Hoping for Changes for Volunteers at GenCon 2019


Pathfinder Society

3/5

Last year there were several changes made regarding Paizo’s (now Organized Play Foundation) volunteers at GenCon. Most of them were minor changes like changing wording from “slots” to “blocks”. However, one change had a much bigger impact. In order to qualify for the 1/4 hotel room benefit, volunteer’s time commitment was raised from seven blocks in 2017 to eight blocks in 2018. For me, as a PFS GM and player, this is a real back breaker. Realistically speaking, working or playing the overnight slots are not an option for me. That leave the ten traditional gaming block for me to GM and play in. As a PFS GM/player, I lose the Saturday night block to Starfinder. If I’m running eight blocks, I’m down to one playable PFS game, unless I want to try my hand at GMing Starfinder Saturday evening. Since I’ve played three Starfinder games over the past two years is it really OK for me to try to GM the special? At GenCon? So if I want to earn the hotel benefit at GenCon, I’ve gone from being able to GM seven and play three in 2017 to now having to GM eight and being able to play only one. That stinks!

Looking ahead to GenCon 2019, is one entire evening going to be locked in to Pathfinder 2.0 special? Will I truly have zero options to play PFS 1 at GenCon if I need or want 1/2 a short bed in a small hotel room? (OK, the hotel room is a five minute slow walk to the Sagamore Ballroom). Or again, will I be required to master a second rule system for so I can earn the benefit by either running Starfinder or PFS 2.0? Also, the option of volunteering for just a few slots at HQ was discouraged - a full 7 or 8 slots was requested. So splitting time between HQ and GMing really isn't an option either.

This past summer, after looking at these changes, I decided to pass on volunteering at GenCon 2018. Mathematically, that was 8 blocks of volunteer time lost for Paizo, or another way of looking at it, eight other GMs had to work to fill games I would have run. I’ve heard of at least a few other people also dropping out of volunteering because of the extra requirement. For each GM lost, eight GMs are need to fill those games.

That brings us to GenCon 2019. 2019 is going to have a big draw in PFS 2.0 and the finale of PFS 1.0. I plan to be there and I want to play as much 1.0 as I can. If the requirement stays at 8 blocks for part of a hotel room, I seriously think I’ll be making other plans.

I understand there were some real problems in 2017 with number of GMs vs. the benefits given out and that changes were made to address those problems. If people are volunteering less because of those changes, how can they be a good thing?

Some suggested changes: Please roll back the 1/4 hotel room benefit requirement to volunteering for seven slots. Please offer some table of PFS 1.0 in every slot.

Finally, I know many of the individuals who work tirelessly to organize volunteers and bring the Sagamore Ballroom to life every year. They do an incredible job and I don't think they get enough thanks.

Some more food for thought:
For the last ten years, volunteers have earned $10 of Paizo store credit per slot. During that same time . . . .
Pathfinder Campaign Setting books have increased from 19.99 to 26.99 (+35%)
Pathfinder Player Companion books have increased from 10.99 to 14.99 (+ 36%)
Washington State’s minimum wage has increased from $8.07 to $11.50 (+42%)
A classic milkshake at Steak-N-Shake has gone from . . . OK well, I couldn't find those prices.

The Exchange 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Texas—Dallas & Ft. Worth aka Belafon

I didn't volunteer last year, and the 8-block change was a significant factor in that decision.

I'll run any system but for me the problem was that 8 blocks requires at least one evening slot/morning slot combo. (Or some other variation that gives you only one block to rest.) I used to be able to do that, and some people still can, but I've found I start slipping with that little sleep.

Dark Archive 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Minnesota—Minneapolis aka Silbeg

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From what I understand there will be changes this year. The announcement should be coming in a few weeks. So, please be patient!

3/5

Jack Brown wrote:
From what I understand there will be changes this year. The announcement should be coming in a few weeks. So, please be patient!

I look forward to positive changes. It's always better to discuss possible changes before an official decision is made so that we can hopefully influence it.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

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We already announced that we were reducing the hotel requirement back down to seven blocks. We analyzed the pros and con and feel that is the best solution to address some of our ongoing challenges. For many reasons, we will continue to separate our GM volunteers from our HQ volunteers without any crossover. There are many factors that go into who is selected for a HQ role, but we tend to prioritize 7+ block volunteers with open availability.

