A Very Angry GenCon

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I bet you’re thinking “wow, The Angry GM has been quiet these last few weeks here on his ole site, he must be kicking back and relaxing somewhere on a beach screaming at a bartender about metagaming while sipping a froofy umbrella drink.” And you couldn’t be more wrong if you said “I bet he’s playing Fate with Wil Wheaton!” I’ve been busy as f$&%. And part of that busy as f$&% was GenCon 2016! Yes, I was there at the annual massive mecca of the Midwest! And now it’s time to catch up and share all the awesome experiences I got to have while you were sitting here wishing you had a megadungeon article to read. HA HA!

But seriously… a lot went down at GenCon and I got to hang with a bunch of cool people and check out all sorts of cool things. And if you want to skip to what awesome things you should check out, you can click on this little linky here which brings you down to the bottom where I’ve compiled all the things I want you to click on after you’re done basking in the glory that is ME!

The Angry GM’s GenCon 2016 Debrief

First of all, the other night I did a live stream where I drank some Kraken rum that my close friends Ryan (@drumbumrm), Sean (@gravey914), and Kim (@Ms2Good4Tw1tter) accidentally left at my apartment after they left. Yeah. “Accidentally.” I didn’t steal it. Anyway, you can watch the whole thing here. I show off some very cool games and tell some pretty funny stories.

And here are the links for the stuff in the video.

Ultimate Scheme: http://www.sasquatchgamestudio.com/products/ultimate-scheme/
Girl Genius: http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/index.php
Looney Labs: http://www.looneylabs.com/
Lone Wolf Adventure Game: http://cubicle7.co.uk/our-games/lone-wolf-adventure-game/

By the way, if you want MORE tabletop RPG related video content OR if you want to see Angry Tells You Why Tomb of Horrors is the Worst Adventure Ever, comment below!

The Angry GM’s First Ever Annual Charity Crossplay

Apart from seeing some cool games and talking to cool people, probably the thing that dominated the entire con was the fact that I spent the entire goddamned thing in high-heeled boots and a miniskirt. Thanks to all of you mother$&%ers. Yes, that’s right. Thanks to your exceedingly generous donations to the Angry Jupiter CRASHES GenCon charity drive, we raised $1,400 (before fees) for a variety of charities. But, the event was so successful and so much fun that I’m going to do it again next year. And every year. With a new dimension.

See, I’d never been part of the cosplay community before. I knew of it, but I’d never participated. And now that I have, I’m absolutely floored. Between what I went through just to acquire the pieces for my costume, the makeup, the hair, and interacting with other cosplayers, I’m absolutely FLOORED by the hard work and dedication of these amazing people. And I kind of felt a little like an imposter because I bought my costume off several racks and commissioned the stuff I couldn’t do. My costume was purchased from a Chinese costume shop off eBay. Kim (@Ms2Good4Tw1tter) did my makeup and helped me manage my wig. The amazing AmazonMandy (@amazonmandy.com/) made my boots (TWICE, after a problem with her supplier, and she was super great about it). All I did was wear the thing. And shave every inch of my formerly prodigious body hair. And spend four days crippling myself in heels. Next year, if I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it bigger and better. I want to be a cosplayer for reals. So, I’m going to learn how to make my own costume and do my own makeup. I’ve got a year. I should be able to do it.

Anyway, that said, this year, I ROCKED the Sailor Jupiter Cosplay. Here are some pictures.


Cosplay IMG_0045 IMG_0062 IMG1Img3

The Makeup Process

Makeup1 Makeup2 Makeup3 Makeup4 Makeup5 Makeup6

Beyond the pictures, I also participated in the GenCon Annual Crossplay contest hosted by Wasabi Anime. And I took runner up. Yes! I was the second best boy in a dress at all of GenCon! Kim – who was also my handler and publicist for the whole crossplay thing – streamed the whole contest via Periscope and you can watch the ceremony here:

But that’s not all! As I promised, I wasn’t just going to dress up as Sailor Jupiter. I was also going to dig out my old copy of the Sailor Moon RPG by Guardians of Order and run an actual session of it. Now, we had some audio issues and I apologize for the tinny sound quality. But hopefully you’ll enjoy it. Especially the ending theme song. Bwahahaha!

