An Argument For Why Offering Special Boons Only At Conventions Is Actually A Bad Thing.


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Maybe the everyday GM's should go on strike and not Play PFS for a while.
Maybe switch to 5E for 4 months or so....see if Paizo would suddenly "reconsider"

"GM's Of The World Unite!!!!"

Liberty's Edge

Mahtobedis wrote:
Cons are where I encounter the most number of new players to PFS.

Hmm. Just about 4 years even since I started PFS. Last GenCon I can find info for had around 1400 new PFS numbers - be generous, call it 6000 for the last 4 GenCons. Nothing else is close in size - Origins scheduled 300 tables this year, many of them only listed for 4 players in the first place, and very many that didn't go off, and only like 200 last year; compared to GenCon's 1500. So Gencon, a handful of Origins-level cons doing a fifth or less, and other mostly even smaller cons (ISTR Mike Brock, in around May, commenting he knew about 10 cons that registered "75 or more" new PFS numbers that year.) So maybe 12-15k? Let's not even talk about the number of "I only play at Origins/GenCon" people I've endured at tables I've run.

In 4 years, the number of PFS numbers has increased by over ONE HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND.

New players come from local game days. New players who sign up at local game days are better players, because they continue to participate, spread the word, buy books, etc., week after week.

Con signups are a drop in the bucket.

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

Dave Setty wrote:

New players come from local game days. New players who sign up at local game days are better players, because they continue to participate, spread the word, buy books, etc., week after week.

Con signups are a drop in the bucket.

This is not what I've seen in Phoenix. PCC 2015 led to the biggest influx of new players here in the valley I've seen since moving back in 2013.

Liberty's Edge

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
Dave Setty wrote:

New players come from local game days. New players who sign up at local game days are better players, because they continue to participate, spread the word, buy books, etc., week after week.

Con signups are a drop in the bucket.

This is not what I've seen in Phoenix. PCC 2015 led to the biggest influx of new players here in the valley I've seen since moving back in 2013.

Got numbers?

Silver Crusade 5/5

Dave Setty wrote:
Mahtobedis wrote:
Cons are where I encounter the most number of new players to PFS.

Hmm. Just about 4 years even since I started PFS. Last GenCon I can find info for had around 1400 new PFS numbers - be generous, call it 6000 for the last 4 GenCons. Nothing else is close in size - Origins scheduled 300 tables this year, many of them only listed for 4 players in the first place, and very many that didn't go off, and only like 200 last year; compared to GenCon's 1500. So Gencon, a handful of Origins-level cons doing a fifth or less, and other mostly even smaller cons (ISTR Mike Brock, in around May, commenting he knew about 10 cons that registered "75 or more" new PFS numbers that year.) So maybe 12-15k? Let's not even talk about the number of "I only play at Origins/GenCon" people I've endured at tables I've run.

In 4 years, the number of PFS numbers has increased by over ONE HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND.

New players come from local game days. New players who sign up at local game days are better players, because they continue to participate, spread the word, buy books, etc., week after week.

Con signups are a drop in the bucket.

You know, given the major abundance of cons worldwide, I'm pretty confident in saying that your numbers are vastly off. I don't have numbers though and don't feel like arguing over it, however.

Silver Crusade 5/5

Dave Setty wrote:
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
Dave Setty wrote:

New players come from local game days. New players who sign up at local game days are better players, because they continue to participate, spread the word, buy books, etc., week after week.

Con signups are a drop in the bucket.

This is not what I've seen in Phoenix. PCC 2015 led to the biggest influx of new players here in the valley I've seen since moving back in 2013.
Got numbers?

Do you? Otherwise, we're all just bickering over anecdotal evidence and observations that may or may not be correct.

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

Dave Setty wrote:
Got numbers?

If I get VC access, I'll go back and pull them up for you if you like. I know a great boon was picking up an entire family of six, mom, dad, three daughters, and a son, all of whom play.

Liberty's Edge

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Mahtobedis wrote:
Now my last reason is a bit tongue and cheek, but it is what I am hearing being said by people clamoring for race boons. This may not be what you are saying, but this is what I am hearing.