Generally speaking, the best chance to have your volunteer application accepted is to have a availability as open as possible, both game system and slot selection.

As long as $10 gift certificates remain the standard reward unit for our convention support packages through the year, I would not expect to see a change in it being the standard reward for Paizo-sponsored events (Gen Con, Origins, PaizoCon, etc).

As to the schedule, it is too early to speculate what that will look like. Clearly we will be challenged with supporting the demand for PFS1, PFS2, SFS, and PACG. I expect we will once again start with a partial schedule when registration opens in May and then flex up with additional tables based on demand. We are considering what do do with our special events slots (Thursday, Friday, Saturday PM) and if we need to offer more options than just the featured event.

Watch the weekly blog posts over the next few weeks for more information. Thanks and...
Explore! Report! Cooperate!

4/5 Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Southcoast aka JDDyslexia

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My advice (and what I'm doing myself) would be to start immersing yourself into PF2 in the next month or two, now that a lot of the errata and rule changes have been addressed and published. The simple reason I say this is because, while PF1 is still wildly popular and everyone is going to want to take part in the last few scenarios for the system, I suspect there will be a big push to promote PF2, and there's a distinct possibility that there's at least as much PF2 as there is PF1 (if not more). Right now, I'm in the middle of my big GM push to *hopefully* get my 5-star audit table while at GenCon 2019, but I know well that my best chances to be assigned 7 tables (and qualify for 1/4 hotel room) is to at least make myself open to GM at least one other system, and as a VO, I should be on top of PF2 for its release.

Additionally (and I don't know what it's like for other regions), but the PF2 playtest didn't really take off too well in my area, and thus there's not a lot of local GMs right now that can run it. It seems to me that there is still a low percentage of GMs that aren't up to speed on PF2 (or just simply aren't interested in it). By the time the GM volunteer sign-ups come around, there may not be enough PF1 tables to go around.

And if you aren't interested in PF2, there's always Starfinder or the ACG to get involved in. Like Bob said: the more systems you can GM, the better your chances at getting a full schedule.

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

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Hello Potential 5 Star GMs.

Are you going to try for your 5 star confirmation game at GenCon? That's awesome, but that means you need to start planning for it now. If you wait until a month before the convention, all the Venture Captains like myself will be all booked up and no one will be able to help you.

So... Tell Bob Jonquet RIGHT NOW about your five star plans. Start recruiting RIGHT NOW for that VC you want at your table, and let Bob know. He'll arrange the schedules to get the folks you need when you need them, but he needs to know in advance.

This is a public service announcement!

Hmm

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Agent, Rhode Island—Lincoln aka Upaynao

I believe I communicated my desire to be audited when I sent my volunteer application and it was still a big "maybe".

4/5 Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Southcoast aka JDDyslexia

Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:

Hello Potential 5 Star GMs.

Are you going to try for your 5 star confirmation game at GenCon? That's awesome, but that means you need to start planning for it now. If you wait until a month before the convention, all the Venture Captains like myself will be all booked up and no one will be able to help you.

So... Tell Bob Jonquet RIGHT NOW about your five star plans. Start recruiting RIGHT NOW for that VC you want at your table, and let Bob know. He'll arrange the schedules to get the folks you need when you need them, but he needs to know in advance.

This is a public service announcement!

Hmm

My intention was to make mention of it on my GM sign-up form, and if it couldn't be worked into a scheduled table, I would reach out to the other 5-stars that I know will be in attendance that I've been introduced to (like you Hmmm, and a few others) and ask if we could schedule a pick-up game when everyone is available.

Gregory Rebelo wrote:
I believe I communicated my desire to be audited when I sent my volunteer application and it was still a big "maybe".

I want mine to be on "hard mode" where it's all 5-star GMs.

1/5

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We're going into the last year of Gen Con with PF support.

There is a fervent hope that some of the older Specials run on the quiet overnights...

