The Post Authors & Dragons Con Wrap-Up
Holy shit, we threw a con. We actually had panels, events, guests, attendees, a location, and it all worked. No ballpit, no last minute fuckery, although Mother Nature tried to throw us quite a few curves. Writing this days after getting home, I’m only now starting to recover in terms of overall energy. Vegas is a lot, Vegas while you’re holding your first ever con will drain you like never before. It was an amazing experience though, exhaustion included, and one we hope to do again in the future.
There was far too much to hit more than the high notes, but I have to open by thanking all the wonderful folks who came and gave their time to be part of the first A&D Con event. Huge appreciation to Roll for Trouble, James A. Hunter, John Luther Davis, EM Kaplan, RE Carr, Andrea Judy, Melissa McArthur, Theresa Glover, and Ben Robinson, along with anyone who might have fallen out of mind in this particular moment. Without these folks filling out the schedule, the guests might have realized we A&D folks work best in short bursts.
I also want to say a special thanks to everyone who came out to this thing. I realize traveling all the way to Las Vegas for a first-year con thrown by first-time con-throwers was a tremendous act of faith on your part, and I appreciate that you were willing to give us that chance. I hope we lived up to it from your end, and that we’ll get to see you all in years to come.
So, for those who couldn’t make it, what did Authors & Dragon Con consist of? We held it at the Bally’s in Las Vegas, sharing a greeting room with normal people who were there for a medical conference, which I imagine had to be deeply confusing for them. There was our live 100th Episode of Authors & Dragons, panels where we dug into specific issues on writing and making a living at this job, and our first ever A&D Module, DMed by the cast. That one was an especially cool moment for me, as I was the one who designed and built the module, but I actually didn’t run a session of it. Instead, I hung back as a sort of facilitator, there in case any of the cast hit issues. I expected it to be my busiest part of the con, instead I wound up with lots of time to relax. Seeing everyone play, have fun, and run the games without issues was an incredible experience, both as a host and as a longtime DM.
There was also much socializing, getting to meet folks from the Authors & Dragons Discord community was a treat for us, as well as watching digital friends become real life ones. To (I hope) no one’s surprise, a great deal of time was spent around the bar long after the con wrapped each evening, though I’m proud to announce none of the cast got too drunk to miss their next day. Physically, I mean. There were a few spots where we all checked out mentally, that’s just days in Vegas.
Now, for all the fun that was had, if there’s one thing I try to do whenever possible it’s look for room to improve, and sharing that process is pretty much what all the “Underqualified Advice” tags are about. Some things I would do differently, that might be worth considering before you throw your own con:
- After doing the module with randomized teams helped lots of guests get to know each other, we realized that the events pushing interactivity should be early on the schedule, and more frequent than what we’d allotted. Having it a day prior would have given everyone more chances to make new friends, and that’s an adjustment we’ll make in the future.
- There wasn’t a whole lot we really could have done with this one due to limited schedules, but perhaps next time we won’t share the weekend with a hugely popular music festival in that same area. That should help run down costs across the board and make it accessible to as many attendees as possible.
-On that note, while we loved Las Vegas, we’re definitely going to try some new locations moving forward. Vegas is an awesome city that is truly built for conventions though, so if you’re looking for a spot that know what they are doing, keep it in your options. This time around, we’ll have enough planning time to poll our audience and see what locations would be the easiest for the greatest number of them.
I’m sure I’ll think of more as I look back, and as we reach out to guests to see what parts they loved and which could be improved. Improvement is a never-ending process, though I am still so very proud of what we accomplished on our first time con.
Thanks again to everyone who supported, attended, pitched in, or even just spread the word. This is sort of like writing that first book, where from the start it seems impossible, but you keep on plodding forward until suddenly, its done. As we strive to make these cons best they can be, we’ll also work to remember that without the people attending, a con is just a room of host with nothing to do. You all made that happen, and I am so grateful I got to be a part of it.