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

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I think a lot of the anxiety that is being expressed here is because we haven't been able to share the rubric in progress. Nosig, some of what you are suggesting isn't that far from some of the things that my ideal rubric would cover.

★ --- ★ --- ★ --- ★

I do think that we will need to spread out the pool of evaluators to include Venture Lieutenants. We as a community have to figure out ways that GMs in all regions can participate without exorbitant costs. I also think that it might be a good idea to allow presiding at a table of evaluation to count towards volunteering at major conventions -- it's going to be more work than 5 star tables were in the past.

Hmm

Second Seekers (Luwazi Elsbo) 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Lieutenant, North Carolina—Charlotte aka eddv

4 people marked this as a favorite.

I really don't feel like 3 game evaluations is going to significantly change things to be honest. Its not enough to actually ensure quality, just enough to make getting nova number 5 a pain. Even my single evaluation game was a real pain to schedule. I know a local GM that had to wait over a year for the stars to align on just one audited game getting made. My own waited a few months and my VC at the time lived 5 miles from me.

Yes like many of you, some of the worst tables I have ever played at have been run by 5* GMs having an off day. But, also many of the best. Not every game is gonna be a good one and even a usually very good GM may just simply not have good chemistry with a particular table of randoms.

Maybe there could be some separate GM mark of quality but that should be a bigger project that is more than just 3 audited games and be more directed at mentoring and the like.

I like novas and stars as being what they originally were - a mark of service. Helping 150 tables make and helping a convention multiple times over running multi table specials which are a BEAR to prep and a marathon to run is something worthy of praise and should be the goal of this program.

I also think if you try to make it about GM quality that the time served requirements are frankly a little insulting. You don't need to run 150 games and make your way out to 10 multitable specials to be a good GM after all and the insinuation that a GM doesnt 'deserve' that 5 nova mark of quality until that point strikes me as badly misguided.

The Exchange 5/5

Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:

I think a lot of the anxiety that is being expressed here is because we haven't been able to share the rubric in progress. Nosig, some of what you are suggesting isn't that far from some of the things that my ideal rubric would cover.

★ --- ★ --- ★ --- ★

I do think that we will need to spread out the pool of evaluators to include Venture Lieutenants. We as a community have to figure out ways that GMs in all regions can participate without exorbitant costs. I also think that it might be a good idea to allow presiding at a table of evaluation to count towards volunteering at major conventions -- it's going to be more work than 5 star tables were in the past.

Hmm

Sorry, HMM, I fear that I am very poor at expressing myself.

I understand the way things work now - how we get our STARS at least. And I actually feel that procedure works - perhaps not fabulous, but I feel that they do work well. And (I think) I realize what they actually MEAN - that this person has spent time/effort/personal resources in running games (a least 120 in the case of a 4 STAR judge). And (currently) that's all it means. (please understand, I am not denigrating that accomplishment. It is great, it's wonderful, but... it doesn't mean the person is a Rules Authority, or a Paizo Representative, or an Officer of the Cheliaxian Court.)

I understand the current system. I LIKE the current system. 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"?

What "Problem"?

Are we trying to get the Star system to mean something else?

What?

If we change the existing definition of what it means to be a 5 Star judge - If we expect new, up-in-coming 5 Star judges to pass additional/changed tests - do we grandfather in those of us who already have that status, or do we require us to pass the new criteria? Either of those choices has issues.

So I just need to say - the suggestions I offered above were NOT THINGS I WANTED TO BE INCLUDED in judge star criteria, just things I figured were better than what was being suggested. I don't want to change the existing criteria for what it means to be a 5 Star Judge... I don't think the existing criteria is broken, so I see no need in fixing it.

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

7 people marked this as a favorite.

I think one problem is that this proposal tries to make the 5-marker status mean too many different things. The lower number of markers are just an indicator of games run, and so of time spent enabling others to have fun. Adding specials in as a requirement for 5 markers is still relevant to that goal, because it means you've even run the hard stuff, to keep people able to enjoy playing. The one evaluation required for 5 stars is a bit off for that, but it's really just spot checking that there are not major problems. Thus, in the old system, 5 stars represented service to PFS.

