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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Grand Lodge 4/5

If there will be a lot of hassle to earn the 5th Glyph, then the logical question is what does a 5-Glyph GM get? If I earn certification for my job I get higher pay. What exactly does a 5-Glyph GM get?

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

I can concur with Gary Norton about that. There's no guarantee that the acquaintance will have zero biases. It should be judged by VCs which might have heard about the GM, but who could judge the case in a completely neutral manner.

There's the average game that it is played/GMed, which could be cosier, but this is more important. Dealing with the paperwork in the same way is, no ... And it's not about forgetting this is about fun. Now if some can't travel or won't play online (made clear my opinion about that earlier), maybe but I'm not ok with that at a personal level.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

Online play isn't exactly the endless wellspring of anonymous faces some people are making it out to be. It's not like we don't know each other there either.

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

What I'm hearing is that 5 Glyph GMs should be rare, with difficult hurdles to overcome to attain that status.

Scarab Sages 4/5

BigNorseWolf wrote:
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?

My state doesn’t even have a VC. The nearest VC did attend our biggest local convention last year... but not to play PFS. It’s going to require travel for anyone here, as I’m the only one who regularly plays online. Our current 5-stars all attend conventions out of state, so this probably won’t be an issue for them, but it’s not difficult to see it becoming an issue for someone. For some in the state, it only means an hour and a half drive to the next state over. For others that’s a 3 hour drive.

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Online play isn't exactly the endless wellspring of anonymous faces some people are making it out to be. It's not like we don't know each other there either.

Yep. My curse and blessing in all this is that I know so many people, both in person and online. Online is great if you want to get evaluated by an out-of-state VC, but you're going to make friends there. We have really warm and vibrant communities.

Hmm

Scarab Sages ⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Agent, Netherlands aka CptJames

1 person marked this as a favorite.
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. Prospective GMs should not be cherry-picking their observation 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.

So while I agree that there should be some kind of vetting system, I have a real problem when it comes to 1 or 3 here (as I've quoted)

I live in the Netherlands, we have 1 VC, who I GM for on a semi-regular basis, and who is approaching/got her first Nova already, however, we only run 2 conventions a year, which she runs, so having her watch one of my games during a convention is out the question realistically. So now I have to find an independent reviewer. The closest VC's to me are in Germany...I know and have played/run with most of those guys already, so I'm stuck there too. I was recently in Minnesota to play at Con of the North, low and behold, I GM'd and played with a few more there, including Hilary, so now my online experience is starting to not qualify (I know, I know, there are multiple VC's online, but you can see what I'm getting at?) Where does leave me? Do I need to stop going to conventions until I'm close, and then hunt random VC's at conventions I do go to (which counts out Netherlands and Germany, so now I need to invest in serious overseas flights to get my games in...or ship VC's in...and they need an incentive to do that (apart from Stroopwafels)).

Honestly, that's a pain in the ass.

And they also need to fulfil number 3 as well? I think there is 1 VC GM between Germany and the Netherlands that has 2 Novas, and I know him well, even if we haven't played together a lot.

How am I supposed to deal with this? Are there special rules? Or do we just make it guidelines we can deal with.

This is not me smashing your idea (totally haha), I like the idea that we set up some kind of system, but I felt I should give input here!

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

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
What I'm hearing is that 5 Glyph GMs should be rare, with difficult hurdles to overcome to attain that status.

Why?

Why should they be rare? Or rarer than 5 star GMs?

Honestly i don't see any gain in creating some sort of super exclusive club. Does anybody really think that creating this sort of obstacle course really benefits the campaign as a whole. Or will it just burn out GMs that get disillusioned.

There was a reason that the VC validation was little more than a formality. And that reason is that you don't want to alienate a volunteer who spent over 600 hours for the campaign by telling him that it is great that he spend so much time but he is not worthy enough to join the exlusive club.

Shadow Lodge 5/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Nils Janson wrote:
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
What I'm hearing is that 5 Glyph GMs should be rare, with difficult hurdles to overcome to attain that status.
Why?

Don't ask me, ask the people saying there should be all these hurdles.

Xathos of Varisia wrote:
If there will be a lot of hassle to earn the 5th Glyph, then the logical question is what does a 5-Glyph GM get? If I earn certification for my job I get higher pay. What exactly does a 5-Glyph GM get?

My guess? Nothing but the recognition of the organizers.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Or we just keep things as they are. When you complete 150 games, 50 different scenarios, and 10 specials, the local VC/RVC submits you for the fifth [token]. Period. If someone sucks bad enough after what is likely more than a thousand hours of GMing and prep then the local community is at fault for not expressing their concerns with the GM and mentoring them to foster improvement. We are not going to have a standard that can be applied and accepted equally throughout the community. It's folly to think we can. Let's keep the five-[token] status primarily as a reward for time invested in the campaign and keep the campaign coins to recognize those individuals who go above and beyond for the community. Simple.

Sovereign Court 3/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Champaign-Urbana aka GreggH

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Congratulations to the new 5-star GMs, especially Chris Murphy from Mattoon Illinois USA!

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

As long there's no active push to make the achievement trivalized ...

