- What: An Evening with “Avengers: Endgame” Screenwriters Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely
- When: Thursday, May 16th @ 8pm
- Where: Emerson Colonial Theater
- Tickets: http://www.emersoncolonialtheatre.com/tickets/
For the past six months, the Metro Boston Venture Corps has been trying something new: in lieu of our monthly in-person meetings (though sometimes supplementing), we’ve been having “Fireside Chats” with various members of the gaming industry. So far, we’ve chatted with Lyz Liddell, Kate Baker & Mike Kimmel, Crystal Malarsky, Hilary Moon Murphy, Shanna Germain, and Vanessa Hoskins. All of the videos of our chats with these creators are available on our YouTube channel.
On 4/5/19, we had the chance to chat with Cosmo Eisele, the Sales Associate at Paizo. We talked about the upcoming convention season (“shows” in sales lingo), the Starfinder Beginner Box, the Pathfinder Second Edition releases, how retail works in the gaming industry, and then a wild tangent into the Adventure Card Game.
We got the chance to sit down with Boston native son and Starfinder GM Patrick Brennan last week at PAX East!
OK, first the rundown: who are you, and what do you do?
My name is Patrick Brennan, and I am a Librarian by day, and Gamemaster most of the rest of the time. I have been playing TTRPGs like a lot of people since High School, and over the last few years have been using them as a way to reconnect with old friends, and make new ones. When I heard about Paizo’s Starfinder I started a podcast with my current online gaming group of friends, many of whom I have known since college, and we call it “Cosmic Crit“. We are playing through the awesome Adventure Paths that Paizo has put out, and we finished up Dead Suns recently and just started Against the Aeon Throne. GMing on the podcast inspired my to get into Organized Play, both at my local gaming stores and online, and most recently at PAX East 2019.
The folks at Paizo have taken a shine to Cosmic Crit, as we are the most popular unofficial Starfinder podcast our there. They have been kind enough to allow me to write some of the backmatter for Against the Aeon Throne and Dawn of Flame and I was pretty excited that I got to announce this year that I wrote an Adventure Path volume for Attack of the Swarm, which the next AP coming after Dawn of Flame. It’s scheduled to be released in August of this year.
A Starfinder AP! Tell us more about that! How was it working with your developer at Paizo? Had you ever written something like that before?
My AP volume is called “The Fate of the Fifth” and it sees the players facing off against the unknowable alien legion known as “The Swarm,” which is a hive-mind collection of insect-like creatures from across the reaches of Starfinder. My book is part war story, part horror-show as the players have to navigate off their planet whilst it’s being invaded by The Swarm, and try and survive long enough to escape the advancing armies of bugs!
Working with Paizo and Starfinder developer Jason Keeley has been a dream. I have been playing Adventure Path content in Pathfinder for over seven years, and at no point in that time did I ever believe that I would be able to contribute something to this amazing universe. It’s funny in retrospect because I do have an undergraduate degree in Creative Writing, have been writing homebrew content most of my life, and have been deeply invested in Starfinder since before its release…so I was actually really well situated last year to dive into the writing process and help kick off the 5th Starfinder AP.
What was it about Starfinder that inspired you so much – versus something like Pathfinder or D&D?
I have been a huge fan of fantasy action since reading the Hobbit in middle school, and then Lord of the Rings after that while playing homebrewed 3.5 Dungeons & Dragons with a group of adult Librarians in rural North Carolina, which explains a great deal of my origin story. But to be honest my greatest loves in geekdom are Star Wars, Star Trek and other sci-fi universes. We’re talking Mass Effect, Firefly, Blade Runner, Dune, these are like cat-nip to me. Starship Troopers? Sign me up! I loved the huge space battles, the alien cultures, and the in some of them the mix of mystic magic powers and high-tech robots.
So when Starfinder was announced I was super excited, and I made the podcast because I was worried nobody else would. I wanted to make a show that I would listen to, and help bring in new players to the system. I was really impressed with the Glass Cannon Podcast and what they were able to do weekly with Pathfinder and said to myself “I wanted to portray Starfinder in a similar reverent fashion.”
