LTUE Day Three Report!

Hello readers! If you’ve been following the two days before this, well … you can probably guess how tired I am, stacking onto the two days prior. Thankfully, I wasn’t the only one in the green room this morning waiting to wake up. Cons are a marathon, and LTUE is no exception!

So, as I am currently only a few bare steps away from pure exhaustion (and my voice is almost gone from talking so much), let’s simply get down to business with the report!


The first panel I attended, at 9 AM, was “Paying the Reaper: Financing a War.” This is a panel I’ve attended before, but that’s because it’s a classic. And a golden panel for anyone who wishes to write about a military. Because it asks a very important question: Who is paying for all these soldiers, and with what?

That’s the whole point of this thread. To consider camp followers, the cost of a military, the cost of the logistics. This time around, the focus shifted toward modern militaries, and how the cost of maintaining them has increased tremendously alongside their force multiplication—something the panel wanted the audience to remember. Armies today are smaller than they were before, but far deadlier, while costing a lot more per person or bit of hardware compared to older times.


I then missed the next set of panels. I ended up caught in a conversation about 18th century sailing ships and the differences/similarities to modern vessels. One shocker that came out of this conversation, with the woman who had given the presentation I mentioned yesterday, was that the full operating crew compliment for a 112-foot sailing ship was … 12 people.

That dumbfounded me at first, but made sense. Today there are engines and mechanics to keep tabs on them, electrical equipment, etc, and they run 24-7 on some ships so you have crew rotations. A coast guard cutter twice as long, for example, has a standard crew compliment nine times as large.

Interesting, no?


The next panel I attended was at noon (the ship conversation lasted a while) and concerned magical transportation. As in “What happens when you take transport (for cargo, people, etc) and add magic to it?”

This was a fun one. The main point the panelists wanted to get across was that regardless of what the magic did for transport (and it could do anything, from portals to flight), that you thought through how that would affect things. Would it effect price? Shipping? Moving? Who would want it most.

And, as they pointed out, don’t be afraid to ask how villains might use it as well.


From here the day sped on to a panel discussing the latest Star Wars trilogy at 1 PM.

I’ll keep this one short. They all agreed it had some serious plot problems, and no one knows what in production made that happen. Past that, they noted that what their opinion was wasn’t likely to sway many.

Fun panel all the same.


At 2 PM I attended “Settings: Taverns, Diners, and Replimats.” Mostly out of curiosity. And this ended up being a neat little panel that, in summation, was all about using places people congregated or ate (and maybe food) in your work to expose readers to character and culture. That’s a summary, you understand, but that was the gist of it.


4 PM arrived, and with it my last panel presentation of the con: Realistic hacking and cracking.

I actually stayed pretty quiet for much of this panel, save small but direct comments. Why? Because the other four people on the panel were actual hackers/computer security people (or both). Where I’ve just written about it. And so I let them talk about all the various proper forms of security, what real hacking these days and in old days is/was like, and so on and so forth. Then I would pitch in and bring my experience with it forward with something like “So when you write it, this is what you’ll want to keep in mind” or “this is how you can work around that and make it exciting.” Which basically tied everything the experts were offering back to the point of “How do I write this?”

Though I must point out that one member of the panel was wrong about the film Jurassic Park. The GUI in the film that the character uses to reboot the park is a real Unix based system. It was a failed one, but it was real, and was accurately portrayed. Though it wasn’t hacking, just using the actual OS the way it was intended.


At 5 PM, I attended a panel on maps and mapping. They talked about drawing your own maps, about topography, basic geography, and useful mapping symbols. I had actually thought it was more about the “mapping” part of making maps, but I was fine with the discussion of symbols, biomes, and the like. Especially if I ever decide to do a map!


6 PM was the last panel set of the con, and I attended a great final panel on Nomadic cultures.

Sands, I hardly know where to start. This panel was a fire-hose of information about nomadic cultures, from various reasons why they exist to how hard they are to study to their religions to the impact they leave (which is actually, archaeologists are now finding, just as impactful as emplaced societies, just in different ways.

Still, I hope this panel returns, as I expect it will become a rapid favorite.


And that was it. But my day wasn’t over yet.

No readers, I had a glorious evening. How so? Two fans offered to treat me to dinner, and so I accepted. We had a great time, enjoyed pizza, talked about whatever we felt like (from Star Wars to economics) and in general had a great time. They also took home one of the two Shadow of an Empire prints I’d make for LTUE, since I had it on claw, and let’s face it: They earned it. Enjoy!


And that, readers, was LTUE 2020! An absolute blast of a writing con from start to finish.

Speaking of finish … I’m about such, so I bid you farewell until Monday!

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