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

James Hargrave wrote:
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. Prospective GMs should not be cherry-picking their observation 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.

So while I agree that there should be some kind of vetting system, I have a real problem when it comes to 1 or 3 here (as I've quoted)

I live in the Netherlands, we have 1 VC, who I GM for on a semi-regular basis, and who is approaching/got her first Nova already, however, we only run 2 conventions a year, which she runs, so having her watch one of my games during a convention is out the question realistically. So now I have to find an independent reviewer. The closest VC's to me are in Germany...I know and have played/run with most of those guys already, so I'm stuck there too. I was recently in Minnesota to play at Con of the North, low and behold, I GM'd and played with a few more there, including Hilary, so now my online experience is starting to not qualify (I know, I know, there are multiple VC's online, but you can see what I'm getting at?) Where does leave me? Do I need to stop going to conventions until I'm close, and then hunt random VC's at conventions I do go to (which counts out Netherlands and Germany, so now I need to invest in serious overseas flights to get my games in...or ship VC's in...and they...

I am moderately sure, that you can get a brutally honest review if you want one (though you might not want to talk to me for a couple of days afterwards), but frankly having seen you run something I recently would not be too worried.

Of course, I have run for you as well, so you should be aware of a couple of things.

Honestly, I feel that the evaluation mostly helps those GMs that have hardly any contact with some parts of the community or have been taught some really bad habits.

2/5 ⦵⦵⦵⦵

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Bob Jonquet wrote:
Or we just keep things as they are. When you complete 150 games, 50 different scenarios, and 10 specials, the local VC/RVC submits you for the fifth [token]. Period. If someone sucks bad enough after what is likely more than a thousand hours of GMing and prep then the local community is at fault for not expressing their concerns with the GM and mentoring them to foster improvement. We are not going to have a standard that can be applied and accepted equally throughout the community. It's folly to think we can. Let's keep the five-[token] status primarily as a reward for time invested in the campaign and keep the campaign coins to recognize those individuals who go above and beyond for the community. Simple.

This will ensure that the five Glyph/five Nova achievement is merely a measure of quantity, and not quality.

I disagree with your statement that it's the fault of the community for having bad GMs. There are plenty of five Star GMs that are...well, they don't provide a good player experience, and they're either not receptive to coaching or no amount of coaching will give them the intuitive nature of a responsive and engaged GM. There are also some people willing to put up with a less-than-ideal player experience/game just because they themselves don't want to GM, and the community might support it because they're the only person willing to run game regularly at that store.

2/5

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Going from 1 to 3 review games w/o changing any of the rest of the process seems a little off to me. Pushing 1 of the review down to ~2-3 glyph level -- not requiring a passing score, but requiring the review to happen. Would let people get feedback when they are more likely to be able to incorporate it. If you're told after 100 tables you're doing stuff 'wrong' I know a lot of people would get defensive "its always worked in the past"

5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Chicago aka thunderspirit

Natalie Kertzner wrote:
Bob Jonquet wrote:
Or we just keep things as they are. When you complete 150 games, 50 different scenarios, and 10 specials, the local VC/RVC submits you for the fifth [token]. Period. If someone sucks bad enough after what is likely more than a thousand hours of GMing and prep then the local community is at fault for not expressing their concerns with the GM and mentoring them to foster improvement. We are not going to have a standard that can be applied and accepted equally throughout the community. It's folly to think we can. Let's keep the five-[token] status primarily as a reward for time invested in the campaign and keep the campaign coins to recognize those individuals who go above and beyond for the community. Simple.

This will ensure that the five Glyph/five Nova achievement is merely a measure of quantity, and not quality.

I disagree with your statement that it's the fault of the community for having bad GMs. There are plenty of five Star GMs that are...well, they don't provide a good player experience, and they're either not receptive to coaching or no amount of coaching will give them the intuitive nature of a responsive and engaged GM. There are also some people willing to put up with a less-than-ideal player experience/game just because they themselves don't want to GM, and the community might support it because they're the only person willing to run game regularly at that store.

I have to concur here. Blaming the community is problematic.

If you want to blame local leadership, that too is troubling; but it's marginally more defensible than blaming the community as a whole.

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

Natalie Kertzner wrote:

This will ensure that the five Glyph/five Nova achievement is merely a measure of quantity, and not quality.

I disagree with your statement that it's the fault of the community for having bad GMs. There are plenty of five Star GMs that are...well, they don't provide a good player experience, and they're either not receptive to coaching or no amount of coaching will give them the intuitive nature of a responsive and engaged GM. There are also some people willing to put up with a less-than-ideal player experience/game just because they themselves don't want to GM, and the community might support it because they're the only person willing to run game regularly at that store.

Quantity is as neutral as it could be, no matter how arbitrary it is. Quality is a personal point of view and should be treated in a case-by-case basis if there's a problem (I don't want to bother about displaying all the grey palette this topic involves because, too long.) Why blaming a group should be a no ? Everybody is responsible, or nobody is.

1/5

7 people marked this as a favorite.

