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I unintentionally cut into the Billy Dee Williams spotlight while I was early for the Brent Spiner Q&A (more on that later). I’m glad I was able to listen in.
I only caught a bit of the spotlight, but a few of the questions from the audience were priceless.
One that stands out:
Why was Lando wearing Hans clothes [at the end of the movie]?
Mr Williams gave the ideas that, “Because they were a couple”, or “He owned the clothes first [referring to the fact Han had won the ship in a game, and therefore the clothes]. The reason the audience came up with, “because he wanted to get in Leia’s pants”. Mr Williams wasn’t impressed with that thought.
I haven’t been watching any of the dancing or singing reality contests, so I was caught off-guard with Mr Williams being on Dancing with the Starts. He looked the part though, he was wearing a grey outfit (shirt and slacks) with a grey cardigan sweater and scarf. From other images I’ve seen that look is something he does often. He did mention he’ll be in the next filming of the show for a reprise!
I do want to share one sentiment. Towards the end a fan asked him which character did he “own”. He stated that each experience has it’s own significance, and wished everyone to have a wonderful experience.
Comic Con is once again upon us. In less than 16 hours, the halls will be packed with fans of all ages. The list of guests is massive and is sure to appeal to everyone from Trekkie to Zombie. The real problem is who to see and what to experience. My cadre all have different tastes and we hope to be spread throughout the convention to bring as much awesomeness as possible. Continue reading Comic Con Fan Xperience – Preview→
Our party emerges from the tunnels into the desert area. We proceed north thanks to several party members knowing survival. We know the camp we seek is that direction. After awhile, a voice welcomes us. We aren’t surprised, Quaben recognizes the voice as belonging to a friendly genie like creature. He guides us north, the next day we reach the camp we sought.
In the camp there are dozens of people. Many of the people speak common, wearing the brand from Greed.
Our party discovers that the crystals covering the whole desert are what we have been looking for. We fill our bags with the crystals to take back to potentially make weapons.
We then have a discussion about the abilities of our donkey (ATSD).
The party continues their efforts to find weapons to use against their diabolical opponents. They cannot openly confront them, the sheer size of the enemy army would destroy our brave adventurers. But, perhaps, there is a way to begin their revolution on a smaller scale.
With information from the village of Gi’Mon, the party has followed a series of lava tubes and tunnels passing far below the Hellspine Mountains and the cities of Acad and Kenedox. However, this path is not without peril, as the party discovers the glory of nearly invisible gelatinous cubes. After a brief struggle, and a moderate amount of frustration (poor Amon, never even got to act), the party survived and continued on their journey.
What strange creatures will they find in the Sea of Shards? What dangers await? Will the party continue to walk blindly forward, missing perception checks, and die to kobold traps?
Our new Pathfinder campaign is set in Lord Rcane’s new world. For now we’re using the working name, Blood Glass Legacy. We have 6 players, including Rcane. The players range from a 12 year old girl to a 41 year old (that’s me). Some of us have been gaming together for over 20 years now.
Our campaign starts in the dark. A group of very unusual humanoids have been enslaved to the devils (literally) that run some mines.
Hiewot (Oread Student of the Stone)
A mysterious female devil has been watching us. I’ve seen her while I was mining my pickaxe at the far end of the tunnels. I saw her again today when the meal was served. I think I even saw her before lockup. It’s unusual because she seemed interested in me. I haven’t had that much attention in awhile, and I hope it doesn’t come to ill.
At lockup tonight I heard a voice I didn’t recognize, “Be Ready”. It had the sound of authority, but I don’t know who said it.
In the dark of the night a small goblin man comes and unlocks my cell door. He beacons me to follow him. As we go through the cooridor, he unlocks other doors. Soon there are six of us following him. Two can’t see in the dark like we can, so they are led out. As we walk down the tunnels, the guards seem to either not be present, or when they are there, they are asleep. Someone went through a lot of planning to break us out. What kind of benefit can they gain by 6 slaves?
Lord Rcane is getting a new campaign world made. It’s a rather tragic world with devils running everything. Our party consists of 6 humanish characters. I’m still not sure of two of the races (the players weren’t forthcoming).