The new system is trying to make that status mean both quality and service, and I'm not sure that's in any way a reasonable goal. A person who has spent years working their tail off for the campaign should have that recognized, even if they are only OK as a GM. And any recognition of quality as a GM does not require that amount of experience. I know one star GMs who are among the best I have ever played under.

By trying to make the 5-marker status represent too many things, it ends up being muddy and not really representing anything other than determination to be recognized.

5/5 ⦵⦵

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
What do people get for being a fourth level black belt over a third level?

I can answer that, mostly satisfaction, but also extra responsibility in the dojo/dojang etc, and also the ability to use said belt for training others (instruct and get some cash back - woohoo!).

If you got to third dan though, and someone said 'whilst you would otherwise qualify, this is going to cost you several thousand dollars for your belt', you might decide the belt is less about skill, and rather about the ability to simply pay. Strangely enough, this has and does create real problems in real dojos.

We can then add the PFS/SFS dimension that then says "Also, in somewhere between 5-10 years we will release Karate 2.0, and you will go back to white belt. Get your credit card ready"

Muse wrote:
well... Ah... the fun of having done it?

Pretty sure what I meant to ask was exactly what I asked.

Well the first four stars are free, the 5th star is a few grand. We copped it sweet when it was just several hundred dollars, but this is pumping it up into the thousands. More 'the fun of being able to afford it'. I can fork out the cash for it, but it's a bit rich for those who will simply be priced out of getting there.

This whole process seems like it is changing for the sake of changing, at significant cost, for no quantifiable gain.

Sovereign Court 5/5

Shifty wrote:

...

Muse wrote:
well... Ah... the fun of having done it?

Pretty sure what I meant to ask was exactly what I asked.

'''snipping...

I'm sorry if I mislead you.

My question that you quoted above is actually an attempt (poor I admit) to answer your earlier question... which I admit I may not have understood.

Here, this may give better context...

I took your question to be...

Shifty wrote:


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

and my reply to that question was...

muse wrote:


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

I'm sorry if I caused some offense.

5/5 ⦵⦵

4 people marked this as a favorite.

All good mate :)

The reward should be 'the fun of having done it', and the enjoyment of the recognition of service to community. Whilst there was always an implied suggestion it was also a 'stamp of quality', the 5 Stars were quite achievable for anyone who wanted to take a shot.

At some point the discussion has warped into one of chasing 5 stars as a 'sign of quality GMing', yet that same consideration is no longer shown for the other 4 stars you earn along the road - now its meeting a rubric and having three assessments and 5 is doing its own thing.

What is 5 now about? Is it about GMing or is it about contributing to the campaign? Should some amazing GM from another system learn PFS/SFS and dominate the rubrics and put on the best games ever NOT get the new quality guarantee stamp because they haven't served enough? Should some 'ok but reliable' GM who has put in 300 tables NOT get it because he doesn't have the X factor? Should a GM who has done the time and has the chops, but not the $$'s miss out because three VC's can't get to them?

Nuh, not a fan of this new cash for stars process.

Liberty's Edge 5/5 Venture-Agent, Illinois—Mattoon aka DLE

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Gregg Homerding wrote:
Congratulations to the new 5-star GMs, especially Chris Murphy from Mattoon Illinois USA!

Thanks, Gregg! I appreciate it.

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

6 people marked this as a favorite.

Concerns about the Evaluation Process

There's been a lot of concern expressed about the idea of Organized Play adding evaluations to the requirements for Five Novas and Five Glyphs.

Summary of Concerns

  • It's expensive.
  • It's elitist.
  • It's unneeded.
  • It's ineffective / flawed / doomed to fail.

    Expense is definitely something that Organized Play should into. We don't want this process to be inordinately more difficult for GMs in one part of the world over GMs in another. If we need to change requirements, allowing VLs to do evaluations, or finding other ways to reduce expense, we should do that.

    Elitist is an interesting perspective, and probably a bit true. But then again 5 stars have always been an elite group in Organized Play. There just aren't that many of us who've run that many games and completed that many specials. So I don't see how it's any more elitist to have a quality qualification rather than just a quantity one.