I am a long way from qualifying for 5 of any GM acknowledgement, though I have played and GM'd a variety of RPGs in a variety of settings beginning in the mid-'70s. I have experienced great GMs and terrible GMs and quite a lot in between. My first GM experience for PFS had the local VC at my table and I have GM'd for more than one VC in more than one system since. On the other hand, were my family to move to Perth, Western Australia then I would be unlikely to see a VC in person except when travelling. I am sure Tonya and crew are quite aware of the variety of situations and trying to find the best balance possible.

I aim to be a good GM but know that I have a way to go before I meet my preferred standards. I often ask for feedback and listen to my players and other observers. I also sometimes find it difficult to extract really constructive criticism. I hope that with a specific metric in place that it will be easier for everyone to know what they are striving for and to also provide useful feedback (well before any formal VC observation).

Regarding the issue of formal evaluations being from someone who doesn't know you - another issue to consider is those who suffer from test anxiety. My best practical test results have always come when I didn't know I was being tested, I thought it was a practice run or someone was just observing. While it is improving, I have enough issues with stage fright before GMing a regular game. I have no idea how I will hold up when it comes time for a formal evaluation. For some, having that evaluation be with someone they don't know would be a blessing, for others, it would be a nightmare.

If I were designing the specifics of the new evaluation system I would probably recommend, not require:
1) Have regular informal evaluations prior to your 100th game.
2) Start your formal evaluations early and prepare to complete them in advance of your 150th game.
3) Try to have at least two, preferably three different evaluators.
4) Try to have at least one evaluation with someone who doesn't know you that well, or at least doesn't play with you regularly so you have a fresh take on your abilities.
5) Remember that your services are appreciated regardless and that the evaluations are there to help us all reach toward excellence.

In addition, if a VC does not feel completely confident in a system then I would recommend they have a "system expert" at the table as well so that their rules knowledge evaluation could receive an "aid".

I welcome what I have read so far of the new system and look forward to using it to the advantage of all.

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

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Numbat, all I can do is applaud your post. That was lovely!

Hmm

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

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GM Numbat wrote:

I am a long way from qualifying for 5 of any GM acknowledgement, though I have played and GM'd a variety of RPGs in a variety of settings beginning in the mid-'70s. I have experienced great GMs and terrible GMs and quite a lot in between. My first GM experience for PFS had the local VC at my table and I have GM'd for more than one VC in more than one system since. On the other hand, were my family to move to Perth, Western Australia then I would be unlikely to see a VC in person except when travelling. I am sure Tonya and crew are quite aware of the variety of situations and trying to find the best balance possible.

I aim to be a good GM but know that I have a way to go before I meet my preferred standards. I often ask for feedback and listen to my players and other observers. I also sometimes find it difficult to extract really constructive criticism. I hope that with a specific metric in place that it will be easier for everyone to know what they are striving for and to also provide useful feedback (well before any formal VC observation).

Regarding the issue of formal evaluations being from someone who doesn't know you - another issue to consider is those who suffer from test anxiety. My best practical test results have always come when I didn't know I was being tested, I thought it was a practice run or someone was just observing. While it is improving, I have enough issues with stage fright before GMing a regular game. I have no idea how I will hold up when it comes time for a formal evaluation. For some, having that evaluation be with someone they don't know would be a blessing, for others, it would be a nightmare.

If I were designing the specifics of the new evaluation system I would probably recommend, not require:
1) Have regular informal evaluations prior to your 100th game.
2) Start your formal evaluations early and prepare to complete them in advance of your 150th game.
3) Try to have at least two, preferably three different evaluators.
4) Try to have at least one evaluation...

Some good suggestions, but I would like to highlight one thing I liked to read:

GM Numbat wrote:


I aim to be a good GM but know that I have a way to go before I meet my preferred standards. I often ask for feedback and listen to my players and other observers. I also sometimes find it difficult to extract really constructive criticism. I hope that with a specific metric in place that it will be easier for everyone to know what they are striving for and to also provide useful feedback (well before any formal VC observation).

This is a very personal approach, but I think that you should always consider yourself as someone who has to work hard to deliver a half-decent table.

No matter how experienced you are, there is always room for improvement, either via maps, handouts, miniatures/paws, custom terrain etc. knowing which of these options is worth the time invested is also something that might depend a lot on your GM style.

Grand Lodge 4/5

If we want to improve rules knowledge, we could develop a system of online quizzes for GMs and prospective GMs to take that would serve as both an examination of what they know as well as a study guide of helpfulness in identifying weak areas of individuals and the community as a whole. The quizzes could be oriented based on amount of experience of the GM.

The quizzes should provide feedback after the quiz with what was known and not known, and then provide links to the relevant rules section so that the GM can learn from the quiz as much as they can show what they know.

I would also point out that these quizzes be created for GM knowledge, not character class development as that is not in the GM's required knowledge. The quizzes should focus on rules mechanics and things a GM would be expected to know to run a session. They could also serve as an excellent learning tool for prospective GMs so they can identify areas of weakness in their knowledge of the game.

