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A Call to Vol—How to Volunteer for Organized Play at Gen Con 50!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Hard to believe the year passed so fast, but it's time again to invite people to help out with Pathfinder Society activities at Gen Con. As in prior years, Paizo is once again a co-sponsor with our booth on the Exhibit Floor, seminars galore, and activities in the Sagamore Ballroom. But we have a few changes in store as well. So grab some coffee, get comfortable, and see what Organized Play has up its sleeve for the "Best Four Days in Gaming!"

Several weeks ago, I put out a call for volunteers to fill Department Head and Lead positions at Gen Con 50. It pleases me greatly to introduce this year's team. They and the PFS team will work closely to make Gen Con 50 the smoothest and most awesome event to date!


Jon Cary, Bob Jonquet, Todd Morgan, and Lucas Servideo

Department Heads

Kelly Brummond, Seth Brummond, Kevin Hanley, Tina Saunders, Walter Sheppard, Mark Stratton, and Dominick Trascritti.

What plans we have for this year! Adventure Card Guild (ACG) returns with play from all published Seasons, including Season of Plundered Tombs and Season of the Goblin. Back as well is the ever-popular Gen Con Open, bigger and badder than ever. On the Roleplaying Guild (RPG) side, we're offering a variety of scenarios from the current Year of the Stolen Storm, as well as some retro events from past Seasons. Season 9 takes off as well, though you'll have to wait until PaizoCon to hear the devious diabolical awesome plots concocted by John and the PFS team.

Following in the footsteps of last year's interactive, 8-00: The Cosmic Captive, Friday night's interactive will include both ACG and RPG components. Saturday evening will have a large event for RPG and Sunday sees the finals of the ACG Gen Con Open! The team has a few surprises up our sleeves, but the time is not yet ripe to share them. Once the schedule is finalized, we will share with our players via blog and Gen Con's event page!

Back again is Pathfinder Society Academy (PSA) returns, bigger than ever. This year, we reserved 15 tables for youth-friendly games. The schedule includes lessons—Beginner, Advanced, and Transitions—similar to prior years, as well as full scenarios from the Pathfinder Society catalog. Having a dedicated area for our youth and their families gives us the opportunity to offer positive experiences in a youth-friendly format.

At this time, we are still in discussions about what to do with our demo space. Until those are concluded, I don't want to make any announcements. Once we decide, we will reach out to the volunteer pool to fill the slots.

The past few years saw the HQ volunteers and the GM volunteers on vastly different schedules. While this helped with some of the logistics and people moving, the HQ slots were long and mixed groups couldn't match up their schedules. This year, we are trying a different approach. HQ schedules are shorter, but start an hour before the slot starts. We've adjusted the session requirements per Tier accordingly and returned the store credit to $10/slot for all volunteers.

The biggest change, besides HQ volunteer scheduling, is the addition of Midnight Madness. Well, midnight is a bit of a misnomer, since the slot starts at 2:00 AM. So I'll call it the "overnight" slot. We are keeping it small as we test the waters and see how many people are up and wanting to game. So our games this year run around the clock - (8:00 AM to 1:00 PM, 2:00 PM to 7:00 PM, and 8:00 PM to 1:00 AM, 2:00 AM to 7:00 AM), with the exception of Sunday (9:00 AM to 2:00 PM). I also need a few volunteers to help set up Wednesday Morning and teardown Sunday Afternoon. If you are interested in either of these slots, which don't count towards your Tier requirements but do earn store credit and pizza, please indicate your interest in the Notes section of the Volunteer Questionnaire.

Volunteer Slot Schedule

Wednesday Afternoon
Thursday Morning7:30 AM to 1:00 PM7:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Thursday Afternoon1:30 PM to 7:00 PM1:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Thursday Evening7:30 PM to 1:00 AM7:00 PM to 1:00 AM
Thursday Overnight1:30 AM to 7:00 AM1:00 AM to 7:00 AM
Friday Morning7:30 AM to 1:00 PM7:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Friday Afternoon1:30 PM to 7:00 PM1:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Friday Evening7:30 PM to 1:00 AM7:00 PM to 1:00 AM
Friday Overnight1:30 AM to 7:00 AM1:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Saturday Morning7:30 AM to 1:00 PM7:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Saturday Afternoon1:30 PM to 7:00 PM1:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Saturday Evening7:30 PM to 1:00 AM7:00 PM to 1:00 AM
Saturday Overnight1:30 AM to 7:00 AM1:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Sunday Morning8:30 AM to 2:00 PM8:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Sunday Afternoon

Volunteers may sign up for a number of shifts during the convention, which translates into Tier status. No volunteer should plan on volunteering for more than 8 slots. We want you to see the convention too! When filling out the Volunteer Questionnaire, please use the following chart to determine your Tier status.

