How about adding the option to either hire appropriate-level NPC "guards" from the NPC Codex and/or allowing the Leadership feat? This would allow short tables to bring along a hireling or a cohort to fill out a table that was short a player (or two).
3.) Quiet Room: This is a bit pie-in-the-sky, but I noticed there were some Green Rooms behind the Sagamore. It might be nice to have a GM "quiet room" where we can crash between slots and get away from the noise/visibility to recuperate. I know a lot of people thrive on the "always on" nature of GMing back-to-back-to-back slots but I could use 20 minutes to just center myself without a ton of noise and people around and I don't think I am alone.
While it's labeled "Green Rooms," the fact is it's a service corridor opening onto the Sagamore, hallways at either end, and seminar rooms on the other side. I suppose some events use one or more seminar rooms as a Green Room, but that's not the case at Gen Con. The only spaces available for this would be in your hotel room, or Paizo would have to front even more money to Gen Con for a room that has no gaming or seminars -- something that Gen Con is going to be very reluctant to do even if paid (they have a lot of people wanting to run events and not enough space in the ICC as it is), and Paizo is already shelling out a ton of cash for the event.
This 12-year-old girl has only a bit of brown stubble for hair. Her large, brown eyes seem to be windows into an endless void. Her dirty and stained clothes mark her as a vagabond or orphan, but her straight poster and proudly uplifted head speak of hidden nobility.
Eleven CR 9 XP 6,400
Female young human sorcerer 11
CG Small humanoid (human)
Init +2; Senses Perception +10
----- Defense ----- AC 16, touch 15, flat-footed 14 (+2 deflection, +2 Dex, +1 natural, +1 size)
hp 41 (11d6)
Fort +5, Ref +8, Will +13; +4 vs. mind-affecting
Resist mental resistance +4
----- Tactics ------ Before Combat Eleven attempts to avoid combat, using her natural charm and innocent looks to persuade enemies that she poses no threat to them.
During Combat Eleven uses her psychic spells to hinder her enemies' attacks. If that fails to dissuade her opponents, she will unleash her more powerful abilities to end the combat as swiftly as possible. She is merciless to those who attack her or her friends.
Morale Eleven disengages from combat at the earliest opportunity, but will not abandon her friends.
----- Statistics ----- Str 6, Dex 14, Con 8, Int 12, Wis 12, Cha 25
Base Atk +5; CMB +2; CMD 16
Feats Eschew Materials, Expanded Arcana[APG], Intuitive Spell[OA], Iron Will, Light Armor Proficiency, Logical Spell[OA], Persuasive, Spell Focus (abjuration), Spell Focus (evocation)
Skills Acrobatics +4, Appraise +5, Bluff +13, Climb +0, Diplomacy +14, Intimidate +9, Linguistics +9, Perception +10, Spellcraft +14, Swim +0, Use Magic Device +12
Languages Abyssal, Aklo, Celestial, Common, Daemonic, Elder Thing, Infernal, Mi-go, Protean, Yithian
SQ bloodline arcana: psychic, undercasting prodigy
Combat Gear escape dust[ARG]; Other Gear haramaki[UC], dagger, boots of the cat[UE], sheath of bladestealth[APG], 70 gp
----- Special Abilities ----- Bloodline Arcana: Psychic Your sorcerer spells and spell-like abilities count as psychic instead of arcane. You use thought and emotion components instead of verbal and somatic components when casting your spells.
Eschew Materials You can cast any spell with a material component costing 1 gp or less without needing that component. The casting of the spell still provokes attacks of opportunity as normal. If the spell requires a material component that costs more than 1 gp, you must have the material component on hand to cast the spell, as normal.
Intuitive Spell You can avoid the need for thought components by trusting your instincts.
Benefit: An intuitive spell can be cast with no thought components. Spells without thought components are not affected. An intuitive spell uses up a spell slot 1 leve
Logical Spell You can eschew emotional components by exercising logic.
Benefit: A logical spell can be cast without emotion components. Spells that don’t require emotion components are not affected. A logical spell uses up a spell slot 1 level higher t
Mental Resistance +4 (Ex) +4 save vs. mind-affecting
Psychic Psychic power runs thorough your blood, whether it be from a familial predisposition to psychic power or exposure to a powerful psychic phenomenon. Whatever the source of this power, your mind is a dangerous weapon.
Psychic Strike (1d6+5, 10/day, DC 22) (Sp) At 1st level, you can overwhelm the minds of those nearby. You can target one creature within 30 feet that you can see; that creature must succeed at a Will saving throw (DC = 10 + 1/2 your sorcerer level + your Charisma modifier) or it takes 1d6 points of damage + 1 point for every 2 sorcerer levels you possess and becomes shaken for 1 round. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Charisma modifier.
Spell Focus (Abjuration) Spells from one school of magic have +1 to their save DC.
Spell Focus (Evocation) Spells from one school of magic have +1 to their save DC.
Undercasting Prodigy (Sp) When you gain a new level of spells, replace undercastable bloodline spells with the new best version
Sources: Advanced Player's Guide, Advanced Race Guide, Blood of the Night, Cities of Golarion, Classic Treasures Revisited, Knights of the Inner Sea, Occult Adventures, Pathfinder Adventure Path #84: Pyramid of the Sky Pharaoh, Ranged Tactics Toolbox, Seekers of Secrets, Ultimate Combat, Ultimate Equipment, Ultimate Magic
El has to be able to do everything we see her do in the show, including accessing another plane and banishing extraplanar beings. In keeping with the nature of her powers and the flavor of the show, I went with a psychic power source instead of a magical one. Favored class bonus went into HP.
Our plans are pretty fluid. I have one lottery game on Sunday, so we're pretty open. After a night on Thursty's floor, we've had breakfast and wandered around. Delve with Cosmo and Compton. Visited with ReaperBrian. Catching up with friends. Best con ever! It's after noon so we should probably make our way to the liquor store...
The topic is Relaxing the Replaying Policies. Most suggestions are not discussing unlimited replaying.
Slippery slope. We allow some replay already, people are asking for "just a little more." Many will not be satisfied asking for a little more until they can say, "We've got so many options for replay that keeping track of them is too much of a hassle, why not just allow unlimited replay? It'll make everyone's life easier and not really change anything."
