I go to GenCON in order to run games. I have played in a few over the years, including a large cash prize D&D tournament held in DragonCON (it was fun as we placed sixth, but reminded me of why I left the AD&D rule set). I generally run 4-6 games on Thursday and Friday (assuming I can get the slots. Its makes for a busy two days, but then leaves me Saturday to either reminisce about the games (if things go well) while enjoying the con – or sooth my frustrations (if things go poorly) while enjoying the con.
I have had games fold for lack of players and I have had tables seating 3 extra players. In the case of extra players the people with game tickets come first – then I take a vote at the table by them if they want to allow more players (it must be a unanimous vote). I have never had a table vote to not allow extra players, but I am sure it will happen sooner or later. I always do pre-generated characters since I have had bad experiences with BYOC games that I have played in over the years.
For game systems I have run HERO (4, 5, and 6), Cyberpunk (2nd), and Mutants and Masterminds (2nd). In each case I do insert several of my own house rules, so that they system fits my gaming style. I always make sure these house rules and kept to a minimum (only those I consider necessary) and stated up-front.
My GMing style is generally one of a mesh of set pieces surrounded by plenty of mushy gray stuff for the players to run around in. Most of my game notes can be composed on a few index cards – mostly for those important events that move the story along. Most of the time I will only use a few of those events as my games are very much player-driven. I do pace and gesture quite a bit; although I have been working these last few years on staying on my corner of the table. I did have one player say it was a bit intimidating for me to be hanging over him (I am a rather large heavy-set guy), so I have been trying to be more aware of that. However, I just cannot be the type of GM that sits behind a screen reading off an adventure. There are plenty of GMs that do that sort of thing really well – that is just not my strength.
I knew that I wanted to be a convention GM after playing in a game run by Sean Patrick Fannon at DragonCON 93. It was not the characters or the rules or even the scenario – he had me enraptured the minute he came down these stairs in the room with a tablecloth over his shoulder with the voice of an aged king. I cannot do alternate voices – hell I can barely manage English without tripping over a few pronunciations. But that does not mean that I cannot always aim for that rather lofty goal.