Yesterday we met for the first time to finish character generation and “meet up”. We are a very odd group.
Hiewot. A monk (Student of the Stone) of the Oread race type. She appears human, was born of human parents, but her skin is a crystalline brown color (think of a famous model who used too much bronzer, then it turned to a crystal).
Riley. She might be the most “standard”. She is a halfling bard.
Kamala. A Wizardess that is humanish, except she has blue skin and her blood is transparent (apparently there is an oriental race called samsaran, but don’t think of Metroid like we all did).
Come join us at Aethercon! The following games are being run at Aethercon and were written by Curtis Baum.
The following modules are GMed by Curtis Baum:
Friday – 3 PM East – Cult of Life Book One: Trial of Faith
A new religion has surfaced in the village of Shursune. Is this religion as benign as it appears or do they serve a darker purpose?
This will be published by Rcane Publications and be available shortly after Athercon. Be among the first to play this new module.
Friday – 9 PM East – Thief in the Night – Bridgefort Saga 1
A recent string of thefts has the city of Bridgefort baffled. They think the party may be involved. Can the party find the real culprit and put and end to this crime spree?
This module is published by Adventure A Week.
Saturday – 11 AM East – Cult of Life Book Two: Trial of Blood
The party is hot on the heals of a dangerous enemy known as Lord Ravenbrook. They chase him to Ravenbrook City and must work through the area and find a way to get into his mansion, learning the dark history of Baron along the way.
This module will be published by Rcane Publications, shortly after Aethercon. Be among the first to play this new adventure.
Saturday – 5 PM East – The Right to Arm Bugbears – Bridgefort Saga 2
The rumors of a massive army being formed are reaching citizens of Bridgefort. They have a map to several locations where ancient relics may have been lost. Can the party stop these humanoids from acquiring even more power for their army? Can the army even be stopped?
This module is published by Adventure A Week.
Saturday – 11 PM East – The Puppetmaster
Villagers claim they have seen a strange doll out chopping wood in the forest. Merchants are talking about being robbed by puppets. What is the source for these odd events? Is a maniacal craftsman in the forest trying to destroy the village?
This module will be published by D3 Adventures.
Sunday – 5 PM East – Battle for Bridgefort – Bridgefort Saga 3
The humanoid army marches on the city of Bridgefort. The party is among the few defenders that can hold them from destroying the city. Is the party up to the task? Can they finally defeat the mastermind behind the growing army?
This module is published by Adventure A Week.
Additionally, Christi Baum will be GMing:
Saturday – 11 AM East – The Witch’s Challenge
A strange plague has suddenly swept through a small village. The citizens are helpless and many have already died. A visiting witch thinks she can solve the problem, but it requires an amulet buried ages ago. Can the witch be trusted? Will the party be able to cure the plague before the village is destroyed?
And Thomas Stephens will be GMing:
Saturday – 11 PM East – System Crash: Ragnarok
A recent bank robbery has been botched. A new AI is on the loose turning systems against civilians and security forces. What caused it? Can it be stopped?
This module is published by D3 Adventures. It is exclusively free at Aethercon!
“AetherCon is a free online RPG convention emphasizing a sense of community. RPGs such as Pathfinder, Shadowrun and Call of Cthulhu will be run with many more games available. Free browser based RPG programs, Roll 20 and Infrno, will be used to run the games. Along with the games AetherCon will have panels and Q&A sessions with industry professionals such as Jim Pinto (Post World Games), G. Earnest Gygax (Gygax Magazine), Mike Mason (Chaosium), Ken Hite (Pelgrane Press), Wes Schnieder (Paizo) and many more. AetherCon will also have a lot of great vendors, such as Paizo and CGL just to name a few, available to sell you some great merchandise and an artist hall in which you can buy original art work and learn art techniques from the artists as well. Plus every Friday, leading up to AetherCon, download exclusive, free wallpapers from these artists as well. You also could win a chance at having one of your favorite PCs immortalized by one the artists on a future exclusive AetherCon wallpaper just by playing! The more you play, the better your chances of winning! AetherCon kicks off on November 15 and runs through November 17 of 2013.”
