Pathfinder Society Overview for Gen Con
Monday, July 9, 2012
This year's Gen Con will be the most ambitious for Pathfinder Society yet. With Gen Con being the largest gaming convention in North America, I thought of how I could make Pathfinder Society bigger and better than it has ever been, while improving the quality for our players. So, I wanted to give an overview of what to expect from Pathfinder Society if you are attending Gen Con this year.
Last year, we ran 50 tables of Pathfinder Society scenarios per slot. We sold out almost all tickets within the first week of ticket sales going live, so I knew I wanted to expand our play opportunities. In 2011, we had four rooms attached with the walls open to create one large Pathfinder Society gaming hall. It was fairly crowded with so many tables in that one area, so we requested and received seven rooms this year. Having almost doubled the size of the gaming hall, I wanted to expand the number of tables but also increase the amount of room between tables, as I know this was a suggestion from last year made by numerous players and GMs. So, I only added 50 percent more tables this year, expanding the Pathfinder Society gaming hall to 75 tables per slot.
Another piece of good feedback we received was that with the Pathfinder Society HQ set up against one wall, the people on the other end of the gaming hall had a difficult time interacting with HQ. With this year's hall having almost double the size, I wanted to change things up a bit to make it easier for both GMs and players to interact with HQ. Therefore, we are making a larger Pathfinder Society HQ and placing it in the center of the gaming hall. In addition, I have assigned 8–10 volunteers per gaming slot to work solely in Pathfinder Society HQ to help facilitate administrative tasks more quickly, including getting data entry of tracking sheets completed while at the con. This will also help us to correct any errors that come up on site as opposed to weeks later after the show. The volunteers will also serve to muster GMs and players to tables, facilitate the prize table, and various other tasks.
We will also be introducing Season 4 of the Pathfinder Society to all of you. The new Pathfinder Society Guide to Organized Play (which will be the focus of a blog post in a few weeks) will go live, and I think many of you will appreciate the new rules changes and tweaks. We will still have some favorite scenarios from Season 3, as well as the final four Season 3 scenarios that were launched at PaizoCon. But we will also be debuting the Year of the Risen Rune with four brand-new scenarios to help kick off Season 4. In total, we will have 18 different scenarios for players to choose from.
In addition, we will have the largest Gen Con Special to date, seating 450 players to complete the adventure as a group, similar to the Year of the Shadow Lodge and Blood Under Absalom from the last two Gen Cons. This year, we have added to the Special and created a competitive, exclusive second round of play that will only be available at Gen Con 2012. The top three tables from each tier will advance to the second round by utilizing a secret scoring system. I have hand selected only four- and five-star GMs to judge these tables, with many of them being current or former Venture-Captains. We may also have a celebrity GM or two to add to the mix. Every table that advances to the second round will receive a better Chronicle sheet than that which was received in the first round and awarded to all players. The top table from each tier in the second round will receive a unique Chronicle sheet awarding a very special, one-of-a-kind prize that will only be available at Gen Con.
Don't worry if you miss out on those two Chronicles. We will also have 18 new Pathfinder Society convention Chronicles available to win. This year, for every two events you play in, you will win something, whether it be a special Pathfinder Society boon or a Pathfinder product.
In addition to all of the above, we are launching three new events this year for Gen Con 2012. We are adding the Kid's Track, the Beginner Box Introductions, and the GM 101 workshops.
For the Kid's Track, we have set aside two tables for the morning and afternoon slots that are for children attending Gen Con, offering them a chance to play the Beginner Box Intro adventures with other children their age. These slots are 2 hours each and will be run four times each day at each of the two tables. A different adventure will be run each day of Gen Con, and any child who completes all four will receive a special certificate denoting his or her achievements. In addition, we will be providing pregenerated characters, as well as the corresponding miniature from the Beginner Box Heroes miniature pack, for the child to keep. If the child plays all four adventures with a different pregen, she can walk away with the full set. We will also be providing parents a coupon for 10% off the purchase of the Beginner Box while at the show. Finally, we will be providing each child a set of dice to keep.
For the Beginner Box Introductions, I decided to make this a 5-hour, paid slot this year. The first hour will have the GM explaining the basic rules of the game, reviewing the pregenerated characters, and answering any questions. The final 4 hours of the slot will allow the players to play through all four of the Beginner Box Intro adventures that were used for the Beginner Box Bash last October.
The GM 101 workshops were launched at PaizoCon for their final test run and will be making their official debut at Gen Con. The workshops were developed by the Georgia regional coordinators, and then over the past 6 months, with the help of several awesome Venture-Captains across North America, we tested various ideas for GM 101 classes in their regions. We took those ideas, formulated the best ones into a grouping, and drafted up solid guidelines for what we are calling the GM 101 workshops. As they are 5 hours long, and knowing your time is valuable at Gen Con, we broke the program into two parts. The first part, which will run for 2 hours, is titled Pathfinder GM Basics. This introductory program focuses on improving GMing skills, handling challenges, and giving a great table experience. Part 1 includes four breakout sessions covering Roleplaying and Lore, Combat and Rules, Running the Game, and Advanced Topics. Part 2 is titled Practice Makes Perfect. Part 2 of this program introduces the Deck of Many Situations, a tool to help GMs focus on improving their improvisational technique while applying the lessons learned in Part 1. Participants draw cards that detail difficult GMing situations, and have a brief period to resolve their respective situations before time is called. Our experienced GMs offer advice and techniques based on observation of your GMing style tailored to help you sharpen your skills and improve your expertise.
Finally, for those not familiar with Pathfinder Society, we will be hosting two Pathfinder Society Q&A sessions on Thursday and Saturday morning. We hope that any player who has wanted to try out Pathfinder Society but hasn't for whatever reason, will come to one of these seminars, ask any questions he or she might have, and then try out Pathfinder Society sometime during the course of the convention.
With just over a month away, I am excited about my first Gen Con as Pathfinder Society Campaign Coordinator. I have tried to put together the best possible programming for all of you and hope to make this your best Pathfinder Society experience to date. There are still tickets available for most scenarios, but those numbers will continue to rapidly decrease the closer we get to the show. If you haven't purchased your event tickets yet, head over to the Gen Con event registration site to do so. You don't want to miss out on all the new and exciting things we have planned for Pathfinder Society at Gen Con 2012.
See you in August!
Pathfinder Society Campaign Coordinator