More Conventions!

Last weekend (Aug 24-26), was the Neon convention in Warwick, RI.  This coming weekend some of our lodge members are headed to DragonCon in Atlanta, GA.  The following weekend, we have another local convention, TotalCon’s End-of-Summer Sizzler, in Marlborough, MA.  That same weekend (Sept 8-9), you can find Organized Play games at Granite State ComicCon in Manchester, NH.  Shortly thereafter, our neighbors in upstate NY are running the Council of Five Nations on Oct 5-7 in Schenectady, NY.  Carnage on the Mountain will happen on Nov 2-4 in Killington, VT.

Keep gaming!


 

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Five Tips for Brand New Players

Are you a novice with Pathfinder, Starfinder, or another roleplaying/tabletop game?  Perhaps you’ve seen us at a venue where we play, and you were unsure how to join?  Do you wish you knew more about what we’re doing?  We’ve got you covered with these simple tips to secure your seat at our next game.


Ask Questions

From our point of view, it’s never awkward or inconvenient for you to ask questions.  We’re all there because we love to play!  We can’t think of any fan who isn’t eager to take a moment to explain what is going on.  If you really don’t want to interrupt the game, you can always ask someone at the venue.  We typically play in game stores and cafes; so whoever is behind the counter will be able to answer your questions or point you to someone who can.  We also have a number of designated organizers–we call them Venture-Officers–who are meant to be resources for you.  If you don’t know who your local Venture-Officer is, contact us.  We’ll help you get started.


Relax

It’s common for new players to be anxious about the number of rules and options available in roleplaying games.  For example, Pathfinder has forty-something hardcover rule books published for it, Starfinder has four–and both have many more in queue on the release schedule.  However, it’s widely acknowledged among players that nobody can know all the rules.  No player should ever look down on another for not knowing a rule or being unaware of something.  (And if you encounter this, let us know!  We’re not keen on that kind of behavior.)  The more you play, the more facile you’ll become with the system.  In no time at all, you’ll be the one helping out novice gamers.


Observe

We have a few hundred gamers who frequent Organized Play events in and around the area.  Check us out!  Decide what you like about us and what aspects of gameplay suit you.  Ultimately, it’s your time; make sure it’s spent doing something you enjoy!

Each game table also has a different personality to it.  You’re welcome to pick and choose games based on any number of factors that appeal to your sensibilities and level of comfort.  We have boisterous gamers.  We have quieter venues.  We have adventures that range the gamut of sci-fi and fantasy.  Some play out more like a dinner party while others closely resemble Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots.  If you’re not sure which is for you, try a few.  If you want more information about a particular group, venue, or adventure, you can always ask.


Be Creative

One of the coolest aspects of roleplaying games is the myriad available options.  These games are meant to excite your imagination.  If you want to go on adventures as a gallant Robin-Hood-style hero, the Dread Pirate Roberts, or Barf from the movie Spaceballs, chances are you can do it–or come up with a pretty close approximation.


Have fun!

You don’t have to be the best or smartest or strongest player at the table to have fun.  Find what you enjoy, and do it.


Have you discovered some tips or strategies that work for you?  Share them with us!  We love to hear from you.

The More You Know

Here are a handful of things that your local Organized Play volunteers in Metro Boston do for the community that you might not know about.


We schedule a variety of inclusive events.

About once every two or three months, we have a Ladies’ Night event.  This is a safe space for women to play without worry of mansplaining and similar behavior.  Most importantly, what happens at Ladies’ Night stays at Ladies’ Night.  (editor’s note: They won’t even tell me about it! –RD)

Roughly once every two or three months, we have a LGBTQA+ event.  This is a place for queer gamers of all varieties to get together and play.

Once every 4 to six months, give or take, we have a “Sensory Friendly” game day.  This is an event for players who are sensitive to loud noise and chaos.  GMs for these events are especially aware of the needs of those on the Autism spectrum.

About once or twice a month we have a Family Night event.  These events are geared towards kids from 6 to 16 and their families.  GMs for these events undergo a CORI background check. Parents/guardians are asked to play with their kids. It keeps them informed about the activity, and helps the kids feel supported.

Once or twice a year we have charity game days.  At these games, players and venues can donate to some of the charities we support, including: Boston Children’s Hospital, Read to a Child, Somerville Homeless Coalition, Women’s Bar Foundation, and Medford High School’s Hope Chest.


We take requests!

Is there an adventure you missed that you really wanted to play?  Do you need one more high-level scenario before you can play a Seeker arc?  Are you missing one part of a multi-part game?  Let us know!  We’ll find someplace to put it in the schedule.


We can (sometimes) help with record keeping irregularities.

Typos happen.  Chronicle sheets get lost.  If you’re missing records for an adventure that you played, let us know.  We might be able to help.  However, depending on the nature of the problem, we might have to kick it up to Paizo’s customer support team.  We don’t have access to everything!


