According to the great Gail Simone, it’s Cosplay Appreciation Day today. And who am I to argue?

I’m a huge fan of cosplayers: to me, as a creator, there’s nothing more flattering than watching someone put the effort into recreating your characters (though I’ve yet to see anyone lop off a finger for the TRUE Dork Tower/Munchkin cartoon look).

ANYHOO, I’ve done a non-zero number of Dork Towers about cosplay over the years.

Here are some of my favorites.

August 26, 2014


February 28, 2014


December 4, 2012


July 15, 2013


August 24, 2014


(And yes, that’s Gilly. And yes, she dyed her hair red just to cosplay Batgirl).

Anyway, lest you think I came to my appreciation of cosplayers late, here’s one of the originals…from June 1, 1999, when I’m not sure it was even called “cosplay” yet:

Have fun out there!

–> Yer pal, John

Extra Life Extra Fun



Gamehole Con/Dorkstock 2017 is done finished, and a wild weekend it was.

Without question, this was the largest, most successful Dorkstock we’ve ever pulled off, and all praise should go to this year’s director, Nancy Hutchins, whose put together an amazing slate of games and fun and Igor Bars.

John Ickes, Alex Aulisi, David Michael and all the Dorkstock volunteers were also outstanding.

The entire Gamehole Con crew was fantastic. Dorkstock absolutely could not be what it’s becoming without them. This is a terrific show that in five years has gone from a Good Idea to a Great Regional Con. The organization, attention to detail and professionalism behind the show is obvious. Bonus: it’s a hoot!

Surround yourself with good people, folks. They take the bullets for you.

It was an exhausting three (nearly four!) days, so I’m using today to recover a bit. But look, Saturday night, THIS happened:

I do feel the desperate need to rave a little bit about the Extra Life game of Dungeons and Dragons I lucked my way into got to play.

I mean, lets be frank, to start with, things like this happen to other people. At least to my mind.

So suddenly finding myself seated alongside Pat Rothfuss, Ed Greenwood, Erin Evans, Tom Lommel and Guarav Galati, on a game DM’ed by Chris MOTHRAFRAKING Perkins, was definitely a “My God, How did I get here?” moment.

Watch Extra Life: Chris Perkins @ GameHole Con 5pm PT from dnd on www.twitch.tv


I mean, really!

Not gonna lie: it sure beats biking sixty miles with a duck on your head. (And both were about six hours long, to be fair. SERIOUSLY: no contest).

I don’t expect anyone to wade through every hour of that video, but the fun quotient was off-the-charts. I was literally crying with laughter at times. YES, I know this makes for terrible television, but you can focus on Pat or Tom or Erin or Guarav or Ed or even Pat some more who are MUCH BETTER AT THIS KIND OF THING THAN I AM and also prettier. But everybody’s got to start somewhere.


I was reduced to bribing viewers into buying me retools and potions. I am not a proud man.


But it worked!


Here is Yortle the Torle, Paladin of Bahamut, in all his pre-lava glory.


YORTLE (RIP, presumably)


Here are Five Things I Learned While Playing D&D for Charity:

  1. Chris Perkins is an amazing DM, and I need to up my DM’ing game.
  2. Making sports jokes for a D&D audience is dumb.
  3. Making sports jokes about Green Bay Packers players from 30 years ago is super-dumb.
  4. I need to get into character far sooner.
  5. By which I mean “at all.”
  6. Roleplaying with actual Improv actors is akin to fencing with professional swordsmen.
  7. Ed Greenwood’s voice can move mountains.
  8. Know which camera you are supposed to be looking at before the show starts, dum-dum.
  9. I desperately want to game with everyone in that group again!
  10. I can’t count.


I wasn’t lying. This is Randy Wight, my Blood Bowl star player, and others from his team, also named after Packers of that era nobody remembers (Bent Moss; Al Tomb; Sterling Sharpsword)


==> Your Pal, John


DORKSTOCK 2017 – It begins!



Apparently Gameholecon is now a de-facto four-day convention, which means Dorkstock is, as well.

Last night saw the usual fabulous reception for convention guests, and afterwards, we all got to play a little True Dungeon. Driving to the Alliant Energy Center parking lot, I was surprised how many cars were already there – you know, for a non-convention Thursday night.

Turns out, there was such demand, Gamehole Con opened up some of the halls, for open gaming. And it was already bustling!

I saw the Dorkstock/Loony Labs area, and wow, it’s a LOT bigger than Dorkstock’s ever been before. Nancy Hutchins and John “Shadowcat” Ickes have put together an amazing lineup of events, far more than Dorkstock’s ever seen in the past.

My own personal schedule looks something like this:

FRIDAY (today, slackers!)
12 Noon – Dorkstock Opening (Mendota 5)
7 pm – “What’s New with Munchkin and Dork Tower?”
10 pm – Cash ‘n Guns Midnight Madness(Mendota 5)

1 pm Igor Bar Bake-Off
6 pm Celebrity D&D Extra Life Live Streaming Event (Kegonsa 192)

10 am Munchkin Tournament Final Round
12 Noon Cash ‘n Guns Showdown at Noon

That seems light, but much of the time I’m not actually running things, I’ll just be hanging out at the Dorkstock/Loony Labs area, playing a ton of games. GAMES! I know, right?

Anyway this is me, rushing off to grab some prizes, then make it back to Gamehole Con for the Dorkstock opening.

By the way, we have our first Mimic sightings, and they look GREAT!


