Over memorial day weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Role Play Convention in Cologne, Germany. I was there as part of the SCA, who was conducting demonstrations of various arts and crafts as well as combat.
The day before the convention we were infilling our section equipment and we got off on the wrong floor. And what do I see before me but Mr. James Raggi, in the flesh, checking his cell phone about 10 feet away from me. After quickly confirming that no one in my party had any idea where they were and needed to call our group coordinator to find out where we were supposed to go, I zipped on over to Mr. Raggi to say "hi".
I don't regularly (or irregularly) rub elbows with the rich and famous, but I've seen famous folks before at conventions and kept my cool -they're just people after all right? However, I was in a bit of a shock seeing Mr. Raggi there and as a result felt embarrassingly giddy at the experience and just had to gush and tell him how much I liked Lamentations of the Flame Princess, and how excited I was to see that he was at this convention. He cooly accepted my appreciation for his efforts and pointed off to where his booth was. I told him I'd swing by and check it out. By then the rest of the group had figured out we were supposed to be on a different floor and it was time to start hauling our gear to where it needed to go.
The next day.
I had been rotating in and out fighting for about two hours, happy but exhausted, and finished for the morning. I stripped off about half of my gear (since I was just going to be fighting again in a few hours) but was still a stinking sweaty mess even if I did have a new shirt on.
My wife decided to take me upstairs and check out the vendors, but I had to hold the baby. We looked at various stuff, but I was on a mission- I was going to see the Lamentations of the Flame Princess booth.
A couple of years ago I had gone into roleplaying hibernation. Work, family and so forth were just taking so much time that I couldn't get a group together and couldn't really participate in any regular game, and so my dice were gathering dust. Coming across Lamentations of the Flame Princess re-ignited the sense of wonder and fun that I had for years with roleplaying. As a result I bought pretty much everything I could from the line. Recently a new book was released "Veins of the Earth" and it was massive, which unfortunately meant that the shipping from Finland was going to be about 20 Euro just for one book. I had put it on hold until some other books were released, but hey here was an opportunity to pick it up.
So we stop by the unassuming LotFP booth that is manned by James and only James (see totally on a first name basis now). It doesn't have a lot of the flash of other booths, but had a cool banner and a couple of tables that were crammed full of books and shirts. He had some other customers that he was helping there, but quickly and efficiently handed me a price list that was printed out just for the convention (Seriously, if you can get to a convention with LotFP there you get some great prices!)
He asked if I wanted to check out any of the other books at the table But I had everything he was selling except for the one book. So my lovely wife passed over the money and got the book and a price list because it looked cool. In total, the interaction was short and swift.
I wanted to say a lot more, and ask a bunch of questions and just talk about the hobby in general. However, he was there to do business, there were other customers looking at stuff and I knew I had only so long before I had to be back downstairs for the next combat demonstration.
I would like to point out that I looked like crap after fighting, could still feel the sweat pouring off of me, had a bruise forming on my chin from where a good whack had gotten me, and had a floppy baby hanging off of me. I probably smelled worse than I looked as well.
I went on my way, and just gushed to my wife instead who had raised her eyebrow at me shelling out 60 Euro for a book I hadn't even cracked the cover of, but I reminded her that she loved me and technically SHE had handed over the money and bought me the book as a gift. Then I stopped and told her to hold on.
The other customer was gone and so I went back to at least get a photo.
James smiled and said yes, I finally got out a bit about how I loved the LotFP line, and to keep up the good work. He came around to the front of the booth and asked my wife for a count down for the picture.
He screamed and head banged like his favorite metal band had just come on stage. My wife nearly dropped the camera she was so surprised (meanwhile the baby had fallen asleep and just continued to be passed out).
So you know what James did? He took another photo with me. And he screamed again.
I still wanted to talk, but I had already gotten so much, and what was I going to ask, probably the same stuff that gets asked in real interviews, and really the last thing I wanted to do was stop him from doing what he was there to do. Spread the gospel of weird horror roleplaying.
So I went on my way and did more fighting and just enjoyed the busy chaos that is working at a convention.
Sunday when we were cleaning up and I was bone tired and exhausted I stopped and thought about how much fun and work conventions are, and I thought of James working the booth spreading the word of LotFP and how tired he must be after two LONG days of work by himself (mind you he is selling books in English at a German convention, and while every German I have had the pleasure of meeting speaks really good English, he is competing against products all around him- in German).
I also thought: Crap. I never introduced myself.
So James, if you ever read this. Hi, I'm Tim and I'm a big fan.