5e, party is a halfling monk, human paladin, and a dragonborn fighter. We have been pursuing the agents of a nefarious secret society in Waterdeep, and have just encountered one unexpectedly while out shopping.
DM: You see Ludvig [the guy we’re after] handing a coin purse to a back alley vendor. He’s looking around to make sure he’s not being watched. As you see him, he sees you and bolts down the street.
Monk (OOC): Hey, [DM]? Be honest with me: is this a chase sequence? City streets, back alleys, rooftops, dodging through crowds?
DM: …Yeah, why?
Monk (OOC): Is there anything especially cool that happens in this chase?
DM: Not really.
Monk (OOC): Perfect. How far away is Ludvig from me?
DM: One hundred feet.
Monk (OOC):Perfect. I’m going to save us all a half hour of dice rolling then.
Monk: I move 35 feet, use a ki point to dash another 70, and use my attack to crane kick Ludvig in the back of the knees with my full momentum. (rolls to hit, succeeds)
DM: *rolls* …Jeeeesus Christ.
DM: …I assume all of you have skinned a knee before?
DM: The rest of the party sees nothing but a blur before Ludvig’s legs are taken out from under him as he’s running full speed. He skins his knees, his hands and arms, and his face on the cobblestone as he skids fifteen feet face-down across the pavement. He is unconscious and bleeding out.
Fighter: I guess I’m gonna go interrogate that back alley dealer.
You all are really enjoying DarkpathAU so here’s a compilation of reference sketches for you to look at (with bonus captions if you full view them)
Since I’m not sure if I’ve ever directly put it out there or not, Hiro has a motor control neuro headband over each of his friend’s heads. They’re not villains by choice, everything they do is under Hiro’s control. Tadashi eventually manages to get the thing off of Wasabi at least (after a scuffle), and then they become tag-team buddies. Those two are total bros in this AU (hobo bros more like because they really don’t have a good place to stay other than an old room in an abandoned hotel on the outskirts of the city).
Also, couple more things: Hiro and Yama have a huge rivalry over who ‘runs San-Fransokyo with an iron fist’. They argue and are constantly firing back and forth at one another; Yama’s Fujita’s and Bombers against Hiro’s crew. It’s how they spend their weekends.
Lastly, if you’re wondering why Hiro has no trust over people who look like Tadashi: bottom left drawing in the final picture and the huge scar across his face now as a result. Good thing big sister Gogo was there to save him. But the event was a little… traumatizing, because it would’ve probably killed him had Gogo not stepped in last second.
WHEW, after that info dump have a bonus Aunt Cass doodle and her little shop she now runs in one of the back alley vendor streets because her actual one was ransacked when the city went downhill:
Hey! You went to Regeneration Who last year, or in the past, right? If you did (if you didn't, ignore this), did you do the "tea with the doctor" of "coffee with the creators" thing? Was either worth it (again, if you did either, lol, sorry!)? I've never been able to go in the past, but I'll be able to go next year and am considering doing those.
I went last year as an artist alley vendor and then this year I was on staff (merch table, I sense a trend with myself), so I unfortunately haven’t had the chance to really check those events out. BUT what I can say is that people who go really enjoy it, and it’s a really unique experience. I view it as, if there’s a guest that’s attending that you would really love to have a more relaxed, involved time with, it’s a really great thing. I had to run into there once to get someone and it’s like, a guest at each table and the tables have like 8 attendees and then the guests rotate.
Also I love coffee? So that sounds like a good time to me.
IN general I think if you want a more fun, relaxed, enjoyable convention where you actually get to interact with guests than get shoved through a sausage factory autograph session, you should totally check out ReGen, especially if your favorite is attending. Even though I was WORKING I got the chance to have one-on-one time with Katy Manning (Jo Grant) and Neve McIntosh (Vastra) took the time to stop and say she loved my art for the con. Like, I don’t think you’d get that at a big box autograph con and it was awesome for me.
tl;dr if the con sounds appealing to you then you should give it heavy consideration.