Salt Lake Comic Con presented a wide variety of unique merchants and products. Some vendors traveled from across the globe, others were local. These local vendors showed off a lot of the diversity and creativity to be found along the Wasatch Front.
After meetings, chatting, taking pictures, and shaking hands with celebrities for three days, we built up quite an appetite. Two gals, in particular, contributed to the geek culture with food. They baked, poured, molded, and displayed some of the funnest, and most delicious, products available for the chic geek. The Truffle Cottage showed off some of the most unique chocolates I have ever seen. The Mad Hatter Cake Studio had a few of the best geek cakes in the business.
I contacted both of these wonderful ladies after Comic Con and heard back about their experiences at Comic Con. Both of them enjoyed the convention and the added exposure. Both of them work from their homes. And they are both excited about next year as well. Without further adieu, let me introduce them…
The Truffle Cottage
Coming to you from Pleasant Grove, Utah (about 35 miles south of Salt Lake City) is The Truffle Cottage. If you missed their booth, or missed Comic Con for that matter, you need to check them out. Jennie loves creating her own flavors, hand rolling chocolates, or molding truffles.
For the Comic Con people, she created several unique products. They sold out quickly on the days I checked in with the crew, but I did get a chance to actually see some of them and pictures exist on the Truffle Cottage website (listed below). As an example, try Companion Cube truffles (Portal 2), Millenium Falcon truffles (Star Wars), Punisher and Spider Man truffles (Marvel), and Tardis truffles (Dr. Who).
Jennie doesn’t stop there, however, she was booked for a few other conventions in the weeks following Comic Con and has created some very interesting objects for Halloween, as well as Easter, Christmas, and any other special occasions.
I have a friend back in Ohio that I still need to buy a few Companion Cubes for a great geek gift.
While we were walking around the area we stumbled across a few R2-D2 units. One of which was edible. The Mad Hatter Cake Studio produces some great looking cakes. Among them R2-D2, the Tardis, and an Xbox 360 complete with controller (games not included nor recommended).
Jenae works out of her home, but she delivers “all over Utah”, as she says. She creates a variety of products, beyond her sculpted cakes. These include wedding cakes and cupcakes among others.
If you are looking for a memorable event, this might be the ticket. I have a birthday coming up and I am not sure which cake to get, but I am starting to get some fun ideas.
Whether you are a chocolate lover or a cake lover, or especially a chocolate cake lover, there are plenty of delicious gifts for geeks and nerds. Support your geek culture and your nerd friends. Whether they are local or across the country, they will love gifts from Mad Hatter Cake Studio or The Truffle Cottage.
At Salt Lake Comic Con, I got the opportunity to chat with this incredible couple who have been involved in gaming, writing, and game design for over 30 years. I was able to learn some interesting information about them, what motivated them early in this field (including why they accepted the job at TSR and moved to Wisconsin), and where they are heading now. What an incredible couple!
“Unemployed in Greenland” – direct quote, Tracy said it.
Aside from the initial greeting as being one of their biggest fans, which I am sure they hear thousands of times a year. I proudly presented my original Ravenloft module (1983, Advanced Dungeons and Dragons). As they tracked down their pens to sign my prized possession (and a lovely picture of the two of them) I begin interrogating them about how they got involved in the business.
First, despite what you may suspect, it was Laura who started the addiction to gaming. She was several hours late picking up Tracy when she got side tracked with a gaming group. She then introduced Tracy to gaming and the passion began. This was during the rough times where gaming had first started and was receiving a lot of negative press. I started gaming in this era (though I was 8 or 9 then) and can still remember some of the accusations and insults thrown at gamers. This was during the early 1980s.
When Tracy and Laura first got started professionally in gaming, they were living in Logan, Utah. If you are not familiar with it, don’t feel bad. It is the home of Utah State University and is on the far north side of the state, about 70 miles almost due north of Salt Lake City. Tracy had been working as a movie theater manager for a time until he became, and I quote, “unemployed in Greenland.”
