Fandom PDX 2020

This last weekend was a very full weekend for me. I ended up double booking my activities. I was invited to the yearly gaming sleep over at a friends house, Doug, lovingly called King Kong, because his last name is King. It is a Friday to Sunday sleep over, mostly consisting of board games but some years people run one shot pen and paper RPG adventures.

Along with going to King Kong I also promised to run an Amtgard Demo as well as a tournament at Fandom PDX. The Amtgard presence at Fandom PDX was initiated by House Gravy and House Gravy ran the Demo, but Akryn agreed to run the fan table and help find people to help me run the tournament.

I missed out at the King Kong breakfast on Saturday morning because I needed to be at the convention at 9am to help Akryn get his ticket and help set up the table. That went smoothly enough.

The demo was scheduled for 11am -1pm. I was surprised we had a two hour block, but we used it. The demo was sparsely attended, we waited 10 minutes before starting the demo and a few extra people popped in. Kormac and I gave a bit of a lecture about what Amtgard is. I briefly mentioned the classes, A&S, service and awards before getting into the combat. I also let people know that Amtgard is more like League of Legends than it is Skyrim. The whole talk took 10-15 minutes. If you’re reading this and new to Amtgard, I wrote an article that explains what Amtgard is which you can read HERE.

I think the best demos don’t have that much talking, I believe that a short verbal overview of the game, and then a Q&A that leads into fighting is best. The more you involve the participants the more they will be interested in the content. That’s a general rule when teaching anything by the way. We probably only had 6 non-Amtgarders participate in the two hours, but they were very engaged and enthusiastic. Hopefully we got some people out of it.

I had planned on leaving shortly after the demo and head back to King Kong, but Heldris, who was running the convention, messaged me and said that a panelist had canceled in the Main Events room for the 3-4 block. They asked if I and Dying Light, another LARP who was present, could come up with some content to fill the empty spot. I said sure.

I got together with the Dying Light people and we decided on a LARPing 101 panel. They already had an outline we could use, although we modified it a bit to be more inclusive to all LARPs rather than Dying Light specific.

Kormac, Lyvena and myself joined three Dying Light people on stage. We had maybe 15-20 people in the audience. The panel went pretty well, although a few of the Dying Light people went off on tangents, which I think were unnecessary. The audience was very engaged and there were several questions asked throughout the panel. They were still asking questions as we had to leave the room. I think people really appreciated learning about LARPing. I don’t know if it will translate to people joining, but it certainly helped highlight the game genre and clarified a few things.

After the panel I went and checked in on Akryn, to see how he was doing and to see if he needed anything. He didn’t so I packed up and left. At this point I was very sleep deprived and it was hard to concentrate. I had a lot of trouble sleeping the night before.

I was dealing with some anxiety concerning the demo. In my mind I kept going over what I was going to say at the demo. It was on repeat all night, It felt like I didn’t sleep at all. It has been several years I’ve done cold public speaking, meaning public speaking in front of strangers. I’m not the best at public speaking, but I realize I’m not the worst, although it feels like it.

Sunday I was able to eat breakfast at King Kong before heading out to the convention. Sunday we had the tournament scheduled for 3pm – 4pm. Fazadar and Spud were my main helpers for that event.

We had about 5 people participate in the tournament and several people watched. The first 15 minutes we went over the combat rules and let them practice. The tournament we ran was a bear pit style tournament, where there is a line and the first two people fight. The winner of the fight stays in and the next person in line goes into fight. The winner is the one with the most wins. We ran the bear pit for 30 minutes. Everyone seemed to have a lot of fun and I feel a few of them were really excited to come out to the park. Hopefully I’ll see them out at the park sometime.

After the tournament I gathered up my stuff and headed out. I had to first drop off Gustav’s weapons, which he loaned me for the weekend and then I went home. As I said it was a long weekend. I got very little sleep and I was mentally exhausted, but I think it was a good and productive weekend, plus I had fun.

Next Saturday I believe I’ll be going to the Mystic Sea’s (Troutdale, OR) BBQ. Although I have this nagging feeling like I’m forgetting some obligation that day, so we’ll see if I actually go. The weekend after that is the big weekend event, Winerbash, which I’ll talk more about next week.

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