Not tongue-in-cheek at all, just old-fashioned hostile and insulting.

I will have GMed at 7 cons this year, 6 of which I volunteered for in advance. I paid to get into zero of these cons, because I volunteered to GM. Only Origins and GenCon required more than 1-2 slots, and Origins was just 4 to get into a 5-day con with 13 slots. Frankly, GenCon's the only one where the extra effort of GMing is substantial compared to the reward of getting into the rest of the con for free.

Also, at many cons I've gone to I've GMed less than I volunteered for because they had more GMs than needed. This year's GenCon was my first where I didn't have at least 2 tables not make. OTOH, getting GMs week in, week out, to keep local game days going is like pulling teeth - so to me it's clearly not the cons that need more incentive.

Liberty's Edge

UndeadMitch wrote:
Dave Setty wrote:


Got numbers?
Do you? Otherwise, we're all just bickering over anecdotal evidence and observations that may or may not be correct.

Scroll back four posts. [EDIT: to my post you JUST QUOTED.] 150,000 total PFS numbers in 4 years (198656 created recently - 44285 created Dec 2011), <1500 for GenCon this year, basically no con I know of much surpassing a fifth of GenCon in number of tables.

Liberty's Edge

Nohwear wrote:
Is there some proper way to actively try to get the PFS brass to look at, and hopefully consider, the idea set out by The Fox?

Make a nice polite post, calmly stating your position, like the original poster in this thread did.

Preferably in a new thread, not an angry one like this has turned into.

Paizo Employee 5/5 Developer

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Dave Setty wrote:
Nohwear wrote:
Is there some proper way to actively try to get the PFS brass to look at, and hopefully consider, the idea set out by The Fox?

Make a nice polite post, calmly stating your position, like the original poster in this thread did.

Preferably in a new thread, not an angry one like this has turned into.

I am following along and spent part of the day working on possible ways forward. Some are similar to existing proposals, and others take a different approach. At this stage in the process, I am not in a position to discuss it much further until it undergoes more refinement.

Shadow Lodge 5/5 RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 8 aka WalterGM

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Don't do it John! Don't give in to the reasonable discussion and reward the lack of animosity in this thread! It'll only promote responsible forum behavior, you diabolical monster.

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

Dave Setty wrote:
150,000 total PFS numbers in 4 years (198656 created recently - 44285 created Dec 2011), <1500 for GenCon this year, basically no con I know of much surpassing a fifth of GenCon in number of tables.

I do want to point out that numbers created does not equal new players. I have reserved plenty of numbers that never got handed out. The real metric is how many games get reported to those numbers, which of course we can only speculate on. Hence why my anecdotal observation does not match your claims. I can certainly be overestimating just how many con-goers converted to regular players without doing the data crunch, but seeing new faces is a pretty good indicator.

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

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Dave Setty wrote:
Nohwear wrote:
Is there some proper way to actively try to get the PFS brass to look at, and hopefully consider, the idea set out by The Fox?

Make a nice polite post, calmly stating your position, like the original poster in this thread did.

Preferably in a new thread, not an angry one like this has turned into.

1) Nohwear is the original poster.

2) Despite the passion, we've been mostly constructive, attempting to find common ground and solutions. I'm really proud of that.

John Compton wrote:
I am following along and spent part of the day working on possible ways forward. Some are similar to existing proposals, and others take a different approach. At this stage in the process, I am not in a position to discuss it much further until it undergoes more refinement.

John, thank you!

Walter Sheppard wrote:
Don't do it John! Don't give in to the reasonable discussion and reward the lack of animosity in this thread! It'll only promote responsible forum behavior, you diabolical monster.

:)

Oh no! If this continues, it could become a trend!

Scarab Sages Venture-Agent, Washington—Ballard aka WiseWolfOfYoitsu

Professor X wrote:
By a deep theorem of arithmetic, I propose that 1 boon per 10 GM sessions seems about right.

