A Call to Vol II—Gen Con 2018!

Wednesday, January 17, 2017

I just finished attending MarsCon in Williamsburg, Virginia, and am making my way back to Seattle. An unexpected snowstorm kept me in Atlanta a bit longer than I planned, but piloting skill and no ice meant the plane flew today and I made it safely to Seattle this afternoon.

This weekend, badges for Gen Con went on sale. We sent the message out that our volunteer call would go live on Wednesday. So here it is! As the program continues to grow and evolve, we make changes from year to year to streamline processes and help the convention run smoothly. With over 300 volunteers and around 1700 tables of organized play games running, Gen Con is easily our largest event. This means even more attention on processes and efficiency. The changes below are the same adjustments we made to PaizoCon and are aimed at bringing all the large conventions into the same logistical umbrella.

First, we changed the nomenclature from session or slot to block. Each block is 5 hours. This unifies the terminology from the event support form used by our event organizers and keeps things consistent across the board.

Second, we ditched using the Tier system to describe how many volunteers. It is a RPGA holdover that caused confusion, as the lower number the tier, the more slots a person volunteered. Also, we have tiers for our scenarios, so having tiers for volunteers caused some confusion in our data. This year, you register for the number of 5-hour blocks you wish to volunteer.

Third, we are setting an 9-block maximum for volunteering, with the goal that no volunteer will do more than 8 blocks and that no one will be scheduled for more than 3 in a row. A full day is hard (been there, done that) and we want people to take breaks to sleep, eat, bathe, and see what the convention has to offer. This is really, really important, no matter how much of a GM/HQ machine you want to be!

Fourth, it is my understanding that the hotel lottery and badge refunds changed this year. I submitted our badge request and should be able to drop them into volunteer accounts as soon as we send out the acceptance letter and have an acknowledging email in reply. This should allow volunteers signing up for less than 8-blocks to submit their names for the hotel lottery, which occurs in February.

Fifth, we are looking at ways to streamline our processes and reduce the number of HQ personnel. In the interest of efficiency, we also are looking for volunteers willing to commit to 7 and 8 blocks. Anyone may volunteer for a HQ position, but I want to be forthright about the limitations of the position from the beginning.

Finally, we are looking to schedule tables bottom up, instead of top down. By starting off with a few tables of each scenario, then increasing based on ticket sales; we should be better poised to respond to player demand. Hopefully, this means that we will have fewer tables fail to make and fewer GMs released. Volunteers will have their block schedules before event registration opens, but may not have scenario list until late June/early July. We are still committed to getting scenarios into GMs hands at least 2 weeks before Gen Con starts. While this split schedule means more emails and paperwork, it should mean fewer changes at the last minute. Hopefully, a more streamlined system all around and more efficient use of our GM pool.

Block times:

BlockRPG/ACG GMsHQ
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
Friday Overnight1:00 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
Saturday Overnight1:30 AM to 7:00 AM1:00 AM to 7:00 AM
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
Sunday Overnight1:30 AM to 7:00 AM1:00 AM to 7:00 AM
Sunday Morning8:30 AM to 2:00 PM8:00 AM to 2:00 PM

We base benefits on how many blocks a volunteer commits to working. The chart below illustrates the breakdown:

Block CommitmentHotelPrint ProductBadgeT-ShirtsBoon/RewardStore Credit
8 BlocksChoice of 3
7 BlocksChoice of 3
6 BlocksChoice of 2
5 BlocksChoice of 1
4 BlocksChoice of 1
3 BlocksChoice of 1
2 Blocks
1 Block

The details of each benefit are as follows:

  • Room—One-quarter of a double room. Volunteers may indicate their roommates preferences when completing the questionnaire.
  • Badge—A free 4-Day Gen Con 2018 badge
  • Print Product—A FREE copy of one Paizo print product. Offerings are TBD, but will include at least one Starfinder and one Pathfinder title.
  • T-Shirts—Limited release t-shirts (purple for GMs and orange for support staff) given every other year.
  • Store Credit—Paizo.com store credit at $10 per slot
  • Boon/Reward—A Gen Con exclusive boon/reward for Starfinder (RPG), Pathfinder (RPG), or Pathfinder (ACG).