Looking to get a table at artist alley and not sure how? Well hopefully I can fill you in.
When it comes to becoming a vendor at artist alley, each organization or show have their own set of rules.
However the process usually goes as follows, each anime or comic con will open an application page to apply to be an artist at their show. When the application day opens, you normally fill out a form that discusses info about you, show samples of your work, what type of craft or artwork you create and info about how many badges you will need.
These forms are usually brief just so the people in charge can see the applications and determine who may be a good fit for the show. If you are accepted, a follow up email will explain to you the next following steps whether it be visiting their web page and filling out the official application form, or simply making a Paypal payment.
Bigger and more established shows who know they are in demand may have a different method to apply. This year at Anime Expo 2016— you had to purchase an Eventbrite ticket package in order to apply. They would review your information and artwork/crafts to make sure you aren’t selling copyrighted material or bootleg goods and if you are good to go, you fill out further forms on their web page to officially get your details and application form. C2E2 on the other hand have a staff that curates their vendors and artists to have the best possible experience for their guests. They learn more about you and your recent projects, if you are published and what recent work you’ve done and any type of info that they deem informative will assist them in determining who gets accepted into the show.
Depending on the organizations who run trade shows, each have a method that they use to determine who gets accepted, some choose the lottery method, some first come first serve, some have to pay while applying depending on how many tables they have, and how many applicants there are.
There isn’t a sure way to get in so keep trying and if you really want to get into a certain convention, you can always email them to request to be on the waiting list. Usually, many conventions do multiple rounds of drawing depending on how many people drop out, miss payment deadlines or any other issue.
Due to the large majority of cons being free to apply at first, artists apply to many shows and then later determine that they can’t get into a specific one due to scheduling conflict with another, its always best to be communicative and ask if they have any open spots.
Once you are accepted, organizations will send you info regarding their rules, operating times for vendors and artists and payment information. They may also ask for further information regarding Seller’s Permit so be sure to have one for each state you operate in.
When the day finally arrives, go set up your table during their open hours for vendors and artists and have a great time!
Just a general rule of thumb, don’t be so sad if you didn’t do too well. Usually Fridays are mediocre in sales, Saturdays are best, and Sundays should be better than Friday’s in most cases.
For the last few cons I’ve been to, the main character I’ve cosplayed has been Umi Sonoda from Love Live. Most of the LL fans I’ve met through cons and kept in touch with are all pretty fun and chill, but since it’s an anime about nine cute schoolgirls who form an idol group, I guess it was inevitable that I would attract a few weebs at cons.
My first weeb experience was my first time cosplaying Umi, so I was just in her normal school uniform. I had just finished checking in and was walking to the artist alley when a girl who was a couple of years younger than me spotted me and waved me over. I figured she just wanted a picture, and I was excited to see she was cosplaying Maki’s Wonderful Rush outfit, so I struck up a conversation with her. She got a little clingy when we took pictures, but I remembered how excited I had been at my first few cons and didn’t mention it. However, I kept seeing her around the con for the rest of the day, and it was obvious she was tailing me. Whenever I turned around and saw her, her eyes would get really wide and she would try to hide herself, all while acting like a stereotypical moe character. Once it got to the point where I couldn’t even shop in the vendor alley without seeing her badly trying to hide behind other congoers, I approached her and politely asked her to stop following me. I didn’t want to be too hard on her since she was probably 14 at most, but I explained to her that’s not how you want to act at cons. Fortunately, she seemed to understand, and left me alone after that.
To Artists Who’ve Ever Had a Bad Con [Geekonomicon 2015]
It’s Saturday at comic con. Friday didn’t go as well as you imagined. You got up this morning believing that today would be better. It has to be, right? You’ve heard good things about this con. You want to be excited, you want to make people smile. You want to meet cosplayers and talk to people about your work and sell some things.
You have it in your head that you’d at least like to break even, but hey; profit would be even better.
