Insider 8/24/2010

Like any gamer, I look forward to Gen Con every year.

This year was particularly memorable because as a member of Privateer Press I had the chance to meet so many great Press Gang members and Privateer fans. And of course, the chance to game and chat with others folks working in the gaming industry is always a lot of fun as well. However, there is another, slightly more visceral reason I look forward to Gen Con each year with great anticipation.

I get to hit people. A lot.

I’m not talking about starting drunken fistfights at the Weber Grill or anything. Nope. My love of hitting things has led me to a rather unique hobby—well, unique outside the gaming world, anyway. For the last thirteen years, I have participated in just about every type of full-speed, full-contact, medieval recreation I can find. I’ve been involved with groups like the SCA, Belegarth, Amtgard, and numerous others.
Although my participation in these various groups waxes and wanes throughout the year, it tends to reach a peak right after Gen Con. Why? For the past four years, I’ve had a blast fighting with the guys from Edhellen Armory—fine purveyors of the best hard foam and fiberglass weapons around—who hold a demo for one and all right in the middle of the Gen Con convention hall. They equip gamers with padded swords, axes, and maces, then let them beat the snot out of one another in front of friends and family. It’s a blast, and I often spend a few of my breaks away from the booth chatting and fighting with the Edhellen folks.

My love of pseudo-realistic armed combat often colors my writing. Working in the gaming industry, I’ve written more than my fair share of scenes depicting medieval-style mayhem, and I often draw upon my experience with sword-shaped rattan and hard foam to add a bit more depth to these scenes. You can see some evidence of this in No Quarter #32, in the first installment of our new fiction series, Tales of the Iron Kingdoms.

You’re likely to see even more of my favorite hobby in what I write for No Quarter, because this year’s Gen Con was extra special. Not only did I get my fill of fighting at the con, a number of my fellow Privateer Press staffers became enamored with the thrills of full-contact mayhem and picked up weapons and shields of their own. Yup, my love of hitting things has been elevated to new heights: I can now claim the extreme joy and satisfaction of hitting my coworkers without fear of losing my job or getting arrested.