Those interested in volunteering, please complete the Gen Con 2018 volunteer questionnaire. The leads and I will consider everyone who completes the form, but reserve the right to select volunteers who have worked at Gen Con in prior years. When you complete the form, please read all the question descriptions, as they give details for what information we need to place volunteers where they are best suited.

If you have questions, please put them in the comments section of the questionnaire or email them to GenConLeads@gmail.com. Also, if you are willing to help with cleanup Sunday afternoon after the GM meeting (usually 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM), please indicate your availability in the comments section of the questionnaire. Volunteers assisting with cleanup will receive pizza for dinner, one additional block of store credit, and potentially other goodies.

Huge thanks to everyone who gives of their time and resources to help make us the largest organized play program in the world. We couldn’t do it without you!!! You are simply the best volunteer team out there and it is my greatest pleasure to work with all of you!

Until our next blog—Explore, Report, Cooperate!

Tonya Woldridge

Organized Play Manager

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Adventure Card Guild Conventions Gen Con 2018 Organized Play Pathfinder Society Starfinder Society
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Sovereign Court 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Missouri—Cape Girardeau

Got my schedule last week.
I have no complaints about any of it.
Thank you for all your hard work on this Bahb.

Grand Lodge 5/5 ⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Online—PbP aka Hmm

4 people marked this as a favorite.
The Amazing Dehning wrote:
It is my responsibility to not let my own feelings prejudice how I present or run the table. The players deserve that much from me.

Sometimes the scenario you get isn’t the best match for your style. My scenario is super simple — it’s meant as a demo, not a fully-fledged, story-rich scenario. I’m normally a storyteller and roleplay GM. So I am digging deep and considering that this is a teaching exercise for beginners. What I want them to do is to experience the joy of discovery and focus on the teaching. What can i do to to add to the excitement? How can I best answer their questions and bring sound effects and verve?

Find your cool bits where you can, and generate your own excitement!

Hmm

Sovereign Court 4/5 ⦵⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Agent, Georgia—Atlanta aka The Masked Ferret

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I am looking forward to seeing people I only ever see online!

Grand Lodge 5/5 ⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Online—PbP aka Hmm

Yeah, I’m not getting any Skittemander advancement either. Do you have a player as well as a GM chronicle, Ferret? Then at least you could check off three boxes on two separate chrons!

Hmm

Sovereign Court 4/5 ⦵⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Agent, Georgia—Atlanta aka The Masked Ferret

Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:

Yeah, I’m not getting any Skittemander advancement either. Do you have a player as well as a GM chronicle, Ferret? Then at least you could check off three boxes on two separate chrons!

Hmm

Sadly, no, I don't have my GM Star Re-run chronicle yet (I am saving the playthrough until I have a live skittermander).

Also, I don't think that you can get credit on two Skittermander chronicles at the same time...

Skittershot Chronicle wrote:
If you have multiple copies of this Chronicle sheet, you can only check boxes on one copy at a time.

The Exchange 1/5 ⦵⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Agent aka Shaudius

I think the intent of that is that you can't check boxes on multiple at once not that you can't run two concurrently. I think this is different than the alien archive boon.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

1 person marked this as a favorite.
JDDyslexia wrote:

I got my e-mail and confirmed it, but I did have a question:

So, I have 8 GM slots. Two are the PFS specials, but for the other 6, I was assigned the same scenario 6 times. While I think prepping 8 different scenarios for GenCon would have been daunting, I was kind of hoping for a bit more variety. Is this normal?

Is there any way I could, say, swap 3 of my tables with someone else so they get three tables of my scenario and I get 3 tables of their scenario? I hesitate because GMing the same scenario 6 times across 4 days seems like a lot, and I don't want to get sick of the scenario (especially if I don't think it's a good one).

