Is it PaizoCon 2020 but? Hurry up already! It’s been over a month since one other PaizoCon has gone down in infamy, and I’m finally having the time to write down up what an exquisite expertise it was.
A part of the rationale for my delay is that my time there enjoying in so many nice gaming periods has me energized to play extra. I’m back into Pathfinder and Starfinder play-by-posts, and acquired the home group back collectively to finish up chapter 4 of Carrion Crown.
My son has lastly joined me in a play-by-post, and has also since introduced together a couple totally different teams of buddies even introducing some new individuals to Pathfinder!
PaizoCon is a four-day gaming convention in Seattle, Washington, filled with all the things Paizo; Pathfinder, Starfinder, the Pathfinder Adventure Card Recreation, and far more. Not solely do con-goers get to play all of those video games, but they get a chance to satisfy all of the artistic and welcoming individuals from the group–players, volunteers, and employees alike.
This was my seventh PaizoCon and I’m going most years with my son, now sixteen. Since he was 10 years previous, It’s all the time been a father-son high point for me as we spend four days hanging out in a lodge and adventuring our means by way of so many nice tales. This yr was no totally different.
You’ll see in my prior PaizoCon posts that I describe PaizoCon as a small and intimate con. In contrast to bigger cons I’ve been to, with tens-of-thousands of members and dozens of corporations demoing their wares, PaizoCon, at around a thousand attendees, permits you to see and work together with most everybody there, and partake in any elements of the con you need.
It’s nice with the ability to speak with and meet the employees who creates my roleplaying video games of selection, and it’s additionally cool operating into the same attendees yr after yr. It’s all the time a treat to take a seat down at a randomly selected Pathfinder Society table, see someone we’ve played with before, and reminisce about adventures of yore as we begin another great story.
Lottery video games are the one thing that’s briefly provide. Employees, business insiders, and individuals who submit session concepts that get permitted, all have limited-seat periods out there. With virtually every employees member providing periods, it’s a good way to satisfy your favorite staffer– I sometimes look for fascinating periods with staffers I’ve never met before. Previous to the con, there’s a chance to rank the varied video games obtainable by way of lottery and a magic selection course of assigns individuals to the obtainable seats.
My son and I designate one another as buddies, so we’re assured to be assigned together. For those who’re picky and only join a few attainable periods per day, you’re unlikely to get what you need, however with the plethora of fantastic periods obtainable to select from, it’s straightforward to rank sufficient that you simply’re more likely to get something you’re positive to take pleasure in.
We did properly with our lottery wins this yr, getting assigned events day by day. Again, we picked fairly a number of every slot, so we have been fairly positive to get some. My primary objective was to get in some Pathfinder 2.0, so I marked all of these periods as my best choice, then selected other fascinating occasions as a lower precedence under that.
Once you get your lottery games assigned, you’ll be able to sign up for the non-lottery occasions, or the larger seminars and panels that often nonetheless have spots as a result of so many seats are available.
For instance, right here’s the gaming schedule we scored, fleshed out with society play and seminars. Some pretty full days, with a few days operating 14-16 hours! You definitely don’t have to play that a lot, however you possibly can– and then some! I did not sign up for any of the after-midnight video games!
- 9:00 AM-1:00 PM – Escape from Hyrantum (lottery): Pathfinder Second Version the place we played undead making an attempt to flee from a prison that we had no recollection how we acquired there.
- 1:00 PM-6:00 PM – Starfinder Society State of affairs #1-16: Dreaming of the Future
- 8:00 AM-1:00 PM – Reaping What We Sow Writer Version with Linda Zayas-Palmer (lottery): Pathfinder Second Edition, Pathfinder Society state of affairs, run by the writer of the state of affairs.
- 1:30 PM – 5:30 PM – Dungeon of Doom (lottery): Pathfinder First Version enjoying by way of a subset of the Dungeon of Doom from one of many Dwarven Forge Kickstarters, utilizing Dwarven Forge terrain.
- 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM – PaizoCon 2019 Preview Banquet (further value) – Banquet meals, sitting with Paizo employees, hearing all of the information! I summarized the information in a prior publish.
