April Update—Second Seekers, Novas, Spotlights, and Conventions!

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

I'm currently on a road trip through Oregon, Idaho, and Washington, getting a bit of personal time before delving back into convention season. John Compton and Jason Bulmahn just returned from GameStorm in Portland and from brief conversations the convention seemed to go well (maybe we can get a few more details in a future blog!). When I get back on Monday, I've got a few more weeks in the office packed with blog writing, con planning, meetings, finalizing details Pathfinder Society for Second Edition, and working on items for the current programs, before I head out to KoboldCon in Colorado Springs.

Regarding current programs, we need your help! As we approach the launch of Starfinder Society Year 2, we are calling all Starfinders who've championed the Second Seeker faction and purchased the Rising Star boon to send in your character information. For those with the boon in their sights, the deadline for submissions is May 1 at midnight Pacific time. Any items received after the deadline will be retained for future use. Players should email their character information to us at organizedplay@paizo.com. We reply to all submissions, so if you've sent it in and not heard back, please resend.

Campaign Coins

We distributed no campaign coins in March due to our lessened travel schedule. Huge thank yous to all that sent in recommendations over the past month. We would love to have more suggestions for deserving members of our community. Anyone can make a recommendation, not just the Venture-Officer or GM teams. Please take a moment and email me at organizedplay@paizo.com with their name, location, and the reasons you feel they deserve recognition for their service. This message should be a synopsis of what the volunteer does that benefits your community, and does not need to be overly detailed or involved. If you are able, please include what events they may attend in 2019 so that we can either make awards in person (preferred) or make arrangements for remote presentation.

Stars

We are now into the second quarter of 2019 and convention season started in earnest. Our GMs this month took advantage of all the opportunities to run games and earned their 5th star. To achieve this milestone, GMs run 150 games, of which at least 50 must be unique scenarios and 10 Special scenarios, as well as run a game for a venture-captain. A conservative estimate of time needed to reach 5-stars is 650 hours! To the GMs listed below, thank you very much for the time and energy you spend running Pathfinder Society games! Huge congratulations on your achievement!

Chris Murphy
Bill Swathwood

Novas & Glyphs

After soliciting opinions from a variety of sources and then lots of brainstorming and discussion, we formulated a plan for Novas which also will apply to Pathfinder Society Glyphs later this year.

Requirements will remain similar to the existing Pathfinder Society Stars. A GM will need to run 150 games, of which ten must be special events, and the total must include 50 unique scenarios. Venture-Captain recommendation and processing are where the change comes in. After listening to quite a bit of feedback about what being a 5-star GM means, we've decided to add a qualitative element to the requirements. Our tech department is assisting us in making the process automated, so GMs qualifying for their 5th star won't have to wait for the monthly processing.

To add the qualitative element, we increased the number of adjudicated games 1 to 3. To help schedule the additional games, GMs can request Venture-Captain observation any time after their 100th game. Observations may be held in person, via web games, on VTTs, via PbP, or any other medium that is currently being used by the community. Venture-Captains will evaluate GMs on 5-6 criteria based on a published rubric. There will not be numerical scoring, but a system of does not meet/meets/exceeds expectations. GMs will need to accumulate a better than average score on each evaluation, which means they can have all meets and 1 exceeds expectations and qualify. They could also have a does not meet, 2-3 meets, and 2 exceeds expectations and qualify. A GM cannot complete more than three evaluations in a weekend. Any GM that fails to meet the criteria may wait three months and try again.

At this point, we have a rubric that we are soliciting feedback on and working on the last bits of tech. I hope to have the final bits hammered out in the next few weeks, so we can publish the rubric and get our 4-novas GMs started on their path.

Upcoming Conventions

Want to attend a convention in the next few months? Check out the list below! The list includes all the event support requests received to date. If you see one missing, ping the organizer and have them submit their event or have them email me at organizedplay@paizo.com to discuss. All of the conventions on the list maintain a web presence, be it website, social media page, or Warhorn listing. If you are interested in attending in either capacity, check out their website or contact the local Venture-Officer for more information!