Not only that, but a quiz or two on Society specific rules would be very helpful for GMs.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

Quote:
Blaming the community is problematic...If you want to blame local leadership, that too is troubling; but it's marginally more defensible than blaming the community as a whole

Perhaps, but its reality. If players continue to play at the table of a known bad GM who refuses to make improvements then they have no one to blame but themselves. Yes, leadership has a greater responsibility here since it is expected they will take complaints and their own experiences and take action, but at the end of the day, we have to own our bad apples. If organizers stop allowing bad GMs to run, the problem goes away. If players stop "sucking it up" and playing at the tables of bad GMs, then they go away. I have walked away from tables before and I have banned GMs from running at events I organize. We simply cannot sit idly by and promote bad GMing through apathy and then try to complain about them when they get to five stars.

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.

So let's look at some of Gary's other suggestions:

Gary Norten wrote:

#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.

I would love it if we could create some sort of campaign tool that could help people link up... Even if it's just a forum thread on this forum.

Gary Norten wrote:

#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?

The 'exceeds expectations' is the thing that most EXCITES me about having a qualitative observation. That could be something that reviewing GMs could spend time talking with their 5 nova / glyph candidates... Is there a place where they can work on excelling as a GM? Everyone has room to improve, right?

Let's say that one of the areas on the rubric would be knowledge of the rules. (I can tell you now, that rules knowledge may be where I'm most likely to fail.) But I'd likely do well in other areas of the game, including pacing and player engagement. Having an 'exceeds expectations' on there lets reviewers reward me for the things I do well, while clearing their throats and saying, "Time to review to tactical combat chapter again, Hilary."

Helping you find a place to exceed expectations, helping you grow... isn't that the point of this?

Hmm

PS I'm secretly hoping that the rubric includes a 'filk on demand' section, because I would CRUSH it.

PPS Alas, my hopes are likely to be dashed on this. I may have to console them with a song.

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

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Bob Jonquet wrote:
Quote:
Blaming the community is problematic...If you want to blame local leadership, that too is troubling; but it's marginally more defensible than blaming the community as a whole
Perhaps, but its reality. If players continue to play at the table of a known bad GM who refuses to make improvements then they have no one to blame but themselves. Yes, leadership has a greater responsibility here since it is expected they will take complaints and their own experiences and take action, but at the end of the day, we have to own our bad apples. If organizers stop allowing bad GMs to run, the problem goes away. If players stop "sucking it up" and playing at the tables of bad GMs, then they go away. I have walked away from tables before and I have banned GMs from running at events I organize. We simply cannot sit idly by and promote bad GMing through apathy and then try to complain about them when they get to five stars.

I haven't walked away from a table, but I also had to ban GMs from my events. It's not enjoyable for the organizer but sometimes you just have to limit the damage some people can inflict.

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

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Gary D Norton wrote:

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 will be at GenCon and would be available. I do have experience with Starfinder.

But I will be jealous the whole time. :)

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

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Gary Bush wrote:
Gary D Norton wrote:

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 will be at GenCon and would be available. I do have experience with Starfinder.

But I will be jealous the whole time. :)

I will also be at GenCon. :)

And available at some point.

Scarab Sages ⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Agent, Netherlands aka CptJames

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GM Numbat wrote:
My first GM experience for PFS had the local VC at my table and I have GM'd for more than one VC in more than one system since. On the other hand, were my family to move to Perth, Western Australia then I would be unlikely to see a VC in person except when travelling. I am sure Tonya and crew are quite aware of the variety of situations and trying to find the best balance possible.

As someone who lived in Perth, Western Australia for 13 years...I can second this. When it is cheaper to fly to Bali that it is to fly within your own state/country, it becomes a very expensive exercise to go and see VCs (or anyone for that matter) in different states to get your evaluation if you need multiple evaluations.

I agree, I'm sure Tonya and the crew will try and get the best balance possible!

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

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Bob Jonquet wrote:
Or we just keep things as they are. When you complete 150 games, 50 different scenarios, and 10 specials, the local VC/RVC submits you for the fifth [token]. Period.

To be clear: you're saying stop even having a VC evaluation, just grant it if the VC can see in the DB that you reached the requisite numbers? That's even less than keeping things as they are.

I think that's a really unambitious goal. It devalues five stars to "at least you're not bad enough that everyone avoids you". It proves quantity and nothing more. You got enough hapless people to sit at your table to get you up to 150/50/10. Con organizers were desperate enough to get GMs for all slot tables that "no pending complaints" is good enough. You're slightly better than a table falling through. If this is the yardstick we use, why even bother with an approval process? Implement some database checks and grant the fifth star automatically.

If this is the bar you set, then five stars is nothing to be proud of.

Bob Jonquet wrote:
If someone sucks bad enough after what is likely more than a thousand hours of GMing and prep then the local community is at fault for not expressing their concerns with the GM and mentoring them to foster improvement.

Apparently that happens quite a lot, given how almost everyone can name one or two five-stars that were "disappointing" at best.

So we do need some quality standards.

Bob Jonquet wrote:
We are not going to have a standard that can be applied and accepted equally throughout the community. It's folly to think we can. Let's keep the five-[token] status primarily as a reward for time invested in the campaign and keep the campaign coins to recognize those individuals who go above and beyond for the community. Simple.

