The 3DBCon mini-convention was not the usual convention. It was described as "a gaming convention for the people, by the people. No host hotels, no convention halls, just a cafe full of gamers getting their game on." Which is precisely what happened, and that was pretty cool, in my opinion. There should be more little local cons like this, in my opinion. It was held in the 3 Dollar Bill Cafe -- a cozy cafe with wireless Internet access located in San Francisco's LGBT Community Center. The fee was $10, but as part of that we got $6 worth of tokens for buying stuff at the cafe.
There were eight events scheduled, but I think two were cancelled. The space was reasonably large, but it did get a bit loud when there were four simultaneous games running. The street noise also was a factor. Still, I think that four simultaneous should be the limit for that space.
I played in only a single event: a Blue Rose event run by Jeremy Crawford (co-author and editor of the game). It was based on the sample adventure in the main rulebook, "The Curse of Harmony" -- though a number of details varied from that book. The event as a whole took quite a while, as we went completely through character creation, introduction to the world background, and the adventure. It was slotted for 8 hours, but went to nearly ten. There were five players including myself: all roughly 30-ish white males (Justin, Guy, Michael, and Phillip plus the GM Jeremy). Interestingly, the other five were all World of Warcraft players (a massively multiplayer online RPG). We created starting characters who were junior envoys in the Sovereign's Finest -- wandering troubleshooters and adventurers with some official authority.
We created our own characters and learned more about the system. Two people created adepts. After a bit of debate, I decided to create a Rhy-horse -- an intelligent horse who (I later decided) was psychically bonded with another PC who was an exile from a land of nomads. For most of the players, character creation started with picking among the interesting options presented in Roles, Backgrounds, and Feats. After deciding that our characters were psychically bonded, Phillip and I worked together on background. Overall, the process took close to three hours -- including some world background discussion. Two of the other PCs belatedly came up with a background link, but for the most part the others worked silently on the mechanics.
The adventure picked up with a gratuitous starting fight. This was added by Jeremy since it wasn't in the book -- but it was good overall for pacing, because the adventure is otherwise very slow in starting up. I won't give away the details, but basically this falls into a fairly standard template of adventure: there are strange occurences going on in the town, and the PCs investigate and root out the cause. There is mystery, some bits of culture clash, and naturally some romance. We spent a fair bit of time in investigating, but it didn't function very well as a detailed mystery. It would have been better, in my opinion, to skip through more of the investigation. As for the game: I liked the genre and background, and I prefer the system to D20 but it still has some ill-fitting parts.