HOW I MET JODI: A GEN CON STORY
Gen Con 2009, where Paizo was to release the Pathfinder RPG. A busy week with high expectations, but something happened I never would have expected.
I happened to have four extra item card decks at my desk—Paizo’s item cards are handy things, with a picture on one side, and a short description and large blank area on the other side. The idea is that you could give one to your players when they discover an item, and let them fill in the details as they experimented or used magic to analyze them. Some sets are keyed to Paizo’s adventure paths. Anyway, the illustrations are cool, and I thought at Gen Con I’d hand out cards to people as an excuse to say hi and maybe get them interested in Paizo products. Paizo was also giving out buttons on Thursday (Gray Maidens), Friday (Seoni), and Saturday (goblin).
I spotted a woman with beautiful eyes walking past the Paizo booth toward the artist area, accompanied by two guys. I drew an item card and asked her if she wanted a free item card. She said yes, and accepted the card, at which point I noticed the card was a ring. I said, “This doesn’t mean we’re engaged, or anything,” and she responded with something like “that’s too bad.” Her name was Jodi. I chatted with her and her guy friends for a few seconds (including trying to pronounce her last name from her badge, and lucking into saying it right), then asked the guys which of them was her boyfriend; they both responded that neither of them were her boyfriend, at which point I turned back to her and said, “Oh, really?”
I offered her the Seoni button, and asked if she got the Gray Maidens button from the day before (it wasn’t stuck to her badge). She said no, she wasn’t at the show on Thursday. I asked her to hold on, went into the back area of our booth, grabbed the Gray Maidens button I had been wearing the day before, and brought it back to her. “This is my button from yesterday, we don’t have any more. You should come back tomorrow and get the third button.” She said, “maybe I will.” And then they said goodbye and went on their merry way.
Just in case she came back, I started to put together a plan. Step 1 was picking the right item cards. I flipped through my remaining two decks and found three more cards I thought were particularly suitable:
another Ring—as a link back to the ring card I gave her Friday.
Monkey—mainly because monkeys are funny, but also because the Barenaked Ladies song “If I Had $1,000,000” has a line, “If I had $1,000,000, I would buy you a monkey, haven’t you always wanted a monkey?”
Magic Carpet—part Steppenwolf, part Aladdin, either way I was hoping she’d get the reference and understand I was interested in her.
Step 2 was hiding a Goblin button so I’d be sure to have one if she showed up.
Step 3 was writing my cell phone number on the back of one of my Paizo business cards.
I put all of this stuff in my backpack in a separate pocket so I could collect it easily.
I was in the middle of running the Pathfinder Delve—one of a series of 15-minute meat-grinder dungeon sessions where players tried to clear monsters out of rooms to win keys that were chances to get prizes for free products or discounts at the booth. It’s a timed event, when the buzzer goes off, play stops, so I couldn’t interrupt the session without denying the players some of their time (and chances to win stuff). So when she showed up and her eyes hit mine, I was stuck—I couldn’t stop to talk to her. Fortunately, I checked the timer, and there were only three minutes left in this delve session.
I told her, “Don’t go anywhere,” and she said “I’m not going anywhere.” I honestly don’t even remember seeing that her friends were with her at this point. I finished that session of the delve, went into the back area of the booth, retrieved my “Jodi stash,” and went out to see her.
“I have some things for you. First, another Ring item card. And a Monkey item card. And a Magic Carpet. And here is today’s button. And here is my business card with my home number. You can call me any time.”
“Okay, maybe I will.”
“Maybe we’ll play a game.”
“But not D&D.”
And then she or her friends said something about “roleplaying,” but I can’t really remember because she was sexy as all hell and I was entranced by her eyes.
And then they left, and I started another delve group. And realized I had told her that was my home number, not my cell number, and if she were to call me, she might wait until after Gen Con to do so, thinking I wouldn’t be home until then. Despite my mistake, I was pleased that she had returned, and I told my friends that I gave a cute girl my number, and that amused them.
I was scheduled to run more of the delve on Sunday afternoon, so when my phone rang around 2:30 p.m., I didn’t immediately answer because my group was in the middle of the combat. I didn’t recognize the number or area code, but I though it might be her. My phone buzzed to let me know that whoever called had left a message.
When the game combat ended, I paused and said I wanted to check my messages, and that I’d give the group a bonus minute on top of the time lost while I checked my voice mail. Turns out it was her—she was still in town and wanted to know if I was still in town and interested in getting together later. I called her right back, told her I was still here, and I’d love to do something after the show, though I’d have to help tear down the Paizo booth and I wouldn’t be available to talk about specific plans until about 6 p.m., but I’d call her then. She said great and that I should call her after teardown. I thanked her, and, quite excited, told my delve group that not only would they get a bonus minute for the delay, they’d get another bonus minute because “I asked out a hot girl and she said yes.”
Teardown started at 4 p.m. and was hot, sweaty work. At 6, about half the team was sent away because most of the work was done, but I was literally inside a giant wooden storage crate at the time and wasn’t included in that. Once out of the crate, I quickly asked to join them, as I didn’t want to be stuck there until 7 and make Jodi wait longer than was absolutely necessary. After giving me a hard time, Josh let me go and I ran out before he changed his mind. I called Jodi, told her I needed to shower, but I could meet her wherever she was (which turned out to be the Marriott). She said okay, and I zoomed to my room to shower, shave, and make myself as presentable as possible given that I was on my last set of clothing from a long convention.
But I met her at the Marriott.
And we went to dinner.
And had a really nice talk over dinner.
And I missed the Paizo end-of-Gen Con-dinner because I was out with her.
And then we retired to the Hyatt lobby chairs to talk some more.
And did so for three more hours.
And I kissed her and told her that she was incredibly attractive and I’d like to see her again.
And she said she’d like that, too.