And here’s a shot of the final pose!

sailor scout pose

If you’re wondering, from left to right, that’s ME (obviously), Robert Richey, Alex Klutzke, Shannon Steele, and Kimberly McGovern. Robert and Alex do amazing blind streams of retro Nintendo games as they explore the History of Nintendo at https://twitch.tv/rlrichey . Shannon is part of the soon to be retired Gamerstable Podcast and the still ongoing Openly Gamer Actual Play Cast. Kim is my close personal friend and also runs Tir Na Nog Crafts.

Wasabi Anime: http://www.wasabianime.com/
Amazon Mandy: http://amazonmandy.com/
History of Nintendo Livestreams: https://twitch.tv/rlrichey
Gamerstable Podcast: http://gamerstable.com/
Openly Gamer Cast: http://openlygamer.com/
Tir Na Nog Crafts: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TirNaNogCrafts

Sean, Ryan, and Kim

I should mention here that Sean, Ryan, and Kim are my best friends. Yes, I have f$&%ing friends. They were the core of my RPG group for 16 years and my best friends for longer considering Sean and Ryan are my cousins and we grew up together. I moved away from them a year ago and have only had brief visits since. So spending the whole week with them was amazing. They are also experienced cosplayers. That’s why Kim was so invaluable. So, to show off their cosplaying chops, here is the three of them dressed as Game of Thrones. I don’t know who that is, but they seemed very excited about it. The dude on the left is someone else I think is also Game of Thrones. But he isn’t any of them. Sean is the one dressed as someone named Johnny Snow. Ryan is dressed as Torvald or Thormund or something. And Kim is dressed as Korra? Or Princess Mononoke? I don’t know the show at all. And I don’t care.



Another thing I tried to do was be a journalist! That’s right, the Angry GM tried to do some Live Angry Gaming News right from GenCon using Periscope. That too was quite fun, though tough to manage in elbow length gloves. Unfortunately, due to internet connection issues at the Con, the video quality isn’t the best, but here’s the best Persicopes I managed to get from the Con now stored on YouTube for eternity. And you can follow me on Persicope where I’m TheAngryGM.

ConQuest Journals

ConQuest Journals: https://conquestjournal.com/

And here’s a picture with Shelley!


Playbook for Pathfinder

Playbook for Pathfinder: http://trapdoortechnologies.com/playbook/

NPC Chris of the NPC Cast

NPC Cast: https://npccast.wordpress.com/

Reflections by Jim McClure

Guys! Guys! Guys! I’m going to have more to say about this soon, including a big surprise. But this game is amazing! I hadn’t played Reflections when I caught up Jim, but then I did. Holy mother of f$&%, go get your copy right f$&%ing now!

Talking Tabletop: http://oneshotpodcast.com/category/podcasts/talking-table-top/
Reflections: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/496783700/reflections-a-game-of-dueling-samurai


For the first time ever, I ran a seminar at GenCon. Two, actually. And I was all set to record them and put them up on the YouTubes. But I had some major equipment problems and could not capture audio from either one. So they are lost forever. Maybe next time you should just f$&%ing come to GenCon!

No, no, I’m just kidding. I’ve made the decision to re-record both seminars here at home. You’ll miss out on the Q&A portion, but I’ll get them both up live on the YouTubes in the next week. And, per the terms of charity drive, I will do them both in costume so you get the full experience. I’ll even recycle the lame jokes. So look for those within a week or two.

