Regarding the (pre-made) flip-maps, it seems that GMs don't want to use them, they'd rather free hand maps using a sharpee marker (at least 3 flip maps could have been used but weren't in my sessions). So it's really up to the GMs in the end, not so much the scenarios themselves. I think it would help if there was one of each flip map at HQ for the GMs to potentially use.
Flip-mats are great when you have them, annoying when you don't. I brought a dozen with me and still didn't have every flip-mat necessary. Heck, some scenarios mention flip-mats before they go to market (and modules don't use them at all). For example, Red Harvest utilizes 3 flip-mats and 2 map packs, none of which I owned. I ended up borrowing one, punted with three other maps and hand-drew the fifth. Remember, they're never required, they just save a lot of drawing time.
I agree, Shivok was amazing and HQ, in general, seem to hold together well. Then again, I was so busy GMing I didn't really notice much other than that HQ was usually staffed by two or three people and no players seemed upset. The entire tenor of the Pathfinder Hall was one of jovial tension, rather than stressed out bickering. Player and staff drama was overall very low and problems dealt with promptly. I didn't field any complaints about how the con or the hall or the games were being run. And I saw a lot of smiles.
I, personally, had one of the best Origins ever as a judge and was heartened by all the new & newbie players I ran. I greatly enjoy running because of the people I meet, the comraderie with strangers who quickly become fellows, and the chance to teach and to learn. I genuinely believe my duty, first and foremost, is to the players. The campaign, the con, the game system and the location are minor considerations by comparison. Glad to represent a campaign that supports that. Thanks for the opportunity and you're welcome to ask me back. Until next year!
>Crowning Moment of Awesome: During Blood Under Absolom, the party was scrambling to fight Judge Heng. They were in darkness and spread out. The sorcerer goes invisible and runs in front of the gong the same round Heng declares them successful. The party had to feel around to find the unconscious, bleeding, invisible mage.
V. Michael Lazar
(P.S. If I hadn't been released those two slots, I'd have hit my 4th star. Looks like I'll celebrate it back home at Dexcon when I'll be doing an entire 12 slots of PFS modules.)