Bringing your kids to Orycon

Pirates at Orycon 31
Pirates at Orycon 31

Kids and Con

Perhaps one of the greatest challenges I have in being a gamer parent is how to incorporate my kids into my gamer life. Specifically without boring them and without them driving me crazy. Orycon is exactly one of those challenges.

I didn’t discover Orycon until my husband and I got together. By then I already had two kids and was fully into mom mode. The first couple of years that we went we did not bring the kids. I was still getting my feet wet and they were pretty young, we weren’t sure if they could handle it, or us handle it either for that matter. Last year we finally took the leap and brought them with us, well for 1/2 of con that is. They came with us on Friday (was a no school day which helped) and stayed over night. We arranged for my mom to pick them up just before dinner on Saturday which worked out great. Splitting the time like that let us enjoy a night of costumed fun with the kids, but also left us with Saturday night to enjoy the costume time and room parties without the little ones in tow.

Orycon Child Policies and Care

Orycon has some good, and clear, policies about kids at the convention which can be found on their website. They also have child care that is offered and they make a good effort to keep it secure which I think is great. Now while looking up the links to paste here for you, I discovered that they have made a change this year to the policy on unattended minors. This year kids 6 and up may be unattended if they have the ability to behave themselves, otherwise I believe they are escorted to child care at your cost (at least the child care part was there last year). Also the kids have special badges that include a spot for parent name and phone number on the back of them, just in case. If you want to take that a step further you could take a lesson from the Oregon Country Fair and use a sharpie to write your name and phone number on your child’s arm. Presumably, short of a cannibalistic kobold attack at the con, they shouldn’t be able to misplace their own arm.

Kids and what to do

I will say that there are only a limited number of sessions that young children, elementary school and younger would find interesting. At least that was the case last year, I am hoping for more this coming year. I suspect next year I will run at least one so I know there is something for my kids to get into. As an exception to this general statement, last year the Greater Portland Costumer’s Guild put on two events that my kids really enjoyed and are hoping to attend again this year. Those were the 99 cent costume workshop, an event where under limited time and supplies you are to construct a costume that fits the rather loose theme provided, awards for everyone at the end. Also they enjoyed the Friday night milk and cookies room party, this year I am going to bring some cookies to it. I sincerely hope both events happen again, and earlier enough that my kids will still be there.

99 Cent Costume Workshop
99 Cent Costume Workshop

Don’t forget the costumes

The kids also enjoy dressing up in costume and seeing all the costumes that people put on for the event. If you decide to bring your child I highly recommend bringing 1-2 costumes for them as well. In fact just let them stay in costume the whole time, how often do they go someplace where that is alright? Since Orycon is only two months away I will be adding another post afterward about how it went this year with the kids.

Always triple check before you sew

I was rather proud of myself yesterday morning, when I was quickly reminded that pride even in its smallest moments is a deadly sin. I no more then said something like, “This shirt proves I can sew well”, when I noticed that I had sewn the main panel on the back of the shirt inside out. Oh those most pesky white on white cotton patterns. I had made it half way through the shirt, front panel with the double layer sections for buttons completed, back panel with its double layer shoulder sections complete and firmly attached to the front. Even the two part, double layered collar was attached and I was adding the first sleeve when the error was noticed.

Ah but will anyone notice? In a dark room, probably not. If he never takes off the vest and coat that I am making to go over it, no they wouldn’t. But I must remember that this is a costume for con, which of course means that it will be looked at closer then the clothes we wear in our everyday lives. And I hang with the costuming people as much as I can at con, so this will not do at all. Can’t just undo and start over as seams have been clipped and trimmed so I am committed and past the point of no return.

That leaves only one options left. Back to the fabric store and start over. Lucky for me I was transporting my boy to and from his dad’s for a Cub Scout meeting yesterday which put me near the fabric store I frequent. So after dropping him off I headed over to Fabric Depot, to pick up some more of the dreaded white on white. Also managed to get some more material for my costume as well as my daughters. And most exciting of all found the crinoline for our costumes, it wasn’t in the section I had looked before, but now I know where they keep it.

