The original question was:
Favourite Convention Purchase
In what I suspect was 2005, I went to a gaming convention in Cambridge. At the time, I was freelancing on PARANOIA XP and working on The Underplex, which was one of the reasons that I attend this event loosely in the company of Allen Varney. He was in the country for a short trip, and we either went to the event on the same train or met there.
(As it happens, he was working on some ideas at the time about a website that would engage collectors by offering them more stuff to collect online… I wonder how that went?)
Anyway, I digress. The event was heavy on role-playing. I don’t recall what I played or ran – I just remember a PARANOIA game where I co-GM’d and that I signed a copy of PARANOIA XP for my friend Jules (something I have a weak recollection of, but I’m getting old, damn it).
But, I’m still digressing to some degree. The key here was that this was an RPG event.
On the first night (second, maybe), there was an auction. My memory of the specifics is ropey, but it was reasonably well attended, and I’m certain there were some interesting items up for grabs. Mid-way through, a large plastic bag filled with trading cards was held in the air.
“Magic: The Gathering. Assorted cards. Some opened boosters and starter boxes. Any bids?“
I wouldn’t be making it up to suggest that in the semi-silence that followed, there might have been a laugh or some derisory mocking of Magic. This was not the thing for this event.
To cut a short story shorter, I won the bag for £5.
When I got back to my accommodation (an odd little student dwelling with an upstairs bedroom accessed via a weird open staircase), I opened the bag and spilt the contents on the table. I carefully sorted through, familiar with Magic since starting to collect in the early 90s but never a rabid enthusiast.
I found an Ancestral Recall and a Chaos Orb, amongst other cards. Suffice it to say, they’re worth a lot more now (a LOT more), but at the time, I turned that Recall into an 8000% profit (£400) by selling this single very good condition card to a collector in France.
If I were to seek a moral to the story, it would be that, as a gamer, be open to the wider hobby. Don’t play one game or type of game and scoff at the rest purely because you feel a high horse is where you’re comfortable. Try something new. There are types of RPGs I don’t really like, but I’ve played them and made that call – and would not turn my nose up to playing another time. The sheer weight of innovation out there is worth the time to investigate, and even if it turns out not to be your thing, be open to the experience and seek to enjoy it while you’re giving it a go.
Doing this won’t make you richer financially, but I believe it will make you a better gamer – player, GM, writer, or whatever.
RPGaDay is a prompt-driven experience in tabletop roleplaying, initiated by Dave Chapman of Autocratik and powered by you and me.
The prompts for this year are as follows — and you can find out more on Dave’s website.