    Need is a great question. Do we need to change the pathway that was established in PF1? I feel that we do, and have felt that way for a while now. I have personally wanted stars / novas / glyphs to be a metric of quality as well as quantity. I'm pretty certain that was part of why OrgPlay required 10 specials, 50 different games and an observation table. The idea was that through increasingly complex material, you would grow as a GM, and that would be worth celebrating.

    Efficacy is yet to be seen for this process. I don't think we can judge this based on our first attempt at a quality metric. OrgPlay's first attempt to have observation tables was without real guidance, and VCs felt reluctant to fail someone after all that work. There was no consensus on what it meant to be a quality GM, and no rubric to guide us. After a while, most areas gave up on the idea of it as an evaluation, and saw it as a party to celebrate hard work. (I'm still hoping that there will be a party to celebrate hard work as part of this process. That's not something that I ever want to see go away.)

    ★ --- ★ --- ★ --- ★

    What Are We Measuring?

    I really like that the OrgPlay leadership team is trying to define some of the qualities that make up great GMing. I don't know what their full list will be, but this post by Kevin Willis lists some of what I see as most important.

    Belafon wrote:

    What I think stars should mean:

    1 to 4 stars:
    • Commitment to the campaign

    5 stars:
    • Rules expertise competence
    • Storytelling, pacing, prep and presentation
    • Creating a welcoming, friendly, and engaging environment

    Okay, Hilary, but will it work? Will this actually offer GMs a chance to build skills, or will it cause tons of resentment and anger? How likely is it for GMs to change anything about how they GM once they've hit their 100th table? (I'll admit that I'm hoping that evaluations could happen at the 60 table mark. I'm within spitting distance of three novas now, and I'd love to figure out better ways to up my own game in SFS.)

    ★ --- ★ --- ★ --- ★

    How to Grow as a GM

    I asked TOZ if I could quote something he's said in multiple threads.

    Paraphrase of TOZ wrote:
    Practice doesn't make perfect, it makes permanent.

    The suggestion here is that practice will reinforce all your prior habits, both good and bad, and there's a lot of truth to that. But realize there are different ways to practice a skill. If you keep doing the same things the same way, you are going to reach a certain level of competency or smoothness, but will you really grow as a GM?

    I think that sort of practice is different from the sort of practice where you deliberately pick up something outside your normal comfort level (most specials fall in this category) or try to work on upping your game by improving weak areas. When you are pushing yourself to try new things about once every five games or so, you start to really grow and develop yourself as a GM. Another aspect that improves your game is teaching it to others -- probably because it requires you to reflect on what you do, and gives you a chance to improve.

    I'd like to think that this evaluation will serve two major purposes. First, and perhaps most importantly, it will be a chance to celebrate the areas where you are strong as a GM. Chances are very good that after 60 or 100 tables or so in Organized Play, you'll have developed some strengths along the way. Secondly, it will also be a place where you can identify a few growth areas, and maybe get some suggestions for places where you can excel.

    I like that the rubric acknowledges that we all have different styles and strengths. You can be weak in an area and excel in others, and still pass. No two GMs are alike. We're not aiming at uniformity, but at helping you hone your own style and techniques.

    Isn't this Feedback something best done informally?

    Perhaps, but most GMs who ask "How did I do? Can I have some feedback?" get the following from their players (if they get anything at all):

    "Oh, this was great fun. Thanks!"

    This feedback is nice as a pick-me-up, but pretty useless when I'm looking for ways to improve. My assumption is that my players either a) don't want to hurt my feelings or b) decided that I sucked less than the choices on Netflix.

    The other issue is that when players hear, "How did I do?" they assume that you are looking for affirmation, not real information.

    I've found that the level of feedback vastly improved if I asked the following question: "I'm looking for ways to up my game. Is there any specific advice or ideas that you have for me?" I used that a lot as I was struggling with ways to improve my combat and tactical skills, and it helped me, but not as much as the feedback that I got from Jack, Keith, and Jon. They were GMs and enjoyed sharing some of their skills when I asked.