Convention NameLocationStart Date
BeholderCon 2019Boise, ID4/5/2019
Gryphcon 2019Guelph, Ontario, Canada4/5/2019
LexiCon 2019Lexington, KY4/5/2019
Ravencon 2019Williamsburg, VA4/5/2019
Bookwyrm 2019Fresno, CA4/6/2019
MAG Con 2019New Caney, TX4/6/2019
CODCON 2019Glen Ellyn, IL4/12/2019
FG Con 14 (2019)Fantasy Grounds (VTT)4/12/2019
JohnCon 2019Baltimore, MD4/12/2019
Mepacon Spring 2019Scranton, PA4/12/2019
Pathcon 5.5 (2019)Salt Lake City, UT4/12/2019
Pretzcon 2019Omaha, NE4/12/2019
Save vs. Hunger 2019Maryville, TN4/12/2019
GameCon XII (2019)Colorado Springs, CO4/13/2019
Tricon 4 - Reincarnated (2019)Archdale, NC4/13/2019
Conquest 2019 MelbourneMelbourne, Australia4/19/2019
EyeCon 2019Sydney, NSW, Australia4/19/2019
MTAC 2019Nashville, TN4/19/2019
HMGS-South Recon 2019Kissimmee, FL4/25/2019
Cape Comic Con 2019Cape Girardeau , MO4/26/2019
CritterCon 2 (2019)Discord (Online)4/26/2019
Gaming Hoopla '19Mundelein, IL4/26/2019
KoboldCon 2019Colorado Springs, CO4/26/2019
Kubla!Now!! LABurbank, CA, USA4/27/2019
NRVcon 2019Blacksburg, VA4/27/2019
PrezCon 2019Auckland, New Zealand4/27/2019
1D4 Con 2019Shepherdstown, WV5/3/2019
2019 D8 SummitUtica, IL5/3/2019
ConTRAPtion 2019Worthing, West Sussex, UK5/3/2019
Comicpalooza 2019Houston, TX5/10/2019
QC Gamefest 2019Davenport, IA5/10/2019
BLFC 2019Reno, NV5/17/2019
FlamingCon 2019West Palm Beach, FL5/18/2019
MomoCon 2019Atlanta, GA5/23/2019
Gamex 2019Los Angeles, CA5/24/2019
KublaCon 2019Burlingame, CA5/24/2019
Seekerpalooza 3 (2019)Montreat, NC5/24/2019
Nexus Game Fair 2019Brookfield, WI5/29/2019
ConCarolinas 2019Charlotte, NC5/31/2019
Prairie Con XL (2019)Brandon, Manitoba, Canada6/14/2019
Summerfest 2019Richland, WA7/25/2019
Summerlodge 2019Taastrup, Denmark8/9/2019
Con Voyage 2019Sydney NSW (at sea on the Carnival Spirit)8/23/2019
SkålCon 2019Roseville, MN9/20/2019
Saluki Con 2019Carbondale, IL9/28/2019

Organized Play Staff Travel

Want to hang out with Paizo staff? Play in a game which they are GM? Check out the list below and see us at a convention near you. I've been asked several times what it takes for a staffer to attend. At a minimum, the event should supply room(s) and badges, and the more costs covered, the easier it is to put on our schedule. Note: staff cannot attend conventions the last weekend in May or the weekend of Gen Con. We've moved our budgeting process up a bit, so if you are an event organizer and want to invite us out at your event in 2020, drop an email to organizedplay@paizo.com before June 1, as we must submit the convention plan by July.

ConventionLocationStart DatePaizo Staffers Scheduled to Attend
KoboldConColorado Springs, CO4/26/2019Stephen Radney-McFarland, Tonya Woldridge
PaizoConSeaTac, WA5/23/2019All
UK Games ExpoBirmingham, United Kingdom5/31/2019Jeff Alvarez, Jason Bulmahn, Cosmo, Amanda Hamon, Robert G. McCreary, Erik Mona, Tonya Woldridge
OriginsColumbus, OH6/12/2019John Compton, Thurston Hillman, Tonya Woldridge
Gen ConIndianapolis, IN8/1/2019Most
FanExpoToronto, Canada8/22/2019Tonya Woldridge
DragonConAtlanta, GA8/30/2019John Compton
Delta H ConHouston, TX9/20/2019Mark Seifter, Linda Zayas-Palmer
NukeConOmaha, NE10/4/2019TBD
PaizoCon Asia-PacificAdelaide, SA, Australia10/17/2019Tonya Woldridge
GameHole ConMadison, WI10/31/2019Tonya Woldridge
PAX UnpluggedPhiladelphia, PATBDJeff Alvarez, Jason Bulmahn, Cosmo, Amanda Hamon, Erik Mona, Tonya Woldridge

*Staffers scheduled to attend may change without notice.

Join us next week for a sneak peek into Starfinder Society Year 2, and until next time—Explore, Report, Cooperate!

Tonya Woldridge
Organized Play Manager

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Conventions Organized Play Pathfinder Society Starfinder Society
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Silver Crusade 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria

Congratulation to the new 5 star recipients who worked really hard to make this campaign a great experience for everyone.

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

Good to know what the requirements are for 5 novas now.

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

Excellent news!

Dark Archive 2/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Agent, Indiana—Huntingdon aka GM GK

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Even if unlikely to hit the 150 game milestone, having that rubric available will help GMs self-evaluate to improve.

Dark Archive 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Minnesota—Minneapolis aka Silbeg

Looks like there was a bit of a typo up there for SkålCon! :'(

Grand Lodge 4/5

Glad to see you're not requiring three Venture-Captain adjudicated sessions for PFS1. This is a bit of a stretch to have it for PFS2. A lot is going to depend on the availability of Venture-Captains.