A Final, Personal Note

I have to take a minute to mention David Noonan. David Noonan started at WotC just before 3rd Edition existed and he worked on a whole bunch of stuff for D&D. And he’s got an impressive list of credits. He was a name that kept popping up inside the covers of D&D books. He was just one of those names that you got used to seeing alongside Monte Cook and Bill Salvicsek and Jonathan Tweet and Skip Williams. For whatever reason, his name always stood out. And then he became one of the voices of the D&D Podcast as the edition turned from 3rd to the development of 4th. And he was part of the final concept design team for 4th edition. I was a huge fan of his and Mike Mearls on the D&D Podcast. And, when they were gearing up for 4th edition with palpable excitement, you could hear how giddy they all were. But Noonan was always down to earth too. He was so engaging and personable and he had so many fun stories and he had such a gift for getting other people to share their stories that I really grew to admire and respect him. Even to like him. And that’s when I started looking at the credits and discovering just how many things I loved that he touched somehow. He’s touched SO MANY things that are still on my gaming bookshelf today.

A few years ago, David Noonan sent me an e-mail. He told me that he, Rich Baker, and another WotC alum, Steve Schubert, were forming a new company, Sasquatch Studios, and that he wanted me to do a little freelance work on their flagship product: the Primeval Thule setting for Pathfinder, D&D, and 13th Age. I was stunned. It was completely out of the blue. And my first response was not exactly professional. I said that I loved his work and respected him highly, but that he probably had me confused with someone else. I confessed I wasn’t a game designer. I was a hobbyist and an accountant. I had a blog. That was all. I just wrote crap about gaming in a funny style. In short, I told him I was no one and that he shouldn’t hire me.

He said “I know who you are. I read your blog.”

A year later, the work was done and I got to meet David Noonan (and Baker and Schubert) at GenCon. That was 2014. And he pulled me aside and he asked me what I was working on next. And I said pretty much the same thing I’d said a year before: “I’m not working on anything, I’m a blogger, I’m no one.” And he told me that was unacceptable. He told me that my voice needed to be heard. That gaming deserved me writing for it.

Shortly after that, my life started to unravel. And you’ll remember all of that if you’ve been following me. My finances, my professional, and my family life all sort of hit the rocks at once. And I was ready to close up shop on The Angry GM. And when I tried to quit, all of you – my readers, my friends – told me not to. You told me to stay in this space. To keep doing it. You convinced me to open up my Patreon and let you support me.

And that was amazing and gratifying and I am grateful to every one of you who would not let me quit despite the fact that with cross-country moves, health, and financial problems out the a$&, it got really hard to keep it going. We are just about at the anniversary of my move, and just beyond the anniversary of my quitting my real life job to take a stab at the gaming life full time. I have projects in the works, a business plan, I’ve got big things coming, I hope, over the next few years. Some of you know some of them. Some of them are so secret, no one can even imagine what they are.

And while I want to say thank you to all of you for keeping me going and making me do this – and I’m sure as hell going to keep doing it because you’re amazing and it’s so gratifying – the truth is, if David Noonan hadn’t pushed me, I wouldn’t have had the courage to do any of it.

And so, I made it a point to tell him so at GenCon this year. I wasn’t at Sasquatch’s booth to check out Ultimate Scheme. I was there to tell David Noonan that his words changed my life. And while I did so, someone (I won’t say who, that’s between us) overheard it all and walked over to me and said “you’re the Angry GM, right? I wanted to tell you the same thing you just told him.”)

I gushed over people this year. I made a fool of myself to Phil Foglio and gushed over Alternity to Rich Baker and thanked David Noonan. Because I have heroes, I have celebrities, and I gush too. But while I was at GenCon, people gushed over me too. People thanked me for my site, told me how much better their games were, told me about projects they were working on, and so on. And that’s really gratifying.


The thing is, we’re all gamers. And all of our ideas have merit. We all have something inside of us that is worth sharing with the world. Some are big, grand things that reinvent the whole industry. Some are small, personal things that bring joy to a few friends around the table. But they are all great things. The difference between the people we idolize and the people we are is often down to luck. Being in the right place at the right time, sharing the right idea with the right people, and so on. The rest is down to passion and hard work. I never imagined someone would say to me what I said to David Noonan. But then, I never imagined that David Noonan would say what he said to me.

But I probably should have.

We’re all people. And we’re all gamers. We share a passion for games and we just want to play the best games we can. Each of us has heroes, but those heroes are just people too. People who have heroes of their own. People for whom a tiny bit of validation from someone on the cover of their books could mean the world.