    What I hope to see from the Rubric

    I'm hoping that if it's published in the guide, it will be something that all of us pay attention to. I'm hoping that it will spark ideas in GMs long before their 60th or 100th OrgPlay game, and that it will provide a framework for constructive conversations that help all of us grow and excel.

    I think we'll only learn how it works in practice, with the first few people to go through the process. But if we don't try new things, how will we know if they work or not?

    Hmm

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

    Chris Murphy wrote:
    Gregg Homerding wrote:
    Congratulations to the new 5-star GMs, especially Chris Murphy from Mattoon Illinois USA!
    Thanks, Gregg! I appreciate it.

    Chris and Bill --

    Congratulations on hitting 5 Stars. I'm sorry that your achievement has been a bit lost in all this discussion. Thanks for all the work you've done for the campaign!

    Hmm

    Dark Archive 4/5

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    I'm pro meaningful evaluation. Done well it promotes more positive org play experiences. Part of that is directly through better GMing and part of it would be helping to encourage an ethic of growth in GMs as well as maybe even a sense that the community is supporting each other in getting better.

    Clearly there are some substantial logistics to think about, which I don't have any particular insight. But I could get behind a 2 evaluation system, where after earning your 3rd nova and before you could get your 4th you needed a coaching observation where you could share your thoughts on what you'd like to improve and get some independent feedback and ideas from someone else. Then the second one would be as you close in on the 5th star.

    2/5

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Hmm wrote:

    Perhaps, but most GMs who ask "How did I do? Can I have some feedback?" get the following from their players (if they get anything at all):

    "Oh, this was great fun. Thanks!"

    This feedback is nice as a pick-me-up, but pretty useless when I'm looking for ways to improve. My assumption is that my players either a) don't want to hurt my feelings or b) decided that I sucked less than the choices on Netflix.

    The other issue is that when players hear, "How did I do?" they assume that you are looking for affirmation, not real information.

    Absolutely this. In my limited experience getting feedback from players that's actually useful is like trying to get blood from a turnip. I'm going to try a different approach when my next couple of games finish and instead of asking 'How did I do?' I'm going to ask 'Were there any parts of the scenario that seemed unclear or awkward?'

    Who knows, maybe if the focus of the question is ostensibly the scenario instead of me, I'll get useful feedback on how to better GM the scenario (and others like it) the next time around?

    So yes, while I personally don't have a dog in this fight right now I'd love to have a better way to receive feedback as a GM.

    5/5 ⦵⦵

    4 people marked this as a favorite.

    Follow up question:

    I already have my 5 Stars from Pathfinder 1.0

    I will have to go through this new process of 'validation' for Starfinder when I hit my 5th Nova. Do I then have to go through the same process and spend time catching flights to other capital cities to go through it once more for PF2?

    So that's now 6 'validation' games I'm looking at over the next while, I'm glad I got my 5th star already or I'd be up for 9 lots of validation. That's a lot of roadtrips or flights, assuming the same guy (Hi Steve!) can validate all my sessions. Assuming I can get my VL to watch my games that might cut it down, but the other nearest VL is about 4 hours drive away.

    Is there a waiver for people getting their 2nd or 3rd 5th 'whatsit'? By the stage I am getting my 15th 'star' I suspect we're only checking rules mastery - at what point are we over assessing?

    Second Seekers (Luwazi Elsbo) 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Lieutenant, North Carolina—Charlotte aka eddv

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Shifty wrote:


    What is 5 now about? Is it about GMing or is it about contributing to the campaign? Should some amazing GM from another system learn PFS/SFS and dominate the rubrics and put on the best games ever NOT get the new quality guarantee stamp because they haven't served enough? Should some 'ok but reliable' GM who has put in 300 tables NOT get it because he doesn't have the X factor? Should a GM who has done the time and has the chops, but not the $$'s miss out because three VC's can't get to them?

    This is my thing entirely. 'mark of service' and the 'stamp of quality' should not be tied together like this with Novas. It does feel like there is some community want or need for a quality control process, but it shouldn't be bogging down the nova/glyph process. I feel by trying to serve both, you ultimately serve neither and will have plenty of deserving GMs left out of the 5 nova/glyph club.