2/5

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Reno has another convention that is a full gaming con at the end of June called RageCon.

Liberty's Edge 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Alaska—Anchorage aka Dragnmoon

I am assuming that all 3 games has to be the same VC?

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

9 people marked this as a favorite.
Steven Lau wrote:
I am assuming that all 3 games has to be the same VC?

Heck no! Everyone has to use the same the VC. I nominate TOZ.

Hmm

Shadow Lodge 5/5

3 people marked this as a favorite.

I what now?!

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

3 people marked this as a favorite.
TOZ wrote:
I what now?!

Hey you agreed to this

(rolls to aid bluff check)

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

2 people marked this as a favorite.
G K wrote:
Even if unlikely to hit the 150 game milestone, having that rubric available will help GMs self-evaluate to improve.
Xathos of Varisia wrote:
Glad to see you're not requiring three Venture-Captain adjudicated sessions for PFS1. This is a bit of a stretch to have it for PFS2. A lot is going to depend on the availability of Venture-Captains.

So more thoughts on this.

AVAILABILITY OF VCs

I think that by doing three adjudicated VC sessions, there will be a lot more work for Venture Captains. But with online play, I'm hoping that people will be able to reach out to a wide variety of VCs to get input from different folks. I know that not everyone lives in areas near VCs, or can make it out to conventions. But hopefully online play can make it easier to find a VC.

ONE VC OR MANY

I would suggest getting multiple opinions and hearing from more than one VC if you can, though it would be great to be able to check in with a venture officer about how you've improved over time. We're all different people, and look for different things.

THE VALUE OF EVALUATIONS AND A RUBRIC

What is being proposed was what I actually experienced in Minnesota. As I became a 3 Star GM, Jack and Keith and Jon Dehning started showing up at my tables and giving me feedback. It was gentle, and it helped me grow. I wound up doing a personal training path that involved GMing on all levels of a Special from 1-11, trying out different types of games, learning how to up my challenge level in combat, and working on growing. I had a whole bunch of evaluations that happened well before my 150th game.

I have no idea what's on the Rubric. I'd like to see it published, and that information to be widely known by everyone. It'll be interesting to see what the final amount totals too.

QUALITY AS WELL AS QUANTITY

I want the 5 star / nova / glyph to mean something.

QUERY TO PAIZO STAFF

Will there also be an option for Paizo Staff to adjudicate these games? Sometimes a GM and their local VC might be at odds, and that VC might not be able to judge that GM in a fair and unbiased manner. I know that GMs might seek other VCs online, but I want there to be other places they can turn to if needed.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

2 people marked this as a favorite.
GM Hmm wrote:


I think that by doing three adjudicated VC sessions, there will be a lot more work for Venture Captains. But with online play, I'm hoping that people will be able to reach out to a wide variety of VCs to get input from different folks.

I'm not sure how much of a solution that is. You can be a great dm in meatspace but online DMing takes a few ranks in a seperate skillset before you can present the game with little enough of your brain to focus on giving a 5 star performance.

Even something as simple as using someone elses table is often like trying to read another wizards spellbook.

(never going to hear the end of the party almost dying to laser blasting seagulls... :) )

Scarab Sages 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Australia—NSW—Sydney aka sanwah68

3 people marked this as a favorite.

And no offence to those who do, but some GMs have absolutely no interest in online play.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

Sandra Wilkinson wrote:
And no offence to those who do, but some GMs have absolutely no interest in online play.

I would think that the intersection of people in the boonies that run 150 games but don't see a venture critter for the last 50 of those games would be a pretty small intersection on the venn digram wouldn't they?

Scarab Sages 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Australia—NSW—Sydney aka sanwah68

1 person marked this as a favorite.
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Sandra Wilkinson wrote:
And no offence to those who do, but some GMs have absolutely no interest in online play.
I would think that the intersection of people in the boonies that run 150 games but don't see a venture critter for the last 50 of those games would be a pretty small intersection on the venn digram wouldn't they?

That may be true of Venture Critters, but VCs are a rarer beast. I am not in the boonies, and yet have only run one game with a VC at my table. Just about to be 2 as my next game is my 5 star game...

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, France—Paris

Sandra Wilkinson wrote:
And no offence to those who do, but some GMs have absolutely no interest in online play.

In my own case : I maybe have GMed 150+ tables, and I could have decided to start the paperwork for my 5th star. Yet if I was hellbent on avoiding the online part, I would have been nowhere near it (I don't have enough specials yet, but it's quickly doable) because the IRL landscape in my area isn't super strong : mostly SFS/low to mid-level PFS, high-level not occurring since a couple of months. Worse, only a single VL still living in the country (and which for principle purposes, won't call upon for that because I know him too well and I want no biases).