- eight:00 AM – 1:00 PM – Starfinder Society State of affairs #1-32: Acts of Association
- 2:45 PM – 3:45 PM – The Philosophy Behind Pathfinder Second Edition – Builders talk about the choices behind Pathfinder Second Edition
- Four:00 PM – 6:00 PM – Oblivion Oath, Actual Play Stay Stream – A reside session of the Oblivion Oath precise play present run by Jason Bulmahn.
- 7:00 PM – 11:59 PM – Pathfinder Society State of affairs #10-98: Siege of Gallowspire (lottery) – The final Pathfinder Society First Version PaizoCon Special (in all probability?). A room filled with Pathfinders all working together in the direction of the identical aim.
- eight:00 AM – 1:00 PM – Starfinder Society State of affairs #1-36: Enter the Ashen Asteroid
We’re lucky that PaizoCon is just an hour drive away from house for us, and we all the time arrive Thursday night time to get our bearings and permit us a simple first morning to get registered and get to our first, often 8 AM recreation. This yr we had a late first recreation, so slept in (which value me dearly as Wayne Reynolds bought out commissions by 7:30 AM on day one! Great for him, very dangerous for me!) In any case, we acquired registered, discovered where our first recreation was going to be, after which dropped off our swag luggage earlier than coming again to ease into our recreation.
Talking of swag, I’ll say it once more: the PaizoCon swag bag is definitely the most effective I’ve acquired at any con. It alone can be value the cost of admission– including two Pathfinder Battles miniatures booster packs, Pathfinder Pawns box (my son acquired a Starfinder Pawns field), Pathfinder comic, Pathfinder Journey Path chapter, a Wayfinder fanzine, a Pathfinder Journey Card Recreation card, a specially painted Pathfinder Battles miniature, as well as con badge, Pathfinder lanyard, event tickets, and program.
My youngest son does not come to the con, so I all the time give him my ‘Pathfinder Battles’ miniatures booster packs. The packing containers typically include one giant mini and some medium or small minis. The wereleopard on the suitable is the PaizoCon special miniature. Photograph by Ryan Hiller.
After getting our awesome loot, we acquired some coffee and hopped right into the enjoyable. From here we’ll take a look at the con by means of the lens of the different things we experienced.
‘Pathfinder Second Edition’
Again, one among my main objectives was to play some Pathfinder Second Edition (preorder now, launching August 1!) and try to glean any more info and a really feel for the game. While we had a blast with the Second Version Playtest, the playtest was rather more about stress-testing the game, so was not an amazing indicator of how the sport would play in commonplace conditions. Plus, from the playtest suggestions, the principles have modified fairly a bit– getting some expertise with the final rules as sent off to the printers, was high on my record.
Our first session of the con was a Pathfinder Second Edition lottery occasion, Escape from Hyrantum with Paizo developer Patrick Renie. “You awake in a crumbling stone prison in the sunken city of Hyrantam. Where are the guards? Who are your strange cellmates? And why does your body ache like you’ve been asleep for a hundred years?”– Properly, because we obtained to test drive some Second Edition undead monsters as our characters! I performed a bloody skeleton, my son was a vampire, and the other two lucky lottery winners performed a ghost, and an undead big that used one among his rotten off limbs as a club. We have been requested to not share details, however suffice it to say, every creature had fascinating mechanics that make monsters greater than only a stat block. Every creature had flavor and skills that make them fascinating to play (and sooner or later, encounter). Aside from the precise monster talents and stats (which again, I was asked not to share!), I didn’t study a lot new about specific recreation mechanics. Like in the playtest though, it still felt like Pathfinder, and as has been my experience with the playtest, the three-action financial system, persistently makes for dynamic and fascinating fight, changing what can be a principally static experience as pal and foe stand and pound on one another, to a energetic dance around the battlefield.
Patrick Renie leading some fortunate lottery winners by means of a Pathfinder 2.zero session the place we played as undead beasts! Photograph by Ryan Hiller.