Still need some ribbon and my daughter to pick out the material for her fairy wings. I fear once I know how to make wings and more importantly she knows I know how to make wings, I will be making lots of them. I hope they are easy to make, it may be a good home-made birthday present for her friends this year….

Ack!! Here comes the rain

Well it has happened, rain again in the fall just in time for the little ones to head to school today. And with the rain comes the realization that once again I am behind the 8-ball in getting these costumes done. I am half done with the hubby’s gentleman’s shirt, which leaves his vest and jacket left to go. Of course he will need to Steampunk them some after that, well even just buttons are something I am waiting for him to decide upon.

Then it is on to the Fairy Costume for my daughter which will be much simpler (I hope) then what I am working on now. She is going with the Tinkerbell costume from Simplicity, but is doing the water fairy (or so she tells me) but in purple. My son is not sure if he wants to be a stunt man, or his Lego Universe character (we are Beta testing).

And lastly there is mine, always put mine last so I don’t have to feel bad if mine doesn’t get done in time, at least everyone else will be doing good.

If anyone has some good, and reasonably priced places to buy gears, keys, watch parts, and other random accessories of a Steampunk nature that would be great!!

Costuming frenzy begins

So once again I am getting a late start on my costuming efforts despite picking out 3 of 4 costume patterns and doing 60% of the material and notion shopping early. Seems that sewing in the nice weather just isn’t my things. If it would just start raining and we had to turn the heater on I am sure I could get into it.

I did get the first 4 steps done on the hubby’s shirt for his steam punk costume. Other then one small cut that went a tad too deep all seems to be going well so far. I have managed to get the front parts on the shirt where the buttons and button holes will someday (hopefully soon) go. There is a certain trick when sewing with white on white paisley pattern to make sure you get the correct side as the “right” side all the time. I think I am good so far, but will double check in the morning when my eyes are not so tired.

Gamer Shirts

gamer shirt
Another girl gamer shirt I own

What Sci-fi Convention trip is complete without appropriate t-shirt, hoodies and other clothing to wear during the day before costume time his in the evening? Even more so for gaming cons like Gamestorm. My personal shopping favorite for my con day wear comes from Cafepress, sure the prices can be steep, but the slogans can be priceless.

Take this story for example. My husband, who loves to play a thief, was playing in a cleverly run game by one of my favorite DM’s in which he was playing a paladin. And not just any paladin, a teenage, male paladin. The group started out as orphans and ended up saving the world and being a key force in the war. Now as if a standard paladin isn’t bad enough to deal with, try one that is 16, trusted by the army, and is wielding an artifact sword of his deity. So while this was going on (and back when we were still dating), I found the perfect shirt at Cafepress on the front it had hearts and a unicorn and said “Crazed Paladin Groupie” and on the back it said “So worth the atonement spell…”. So I bought the shirt and dressed in it and plenty of glitter (even glittered my kids too) and we made a special, surprise trip to his game and brought his favorite peanut butter cookies. He was quite surprised and rather enjoyed the “groupie” attention he got that day.

Nothing I can wear to my day job, but it has caught many peoples attentions at conventions, which is the point. The number of shirts, hats, hoodies, bumper stickers, coffee mugs, mouse pads, and even underwear you can get at Cafepress is nothing short of shocking and they cover a vast array of topics. I have also found great shirts there for the gamer guys in my life. Happy hunting and I would love to hear what great gamer clothes you have found out there on the web.

Part – The mishaps continue

So when we left off our ragged group of adventurers had not yet figured out that they were destined through PC aura to be together. The best laid plans of mice and DM’s go astride often I have found.

The draconian, being afflicted by the ratling disease ability, had left an easy to follow trail on his way to the abandoned, abandoned, toy factory (suggested by my PC’s who I think may watch Scooby Doo too much). The remaining group of rag tags followed his there with thoughts of a sizable, forged bounty in their minds. Upon arrival at the factory they gained entrance through a partially opened door. While moving in to the large warehouse with its crate lined walls they were ambushed by a dozen or so life-sized puppets that had come to life. Through the use of fire magic and control spells the walking dolls were quickly dispatched of. During the battle our Ratling Necromancer determined the whereabouts of the owner that the puppets were protecting.