I won't be able either to request a foreign VL or VC to come specifically for that, nor I might travel for the same purpose. So probably restricted to wait a convention then (possibly PaizoconUK). For me, online is a necessity.

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

Sandra Wilkinson wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Sandra Wilkinson wrote:
And no offence to those who do, but some GMs have absolutely no interest in online play.
I would think that the intersection of people in the boonies that run 150 games but don't see a venture critter for the last 50 of those games would be a pretty small intersection on the venn digram wouldn't they?
That may be true of Venture Critters, but VCs are a rarer beast. I am not in the boonies, and yet have only run one game with a VC at my table. Just about to be 2 as my next game is my 5 star game...

I run games in Atlanta, and at 125+ Starfinder games... I ran for the RVC once (year before last), several VLs and VAs, but I don't think I have ran a game for any VC at all...

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

Yes, you have not run for me yet, Glenn! We'll have to work something out on that sometime! But here's the weirdness... Although I'm an active Starfinder GM, I'm far behind you in Starfinder experience. It seems odd that the first few people that I may be mentoring through Novas and Glyphs will likely have skills and experience that far exceeds my own in those campaigns. Yes, I'm a quality GM. But if I do an Observation game, you'll be more likely to be mentoring me than the reverse!

The availability of VCs and acquiring 10 specials will necessitate either cons or online experience for many GMs. Likely, both. I know that online is a whole extra skillset, whether it's PBP or VTT, and I know that some have no interest in it. But if you can't travel, it may be the only way you acquire your other requirements for 5 novas and glyphs. A large percentage of the GMs that we get for PBP specials are people who do the majority of their GMing in-person, but need online conventions to earn their specials.

I don't want to put a tech burden on rural GMs, but I think that one already exists unless folks have the ability to do a lot of conventions.

★ --- ★ --- ★ --- ★

Another thought. Perhaps the answer to this conundrum will be either smaller regions and the promotion of more Venture Captains, or a loosening of the VC requirement to include Venture Lieutenants in areas where you are more than 2 hours drive / train ride from your VC.

Hmm

Silver Crusade 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria

Philippe Lam wrote:
Sandra Wilkinson wrote:
And no offence to those who do, but some GMs have absolutely no interest in online play.

In my own case : I maybe have GMed 150+ tables, and I could have decided to start the paperwork for my 5th star. Yet if I was hellbent on avoiding the online part, I would have been nowhere near it (I don't have enough specials yet, but it's quickly doable) because the IRL landscape in my area isn't super strong : mostly SFS/low to mid-level PFS, high-level not occurring since a couple of months. Worse, only a single VL still living in the country (and which for principle purposes, won't call upon for that because I know him too well and I want no biases).

I won't be able either to request a foreign VL or VC to come specifically for that, nor I might travel for the same purpose. So probably restricted to wait a convention then (possibly PaizoconUK). For me, online is a necessity.

We also run English speaking Conventions in Germany, and I just attended a convention in the Netherlands, so you certainly have options ^^

Not sure if I would recommend taking the trip from Paris to my part of Germany via bus (as I have done a couple of times) but while it is more expensive than my trip to the Netherlands it is also much shorter ^^

Grand Lodge 4/5

Would it help to have more regions (RVCs)? Would a revamping of the Org Play structure be beneficial? These are things I have no answer to. What I do know is that in order to get 3 sessions adjudicated by a VC, I'm going to have to do some traveling (4 hours or more minimum) or do it online (which is not an issue for me).

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

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Thank you for getting the five nova/glyph plan out! It definitely seems like RVCs and Paizo staff should be able to do an evaluation. Perhaps VLs could also do one or two of a GM’s evaluations to help spread that load out?

Dark Archive 5/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Sebastian Hirsch wrote:
Philippe Lam wrote:
Sandra Wilkinson wrote:
And no offence to those who do, but some GMs have absolutely no interest in online play.

In my own case : I maybe have GMed 150+ tables, and I could have decided to start the paperwork for my 5th star. Yet if I was hellbent on avoiding the online part, I would have been nowhere near it (I don't have enough specials yet, but it's quickly doable) because the IRL landscape in my area isn't super strong : mostly SFS/low to mid-level PFS, high-level not occurring since a couple of months. Worse, only a single VL still living in the country (and which for principle purposes, won't call upon for that because I know him too well and I want no biases).

I won't be able either to request a foreign VL or VC to come specifically for that, nor I might travel for the same purpose. So probably restricted to wait a convention then (possibly PaizoconUK). For me, online is a necessity.

We also run English speaking Conventions in Germany, and I just attended a convention in the Netherlands, so you certainly have options ^^

Not sure if I would recommend taking the trip from Paris to my part of Germany via bus (as I have done a couple of times) but while it is more expensive than my trip to the Netherlands it is also much shorter ^^

Yes, Phillippe...... come to The Netherlands....