But as each person passes your table pretending to be on their phone, or giving the all-important second-long glance without slowing down, or not looking at you at all. You’re invisible. The hours grow long and silent, and you wonder: what’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with my work? Am I really that bad?
I’ve been at my table before, holding back tears and doubting I’ll ever be a real artist. Who am I kidding, right? After all, if my work was worth anything, surely people who actually stop and look.
Here’s a truth, artist: it’s not you. Sometimes it’s the con.
I spent my weekend feeling utterly miserable about myself and my artwork. And Saturday night I realized something. It wasn’t me. It was the con. Now, I don’t know the full behind-the-scenes story. But I do know my subjective experience at Geekonomicon 2015 was the worst I’ve ever had at any comic convention.
I don’t say that lightly, to smear anyone, or to complain for the sake of complaining.
I feel like not saying anything about this experience would be a disservice to my fellow artists and creators. Hopefully something positive can be gleaned from it this note.
It’s a lovely night: just warm enough that being outside is actually tolerable despite the season, and a number of trolls must agree with you, because the event is bustling, enough that setting up your table rapidly becomes a hazard. When you’re not being walked into and having to dodge the elbows of other vendors trying to do the same, you’re stuck herding their lusii off of your table. One meowbeast has the audacity to actually hiss at you when you pluck it off the table and deposit it unceremoniously on the ground.
But eventually, it’s done. You’ve spent the past few weeks painstakingly making copies of each of your latest haul, and now they’re set out in a display at the front of the table, the covers facing with their dates featured prominently. The originals are set farther back, still visible, but out of reach from any curious hands - not so much to protect from thieves, because they’re all a little too clunky to fit under a coat or in a pocket, but because there’s a food vendor just around the corner, and you’ve spent far too much time repairing these books to let trolls get grease stains on the pages.
“All books tonight,” you call out from your chair behind the table. You’re not shouting, because you don’t need to: for once, you paid for your spot early enough that you’re in a perfectly acceptable location, right in the center of the vendors alley. Mostly, you’re just talking to anyone who shoots more than a passing glance at your table, whether it’s at the display or the boxes of less expensive books alongside it. “150 sweeps or older. Journals, autobiographies, first hand records of major historical events…”
Something I have never really understood in the indy/webcomic world is the sense of elitism some creators have because they refuse to draw fanart. I heard it at SCAD and from my webcomicking peers, and I’ve talked to and seen my share of Artist Alley vendors complaining bitterly that their tables are always passed up and their original work is always snubbed for the evil greedy artists who only draw fanart. Some artists consider fanart “selling out.” The thing is, you’ve gotta “sell” something if you ever want to make a living off your art.
If you’re only just starting out and your art isn’t as refined as it will become yet and nobody knows who you are, chances are your comic isn’t going to sell like hotcakes. Every webcomic artist has been there. Few people go to conventions with the mindset of finding something completely new, or spending money on something they’re not sure they’ll like. People go to cons to get something or meet someone they have been looking forward to buying/meeting for a while, and that’s why fanart does so well. People already have a visceral connection to it, it resonates.
I don’t want to discourage people from working on original stuff, quite the opposite! But new readers need convincing to come over to your table, and in my experience, fanart is a really great draw. Think of it as casting out a line to go fishing. Sandwich your comic between your fanart and people will take interest, often start a conversation. Seeing how people react to my fanart often helps me gauge if they’d be interested in “Sister Claire,” too. For example, if people focus on the Sailor Moon cats prints, and I’ll say, “Hey, if you like cats, there’s a lot of them in my comic! The Sailor Moon cats even have a cameo.”
For me, fanart is more than just a way to get noticed. It’s also something I’m really passionate about. The most rewarding thing about drawing fanart for me has nothing to do with selling art. Drawing fanwork for has gotten me to really vary up my art styles and learn so many new tricks I never would have looked into otherwise! Fandom encouraged me to get back into writing, and the feedback I’ve gotten on that really boosted my self-esteem. I love the community that fandoms provide. I’ve met so many awesome friends all over the world thanks to connecting over fandoms. I met my wife that way.
