I have heard some initial reports about #9-16 being a bit slow compared to some other Quest packs.
As a result, I kinda need to get a 'feel' for the bunch before I run them 'in prime time' Friday morning.
I'm arriving Wednesday evening, and as provisioning appears to have been pushed off until Thursday, I'm strongly considering running a 'practice run' for credit on Wednesday night.
Would folks be interested?
I tend to give my players a circumstance modifier if they can prove in a quick fashion (or let me know in advance before play really begins) that they may have information that might be pertinent to given Knowledge rolls.
If they have IC documentation it may be a larger modifier, and if it really tickles me it may be larger still.
...it's happened a couple of times, it wasn't 'quote from Bestiary X' but rather things like "Fought a Mouthy thing. It got Clyde Sick and was really noisy" for example.
No pressure or anything, of course!
Seriously, GenCon is one of the bigger RPG conventions out there in the 'traditional' sense (not like say, PAX or such).
There's a lot of blood, sweat, and tears that goes into making the convention and all events within it go off with as little disruption as possible.
Having seen two sides of the beast (organizational/HQ volunteer last year, GM for the Special the year before) I can say that it is an ever-evolving thing that tries to learn from the previous lessons and move forwars -- unlike some other organizations who have remained FIRMLY mired in out-dated paradigms and antiquated means when easier and simpler methods have grown.
Two years ago, I was assigned a Special table less than two weeks before and was able to make a go of it, though I did feel afterwards that I could have done a MUCH better job with more prep time.
This needs to be balanced,of course, with the logistical implications of such a thing -- scenarios don't magically spring into being moments after their announcement. Development time under optimal situations could take as little as weeks... or as long as years depending on what is being developed for scenarios.
Overall, the quality of scenarios in recent years has really improved.
The OrgPlay leadership team does try to get information about maps out as soon as possible, and some VOs even work together at times to put together print run packages to help out with custom maps for a modest investment.
I had a table recently at a convention that was horribly o/p for the scenario I was running.
Despite that, and without deviating from 'as written' we were able to have a great time with the scenario -- BECAUSE the table Explored, Reported, and Cooperated with each other.
And I think that gets lost in these discussions.
The team working together is the primary (non-prestige point) goal of any PFS table.
If a random table of three to seven folks can sit down, work together, and have fun and make it fun for the GM rather than a chore, that's when everyone 'wins at Pathfinder Society'.
How soon will the maps be known for this, I have an order standing by but I don't want to execute it until I can get any ones I need for this.
And the window for shipping inexpensively is closing rapidly It has to be at my place no later than the 22nd
Alternatively, purchasing at PaizoCon will be an option, IF they have the maps available...
At the same time, it is important to respect the boundaries that GM volunteers have set for themselves, and realize that not everyone has the same mastery or comfort level 'out of the gate'.
For PFS, to give an example, it took me nearly two years to feel 'comfortable' enough with play before I took up GMing. I suspect it will be something similar for Starfinder -- I don't want to take on the duties before I'm ready for them.
Imagine an area about a foot wide by about nine inches deep in front of each player.
That's all the space a six player table provides in most good conditions.
Unless the laptop is really small, it will get clumsy really quick.
In addition, laptops are kinda bad because they block line-of-sight to players and when players are using laptops they talk down 'into' them (at least, that's been my GMing experience with them at the table?) EDIT: Not saying they'd be unwelcome, and in fact there are at least a couple of folks in the local area I GM at that NEED the laptops because they have disabilities that make it difficult for them to read a 'normal' character sheet.
Tablets are much better, but be sure to have some sort of 'hard copy' of at least the characters/chronicles you're using, just in case your battery dies -- access to power is exceptionally limited in the main room.
Your Mileage May Vary.
I typically need a month before a scenario to 'prep' it well (including playing if possible in a 'Slot 0'), and when I don't have that much time to prep around the job my GM performance degrades dramatically.
I do NOT run 'cold' as a result.
Burnt that shirt years ago and have no desire to acquire a new one.
Ironically, the triggering table was a last-minute addition to the schedule as a 'just in case we had overflow' at a local convention, then we pushed it back a slot because we had a table full of folks with nothing to play and I had it prepped and handy (and one sign-up in the slot it was going to go in initially).
That allowed me to do an 'overflow' table of something else that was running in the mid-slot and get that one sign-up seated.
Thank you for everyone that's chimed in here!
And so it was, that the hard-working GM Wageslave did verily and directly recieve direction from the leadership, and Quests were determined the Order of the Weekend, starting the Convention off and ending the Convention.
Yea, forsooth a Scarred Solstice of the tertiary was also forecast for the eve of the Sunday!
For my GM prep process I kinda need to play a scenario through first, so I have an idea of pacing and what things to emphasize and what things are 'not as important' to carrying the scenario.
It also allows me to look at a scenario and go "Yeah... this could be a rough one for this table, how do I run this as written with the characters being brought while still keeping it a fun experience for everyone?"
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
This would also have an additional side-benefit of incentivizing 'up and coming' GMs to GM more.
There are GMs out there who, through no fault of their own, have had a significant number of tables that 'don't fire'.
I'm one of them.
I've been GMing for almost three years now, but due to workload (work in retail) and personal health reasons I have to sort of pick and choose carefully how much I load up my personal schedule.
I burnt out on two GM 'grinds' in a different organized campaign.
I don't wish that fate on anyone, but it would and has happened.
If we went to the Option 2 Metric, in light of the above, the humble request would be 25% of whatever the identifier is for every ranking. (Yes, that includes 1 Star).
If we factor in Novas (another organized campaign that GMs are showing a committment for) then let's reduce for those folks who have both Novas and Stars the table cost by 50%.
Whatever option is ultimately decided upon, please consider the fact that there are those people who are devoted to the campaign but cannot push the hundreds of tables that are required currently in 5e to reach the ranks of the elite.
Shouldn't we also be focusing on quality as well as quantity? How can we make this happen as an organization moving forwards?
Are all GMs now going to be required to wear bodycams at all times, roll all dice in the open, and show the players the creature statblocks? And make nifty notes about awesome things the players did on the chronicle sheets so everyone can remember the awesome play time will be prohibited?
At what level do we micromanage the job to the point that it'd be better done by lousy MMO-logicking processes?
Does this mean that when the GM looks at the clock and GM 101/102s it and goes "This isn't an important fight, we're moving the action along since you've got this" they're 'cheating' to try and provide a better play experience for the players?
Does this also mean that if the player characters completely invalidate the tactics of the opponents but leave few other options, the opponents cannot (for example) surrender if their morale condition allows for it?
I've been in campaigns that have tried to micro-manage GMs. I'm not affiliated with them anymore for those sorts of above reasons (well, except the bodycam -- the tech wasn't there yet).
DO NOT WANT.