Dark Archive 5/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
GM Hmm wrote:

THE VALUE OF EVALUATIONS AND A RUBRIC

What is being proposed was what I actually experienced in Minnesota. As I became a 3 Star GM, Jack and Keith and Jon Dehning started showing up at my tables and giving me feedback. It was gentle, and it helped me grow. I wound up doing a personal training path that involved GMing on all levels of a Special from 1-11, trying out different types of games, learning how to up my challenge level in combat, and working on growing. I had a whole bunch of evaluations that happened well before my 150th game.

I have no idea what's on the Rubric. I'd like to see it published, and that information to be widely known by everyone. It'll be interesting to see what the final amount totals too.

If I were still in charge of the asylum, this is what I would suggest.

Dark Archive 4/5 ⦵⦵⦵⦵

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
GM Hmm wrote:
Yes, you have not run for me yet, Glenn! We'll have to work something out on that sometime! But here's the weirdness... Although I'm an active Starfinder GM, I'm far behind you in Starfinder experience. It seems odd that the first few people that I may be mentoring through Novas and Glyphs will likely have skills and experience that far exceeds my own in those campaigns. Yes, I'm a quality GM. But if I do an Observation game, you'll be more likely to be mentoring me than the reverse!

Hilary, I think you are fully qualified to judge a 5-Nova game session.

As a 5-Star GM, you already know what it takes to manage everything outside the scope of the rules set (preparation, managing the table, handling disruptive players, reporting, etc.).

As a 2-Nova GM, you have enough experience in the Starfinder system to provide a quality-control check on the GM's Starfinder rules knowledge. I don't expect anyone to have perfect rules knowledge, but an observation game should give provide ample evidence about the GM's general knowledge of the rules.

My concern lies with a V-C who doesn't have some reasonable experience with the game system that the prospective GM is attempting to qualify for; that V-C won't be in a position to judge rules knowledge of the system by the GM.

I think this is an area that will grow more problematic as the number of game systems increases (especially if OPF expands beyond Paizo games).

Silver Crusade 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Gary D Norton wrote:
GM Hmm wrote:
Yes, you have not run for me yet, Glenn! We'll have to work something out on that sometime! But here's the weirdness... Although I'm an active Starfinder GM, I'm far behind you in Starfinder experience. It seems odd that the first few people that I may be mentoring through Novas and Glyphs will likely have skills and experience that far exceeds my own in those campaigns. Yes, I'm a quality GM. But if I do an Observation game, you'll be more likely to be mentoring me than the reverse!

Hilary, I think you are fully qualified to judge a 5-Nova game session.

As a 5-Star GM, you already know what it takes to manage everything outside the scope of the rules set (preparation, managing the table, handling disruptive players, reporting, etc.).

As a 2-Nova GM, you have enough experience in the Starfinder system to provide a quality-control check on the GM's Starfinder rules knowledge. I don't expect anyone to have perfect rules knowledge, but an observation game should give provide ample evidence about the GM's general knowledge of the rules.

My concern lies with a V-C who doesn't have some reasonable experience with the game system that the prospective GM is attempting to qualify for; that V-C won't be in a position to judge rules knowledge of the system by the GM.

I think this is an area that will grow more problematic as the number of game systems increases (especially if OPF expands beyond Paizo games).

I suspect that finding a VC to watch/attend a game depends on how we set it up, for example:

I would be willing and reasonably skilled enough to administer a 5 Nova/Glyph/Muffin review for PFS1/SFS/PF2 since I am quite familiar with the current state of those systems and work through every single new release.

Personally, I would want to read the scenario in question, do my research etc. before the review, so I could ask some questions during and after the game (and to know immediately when things are going off script).
Scenario choice is also something I would like to discuss with the GM, running an evergreen or low-level scenario might not be adequate to give proper feedback - though some are, it depends on the skillset of the GM.

I would be capable of attending meatspace games as well as roll20.net VTT games, I am not familiar enough with other platforms to prevent that lack of familiarity to give a proper review.

---

If we can create a list like that as VOs, it should be pretty simple to find a VC for each GM (though I would expect prospective GMs to request the first review when they are very close to getting their 100s table not when they are at 147 and in a hurry).

4/5 Venture-Agent, Minnesota—St. Louis Park aka BretI

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Is one of the things being done in the tech is allow normal players to make recommendations on their GMs? If you allowed the people to do this and allowed VOs to see those in their region it would help them know who is seen as a good GM already and who may need some mentoring.

One question in my mind is what is the metric for “exceeds expectations” since you are requiring a GM to have at least one area where they do this?

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Germany—Rhein-Main aka GreyYeti

1 person marked this as a favorite.

A question regarding the 5 novas:
Since you need 10 specials to qualify which scenarios are considered specials?
I guess 1-99 is a special but what about 1-00. Is there anything else?