Yeah, I know what I'd be walking into.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

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When it comes to 5star reviews, it is extremely challenging for us at HQ to try and arrange it. We do not have access to the play schedules for the VCs. We only know the volunteer schedules and that’s not much help. If you leave it to HQ to arrange your review table, it is likely going to be very disappointing if we can arrange it at all. The best process is for the candidate to first contact their local VC to perform the audit. This is needed to qualify anyway so might as well get it worked out in advance. Second, if there is a VC, RVC, etc who you want to be present at your review table, contact them directly to work out schedule availability. Then notify us. If we know which slot you need, we can make sure to assign it. This is especially important if you want to do it during a multitable special. We’ll need to know which sub-tier to assign to accommodate the player’s characters. We find that most prospective five stars like the added “specialness” of having their review during a multitable event. Not to mention, in most cases, if you are short on a qualifier for five stars it is usually in getting the necessary ten specials. No better time to fill the special requirements than at Gen Con.

If you have any questions are need assistance, please let us know at genconleads@gmail.com

Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

GM Wageslave wrote:
There is a fervent hope that some of the older Specials run on the quiet overnights...

It is unlikely that prior season specials will be offered, especially overnight where demand is low and trending down. These are typically best suited for local/regional events. Gen Con is where we feature our newest material as much as possible and given the accepted demand for plenty of both 1E and 2E Pathfinder, as well as Starfinder and Adventure Card Game offering a schedule that will appeal the the widest possible audience is going to be a challenge.

Sovereign Court 4/5 ⦵⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Agent, Georgia—Atlanta aka The Masked Ferret

Do we know how many Starfinder Society specials will be running at Gencon?

Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

As stated, it is too early to speculate what the schedule will look like especially since much of it will be driven by ticket demand. However, it is unlikely there will be more than one Starfinder special given that we also need to support both PFS1 and PFS2 and we don’t know if either of those systems will have dedicated multitable specials. Remember, the Friday night special is typically the launch of the new season. With the start of PFS2, we not have characters to support a multitable special. Perhaps the plan is to have a pregen special like we did with the launch of Starfinder I order to feature the new game system. Perhaps there will be a special event to honor the conclusion of the PFS1 narrative. We simply do not know. There is a lot of planning that is required and the schedule is just part of it. As soon as we have definitive plans we will share them. Thank you for your patience.

5/5 Venture-Agent, Texas—Dallas & Ft. Worth aka Azothath

Usually I play at PaizoCon and volunteer for HQ at GenCon. In 2018 I did not volunteer nor attend GenCon as the grind was a major factor.

5/5 Venture-Agent, Texas—Dallas & Ft. Worth aka Azothath

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Bob Jonquet wrote:
...Perhaps there will be a special event to honor the conclusion of the PFS1 narrative....

Bonfire of the Vanities... (it's a pun)

Grand Lodge 4/5

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Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:

Hello Potential 5 Star GMs.

Are you going to try for your 5 star confirmation game at GenCon? That's awesome, but that means you need to start planning for it now. If you wait until a month before the convention, all the Venture Captains like myself will be all booked up and no one will be able to help you.

So... Tell Bob Jonquet RIGHT NOW about your five star plans. Start recruiting RIGHT NOW for that VC you want at your table, and let Bob know. He'll arrange the schedules to get the folks you need when you need them, but he needs to know in advance.

This is a public service announcement!

Hmm

If Ali is busy, I'll ask you to sit in on my confirmation game at Gen Con! I know you'll be busy too!

I know I will be there because my wife finally picked up on playing Pathfinder and is demanding that I take her. She's being very emphatic about that. She is even assisting me reach that fifth star because she wants to play a lot and is constantly asking me to run a session.

Not sure on how many sessions I will be volunteering to run because I want and need to run 2 specials (maybe) to make the fifth star as well as the confirmation table at Gen Con. I also want to run PF2 sessions. The key for me though is the schedule. The 7 block plan is good but with my wife coming along I don't think I'll be doing 7 games. (I'm taking precautions to not have a heart attack right after Gen Con this year).