Personally, I'd be in favor of eliminating all replay, although allowing GMs to play through once after running if they had never otherwise played the scenario does make some sense.
Personally, I've only ever knowingly replayed evergreens and to make a table that would have failed without me. I got no credit for the latter, of course. I also don't really enjoy playing after I've read or GMed a scenario. Knowing what's coming takes the fun out of it for me.
It's not like watching TV. You can only fully experience a scenario once, and that means going into it without any foreknowledge. At that point, that scenario becomes part of that character's personal story and none of my other characters can experience it.
I know that's my choice, but it doesn't change the fact that excessive replay is deleterious to the health of a campaign. It attracts players who are more interested in getting the best rewards than those who are there to experience the story and share it with friends.
We're going to try (again) to get the Special listed at different subtiers so people can buy tickets for the subtier they actually want to play. That would let us better estimate the number of tables we need at each subtier, which would alleviate a lot of the pain our GMs feel when we have to ask them to switch subtiers at the last moment.
After filling out the questionnaire, should there be a confirmation email or no? How do we know we successfully signed up?
See you all in Indy! :)
You should have gotten a success message at the end of the questionnaire. There doesn't appear to be an automated email response, but I expect you'll be hearing from Tonya in the not-to-distant future.
I think the shifting of the times is not beneficial.
1) I've attended GenCon the past several years as a Tier 2 GM and watched PFS grow to fill the Sagamore. I have only seen a few problems with morning slot tables not getting done in 4 1/2 hours.
2) Pushing back the afternoon slot and therefore the evening slot means we all get one less hour of sleep each day.
3) Ending at 1:00 am is even more family unfriendly then ending at midnight. I've seen and been at evening tables with teens and kids.
As Tonya said, if it's too terrible we can adjust next year. Also, it's not like the kids and teens have to be at school the next day. Short sleep and crazy schedules are part of what big cons like Gen Con are about, after all.
Finally, no one is forcing folks to play every slot against their will. We're trying to provide the most play opportunities but give everyone a chance to do things like go to the bathroom and eat, too. Just getting food at the food trucks can take 30 minutes; longer if you get something from a real restaurant; sometimes shorter if you go to one of the vendors in the convention hall itself.
Did I read the tiers description correctly, in that only tiers 2 and 6 have zero ACG slots?
You're looking at the ACG Demos, which are run in the dealer's hall at (or next to) the Paizo booth where they sell the merchandise. The hours are different from the Sagamore's, and the shift lengths are different from the ACG GMs that will be in the Sagamore running the Card Guild games. With that, just like with HQ, some adjustment to the tiering levels are necessary to make everything work out in terms of total hours volunteered vs. compensation.
When I ran slots back-to-back, I had the same table assigned to me. Thanks! That really is helpful. cards.
This was such a simple fix that I didn't even notice it had been done until just seeing it mentioned. Well done.
It wasn't a simple fix... Bob Jonquet spent more hours than I care to think about sorting through, assigning and re-assigning tables. It was made easier this year because most GMs only had one or two scenarios (other than Specials) they were running, but 277 GMs into ~160 tables does not make for a simple solution.
On the pregen books... would it be possible to have a card, given to each GM with their name (and tables) on it, that a player could run up to the information desk to get a pregen book? While I loved the beautiful laminated pregen books, it was an extra burden to the GM while getting ready to run. If that was something I could offload to a player (who had already tried to get the pregens -- this was before I knew about the books) -- that would be great. It could be up to the individual table GMs to decide if they wanted to run up, or delegate someone.
We debated having GMs use their driver's license to check out the pregen booklets, but ultimately decided that a name should be sufficient. The problem with the "token" method you describe is, what if a GM loses their card or whatever and a player absconds with about $30 worth of material?
Bob, the red and green sections were right next to each other this year, so it was really difficult for a color-blind person to distinguish between "red 8" and "green 8". (I'm not color-blind, but I was at green 8 on Saturday, and several gentlemen wandered through, needing help to distinguish between the two colors.) Would it be possible to put more distance between them next year?
Yeah, that's something we need to be sure we track when we're doing the room layout.
This is the only major critique I can have is in regards to mustering specifically for the specials. We had people who were claustrophobic in our group and the process was very unkind for those. Especially if we were there for the specials early and kept getting pushed into the walls to try and make a path in the hall when more people would come in to stand waiting.
A suggestion, especially for those who have pre-set tables (i.e. 6 people early). We have information tables, why not be able to pick up an assignment with a single person early before the muster to stop the pushing crowding issue. -- for those who pre-arranged their table seat them about 15-20 mins early and clean out the hallway for those that need to make tables.
We can do a limited amount of pre-mustering, primarily focused on those with disabilities. That doesn't let you in the room earlier, but you don't have to stop by a Marshal to get a table assignment. For the specials we need the room clear to have a meeting for the GMs where spoilers may be discussed. We do normally start muster about 15 minutes before scenario start.
Anyone with disabilities that needs special assistance during mustering should contact HQ at least one (1) hour before slot start. Preferably 1.5 hours.
* Met and played with some great people
* Loved what lore we got to encounter with the specials, SKS in particular was fascinating to me
* We Be Aspis in general, had a lot of fun being the bad guys for a bit
Glad you enjoyed yourself
Akari Sayuri "Tiger Lily" wrote:
* Got one DM who could mostly handle combat, but was too quiet for anyone to hear at all, and repeatedly messed up the scenario in ways that would have entirely broken it if I weren't so familiar with it that I could poke things along and fill in missing info for the rest of the party. Unfortunately, the rest of the party included 3 complete newbies who needed cards and pregens... all of which they abandoned at the table when they left.
If you have feedback regarding specific GMs, please email myself or one of the other Leads, or the new Campaign Coordinator with the specifics.
Akari Sayuri "Tiger Lily" wrote:
* The format of the specials is pretty jarring - it sucks cutting encounters off early, and structuring things so that taking time to slow down and RP instead of chainrolling dice screws over the entire room seems antithetical to the concept of an rpg.
If you have feedback about a specific scenario, please use the review function on that scenario's product page.
Alright, GenCon was awesome as usual, and my PFS games overall were good as well. I did have a couple issues though. I played three PFS Scenarios.