Much of Organized Play locally is done in-person at gaming stores, whereas much of Cosmic Crit takes place on Roll20. Tell me about some of the differences of IRL v. Online gaming.
Well gaming online was a necessity for our podcast because the players and I are stretched out across multiple times zones and four different states. Technology has caught up and allows us to play with virtual tabletops like Roll20 and use great online VoIP audio services to connect. We have even played with cameras so it is like we are in the same room. I wanted to let people know that even if they don’t have a game store near them, or their friends have moved away (like many of mine have) that you can still get a great gaming group going on a regular basis.
That being said, I also love being able to go into Warhorn and look and see what tables are playing what in my local gaming stores. I also play Pathfinder at an IRL tabletop with friends, and that table has been gaming together for over eight years. I think that online games usually move a little quicker, but I love the drawn out and relaxed pace of playing in person with people. If I had to choose only one I would be hard pressed as they are both fun and freeing in their own ways. It is nice being able to play in your pajamas while relaxing in your own home and playing Starfinder.
Clearly the online gaming format has been a success for you as well as Cosmic Crit fans – so much so that you’re doing an online convention soon! Tell us more about that.
Yeah, when we started our online lodge for Starfinder Society we had an impromptu convention, “CRITTERCON”, where we had fans and GMs from all over the world play SFS together. We streamed SFS #1-09: Live Exploration Extreme! [written by John Compton] via Twitch and had a great time raising money for charity. This year we are upping the stakes with our second convention “CRITTERCON 2,” as we are gaming all weekend long Friday April 26th through Sunday the 28th, we are streaming much of that time and connecting gaming groups together. We also have official support from Paizo, so players can donate money to our charity “Doctors Without Borders” and get natural 20’s and rerolls while making sure your dollars are going to a great cause.
We are super excited to have authors of SFS scenarios running charity tables, we will have dozens of boons to raffle of, and we will be running the convention Interactive Special SFS #1-99: The Scoured Stars Invasion [written by Mikko Kallio] on Saturday. If people want to sign up for games right now they can join our Discord and make an account on our Warhorn schedule to see what tables and games are out there. We fully expect hundreds gamers, streamers and viewers over the weekend, both new to Starfinder as well as veterans, so everyone is welcome to join up!
OK, last question – convention season is almost upon us. Where can we find you and other members of Cosmic Crit this summer?
So I myself am hoping to make it out to non-Boston centered gaming conventions this year, namely Gen Con or PAX unplugged. Gen Con will be right before my AP volume is published, so I feel like I should show my face and apologize for all the murder PCs beforehand. But we will have our players Drew and Rebecca more than likely meeting up with fans at DragonCon in Atlanta, GA. This year will be our first official representation at PaizoCon as well, as our player Tyler will be there gaming, giving out free swag and meeting fans. It is a big year for us on the podcast, having launched on Patreon and announcing new fun partnerships and associations, so we are trying to get to as many conventions as possible.
The Penny Arcade Expo – East (PAX East) is one of Boston’s largest conventions and hosts vendors and players interested in tabletop, arcade, and video gaming. New games are available to demo, old console games are available for nostalgia, and anything you could ever want in terms of gaming and gaming accessories is for sale.
What We’re Offering
We’ll have six concurrent demo tables of Pathfinder, Starfinder, and Pathfinder 2e Playtest. Just walk up to HQ, give your name, and start playing! Games will last approximately 45 minutes and start every 15 minutes (giving our volunteer GMs a much-needed 15 minute break to stretch and prepare for the next session).
Where to Find Us
We will be located in the tabletop gaming area, which is past the Expo Floor. If you’re standing facing the tabletop gaming area with your back to the Expo Floor, we will be in the back-left corner.
I’m so excited to be co-hosting ConnectiCon 2019 with Connecticut VL Chris Wasko and our RVC, June Soler. Unfortunately, Chris will be out of town for ConnectiCon, but we are more than happy to step up and lend a hand.