As one of the common GMs in my area, I'd get roughly a boon a month at that rate...

Silver Crusade 5/5

Dave Setty wrote:
UndeadMitch wrote:
Dave Setty wrote:


Got numbers?
Do you? Otherwise, we're all just bickering over anecdotal evidence and observations that may or may not be correct.
Scroll back four posts. [EDIT: to my post you JUST QUOTED.] 150,000 total PFS numbers in 4 years (198656 created recently - 44285 created Dec 2011), <1500 for GenCon this year, basically no con I know of much surpassing a fifth of GenCon in number of tables.

Then cite your sources, if you please. Otherwise it's pretty much just hot air to me.

Shadow Lodge

Can we tone this down a bit.

Silver Crusade 5/5

It seems relatively calm for an internet discussion, Beckett.

4/5 Venture-Agent, Minnesota—St. Louis Park aka BretI

Perhaps rather than race boons, how about something that allows greater customization of characters without necessarily making them overpowered?

I could see things like:


  • A weapon proficiency -- martial if you don't have martial, exotic if you already have martial;
  • Two skills made class skills on a character;
  • A +2 to two skills feat (acrobatic, athletic, deft hands, etc.) Possibly exclude Alertness and Persuasive since Perception and Diplomacy are already extremely useful skills.
  • A special wayfinder or other unique vanity;
  • A special version of Adopted by race that allows you access to Racial Spells and Equipment (Goblin-lover as an example)

Especially for that first star, it would be nice if it was something that would be noticed in play. Allow us to do just as The Fox suggested, tell people they can get this if they GM enough at a local location.

If you don't want it tied to GM stars, perhaps give VCs the choice of who to rewards with them.


Dave Setty wrote:
I will have GMed at 7 cons this year, 6 of which I volunteered for in advance. I paid to get into zero of these cons, because I volunteered to GM. Only Origins and GenCon required more than 1-2 slots, and Origins was just 4 to get into a 5-day con with 13 slots. Frankly, GenCon's the only one where the extra effort of GMing is substantial compared to the reward of getting into the rest of the con for free.

Not everyone is fortunate enough to not only live in an area where you can GM at no less than 7 conventions and GenCon, but don't have to buy at minimum a $350 plane ticket and $50 taxi. Make that a $2,000+ ticket if you don't live in North America.

If they're going to have exclusive boons, then there needs to be other ways to have access to them for people are unable to attend in person. Virtual GenCon or Paizocon tables come to mind, and it would take relatively little effort.

Blizzard does it for Blizzcon, I see no reason why Paizo can't offer virtual tickets to GenCon and/or Paizocon (even if not officially affiliated, just make the exclusive boons available during the virtual convention.)

Liberty's Edge

UndeadMitch wrote:
Dave Setty wrote:
UndeadMitch wrote:
Dave Setty wrote:


Got numbers?
Do you? Otherwise, we're all just bickering over anecdotal evidence and observations that may or may not be correct.
Scroll back four posts. [EDIT: to my post you JUST QUOTED.] 150,000 total PFS numbers in 4 years (198656 created recently - 44285 created Dec 2011), <1500 for GenCon this year, basically no con I know of much surpassing a fifth of GenCon in number of tables.
Then cite your sources, if you please. Otherwise it's pretty much just hot air to me.

http://paizo.com/paizo/blog/v5748dyo5lgfd for Gen Con 2014 numbers. I confused the number of tables and number of new PFS numbers - 1758 of the latter, so roughly 7000 over the last 4 (1000 more than I estimated). 1476 tables.

http://ohiopfs.org/origins/origins-2015-schedule/ for 300 tables scheduled at Origins 2015, still working on a source for about 200 actually run in '14 but in any case that's my basis for a "big" con basically being 1/5 of a Gen Con at best. I have never even heard of a non-Gen-Con-con actually running over 300 tables.

http://paizo.com/paizo/blog/v5748dyo5letl&page=7?Ratfolk-and-Catfolk-an d-Race-Boons-Oh-My#321 for Mike Brock noting "There have been at least 8 conventions this year that have given out at least 75 new PFS numbers", posted in July 2014. 600 new players in half a year.

