I've decided that running freeforms is the best way to go, because it actually means I have time to PLAY at cons. I mean, really - I love roleplaying, that's why I go to cons. It's very sad that so much of the time I don't get a chance to, becuse I'm stuck running my hellish games. Hellish, I say.
Why hellish? Well, I spend a hell of a lot of time and effort on my games, and most of the time I don't get a lot back in return (more on this later, however). For the passed few years at cons I have felt something like a mental prostitute, with people spending money to have a brief jaunt in the worlds I create and design only to leave once more feeling sated (but not really satisfied), and leaving me with a great big sense of 'was that it?'. Especially since I ran my Neon Genesis game which, as people like Jye keep telling me, was probably the best game I've written.
That was years ago. I've spent years knowing that I am not living up to my potential, or people's expectations of what my games should be, or that sort of thing. Putting in huge ammounts of work to end up with something that is only 'OK' when you know you can do much, much better is remarkably unsatisfying.
I think that's the problem I've been having of late when it comes to cons. I've been left feeling like I'm letting everybody down because they were expecting something better, shinier, more mind-blowingly fun.
This year, though, I must say that I was immensely pleased with the Exalted freeform Jye and I wrote (and Ben, Ben and Matt helped us run). Everything seemed to work, all the characters were really interesting and enjoyable, and better still many of the players were really impressed. Exalted books sold out at the dealers area very shortly after our session ended. People have asked if they can borrow our rule books because the setting is really interesting.
In short, I felt something I havn't felt for one of my games in a long time - pride.
True, most of the players were not the 'old crowd', but the 'new generation'. I guess part of it was that I wasn't feeling so goddamn intimidated by people I felt I needed desperately to please, lest they decide to exclude me or worse to pity my efforts.
But the best was yet to come! I actually went to the post-con pub thingie, which I don't normally do, and I was really, really surprised by a number of things. First off, I received game feedback. Normally, I don't get feedback of any kind, so I just assume that people felt the game wasn't really worth comment on - bland, if you will. So that was fairly impresssive for me. Second off, I came to the realisation that I have, for want of a better word, 'game groupies' - people who go to cons for the expressed purpose of playing my games. This was astounding, and highly flattering. I never thought it possile, to tell you the truth.
So thanks to Conquest, my faith in running games has been restored. Which is a good thing. ;)
Other sundry events such as being tempted to abscond with some interstate people, or boys in very small mini-skirts (you know who you are!) were the icing on the collective cake.
Sleepy, not fully recovered, but happy.