I also just noticed that getting 50 uniques is quite hard because we only have 38 sfs scenarios released so far.

Dark Archive 5/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Bret Indrelee wrote:

Is one of the things being done in the tech is allow normal players to make recommendations on their GMs? If you allowed the people to do this and allowed VOs to see those in their region it would help them know who is seen as a good GM already and who may need some mentoring.

One question in my mind is what is the metric for “exceeds expectations” since you are requiring a GM to have at least one area where they do this?

This has been brought up in the past and has the same answer every time: no.

Ideally, players should be telling coordinators who tell VLs who tell VCs. PFS doesn’t need a “Hot or Not” GM ranking system.

Silver Crusade 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria

Nils Janson wrote:

A question regarding the 5 novas:

Since you need 10 specials to qualify which scenarios are considered specials?
I guess 1-99 is a special but what about 1-00. Is there anything else?

I also just noticed that getting 50 uniques is quite hard because we only have 38 sfs scenarios released so far.

Same question, considering the vastly different prep requirements 1-00 seems a bit easy to qualify for your specials.

Silver Crusade 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria

Bret Indrelee wrote:

Is one of the things being done in the tech is allow normal players to make recommendations on their GMs? If you allowed the people to do this and allowed VOs to see those in their region it would help them know who is seen as a good GM already and who may need some mentoring.

One question in my mind is what is the metric for “exceeds expectations” since you are requiring a GM to have at least one area where they do this?

GM quality is subjective and I would be very worried to see something like review bombing becoming a thing. Chances are that if the GMs in question do not just offer private tables and attend events they are somewhat known to local GMs or through word of mouth. And if someone is just servicing their very limited local players, that will not result in useful data either.

As Leg of Lamb has suggested, if you had a great time at a GMs table, spread the word if you had a bad time, maybe let your local VOs know. It might just have been the scenario, but if for example, a local player notices a GM becoming antagonistic and trying to get kills... I would very much like to know that.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

Sandra Wilkinson wrote:


That may be true of Venture Critters, but VCs are a rarer beast. I am not in the boonies, and yet have only run one game with a VC at my table. Just about to be 2 as my next game is my 5 star game...

1) grats/goodluck/break a leg

2) but thats two without trying.. or well 1 without a reason to try and 1 trying.

On the one hand, without trying you're 2/3rds of the way there.

On the other hand, given the scarcity of venture captains i don't know whats going to come up in game 3 that didn't come up in games 1-2/

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

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If people are worried about acquiring technical expertise to run online, my degree is in trees.

How to play online

Which you should definitely look at and then do a few times before running online. DMing experience won't help you if all people can see is a blank screen.

how to make a roll 20 table

I also make my tables to be low on the muss and fuss because i usually method act Envar want to keep the focus on the game. I have most games set up as tables if people want to try it out.

Dark Archive 4/5 ⦵⦵⦵⦵

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Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

How do I go about obtaining Venture-Captain observation at a large convention?

I am volunteering at both PaizoCon and Origins this year and would like to obtain my three Venture-Captain observations at those events.

I should reach 150 tables by the end of PaizoCon. I should have 50 unique scenarios at or shortly after Origins. I have run 1-99 six times and 1-00 seven times; I am unclear on whether or not I have met the 10 specials requirement.

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

Gary --

You ask VCs you want, as well as the other delightful players that you want at the table. When I went for my five star, I invited Linda Zayas-Palmer, Keith Apperson and Jack Brown (my beloved MN VCs), Tyler Beck (a beloved fellow online VC), my boyfriend Bret and then got TOZ as a bonus! You don't need to get that many VCs. I just wanted representation from both the regions where I play and GM!

Are you coming in Wednesday? I am at PaizoCon on Wednesday, and would be happy to do an observation anytime on Wednesday, or anytime Thursday morning or afternoon. You get to pick, since you are the first to ask me. I could also do an evaluation session anytime on Monday, as I leave on Tuesday. We might be able to do other times, but I don't know what my schedule will be during the convention.

Hopefully by then we'll have an idea of the Rubric and what the evaluation should entail. By 50 unique scenarios, I'm assuming that you are including the AP volumes in the tally?

Hmm

PS If you would rather have different VCs, I'll understand and happily step aside for my colleagues.

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Nils Janson wrote:

A question regarding the 5 novas:

Since you need 10 specials to qualify which scenarios are considered specials?
I guess 1-99 is a special but what about 1-00. Is there anything else?

I also just noticed that getting 50 uniques is quite hard because we only have 38 sfs scenarios released so far.

FIFTY UNIQUE SCENARIOS

I am assuming that AP volumes, modules and Into the Unknown all count towards this total.

THE SPECIAL REQUIREMENT & Claim to Salvation

Year of the Shadow Lodge is a very easy scenario to GM, yet still counts towards the PFS special requirement.

