I had a great time at Dragon*Con two weekends ago and then spent several days in Birmingham working some things out with Books-A-Million. It’s going to be an exciting time for Pathfinder Society in 2013. One topic that came up in both Atlanta and Birmingham was international play of Pathfinder Society. It seems many people are genuinely interested in reading about Pathfinder Society Organized Play all over the world. So, we are going to publish another international Pathfinder Society blog post this week.
This time, we go to one of the oldest regions in the world, but one of our newest regions for Pathfinder Society. I always had Turkey, specifically Istanbul, as one of my geographic goals to get Pathfinder Society up and running. Istanbul has five million more people than New York City, an internationally renowned university, and a lot of young people hungry for RPGs in general, and campaign play specifically. So, watching the growth that Venture-Captain Can Sungur and his Venture-Lieutenants have helped facilitate is just awesome. They have grown from a new lodge 4 months ago, to one of the top five Pathfinder Society lodges in the world! Without further ado, I present to you Can Sungur’s report on Pathfinder Turkey.
This is Can Sungur, the Venture-Captain for Turkiye. I am a digital marketing consultant with past experiences in social media marketing and your classic, analog ad business, taking the title of strategist in all of these positions. I have been playing world’s oldest roleplaying game since 1999, when I played Baldur’s Gate 2 on my computer for the first time, and I have been a passionate d20 player and GM ever since.
I found out about Pathfinder and what Paizo was trying to create back in 2009, when Selçuk Gözübüyük, who was one of the eldest members of the Turkish roleplaying community, and who unfortunately passed away in 2011, introduced me to the Alpha version of Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Since then, I have been advocating Pathfinder by my personal effort and that effort was fading away with the constant pressure of my professional life. That changed 4 months ago, since the day we got the “go!” from Mike Brock, our coordinator.
Pathfinder Society in Turkiye is in its fourth month as of this blog post’s date. Let me tell you about the community in Turkiye and what’s been going on!
Pathfinder Society in Turkiye started in Istanbul. Spread on two continents and with a population count of 13 million, Istanbul is the cultural capital of Turkiye and the best place to start our Society operations. Of course, I haven’t been alone in this. I would like to thank my two partners in crime, the Venture-Lieutenants for Istanbul, Yücel Okçu and Mustafa Yılmaz. Also, a thank you goes to our team of voluntary Society agents: Mert Erten, Necati Burak Gücer, Caner Ünsal, Boğaçhan Aydın and Muvaffak Kıral. We got everything rolling together and I want to thank each of my friends for sharing my passion about Golarion.
The roleplaying community in Turkiye is quite small considering European countries and USA, but in the late years, Turkiye has been in the spotlight of many online gaming companies, especially free-to-play games, due to its great youth population. As a head start, we decided we would be targeting young players to our Society games.
Before we started gaming, we went into a month of preparations, planning on how to announce our program, designing launch posters and flyers, and opening communications with different universities. We launched Pathfinder Society games in the end of June in KONTAKT, a sub-culture convention.
Since June 30th, we have been through three organized play days, with the number of simultaneous sessions increasing steadily. Currently, we hold two biweekly organized play events each month. İstanbul Technical University is now hosting us in our organizations. So far, we have reached 74 players. And why are 74 players important? Well, probably most of our readers are in their thirties or more, with a more or less established roleplaying community in their local areas. Even being a metropolis, Istanbul and Turkiye is far from that. As we guessed before we started, most of our community is between 18–22 years, and most of our players have played their first roleplaying game with us! Imagine that! And in September, we have started monthly Pathfinder and Golarion Workshops to get our young GMs and players going. So many questions about all the lore and the systems and everything!
Here is a group photo from our third organized play event at ITU.
Also, the current community in Istanbul is very, very active! We have a couple of very talented people in our community. Here is a little goblin figure made by my girlfriend for my birthday—our lovely goblins are as popular as everywhere in Istanbul!
In the following months, Pathfinder Society is planning to expand to Ankara, Eskişehir, and İzmir, all three being centers of attention for roleplaying gamers. This will be very exciting for me, as we will be seeing new Venture-Lieutenants creating a community in their own city. Also, we are planning to merge our organized play events with conventions hosted at different colleges and universities.
A year ago, I felt like I was alone with all my knowledge about Golarion and I had the chance to chat about the game only with a couple of gaming friends. Now, all around me, I see Pathfinders coming up with questions about the nature of positive and negative energy, the secrets of the Mwangi, questions about aboleths, and of course crazy character builds! Just seeing people around me talking about optimizations, quarreling about factions, and of course, discussing various rules makes me very happy!
Can Sungur (gyrfalcon)
My heartfelt thanks goes out to all of the Venture-Captains and Lieutenants, coordinators, players, and GMs for making Turkey an amazing area for Pathfinder Society with phenomal growth. Keep up the awesome work all!
Pathfinder Society Campaign Coordinator