I don't agree that it's folly. Quite simply, we get a lot of sensible people to weigh in, and then OP leadership makes a decision. Nobody will like it 100% but it'll be pretty good. And "pretty good" is a lot better than what we have now.

I don't think we need any "quantity award". Nobody's excited to play at the table of someone who's GMed a lot. We're excited to play at the table of someone who's a good GM.

I don't think qualitative measures are so impossible. Compare GMing to teaching. Teachers have to prepare their lessons. Have to understand their subject matter. Keep order in class. Finish classes on schedule, and cover all the material. And last but not least, capture the interest of their students. All things we also want from our GMs. And teachers get evaluated all the time. Not every institution uses the same evaluation methods. Eventually it's a decision by leadership. Just like in Organized Play.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

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Bob Jonquet wrote:
Quote:
Blaming the community is problematic...If you want to blame local leadership, that too is troubling; but it's marginally more defensible than blaming the community as a whole
Perhaps, but its reality. If players continue to play at the table of a known bad GM who refuses to make improvements then they have no one to blame but themselves. Yes, leadership has a greater responsibility here since it is expected they will take complaints and their own experiences and take action, but at the end of the day, we have to own our bad apples. If organizers stop allowing bad GMs to run, the problem goes away. If players stop "sucking it up" and playing at the tables of bad GMs, then they go away. I have walked away from tables before and I have banned GMs from running at events I organize. We simply cannot sit idly by and promote bad GMing through apathy and then try to complain about them when they get to five stars.

I don't agree with pointing to "the local community" to solve bad GMing without any help. The local community contains new players who may have no idea what good GMing looks like and don't know that they should be filing complaints. The local community contains people who drop in once in a blue moon and aren't involved enough in PFS machinery to know who they should be complaining to.

Leadership that passes the buck is not leading.

Stars are a global award. If a bad GM in on region gets 5 stars because the local VC likes him and he comes to play in another area, his 5 stars have the same benefits as a local GM who had to struggle for it. If we're going to have global awards, we should have global standards for earning them. Campaign leadership shouldn't be passing the buck.

Helping GMs to improve, and correcting them, is indeed mostly the work of local leadership. People in the local community grumble, but don't always have a clear rule violation to point to say "this GM broke this rule". Rather, they have a lousy game but that's not something you can file a formal complaint about. So they can grumble to local leadership and then local leadership can do... what? Say "you're not giving people a fun time, make it more fun or stop GMing". Local leadership is in a very weak position to work from.

I think quality standards can empower local leadership. In the short run, because they give VOs something to point to and say "if you want to earn your fifth star, you need to be able to do these things right". In the longer run, they set an example for everyone what the traits of a good or great GM are. They give GMs targets to work towards. They give VOs talking points when they have to sit down with a GM that's having trouble. It's not just the GMs close to the five star mark that will be influenced by this. Beginning GMs looking at the rubric get an idea of what they should be aimind towards. GM 101 may be a guide to "how to get there"; this is the description of "where to get to".

To return to my teachers' evaluation comparison: students are not given a blank sheet of paper to evaluate their teachers with. They're asked questions like "did the teacher present the subject in an interesting way", or "was the material used in class fit for purpose". These give useful feedback that the teacher can use to improve with.

Scarab Sages 4/5

I’ll bring up my other concern besides travel, which someone may have already done. I know it was mentioned in relation the VCs judging systems they aren’t familiar with.

It’s true that not every 5-star GM is strong in the rules, etc. it’s also true that over the years I’ve been at tables GMed or seen forum posts by Venture Captain who were not strong in the rules, etc. I’m not calling out any names, or even sure I remember them or whether those people are still involved with PFS. And that’s not meant as a slight against those VCs. Some were argumentative or not helpful, but others were just dedicated volunteers who don’t spend all of their time making sure they know every rule or interaction in the game.

The point being that this system would be asking VCs to evaluate GMs without first evaluating the VCs based on that criteria (not something I’m advocating for doing). Not all VCs are 5-star GMs. Not all VCs are strong in the rules or in GMing. Nor do they need to be. VCs have pointedly in the past not needed to be rules authorities or GMs that exceed expectations, but now there’s the potential that they will be asked to determine if others are those things. Does anyone else see the potential problem there?

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

Ferious Thune wrote:
Does anyone else see the potential problem there?

Not very hard to guess, was thinking about it in my previous posts

2/5

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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

The more I think about it the more I would really like to see the idea of an interim evaluation at some point in the first 1/2 of the table count. its not a pass/fail, its a here's where you are, here's where we think you can grow.

Now of course this expands the number of reviews needed (as many more people get to 2/3 tokens than 5). So the demand on VCs would be too great. I'd suggest opening it up the entire VO-corps for the preliminary evaluation. If there's a written artifact from the evaluation, maybe have the VC give it a quick review to make sure the feedback is useful/actionable. (Of course the VC wasn't at the game so they can't check for 'correctness' -- this is more to help ensure some consistency across reviews and/or allow the VC to help mentor the other reviewers in giving good feedback).

Dark Archive 5/5 ⦵⦵⦵⦵

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Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Jack Brown wrote:
Gary Bush wrote:
Gary D Norton wrote:

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 will be at GenCon and would be available. I do have experience with Starfinder.