198656 is the PFS number right before the 10-pack I created last night, 44285 is my own created in December 2011, hence over 150,000 PFS numbers created in under 4 years.

Shadow Lodge

Dave Setty wrote:


HERE for Gen Con 2014 numbers. I confused the number of tables and number of new PFS numbers - 1758 of the latter, so roughly 7000 over the last 4 (1000 more than I estimated). 1476 tables.

THIS/ for 300 tables scheduled at Origins 2015, still working on a source for about 200 actually run in '14 but in any case that's my basis for a "big" con basically being 1/5 of a Gen Con at best. I have never even heard of a non-Gen-Con-con actually running over 300 tables.

AND HERE for Mike Brock noting "There have been at least 8 conventions this year that have given out at least 75 new PFS numbers", posted in July 2014. 600 new players in half a year.

198656 is the PFS number right before the 10-pack I created last night, 44285 is my own created in December 2011, hence over 150,000 PFS numbers created in under 4 years.

Shadow Lodge

The issue is, you and Mike Broke are looking at this wrong. It's, for example, a Con vs a single Game Day. Obviously the Con is going to be bigger.

Instead, it's, at minimum, a Con or three in an area, vs ALL OF THE GAME DAYS, HOME GAMES, and OTHER in that area.

Its also how many of those folks actually stayed with PFS after the Con, like TMZ pointed out.

And 8 Conventions over three days = 75.

Uh, what. . .

75 / 8 = 9.375

So, what your saying is, I've given out personally more PFS numbers by comparison than Cons do.

Yah, not a strong argument.

Sovereign Court 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Missouri—Cape Girardeau

DM Beckett wrote:

The issue is, you and Mike Broke are looking at this wrong. It's, for example, a Con vs a single Game Day. Obviously the Con is going to be bigger.

Instead, it's, at minimum, a Con or three in an area, vs ALL OF THE GAME DAYS, HOME GAMES, and OTHER in that area.

Its also how many of those folks actually stayed with PFS after the Con, like TMZ pointed out.

And 8 Conventions over three days = 75.

Uh, what. . .

75 / 8 = 9.375

So, what your saying is, I've given out personally more PFS numbers by comparison than Cons do.

Yah, not a strong argument.

Beckett, you are reading that wrong.

It is 8 Cons giving out at least 75 pfs numbers EACH.

so 8*75 = 600

Liberty's Edge

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Hmm wrote:


1) Nohwear is the original poster.
2) Despite the passion, we've been mostly constructive, attempting to find common ground and solutions. I'm really proud of that.

1) Oh, missed that.

2) Yeah, I think I was projecting the tone of the post I replied to - which reminded me of WoW raiders' ranting about "welfare epics" from back in the day more than anything - on the entire thread.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Shoot I will even confirm that it isn't Dave Setty. No complaints from me on any responces I have gotten from him.

I do not have numbers but from the two years I spent gming in Boston I saw our greatest influx of new players coming out of the Cons that are run in that region.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

1. John, thank you for looking into the proposed idea.

2. I wonder if at this point this thread should either be locked, or simply abandoned. It seems that the purpose of this thread has been reached and I question if anything more productive can become of it. This is not directed at anyone in particular.

Liberty's Edge

Tim Statler wrote:
DM Beckett wrote:


Yah, not a strong argument.

Beckett, you are reading that wrong.

It is 8 Cons giving out at least 75 pfs numbers EACH.

so 8*75 = 600

I agree that this is what Mr. Brock was saying - 8 3-day cons in 6 months, generating a total of 600+. On the other hand, he's presenting this as a significant number, which it just isn't - multiply by 8 and you get 4800 in 4 years, compared to 150,000 total.

The Exchange 5/5

Nohwear wrote:

1. John, thank you for looking into the proposed idea.

2. I wonder if at this point this thread should either be locked, or simply abandoned. It seems that the purpose of this thread has been reached and I question if anything more productive can become of it. This is not directed at anyone in particular.

