Time to offer you a blog post from one of our farthest-flung Pathfinder Society lodges in the world. From what I have been told, there has not been much of any kind of organized play, outside of Magic: The Gathering, in South Africa ever. When I saw one of our RPG Superstar hotshots was running Pathfinder Society there, I knew I had to reach out to him. I can’t say I ever expected to have Pathfinder Society coordinated anywhere on the African continent, except maybe in Egypt, so I was thrilled when Jerall accepted the Venture-Captain position after a series of emails.
Without further ado, I present to you Jerall’s report on Pathfinder South Africa.
South Africa is home to a varied mix of peoples, cultures, and eleven official languages. It is a strange country with a blend of beautiful natural spaces, burgeoning metropolises, and incredible wealth alongside abject poverty.
South African roleplayers are an eclectic bunch, each bringing a unique collection of experiences to the table. People from all over the world, including, historically, greater Africa, Asia, and Europe, have settled in South Africa—not too dissimilar from a real-world Absalom. It’s in this space that my fellow volunteers and I hope to grow the South African Pathfinder Society Lodge.
Earlier this year, Mike Brock noticed that we had begun reporting a few South African events each month. Mike contacted us through our event organizer email addresses and, a few emails later, we were well on our way to formalizing and growing Pathfinder Society Organized Play in Cape Town, and later Durban, and even ICON 2012, South Africa’s biggest convention in Johannesburg.
Classified as megadiverse, South Africa is a large country, encompassing nine different provinces, featuring eight major terrestrial biomes, and over 1.2 million square kilometers. At the moment, my two Venture-Lieutenants and I are focusing on three areas in particular: Cape Town and the Western Cape, Durban in Kwa-Zulu Natal, and the Gauteng province, which includes both Pretoria and Johannesburg.
Roleplaying has a long history in South Africa, with our older conventions well into their second or third decades of existence. Traditionally though, any sort of gaming was only available to a rather small percentage of our total population. A few years ago, we saw many of our small game retailers shutting their doors. Now, however, South Africa is experiencing some sort of gaming renaissance with video-, board-, card-, and roleplaying gaming seeing a major upswing. New distribution channels are opening up regularly and gaming is slowly becoming cheaper and more accessible to a larger portion of our population. These days, you’ll even see numerous social outreach programs built around gaming—something that I’d like to see happen with Pathfinder Society South Africa too.
I organize and run a game day on every second Saturday at Fanaticus Hobbies and Games in Cape Town. In Durban, my Venture-Lieutenant, Paul, organizes and runs a game day once a month at the brand-new The Unseen Shoppe. At the moment we’re still a bit small—Cape Town sees about two tables per game day; Durban, one. The stores are particularly supportive, offering free use of their venues.
Of course, I’d like to see Pathfinder spread throughout the country. In Johannesburg, I have managed to arrange space at stores there, but we sorely lack for GMs in Gauteng. If you know of any Gauteng GMs looking for some help in setting up a regular game, send me an email and I’ll see if I can help kick off some regular games there. In fact, if you know of (or are) a GM, anywhere in the country, drop me a message and I’ll see about getting you started.
To find out more about the Durban scene, contact Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org. For Cape Town, contact me at email@example.com.
Venture-Captain, South Africa
Thank you to all of the VCs and VLs for kick-starting an awesome Pathfinder Society Lodge in South Africa. I look forward to the additions of new Venture-Captains and Venture-Lieutenants in other regions of the country and watching Pathfinder Society grow strong. Keep up the awesome work!
Pathfinder Society Campaign Coordinator