My GM for 6-97 on Thursday... Rolled a D6, and that person went first in initiative, then we went around the table clockwise. NOT good. Especially since the guy to my left seemed to be the lucky number. That meant I went last at least half the time. It didn't seem like that big a deal when the GM first announced what he was planning, but by the end of the night I was seriously hacked off about it.
Otherwise, he ran a great game! I have no complaints at all about how he ran the scenario. I don't have his name yet as the scenario seems to have not been reported, not even incorrectly to another of my characters. I do know what table I was at if it matters. Anyway, I should have spoken up immediately. Heck, I could have run initiative for him to help out. Lesson learned.
My 7-00 GM on Friday was... not prepared. I think he got thrust into a higher tier than he was supposed to run, but that wasn't really the problem. He spent a lot of time flipping back and forth through his printed copy of the scenario looking for...? I don't know actually. He ran combat and other encounters just fine so rules knowledge and GM experience weren't a problem.
The whole thing was just super slow paced. We were playing tier 10-11 which is always a bit slower paced due to the complexity of the encounters but, I didn't feel like we accomplished anything, and the final encounter was finished before we had barely started it. I guess I just feel like we made only a token contribution to whatever count that would have gotten us a better final result.
The 7-03 GM Saturday at 1 PM was quite excellent! Rules knowledge, pacing, role play as well as roll play were very good. I definitely played the wrong character as there was a lot more need for various skills than for combat, but we got through it! I'd definitely play with him again!
So, again, overall good experience with a...
If you have feedback regarding specific GMs, please email myself or one of the other Leads, or the new Campaign Coordinator with the specifics.
Idea - arrange for pre-printed maps for specials (and possibly other scenarios) from a local printer at a bulk rate and offer them as an optional purchase for GM's (or possibly in lieu of some of the gifts for GMs - I know i personally would have gladly traded getting large format printed maps delivered to the con instead of getting a second copy of Occult adventures)
The hardbacks are one of the major rewards for GMs at Gen Con and are unlikely to change. Paizo is already developing, printing and shipping them to Gen Con so it's easy enough to peel off the ones for the GMs from the rest of the shipment.
Printing and selling the maps would be a pretty huge undertaking, and one that I double Paizo would invest in. It could be done by a volunteer, but I'm not sure anyone from the HQ Leads team has time and cash to invest in gauging interest, collecting funds, printing them, and shipping them to the convention.
Perhaps it's something one of the Special GMs could take on?
I thought things went well, considering the variables such as *people*. Throw "people" into the mix and things get all sort of wacky! I won't touch on issues that have already been presented and aren't a big deal.
First, I'm sorry to see Mike Brock go. I don't know him personally- or any of the Paizo staff- as I'm just a player at Gen Con and GM at home, but the way PFS at Gen Con has been organized, the way PFS on the boards has been governed, is an accomplishment that shines a light on how well Mike and his team worked.
We'll definitely miss him. His leadership and support over the last 4 years has been outstanding.
Second, the volunteers. As a GM full time outside of Gen Con, I never get to play my characters- so my Gen Con is filled to the brim with playing, not GMing. The GMs and other volunteers make this whole endeavor work.
Regarding mustering, I used to think gathering a group of 6 was something Paizo should do, but the volunteers are so busy trying to get things started they shouldn't need to worry about that. People and groups should some heat off the volunteers and get a group together.
Yep, having 12 people try to seat ~160 tables (average) per scenario in 15 minutes or less is challenging enough if the players self-organize. If they don't, it becomes a virtually impossible task. We have to work together with the players to make it all happen in a timely manner.
I used to be a 2ed D&D player since 1995. My group switched to Pathfinder in 2010 and began playing in PFS. I consumed all TSR and WoC products ravenously. Over the years I've come to see that WoC is severely disappointing with some serious issues. I won't go into details but I will say I'm sure glad I switched to Pathfinder. Not only is the game great but the people are, too. The messageboards, chats, and other resources show how much better Paizo is as a company than most. I appreciate all the free promo minis, the guarantee of an award (usually a boon) for every two scenarios played, and the general fun Paizo keeps bringing.
Since our opinions are asked for, I'll give mine concerning the specials. These were great ideas for specials. Hopefully pregen specials won't become commonplace, only because it takes time away from playing our actual characters and could cheapen the experience. Regarding the other specials, while they were fun, they seemed a bit stale to me.
The usual mass-go-at-it scenarios aren't as much fun as they used to be. They are all becoming go fight this, pick an area, go fight that, pick an area, rinse and repeat. The story lines and commentating on the goings on are always great, but, in my opinion and some others I play with, those types of scenarios are getting stale.
I'd hate to have to GM a special; I saw the GMs had a huge ream of paper (cannot imagine prepping for one).
I got to have some conversations with both John Compton and Thursty (one of the more prolific PFS freelancers) and they have some good ideas for freshening up how the multi-tier Specials play. I won't say anything more because they're still in the idea stage and, while I'm no longer a VC, I still consider myself bound by my NDA.
The Sunday morning scenario as Aspis agents seemed a bit too much for the time allowed as well as the slot chosen- Sundays are tough to play and both GM and player aren't at their best.
I really liked the setup in the middle where you could play Goblins on a terrain table.
It was pretty cool. I got to take about 20-30 minutes out of my schedule to play one of the missions on it with Mike and a few others. Maybe next year we can have a bigger diorama to play on, but that's going to depend on the new Campaign Coordinator and the guys at Miniature Building Authority who provided the terrain.
Quality of GMs is hit and miss. I've only ever had one terrible GM. Chris Hays and his terrain is in my top 3 (Chris, I was the gunslinger who blew heads off while my Necromancer friend animated Wyvern bones). Mediocre GMs (I actually consider myself mediocre) are what they are...some have a bit of trouble coming out of their shell and really embracing storytelling. I'm just thankful they are willing to give up their time and money to GM a game for me! Does anyone think a GM rating or survey card filled out by players would contribute or hurt?
We've toyed with the idea but never implemented it. The problem is data entry. We do keep a list of GMs when we receive feedback from players in person at the show, and if you have feedback (positive or negative) about a GM, please email myself or one of the other Leads, or the new Campaign Coordinator with the specifics.