But I will be jealous the whole time. :)

I will also be at GenCon. :)

And available at some point.

For GenCon, I am flying in on Tuesday (scheduled to arrive 5:08 PM). I set Wednesday aside for bonus gaming. In the past, I have gone to Scotty's, but sadly that is no longer an option.

I would be delighted to run a Starfinder game or two on Wednesday for Gary & Jack & others.

Grand Lodge 4/5

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Ferious Thune wrote:

I’ll bring up my other concern besides travel, which someone may have already done. I know it was mentioned in relation the VCs judging systems they aren’t familiar with.

It’s true that not every 5-star GM is strong in the rules, etc. it’s also true that over the years I’ve been at tables GMed or seen forum posts by Venture Captain who were not strong in the rules, etc. I’m not calling out any names, or even sure I remember them or whether those people are still involved with PFS. And that’s not meant as a slight against those VCs. Some were argumentative or not helpful, but others were just dedicated volunteers who don’t spend all of their time making sure they know every rule or interaction in the game.

The point being that this system would be asking VCs to evaluate GMs without first evaluating the VCs based on that criteria (not something I’m advocating for doing). Not all VCs are 5-star GMs. Not all VCs are strong in the rules or in GMing. Nor do they need to be. VCs have pointedly in the past not needed to be rules authorities or GMs that exceed expectations, but now there’s the potential that they will be asked to determine if others are those things. Does anyone else see the potential problem there?

Exactly. Who watches the watchers?

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

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Xathos of Varisia wrote:
Exactly. Who watches the watchers?

In the PBP Region? EVERYONE.

5/5

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*blinks*

Liberty's Edge 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Maryland— Baltimore aka Qstor

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Congrats to the new 5 stars!

The Exchange 5/5

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wow... I have gone back thru this entire thread and really-really don't like the underlying feeling of elitism I am getting from many of the posts here.

Perhaps I'm just being silly, and it is my natural conservatism is coming out. I understand the way things work now. And I actually feel they work - perhaps not fabulous, but I feel that they do work well. And I know they can work worse. A lot worse. So I tend to resist changing procedures just for the sake of change. And it sort of feels like this is at least partly that. Are we trying to fix a problem with the existing "judge ranking system"? Could someone please articulate what problem we are trying to fix?

I can recall back in the early days of Living Greyhawk, when both Table Judges and Players were more formally "evaluated", and we filled out "judge feedback cards" and "MVP award sheets". Those are not times I want to return to. Heck, we even stopped doing them before the transition to 3.5 rules. And the game was better for it. (notice the fact that those grading systems didn't make it into PFS?)

Side Track - explanations:
I really do not think this view is "sour grapes" on my part. I actually did quite well on both kinds of "grade cards". But it did regularly bother me to see the sorts of things people would engage in to get better scores - to "win" at the "contest". Both player and judge actions.

(some examples would be):
3 friends who all played together would before the game agree to vote as a block, insuring that the one they voted for "won" the Table MVP Award, (the Table Prize, which was normally a "die-bump-cert"). Each game they would rotate which of them would win.

A judge arranging to have selected players at their tables, and insuring that other "potential problem" players did NOT play for them - but went to other tables. Thus insuring that their Judge Ratings (evaluations) were always high, while other judges always seemed to have problems. This would go so far as to have the judge "pad" the sign-up sheets with non-existent players that they could replace with "selected" individuals or even leave as an empty seat. (3 high ratings from a 4 player table gives a better ranking than 3 high ratings from a 6 player table). And if they were not judging a game this slot? be sure to rate other the judges poorly, insuring their overall rating was better.

There were LOTS of other gimmicks to try to "game the system"... After all, there are a lot of people in our hobby who see everything as a contest and look for every loophole to exploit to "win the game". I am sure people will be able to come up with things I cannot even imagine now.

Personal Evaluations:
Concerning evaluations, as a judge and as a player, I try to deal with this in a very informal way. For myself, for my enjoyment of the game, to improve my game - which is very selfish, I like to have fun.

As a judge/organizer, on the back of each chronicle that I print for a scenario, I try to have printed after the scenario Summary and Conclusion, the following paragraph:
As always: Thanks for playing, and I hope you had an enjoyable game!
I am always interested in feedback from my players on what parts you enjoyed and what parts you didn't. What I did that might have made the game more fun, or less fun - what I might be able to do to make the next game (with scenario or a different one) better. So, feel free to email me feedback to:
and then I list my email address.

As a Player: At the end of each game I play in, I try to get feedback from the judge/players on how well I played my PC. Was it fun to game with her? did she add to the group? Would they like to see/play with her again?

Thus I get feedback from those persons important to me - the people that have played for me.

Disclaimer - I do not currently play SFS, and while I tried the Playtest for 2E several times I found it... less fun... so I have gone back to PFS 1E and will likely be riding it to the bitter end.

If we are looking for metrics that judges should be evaluated with, I can offer some suggestions... things that I have not noticed other people mention in the posts above. I have no idea how to track these - and in fact would likely speak out against tracking them - but mah, that's just my normal reaction.