We enjoyed one other wonderful experience with Pathfinder Second Edition in a transformed Pathfinder Society state of affairs, Reaping What We Sow run by the writer of the state of affairs Linda Zayas-Palmer. Our characters have been tasked with a diplomatic mission to Rosehaven, a village about to rejoice its yearly pageant of sunshine and forgiveness. In fact, issues go awry, and we have now to fight a terrific evil earlier than we will earn the belief of the town.
We received to expertise the Second Version guidelines once more with pregenerated characters, albeit 1st degree, so we didn’t get to delve too deeply into the principles similar to magic merchandise usage (we didn’t have any of observe). The journey was a blast, because of Ms. Zayas-Palmer, as well as the antics of the opposite gamers. We even acquired to carve pumpkins!
My character, Ezren, carved the likeness of a behold… uh, I imply flying eyestalk beast! Photograph by Ryan Hiller.
Along with the Pathfinder Second Version gaming experiences, there were panels on Second Edition. We went to The Philosophy Behind Pathfinder Second Version session with a panel of Logan Bonner, Jason Bulmahn, Stephen Radney-MacFarland, and Mark Seifter. They talked about their objectives of creating positive the sport feels the identical, however making it smoother, easier to run, and simpler to know. They seemed for where First Edition prevented you from telling the story you needed, and eliminating those limitations. Utilizing ten years of knowledge, message boards, conference conversations and more they took– utilizing a coding analogy– previous spaghetti code, iterations upon iterations with multiple authors, and rewrote it utilizing object-oriented design. Now the system is straightforward to get in and make elements as vital. Because of this, the system is simpler on the builders, simpler for us, the players, to study and play, and is even easier for digital platforms, methods like Herolab, Roll20, and others to include.
Characters are easier to study and build. All of them build the same method as the construction of all the courses are the same, however the mechanics of underlying feats might all be very totally different. Again, they construct the identical, however they could play “super differently.”
This makes it easier for brand spanking new gamers while nonetheless leaving a wealth of options for knowledgeable players. It appears there’s nonetheless room for system mastery, but lack of mastery does not penalize the newbie. There was so much more in this session, and all of it simply makes me enormously excited to get my arms on the Pathfinder Second Edition Core Rulebook.
In the event you’re taken with listening to this session, or any of the others, verify them out both on Paizo’s Twitch channel, and the Know Path Podcast additionally recorded most each session.
The ‘Philosophy Behind Pathfinder Second Edition’ Panel. Mark Seifter, Jason Bulmahn, Logan Bonner, and Stephen Radney-MacFarland. Within the background, you’ll be able to see Perram of the Know Path Podcast. Photograph by Ryan Hiller.
‘Pathfinder and Starfinder Society’
The most important portion of PaizoCon is organized play. With dozens of tables each gaming block of Pathfinder Society, Starfinder Society, and the Journey Card Guild, you possibly can play organized play to your coronary heart’s content. After lottery video games are assigned, it’s straightforward to fill your schedule with as much society play as you need, together with the wee hours of the morning. Heck, there’s even the Glass Cannon Nation gaming room where there are much more video games operating.
With this actually being our final Pathfinder First Version targeted PaizoCon, we didn’t really need to start new characters, and my son was kind of executed with the one society character he had (He solely plays society at PaizoCon, so he just has the one character), so aside from the Sunday night time special, my son and I targeted our society play on Starfinder, beginning with some first degree noobs.
Our first PaizoCon ‘Starfinder Society’ session. Getting our starship fight on! Photograph by Ryan Hiller.
We acquired a wholesome dose of Starship combat, in addition to a short dungeon/area station crawl, and a nightclub-stealth-mission-became-shoot-out experience. My son loved all of it so much that he requested to get into play-by-post in order that we might degree our characters some earlier than subsequent PaizoCon– and we’re already nicely underway in a PbP of the popular, Reside Exploration Extreme, state of affairs!
Along with common society situations, I participated within the Pathfinder Society Special on Sunday night time. The Pathfinder Society Particular is a 7 PM to midnight session, where your complete room of Society players are all working in the direction of the same objective. Storywise, all the characters are concerned in a single giant occasion or battle, presumably, groups of Pathfinders all on the same battlefield preventing numerous foes. As parties succeed, the group rating goes up and based mostly on how the whole room does, events might get easier, or harder. It’s all the time a blast, and sometimes a challenging state of affairs.