See you there!


DORKSTOCK 2017 – All that and a bag of nerds



GAMEHOLE CON is nearly here, and with it comes DORKSTOCK 2017 – a teeny tiny little division of the show!

Nancy Hutchins, this year’s Dorkstock Director, has put together the largest one yet! Huge thanks to her for all her help (particularly since I’ve been occupied with other things – I’ll be less of a do-nothing slacker next year, honest!)

Thanks also need to go out to Alex Aulisi (Dork Storm Press’s Business Manager), John “Shadowcat” Ickes, Frances Moritz and David Michael, who’ve been helping across the board with logistics and more.

As per usual, Gamehole Con will feature a plushie I’ve designed, based on a classic roleplaying monster. This year it’s Chesty the Mimic. All proceeds will go to charity, and I’m happy to say this year that charity is the FairShare CSA Coalition – the organizers of Bike the Barns (you know: me cycling huge distances with a duck on my head).

Chesty joins previous Gamehole Con plushies Derpy Owlbear (2015) and Bully Bullette (2016). I believe this now officially makes it a menagerie.

(As per usual, if there are any left over, I’ll post details on how you can get them).

This year also marks the return of the Great Igor Bar Bake Off!

MAIN POINT BEING, here’s the full Dorkstock track of Gamehole con events! If you get a chance, stop by! We don’t bite.

Apart from the mimic, that is…

(PLEASE NOTE: The IGOR BAR Bake-Off was incorrectly listed for Friday, at 1 pm. It will be Saturday, at 1 pm. GET BAKING, folks!)

(1-2 Fri Slot 3 : Igor Bar Contest (Frances Moritz, John K. Scott Olman) Mendota Room)



Time Event Game Master Table
6-8 Thu Slot 1 : Dorkstock Pre-Con Gathering Nancy, John I.  & Laura Main Open
Game Room
8-10 Thu Slot 2 : Dorkstock Pre-Con Gathering Nancy, John I.  & Laura Main Open
Game Room
12-2 Fri Slot 3 : Dorkstock Opening Ceremonies John K., Nancy, John I. & Crew Mendota Room
2-4 Fri Slot 4 : Bosworth Nancy Hutchins 5
2-4 Fri Slot 4 : Warhamster Rally Laura Murin 4
2-4 Fri Slot 4 : Munchkin Wonderland John Ickes 2
4-6 Fri Slot 5 : Warhamster Rally Laura Murin 2
4-6 Fri Slot 5 : Munchkin Wonderland John Ickes 4
4-6 Fri Slot 5 : Chez Cthulhu Nancy Hutchins 3
4-8 Fri Slot 5 & 6 : Munchkin Quest: Adam Miller 5
6-8 Fri Slot 6 : Dork Frag 3D Nancy Hutchins 4
8-10 Fri Slot 7 : Dork Tower Dealer’s Doom 3D Nancy Hutchins 5
8-10 Fri Slot 7 : Munchkin Shakespeare John Ickes 4
8-10 Fri Slot 7 : Simon’s Cat: the Card Game Laura Murin 3
10-12 Fri Slot 8 : CASH ‘n GUNS John Kovalic 1, 2 & 3
10-12 Fri Slot 8 : Munchkin Shakespeare John Ickes 5
8-10 Sat Slot 1 : Dork Victory Button Men: John Ickes 4 & 5
10-12 Sat Slot 2 : Chez Geek Adam Miller 5
10-12 Sat Slot 2 : Escape From Dork Tower LIVE! Nancy Hutchins Lobby
10-12 Sat Slot 2 : Munchkin Cthulhu Laura Murin 4
12-2 Sat Slot 3 : Escape From Dork Tower LIVE! Nancy Hutchins Lobby
12-2 Sat Slot 3 : Munchkin Apocalypse Laura Murin 5
2-4 Sat Slot 4 : Escape From Dork Tower LIVE! Nancy Hutchins Lobby
2-6 Sat Slot 4 & 5 : GURPS Dungeon Fantasy: Lost Inheritance John Ickes 4
4-6 Sat Slot 5 : Munchkin Tournament Laura Murin 2 & 3
6-8 Sat Slot 6 : Dork Tower Laura Murin 3
6-8 Sat Slot 6 : Dork Wanderings Nancy Hutchins 5
7 WHAT’S UP WITH MUNCHKIN AND DORK TOWER? Starting at 7 PM John Kovalic Seminar
8-10 Sat Slot 7 : Ghosts Love Candy John Ickes 2
8-10 Sat Slot 7 : World of Dorkness: Nancy Hutchins 4
10-12 Sat Slot 8 : Dead & Breakfast Nancy Hutchins 4
10-12 Sat Slot 8 : Port Royal John Ickes 3
10-12 Sun Slot 2 : Escape From Elba Nancy Hutchins 5
10-12 Sun Slot 2 : Muertoons Laura Murin 1
10-12 Sun Slot 2 : Munchkin Tournament Mach 2 John Ickes
Becca Steudel
3 & 4
10-2 Sun Slot 2 & 3 : The Quest for Toon Munchkin John Ickes 2
12-2 Sun Slot 3 : Camden Nancy Hutchins 5
12-2 Sun Slot 3 : CASH ‘n GUNS John Kovalic 4
12-2 Sun Slot 3 : Chez Geek Adam Miller 3
12-2 Sun Slot 3 : Zombie Dice Horde Edition
& other Dice Games
Laura Murin 1