Apr 242012

Every spring, the indigenous nerd population of Long Island flocks to the Suffolk County campus of Stony Brook University for I-Con, a geeky gathering that has very little to do with endocrinology. Here, some engage in rituals known as “panels,” each with its own topic, in which panelists and audience members sometimes compete fiercely for dominance. Some take part in a display of plumage known as “cosplay,” in which they dress as characters from a movie, video game or TV show that they enjoy, possibly in order to attract a mate. Rare and exotic creatures known as “guests” move silently among the con-goers, sometimes pausing gracefully to sign autographs or give interviews. Finally, there is the dealer floor, a social gathering place where merchants build elaborate nests with the shiniest implements they can find. Join the guys in The Rag-NERD-rok Crew for an exciting glimpse at nerds in their natural habitat: I-Con!

(Get to the part of the show notes where I drop this ridiculous conceit after the break!)

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Apr 182012

For a game master, there are few sights more dismaying than a table full of distracted players. They forget the names of your prominent NPCs; they quote from The Office ad nauseam when it’s not their turn in combat; they surf the web on their iPhones while you’re trying to feed them the clue they need to figure out who’s been killing innocent villagers. While none of these are uncommon occurrences at anyone’s table, no matter how skilled a storyteller she may be, there are a few techniques that a GM can use to grab their attention and hold it.

(Continued after the break.)

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