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Glorantha Con 4

Chicago - January 1997

The Red Moon
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RQ-Con Chicago was a fine thing, and perhaps a salutary experience. While nobody would have wanted to find this out, it was quite interesting to see what happened at a U.S. RQ-Con bereft of Greg Stafford: while the Germans and the Megacorpers already know how enjoyable these can be, the lack of The Man Himself did make a few differences.

For my part, the big difference was the number of seminar slots we were given. In early planning, it had looked as if there would be nothing much for me to do at the Con besides running Tarsh War and Credo! sessions. But as the day grew nearer and the freeforms and guests dropped like flies, great Chaos Voids opened in the heart of the programme. Following in the path of Magasta, the boys from the Megacorp leapt manfully down the plug-hole...

As usual, I can only comment on the events I participated in.

Friday opened with an Evening with the Megacorp, during which I got to probe Sandy for some of the Great Secrets of Glorantha, then a Singalong session with almost frighteningly enthusiastic audience participation. Rick Meints incurred my displeasure for cancelling a round of "Old Man Waha Had A Herd" after just two verses ("They don't know all the words", duh!), but otherwise the event ran smoothly and without hitches. The new songs proved popular, and some older ones were sung for the first time. Big praise goes to my Songbook contributors:

Thanks, guys!

Saturday opened with the Auction and Lore Auction: the latter (Gregless) wasn't as satisfactory as usual, though this may have been because I felt underqualified to sit on the panel with Sandy. The Gloranthan Lore Auction is often a handy way of calling authors to account for their past misdeeds: when you aren't able or expected -- or embarrassed by your inability -- to explain everything, it loses some of its bite. Still, I hope we were useful to those who brought questions.

Saturday afternoon was meant to run as a succession of three seminars: The First Age, Sandy Live and Uncut, Carmania. In the event, Sandy and I took questions on anything and everything for a three-hour session, occasionally reverting to the "programmed" subjects (when Con invigilators walked in), but more normally following wherever the subject led us. It was great fun, but I pity the poor transcribers. The seminars closed with Sandy recounting the origins and history (both Chaosian and Gloranthan) of Pamaltela, in a remarkable tour-de-force. While this was going on, Chris Gidlow had been running a mostly-costumed session of Tarsh War: I was lucky enough to turn up at the grand finale and see the tribes succumb.

Saturday evening's Storytelling started small and grew as it went along. Highlights were a Praxian vision-quest by Eric Schmidt, Nils Weinander's East Isles tale of the Rock Eater, and the Baron von Moosehsunchen jokes (discovered in the bar on the first night); the big prize went to Scott Schneider for his Raven's Stepladder, even after he lost big marks for neither wearing his Raven costume ("It's moulting") nor belching at the appropriate juncture.

After this came the readings. Chris Gidlow and I shocked the audience with his blasphemous Seleric Verses; Scott read selected chunks of Harmast's Saga; MOB's lack of potty training was exposed to the world; and I read every page of Mike Hagen's Tales from the Black Galleysthat I could find. As for the later storytelling, Speed Prax, perhaps the least said the better: one wonders if Greg realised how dangerous it was to name his largest continent "Genitalia"...

Sunday morning opened with Sandy Petersen and Scott Schneider ably roaming around the wide-open spaces of Prax and the Wastelands: I learned a great deal from this, not least about the Morocanth and the Secret Societies. If humans worship "Storm Bull", do Morocanth worship "Storm Bloke"? Next, Chris Gidlow and I ran a two-hour session on The Lunar Empire and the Lunar Way, including sneak peeks at Chris's Lunar freeforms and some upcoming projects (The Hunt for Red Storm Season, Tales #16 and Chris's latest work-in-progress, Citizens), and a few pokes at the Dara Happa centred views currently emanating from Chaosium (Great Sister may well be "Moonson's Lunar Shadow", but what's that got to do with the price of chips?).

Sunday lunchtime was a good time for ambling and chatting; after noon, Sandy, Scott and I held a GMing in Gloranthasession (world-spanners versus farm-boys?); later, the Six Davids' How to get Published panel was interesting, especially given Robert David Heinsoo's Chaosium-centric contributions.

On Sunday evening, the Red Devastationminiatures rules by John Medway and Rob Smith received intensive playtesting in two battles, which were afterwards refought (at sometimes excruciating length) in the form of inquisitions (by the Lunars and Harrek) and post action reviews in the Megacorp suite. And so to bed...

Highlights? As usual, the best bits of the Con were social: meeting old friends and new, pinning faces to names, catching up on all the plans and projects and gossip and games, and even just hanging out in the Megacorp suite. I particularly enjoyed the Singalong and our Lunar panel. It was good to see people enthusing about Tarsh War, our new book, and great to have the chance to introduce some of my friends to their first American RQ-Con (and indeed their first American anything). And Chicago's deep pan pizzas have to be seen to be believed!

Regrets? Yep, a few. I missed having a big new Con freeform (the Coming of the White Bull would have been ideal), and greatly regret being busy with replacement events during the Seattle Farmers' LARP. It would have been good to hear Paul Jaquays speak on the early RuneQuest days: as a veteran of Judges Guild and author of Griffin Mountain, it'd have been nice to learn more about the gestation of those products. And it was a shame Greg couldn't make it, though if he had turned up, other events would likely have suffered or been cancelled.

Still, despite being dealt some of the worst imaginable blows by various illnesses and misfortunes, not to mention the inclement weather, the Chicago RQ-Con Committee produced a memorable and exciting convention. Andrew Joelson and his co-workers should be congratulated for their heroic efforts at the eleventh hour, in the face of difficulties that would have made lesser mortals curl up and die.

See you all this summer in Victoria!

-- Nick Brooke
Glorantha Digest
January 1997

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