As Jon indicated, yes our typical arrangement is to assign the fewest different scenarios to a GM to limit the burden of prep. For volunteers who are only running a few slots, it might mean a different scenario every time, but for those running 8 (or more) slots, we try not to exceed four different scenarios unless absolutely necessary and we especially try not to exceed five. It is exceedingly rare for someone to have to prep six or more different scenarios though it may happen on occasion.

This is a philosophical decision and we realize not everyone thinks the same way. Its why we provide the custom comment field at the end of the questionnaire where a volunteer can request whatever they want so we can take it under advisement when processing their schedule.

Once the schedules are built, we do not normally make changes unless there is a compelling reason. Every time a change occurs it creates the possibility of errors in the program. GMs prepping the wrong scenario (or sub-tier) forgetting a change in which slots they are assigned, etc. Changes like what Joe asks are better suited to be accommodated before the schedules are assigned. In our experience, once we start allowing GMs to pick and choose changes after the fact, it isn't too long before we are inundated with change requests some of which are not fully understood by all parties involved. It creates a lot of confusion and occasionally hurt feelings. As such, we avoid it.

That is not to say we are not flexible enough to "fix" issue that may arise from scheduling. If the volunteer only requested PFS and received an SFS schedule, that is a problem we need to correct. Or perhaps they did not offer overnight availability, but received a "third shift" schedule. Again, we would be compelled to fix that. Personal preference is not normally something we accommodate after the fact. The event is simply too large with too many volunteers to make repeated changes to the schedule and remain efficient or accurate.

Thank you for understanding.
Explore! Report! Cooperate!

Liberty's Edge 3/5 Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:

Sometimes the scenario you get isn’t the best match for your style. My scenario is super simple — it’s meant as a demo, not a fully-fledged, story-rich scenario. I’m normally a storyteller and roleplay GM. So I am digging deep and considering that this is a teaching exercise for beginners. What I want them to do is to experience the joy of discovery and focus on the teaching. What can i do to to add to the excitement? How can I best answer their questions and bring sound effects and verve?

Find your cool bits where you can, and generate your own excitement!

Hmm

This was my experience last year running the demos for Starfinder. I still ran into great role-players a enjoyed the experience a lot.

4/5 Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Southcoast aka JDDyslexia

Bob Jonquet wrote:

As Jon indicated, yes our typical arrangement is to assign the fewest different scenarios to a GM to limit the burden of prep. For volunteers who are only running a few slots, it might mean a different scenario every time, but for those running 8 (or more) slots, we try not to exceed four different scenarios unless absolutely necessary and we especially try not to exceed five. It is exceedingly rare for someone to have to prep six or more different scenarios though it may happen on occasion.

This is a philosophical decision and we realize not everyone thinks the same way. Its why we provide the custom comment field at the end of the questionnaire where a volunteer can request whatever they want so we can take it under advisement when processing their schedule.

Once the schedules are built, we do not normally make changes unless there is a compelling reason. Every time a change occurs it creates the possibility of errors in the program. GMs prepping the wrong scenario (or sub-tier) forgetting a change in which slots they are assigned, etc. Changes like what Joe asks are better suited to be accommodated before the schedules are assigned. In our experience, once we start allowing GMs to pick and choose changes after the fact, it isn't too long before we are inundated with change requests some of which are not fully understood by all parties...

Thanks, Bob. I don't mind doing it this way, and I understand not wanting to burden people with more than 4 to prep. I just didn't expect it to be that way, but that's not a problem. And I'm probably being paranoid about "not liking the scenario" as there are very few PFS scenarios I've run into that I haven't enjoyed. I will definitely make the most of what's assigned to me.

3/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Agent, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East

10 people marked this as a favorite.

My husband is GMing my scenario seven times at GenCon, so I just have to hope he’s still speaking to me at the end of it!

Grand Lodge 5/5 ⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Online—PbP aka Hmm

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Man, that is true love!!