What’s the lesson here? Don’t be afraid to talk to anyone. Don’t be afraid to tell David Noonan how great he is. Don’t be afraid to shake down Andy Looney for cash. Don’t be afraid to tell me you love my site. Don’t be afraid to tell a cosplayer that you love their costume and ask for a picture. Don’t put people on a pedestal. We’re all the same.

Don’t be afraid to take chances. Don’t be afraid to do the brave thing. Don’t be afraid of failing. Create. Build. Put your dreams out there. It’s scary and it’s risky, sure. But it’s far worse to regret not trying.

And never, ever assume you’re nobody. Your hero might just be reading your blog and think your boss monster design is brilliant. True f$&%ing story.

Compiled Links

Ultimate Scheme: http://www.sasquatchgamestudio.com/products/ultimate-scheme/
Girl Genius: http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/index.php
Looney Labs: http://www.looneylabs.com/
Lone Wolf Adventure Game: http://cubicle7.co.uk/our-games/lone-wolf-adventure-game/
Wasabi Anime: http://www.wasabianime.com/
Amazon Mandy: http://amazonmandy.com/
History of Nintendo Livestreams: https://twitch.tv/rlrichey
Gamerstable Podcast: http://gamerstable.com/
Openly Gamer Cast: http://openlygamer.com/
Tir Na Nog Crafts: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TirNaNogCrafts
ConQuest Journals: https://conquestjournal.com/
Playbook for Pathfinder: http://trapdoortechnologies.com/playbook/
NPC Cast: https://npccast.wordpress.com/
Talking Tabletop: http://oneshotpodcast.com/category/podcasts/talking-table-top/
Reflections: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/496783700/reflections-a-game-of-dueling-samurai

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27 thoughts on “A Very Angry GenCon

  1. “OR if you want to see Angry Tells You Why Tomb of Horrors is the Worst Adventure Ever, comment below!”

    I like to read it, I hate watching videos of ppl talking. 🙂

  2. Hey,

    We may not always see eye to eye, but I do greatly respect your work. Reading blogs like yours, listening to podcasts like Word of the Week, and watching any number of shows has really helped me in my own gaming.

    And just as importantly, all of the above kinds of work is changing how people view our hobby. Your name may not be known as well as others. But it is all serving a part in allowing us out there in the trenches as it were to be unafraid to wave our geek flags high. So keep it up.

  3. You write it, I’ll buy it. It’s pretty close to that simple. I meant to sign up for your patreon earlier, it’s happening today.

    Also, curses on you for the first person to make dnd itself seem actually interesting, cool and full of exciting possibility rather than the default setting, I’m going to have to run it sometime, and I can’t bring myself to run any of the more usual worlds. So congrats on motivating someone to do something that could end up real cool.

    • Agreed on the default settings. I like the grittiness of the M:tG settings so here’s my dream: running Angry’s Megadungeon in the M:tG setting of Zendikar.

  4. I just looked at the pics and over the last part of the article, and it was very rewarding.

    Good thing to hear that “angry” is in no way related to “hateful.” A lot of your recent stuff has been quite touching. And I do appreciate. 🙂

    Your articles bring up good stuff. You go a long way in educating GMs to be better GMs. And you make people laugh. These are surely things to be fondly remembered by!

  5. Thanks for not quitting work on this site a year ago when things got so rough.

    Looking forward to seeing your published modules and books one day. We keep saying that because we mean it. And because we are selfish bastards that want to play test the product before it’s released 🙂

  6. PS – I’m currently reading the Thule setting. It suffers a bit from reiterating how far everything is from everything and how isolated every place is, but I find it enticing. Might have benefitted from some Angry!

    Sasquatch surely released good stuff for the wizards, too. 🙂

  7. Hey, glad to see there is another person out there who really appreciated Alternity. There are so many rules from that game that went on to inspire the future editions of D&D.

