Recommendations: Starting from scratch in a convention


Local Play

Liberty's Edge

I will host my first Pathfinder Society game in a Comic Convention in Puebla, México, and I fear I am starting from scratch. No previous players, and very few knowledge of Pen and Paper Role Playing Games in general with the assistants.

I have mastered in conventions before, but not Organized play, and normally in places with more knowledge and players...

What can you recommend me?

BTW, this is it: Dual City #116 - Pathfinder Society Puebla, México

The Exchange

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First of all, kudos to you for stepping up to promote PFS! Be warned, convention organizing is addictive. It can be challenging, especially if you are unprepared, but when the con ends you will feel the urge to do it again, to do it bigger and better the next time. It's exhausting but exhilarating.

If you are going to be the only GM, then what you are doing is very similar to starting a gameday at a local store. PFS has a 'Starting a Local Chapter' handout at the top of the Free Downloads section on the GM Resources page. Take a look at it if you haven't already.

Understand that you may not get enough interested players to run a legal game. I still remember sitting at a BASHCon table by myself in 2009 for several slots. Don't get discouraged. If so much as one player sits down to play, you can still work with them to build a character or give them a 7th level pre-gen and throw some low-CR monsters at them so they can learn the mechanics. It doesn't have to be a PFS-legal event to have some fun. What you are doing is building on the future. That one player has friends, and word-of-mouth is your best recruiting tool. Bend over backwards to win over local players because they'll probably be back next year.

If you do get a legal table off the ground, be prepared for success. Make some business cards with your contact information, and try (in a non-pushy way) to get the players to share their e-mail with you. Have a follow-up event planned in a couple of weeks, so if the players enjoy themselves they won't have to wait until next year to play again.

Make sure that you have the items mentioned in the handout from the first paragraph: pre-generated character sheets, blank character sheets, PFS membership cards, extra dice, pens and paper, miniatures for players to use, table tents, etc.

Don't think of yourself as a Game Master. Think of yourself as a cuentista; you are trying to get the players to imagine they are there, in the adventure, in mortal danger, fighting against despicable enemies. Don't get bogged down in the rules mechanics if your players are new to the system. Track their hit points for them. Describe the wounds they take in a way that they can understand. Be dramatic, keep the players engaged.

Sovereign Court 5/5 Venture-Captain, West Virginia—Charleston aka Netopalis

Welcome to PFS! I hope that it's a great experience for you. I echo everything that Doug has said, and would recommend a few scenarios/modules to get you started:

First Steps, Pt. 1
The Frostfur Captives
We Be Goblins
Silent Tide [Don't be alarmed by the 3.5 conversion - it's fairly minor here]
Assault on the Kingdom of the Impossible

Good luck!

Liberty's Edge

Thank you, those are great advices. It good to know I won't be the first Dm to sit all alone in case this don't work. I'll make sure to be well equipped for it. About be lax with the mechanics of the game, you are right, I'll do that.
And thank you very much for the scenarios recommendation, I was lost about which ones to use, besides the small ones of the beginner's box.

Liberty's Edge

The other good news is that this is a monthly convension...

Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Seattle aka Gwen Smith

We have had good luck at conventions with 1-2 hour "mini games", either the Beginner Box Bash or some quests. We've also used individual encounters from an adventure path that were slightly modified for PFS rules.

If you have trouble filling a table for a full game, you might consider the shorter ones. The shorter time frame works well at conventions with a lot of events. Most people can find an hour or so free, even if they just want to sit down for an hour to eat or rest.

Also, there is a thread called GM Shared Prep, where GMs upload handouts, notes, tracking cards, etc. that they use in different scenarios. You should look through that one and see if you can use anything.

(Wow. Monthly convention. My brain is having trouble processing that...) :-)

Dark Archive

Corsario.... fantastic!

I would strongly urge you to check out We Be Goblins! - it's available for free through the Paizo webstore, and includes a short adventure (2-3 hours, though it can go longer if your players are having a great time) and 4 premade goblin characters for your table to play as.

I've used it a number of times to teach people how to play the system, and also to show them that even if they made crazy decisions or somehow die, well, those are premade goblins and don't have any permanent effect.

Also, We Be Goblins, Too! is coming out in June for Free RPG Day and should be a great follow-up. I'm pretty sure that WBG2 will be a staple at my store for the next couple years, same as WBG1.

Getting recurring gamedays set up is a challenge, and once you pass that challenge it's a ton of fun. I've done it for a number of stores & groups over the years... be patient and work with your players to learn the game, and everything will work out in the end :)

Liberty's Edge

Dorothy Lindman wrote:

Also, there is a thread called GM Shared Prep, where GMs upload handouts, notes, tracking cards, etc. that they use in different scenarios. You should look through that one and see if you can use anything.

(Wow. Monthly convention. My brain is having trouble processing that...) :-)

Thanks for the link. Yes I am surprised, too, is not that big of a city, and they do have people attending.

Liberty's Edge

warfteiner wrote:
I would strongly urge you to check out We Be Goblins! - it's available for free through the Paizo webstore, and includes a short adventure (2-3 hours, though it can go longer if your players are having a great time) and 4 premade goblin characters for your table to play as.

