The initial inspiration for this article was born a couple of years ago, after spending some time at a local convention, promoting The Orc, the roleplaying magazine I write for. I sat down and started writing it, and eventually decided it was too harsh to publish, and instead published Elders - Flexing their Fixtures, which was also inspired by my experiences there.
Now, a couple of years later, I've decided we're all grown-ups, so if you're offended by some self humor, just stop reading here. This article will offended you.
Look at me! I'm a staff member!
Description: This type of convention-lurker walks around conventions full of self-importance, since he is a member of the high and mighty Staff. Most of these characters are not really convention organizers (who are simply too busy to walk around full of self importance), but lowly gophers who spend most of their time avoiding the organizers, lest they send them to bring chairs and water-bottles for an upcoming panel.
Looks: Quite ordinary, with a large name tag proudly visible on their shirt.
Quote: "Only staff members are allowed in the staff room!"
Look at me! I have lots of friends!
Description: This type of convention-lurker comes to conventions for one reason, and one reason only - to meet all the other people who come to these conventions. He considers most of these other conventionists his good, albeit not too close, friends.
Looks: Quite ordinary, but usually with a convention t-shirt or sweater on, depending on the weather.
Quote: "I haven't seen you in ages!" (usually after running up to someone and hugging the living daylight out of him).
Look at me! I have lots of books!
Description: This type of convention-lurker is also a man on a mission, but his goal is completely different. The only reason he comes to conventions is to visit the many booths and spend his (or, with younger specimens of this stereotype, his mother's) hard-earned money on what they have to offer.
Looks: Quite ordinary, usually with a large backpack or bags of books in both hands.
Quote: "I'll take them all"
Look at me! I'm a freak!
Description: Some people just enjoy the attention of being different, and even in a themed convention, who's whole purpose is to bring people together without being wary of being considered "different", they still must stick out. They usually accomplish this by dressing in some ridiculous fashion (which is quite hard to accomplish in a convention where everyone is dressed-up as a Star-Trek character!), speaking foreign languages (which they usually only barely understand) and generally making fools of themselves.
Looks: The more flamboyant, the better. Unfortunately for them, this usually either means an elaborate costume or black lipstick, too many piercings and a heavy-metal t-shirt, neither of which really stick out in roleplaying conventions.
Quote: "Mae govannen" ("Well met" in Tolkein's Sindarin)
Look at me! I have boobs!
Description: These young girls are just starting to understand that they are on the verge of becoming women, and even though few of them would admit it, one of the reasons they come to conventions is to enjoy the attention from the mostly male populace.
Looks: Young girls, usually aged between fifteen and seventeen, wearing clothes that would make their mothers spank them had they known what their daughters were wearing.
Quote: "Can I play with you?"
Look at me! I don't want to be here!
Description: This stereotype is perhaps the most pathetic convention-lurker you'd ever meet. He didn't really want to come to the convention, and was dragged there by a friend or a girlfriend. Most of the time he'll just wonder about with a look of gloom on his face, mumbling about what a bad time he's having.
Looks: Somehow out of place - either dressed up too much, or not enough.
Quote: "I'm just waiting for my ride home"