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Congratulations to two new Five Star GMs

Pathfinder Society® General Discussion

Paizo Employee ***** Global Organized Play Coordinator

3 people marked this as a favorite.

I am happy to announce that we were able to add two new five star GMs to the ranks of Pathfinder Society.

Please join me in congratulating the outstanding efforts of John Compton and Chris Mortika as the newest five star GMs.

Great work guys.

Shadow Lodge **** ACG and RPG Venture-Lieutanant, California—Fresno aka ThreeEyedSloth

Congratulations!! That's awesome.

**** RPG Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Richmond aka thunderspirit

Congrats to Chris and to John (both of whom I've met once, LOL)! You guys have reached the cream of the crop -- Kyle Baird's five stars notwithstanding, of course ;-). Well done!

The Exchange ***


Well done, Yahirma/JC.

And someday we will play/meet, Mortika! Congrats.


Silver Crusade *****

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Cards, Maps Subscriber

Congrads John and Chris

Liberty's Edge ***

Grats guys!!!

Shadow Lodge ***** RPG Venture-Captain, Washington—Eastern Washington aka WalterGM

Double Kudos!

Liberty's Edge ***** RPG Venture-Captain, Georgia—Atlanta

Georgia PFS strikes again... providing Pathfinder Society with it's Coordinator, a 5 star GM, several 4 star GM's, and the infamous Joe Caubo!

Congrats John Compton!

Dark Archive ***** RPG Venture-Lieutenant, Massachusetts—North Shore aka LackofFocus



Grats both of you.

The Exchange ****

Congrats John!!!

The Exchange

Congrats guys!

I haven't had the opportunity to play at one of John's tables yet, but was fortunate enough to have Chris drove up to run a table for us in the Twin Cities, and he definitely runs the table like I would envision a 5 star GM would run.

Thank you guys for what you have done for the community thus far :)

Scarab Sages *** RPG Venture-Captain, Texas—San Antonio aka Gornil

Congrats Chris and John! I've been lucky enough to play with Chris, and I hope to have him as a GM someday.

**** RPG Venture-Captain, California—San Francisco aka Pirate Rob

Max grats! All the grats!

Grand Lodge ****

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber



Congrats to a pair of talented and dedicated friends!

Grand Lodge ****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Congratulations, guys! You're GMing machines!

Silver Crusade ***** RPG Venture-Captain, Indiana—Bloomington aka CanisDirus


And also congrats to all GMs for a great weekend - just as an observer and late-night GM, I pretty much saw only smiles around the Pathfinder Society rooms.

The Exchange **

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber


Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Congrats! John ran the second special for us on Saturday and killed the whole party and I still think he's one of the best GM's I've had the privilege to play with.


Congratulations on an impressive achievement!

Silver Crusade *****

Congrats to you both!

Liberty's Edge **

Congratulations, John and Chris!! Thank you for all your hard work on behalf of Pathfinder Society!

Silver Crusade **

Congrats and well done! Thanks for being awesome GM's, now get yourselves out to a Con on the West Coast!

Silver Crusade ****

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I agree with AD above. A prerequisite to remain a 5-star GM is to play in the Bay Area Convention.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Congrats Chris, I enjoyed playing under you recently at Village Games, look forward to seeing you at the table soon.

Silver Crusade **

Lady Ophelia wrote:
I agree with AD above. A prerequisite to remain a 5-star GM is to play in the Bay Area Convention.

Oh my heavens. Bay Area Con. BACon.

This must happen.

***** RPG Venture-Lieutenant, Georgia—Atlanta aka CRobledo


The Exchange ***** RPG Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

Congratulations to the both of you!

Welcome to 5-Star Mountain. A concierge will see to your baggage. Due to the increased number of resident GMs, we regret that we must insist that all food coming up the mountain be transported in airtight containers. The yeti population has exploded due to the increased supply of prey (delivery persons) and the beasts have developed a particular craving for pizza. Personally I blame Todd for the whole mess.

Liberty's Edge *****

Wow despite the rumors Doug ISN'T Dead...