A heated battle with a dullahan and a few of his cronies. Photograph by Ryan Hiller.
Dungeon of Doom
The Dungeon of Doom lottery occasion was nice leisure. The session utilized Dwarven Forge terrain, and a dungeon format and module that was part of a Dwarven Forge Kickstarter— all of the terrain vital to construct the dungeon was included in some reward levels. We have been advised to construct and convey 5th degree Pathfinder First Version characters. Anticipating that this session can be an old-school impressed dungeon crawl that might make Gygax proud, my son and I both created rogues to help cope with the plethora of traps we anticipated. We weren’t let down.
The dungeon was a paired down model of the roughly fifteen room full Dungeon of Doom, however we obtained an awesome taste, and it was just about the suitable measurement for our four-hour session. Once more, it’s all the time enjoyable operating into individuals we’ve played with prior to now. Two of the opposite gamers have been a pair we’ve performed with multiple occasions all through the years. It’s also fascinating meeting new people– one of the different gamers had come to PaizoCon from France!
This can be a six room, paired-down, version of the complete ‘Dungeon of Doom.’ It was concerning the good length for our four-hour session. Photograph by Ryan Hiller.With an old-school vibe, this room had traps, animated statues, puzzles, and was all represented by some pretty awesome terrain pieces. Photograph by Ryan Hiller.One of many players as seen from the attitude of the characters. Photograph by Ryan Hiller.
There at the moment are so many phenomenal actual play podcasts and streams by entertaining groups, comparable to Dragons and Issues, Glass Cannon Podcast, Roll for Combat, and more all enjoying Pathfinder and Starfinder. They’re nice leisure and an exquisite method to satisfy a number of the roleplaying itch when you’ll be able to’t in any other case be roleplaying.
As they’ve gained in reputation, reside actual performs have grow to be a larger portion of the con during the last couple of years. The parents from Glass Cannon Podcast have been friends of honor and in addition to their gaming room on the second flooring, that they had an off-site reside present where they played another session of their Unusual Aeons recreation. Sadly this coincided with the banquet, so congoers could not attend in the event that they needed to get the newest news. The Glass Cannon also participated in a three-part stay play showcasing Pathfinder Second Version, in periods run by Jason Bulmahn. This is being released on the Glass Canon Community feed as a podcast for Patreon subscribers, but can also be on their web site, obtainable on YouTube— there are some nice spoilers for Second Edition right here!
Another stay actual play that I did make was the reside Oblivion Oath session also run by Jason Bulmahn. This is among the new exhibits on Paizo’s wonderful and lively Twitch channel. In Oblivion Oath Jason Bulmahn is operating staffers by means of a Pathfinder Second Version recreation. It’s a good way to be entertained by great story, whereas choosing up the occasional Second Version rules leak.
The ‘Oblivon Oath’ players, GM, and producer. Photograph by Ryan Hiller
Most Paizo merchandise are available in the on-site Paizo retailer. It additionally homes some third-party publishers and their wares, The Reaper Paint-n-Take, q-Workshop cube, and the con friends of honor, in addition to different artists. You can too take a look at digital choices. This yr individuals had access to Pathfiner On-line and Pathfinder: Kingmaker.
A plethora of ‘Pathfinder’ maps! Photograph by Ryan Hiller.Black Bard Studios, purveyor of miniature props, and even a cool airship. Photograph by Ryan Hiller.Skittermander plushies on the Paizo retailer. Photograph by Ryan Hiller.
News from the PaizoCon Banquet
The Saturday night time banquet is a superb place to get some meals while assembly individuals and getting all the newest Paizo information. Paizo employees and other business people are at each table, so you’ve an opportunity to satisfy the business professionals making the games we love. This yr’s banquet was filled with intriguing Pathfinder and Starfinder news that I coated in my earlier submit from PaizoCon. This yr I sat with Paizo’s Customer Service & Group Handle Sara Marie. She’s also one of the gamers from the Oblivion Oath precise play twitch stream.
New to the banquet (I feel), we all had a Pathfinder pint glass and Pathfinder Second Edition coin ready for us.