While the Nomad took down the remaining mannequins, the Ratling and Goblin dug up the owner and used their Commune magic to speak with him and determine if he might still have valuables in the land of the living they could relieve from his corpse. They discovered that he had a house on the outskirts of town where his most valued possessions had been safely guarded during his life. The party determined to head there to find the treasure, right after they tracked down the Draconian to get their bounty.

Thankfully for them, but not our Draconian friend, the Wolfling had used this time to track him after he made his escape during the heat of battle. Tracking him down to a small shack the party finally manages to take him down, rendering his unconscious and drags him to the nearest lock up to collect on their doctored wanted poster. The Draconian get locked in the brink for the night, not so bad for him as they healed some of his wounds incurred in the previous two scuffles, and the party collects on the ransom. However their attempt at forgery is easy to see through when compared to a standard copy kept at the jail, so much for the big reward they had hoped for.

Now it is off to the factory owners house to collect his treasure, he sure won’t be needing it anymore…

Trade your old gaming stuff for new dice

Another day, another cruise through some of my newly bookmarked websites. And what did I find you might ask? Why I found a barter offer from GM Dice (I wrote about them the other day). They are bringing barter back to gaming, and on the web even! According to the barter section of their website they will gladly take your old rpg books, board games, and even old gaming pieces all in exchange for gift certificates to spend on cool new dice.

But you don’t have anything in your collection you could bear to part with, me either to be honest. Well all is well as they will take anything in exchange for a gift certificate. You will send them information on what you are offering, as well as specifics like condition and quantity and they will let you know what amount you will get on your gift card. If you all are chummy and agree then you ship them the stuff and they will ship you a gift card upon receipt. Perhaps next time I will do this rather then donating my things.

I am not sure what I would ever need a d5, d14, or a d24 for in my games, but they would be great conversation pieces at Gamestorm. Though what I really want is The Amazing Everything Dice, but they are sold out. Perhaps it is time to see if I have any old games to send off.

Gentleman’s Shirt – It all starts with shopping

The start of my first Steampunk costume begun yesterday. After long debate and much discussion the husband settled on patterns a couple months ago. We went to Fabric Depot , my favorite sewing central store in the Portland Metro Area, and a couple hours later we came out with yards, and yards of fabric, trims, and notions. We had picked up the patterns during a fortuitous stop at our neighborhood Joann Fabrics, turns out Simplicity patterns were a dollar each that day and we had no idea when we decided to stop by while out shopping for other things. Armed with the patterns I worked up a list of what we would need using Excel so I could have it do the adding for me. The lists proved quite useful at the fabric store.

So back to the Gentlemen’s shirt. This is a basic white shirt, well almost basic, the material has decoration in a white on white paisley pattern. The pattern is Simplicity 2895 and should be quite nice if I can pull it off. We are using the shirt and vest from this pattern and a long coat from another pattern (posts to follow when I get started on it). In the end this will be a costume for a Steampunk mad scientist. Should be quite nice. If I am lucky I will get all my costuming done before Halloween, as that is always the goal, though I am off to a slow start. Hopefully I will make good progress on the shirt the rest of this week and can start on the coat next week.

Rochambeau in the dark with this d3

Cruising the web tonight for another great new die to add to my DM collection I hit upon a site I have never been to before, Game Master Dice. This site carries a wide array of dice, from your standard sets to metal and even semi-precious dice. And if that isn’t enough they also carry an array of fuzzy dice, inflatable dice, and glow in the dark dice. I can’t help but think of my LARPing friends at Gamestorm and Orycon when I saw this d3 that glows in the dark. No longer will low light situations prevent you from playing your LARP and the rock-paper-scissor replacement for dice rolls. Heck this might almost be enough to draw me into a game.

The Sultan of Gaming Tables

It seems that this table has been on the market for a while, but was new to me the other day when I came across it cruising online. The table is a bit steep in price at $8,850 for most gamers but still a very cool product. This table has most everything that the table top roleplaying or miniature gamer could want. There is storage for dice, set-up for maps, flip down stations for players and even a special set-up for the DM. You can find this table for purchase at Geek Chic. If anyone out there has seen this table in person, of even owns one, I would love to know what you think of it. Is it as cool as it seems?