Hmm

5/5 Venture-Captain, Ohio—Northern aka GinoA

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:
Man, that is true love!!

Or epic trolling on Bahb's part.

3/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Agent, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Dennis actually requested it!

Sovereign Court 4/5 ⦵⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Agent, Georgia—Atlanta aka The Masked Ferret

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Kate Baker wrote:
Dennis actually requested it!

That is a proud husband, there.

The Exchange 1/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Love my schedule!

Hectic but I love it!

Slot 2 1400-1900 Thursday Afternoon:.... GM Archlord's Envy

Slot 3 2000-0100 Thursday PM*:.......... GM PFS 8-99C Soltice Scar(1-2)

Slot 7 2000-0100 Friday PM*:.............GM PFS 10-00 Hao Jin Cataclysm(1-2)

Slot 10 1400-1900 Saturday Afternoon:....GM SFS 1-18 Blackmoon Survey

Slot 11 2000-0100 Saturday PM............GM SFS 1-99 Invasion of the
Scoured Stars(1-2)

All three specials again this year and the 2e Playtest! Only 21 days YIKES!

Sovereign Court 4/5 ⦵⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Agent, Georgia—Atlanta aka The Masked Ferret

If I ever get my badge,Well, got my badge. Why is there still a buy a badge button? Anyway, I might get to play in the Pathfinder specials!

so, room in 08-99C but no room in the tapestry...

Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

3 people marked this as a favorite.

We will be comparing ticket sales to GM availability again before the event so if you are interested in playing something that is currently sold out, keep on eye on the Gen Con catalog. Also, people cancel tickets from time to time. Another reason to watch the catalog. We often see a lot of tickets returned on Wednesday night/Thursday morning as player’s plans change

4/5 Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Southcoast aka JDDyslexia

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Kate Baker wrote:
My husband is GMing my scenario seven times at GenCon, so I just have to hope he’s still speaking to me at the end of it!

He's a rather brave man.

I think if the person who wrote the scenario I'm GMing sat at my table, my nerves would go into overdrive.

The Exchange 1/5 ⦵⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Agent aka Shaudius

I got notification that the scenario I'm running is in my downloads but is not yet available. Based on the email we received should I not be concerned until next Wednesday or does that only apply to the drop itself and I should poke someone about getting the scenario available for download. It is a scenario that is not yet released.

5/5 Venture-Captain, Ohio—Northern aka GinoA

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Shaudius wrote:
I got notification that the scenario I'm running is in my downloads but is not yet available. Based on the email we received should I not be concerned until next Wednesday or does that only apply to the drop itself and I should poke someone about getting the scenario available for download. It is a scenario that is not yet released.

Tonya has been granting drops on scenarios that aren't uploaded and ready to distribute since she'll be traveling when they are finalized. Once everything is in-place, they'll look like a normal download again automagically.

2/5

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Questions about what I need to prepare for GenCon – I’m scheduled to GM three scenarios, the two PFS specials and #9-14: Down the Verdant Path on Sunday. I understand that I’m also supposed to be ready to run an evergreen if there is insufficient demand for the scenario I’m scheduled to run.

I’m assuming that this won’t happen with the two specials, and that I only have to be concerned about possibly running an evergreen for #9-14, correct?

If I’m prepared to run either #9-16: Fallen Family, Broken Name (1-5) or #9-09: Beyond the Halflight Path (3-7), will that be sufficient?

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

You will likely want to read through all the evergreens mentioned so you are familiar with them. If you are called to run one in place of your regularly scheduled scenarios, you should be provided all the prep you need. You may only be given pawns to run with however.

2/5

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
You will likely want to read through all the evergreens mentioned so you are familiar with them. If you are called to run one in place of your regularly scheduled scenarios, you should be provided all the prep you need. You may only be given pawns to run with however.

So, I won't be given a choice of which evergreen to run? Also, I got links to two Starfinder scenarios, a game I have never played. Is there any chance, I'd be asked to run one of them?

