CONjure 2014

CONjure 2014 took place this weekend, and I went down there to cover it for Florida Geek Scene. This was CONjure’s first year, and I ask for a moment of respectful silence for our fellow geeks who have the full on guts and nuts to put on an event like this. Many can go to the show, but few can make the show.

CONjure’s celebrity guests included Nicholas Brendan from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the upcoming science fiction film Coherence; Joel Hodgson, who stitched us all up commenting on the entertainment onboard the Satellite of Love; actress Kelly Hu of Arrow and X-Men 2; and Sandeep Parikh, one of the stars of the web series The Guild, who’s panel “Deep Thoughts with Sandeep Parikh” was really Effinfunny.

There were anime rooms, a dealers’ room, tabletop gaming, and a Cospitality Suite – a room staffed by cosplayers ready and capable of making emergency repairs on your outfit. That’s a brilliant idea that more cons should mimic.

Gaming was provided in part by Pathfinder Society representative Shane Murphy, who was running sessions of the Pathfinder tabletop roleplaying game. The Society is backed by Paizo, the makers of Pathfinder. Players who participate in a Pathfinder Society game can then carry that same character into any other Pathfinder Society game in the country, putting together a campaign that might stretch thousands of real-world miles and include dozens or hundreds of other players.

Video games were covered by Wardogz LAN party group. Brendan Hoffman was overseeing the LAN room that held dozens of tower PCs networked to open the virtual battlefield to soldiers in League of Legends, “old school Red Alert”, Quake 3, and Battlefield 4, among other games. Wardogz was founded in 1995, and Hoffman has been doing it since ’99 – evidently he hasn’t been electrocuted yet, so that’s one veteran who knows the terrain.

A standout event was the Friday night Mermaid Party, organized by Girls of the Con, where this correspondent was inadvertently photographed hundreds of times as I swam along with and chatted up the sea-creatures. I asked one of the girls how she became a mermaid. “I was hatched from an egg,” she replied.

In the photographs you’ll see that mermaid, with the white hair; Ted Ohrt, a cosplay guest, in his Odinson costume; Candy Kean, a cosplay guest, as Poison Ivy in formal gown; art guest Paul Vincenti, in his booth in the dealers’ room; Wardogz commander Brendan Hoffman and his team, moments before they cried “havoc!”; the very first cosplayers to arrive, Trevor Dowe as a Jedi and Jennifer Nolau as Moxxi from the video game Borderlands; and this correspondent, on the left, along with a gaming volunteer named Mike, as we prepared to launch the board game Firefly. Rest assured, no one took the sky from me.

Author: Brian Downes View all posts by
Brian Downes is a writer who lives in Orlando, Florida. His novel, The Berlin Fraternity, about a man who hunts vampires for the Third Reich, is available on the Kindle and through He enjoys pen and paper roleplaying games and geek culture. He clearly remembers waiting for The Empire Strikes Back to hit theaters, and vindicate his opinion that of course Vader was not Luke's father. You can't trust Vader's word!

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