    Given the difficulty (in my experience) of getting together these evaluation games even for people in good situations and the sheer cost for people in certain parts of the country/world it just feels like a huge slowdown to the process for people in certain regions while favoring just a few regions that have multiple well clustered VCs.

    Hmm mentions maybe opening things up to VLs or the like to be evaluators and while that simplifies it, I as VL have played under my VC plenty of times, the evaluation itself WOULD just be a rubber stamp. I feel that if my community wanted to run a GM out of town on a rail it would happen well before game 150.

    I just haven't heard the reason here. What is broken that needs to be fixed? Are there 5* GMs who absolutely should have been flunked and weren't for want of a rubric or multiple chances to see said person in action? Hmm's suggestions are interesting, but none of them seem to answer why sufficient to upset the apple cart to this degree. Especially when this is still a volunteer organization where we should be THANKING our volunteers, perhaps more than just with a picture just to their number on the website.

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

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    I think an aspect of the proposal that deserves more attention is that the scoring rubric would be public. It's not a teacher's secret that they suddenly spring on you at game 150. It's something you've probably known about since around the time you got your first nova/glyph. You have access to it from the start of your PFS/SFS career and can look at it.

    Sure, you're only going to be tested on it for real after a long time, but all that time, you know what kind of test you're working towards. These are the key aspects of being a good GM, and you can work on them for 150 games. By the time you get there, it would be rather surprising if you didn't pass.

    So is it just a rubberstamping thing? No. Because we introduce "aspects of good GMing", people actually have targets to work towards, to become better GMs. If you're asking feedback, you can ask "how did I do on pacing the story" instead of "hey did you have a good afternoon". The rubric would be a very useful tool for a GM looking to analyze their game and see where they can get better.

    We can argue about the exact logistical implementation - like HMM said, it shouldn't be too burdensome to organize or too expensive. The implementation details do matter and require some thinking about. But the bigger picture is that having useful, actionable quality goals would help us make organized play even more fun.

    5/5 ⦵⦵

    I'm just glad it isn't going to apply to PF1.0 stars, as I have people about to get into their last 10 games. We're now coming into the 2-3 Nova range, so the rubric will be interesting to see so we know what ticks we are looking for.

    Second Seekers (Luwazi Elsbo) 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Lieutenant, North Carolina—Charlotte aka eddv

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    Let's set aside the logistical concerns for a moment because while they alone should be enough to illustrate that this isnt going to work in practice, I think the core of this endeavour is a poor idea.

    Lau Bannenberg wrote:


    We can argue about the exact logistical implementation - like HMM said, it shouldn't be too burdensome to organize or too expensive. The implementation details do matter and require some thinking about. But the bigger picture is that having useful, actionable quality goals would help us make organized play even more fun.

    I agree, there is nothing more fun than telling your peers who are volunteering their time to help run a campaign with you the exact ways in which they aren't good enough. That's so fun that they will definitely continue volunteering their time. Like I can't stress enough the idea of having 'actionable quality goals' where the action is withholding recognition for the time they have put into the campaign is to me a fairly repulsive idea.

    If some senior VOs or John Compton/Thursty or someone want to put together a series of blog posts detailing what makes a good Society GM and some good tips and tricks of the trade as a series of blog posts or something that might be a better and more positive way to try and raise the quality of GM play in a way that is less elitist and more productive. You are still presenting these ideas on what makes a good GM and arming GMs with the correct feedback questions without lording recognition for their service over their heads.

    Grand Lodge 4/5

    Shifty wrote:
    I'm just glad it isn't going to apply to PF1.0 stars, as I have people about to get into their last 10 games. We're now coming into the 2-3 Nova range, so the rubric will be interesting to see so we know what ticks we are looking for.

    Amen. I went over 150, and am down to some specials and the VC session. My VC is retiring in one area and the other area has no active VC or VL as the RVC has never taken them off the roster. I'm looking at 3.5 hour drives minimum to get to a VC (and for that matter places where players congregate). Fortunately, I do run a lot of online sessions so that is an option for me.

    If this 3 VC adjudication becomes reality, then the structure of Org Play is going to have to change. It will not work the way it is now.

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

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

    No. Absolutely not.

