Rollacrit's Declassified Convention Survival Guide | Rollacrit

It’s almost July, which means convention season’s in full swing! With Gen Con coming up, we thought it would be a good time to rifle through our Bag of Holding (get informed on the retail release here!) and share what we at Rollacrit deem essential survival items for a savvy convention attendee.

Shoes

Normally, we’d save the best for last, but with how much walking you’ll be doing, it would be irresponsible to start with anything but this. Your feet are going to be bearing not only your weight but also the weight of any of the loot you acquire throughout the day. Wearing appropriate, properly fitted, worn-in footwear is key to a successful convention. In addition, you’ll also want to pack padded bandages or moleskin to ward off blisters, and we’ve even heard of some folks who bring a second pair of shoes to swap out.

Food and Water

Hydrate before you die-drate! At its core, every convention can be broken down into people walking and people talking. Even if the HVAC is keeping you cool, you’re still going to be losing water far faster than you think. We’re fans of collapsible silicone water bottles since they pack down so easily, but even reusing a vending machine bottle is better than nothing!

The other half of this equation is snacks. While hopefully you’ll be making sure you eat three meals a day, it can be a long time between meals, especially if you skip one to make a scheduled game. Not only are you going to be losing water at a rapid pace, but you’ll also be burning calories and electrolytes. You definitely don’t want to be the player that gets hangry at the crit fumble rather than laughing with the rest of the party! We’re fans of things like granola bars and dried fruit, and recommend avoiding heavy and greasy snacks (nobody likes Dorito dust and greasy fingerprints on game pieces). Snacks are especially important if anyone in your convention (or adventuring) party has diabetes, and can mean the difference between a fun time and a really bad day, so keeping something on hand in case someone nearby needs it can go a long way.

Medications and First Aid

Now, you could probably get away with leaving these in your hotel room, but it’s going to save you a whole lot of hassle to just pack these with you. Anyone with prescription medications is going to already be ahead of the game on this one, but we absolutely recommend everyone pack some common medications in their con bag. They’re lightweight, pack small, and can save the day for you or anyone in your area of effect. Aside from the aforementioned prescription meds (and we recommend you check up on your refills in advance of any travels), the following are going to keep you from having to make an urgent hike back to the hotel in the middle of the day: painkillers (acetaminophen and ibuprofen), antihistamines, and depending on your diet, a selection of antacids, pepto-bismol, and Imodium.

Adjacent to your own personal pharmacy, we also suggest keeping a travel packet of tissues alongside a face mask in case you or someone nearby is pushing through a runny nose (or worse) to make a game. In fact, rounding the above out with some bandages (and the moleskin above), you’ve got a basic first aid kit that will tackle most of the issues you may run into during a given con season!

The only other item that probably falls under this category is deodorant. Even if you don’t think you need it, you need it. Your friends and tablemates will appreciate it. We’ll appreciate it. Your mother will appreciate it. Don’t disappoint mother.

Note: Rollacrit writers are not doctors. Please follow dosage directions for all medications and consult with your physician where applicable.

Backup Battery

This one’s a no-brainer, but between the poor network access on the show floor, and your hotelmate hogging the outlet, you’ll want to make sure you keep at least one battery backup in your bag. Getting stranded late at night because your phone battery died isn’t how you want to end a great day of gaming, and while battery backups tend to be a tad heavy, they don’t take up much room. Of course, you’ll want to keep an appropriate, and probably dedicated, charging cable with it, otherwise, you’re just carrying around a slightly explosive paperweight. Not only will having a charged device bring your stress levels down, being without your phone at a convention can potentially become a safety issue.

Rollacrit's Declassified Convention Survival Guide | Rollacrit

Storage

When you’re not walking, and you’re not playing games, and you’re not eating, what are you going to be doing at a convention? Getting loot! Loot comes in many shapes and sizes, and we want to make sure everything makes it home in pristine condition. Now, the basic loot bag is your bog-standard canvas tote bag; this will keep all your goodies together but doesn’t really do much as far as organization and protection. Keeping a couple of resealable bags for things like coins, dice, or other tokens can keep everything together or separated if you prefer. We’ve also fallen in love with the expandable poster tube. Not only does it protect your posters and other paper items from both scuffing and liquids, but you can get them with shoulder straps or even attach them directly to your con bag. Remember that you only have two hands; if you have the room, it’s better to have a single bag with more storage than two smaller bags. We recommend our upcoming Bag of Holding as the go-to convention bag, but we’re biased, and the bag you have on hand is better than the one you don’t. Just make sure it has enough room to fit the things you’re looking to pick up. You don’t want to be walking around hand-carrying a game or a stack of hardcover sourcebooks!

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