A primer: ConnectiCon is a four-day “pop-culture” convention that attracts over 30,000 visitors to Hartford, Connecticut. There are panels, workshops, console gaming rooms, cosplay events, artists’ galleries, and more.
We’ll have four tables per slot, starting Thursday night. The times are:
- Thursday PM (7pm-11pm)
- Friday AM (9am-1pm)
- Friday Afternoon (2pm-6pm)
- Friday PM (7pm-11pm)
- Saturday AM (9am-1pm)
- Saturday Afternoon (2pm-6pm)
- Saturday PM (7pm-11pm)
- Sunday AM (9am-1pm)
We’re going to be running Pathfinder Society (Season 10), Starfinder Society (Season 1 and Season 2, which debuts at Origins in June).
Please use this Google Form to indicate your interest in GMing.
Information about player sign-ups is forthcoming!
Earlier this year, Metro Boston Organized Play approached our Regional Venture-Coordinator, June Soler, with an idea: let’s run an interactive special at multiple venues at the same time. (An interactive special is unique experience with minimum table requirements that is normally only available at conventions. Events at one game table can impact play at another table–even if those tables are different levels.) Using Slack to communicate in real time between venues, our test run of #8-99 The Solstice Scar, Part C was a success.
“When a famous Pathfinder returns to the Grand Lodge in Absalom with a long sought after Azlanti artifact of power, the Society celebrates the achievement by throwing a massive party in Absalom’s arena. When the artifact is stolen during the party, it’s up to you and the other bands of Pathfinders present at the celebration to get it back before it can be used to destroy the Grand Lodge—or worse.”
For this special, we’re teaming up with The Autism Project to give sensory-sensitive players an opportunity to participate. It’s important that everyone can participate in the way that is most comfortable for them. Follow the links below to reserve your seat at this adventure:
- The Adventure Pub (Arlington, MA)
- Woburn Public Library (Woburn, MA)
- Table Top Games (Westport, MA)
- The Autism Project (Johnston, RI)
We encourage everyone to support The Autism Project.
Big announcements from the West Coast yesterday! Paizo launched a dedicated Second Edition subsite and announced the titles of several books that will be available come August 1st of this year! Here’s a breakdown of the thirteen products (so far!) that are being offered. As always, you can join us on our Slack to discuss!
This 640-page book is being marketed as “accessible” to new players while providing the options for complexity that some players thrive on. Looking forward to seeing what’s inside!
At 360 pages, this book should contain a trove of both familiar and perhaps new monsters and creatures for players to interact with.
Pathfinder SE Campaign Setting: Lost Omens World Guide
The first volume in Paizo’s new Campaign Setting Subscription, this book will jump-start any player’s understanding of the new world that Paizo has built.
Pathfinder SE Adventure Path: Age of Ashes (PFSE AP 001: Hellnight Hill)
This AP, written by the amazing Amanda Hamon (seriously, follow her on Twitter) is the first volume in the new Adventure Path Ongoing Subscription. This will be the first AP written entirely with Second Edition rules, and as it’s designed for 1st-level characters, is the perfect way to start your campaign.
Note: The Metro Boston Lodge will be offering this AP in Campaign/Adventure Mode as soon as it is sanctioned for Organized Play.
Pathfinder SE Adventure: The Fall of Plaguestone
Note: The Metro Boston Lodge will be offering this Module in Campaign/Adventure Mode as soon as it is sanctioned for Organized Play.
Pathfinder SE Map: The Fall of Plaguestone
This is the first map in Paizo’s new Maps Ongoing Subscription. It’s 24″ x 30″ and designed to go with The Fall of Plaguestone module, though I suspect it’ll be reused again in the future.
Pathfinder SE Accessories
In addition to the published books, Paizo is also launching a new line of Pathfinder Accessories that feature art from the new Iconic Heroes!
- A Combat Pad / Initiative Tracker
- A Condition Card Deck that continues the Decks’ goblin-themed history
- A GM Screen featuring three Iconics battling a dragon, and a second web-exclusive GM Screen featuring three Iconics.
- A Character Sheet Pack with three Iconics on the front cover