I abandoned posting to it some time ago...just lurking now.

Shadow Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—San Francisco Bay Area South & West aka JohnF

Here in the SF Bay Area our major cons give free admission for running at least three tables of PFS; I know at least one smaller con gave a free badge if you GMed two tables. Those are unrestricted full-event passes - the conventions want you to see what else they have to offer besides PFS.

That's courtesy of the conventions, though - they offer free badges to non-PFS GMs who run games, so we're just lumped into that category.

I don't know what a weekend badge costs (I haven't bought one recently), but I'd guess somewhere in the $60 - $75 range.

None of the conventions offer special room rates or shared rooms for GMs, but they do offer reduced-rate room blocks for the convention attendees. That's typically something like $120/night, which is a whole lot cheaper than the normal room rate out here.

4/5 Venture-Agent, Minnesota—St. Louis Park aka BretI

It seems we are getting into a little bit of Con vs. event hosting.

In my case, I started with PFS at a convention but stay because of the local events. Without those weekly gaming opportunities, I wouldn't be in PFS.

To keep PFS Organized Play healthy and growing, you need both a convention presence and the weekly events. That requires people willing and able to GM.

Shadow Lodge

The campaign as far as I can guess is going to have a new edition in a few years anyway. Hasbro's brand attracts many, US citizens are comfortable with brand names they are very familiar with. As time goes by why not go all out.

How about free boons for those that run at a conventions, for the rest of us that have a certain amount of stars for running mods, we get access to buy boons that we qualify for to buy.

The more stars you have the more boons you qualify for that are wanted. Everyone wants a rewrite of a character with more modern released product stuff in their character. You cannot retrain background traits, it gets prestige expensive the more you retrain a character. Race boons are very popular for there are many boon trading threads.

Free products and boons are attractive at conventions. The conventions I know of do not allow you to know which boon they are giving out. Not all conventions give out boons anyway for running mods.

All this makes it less attractive to run mods at conventions. Sweeten the pot somehow, let people know more what they are getting or something. Make it worth their while, let them choose the boons they qualify for.

Customer service goes a long way and covers a multiple of errors and makes up a difference in price (look at Publix). To cut costs volunteers are essential for the support of the game. Volunteers tend to be specialists in knowhow and are encouragers of the culture of rpgs. Do I need to say more on how players need to be motivated to be leaders in Pathfinder.

End the end, products cost money, favors and boons are cheaper. Since, we are competing with other giants in the competition of role playing games, offering others more with stuff cheaper in price probably will make this rpg more attractive than others.

Pathfinder Forever!!!

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

John Compton wrote:
Dave Setty wrote:
Nohwear wrote:
Is there some proper way to actively try to get the PFS brass to look at, and hopefully consider, the idea set out by The Fox?

Make a nice polite post, calmly stating your position, like the original poster in this thread did.

Preferably in a new thread, not an angry one like this has turned into.

I am following along and spent part of the day working on possible ways forward. Some are similar to existing proposals, and others take a different approach. At this stage in the process, I am not in a position to discuss it much further until it undergoes more refinement.

Thank you!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
olePigeon wrote:


Blizzard does it for Blizzcon, I see no reason why Paizo can't offer virtual tickets to GenCon and/or Paizocon (even if not officially affiliated, just make the exclusive boons available during the virtual convention.)

Blizzard has the expertise on tap to set up such things, which require a lot of upfront investment in technology, personnell, and data connections.

And Blizzcon is a lot larger than both cons put together.

2/5

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John Compton wrote:
Dave Setty wrote:
Nohwear wrote:
Is there some proper way to actively try to get the PFS brass to look at, and hopefully consider, the idea set out by The Fox?

Make a nice polite post, calmly stating your position, like the original poster in this thread did.

Preferably in a new thread, not an angry one like this has turned into.

I am following along and spent part of the day working on possible ways forward. Some are similar to existing proposals, and others take a different approach. At this stage in the process, I am not in a position to discuss it much further until it undergoes more refinement.