I perused the Sagamore room Wednesday afternoon and evening. Anyone helping set up should be given an award- the AC was not on all day and night. I began to sweat simply standing there!
I think my only concern is in regards to the marker-boards outside each door of the ballroom itself.
Over the course of the con, various scenarios were listed, but the issue was none (that I saw) specified whether it was intended for Core, or Normal Campaign mode.
Even when mustering, and telling the same people REPEATEDLY that groups I were trying to muster with were not core, they kept asking.
How did reporting go for Core tables anyways? I'm slowly considering trying it at my local lodge, but as far as trying at Gen Con? I'd rather not spend money if there was not enough interest to form a table.
CORE vs. normal will continue to be a problem, I suspect. We don't have enough CORE to justify separate mustering and we probably won't sell differentiated tickets next year. I'm afraid the onus will continue to be on CORE players to find like-minded individuals to play with. There might be some benefit to organizing parties before the event via messageboards or the like so you can just meet up in the hall. Most walk-ups and casual/Gen Con-only players probably won't be concerned about CORE, either.
Todd Morgan has the reporting sheets for the whole con and one of the things he'll be working on over the next week or so as his schedule permits is seeing what the numbers for each slot and event look like. I wish we were capturing how many tables of each subtier of the 1-11 Special were sat. Maybe we can add that next year.
*Sometimes the boards were inside, and sometimes they were in the hall. It seems like they would be most useful in the hall, to direct people where they need to go while inside.
*Having four muster points (pregen banners) clustered together in the ballroom made for a very chaotic blob of people during some of the slots. Would it be possible to spread these out more? I understand some of the room was taken up with the ACG, but...
*It was difficult to find the "right" musterer for some of the games, partially due to the other nearby points.
*During at least one of the slots, the musterer for our game wasn't even present for a while. This was probably just a one-off problem, but it's worth mentioning.
*It was very difficult to understand (or even hear!) the volunteer with the microphone in the hall. This meant there were multiple groups that didn't know which end of the hall they were "supposed" to be on. I would suggest having boards outside for each individual subtier - I believe this was done in 2013, and it would have been helpful.
*For specials with pregens, why is pre-mustering even necessary? Why not just have everyone get in line, and take six at a time? If there's already a partial group that wants to stick together, skip them for the next small group that fills this one out.
*On Sunday, there were boards for "normal" games in the middle of where True Dragons was supposed to muster (according to the microphone volunteer). They were very confused (and apparently frustrated) about where exactly they were supposed to be.
Short and sweet, the muster signs didn't get handled well. On the list of things to make sure we do better next year. I think we can get a better design for them, too, and re-use the ones we have inside the hall. Not sure if it'll work out, but it's a thought.
As far as mustering the pregen Specials, that went really quick and easy so I'm disinclined to change how we're handling it. The deal is that the more marshals we have, the faster it goes. The more organized the players are, the faster it goes. So pre-mustering helps even in scenarios where who you're sitting with isn't as big a deal as in normal scenarios.
Overall, I found the marshalling process and the marshals to be excellent. I had the joy of playing with some very skilled and prepared GM's. I had a great experience at my table for the Thursday night special. There were a lot of things going on, we rushed from one area/combat to another, but for the most part we finished everything.
Thanks. I'm glad you were able to get seated quickly and efficiently. Getting that done is really the highest priority of the HQ staff.
While I really enjoyed the plot and content of the Saturday and Sunday specials, there was WAY TOO MUCH content, too many encounters, and not enough time for me and the others at my tables to figure out what we were doing with the never-before-seen pregens...
Feedback about the quality and content of the scenarios is best provided via the review feature on each scenario's product page.
I'm wondering if four specials is almost too many.
My understanding is that the decision to have 4 Specials this year was driven by Gen Con, based on the number of seats filled in previous years. I expect we'll see multiple Specials in the future because that sells more tickets.
While this is the correct context, and Gen Con did ask us to experiment with a "special" every day, their desires are not the only factors in our decision-making process. Four specials certainly put a strain on our editorial operation that led to judges getting their adventures a bit later than we would have preferred, so when we're making our plans for next year, we're certainly going to take all factors into account before making programming decisions.
Thanks for the clarification, Erik. I was going based on the information that filtered it's way down to me.
My thoughts, as a player who exclusively plays PFS at gen con, and probably should be considered a newb (included is my suggestions for improvement: Sorry long post
1. We had a GM thrown onto our table because they were missing GMs on Sunday, I realize this happens, the problem is that the combat and roleplay required a lot more time than given GM our experience was soured
Solution -- (only for such occurrences like last minute GM changes) have maps ready for them so the GM can focus on reading ahead. Have one or two of these maps available just for such occasions. Make sure the scenarios printed have all the needed info (ours was missing several pages). Have an adventure specialist to help expedite questions for the GM. These GMs especially need runners. running cold means they need a few extra minutes to a whole half hour of run time that they won’t be getting if they have to grab things from HQ or character cards
When we have to pull a GM off their assigned duty to fill in a table that is short a GM, we try to get one that has played or run the scenario before, or that has it prepped already. We can't always do that, and the experts on those scenarios are generally the other GMs sitting around the one that is filling in. That's their best resource as many of the HQ staff is not prepped on adventures and many of them are not GMs in their own right. In fact, several of the volunteers at HQ are spouses of our Venture-Officers who play infrequently but are enthusiastic to support their SO's hobbies. Using them for HQ staff frees up others who *are* GMs to, you know, run games.
As far as the materials are concerned, we have some map packs and flip maps that HQ has accumulated over the years, and we picked up some new ones this year, mostly geared towards supporting the "evergreen" scenarios like Confirmation and Wounded Wisp. We didn't hammer out a loan checkout system for them, but we may do that for next year as the checkouts for the pregens seem to have worked fairly well.
2. Those announcements in the middle of a timed event detracted from the excitement and the flow of the game, it pulled me out of the narrative and as I was told repeatedly it was a timed event, probably ruined the timing. I’m really appreciative of the miniature, however it was stolen by someone at my table, so I didn’t even get to enjoy the spoils of that announcement. (Good job on your wins! sucks about my miniature.)