How many people have we introduced the game to in the last year? How many NEW PLAYERS have we run a game for?

How many Intro games (Tier 1 Evergreens) have we run?

How many people have we shown how to fill out the paperwork (chronicles/ITS/etc.)?

Have we produced anything "extras" for the game? Do we give out "Welcome to Pathfinder" Boons? Playing aids? Con Flyers? Contact info for Paizo/VCs/Gamedays/Game locations/Stores/Weblinks? Something that helps other players have more fun?

Do we welcome the new players to the table? Make them feel like we are actually glad they are there? Gotten them to talk about their PC? (And listened?!)

Do we actually take the time to listen to our players, not just pause our speechs until they finish talking? Do we ask them after a game what they liked, what they didn't, and maybe even ask them for suggestions?

Are we HAVING FUN?!!

Sorry - I got carried away, and need to walk away from this for a while. Maybe go wash my face, and take a walk. I just may come back afterward and delete it, I'm not sure if is really going to be at all helpful...

Grand Lodge 4/5

Applause for Nosig's post. So very true. New players are the lifeblood of Org Play. Without them we would cease to exist.

As for the Playtest, it was a playtest. 2e looks to be far removed from it, but we won't know until August 1st. Only 112 days to go! Looking forward to it.

2/5 ⦵⦵⦵⦵

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nosig wrote:

Are we trying to fix a problem with the existing "judge ranking system"? Could someone please articulate what problem we are trying to fix?

New players are great, and we want more of them. I think the issue is that previously (Novas and Glyphs still being TBD), achieving a 5* designation was something you earned, above and beyond just numbers of tables run. What we’re debating is an existential question – what does it mean to be 5* GM? If it’s beyond just 150 tables, what should the qualifiers be?

Nosig, regarding your observation of elitism…I wouldn’t say it’s inaccurate per se, but I can see where you’re coming from. I think there are people that feel (and probably rightly so) that they are good GMs and want to be recognized by the community as such, and having 5* GMs that are…just plain bad detract from that status. Obviously, that's a bit of a blanket statement and not everyone will fall under that, but I think that's the general idea. "We want this to mean something, under the current system, it doesn't."

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

nosig wrote:
Sorry - I got carried away, and need to walk away from this for a while. Maybe go wash my face, and take a walk. I just may come back afterward and delete it, I'm not sure if is really going to be at all helpful...

I'm glad you decided not to, at least.

The Exchange 5/5

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
nosig wrote:
Sorry - I got carried away, and need to walk away from this for a while. Maybe go wash my face, and take a walk. I just may come back afterward and delete it, I'm not sure if is really going to be at all helpful...
I'm glad you decided not to, at least.

welll.... actually, my boss stopped by and I didn't get back to it, otherwise I would at least have deleted the OOC comment on the end.

Often I seem to have problems in expressing myself in an understandable fashion... and I think I tend to make threads worse when I express my opinion.

But overall I'm happy with the post above, as long as it helps expand the conversation.

I just really do worry about a rating system becoming all about "improving the metrics", like I see in other areas of life. Where the focus is on "the numbers" and how we can "improve our numbers" rather than on "making things better".

and don't get me started on "exceeds expectations"....

Dilbert cartoon..

Scarab Sages 3/5 Venture-Agent

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I think all the points you brought up are very important factors for the community Nosig but feel like the criteria you listed are better metrics for judging an organizer/VO than a GM. Sometimes those things go hand in hand but not all 5 star GMs are organizers/VO's and vice versa.

The Exchange 5/5

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Zach Davis wrote:

I think all the points you brought up are very important factors for the community Nosig but feel like the criteria you listed are better metrics for judging an organizer/VO than a GM. Sometimes those things go hand in hand but not all 5 star GMs are organizers/VO's and vice versa.

I actually think the metrics I listed off apply to the person running the table (the judge), not the person running an event (organizer) or an area (VC).

But let's list them off and see...

"How many people have we introduced the game to in the last year? How many NEW PLAYERS have we run a game for?"
Well, maybe getting someone new to sign up for a game would be in the realm of the organizer - but I'm found most new people come play their first game because either another player invited them or a judge did. and mostly the Newbie got their first "taste" at that first table. If it wasn't fun, we wont see them again. So I guess part of this metric should also be "How many people that we have run a first game for have RETURNED to play a second (and 3rd...5th). and I think that is way more on that first judge than the event organizer or VC.

"How many Intro games (Tier 1 Evergreens) have we run?"
This is to me about RUNNING the table, not setting it up. Yes, there is an organizer, and a VC involved, and a lot of other people too... but to me, it's mostly about the guy running the show. A judge who runs more Starter games to me is more deserving of recognition than one who never runs any... and hey, this is all about who deserves more recognition right? who "wins"...

"How many people have we shown how to fill out the paperwork (chronicles/ITS/etc.)?"
Currently we (the players) learn how to fill out our paperwork from a) other players, b) "the guide", c) the table judge, d) guesswork. I have never met an organizer or a VC that concerned themselves with player paperwork. Now, for Table Trackers? yeah - but mostly we even learn that from other table judges... "Hay, Jo! How do we need to fill this out?"