Liberty's Edge ***** RPG Venture-Lieutenant, California—Fresno aka Sarta

Grats you two!

Scarab Sages ** RPG Venture-Captain, Canada—Atlantic Regions aka Nuit


Lantern Lodge *

Well Deserved!


Congrats, guys! Keep up the good work.

Grand Lodge *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Tales Subscriber

Congratulations to both. This is a great achievement. Any star is worthwhile to celebrate - but the fifth star especially.

I'm now waiting for the first 5 star in Europe. A mountain top still not conquered. I guess I know the likely candidates and just need to sneak on their table.

Shadow Lodge ***** RPG Venture-Captain, Michigan—Alma

Qstor wrote:

Wow despite the rumors Doug ISN'T Dead...


Yeah, he pops in every now and then... Kinda like a bad penny if you ask me... ;D

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Congrats, guys!

Scarab Sages *** RPG Venture-Captain aka Daerthon

Veranize! Congrats Fellas!

Sczarni *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

Pathfinder wins!

The Exchange ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

1 person marked this as a favorite.

So, when board threads congratulate other people on their new star-status, I'll often pop in and ask the celebrant for any advice he or she might have for other GMs. Following that policy, I'll indulge my arrogance and assume that the following advice might be of use to somebody else. So, here's my personal, quirky, GM 101 counsel.

Preamble: At the end of Gen-Con 2011, I was a 1-star GM who decided to take a year and serve the PFS community as best I could. Along the way, I've traveled to twenty conventions in the upper Midwest, met people and improved. My Big Three Suggestions: Be aware of why you're making decisions, learn from as many people as you can, and don't be afraid to be spectacular.

1) I've developed a certain habit / style. I try to engage the PCs in dialog during the VC briefing. I try to tailor some NPCs or encounters specifically to mesh with the storylines and careers of the PCs, giving them a chance to shine. I use poker chips to indicate damage done to NPCs. These are just some examples.

More importantly, I try to keep in mind the reasons I make decisions at a table. Why do I stay this far in character as this particular NPC, why do I add or change some fluff, why do I present information in this manner or another? (I write this, because there are some other GMs who make "good decisions" for bad reasons, who seem to be doing funny voices just for their own amusement, or altering details and tactics so as to continually adjust the difficulty of a scenario.)

I try to make decisions in light of three questions: "Does this action help the players immerse themselves in their characters during the adventure?" "Does this action make for a memorable adventure for these players?" and "Does this action advance the health of the PFS community?"

2) I need to play as many sessions of Pathfinder Society as I judge, under a lot of different GMs. As a player, I need to pay attention to the things they do -- Kyle Baird has great hand-outs, Bob Jonquet is very patient with his players, Ryan Bouldan is organized -- and also to the reactions of the other players at the table. I endeavor to steal the good things, while avoiding the things that don't work well.

In the last four months, I've been pushing to reach 150 tables by GenCon, so I've distorted that ratio. I'm looking forward to getting back into the habit of bringing a few PCs to conventions and learning what I can from your styles.

3) I shouldn't be afraid to be spectacular. If the playrs find a small chest with gold coins in it, can I find a prop for that? If an NPC painfully transforms into a were-ant, is there any way to convey that through my physicality? Can I show players a picture of the place they're going, or play quiet gypsy music in the background as they meet with a Sczarni caravan?

Central to this is preparation. I can't do anything cool if I'm just treading water and trying to survive a session. If 4 to 6 people are willing to sit at my table and let me guide them through a story about their precious PCs, then I need to treat that privilege with the respect of preparing the adventure as best I can.

Consonant with that is (a) attention to the GM threads about a scenario and a willingness to discuss the details with other GMs, and (b) a strong preference to re-run the same adventures repeatedly. The first time I run a scenario, it's always a little rocky. After the fifth time, I'm much more confident.

Magician Al Goshman famously said "A professional is someone who's always performing the same act for new people. An amateur is somebody who's always performing new material for the same people."

Thanks, all for your kind words. Here's to the next 150. Maybe not all of them between now and next GenCon.

John, what's your advice?

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

@Chris: Posts like that make me want to be a better GM. Thank you.

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