I realize that it is impossible to police an entire community of volunteer RPG gamemasters, nor would anyone want to discourage the volunteer GMs that make the whole machine run. But my expectation of Gen Con is to be able to have the very best gaming experience. And having a terrible, clueless or unprepared GM is a quick way to sour someone's con experience.
I would strongly suggest that Gen Con prepare some sort of minimum expectations that it would circulate to would-be RPG gamemasters as guidelines. At a minimum, I would include:
- Have a plan to fill the allotted time. Realistically, you will need 15 minutes to get going at the start of your slot and to allow stragglers to arrive and 15 minutes at the end to wind down and to allow people to duck out early for their next events. The remaining time is yours to fill. Players at the table should be doing SOMETHING for the remainder of that time.
- Plan for players/characters. Every player at your table will need a character for your game. If they are making characters on the spot, bring blank character sheets. If players are expected to bring their own characters, prepare extras just in case they forget. If you are providing pre-made characters, bring copies for the players to hold at least during the game. Ideally, players should be able to take a copy of their character as a souvenir. Players may forget pencils, dice, scratch paper, etc. Have some extras on hand, just in case.
- Have a scenario. To the maximum extent the game system allows, have an adventure in mind. It should have a beginning, middle and end -- all of which can be finished in the time allotted. Most RPG scenarios require locales, non-player-characters, opponents, monsters, etc. You should have these prepared ahead of time.
- Prepare notes. You should have notes and/or copies of pertinent details about your scenario that are handy and accessible to you during the event.
- Prepare for experience level. If you suggest that there is no experience required and the rules will be be taught, then be prepared to teach the rules.
- Character creation. Avoid creating characters at the game table during the event. If you must have players create characters, bring character sheets, pencils, dice and other necessary accouterments for the players' use. Consider bringing multiple copies of the character generation rules for players' to consult. Prepare a plan to walk players through character creation in a quick and efficient way.
- Make it memorable. Players should leave feeling that they have been involved in the highest quality adventure possible. Plan an adventure that makes an impression, whether it be epic, terrifying, hilarious, etc..
- Demonstrate the highlights. Every game system has particular strengths and weaknesses. Especially if you are running demo games for a game company, prepare a game that hits the highlights of the game mechanics. Demonstrate the very best, most distinctive parts of the game system.