Since you're taking the time to review this thread, I'll go ahead and make another post. Initially I refrained from making any other posts due to the caustic tone the thread seemed to be taking, but the silent minority never has their voice heard.

It is my perception, maybe right, maybe wrong, that race boons really are the driving issue here. Races are major customizations to characters, and with more and more books coming out that detail their backgrounds and add racial traits, feats, and archetypes, the lack of racial options seems to be more and more of a barrier for new and continuing players. To that end, I've seen boon only racial options added to the list of Additional Resources and receive the reaction of "Oh look, another addition available to only the barest fraction of PFS players." Honestly, that has been my reaction as well, and I do feel bad about it because I know that lots of work goes into the development of those books and lots of time goes into scrubbing through them to generate the Additional Resources lists.

At the moment I GM an adventure path (Iron Gods), and play in PFS games any time our AP is missing a player or when I need some downtime between books. Any time a book is released that has options I can't use in PFS I rarely consider purchasing it. I attend a few conventions a year and I generally play in the convention specials but that's about it. My experience with convention play is very mixed, so if I do play PFS at a convention it is generally to get an experience that I can't get at a home game or small game day. I'm considering GMing a table the next time the convention rolls around but as you can tell, I'm pretty squarely in the camp of "Won't ever see racial boons" - even the so called "common" racial boons.

I certainly agree that people who put in the extra time and effort deserve extra recognition, and these 2 problems do commonly end up at odds with each other. I also completely agree with the idea of limiting races in order to keep the pathfinder society character base representative of the population of the region. I recognize that there are many things at odds with each other, and that no solution is going to please everyone. I sincerely thank you for wading through threads like this and considering what can be a very divisive issue, and I figured that I could give you my perception of things which is a perception I believe is shared by most of the people I play with locally. Obviously a small group like mine (8-10 people so) is just a small data point, but I'm sure you have lots of data at your end to decide whether groups like mine are groups that you feel should have boon support.

My thoughts are that boons should be rewards that encourage behavior that you feel helps steer the Pathfinder Society AND the Pathfinder RPG as a whole in a direction that you want. Things like reporting games, including non-PFS sanctioned modules (non-biased statement, I am running Iron Gods and really wish it contributed to my GM rank) should be things that you want to reward. Being involved with organizing and GMing convention play, regular home games, and public game days are all things that should be rewarded because they bring new customers and keep your current customers interested in new products. GMing and playing in new scenarios and giving reporting notes help influence the narrative of the PFS living world and should be rewarded. Not all of these things are equal, and not all of these things should be weighted equally, but I really hope they are considered in the future.

Again, thank you John for taking the community suggestions into consideration. I'd gladly take the time to respond to any PMs regarding this as well.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

What about looking at this differently? there have already been a number of DMs posting that they give their race boons away (when it's one of the baser races). There are 32+ playable races in Pathfinder. The people that DM the most at the convention I saw were also the ones who DM most on game days. Many people are fighting over validating those who volunteer to DM cons - so why not step it up? Give the con DMs BETTER race rewards, ones that are at no risk of ever being "given to the community" because they are by definition rare, just like these boons are rare.

Let the local GMs get the plane-touched, elementals, dhampirs. Reasonable stuff. Give the Con-GMs the unusual stuff like the Strix, the Gathrain, the Ghoran, fauns, androids, lashunta, kasatha, trixian, skinwalkers, kobold, lizardfolk, samsaran, merfolk, snirvblin, drow, changling, gillmen, centaur, w/e - the list is enormous. The characters feel like unique rewards, and there is no need to step them down. Plus, these characters won't even get played because those Con-GMs are still volunteering to GM local games, so it's not even like you have to worry about overexposure or ""menagerie"" effects. These characters are the rare elite that stuck it through this interracial, international, ancient and wide-spread organization of explorers, diplomats, and scholars. New players coming in see a reasonable way of expanding their options without paying 400 dollars. GMs see a reasonable way of building up their stars and seeing immediate benefit beyond getting to replay a single scenario. The people who want Con boons to be special still get special boons that are now actually special!

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