In any event I know I am coming to Gen Con and running games. I really appreciated the stuff I got at Gen Con in 2018 for running 8 sessions. It was the only way I could attend Gen Con and I thought it was just fine. The only thing I would like is for the specials to begin an hour earlier. I know the schedule is an issue though.

So thanks for organizing it and rewarding us for running the sessions.

Dark Archive 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Minnesota—Minneapolis aka Silbeg

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Joe Bouchard wrote:
Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:

Hello Potential 5 Star GMs.

Are you going to try for your 5 star confirmation game at GenCon? That's awesome, but that means you need to start planning for it now. If you wait until a month before the convention, all the Venture Captains like myself will be all booked up and no one will be able to help you.

So... Tell Bob Jonquet RIGHT NOW about your five star plans. Start recruiting RIGHT NOW for that VC you want at your table, and let Bob know. He'll arrange the schedules to get the folks you need when you need them, but he needs to know in advance.

This is a public service announcement!

Hmm

My intention was to make mention of it on my GM sign-up form, and if it couldn't be worked into a scheduled table, I would reach out to the other 5-stars that I know will be in attendance that I've been introduced to (like you Hmmm, and a few others) and ask if we could schedule a pick-up game when everyone is available.

Gregory Rebelo wrote:
I believe I communicated my desire to be audited when I sent my volunteer application and it was still a big "maybe".
I want mine to be on "hard mode" where it's all 5-star GMs.

Challenge accepted.

If you wanted “insane mode” you should try a table of 6 Minnesota 5-Stars

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

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Funny story about trying to plan this at gencon 2 years ago

Spoiler:
After gen con i helped as much as I could with the ballroom cleanup, my back put in a complaint and I left when it was nearly done. I managed to get a pizza, get back to my hotel room, and roll a 1 on my spot check to notice that all three other occupants of the room had left. So instead of flopping down on one of the beds, I crashed down on the floor THEN noticed the empty real estate.

Fortunately I had my kindle down there. We started planning to maybe get a group together to do the five star thing. Someone picked a scenario they hadn't played. I popped it open and started to read it. "The mawangi expanse is a ...Zzzzzzzzz"

And everyone fell asleep.

so plan that thing in advance. :)

The Exchange 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Texas—Dallas & Ft. Worth aka Belafon

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Joe Bouchard wrote:

My intention was to make mention of it on my GM sign-up form, and if it couldn't be worked into a scheduled table, I would reach out to the other 5-stars that I know will be in attendance that I've been introduced to (like you Hmmm, and a few others) and ask if we could schedule a pick-up game when everyone is available.

Gregory Rebelo wrote:
I believe I communicated my desire to be audited when I sent my volunteer application and it was still a big "maybe".
I want mine to be on "hard mode" where it's all 5-star GMs.

All 5-star GMs is not “hard mode” at all. That’s “easy mode.”

Hard mode (Tier 5-9):
1 5-star (to judge)
2 16-year-old, mainly plays with the same peer group, first convention, with his “they won’t let me be evil” CN rogue.
3 #2s buddy with his “you are all heathens who must be cleansed!” paladin.
4 Enthusiastic new player who picked up a level 7 Megalister pregen.
5 Player who has been “playing this game longer than you’ve been alive” and has a fiendishly complex multiclass monster with material from at least 30 books, including some very dubious interactions.
6 #5s 9-year-old daughter. Really gets into the game but doesn’t really understand the rules, so #5 is always explaining what to roll to play her (fiendishly complex) character (that he built for her).

1/5

BNW's story:
The past history I've had is that if folks go back to their room and do anything *but* hop into a shower, change clothes, and immediately get out of their room at the end of the convention, there generally speaking isn't going to be a game. Exhaustion catches up with a lot of folks, and I include myself in that.

That being said, I'm *not* a 5-star GM, but if I'm needed pre or post con to help make such a table go, let me know.

Still waiting on some logistics before I can make a solid decision on GenCon this year as far as commitment levels during the convention proper.

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

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BigNorseWolf wrote:

Funny story about trying to plan this at gencon 2 years ago

** spoiler omitted **

so plan that thing in advance. :)

I think having everyone at your table -- including you -- wanting to curl up and sleep on a late Sunday game is normal. When I ran my Starfinder game last year, I had the thing really prepped ahead of time. Treasure cards written and pre-sorted. Handouts made in advance. A whole kit for myself to enable me to run the scenario with no brain.