  8. One of the things you always say is, “you don’t need my permission to run your game any wrong way you want.” Before I started reading your blog, I only knew the terrible advice so common on the internet (and in some gaming books). My gut told me that the advice wasn’t on the mark, but I assumed the ‘experts’ were right and I was wrong.

    Your blog didn’t just teach me the things I was doing wrong and show me new ways to look at DMing. It validated some of my gut instincts, and effectively gave me permission to run my game the way I wanted.

    Thank you Angry!

    p.s. I’d love to see the Tomb of Horrors review. I also think it would be cool to see some short videos of advice for running and designing a game. More tutorial than live play.

  9. “By the way, if you want MORE tabletop RPG related video content OR if you want to see Angry Tells You Why Tomb of Horrors is the Worst Adventure Ever, comment below!”

    I’m not opposed to video content if that’s all that’s being offered, but I’m much happier with a text format, especially if it’s lecture style. Which is part of why I love the site as it is.
    If you were talking about the possibility of videos of your sessions, edited, like I think you mentioned a while back, that’d be most welcome. Different mediums for different purposes.

    • I’d agree here. I both have a lot of time where reading works and video wouldn’t and a much harder time following a video than text. Video of a session would be amazing though because it would have so much more information in terms of timing, rhythm and everything else.

  10. Man. I rarely respond or post on blogs but… I’m gonna anyway so F#$% it, here goes.

    Almost two years ago, slightly before you went through your real life major issues, I was going through the toughest time of my life as well. I won’t bore all of you with the details but needless to say I had spiraled into a seriously dark bit of depression and as we are wont to do in those types of times, I wallowed in self pity and isolated myself from everyone and everything. Thankfully, there were people who refused to give up on me, my best friend forced me to come out with him and play a session of Star Wars RPG. I hadn’t played D&D in about 25 years but I had a great time for the first time in years. Decided that next day I was going to go out and get reacquainted with D&D, 5E had just recently come out so I decided to run Hoard of the Dragon Queen for this group… then I found theangrygm.com and I’ve been poring through all your stuff ever since (and of course taking all your great ideas and presenting them as my own).

    Long story short, thanks for not giving up on your site. You have personally helped me get through some rough s#it and I want to say thanks and keep up the great work and keep aspiring to better. Noonan is right, you’re voice definitely needs to be heard throughout the RPG community. Just keep it down a bit, how else am I going to present your awesome ideas as my own?

  11. I know Tomb of Horrors is a non-stop series of screw-jobs, but does that make it the Worst Adventure Ever? What I mean is, “Is there more to it than that? Is it worse than I recall?” Probably.

    So what I really mean is Yes! Yes I want to see “Angry Tells You Why Tomb of Horrors is the Worst Adventure Ever”!

  12. I saw you at GenCon multiple times and each time you had an expression on your face that read disgust/anger/exasperation. I did know about the Angry GM blog until after GenCon so I am relieved to find out this is actually your Trademark Demeanor. Resting Mad Face. 🙂 And now I know the true story behind the Angry Sailor Jupiter. I think I will continue to follow your writing now.

  13. I saw you at gencon and while i didn’t say anything then I do want to say that your website is the only good one out there for DM advice (if anyone knows of any others let me know). You have inspired me to be a better gm. I’m really glad I started reading your website and I look forward to each new article. Good luck on getting into professional game design!

  14. I don’t comment often, because mostly what I think has already been said. But yeah, whenever I think about writing my adventures, I start by running through the Angry rules and then looking at my ideas from as many sides as possible.

    Some of this I did before, but you’ve given me a huge number of mental tools to work out what is good and bad.

    Please keep it up and keep doing whatever makes you happy, and I’ll keep trying to send everyone who writes games to your site for advice.


  15. Wonderful words Angry, and awesome cosplay. And yes, I’m very curious about your take on Tomb of Horrors as well. It’s a name that every d&d group knows, but no one (as far as I know) has interacted with more that reading through it to see how brutal it is. At least among the gamers I know. Good to hear from you again too. You know I’ve never been to a Con, but you make it sound and look so awesome that I think I had better do that one day!

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