Banquet-- Talk or Eat


PaizoCon General Discussion

Grand Lodge

I was just wondering how much eating gets done at the banquet. I'm tempted to eat just prior to the banquet so I'm not hungry and can fully participate in whatever conversation develops. (I'm neither a lite nor light eater.)

And that makes me wonder if the various Paizo staff get to actually eat very much at these things. I mean, you're sitting next to Mona for a whole dinner and he can't really politely excuse himself to get the hell away from you-- do the Paizo staff get their ears chatted off while they're trying to eat?!

And I can see a similar argument as the one the obnoxious sporting-event ticket-buyers make, 'Hey, I paid for a ticket to this banquet; I'm damn sure gonna get my money's worth'!

Or maybe it's just me that sees the dinner table conversation as the highlight. I'm a harsh restaurant snob so I'm hoping the food will be at least adequate. I don't really give a damn about the 'upcoming' product announcements -- I've already got a DM for the AP in Azlant and have to avoid spoilers!

I just want to listen to a favorite Grognard designer talk about the old days-- stories of gaming with Gygax, and working on Dungeon and Dragon with Roger Moore & Chris Perkins, tales of Carl Sargent, Wolfgang Baur, Erol Otus, Willie Walsh and Richard Pett.


Last year was my first time at Paizocon so I can only speak of my first year there. Since it was my first time, I went ahead and got the Banquet ticket because I was interested in hearing what was coming down the road for Paizo. I had a panel that ran about 30 mins before the banquet started and there was a huge line of people for the banquet. The food was nice catering, I remember liking the food a lot and it was nice quality for the price of the ticket.

It looked like a lot of people have your same thoughts about getting to hang out with a Paizo staff member, being the number one priority because peoples tables filled up fast lol. My friend and I just wanted to grab a table together before everything filled up, so we got our plates and grabbed a table with a good view of the projector screen. We ended up sitting with at a table with Pathfinder Society Organized Play Coordinator “Tonya Woldridge” and her family. Just to be clear, my friend and I don’t play in Society games due to work schedules and we spent most of the con in the panels. Man, I was happy to share a table with Tonya and her family! They were super welcoming and it was awesome seeing a gaming family at a convention. The other people that sat at our table where all Pathfinder Society members that were excited to chat up with Tonya. So even though I don’t play in Pathfinder Society, it was fun hearing about how others are super passionate about it.

Even with all the chatting at tables, trust me when I saw that I don’t think anyone leaves the banquet hungry lol. I personally was super excited that they were selling alcohol at the banquet, nothing beats hearing awesome RPG news than hearing it while enjoying a local seattle beer (but that’s just me).

My friend and I are returning to Paizocon again this year and we both picked up the Banquet tickets again, seems like a no-brainer with how awesome the experience was last time. Hope this helps answer your questions.

Paizo Employee Pathfinder Society Lead Developer

This assumes that everything's operating about as it has for the last five years.

There's plenty of eating and talking both. With about 8–10 people per table, there are plenty of people to carry on conversation between bites.

As for grognard talk, I recommend getting in line for the banquet early. The Paizo staff heads into the banquet room just before the fans so that we can choose where to sit; there is usually just one or two staff members per table. A line forms ahead of time to let in attendees in an orderly fashion, and attendees can then select which staff member's table they want to sit at. If there's a particular staff member you want to hang out with, being early can help you get a seat at his or her table.

Based on your interests, W E Ray, you'll likely want to seek out Lisa Stevens, Vic Wertz, Erik Mona, Jason Bulmahn, James Jacobs, or Pierce Watters.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber

I'm kind of hoping to sit with one of the PFS triumverate, but it would be fun meeting any of the Paizo employees. How early do you recommend getting there, John?

Hmm

Paizo Employee Pathfinder Society Lead Developer

Hmm wrote:

I'm kind of hoping to sit with one of the PFS triumverate, but it would be fun meeting any of the Paizo employees. How early do you recommend getting there, John?

Hmm

Oof, um, I don't know that I can provide you a good estimate. Five years ago my friends and I got in line maybe 90 minutes before the start and were nearly the first in line. While PaizoCon has grown since, so has the size of the company. In my experience, only a few tables fill up really quickly, and that's partly based on whether an entire group really wants to sit with someone.

Very anecdotal, possibly outdated advice: If there are a few staff members you'd really like to sit with, consider getting in line 30+ minutes in advance.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Will Chase FTW!