Solution – make those announcements at the beginning or end of the event, or alternatively put them up on the screen and let us read them at our leisure, or make sure the special is planned specifically to create a timing break.
I presume that you're referring to the Special on Friday night. The timing of those announcements was based on when the ENnies let out (~10 PM). It would be in bad taste to announce how many you'd won *before* the event is finished. We did pause the timer for the event while Erik was up on stage talking. That doesn't help with the end of slot timing but it did keep the doomsday timer from progressing while he was talking.
3. pregen characters are an abysmal stand in for regular characters of the same level, I was forced to use pregen twice this week, this caused problems at my table, it may not be much but that missing ability point can be pretty unhealthy at higher level
solution -- redo the pregens, have an equipment grab-bag for when the pregens are used in specials. Alternatively make sure the pregens have the same ability scores as their PC counterparts. Maybe even have society submitted build of the character and divide it into categories, like for instance have two versions of merisiel, one of them slightly better at skills, maybe even give her a sense motive
This is a development issue and outside the scope of Gen Con organization. The pregens provided for non-Special tables are the same ones that are available for all PFS players to use, we just printed them and laminated them for use at Gen Con and other events that have direct support from Paizo (Paizocon and Pax Prime, I believe). The pregens are, as I understand it, intentionally designed to not be optimized. If you want an optimized character, the intention is that you play your character rather than a pregen.
4. maybe not the place to address but some of the workers were not the nicest, not the GM’s but the orange shirts. One or two in particular especially who worked the boon table, I heard more than one complaint about. The marshalls outside the front door were the nicest they could be all things considered (really everything I heard was almost exclusively about the boon table and maybe one or two other issues)
Solution – sorry I got nothing for people’s attitudes
If you have problems with one of the volunteers, please contact myself, one of the other Leads, or the new Campaign Coordinator (when announced) directly via email with all the details you can remember about the incident. Every volunteer has a badge with their name on it.
5. Boons -- a lot of boons read “On your next character…..” For many people this boon is meaningless. I have one character that I’ve been playing since 2013 and he’s at 3rd level. What use will I have for a new character? Same applies to new players. What good is a boon?
Solution --- Don’t get me wrong, I understand they are a push to keep you playing Pathfinder, but it seems you can do that still if you increase the cost of boons if people specifically want to purchase them (like 4 wood tokens) or a dice (6 wood tokens) or a miniature (10 wood tokens) or maybe offer a chance for a reroll at the table with an extra token, or offer a not so awesome circumstantial boon just straight up handing the token back for a reroll or something. I don’t know I have several boons just collecting dust at this point because I’ve never started a new character.
We can discuss this with the new Campaign Coordinator once they come online. I understand the frustration of having boons you can't use, but there are alternatives. There's at least one boon trading thread here and you could always look for players around you that are willing to trade on-site. Boons are transferable until you put the characer and player information in at the top. There are plenty of players that would love to have those "on your next character" options but didn't get a chance at them.
GMs are still under the impression they can’t make ad hoc rules to adjudicate an unusual circumstance from a player. Since I am a king of the unusual this usually means my ideas aren’t adjudicated at all or are done so poorly
Also when I am rolling well a gm shouldn’t tell me to put away my dice, there are few times when I actually roll better than a 4 and the gm asked me to retire my dice because I rolled too many crits. Seriously, that’s probably the only crits I will see for the next 4 years
Solution remind them all that sometimes you have to just go with the enjoyment of the game, maybe every turn remind them to adjudicate to the spirit not the letter
If you have specific instances you can quote, please contact myself, one of the other Leads, or the new Campaign Coordinator (when announced) directly via email with all the details you can remember about the incident.
Disabled entrance -
You don’t have one, this needs to be fixed and they should be seated before anyone (provided they have real tickets), no questions asked. This should also apply to those with babies
Marshalling gets better and better each year, maybe have a place where the single table representative (the table lieutenant) will enter the door for his or her team just a few minutes prior to all the doors opening. Get their assignments and then return to the outside, the mad dash and crowding of marhsalls is still a bit much
If someone needs special seating due to disabilities, we can accommodate that if we're aware of it ahead of time. Please contact someone at HQ and we can be sure those players are seated at a table with easy access. It's easier if it's a full table of 6, but even if not then we can seat a partial. This has to be arranged before we send out the Marshals to the muster points with the clipboards, however. You could even email us in advance of the event and we'd be happy to get that set up.
I'm not sure about the babies issue, it hasn't come up before. I don't see a problem with doing the same thing for them as it's unlikely to be a huge number of players that have that issue. I will discuss with the Leads team and see what we can hammer out for next year.
Seating all the real tickets and getting them together with groups. I was fifteen minutes early and scrambling for a seat in the special
It has gotten better but it is still a problem.
I'm not sure which Special you're referring to. The muster on Thursday night was certainly a mess, but things were smoother on later days as we put the generic ticket holders into a line around the corner from the main hall where the real ticket holders were assembled and held them there until 7 PM, which is the earliest Gen Con allows us to seat generics. Most if not all the real ticket holders were seated by that point as we started muster for them at ~6:45 PM.
THE GOOD that could be made better?
I had two great GM’s (I know Gm thread) and several players I really liked. I wouldn’t mind meeting up with them next year. I wish there was a way to do this via forums other than stating my name. Perhaps a way to do this is to offer the players there own table tracking sheet or to have one available online that people aren’t required to fill but it would be nice.
HQ answered questions fast
The overheads on the specials were terrific
physical rewards for group success
The marshalls were incredibly patient you all rocked
The GREAT, no seriously the great
The two specials I played kicked butt
Actually the marshal’s belong here
Using cards instead of pregen sheets with all the powers spelled out
Thursday nights special GM, that guy let our group have a lot of fun while we ran roughshod over those enemies. We just worked together so well and while he thought we weren’t RPing enough with the enemies we were RPing between each other way more than I have at any other pathfinder event. He was truly excellent and I just wish I had his name
Thanks for the feedback. I'm not sure that we can re-format the pregens into cards of some sort as the format is provided by Paizo.
So if as a GM I haven't gotten credit for a scenario I ran I should talk to someone? (I'm missing credit last I looked for True Dragons)
Give it a week as there were a few (relatively very few) tables that hadn't gotten reported by the end of the convention. If it's still not in by the end of the week, then submit a problem report through the website.