I know drawing fanart isn’t the solution for every indie artist out there to get noticed, and I’m not saying everyone should take that route! I just wish people would not piss on artists who do. It’s possible to be successful with your original work and also draw and sell fanart, whether it’s for your own fun, or to get on the radar or to make friends.
With the right amount of dedication, hard work, self-marketing, good public relations, and good luck, people will someday have that same powerful connection and recognition of your original work as they do to mainstream fandoms.<3
I’ve done a lot of cons in the past few years, both as a guest, vendor, and fan, so I have a lot of experience under my belt now. Otakon is next week, so now is as good of time as any to throw some tips out there for people so that they can have a fun and safe con!
Common Sense Tips
Take a bath every day. Duh. This should seem obvious, but there’s always that one person that is standing in my table’s line that makes me want to die.
If you go to the game room and play a physically intense game like DDR on heavy mode, for god’s sake go take a bath afterwards. There’s a reason they tell you to bathe after going to the gym.
Be mindful of the weather. I know there’s a lot of cosplayers out there, so please reconsider that full body leather outfit if you’re going to a con in the middle of August. This is mostly so you don’t die.
Stay hydrated/fed. I’ve only gotten con crud once, because I’m generally good about eating food/drinking water. Yes, staying hydrated means water. Caffeine is a diuretic, so it dehydrates you. Those 2 venti Starbucks iced coffees aren’t going to help you.
Wash your hands before eating anything, or at least use hand sanitizer. I’m not a germaphobe, but if you have a table and are handling a lot of money, use sanitizer before eating/putting your hands anywhere near your face. (and don’t be that crazy person that walks up and puts their dollars in their mouth while they get something out of their pocket. Grossss)
If you’re really really sick, don’t go. I don’t care that you spent however much money to be there. I’ve seen a few recent news stories where con staff got violently ill and one even died, because a con goer brought a serious illness to the con.
Cons are a Family Event Now
A lot of people don’t like to hear this, but outside of niche gaming or anime cons which are generally filled with mostly teens/adults, conventions are very much a family thing now. Keep an eye out for kids when walking through busy crowds, don’t run them over.
Unless a child is with their parent or alone and obviously in trouble, keep interaction with them to a minimum. I don’t mean that kids are scary and you should avoid them, but understandably a parent might be nervous and get the wrong idea if they see an adult randomly having an in depth conversation with their kid. This is obviously different if you have a table and the kid is there to see you/buy stuff. It’s totally acceptable to be like “who’s your favorite pony/turtle/superhero/etc” if you see one with a pony or TMNT or hero shirt. Use common sense with your interactions. Obviously don’t snub them and tell them go away if they come to you.
If you find a lost child or see a child in trouble, notify staff IMMEDIATELY. If a child is in immediate danger and it can’t wait (ie. they’re being abducted against their will or are injured)interfere. Don’t be the douchebag that sees a kid in danger and posts an elaborate dramatic story on tumblr about it instead of actually notifying staff/parents/police.
Just because there are kids at cons now, it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. While I personally wouldn’t be standing around talking about the hot chick I banged last night if a 5 year old was directly behind me in line, I’m pretty sure most parents that are bringing their kids to a con are aware of what they might see/hear at cons. No one’s parent is going to run up and be like THINK OF THE CHILDREN! if you’re walking around with that body pillow or armful of explicit yaoi.
Be Considerate of Your Fellow Con Goers
If you find a lost item, report it to lost and found! My very first con ever was Ohayocon, an Ohio anime con. My friend lost her very nice camera with all her pictures from the con on it. But someone was kind enough to return the camera to lost and found. That experience really colored how I felt about cons for years. I get that there are horrible people out there that won’t do that, but please remember how you would feel if you were in that person’s shoes.
Want to walk around artist alley or the vendor room? Don’t stop in the middle of the floor to stare at something. Obviously at a larger con like Otakon, NYCC, Emerald City, etc. traffic is going to be moving slow, don’t make it worse by being the dude that stops to stare at something. Move aside so you don’t block people.