It worked great!

Hmm

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

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I concur with planning in advance. Our after GenCon tables tend to run very late and tired.

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

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And really, really giggly. Remember finger hut, TOZ and Wei Ji?

Hmm

Shadow Lodge 5/5

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Finger lickin' good!

Liberty's Edge 3/5 Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

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Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:


I think having everyone at your table -- including you -- wanting to curl up and sleep on a late Sunday game is normal. When I ran my Starfinder game last year, I had the thing really prepped ahead of time. Treasure cards written and pre-sorted. Handouts made in advance. A whole kit for myself to enable me to run the scenario with no brain.

It worked great!

Hmm

One of the funnest groups to be part of. So very glad that my son and I were able to join that merry band of Dino-rescuers!

I am sure the author never expected a Haan PC to an adventure with a Haan NPC.

Know I have said this but thanks for running.

Dark Archive 5/5

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jack Brown wrote:
Joe Bouchard wrote:
I want mine to be on "hard mode" where it's all 5-star GMs.

Challenge accepted.

If you wanted “insane mode” you should try a table of 6 Minnesota 5-Stars

Forgive him, Asmodeus, he knows not what he proposes.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:

Funny story about trying to plan this at gencon 2 years ago

** spoiler omitted **

so plan that thing in advance. :)

I think having everyone at your table -- including you -- wanting to curl up and sleep on a late Sunday game is normal. When I ran my Starfinder game last year, I had the thing really prepped ahead of time. Treasure cards written and pre-sorted. Handouts made in advance. A whole kit for myself to enable me to run the scenario with no brain.

It worked great!

Hmm

Well there's too tired to game and then there's too tired to get off the floor, because its easier to pull the blankets down :)

Dark Archive 5/5

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Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:

And really, really giggly. Remember finger hut, TOZ and Wei Ji?

Hmm

"I KEEP LOSING AT THAT GAME!"

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

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I only ask that you can select which systems you want to run for as GM. Either PF1, PF2, or SF, or a combination.
I'd rather not have to run all 3.

The Exchange 1/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I ran PFS Special, SFS Special and PF2E last year and I hope everyone saw that because "I won't be doing that again!"

Channeling Capt. Jack there, but seriously I think that I shall try to confine myself to SFS and PF2E this year, unless Bahb really needs help with PFS tables. I agree my mind was fried Sunday.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

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Tim, that has been the case ever since there was more than one system. We try to be as accommodating to the GMs as possible. That being said, sometimes we need people to expand their initial status to help us meet the needs of the event. We do not simply assign something you did not ask for, but we may ask you to expand your selections. This is especially true of Venture-Officers who ideally support all the game systems in their local areas.

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

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Tim Statler wrote:

I only ask that you can select which systems you want to run for as GM. Either PF1, PF2, or SF, or a combination.

I'd rather not have to run all 3.

Jen McTeague did all three plus ACG in one insane, non-canonical post GenCon game. Her Paizo Unchained allowed anything from Paizo products as a character. It was absurdly delightful.

Hmm

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Agent, Rhode Island—Lincoln aka Upaynao

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Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:
Tim Statler wrote:

I only ask that you can select which systems you want to run for as GM. Either PF1, PF2, or SF, or a combination.

I'd rather not have to run all 3.

Jen McTeague did all three plus ACG in one insane, non-canonical post GenCon game. Her Paizo Unchained allowed anything from Paizo products as a character. It was absurdly delightful.

Hmm

And only someone like Jen could channel that many game systems into one cohesive story. I almost want to see what she would do with with those and PF2.

Almost.

4/5 Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Southcoast aka JDDyslexia

Gregory Rebelo wrote:

And only someone like Jen could channel that many game systems into one cohesive story. I almost want to see what she would do with with those and PF2.

Almost.

Only one way to find out. All aboard the GenCon 2019 Hype Train!

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

That particular game of Paizo Unchained was featured in a Know Direction article! You can see photos and quotes of the wackiness.

Hmm

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