I am not sure about making the first time player play as Goblins, instead of heroes... maybe I need to reevaluate that.

warfteiner wrote:
Also, We Be Goblins, Too! is coming out in June for Free RPG Day and should be a great follow-up. I'm pretty sure that WBG2 will be a staple at my store for the next couple years, same as WBG1.
warfteiner wrote:
Be patient and work with your players to learn the game, and everything will work out in the end :)

I need to remember that, this people will be learning the game. I need to teach them...

Dark Archive

Corsario, it would be wise NOT to use We Be Goblins for society play for people who have never played before.

While it is a fun game, you can't play those characters in other games. So it is confusing for people who play WBG, then are told they have to play something else for PFS.

I would recommend a character building season sometime during the convention. This way new players will have the time to ask questions and craft their characters as they see fit.

Good luck.

Liberty's Edge

While I share your thoughts about starting people with "we be goblins" I am not sure about a character building session. In other cons the use of pregens help get the people in the actual game faster, and sometimes they get the interest of making their own character and that helps "growing" the game in them. And that is harder the other way around.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

Run first steps. Its specifically designed for level 1 characters to give them an idea of what the society is about and to not kill them before they can gear up a little.


I can't recommend promotion enough. Build up interest by putting out some simple flyers at every gaming store near the convention specifically stating your presence at the con. talk to store owners and managers to get a. access to their home page community, be it their website boards or facebook pages and plug your event. b. Get the idea of a PFS event in their stores when it's all over. Continued business is always a plus for our brick and mortars.

Get ahold of your regional coordinator and get their help. They have access to alot of stuff to make your event a tasty morsel for people to come into.

Lastly, work with the con people to get as much promotion within the con as you can. Quality event detailing, signs that have both pathfinder and the con, etc. conventions are looking to get people into the rest of their convention as much as you are looking to get new convention goers into your events.

Simply setting up the event and hoping people show is an event killer. you need to remember that, especially for a cold start brand new effort, not promoting is going to get you squat. too many other systems/people are vying for player's attention. they're also not going to do it for you, as well as expect something from you in return. manage that balance. If you dump all your heart and soul, as well as time and money into everyone else's projects trying to get yours off the ground, your interest is going to snuff out like a candle.

Liberty's Edge

I have to say there is no much competition, last time I went there was only one other table, and it was was an existing group that was not accepting new players (Vampire they were playing) :S
And not that they were doing promotion or anything, just trying to get left alone to continue their game.
There is no Regional coordinator here in Puebla, nor in any of Mexico that I am aware of.
Nor there are many comics or hobbies stores around, but I'll have to check more.
I will try to "grab eyeballs" by using flyers and posters in the same convention, and just bought a couple dice set to give as "price" in the gaming tables. Hope that helps.
Yes, promotion is really important.
Ps. I haven't been able to secure a place in the convention webpage, guess they need top see I am for real.

Liberty's Edge

Well, the report for the action today:
- 2 tables played, 1 with four new players
- I did use Pathfinder Society, but the Begginer Box Bash Demos, with PreGen characters

I think I recruited new players, they were interested in continue playing, and I promised them to make characters next time. Now I will introduce them to Pathfinder Society, when they build their own characters.

Thanks for all the advises. I think I'll need to do more promotion next time. It was a humble beginning, but a beginning it was.

Photos

The Exchange

Corsario wrote:

There is no Regional coordinator here in Puebla, nor in any of Mexico that I am aware of.

Glad to hear that it went well. For Mexico there are:

Mexico—Monterrey Roberto Araiza Venture-Captain
Mexico—Tijuana Miguel Rosales Venture-Captain

They are listed on this page.

They might be able to give help and advice on promotion and organisation for future events. Good luck.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Thanks, will try to contact them

Silver Crusade Venture-Captain, Mexico—Tijuana aka TijuanaGeek

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Corsario wrote:
Thanks, will try to contact them

Hola Corsario. Tratare de ayudarte en lo mas que pueda. en un momento contestare tu correo.

Saludos desde Tijuana.

Liberty's Edge

Gracias

Liberty's Edge

Got to report this month's convention was a success. The table was full at all times, got one Pathfinder Society game going (First Steps Part 1) and got some people very interested.

Thank you all for your advice.

Liberty's Edge

Adding a photo of the action!

Photo

Liberty's Edge

I am not sure to keep the Pathfinder Society angle of the games.

i am dealing with people playing for the first time, and not many of them will play frecuently, so I don't think the "Society" aspect of the game interest them.

On the other hand, if I stick to simple adventures and simple characters I can have more players, and more control over the game.

What is the advantage of Society Play in that case?

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Nevada—Las Vegas aka kinevon

Society play allows for more of the players being drop-ins and drop-outs.

One-shots run in a single session means that you dono't have to bring someone up to speed, nor deal with the PC of someone who didn't make it for the second half.

It also gives a fairly good setup to be able to run PCs of multiple levels together in the same game.

It provides the ability for your players to find a game when on a trip out of town, and for out-of-towners to join your games more easily.

At some point, probably, you will wind up having to get a second person to GM, so that you can have a low-level table for the infrequent players, and a higher-level table for those who play more often.

But, still, if they want to, a higher-level player can start another PC and play at the lower-level table, either because they want to play with a friend, or they want to try out a different build PC.

Liberty's Edge

I concur. If there were more players, if they were regulars, if there were more than one DM at 100 km around... Then it would have advantages.

If I am the only DM, and 90% of the players are playing for the first time... No, is not worth it.

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