Tier Status Chart

Tier 18 Slots7 Slots
Tier 27 Slots6 Slots
Tier 36 Slots5 Slots
Tier 45 Slots4 Slots
Tier 54 Slots3 Slots
Tier 63 Slots2 Slots
Tier 72 Slots1 Slot
Tier 81 SlotN/A

Rewards are very similar to last year. Based on their tier, volunteers receive a variety of perks, including a free 4-Day Gen Con 2017 badge, 1/4 of a room at the Westin in downtown Indianapolis, a hardcover book, store credit, and an exclusive tier-based boon (RPG) or reward (ACG). At this time, we are not sure which of the great books we are offering—too many great things coming off the presses. Once that is decided, I will let the volunteers know. Also, volunteers are given shirts every other year, based on the number of days they volunteer.

Volunteer Perk Chart

TierBadgeHotelBookT-ShirtsStore CreditBoon/Reward
Tier 2
Tier 3
Tier 4
Tier 5
Tier 6
Tier 7
Tier 8

We are putting the call out with the intent that we can let all prospective volunteers know their status before the Gen Con housing lottery goes live on February 12th, since housing in downtown Indianapolis is at a premium. As a side note, you need to have a badge to register for the housing. So if you volunteer as a Tier 3-4 volunteer and want housing downtown, you must purchase a GM badge from Gen Con and proceed to register for the lottery. When I receive our GM badge allocation, I will add a GM badge to your account and you may request a refund of the badge you purchased. This is the only way to access the housing lottery! For Tier 1-2 volunteers, I will send your housing information when our block is assigned in June.

Related to housing is roommate preference. To save my sanity when doing room assignments, volunteers may request either one roommate (to fill a bed) or three (to fill a room). It is imperative that roomies put each other on their questionnaire—so Bob lists Jon and Jon lists Bob and I put them in a room together. If you list someone that doesn't list you back, then I do not guarantee you will wind up in the same room. There is also a choice for "no preference". When assigning rooms, I tend to group like together. There is a Notes section of the questionnaire to supply more information. If there is anything I should take into consideration when placing you in a room, please add it here!

Summary (TL;DR)

  • Decide to volunteer—choose Tier based on charts above.
  • Ensure you have a Gen Con account (create at Gen Con Website)
  • Complete the Volunteer Questionnaire
  • Check your email for a letter confirming your volunteer status.

If you have any questions, send them via email to

For those looking to volunteer at PaizoCon, I'll be putting that call out in February.

Thank you to all our volunteers and players who make the Pathfinder Society so fantastic! The team and look forward to seeing you at Gen Con 50! Let's roll some dice!

Tonya Woldridge
Organized Play Coordinator

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Conventions Gen Con Gen Con 2017 Pathfinder Society
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Liberty's Edge *

Is leadership considering having different t-shirts for those volunteers that are running Starfinder tables?


Swiftbrook wrote:
GenCon Refund Policy wrote:
All badge refunds are subject to a $10 administrative fee. There are no exceptions.
Still no badge. Seems like Paizo has really dropped the ball.

Badge has been credited to my account!

I've emailed GenCon customer service requesting a refund.

Liberty's Edge *

I did not have to ask for a refund, it was processed automatically.

And there is not administrative fee. If they try that one, talk to a supervisor.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Wondering if the same applies to the exhibitor badge I just received notice on. Will give it awhile; at least until I get home tonight.

Liberty's Edge *

Don't see why it wouldn't. But there are busy at GenCon so maybe a remind would not be out of order. :)

But they worked pretty fast for me. I think they may have a process that checks for accounts with more than 1 badge on it.

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Lieutenant, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East aka thistledown

My GM badge also dropped today. But as it's after June 15th, it says I have to wait until Thursday at-con, drop off my purchased badge then, and that I'll get my refund some time after the convention.

So, not only are there no games to sign up for, but I'm out money on the badge until after the con. I'm tempted to drop out of the con entirely after how badly you messed this up, but now I'm worried I wouldn't get my refund at all.

Liberty's Edge *

Maybe because of this situation GenCon will process a refund. After all, you are volunteering and Paizo has already (or will) paid them for the badge.

Don't give up hope. Never hurts to ask!


I receive a refund, sort of. I had system credit left over from last year (some generic ticket returns). When I purchased my badge I was required to use the system credit. When event registration opened, I purchased my tickets. So now, when GenCon 'refunded' my badge (full value) they also restored my system credit which I can't use this year because I've already purchased my event tickets.

Liberty's Edge *

Yea they did that to me too. Did you select will call or USPS? They refunded my USPS and now I have pickup my tickets.


Gary Bush wrote:
Yea they did that to me too. Did you select will call or USPS? They refunded my USPS and now I have pickup my tickets.

No, they didn't, but my USPS was a separate transaction. I believe you still have time to switch to USPS - I think that option closes July 2??

Liberty's Edge *

Yea. I am saving the money. I plan to pick up my tickets at will call after Thursday night starfinder event.

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Lieutenant, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East aka thistledown

They came through with my refund today. So at least that's taken care of.

Now I just need some games to sign up for.

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