    Just because you do something a lot, doesn't mean you deserve recognition for doing it well. I can GM 146 scenarios at home with my same 6 friends (and get my last 4 specials at conventions or whatnot) and I could be a terrible GM. That GM doesn't deserve the same level of recognition as a person that GMs 150 tables across 3-4 local game stores and half a dozen conventions per year, potentially GMing for hundreds of different people. I'm well aware of the limitations of some people geographically, so I definitely think some discretion should be used to accommodate people who don't have that same availability to a variety of players that some others have.

    I think the 5-star/glyph/nova situation deserves some scrutiny towards quality. I think there needs to be a better system in place to push GMs to be better at their work. GM 101 and GM 201 should be pushed much harder to the community as a whole; I'd almost say they should be requirements for 4- and 5- star/glyph/nova GMs.

    There should be something to promote self-improvement, and local VCs/VLs should foster environments to allow players to give feedback about GMs in hopes that they improve. I know it's an idealistic situation, but I don't want sheer quantity to be a decider. I like the idea of 3 review tables if you are ok with 2 of those happening after 4-whatever status but before 150 (make that third review always happen after 150).

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

    Christine Bussman wrote:

    I think one problem is that this proposal tries to make the 5-marker status mean too many different things. The lower number of markers are just an indicator of games run, and so of time spent enabling others to have fun. Adding specials in as a requirement for 5 markers is still relevant to that goal, because it means you've even run the hard stuff, to keep people able to enjoy playing. The one evaluation required for 5 stars is a bit off for that, but it's really just spot checking that there are not major problems. Thus, in the old system, 5 stars represented service to PFS.

    The new system is trying to make that status mean both quality and service, and I'm not sure that's in any way a reasonable goal. A person who has spent years working their tail off for the campaign should have that recognized, even if they are only OK as a GM. And any recognition of quality as a GM does not require that amount of experience. I know one star GMs who are among the best I have ever played under.

    By trying to make the 5-marker status represent too many things, it ends up being muddy and not really representing anything other than determination to be recognized.

    After posting my comment above, I feel Christine's comments here reflect an important point. My previous comment is under the impression that the goal of the 5th doodad is to be a mark of quality. If that's the intention, then my comments stand and the complications in achieving that are well documented throughout this thread.

    However, if the main point of that 5th doodad is to mark service/dedication to the system, then you can take my post and ignore all of it.

    Maybe, instead of relying on the 5th doodad to be a mark of quality, maybe find some other way to recognize GMs that are given constant praise for their quality of work and fostering an entertaining environment (think something like Campaign Coins; though maybe Campaign Coins are the right way to do this?)

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

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

    No. Absolutely not.

    Just because you do something a lot, doesn't mean you deserve recognition for doing it well. I can GM 146 scenarios at home with my same 6 friends (and get my last 4 specials at conventions or whatnot) and I could be a terrible GM. That GM doesn't deserve the same level of recognition as a person that GMs 150 tables across 3-4 local game stores and half a dozen conventions per year, potentially GMing for hundreds of different people. I'm well aware of the limitations of some people geographically, so I definitely think some discretion should be used to accommodate people who don't have that same availability to a variety of players that some others have.

    I think the 5-star/glyph/nova situation deserves some scrutiny towards quality. I think there needs to be a better system in place to push GMs to be better at their work. GM 101 and GM 201 should be pushed much harder to the community as a whole; I'd almost say they should be requirements for 4- and 5- star/glyph/nova GMs.

    There should be something to promote self-improvement, and local VCs/VLs should foster environments to allow players to give feedback about GMs in hopes that they improve. I know it's an idealistic situation, but I don't want sheer quantity to be a decider. I like the idea of 3 review tables if you are ok with 2 of those happening after 4-whatever status but before 150 (make that third review always happen after 150).

    I am not trying to be clever, but what if GMs understand the metric, but do not agree with it. I suspect that it is not too hard to fake being 5 Star at 3 tables, particularly if you can influence the choice of scenario and players in attendance?

    I have known gems that could "fake" being nice for some time, but eventually, that mask shattered.. sorry, I am being negative again.

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

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

    No. Absolutely not.