Please remember that cons are populated by people that are in your fandom community and are there because they love the same things you love. Everyone there is there because they too like anime or comics or game or ponies. You don’t have to be instant friends with anyone, but treat others with kindness. (ie don’t cut in line, don’t be a dick) Remember that no girl in the history of the world is going to spend $1000 for a badge and plane ticket to go to a con if she’s not really into comics/anime/games, so leave that “fake geek girl” shit at the door.
COSPLAY IS NOT CONSENT
It’s acceptable to look, just don’t touch. (just don’t be a creeper and stare blankly at them for 10 minutes)While those Ryuko and Satsuki cosplayers totally want you to see their awesome cosplay, their revealing outfits don’t mean they want to be fondled by strangers.
Ask if you want to take their photo. Most cosplayers are fine with having their photo taken after spending a million years sewing their outfit, just be considerate and ask if you can take their picture. (you’ll often get a sweet in character pose that way! Which is better than the creepy photo you took of them as they washed their hands in the bathroom)
Interacting With Guests and Artists/Vendors With Tables
Be considerate of how much time you spend talking to them! While bigger guests will have someone to keep the line moving, vendors and artists at artist alley usually aren’t so lucky. If you want to swing by an artist’s table and say hi and talk for them for a minute or two that’s totally fine! But please remember people in artist alley/vendor halls are there to make money. If there is a line behind you or they’re obviously working on a commission, you’re effecting their business if you want to take all their time. Generally I don’t care if I’m just sitting around doing nothing or checking Streetpasses on my 3DS, but if I have other fans/customers or I’m working on a commission, I appreciate if people don’t take longer than 5 minutes.
Guests are people too! We’ve all had that time where we acted like total idiots towards an idol (I’m still kicking myself for being one when I met J.Scott Campbell years ago), but do your best to keep cool. If you want to take a picture of them, please ask first, as some guests charge for photos. Also never ever ever ever try to hug or touch them in any way without permission. Handshakes are fine as obviously the person knows about it ahead of time, but any other touching without permission is unacceptable.
Don’t dump your stuff all over someone’s table, and leave food/drinks off the table. I was at an event one time where someone was giving me pizza, which was fine. But they set the pizza box on my table and opened the lid, which knocked over the person at the table next to me’s drink, and ruined a ton of their stuff. This is not cool. And another time someone left some trash on my table and asked me to throw it away, despite my having a line of people. If you have trash, don’t leave it on someone’s table because you will have a much easier time getting to throw it away than the person behind the table.
If you need an item signed, please dear god remove the plastic prior to bringing it to the table. Hot Topic really likes to wrap their MLP variant comics in tight plastic, which is a huge pain to remove. There’s been many times where people have brought a stack of them to me wrapped, and held up the line for 10 minutes to slowly unwrap each one for me to sign. If you’re waiting in line for god knows how long, you have time to get that plastic off. Don’t be a dick.
If you need comics signed and they’re wrapped/boarded, pull them out of their package first. There’s been so many times I’ve almost ruined people’s comics because the tape on the package got caught on the cover. I stopped putting comics back in their bags for this reason.
It is not and never will be appropriate to offer to walk an artist/vendor/guest back to their hotel room. While I’m generally trusting and like to think everyone is pure and kind, I’ve seen enough horror movies to know that’s how you get raped/tortured/killed. If I for any reason feel uncomfortable walking back to the hotel, I will get security or con staff. I have bad anxiety problems, and nothing triggers a panic attack faster than people being creepers.
If you recognize a guest outside of the con, be considerate. I generally don’t mind con goers approaching me if I’m at the hotel bar or at a restaurant, but that doesn’t mean we’re BFFs and I want to hang out for an hour. Keep it brief, as they’re probably really tired.
Don’t complain about prices at the vendor hall/artist alley. They don’t care and won’t adjust their prices for you.
That’s about all I can think of! Have fun at your next con!