We love to give you boons! (when we can)

You can think of boons as special “unlocks” for gameplay that grant you access to features that are not typically available in Organized Play.  Boons vary wildly.  Some give you a bonus to certain skills or abilities.  Others can add flavor to your role playing.  Some let you play an unusual character–such as a vine leshy.  Typically, players have access to boons though Organized Play at conventions.  Starting in Feb 2017, Paizo rolled out the Regional Support Program (RSP).  At RSP events, you also have the opportunity to win boons.  In Metro Boston, the following are RSP events for 2018: Ladies’ Night, LGBTQA+ Night, games at Barnes & Noble, and Charity Game Days.  In 2019, we may have different events that fall under the RSP umbrella.


If you have any other questions about what Metro Boston Organized play volunteers can do for you, just ask.  We love to hear from you.

Pathfinder Playtest: Make your voices heard!

The Pathfinder Playtest is well underway! We’ll have a bunch of opportunities, tips, and tools for those who want to try out the new system. In the meantime, you can:

    1. Download all the free playtest material.
    2. Check out John Compton’s post about creating your own playtest character.  He has guidelines for creating 1st, 5th, and 10th level characters.
    3. Once you’ve either played or GM’d a playtest adventure, don’t forget to fill out the survey(Scroll down the page to the survey section.) Make sure your voice is heard!

We held a playtest session yesterday (Tuesday, August 7) at Knight Moves in Brookline. We played part 1 of “Doomsday Dawn.” Something that came up early on when we verified our characters with each other was how easy it can be to get lost tracking all the boosts to your ability scores. To help players track stats during character creation, we offer this simple chart. We hope you find it helpful!

Our party was successful with our mission in Part 1.  We had a paladin, an alchemist, a fighter, and two clerics.  It began like a standard Paizo adventure–we received a briefing and a mission.  Then it became a dungeon crawl.

We were more aware of our marching order than we typically seem to be in version 1.  Subjectively, critical hits seemed to happen more frequently than we’re accustomed to at low levels.  They were very satisfying when a PC enjoyed critting.  There was a lot of tension when a PC was the recipient of a crit.  Given the new action economy, it is entirely possible for a target to be crit three times in a single turn.  Yikes!

Certain conditions felt frustrating (details omitted to avoid spoilers).  We’re left to wonder if the party might have failed the mission if we didn’t have two clerics and a ton of healing.  There were a couple of combat encounters that nearly ended us!  Granted, some of that was the result of the dice.  However, this adventure felt particularly dangerous overall.  Maybe it was partly because we were (relatively) fragile 1st level characters.

As a whole party, we never ran out of spells, though individual characters did.

Our party was very cooperative.  We checked in with each other so that we didn’t step all over each other’s tactics.  This was a big factor in our success, for sure!

We referenced the core rulebook frequently.  In that regard, gameplay was slowed down a little.  We expect that to be reduced as we gain experience and system mastery.  However, if the idea was to make the playtest friendlier for casual players…  Well, the jury is still out on that.  Our table was full of experienced players, and we engaged in a lot of checking and double-checking.

Overall, we had a fun evening, and that’s the most important thing.

If you haven’t yet tried the playtest: What would you like to know about?  Do you have any questions about how gameplay went for us?

If you’ve already tried the playtest:  What did you like?  What do you think could be improved?  Share your experiences with us!


 

Six (and a half) Tips for Good Gaming Etiquette

Many of our number will be at GenCon this weekend playing new games, mastering familiar ones, and enjoying geek Nirvana. It’s an opportune moment to consider how we approach games.

In the spirit of helping everyone get along with each other and the venues at which we play, a bunch of our local organizers/coordinators came up with the following six (and a half) tips for good gaming etiquette:


  • Be respectful of other players, regardless of how gameplay unfolds.

Nobody’s perfect.  There will be times when players don’t mesh well. This is a game; try to get over it and move on when you can.  If an issue comes up, discuss it with the other player. If you need to, ask for help from your GM or event organizer.  Don’t let bad feelings fester.


  • Be mindful of your boundaries.

Gameplay may touch upon difficult issues such as racism, sexism, etc.  If triggering issues arise, reach out to your GM or event organizer–privately, if possible.  They will do their best to adjust accordingly.


  • Take the spotlight when you must, then be eager to relinquish it.

Allow everyone the agency to determine the direction of the game by consulting the group before taking actions that have consequences for the whole party.  This game affords opportunities for different styles of play, and everyone deserves the space to feel involved.


  • Remember that one of the tenets of the society is “cooperate.”

Strive to play the game with others, not against them.  Some characters are built with specific situations in mind.  Help others avoid conflict with your raison d’être by being up-front with your intent, and be especially forthcoming with your GM.


  • Strive  to keep a good balance with tangential chatter and gameplay.

Sometimes, things need to keep moving–especially at venues with a hard time limit.  It also takes focus away from a given player’s turn.


  • Be the person Mr. Rogers knew you can be!

Organized Play events frequently take place in public venues such as game stores, cafes, and convention halls.  These are often family-friendly businesses; conduct yourselves accordingly.

Related: Leave the venue at which you play as clean or cleaner than you found it.  If you re-arranged tables and chairs, put them back. Being good customers generates goodwill with the venue and ensures that everyone has a nice, safe place to play.


Got any other suggestions?  Let us know!