1-00 was advertised as an SFS Special at its original offering at GenCon. If we do decide to decommission it as a special, I ask that we grandfather in the GMing of any instances of 1-00 Claim to Salvation that occurred prior to the release of 1-99.

SHOULD VENTURE LIEUTENANTS BE ABLE TO EVALUATE?

Absolutely. I think that 2 out of your 3 evaluations should be able to come from Venture Lieutenants. There are really not very many Venture Captains, and not all of us have extensive experience in every organized play campaign when we start out in the job. I will note that when I got my early evaluations from Jack Brown and Keith Apperson, both were Venture Lieutenants. Both gave me excellent feedback that helped me grow.

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

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Gary D Norton wrote:
How do I go about obtaining Venture-Captain observation at a large convention?

To be completely honest, it is not an easy task. Generally speaking the organizers of major events like those only know VOs who are going to be in attendance if they are volunteers which doesn't really help much unless their free slots align with your GM slots. The best thing I can advise is to start threads in this forum as well as other social media sites (Facebook, Slack, Twitter, etc) announcing that you are looking for some VOs to sit at your table. Once you identify them, you can share schedules to make sure they obtain an event ticket for the table you're running. Then you can provide the information to the organizing committee (HQ) for the convention so they can make sure the players are seated at your table.

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

: nods :

That's why I suggested scheduling before or after the convention. It's a much more relaxed experience. I also suggest thinking about whom you want to ask to be there, and arranging the tables well in advance.

Hmm

Dark Archive 4/5 ⦵⦵⦵⦵

Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I don't have any time either before or after PaizoCon. I do have time before and after Origins. I also have time before and after GenCon.

I asked for help since I expect some difficulty in finding some Venture-Captains. I expect that many are volunteering. I expect that many want to play high-level PFS (1E) games with friends they've made over the years.

In the past year, I traveled to seven out-of-area conventions with the goal of meeting and playing with new people. But I didn't really make new friends; that's not something that comes easily for me.

One difficulty is that the Venture-Officers tend to GM a lot of games at the smaller conventions; alternatively, they are busy with convention organizing duties. So we don't really get an opportunity to play games together.

As a result, I don't have particular Venture-Captains that I'm looking for.

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

I won't be attending the other out-of-Minnesota conventions this year. But I have a relatively light volunteering schedule at PaizoCon. Let's figure out a time when I can be at one of your tables. Why don't you email me, so we don't take up more of this discussion, and we'll work something out?

Also, I'll try to introduce you around. That's something that comes pretty easily to me. It's easier meeting people if you just know a few people who can help you make introductions.

Sound good?

Hmm

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Glen Parnell wrote:

I run games in Atlanta, and at 125+ Starfinder games... I ran for the RVC once (year before last), several VLs and VAs, but I don't think I have ran a game for any VC at all...

Right but that's without trying. WIth trying how hard would it be?

Dark Archive 4/5 ⦵⦵⦵⦵

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Certification of 5-Nova/Glyph GMs is something I take pretty seriously. I’ve worked for decades in jobs that require certification and I would like to share my thoughts on this matter.
Going to three evaluation games requires more planning and coordination than we previously had for one evaluation game. For my 5-Star evaluation, my local Venture-Captain emailed me when we I was getting close and we arranged for an evaluation game at an upcoming convention. That was pretty easy, but the job of finding two more evaluation games will require a lot more effort (especially for GMs in regions without other nearby Venture-Captains).
#1) A Venture-Captain performing the Observation role should not be someone who are friends with or regularly play together with GM under observation. They should be an independent reviewer.
Taking Hilary’s example posted above, I applaud the role that Jack, Keith, and Jon had in mentoring Hilary. Kudos to Hilary for accepting the constructive criticism in an effort to become a better GM. However, I find it inappropriate for Jack, Keith, or Jon to perform that evaluation since they are invested in the outcome. Prospective GMs should not be cherry-picking their observation Venture-Captains.
#2) We should incentivize the Venture-Captains in some way for performing observation games.
We need Venture-Captains to perform this function for GMs that they do not know. But they are forgoing other opportunities to observe the GM. I propose that Venture-Captains be given volunteer credit (as if they were GMing) when they formally observe a game at a convention. This gives the convention organizer a resource that they can use since a Venture-Captain should be able to volunteer for observation games in a manner similar to volunteering to run PFS (either 1E or 2E) and SFS events.
For observation games outside of a convention, perhaps we could have some sort of boon that the Venture-Captain would receive (though I have no idea what boon would be attractive to the Venture-Captains).
#3) The Venture-Captain should have reasonable familiarity with the game system under observation.
While I believe a large portion of evaluating a GM falls under generic GM skills, there is still a portion that is system specific. Otherwise, there is no point in requiring a GM to re-certify for different systems. I propose that an observation Venture-Captain must have a 2-Nova/Glyph level in the game system. That should be enough for a Venture-Captain to have a reasonable working knowledge of the rules set and what it takes to prepare a game in that system without necessarily being an expert.
#4) We should have some form of clearing house to pair up GMs and Venture-Captains.
Some people, as part of their regular life, travel to different areas. This could prove very helpful for helping GMs get their observation games. It is certainly possible that a traveling GM could contact a Venture-Captain in the area that the GM is traveling to, but I don’t know that there’s any way for a Venture-Captain to look to see if there is a prospective GM where they are traveling to.
#5) We should simplify to a simple Pass/Fail system
I am concerned about requiring GMs to Exceed Expectations in one or more areas. I expect a lot of table variation in determining whether the GM’s behavior is meets or exceeds. Additionally, do we really want to penalize prospective 5-Nova/Glyph GMs who are merely competent but not exceptional?