    Just because you do something a lot, doesn't mean you deserve recognition for doing it well. I can GM 146 scenarios at home with my same 6 friends (and get my last 4 specials at conventions or whatnot) and I could be a terrible GM. That GM doesn't deserve the same level of recognition as a person that GMs 150 tables across 3-4 local game stores and half a dozen conventions per year, potentially GMing for hundreds of different people. I'm well aware of the limitations of some people geographically, so I definitely think some discretion should be used to accommodate people who don't have that same availability to a variety of players that some others have.

    Let's stay with your example: the terrible GM that GMed 150 tables only for his 4 friends.

    Why does it matter if he has 4 or 5 stars? He most likely will continue GMing exclusively for his friends and not bother anyone else. The value of my 5 stars is not changed by him having 4 or 5 stars.

    1/5

    From the blog wrote:
    A GM cannot complete more than three evaluations in a weekend.

    While I personally will be wanting regular informal and spaced formal evaluations, I am currently in a situation to allow for that. The above sentence though does mean that someone who has less access but is truly ready, has the opportunity to successfully pass all three evaluations in one weekend. Yes, this is still more hassle than the current single evaluation but does mean that OP is not asking you to make three expensive trips if you have no one appropriate closer to home.

    I am hoping that the criteria for meets expectations and exceeds expectations are clearly spelled out as then I will have a great guide I can use immediately.

    5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

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    Joe Bouchard wrote:


    The new system is trying to make that status mean both quality and service, and I'm not sure that's in any way a reasonable goal.

    The problem isn't the goal. It's that the method you've laid out for reaching it requires an inordinate amount of effort to anyone that isn't in a major metropolis in the US. Landing three games with people not in your network who can schedule an evaluation game is going to require multiple convention trips, or the venture critter in question to spend an entire day evaluating someone (one venture critter day?) It's exponentially more work than just one game or its exponentially more work getting 3 games outside of your network.

    5/5 ⦵⦵

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    Nils Janson wrote:

    Let's stay with your example: the terrible GM that GMed 150 tables only for his 4 friends.

    Why does it matter if he has 4 or 5 stars? He most likely will continue GMing exclusively for his friends and not bother anyone else. The value of my 5 stars is not changed by him having 4 or 5 stars.

    Agreed.

    I'd also be keen to see how he managed to rack up the 10 specials with just one table of players :p

    I'd also be curious easy it was for him to organise a VC as he (apparently) has no connection to the local scene.

    Even after that though, his 5 stars don't diminish mine - and if he meets the criteria then how fortunate for those 4 friends they have their own personal 5 star GM to run content for them.

    Are our 5 stars only legit if we GM for pick up groups and randoms? How many games can I run for my regular group before they don't count? If I run a game at the local FLGS and the same players come again and again, effectively running for the same 4-5 friends, is that ok because I put it in a shop?

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

    ALL THE QUOTES

    Sebastian Hirsch wrote:
    I am not trying to be clever, but what if GMs understand the metric, but do not agree with it. I suspect that it is not too hard to fake being 5 Star at 3 tables, particularly if you can influence the choice of scenario and players in attendance?

    I think, in either situation my comments outlined, this is still something you could run into, and I don't really know if there's a solution for it.

    Nils Jansen wrote:
    Why does it matter if he has 4 or 5 stars? He most likely will continue GMing exclusively for his friends and not bother anyone else. The value of my 5 stars is not changed by him having 4 or 5 stars.

    In simplistic, comparative terms, I wouldn't equate the value of stars between GMs, but rather compare the value of a single GMs stars versus the expectation of what those stars are meant to represent (which falls into the "quality vs. service" discussion). Then, if either of you (or any GM for that matter) doesn't fit that expectation, then that's the discussion to be had.

    Shifty wrote:
    I'd also be keen to see how he managed to rack up the 10 specials with just one table of players :p

    That's why I said 146 in my example. In PFS 1.0, you can get 6 specials with the same group of 6 players:

    Spoiler:
    All three parts of Bonekeep, Serpent's Rise, Serpent's Ire, and Through the Maelstrom Rift

    As I clarified in my second comment, I think the perspective that needs to be established is the expectation (both by OPO and players/GMs) of what "5-doodad" status is meant to represent.