Straighten out Thursday night tier Mustering
Simpler pregens (or have them available ahead of time for prep)
Announce start of play for all Specials
Tier mustering was the same for Thursday and Friday Specials. There's a disconnect between the way the subtiers work out for the Specials and the way they work out for every other scenario in PFS. When we set up the GMs and mustering we need to look at matching the subtiers based on the scenario... or talk John Compton into re-working the subtiers for Specials. I think the former is easier for everyone.
The complex pregens were part of the nature of having 7th-level pregens, but the feedback on the design of the scenario really needs to go to the development team by writing a review of the scenario on the scenario's product page here on Paizo.com
We didn't announce the start of play for the pregen scenarios because there wasn't any interaction between the tables, no overseer GM and no real need to do so. Your GM could start play as soon as you had your table seated. As far as I can tell, your table is the only one that experienced that problem. If that's the case, then I'm not sure we should interrupt 100 other tables just to remind your GM that they can start running the game.
Did anyone else run into a delayed start on Saturday night or Sunday morning because their GM thought they had to wait for an announcement?
This was my first time GMing at Gencon. I ran 2 slots (The Sky Key Solution and the new Quest). A lot of the people I had for the quest weren't just new to Pathfinder, but new to d20 gaming in general it felt. They all had fun but I feel we could do better when it comes to helping them learn. Its not easy trying to teach 6 people how to play a RPG in a one hour period. Less then half the people I had even had dice and one entire group had no dice at all (I had extra dice of course but they had to pass around 2 d20s between the 6 of them).
So 2 Suggestions I would make for the future, would be to prove the GMs doing quest with extra dice maybe. I would go as far as to suggest a free d20 to players that complete all 6 parts of a quest but that would just lead to more experienced players clogging up the quest waiting line.
We actually had dice sets at the Kid's Track HQ for the kids, but if you really needed a set you could have borrowed one. We didn't really make that public knowledge, maybe we can do something about it in the future.
Dennis Gregg wrote:
Also I would suggest we have some (a lot of) copies of the Basic Rule Cheat Sheet from the back of the Game Mastery Book. This would be a tremendous aid when helping new players learn the rules.
That's an interesting idea, we should be able to add that to the printing list depending on budgets and costs.
Dice used to be included at the table with the ticket (and tickets used t be cheaper). That may have been back when it was still DnD and not pathfinder, though. (I'm talking about Gencon ten years ago).
Now I feel old..
There haven't been dice included with the packets in the last 5 years of PFS (as long as I've been volunteering for it), and I don't remember getting any in the years when I played RPGA, going back into the early 2000's. I can't speak about games before that because I didn't play D&D at Gen Con when I attended prior to 3E coming out.
Fantastic time for my first GenCon. I was the person in the GM meeting that discussed hearing people say, "What is going on in that room?" and mentioned signage changes. Thanks to whoever brought up the solution of the flippable easels, that was a very smart idea. I'd also like to suggest that Paizo inquires at costs for purchasing the step sign (between the escalators) that is on each step and viewable on the bottom, that had the Settlers of Caton advertisement on it, with a sign that has a huge arrow pointing up to Sagamore and some compelling Pathfinder art. It may be price prohibitive, but getting more people knowing what is going on upstairs would be great.
The had those on at least one flight of stairs last year, without the arrows. Somewhere there's a picture of my fiance sitting on them.
Michael Tracey wrote:
Secondly, I remember seeing some card game in the Paizo section downstairs. How about two tables of quests (one quest/person only) on the vendor floor, and then they could direct the players upstairs to finish them?
I don't know how feasible any of these suggestions are budgets and GenCon rules in consideration, but thought that I'd bring them up, just in case.
All that is really up to the folks at Paizo and where they want to focus their efforts in the dealer hall. That space is really expensive as I understand it.
I found CORE/NORM mustering to mainly be an enormous pain and cause of confusion for old-time Living Greyhawkers like me who have an entirely different pavlovian reaction to the term "core".
As someone who was at gencon with more casual players we frequently had mixed bag of tickets due to some buying normal and some buying core. This caused a lot of anxiety for us because we didn't know if they would allow us to play together. I don't know how that could be addressed honestly but it was an issue our group had.
It also ended up not mattering at all whether we had normal or core tickets since the number of people playing core was so low, but it does lead me to wonder if maybe the core campaign isn't the best idea in the world since it just adds another layer of confusion for new players to negotiate as they get into PFS, especially since core players cannot play in normal scenarios.
If the Leads have our way, we won't be selling tickets as CORE or NORM in the future. This is the first year we've had to work with that distinction and so it's a new wrinkle. The difference doesn't matter from a GM perspective other than which character gets the GM credit. We can do abetter job of pairing CORE players with CORE preferring GMs, but there's no point to selling differentiated tickets.
We're well aware that, particularly for the 1-11 Specials, players bought CORE tickets just to get into the event even though they intended to play normal mode all along, or withiut a proper understanding of what CORE meant.
I think, given the low percentage of players that are interested in CORE play, we're going to have tomshift the onus onto those players at muster time to select their tables appropriately. Maybe we can have a thread here for them to coordinate their schedules to some degree so that they can be sure they have a table of like-minded players for their sessions.
I personally had no problems mustering for either Thursday or Friday special and felt both went very smoothly (having skipped the saturday special because I have no interest in kobolds).
Overall I had a great time and one lousy GM on saturday morning. He was a good kid but he clearly wasn't prepared to run the adventure he was running and he was far too soft spoken to be heard over the ambient noise. He also made very very little effort to roleplay the session with us, which disappointed our table greatly.
I wish I had taken down his name but I give mad props to the GM we had for the Friday special as he was expecting to run a 3-7 table and instead had to run a 10-11 table and had to run many of those monsters cold. He did a fantastic job of keeping the action moving and handling the information he hadn't prepared for admirably.
I've mentioned it before, but we have issues with being able to accuratle predict the numbers of tables at each tier for the 1-11 Specials. Part of the problem is we haven't been capturing data on it, but the biggest problem is that Gen Con won't let us sell the tickets split by tier as they state it's all one event. For some reason, they did let us sell tickets as CORE vs NORM for the same event, though. Maybe it's something we can revisit once the new Campaign Coordinator has been selected.
