
In the words of the fabulous Vee Hendro (because I couldn’t have said it better myself): “The GauntletCon experience is an unprecedented online outpouring of creativity, heart, and genuine care for our shared hobby, but more importantly, for each other. The best part of the convention for me was how excellent the organisation and leadership of the event was. Excellence is not perfection, but the commitment towards it. So thank you for the very apparent preparation and work you have all put in (phenomenal efforts!), for the ongoing and continued support throughout the con, and for the aftercare in the days following.”
Wait, there is another?
So… there may be another GauntletCon this coming year. A Patreon goal was to have a second GauntletCon, and that goal was reached. I can only hope, as this one will always be tricky for me scheduling-wise, so another GC will be much appreciated! Until then, I cross fingers for more.