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

They usually ask for volunteers to run what tables are available. If there isn't a table that wants to play your choice of evergreen, you will need to volunteer to run a different one.

3/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Agent, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Joe Bouchard wrote:
Kate Baker wrote:
My husband is GMing my scenario seven times at GenCon, so I just have to hope he’s still speaking to me at the end of it!

He's a rather brave man.

I think if the person who wrote the scenario I'm GMing sat at my table, my nerves would go into overdrive.

I wouldn't pull that on someone without arranging it ahead of time, but honestly, I think most of us are just delighted to see our adventures in action. I doubt any author would be scrutinizing your GMing.

The Exchange 1/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Is anyone else running 10-00 have it listed on their download page but it says it is still unavailable? Wondering if it is just me or if its not ready yet for download.

Grand Lodge 5/5 ⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Online—PbP aka Hmm

That’s common, Marc!

It’s been added to your account so that the moment it becomes available, you can download it. This is one of the joys of GenCon — because we’re getting adventures before everyone else, some of those adventures are not ready yet.

Keep an eye on the PF Resources Slack. The moment 10-00 becomes available, the discussion in the 10-00 channel will be fast and furious.

Hmm

The Exchange 1/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Ok thanks so much Hmm your awesome as usual!

Hopefully I will see you Friday morning in the Demo area! I took the morning slot off so I could peruse the exhibit hall and Im hoping to dipolmize, bluff, or intimidate my way into one of your table there!

Sovereign Court 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Missouri—Cape Girardeau

Question on Solstice Scar C. I as guessing that the center section of B is what is being dropped, as what happened from A to B?

Never Mind. I found C in my downloads just after I asked.

(For some reason it was not showing near the top of my downloads when sorted by date added or date modified.)

Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Just received confirmation that all scenario drops are complete. All GMs should look at their downloads and verify the presence of the materials needed to run your events. If anything is missing, please reply using the email we had sent you earlier this month with the schedule and let us know what is missing. I will be accumulating any notifications and submitting them at 10am (cst) tomorrow (Friday). With Tonya out of the office and customer service off on the weekend, if you do not notify us before that deadline, the next available window to make corrections will be Monday.

Sovereign Court 4/5 ⦵⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Agent, Georgia—Atlanta aka The Masked Ferret

Will there be any more slots of the 10-00 Hao Jin special available?

Dark Archive 4/5

Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Glen Parnell wrote:
Will there be any more slots of the 10-00 Hao Jin special available?

Seems unlikely - they did a refactor of available slots a few weeks ago and I wouldn't expect another before the convention. Your best bet if you want to play is to show up with generics and wait in the line.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Glen Parnell wrote:
Will there be any more slots of the 10-00 Hao Jin special available?

If you are asking as a player, the answer is it depends on if/when more GMs step up. The last time we updated ticket availability it was based on GM count.

If you are asking because you want to GM, send an email the the genconleads address and express your interest.

The Exchange 1/5 ⦵⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Agent aka Shaudius

I'm just putting this here so there's a record of it before Gen Con itself. The emails I've been receiving have stated that only tokens from this year will be accepted at the redemption. I specifically asked Tonya about this at Origins and was told I would be able to use my tokens from there at Gen Con, so I am now apparently the proud owner of 18 tokens that will now be worthless.

If you're wondering why you struggle to get enough volunteers, its relatively little things like this. I put in 40 hours of work at Origins, will be doing likewise at Gen Con, and will likely end up with less boons because of what turned out to be a lie.

Maybe this will be addressed at Gen Con itself, but if its not I will not be back volunteering next year, and I will tell everyone I know to not volunteer either. Its really demoralizing.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

Just a reminder. We are processing notifications of missing scenarios just as quickly as possible. Paizo customer service is bustin' their ass like a champ to get them done the next day. As of this moment, every notification of missing materials has been submitted and should be resolved by end of business tomorrow. Watch your download accounts and thank you for your continued patience.

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