RQ-Con Chicago

From: Nick Brooke (100270.337@compuserve.com)
Date: Thu 30 Jan 1997 - 13:22:09 EET

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

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:

        Jane Williams - Sartar the Brave
        Boris Mikey - The Day the Fire Died
        Rick Meints - Waltzing and Hunting

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 Galleys" that 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

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

On Sunday evening, the "Red Devastation" miniatures 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!



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