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In my own experience, the banquet goes like this-

People start lining up about 2 hours ahead of time. If there's someone you desperately want to sit with, get in line at this point. If you have a list of 3-5 people, you're probably okay closer to the 1 hour mark. If you don't mind sitting in a corner with Cosmo, show up whenever you feel like ;)

There's about half an hour to eat and chat, longer if you were at the front of the line, shorter if you were near the back. While tables generally only have 1 Paizo staff member, there's often guests of honour, freelancers, PFS VOs, 3PP publishers, and other awesome folk, so every table has the potential to be an amazing experience. Because Paizo staff get in early, they're often mid-meal or done when the masses pour in.

Then there's the presentation, during which people might still be having coffee, dessert, or drinks, but very little talking is going on. The reveal of upcoming products, thank yous and other miscellany takes 1-2 hours generally.

After the banquet is the trivia contest, and the main evening of BarCon. Both are a ton of fun, and if you've never done the trivia, I recommend giving it a whirl.

Of course, this is just my experience. Your mileage may vary.

Shadow Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
John Compton wrote:
Very anecdotal, possibly outdated advice: If there are a few staff members you'd really like to sit with, consider getting in line 30+ minutes in advance.

I think the green room may not have the best view to the front of the line John. 30 minutes in advance will sit you with Cosmo, which is an entirely enjoyable experience. If you want a developer though, more than an hour is par these days.

Paizo Employee Malaise-Inducement Construct

MisterSlanky wrote:
John Compton wrote:
Very anecdotal, possibly outdated advice: If there are a few staff members you'd really like to sit with, consider getting in line 30+ minutes in advance.
I think the green room may not have the best view to the front of the line John. 30 minutes in advance will sit you with Cosmo, which is an entirely enjoyable* experience. If you want a developer though, more than an hour is par these days.

*:
*Not a guarantee.

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If you want to throw down $35 to stand around in a line for up to two hours and then not eat, well it's your money. The food is pretty good for the price and there's dessert too. The years I've gone there's typically plenty of time for conversation at the table while still getting dinner eaten.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Is there vegetarian food available at the banquet?

Hmm


In a similar vein, my wife has a severe dairy allergy. Will there be food she can eat? I'd rather not starve or kill her. >_>


Hmm wrote:

Is there vegetarian food available at the banquet?

Hmm

There have been vegetarian options at prior banquets, yes.


Benjamin Medrano wrote:
In a similar vein, my wife has a severe dairy allergy. Will there be food she can eat? I'd rather not starve or kill her. >_>

Again, plenty of foods without dairy that I can remember, but you may want to ask the Paizo organizers, or speak directly to the hotel staff. The caterers for the event should have a list of dishes for the event and be able to tell you what she should avoid and what would be safe.

Paizo Employee Pathfinder Society Lead Developer

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While there have consistently been plenty of food items that had no meat at the banquet, I am not an authority on this banquet's composition. I'll flag down someone who might be able to provide a better perspective.

Dark Archive

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Shadowborn wrote:
Hmm wrote:

Is there vegetarian food available at the banquet?

Hmm

There have been vegetarian options at prior banquets, yes.

At least one Paizo employee (and probably more!) is a vegetarian, so there should definitely be options. I recall the pasta salad being really good!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber
John Compton wrote:
While there have consistently been plenty of food items that had no meat at the banquet, I am not an authority on this banquet's composition. I'll flag down someone who might be able to provide a better perspective.

Thank you, John! I didn't see a way to notify your guys of special dietary options while purchasing banquet tickets!

Hmm


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Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Chris Carey, James Sutter, and I are vegetarians; I'm sure Josh knows that if there were no vegetarian options (and "you can have salad" doesn't count) we'd stage a walk-out. Or a sit-in. Or a table-throw. Or whatever our weak, malnourished muscles could muster.


Shadowborn wrote:
Benjamin Medrano wrote:
In a similar vein, my wife has a severe dairy allergy. Will there be food she can eat? I'd rather not starve or kill her. >_>
Again, plenty of foods without dairy that I can remember, but you may want to ask the Paizo organizers, or speak directly to the hotel staff. The caterers for the event should have a list of dishes for the event and be able to tell you what she should avoid and what would be safe.

Thanks, just one of those things that makes me mildly anxious. Anaphylaxis is nothing to toy around with.


Was wondering if anyone had an answer to this question(s):
If I'm an hour late to the Banquet is it possible to reserve a plate/seat for me? I've already purchased my ticket but I need to pick up my wife down in Tacoma at 6:45..Should I even try to go? If I'll miss the food is it still worth going? Is it possible to get a refund for the Banquet if being an hour late is going to be a problem?

Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

There will be the pretty standard banquet fair as every year. The food is pretty darn good and there are a variety of options for both vegetarians and omnivores. However, if you are allergic or have very strict dietary constraints, neither Paizo nor the hotel food services can guarantee that something has not been cross contaminated. The main course is set up with plates on the end and you work your way down a long table serving yourself the items you want, rolls, salads, pastas, meats, etc. There's no way for us to say that someone hasn't accidentally used the salad tongs to grab a roll or croutons or dripped a sauce from one item into the serving dish of something else.