    Dark Archive 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Online—VTT

    Joe Bouchard wrote:


    That's why I said 146 in my example. In PFS 1.0, you can get 6 specials with the same group of 6 players:

    You can get all 10 specials with the same non convention group, there's no requirements that it be 10 different specials, just 10 in total.

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

    Richard Lowe wrote:
    Joe Bouchard wrote:


    That's why I said 146 in my example. In PFS 1.0, you can get 6 specials with the same group of 6 players:
    You can get all 10 specials with the same non convention group, there's no requirements that it be 10 different specials, just 10 in total.

    Not under the current replay rules. You can GM them any number of times, but you'll need a second set of players for each table (or they all have their own stars to burn for a single replay).

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

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    Core tables of Bonekeep/pregen specials count and don't require new players.

    Dark Archive 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Online—VTT

    Joe Bouchard wrote:


    Not under the current replay rules. You can GM them any number of times, but you'll need a second set of players for each table (or they all have their own stars to burn for a single replay).

    My point wasn't that you could do it with just one table, but that you do not need 10 entirely different tables, you can run 5 different scenarios and then replay them all with GM stars/Boons if you're entire group is happy to spend them, you can run 3 tables in standard mode, then the same 3 scenarios again in core, then replay some, etc.

    3/5 Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Boston Metro aka MadScientistWorking

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

    I know this isn't going to sound very nice when I say this but yes GMing is kind of the least important things that you can do in terms of community which is probably why I get the impression that a lot of newer people come in with that idea.

    Sovereign Court 5/5

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    Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

    Respectfully, Adam, I disagree - without GMs, the whole system falls apart, since there literally wouldn't be any games run without them.

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

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    Each role is equally important. Without GMs, tables don’t fire. Without organizers, tables don’t get scheduled. Without volunteers, events don’t get players to tables in time for GMs to do their things, GMs don’t get the support they need to run, and Paizo doesn’t get the reporting they need to know how communities are doing. Each part is needed to make org play successful.

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

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    Heck, as a GM who's had tables fall through at Conventions, I'll also note that we need players!

    5/5 Venture-Agent, Australia—NSW—Sydney aka lastblacknight

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    Education Professional - chipping in here!

    Hilary (quoting Belafon) is on the right track, but we need to go back to the start. What do the Stars, Nova's & Glyph's represent?

    Are they achievements to be unlocked, or are we testing competence? or both?

    I have 5 Stars, I worked hard for them and in earning them is wasn't simply a count of how many games I had run. I only got the 5th Star when I showed myself to be capable and skilled at the table, hopefully embodying the most desirable traits that you look for in a player. We are meant to be positive examples of gaming.

    Your new system needs to reflect this. the other side of this is leading to what we in the industry call RPL. Recognised Prior Learning.

    Do I need to go through a full review of VC's every time I get a star?
    Do I have a yearly 360, peer review system to maintain my "skilled" qualification now?

    I am not sure if these questions have been asked, but from the direction of the thread that's what I am seeing presented here.

    You also need to consider that not everywhere is the US. I don't know how many VC's are local to an area, but given the distances in Australia (in particular), you'll have to fly VC's around to actually meet face to face. You are talking driving anywhere to 4-9 hours, one-way to judge a game and driving back, I mean if one VC vetting quality isn't enough, we need to be honest and dealing with whatever issues have come out of PFS experience over the years.

    Without GM's and actual motivated people, this hobby ends.

    Second Seekers (Luwazi Elsbo) 1/5

    There have been no replies to my messages regarding the The Second Seeker Rising Star boon. Should I be slightly concerned, considering the deadline is less than a day away?

    Paizo Employee Starfinder Society Developer

    Avor Stelek wrote:
    There have been no replies to my messages regarding the The Second Seeker Rising Star boon. Should I be slightly concerned, considering the deadline is less than a day away?

    Checked with Tonya, and any emails sent in with questions on this topic should be answered. Please PM me if there's still something amiss!

    Paizo Employee Customer Service Representative

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    Removed posts and replies that were not on the topic of the blog post and was not an appropriate conversation within this context.

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