I was at Super MAGfest (Music And Gaming festival) this past weekend. It’s in National Harbor, Maryland the first weekend of January every year. As you would think from the name, it’s mainly focused around music and gaming… but there is a LOT of cosplaying and associated photography as well. It’s been recommended to me for years, and this is the second time I’ve gone.
I did another temporary build of my raspberry pi keytar cyberdeck to show off at the convention. I loaded it up with 80s music and often had it cycling through songs as I wandered the halls of the convention center.
It was extremely gratifying to get stopped in the hallways and/or called over to answer questions about it! When you’ve worked on something for months, it’s satisfying to find that other people think it’s about as cool as you think it is.
Since I had the cyberdeck running, I decided to do a somewhat subtle cosplay as a Decker/Netrunner/Console Cowboy (depending on your cyberpunk franchise of choice).
I picked up some new gear before going to the convention, just to be prepared. I stopped by REI and picked up a backpack cover (to protect the keytar when I was walking outside through rain) and a 20L water resistant nylon backpack that compresses to be smaller than a soda can (an adventurer’s gotta have a lootbag). I was so glad I did, as it was raining much of the day Saturday. I was able to keep my keytar and loot dry, and able to carry a good bit more than my satchel would hold.
I figure the best way to describe most of my experiences at the convention this year is in the form of shoutouts to some of the awesome people and groups that I met while there.
I talked to these guys in the convention makerspace they were hosting (which I think is an AWESOME idea). They have a permanent makerspace facility in Reston, VA. I had a good conversation with those guys about some things people do with 3D printing, CNC milling, and CNC embroidery. Also some mutual fandoms.
I ran into this guy in the hallway a few times. He’s a Ghostbusters cosplayer who has done an AMAZING job upgrading his Spirit Halloween proton pack. I mean, way beyond anything I had dreamed of doing. The lights and sound are awesome, the proton pack has an overheat sequence inspired by the 2009 video game, and he’s soon even gonna add a smoke dispenser to cap off that sequence.
He also had a really cool custom belt gadget (I can’t remember the name at the moment) with nixie tubes and other interesting electrical bits.
This guy is a tabletop game designer who was having people playtest a new game he’s developing, called Scrap Packs: Deckbuilding RPG. It’s in the very early development stages, but it’s a highly entertaining game based around the following ideas:
You are handed randomly drawn cards with equipment on them, and THEN you design your RPG character based on the setting the gamemaster sets.
When you name the character you give them a title, which the GM might later use to justify or deny whether you have the ability to do something.
You can combine these cards, along with a currency called Skrap, to make new items, as long as you can give it a name and describe it’s function. The GM makes the stats on a simplified system to facilitate flexibility.
Plot elements are a combination of what cards come up as the game progresses, and how the gamemaster decides to implement them.
Example of my experience:
I began with a rusty spoon, a ballpoint pen, a feathered cap, an aluminum bucket, and a lucky coin. We were told that our characters were from a high school, going to a cabin in the woods scenario. I called my character “Eric the Survivalist,” and declared that he was a guy way too into “surviving” and who nobody trusted with anything dangerous because he might hurt someone with it, so things like guns would be yanked out of his hands by the party. Hijinks ensued, including stabbing aliens with a rusty spoon (his weapon of choice), and using the skrap mechanics to have the party build a human sized slingshot and launch him at the lead alien while wielding a rocket-powered hammer and screaming “LEEROY JENKINS!”
I look forward to seeing the fully developed version of this game. It’d be great for when I wanted to get people into RPGs while being rules-lite and not prepping a lot in advance.
This artist’s work caught my eye. He had a couple comics in a series called NPCs, where NPC characters are dealing with the aftermath of a new hero’s inciting event (the town burning down) and coping with losing people and rebuilding without the help of the town’s strongest guy. I’m enjoying it so far, and hope to see more!
I’m having trouble tracking down his webpage or listing, or I’d include it here.
This artist makes a lot of RPG related artwork, a lot of which seems to be inspired by The Adventure Zone, Critical Role, and her own D&D adventures, though what initially caught my eye was an Animorphs based painting. I really like her art style, and she draws some comics, too.
These guys had some fun apparel. I got me another “Trust me I’m an Engineer shirt”… but this time with the Team Fortress 2 Engineer on it. At this rate I might be collecting these as a theme. Sadly, they were out of the other shirt I wanted. Hopefully they’ll restock the “Use More Gun” engineer shirt.
I didn’t end up going to any of the scheduled events I had originally planned to go to, but that’s alright. I was able to try new games, catch up with friends, meet new people, snag some loot, and see some cool things. There were museums for the history of video games, performances of music all around the convention center, a large merch floor, and game demos galore (both tabletop and digital). It was all around a well spent day for me.