On the data teacking side, this is the first year ever that Todd Morgan or Mike didn't ake home a stack of hundreds of reporting sheets to enter after the con. We had about 25 or so (I think) that didn't get entered for the Special on Sunday, but everything else got done on-site. This eas a huge win for us both technically and logistically, although it could be a little smoother. What that means is that we may have the bandwidth to collect additional data about the tables sat during the Specials so that we can start making educated guesses about how many tables to expect at each tier.
No matter what, some GMs will almost certainly wind up running a subtier they weren't assigned. We can try to minimize the problem but I don't think we'll ever be able to eliminate it completely. We do warn GMs that they need to be ready to run other subtiers.
Also... I am not sure if this was just me, but I got sent a few Core tables when I am pretty sure I was supposed to be Normal. Not a big deal for me, but I got in the habit of asking my players when they got there. Maybe expanding on the idea above by having NORMAL or CORE printed at the top of the tracking sheets for GMs would be a good idea.
We felt it would be easier for everyone if the GM just asked the players and then wrote what they actually ran at the top since the prep work for both modes of play is identical on the GM's side.
While GenCon was wonderful, as usual, I found it very challenging to muster Core tables.
It would be helpful to write in LARGE letters of bright ink the scenario names, so that the weak eyed and aged [like myself] do not need to squint at the mustering boards.
If one area could be designated Core and another Normal, it would facilitate mustering. I had at least two people buy Core tickets, get mustered in Core tables, and then grow upset that they could not play their non-Core characters.
I'm not sure what we can do about this. CORE play isn't as popular as normal play based on the numbers I've seen both locally and at Gen Con. That's not scientific and someone from Paizo would have to dig up the numbers to know for sure, but my guesstimate is around 10-20% CORE and 80-90% normal overall. Your local scene may vary significantly.
If it were an even split, then we might justify splitting the mustering. Since the prep from a GM is the same regardless of whether the table is CORE or not, there's not much value to segregating them. We can probably gather feedback from the GMs on if they prefer normal or CORE overall and add that as a point on the muster sheets so GMs can better pair CORE GMs with CORE players, but unless the distribution changes, we won't be able to guarantee enough CORE players to truly dedicate GMs to it.
My two biggest complaints are pretty much the same as in past years:
1. As others have noted above, GMs were frequently unprepared for the specials. Don't blame the GMs on that one.
When you don't get the special to read until 3 days before the convention, most people won't have time to prep well. This is why I swore I'd never GM a special at GenCon again, after doing it once in the past. I work weekdays, and had to deal with packing, travel, etc. So even if I did have the special the Friday before GenCon, that would still only leave the weekend to prep what's already an extra long scenario to read. And that's best case scenario: Paizo is frequently later than that in delivering final versions of the specials to GMs.
I refuse to deliver a sub-par performance to the players. That's why I'll never run any scenario cold, and I'll never volunteer to GM a scenario that won't be available for me to read and prep at least two weeks in advance. I really believe that not getting to play is better than a bad PFS experience for the players, especially at a big con like this that attracts lots of newbies and casual gamers. You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
This is a Paizo problem, not a problem with the GM volunteers. The problem is that Paizo considers the Friday before GenCon to be an acceptable deadline to have all scenarios distributed to the GMs. If they made the deadline two weeks earlier than that, and made sure everyone on their staff knew it 6 months in advance, then you wouldn't have nearly as many complaints about unprepared GMs.
They got the scenarios to GMs earlier this year than ever before. It's a definite improvement and I don't know that they can get them out much earlier than that without negatively impacting the release of the scenarios for the previous month.
2. Mustering for the specials. Maybe it was just Thursday (my group was a little later Friday and didn't play the other specials), but making all the players wait in the hallway until 2 minutes before the scheduled start time just caused a lot of crowded confusion. I get that you have to have a GM meeting before hand to point out last minute changes, work out hand signals, make sure everyone's on the same page, etc, but if you could find a small...
Thursday was rough. We tried something different that didn't work and we started late. We corrected that on subsequent nights and it went much more smoothly.
As a GM I had a mostly good experience (given my feedback in other threads).
A few notes - the more time you could give gms to prep the specials the better. Some people work full time jobs so a week goes by very very quickly especially when a scenario has 70+ different monsters a dozen maps and many many casters or complex monsters to prep. Didn't help either that my first special I was given a 10-11 table when I had primarily prepped 5-9. I ran the parts of 10-11 I knew best to start to get a sense of the group and ran with it but it wasn't has fast as I would have liked.
This is the earliest we've gotten the Gen Con scenarios, ever. The developers provided advanced copies where the custom (not flip-mat/map pack) maps weren't ready just so GMs would have extra time to prepare. There's only so much time in advance they can provide them. We (the GMs and HQ Staff) have given John Compton (and before him, Mark Moreland) a good deal of grief over the late delivery of the scenarios in prior years. They've heard us and they got us the ones this year at the earliest opportunity. I'm not sure we can ask for a yard after they've given us a foot.
Sheriff Bart wrote:
But also I had a LOT of tables of new players at this year's con. Which is great for the hobby (I ran for two people who had never played an rpg before hopefully they both will play again - one at one of my we be goblins free tables and one at my True Dragons table. ). I also handed out nearly 10 new pfs numbers to players without them (my whole we be goblins table and half of my true dragons table and some players at other games). Not quite what I expected but I ran with it.
The specials are all fun but I think also too long and too complex. I would prefer that they have fewer different monsters and maps and more chances for the players and the gms to get into things. I loved the town exploration bits of one special and the traps mechanic of the kobolds one. In fact the thing I did appreciate as a GM about the true dragons scenario is we had one map for most of the scenario - that saves a lot of time as a GM. (I had pre printed maps for all but the last room which I could draw in seconds - but just switching maps for nearly every encounter of the specials was time consuming. And audio issues made it really hard to hear the speakers.
Feedback concerning the design and quality of the scenarios should be directed to the development team via the review system on the product pages.
I had a blast this year also - the pregen specials were fantastic. I had more fun this year than any in recent memory. Mustering was the best I have seen since the old Mecca days. The sound system does need to be better though and the slide show operator needed help, but these are small things.