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

Gary D Norton wrote:

#1) A Venture-Captain performing the Observation role should not be someone who are friends with or regularly play together with GM under observation. They should be an independent reviewer.

Taking Hilary’s example posted above, I applaud the role that Jack, Keith, and Jon had in mentoring Hilary. Kudos to Hilary for accepting the constructive criticism in an effort to become a better GM. However, I find it inappropriate for Jack, Keith, or Jon to perform that evaluation since they are invested in the outcome. Prospective GMs should not be cherry-picking their observation Venture-Captains.

Ah, but my 5 Star Game confirmation game was actually officially evaluated by Linda Zayas-Palmer. Jack and Keith were just along for the ride. :)

I like the idea of having someone unfamiliar with you or your style of GMing evaluate you, but there are issues with this too. If we were to adopt this, I would be really hard pressed to find an observation VC. So many of us Venture Captains know each other from these forums, online play or the VC dinners.

Still it is an interesting point. I would also like people to go outside their region for at least one of their evaluations.

Hmm

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

My 5 Star evaluation was at PaizoCon with a VC I had never met in more than passing.

The Exchange 5/5

sigh...

from the comments I am seeing in this thread, I think I'm going to need to turn in my 5th star...

ah well, I've had it for a only a few months so it's not real used, maybe we can pass it on to someone else...

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Gary D Norton wrote:
#1) A Venture-Captain performing the Observation role should not be someone who are friends with or regularly play together with GM under observation. They should be an independent reviewer.

Now you're looking at making someone take 3 out of state trips. I think otherwise everyone is going to know each other.

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

nosig wrote:

sigh...

from the comments I am seeing in this thread, I think I'm going to need to turn in my 5th star...

ah well, I've had it for a only a few months so it's not real used, maybe we can pass it on to someone else...

Don't be silly, Nosig. We all want to see you keep your 5th star!

They're not changing the PFS star requirements. Just making the ones for novas and glyphs more evaluative.

Hmm

Sovereign Court 5/5

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Whilst I am in favour of adding further requirements, to make it actually *mean* something, if you needed the evaluating VC to *not* know you, for smaller areas (such as Australia), it would also mandate that the prospective five nova/glyph GM engage in international travel for such evaluation games, as the local community is (relatively) small - and if you have been around a while, you know all the local VCs, and the RVC...

Dark Archive 4/5 ⦵⦵⦵⦵

Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I am not advocating that the standard be someone you "know". For example, I know Jack. I went to his house last year for the pre-SkalCon get-together. However, we are not friends. We do not game together regularly (or at all). Therefore, it is perfectly acceptable that Jack observe my 5-Nova game.

I acknowledge that my standard is idealistic to some extent. The reason for the standard is to allow the Venture-Captain to be completely honest in their assessment, especially if the prospective GM deserves to be failed. That is much harder to do if the prospective GM is a friend or someone you game with regularly.

Just increasing the requirement from one Venture-Captain to three Venture-Captains is going to make it more difficult for prospective GMs. Ideas #2 and #4 are attempts to make it easier to sync up GMs with Venture-Captains. I encourage feedback on my other ideas (since it seems like we are stuck on who the GMs know).

Another possibility, as mentioned up-thread is for online or PbP gaming. I am personally not interested in either of those options, but I am also fortunate to be able to travel to conventions outside my area. Others may need to use those options.

I encourage feedback. It may well be that the community doesn't like any of my ideas and I can live with that. But I felt strongly that we needed to have a conversation about it.

Silver Crusade 3/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Online—PbP aka Redelia

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I think requiring the GMs who evaluate for 5 stars/novas/glyphs/other marks to not have too close a connection to the GM being evaluated is forgetting that this is a game we are playing, not certification for something that people's safety might depend on.

It is also very unreasonable. My evaluations will be by PbP, and although we have plenty of different VCs who are part of our PbP community, I will have almost for sure played with all of them multiple times before I'm ready for those evaluations. And a VC who has not played several games in PbP would not really be able to evaluate a PbP game.

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