The Hickman family was struggling. They had been unemployed for several months and had children to feed, cloth, and take care of (they married in 1977). Tracy and Laura sent a few module submissions (Pharoah and Rahasia) to TSR (makers of Dungeons and Dragons) in hopes of making money to buy shoes for their children. TSR offered them a job in Wisconsin.
Tracy’s dad, who was living in Flagstaff at the time, begged them not to go. He offered them a place to stay and a job in Flagstaff. Tracy and Laura however decided to take the plunge and headed to Wisconsin.
Between Then and Now
Tracy and Laura worked on several projects since that time. Tracy is well known for his work on the Dragonlance setting (novels and modules). He worked extensively with Margaret Weis on that series as well as several others (Darksword, etc).
He and Laura also worked on novels together. One of the most recent trilogies is “The Annals of Drakis” (published between 2010 and 2012). They have also been evolving their story telling and marketing to the digital age, including the “Dragon’s Bard” where material was downloaded via subscription and a final physical book was received when the subscription was over.
2013 and Beyond
In March of 2013, Tracy Hickman joined Richard Garriott’s (Lord British) team for Shroud of the Avatar: Forsake Virtues. This project, as of September 8, 2013, has raised over $2.4 Million with over 24,000 backers to date. The PC game will be playable solo or multiplayer and is expected to have initial content available in October of 2014 (www.shroudoftheavatar.com).
Tracy and Laura have been busy on their own projects. Thursday night, September 5th, they launched a Kickstarter for their newest game. Sojourner Tales is “The storytelling board game that turns your e-reading device into a portal to Imagination and Adventure!” (quoted from the Kickstarter page, listed below). Tracy took a few minutes and used his Kindle to show my daughters (ages 12 and 8) how to play. The game is fascinating with dice, cards, and events changed by the Kindle. It specifically mentions that a print version of the adventures will be available, but the e-book version makes the game faster and easier. (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/trhickman/tracy-and-laura-hickmans-sojourner-tales-board-gam?ref=live)
I very much enjoyed spending time with these two wonderful people. I also cannot wait to see them virtually at Aethercon where they will be answering questions and running the game as a demo. (www.aethercon.com)
Today was filled with a lot of people, and I mean a LOT of people. The Comic Con FaceBook page lists Comic Con as Sold Out. Various sources list that Friday broke 50,000 tickets sold and attendance. Based upon reported economic impact from other conventions (specifically the 130,000 attendees at San Diego Comic Con who spent $180 million and the 46,000 people at Dragon Con in Atlanta who spent $40 million, both listed on KSL.com) the average person attending Salt Lake Comic Con will spend about $900 to $1000.
What that means: Take 50,000 people (low estimate) and have them spend $1000 each (high estimate, but easy math). That means $50 Million dollars were spent, much of that is in the local market. There were vendors from around the world (Weta Workshop from New Zealand, for example) but a lot of them were local and really got a chance to shine.
We talked to artists, authors, game stores, costume shops, chocolate makers, cake decorators, a 3d printer supplier, a pinball machine specialist, jewelers, and guys who dress up as dinosaurs. Each of them put their faith in Salt Lake Comic Con and were here showing off everything they could do. And, over the next several weeks, we will be show casing some of our favorites. Every one of these shops is within driving distance of Salt Lake City.
This project will take some time. We want to get hold of people involved at the business and ask them about what they do. I can talk about each of them, and I have a stack of business cards on my desk, but we want the businesses to put in their own words what they do, how they do it, and how they benefited from Comic Con.
In the mean time, it is time to say Thank You! Thank You for reading this blog. Thank You to Dan Farr for bringing Comic Con to Utah and letting me get involved. Finally, Thank You to my family for putting up with me during this crazy week.
We will update this post when numbers become available. I would imagine attendance numbers will be available within a few days. The financial numbers will likely take much longer, but we will try to keep everyone updated.
Update: The information we have been able to find for first year Salt Lake Comic Con shows an attendance of 70-80,000 people. To put that in perspective, the first year New York Comic Con had 33,000. Way to go Dan Farr, Salt Lake Comic Con crew, and special thanks to all the guests, attendees, and vendors for making the show awesome!