I'll own messing up the slide show on Friday night. I was distracted trying to do too many things and missed a couple of times when John moved on to another slide.
Sheriff Bart wrote:
I did have minor issues with two GMs - one was fairly slow and though we soldiered through this it cost us a prestige point as it was contingent essentially on time/how far we got in the event (that time we lost while the GM couldn't find stat blocks, notes, had to read encounters several times, etc.)
We also lost time for announcements and awards and while I think these are definitely worth doing, it ate into the slots. Those two things combined pushed us from one encounter to another. Well, and the design of the Friday special seemed to be controlled from one table. We would get one round into each combat and the "fast table" in the room would get something solved and pushed every other table to the next thing, destroying any continuity we could have had.
The other GM issue was at the Sunday special. I enjoyed the GM initially but as the slot progressed it was obvious he had somewhere to be. Those who know the event can be as galled as I was with this -- he hand waved the final encounter.
GMs shouldn't be rushing through because they have somewhere else to be... sometimes they have to rush through because they are almost out of time in the slot. If it was definitely the former, please send me, one of the other Leads, or the new Campaign Coordinator an email with as many details as you can remember and we'll add it to the other GM feedback we've received over the convention.
Sheriff Bart wrote:
I think the order of events was appropriate. If you want to play the specials and are too tired on Sunday to enjoy them, thats on you... I'd like to see more people stick around on Sunday but realize that isn't possible for some.
I have shied away from specials in past years due to the tendency of many to be resource burners but if they are going to be of this quality I will be there every chance I get.
The best place to provide feedback on the design and quality of the scenarios is to write a review on its product page. The PFS developers and scenario authors actively read the reviews to see how players and GMs feel about them
Print dual duty signs (print on both sides) for easels.
I like the idea of dual-sided signs, but I'm not sure if we can get the foam boards printed that way. I'll bring it up with the new Campaign Coordinator when we get into prep for next year.
Stephen Ross wrote:
In large type print the name of the scenario on a cover page (so it shows through the back of a clear clipboard or put it on the front and hold it up/ tape it to the back) so the marshall just has to hold it up for "#8-02: Don't Tread On Me" so the players can see it - oh this is my game. Visual and audio cues.
I like it. It means new clipboards but that's cheap.
Stephen Ross wrote:
Marshals in premuster should ask the GMs on their tables if they prefer to run Core. Mark those tables as Core so you can direct the core player groups to them. Everyone's happy! (though they may not get a core player group, you tried).
When marshals are mustering, ask to see NAMED tickets for that group (most players will be in groups). Read at least one. Ask GenCon to run a color marker across NAMED tickets or to use colored tickets for named games. Generics should be black and white only. GenCon should have some sort of easy visual discriminator between the two. Use the nomenclature "Named" and "Generic".
The nomenclature "Real" and "Generic" goes back about 40 years in Gen Con tradition, I doubt you'll get everyone on the convention staff and all the attendees who have been coming to the con to change nomenclature for something like that at this point, and it's not a big enough deal to fight the kind of battle it would take.
Also unlikely to get Gen Con to change their tickets for our convenience. We can ask, but the shape, size, and format of the tickets haven't changed in 22 years that I've been attending. I doubt they're looking to change them anytime soon. It's a good idea, but we don't have much control over what Gen Con does.
Stephen Ross wrote:
Tell the players Blue tables are tier 7-11, Black are generally 5-9... etc.
I don't see how that adds value to the mustering process. The players don't gain anything from knowing that most of the blue table are 7-11, they gain value from knowing that if they want to play a 7-11 scenario they need to muster under the Sajan (randomly selected Iconic name) banner.
Stephen Ross wrote:
it went pretty smoothly but the process could be improved... you could handle GM steps early rather than a 3 step (Muster & seat, Ticket & token, Water) (as needed GM Info booth runs for Iconics and PFS cards) after mustering. Populate tables with report sheets, boons, Iconic handbook, PFS cards, GM water before mustering and verify GMs are at tables or have GMs pick up their packs with Iconics at INFO booth (GM sign in so HQ has GM headcount early, GMs get Iconics and spare PFS Numbers up front eliminating the Info Booth run). Muster & seat - Direct players to tables. Verify GMs & tables (reporting anomalies) Hand in table tablets. Marshals handle table issues, switch any unhappy players, direct unused GMs to prepare backup scenarios based on HQ instructions/HQ starts to handle overflow(players and GMs). GM writes table number on top ticket. Ticket & token - Marshals collect tickets & hand out tokens, again, verifying a happy GM & table...
We tried having GMs check in with Marshals at the start of the slot. The feedback was overwhelmingly negative. The feedback from GMs on our current method has been overwhelmingly positive. They love having their tables pre-assigned and for the rare instances where a GM is a no-show, we get the players re-directed to an available GM quickly when they go back to their Marshal and report the problem. We don't lay out the GM packets at the start because that's a lot more time consuming than having the players carry it, and that way we make sure the GM gets the packet they need for the game they're running. GMs get repurposed and we'd have to have them return their packet and get a new one, plus when a table doesn't make we'd have to have the packet collected and add tracking for all that. I don't see that we gain anything by doing that.
On the pregens, most tables don't need it so for the ones that do it shouldn't be a huge deal to walk to the info desk and collect it. it's a huge improvement over the stacks/bins of paper pregens that we used in previous years and the mob of players trying to look at it, or when we handed out the pregens to the players at the info desk last year and it took forever because the people manning the info desk had to have a conversation with each player that needed a pregen about which one they wanted and make recommendations. This way worked much better and I'm inclined to leave it the way it is.
Stephen Ross wrote:
For signalling at specials, use colored 8.5x11 110# stock cut in half (with the word of the color on it) which get stuck in the table stands (making a paddle) to be held up by the GM. Thus replacing hand signals or paddles with what you have on hand. Super simple and easy. You could just use the table sign.
That's a thought, but most GMs move the stand off the table to make room. Getting the signs in and out of the ring stands is quite fiddly and I'm not sure that having the GMs have to mess with it mid-game probably is more hassle than it's worth. Colored paper might work as long as we avoid color combinations that cause problems for the color blind.