Once we confirmed up at our desk, a pint glass was ready for us, with a campaign coin in the bottom– have been we being conscripted into service to Paizo? Photograph by Ryan Hiller.We have been each given a ‘Pathfinder Second Edition’ coin. The brand new hero level system is a wonderful use of coins like these (although, I feel I like BOTTLECAPS!) Photograph by Ryan Hiller.
A particular treat in the presentation on the banquet was an animated globe depicting the whole world of Golarion. The Internal Sea, where most every little thing we expertise in the journey paths and society situations, is such a small portion of the potential tales obtainable here!
Once Once more, So A lot Missed
Subsequent yr I’ll in all probability do a few of my Starfinder/Pathfinder Society play within the Glass Cannon Podcasts gaming room. I’ll nonetheless fulfill that society itch, whereas attending to spend a while with the Naish! With gaming periods out there for signup on Warhorn, as well as a board recreation library obtainable for checkout, there was all the time one thing to do. Each occasions I ended by, simply to see how full the room was, some welcoming individual (the first time Joe O’Brien) invited me to benefit from the gaming. I’d also like to catch a Glass Cannon Reside show, however I’m pretty dedicated to writing up the Paizo information at the Saturday banquet and need to catch the Sunday society special, so hopefully, it’s Thursday or Friday night time subsequent time.
The Glass Cannon Podcast gaming room was hopping day and night time. On this picture you possibly can see Mathew and Joe… perhaps others from GCP? Photograph by Ryan Hiller.
As all the time, there have been a ton of periods I’d wish to have been part of and we often play some delves, brief 20-minute situations the place you play pre-rolled iconic Pathfinder or Starfinder characters and often die brutally This yr they have been operating both Starfinder and Pathfinder Second Edition. We’ve had such busy schedules the last couple of years, that we haven’t had an opportunity to delve– and it’s often such a good way to expertise numerous Paizo employees GMing.
Should I Deliver My Kid?
I’ve been going to PaizoCon with my son since he was ten. He’s all the time been welcome on the gaming tables and enjoyed himself throughout the con. It’s been an exquisite expertise that we get to have collectively every year and I’m glad I selected to convey him that first time when he was ten. That stated, my different son, two years younger, now fourteen, does not come. He’s all the time given the choice but chooses not to. He is aware of he does not need to sit at a desk for 5 hours enjoying a recreation (let alone a few occasions a day for 4 days!)
PaizoCon is all about enjoying games or going to periods and panels that speak about enjoying video games. Most video games are a 4-5 hour session, and they’re often fairly busy periods, so you might want to be targeted and enjoying for the whole time with temporary biology breaks. There’s not an incredible deal to stroll around and take a look at as in comparison with say PAX that has numerous booths and demos to check out in short spurts.
Along with the 20-minute delves, and Reaper Paint-n-Take that are great brief time dedication choices for child and adult alike, there is a child’s gaming monitor with periods designed particularly for teenagers– adults only allowed if accompanied by their youngsters. We now have not performed these periods as they weren’t out there to us when my son was younger, and we all the time did nicely with the common periods in any case. However kid’s monitor or not, PaizoCon is about gaming, not wandering around and taking a look at issues.
So, if your baby plays long gaming periods at house, and is mature enough to positively take part in a roleplaying session with five different adults, PaizoCon might be an awesome expertise for you!
If not, there are different things for non-gaming relations to do as nicely. In addition to experiencing the con to their degree of enjoyment with the brief delves, painting, and the like, the DoubleTree lodge has a pool, and Seattle, and all its entertainment value shouldn’t be distant.
The subsequent PaizoCon will again be on Memorial Day weekend, Might 22nd-25th, 2020. We both plan to attend once more and are wanting forward to some Pathfinder Second Edition roleplaying! We’ll be spending the approaching yr collaborating in some Starfinder and Pathfinder Second Version (after August 1st) Play-by-posts, so we don’t want to start at degree one once we hit the PaizoCon 2020!
We hope to see you there!.
Our GM smiles on the digital camera at our remaining session the con on Monday Photograph by Ryan Hiller.
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