Stat-Flavored Protips, Gen Con 2013 Edition

As some of you may be aware, the Best Four Days EVER in Gaming draws near. A lot of new folks will be attending this year, and they will need convention protips. I have a stockpile of those, which I have decided to disseminate through a clever D&D ability scores framework. This is why I get the big bucks.IMG_20130813_004956-small


I don’t care how you play in your gaming group — the real world is a cruel, unforgiving place with no house rules. It usually takes until about Saturday afternoon, but Gen Con can make anyone understand both why encumbrance rules exist and why PCs get a to-hit penalty when they don’t sleep enough.

If you’re staying in a nearby hotel, take an hour each day to lay down on a bed and give your feet a rest. You also have the advantage of being able to bring only the stuff you need with you. Four days lugging 50lbs of D&D books takes it toll. If you’re staying further away, and you know (and trust!) folks staying at one of the attached hotels, see if you can offload some of your excess. You’ll feel the difference by Sunday afternoon (and by that I mean your chances of being able to walk effectively will rise from 30% to about 60%).


If you’ve ever registered for Gen Con, you no doubt remember the giant line at the convention center you wait in for an hour and a half on the first day. This especially sucks if you bought your badge months ago and just want someone to hand it to you.

Last year, they started offering 24 hour Will Call service starting on Wednesday night. They are doing it again this year. I came in at midnight last year, waited 10 minutes for my stuff. It was like a magical time fairy had sprinkled her dust upon me and given me a little more Gen Con to play in.

They broke attendance records last year, and preregistration numbers this year indicate it will be more of the same. I am going to do this Batman-style again.


Gen Con is a big place full of people carrying around expensive stuff. It even has people that will buy said stuff on the spot right there on the sales floor. There will be people there looking to steal people’s stuff. I personally have lost a digital camera in this fashion, and I would not care to repeat this experience.

We’ve written more on this topic a few years back, it’s definitely worth the read. Protect yourself and your stuff.

Tae Con Do: The Ancient Art of Convention Self-Defense


It’s interesting to me how my con gear changes from year to year based on bad experiences. There is a reason that Advil and Pepto-Bismol accompany me at all times. I didn’t carry a camera for a couple years after mine got stolen. These days, a great many things I need around my phone. This goes for taking pictures, scheduled alarms telling me when I need to be somewhere, video chatting with my family, and various social media nonsense.

That’s why it sucked rather vigorously last year when I kept finding my battery on fumes. I hadn’t had a 4G phone very long, and I had greatly underestimated how fast such technology can murder one’s battery. If you won’t be needing to use the Internets (and your phone lets you),  turn off your wifi and data. Your battery life will double, if not more. On Android, at least, it is not a big deal to turn such things on and off. I suggest using Notification Toggle, which will put super easy on/off switches in your notification bar.

A more platform-independent solution is to carry an external battery pack. Ours served us well on vacation this past year, and it shall see action this week as well.

Now I just hope my phone doesn’t up and die on me on Sunday like it did last year. At least it had a full battery when it went.


Con crud is the #1 cause of lost productivity among IT departments and other geek-related industries in the days following Gen Con, according to the Vanir Study of Making Assumptions About Game Conventions That He Attends. Substitute those germ-spreading handshakes and Klingon blood rituals for fistbumps, salutes, and, if you’re really feeling friendly, mutual recitations of Monty Python and the Holy Grail scenes. Hand sanitizer is your friend, especially if you can just claim it gives you a +1 on all dice rolls with the treated hands.

While you’re at it, don’t skimp on the sleep. Like all spellcasting classes, you need enough time to recharge between gaming sessions. Your body needs it, and fortunately, you don’t have to provide watch overnight like most parties.


Yes, we know you’ve heard all the jokes about hygiene. They exist for a reason. Shower every damn day whether you think you need it or not. You do. I speak as a man of considerable girth who is nowhere near in shape. If you are like me, you will be exerting yourself far beyond your normal parameters. Your body will respond accordingly by creating a cloud of death around itself to repel predators. Defy nature. Take a shower.

It’s probably good to bring supplies in case your body starts doing other stuff it’s not supposed to. The Advil and Pepto-Bismol I mentioned earlier are a good start. Your feet may be unused to such prolonged feats of strength, and some moleskins might be a good thing to pack as well. An ace bandage is probably smart as well, in case a knee decides it is angry.

You know yourself, and you know your weaknesses. You’ll be exerting yourself, so plan accordingly.


I don’t care if it’s not 1e Unearthed Arcana anymore. I miss Comeliness. It stays.

Hope everybody has a safe and awesome convention this year. See you there!