"Have we produced anything "extras" for the game? Do we give out "Welcome to Pathfinder" Boons? Playing aids? Con Flyers? Contact info for Paizo/VCs/Gamedays/Game locations/Stores/Weblinks? Something that helps other players have more fun?"
Player handouts, game props, 3D terrain, play aids, all these and lots more seem to come from judges, or maybe from other players (often thru judges). I personally learned of Chronicles Zeros, Welcome Boons, Archives of N., heck - this web site, from judges (and other players, when I was a judge). Often I would pass these up to my VC... or sometimes to an organizer.

"Do we welcome the new players to the table? Make them feel like we are actually glad they are there? Gotten them to talk about their PC? (And listened?!)"
I have once heard a Venture Officer welcome players to a new venue. He did know the players, as they were old hands, but he did welcome them to the opening. Otherwise, thousands of other times, I have welcomed new players (and old) to my table. And many more times I have been welcomed (and sometimes even welcomed back) by the table judge. I think it's a sign of a good judge who does this... I would like to recognize them. I like to think of it as being part of "our job description".

"Do we actually take the time to listen to our players, not just pause our speechs until they finish talking? Do we ask them after a game what they liked, what they didn't, and maybe even ask them for suggestions?"
This is totally on the Judge... at least IMHO.

Which of these points "are better metrics for judging an organizer/VO than a GM"? and more importantly, which of these metrics is NOT good to use in deciding on a Judge Rating? (such as the Star system)?

Grand Lodge 4/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

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Natalie Kertzner wrote:
achieving a 5* designation was something you earned, above and beyond just numbers of tables run

That's not exactly true. When the star program was created the intent was merely to recognize the GMs who had invested hundreds if not thousands of hours into running games. Nothing more. There was an assumption that how could you get to that level and still suck? The idea that the five-star status was an indication of quality grew from the community's desire for it to be true. In fact, most of the initial five-star evaluations that were completed by Paizo staff were nothing more than a brief "driveby" at the table. They would observe say 10-15 minutes of the session and based on that approve the fifth star. Having the evaluator actually playing at the table or staying there for the duration of the session was exceedingly rare. They were only looking for major issues that would draw a flag. The community made the assumption that clearly if a Paizo staffer said [this guy] is good enough for a 5th star, he must be awesome. It really was simply intended to be a quantity award.

Think about this for a moment. Don't you think that a GM who has invested upwards of 800 hours at the table running games and at least that of their own time in preparation for said games deserves a little recognition even if they don't belong in the Hall of Fame of GMs? I certainly do.

We all want better GMs and it is a great idea to have a training and mentoring program to help GMs improve their craft, but that's not what the five-star program was designed to do and I would like to see it remain as it is. If we want to create a separate program specifically to recognize "epic" quality GMs, I'm all for it, but I think the very thing that makes this community great, diversity, works against us for issues like this. There are sooo many moving parts, I seriously doubt we can create an evaluation program that will meet the needs of a large enough majority to be effective. There are simply going to be too many "what abouts" and "this doesn't work for us." YMMV

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

Gary D Norton wrote:


I would be delighted to run a Starfinder game or two on Wednesday for Gary & Jack & others.

So not to derail the thread, my email is on the coordinator page. Drop me a line.

5/5 ⦵⦵

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What's in it for the 5 Star becomes the question.

My cool 5 Stars are awesome to have, but they don't really 'do' a lot. You can introduce the proposed system that says I will have to spend about $2-3k to go get my 5th Nova (travel costs), but I could just stop at 4 and get pretty much the same thing. If I have to jump through hoops and invest personal funds (yes, you will price people out of being able to participate) then the what are we saying a Nova is worth.

What, exactly, am I getting for my money?

(I am not even having the complaint about the depreciation of my current 5 stars).

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

What do people get for being a fourth level black belt over a third level?

Sovereign Court 5/5

Shifty wrote:

What's in it for the 5 Star becomes the question.

My cool 5 Stars are awesome to have, but they don't really 'do' a lot. You can introduce the proposed system that says I will have to spend about $2-3k to go get my 5th Nova (travel costs), but I could just stop at 4 and get pretty much the same thing. If I have to jump through hoops and invest personal funds (yes, you will price people out of being able to participate) then the what are we saying a Nova is worth.

What, exactly, am I getting for my money?

(I am not even having the complaint about the depreciation of my current 5 stars).

I rather think that what your asking is:

What's in it for the FIRST Nova/Star?

My cool Nova/Stars are awesome to have, but they don't really 'do' a lot. You can introduce the proposed system that says I will have to spend resources (time/money/aggravation/whatever) to go get my Novas, but I could just not bother running things and get pretty much the same thing. If I have to jump through hoops and invest personal resources (yes, you will "price" people out of being able to participate, even if it's just personal time they are spending) then what are we saying a Nova/Star is worth?

What, exactly, am I getting for my investment?"

...

well... Ah... the fun of having done it?

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

My own expanded take on Muse's last sentence : When it comes to the point of expecting something out of it, then GMing or playing changed a lot. Not always for the good. Sometimes is it any bad to do so without thinking of anything else ?

Some of these expectations aren't healthy at all.

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