Paizo Employee Chief Operating Officer, Web Store Manager

lucklesshero wrote:

Was wondering if anyone had an answer to this question(s):

If I'm an hour late to the Banquet is it possible to reserve a plate/seat for me? I've already purchased my ticket but I need to pick up my wife down in Tacoma at 6:45..Should I even try to go? If I'll miss the food is it still worth going? Is it possible to get a refund for the Banquet if being an hour late is going to be a problem?

Hey Lucklesshero, based on previous years, I would say that there's a good chance that the mains will still be in service an hour into the event but I cannot guarantee it. Do you have any friends that will be at the banquet that could save you both seats and possibly even load you guys up plates if it looks like you're going to miss the main food service? If not then please private message me and I'll see what I can arrange for you both.

There's no reason to not come to the banquet.

Paizo Employee Chief Operating Officer, Web Store Manager

Hmm wrote:

Is there vegetarian food available at the banquet?

Hmm

Hey Hmm, the hotel can provide a vegetarian option for you. The best way to take care of this is to let me know when I take your ticket and I will coordinate with the servers to get you a vegetarian meal.

Paizo Employee Chief Operating Officer, Web Store Manager

Benjamin Medrano wrote:
In a similar vein, my wife has a severe dairy allergy. Will there be food she can eat? I'd rather not starve or kill her. >_>

Hey Benjamin, the hotel should be able to provide a dairy-free meal for your wife so same deal as Hmm. As you hand me your ticket to enter the banquet, remind me who you are and I will coordinate with the hotel to provide a dairy-free meal option.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber
Jeff Alvarez wrote:
Hmm wrote:

Is there vegetarian food available at the banquet?

Hmm

Hey Hmm, the hotel can provide a vegetarian option for you. The best way to take care of this is to let me know when I take your ticket and I will coordinate with the servers to get you a vegetarian meal.

This is awesome. Thank you. Do we need to reserve special meals in advance at all?

Hmm


Jeff Alvarez wrote:
Benjamin Medrano wrote:
In a similar vein, my wife has a severe dairy allergy. Will there be food she can eat? I'd rather not starve or kill her. >_>
Hey Benjamin, the hotel should be able to provide a dairy-free meal for your wife so same deal as Hmm. As you hand me your ticket to enter the banquet, remind me who you are and I will coordinate with the hotel to provide a dairy-free meal option.

Thank you so very much!! I'll definitely do that. ^_^

Liberty's Edge

Jeff Alvarez wrote:
Hmm wrote:

Is there vegetarian food available at the banquet?

Hmm

Hey Hmm, the hotel can provide a vegetarian option for you. The best way to take care of this is to let me know when I take your ticket and I will coordinate with the servers to get you a vegetarian meal.

Does this mean there will not be vegetarian options available as actual choices for anyone that wants them as they go through the buffet line? If we require a vegetarian option, we need to let you know ahead of time?

Shadow Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Marc Radle wrote:
Does this mean there will not be vegetarian options available as actual choices for anyone that wants them as they go through the buffet line? If we require a vegetarian option, we need to let you know ahead of time?

I interpret it as everything served will have bacon, including the gluten free, vegan flowerless chocolate torte. This is a good thing.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
MisterSlanky wrote:
Marc Radle wrote:
Does this mean there will not be vegetarian options available as actual choices for anyone that wants them as they go through the buffet line? If we require a vegetarian option, we need to let you know ahead of time?
I interpret it as everything served will have bacon, including the gluten free, vegan flowerless chocolate torte. This is a good thing.

Is the world ready for that much veggie bacon?

Liberty's Edge

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I like veggie bacon!

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Except it's not. Because the hotel knows that bacon is required to fuel your soul. Which is why so many vegetarians return to normal after eating it.

Paizo Employee Developer

Mocking dietary choices aside, my experience with the banquet food is that there isn't really a vegetarian main, but nearly all of the side dishes are vegetarian. (If not then I guess I accidentally ate some critter bits in previous years.) Jeff might know secrets I don't. (I'm absolutely certain Jeff knows many secrets I don't.)

Contributor

John Compton wrote:
While there have consistently been plenty of food items that had no meat at the banquet, I am not an authority on this banquet's composition. I'll flag down someone who might be able to provide a better perspective.

Similarly, my spouse has an allergy to fresh onion (mirepoix or dried or dehydrated onion is fine as the allergen is denatured). If we could be aware of what options to avoid that'd be great. :)

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