Ten Things to Keep You Busy During the Holidays

The Metro Boston Lodge wishes you all a happy holiday season! Stay warm, stay happy, stay safe, and keep gaming!

Do you have some time on your hands coming up?  Do you need something to read on a plane, train, or automobile?  Do you need to get away from the holiday hustle and bustle for just a moment?  Don’t fret; we’ve got you covered whether you’ve got 5 hours to wait in an airport or 5 minutes to take your mind off the cold at a bus stop.

Here are some quick, easy reads with substance:

  1. How Men Can Become Better Allies to Women
  2. Five Ways Men Can Improve Gender Diversity at Work
  3. Why More Black Women Should Play Tabletop RPGs
  4. I Fit the Description (trigger warning: This piece contains a true account of fear and racism.)
  5. Men as Allies: Engaging Men to Advance Women in the Workplace

Here are some longer options, if you’ve got the time:

  1. More Fun and Games
  2. Pathfinder Tales Novels

If you get queasy while reading in a moving vehicle, here are some things to watch or listen to:

  1. 8 Women in Tabletop Gaming You Should be Following
  2. Creative Space with Monte Cook & Shanna Germain
  3. Watch A Mini-Documentary About A Group Of Girls Playing Dungeons & Dragons For The First Time



Update: Metro Boston Lodge and the Somerville Homeless Coalition

As many of you know, the Metro Boston Lodge has enjoyed a long partnership with the Somerville Homeless Coalition (SHC) to provide badly needed supplies for the most vulnerable members of our neighborhoods–homeless families and children. We dropped off winter clothing at the SHC office in Davis Square earlier this week. That was our final delivery for the calendar year as they can no longer accept clothing items. They do, however, have a continued need for non-perishable food and for personal hygiene items (such as toothpaste, deodorant, baby wipes, etc.).

If you would like to help, you can drop off donations during one of our game events. Please contact our organizers (metro-boston-venture-officers@googlegroups.com) at least a couple of days before the game, and one of our volunteers will coordinate receipt/delivery of the donation with you. For a list of SHC needs, please reference their in-kind donations page.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you all for being good stewards of the communities in which we live, especially during the holidays.


A chat with the Northeast Region’s RVC, June Soler

We recently chatted with one of Organized Play’s Regional Venture-Coordinators (RVC), June Soler, about conventions, Pathfinder, and a smattering of other topics. You can listen in here: https://youtu.be/53Fx2Q6efaQ

Did you know that you can find your local game organizers on Paizo’s Coordinators page?  If you have questions about finding a game, finding another type of event (such as a convention or charity fundraiser), game rules, or anything related to Organized Play, you can reach out to your local organizer!

If you don’t know what all these “Venture” titles mean, you can read the full description of their responsibilities on Paizo’s Volunteer page.  In the meantime, here’s a quick summary:

Regional Venture-Coordinator: Organized Play happens at many locations worldwide, and each RVC is in charge of a large region that might encompass several states or even multiple countries. RVCs are proven volunteers and serve as experienced resources in their territories.  Among a myriad of tasks, they help the Venture-Captains in their region with convention planning and with the logistics of managing local volunteers.

Venture-Captain: VCs are in charge of a large area–usually several towns, or even a whole state.  They’re familiar with the individual locations where Organized Play is offered, and they help local volunteers with tasks like scheduling, rules questions, etc.  They typically help setup Organized Play at local conventions.

Venture-Lieutenant: VLs are the metaphorical “strong right hand” of their VC.  They aid with any or all tasks a VC might do–such as convention organizing.  They also play a strong role in the mentoring and recruitment of local volunteers such as Venture-Agents and Game Masters (GMs).  A VC typically has one VL to help them.  There might be exceptions in geographically large regions where it is impractical for one person to travel to each game venue.

Venture-Agent: VAs are typically in charge of Organized Play at one particular venue.  Venues are often friendly local game stores, libraries, cafes, and other places that permit gaming events on a regular basis.  VAs schedule which adventures and campaigns take place at each venue.  They manage sign-ups for GMs and players.


Getting through conventions without a hitch!

Summertime is often associated with the height of convention season.  However, we’re in an era of such fandom that conventions now happen all year round.  Boston area conventioneers go to tons of events, including: SnowCon, Arisia, CaptainCon, ConnectiCon, Anime Boston, TotalCon, PAX East, PAX Unplugged, OGC, GenCon, Neon, Council of Five Nations, and Carnage on the Mountain. With so many options available, we feel that it’s best to be prepared!  Metro Boston has your back with these tips to help keep you happy and safe with a few common sense precautions.

It’s horrifying to lose your ID and credit cards when you’re 3,000 miles from home.  But it happens. Bring the minimum documentation you need to get by. If you’re flying, bring your government issued ID, but you can probably leave other documents at home.  If you’re going overseas, bring your passport and only those documents that you’ll need.

Most financial institutions have easy apps you can use to indicate your travel plans.  (It was a happy surprise the first time our card was declined at an out-if-state convention.  We had forgotten to inform the card company, and they were on the lookout for unusual activity–as they should be.)  You can avoid extra hassle by taking a couple of minutes to set your travel dates and locations where atypical transactions will be made.

If you don’t have someone you trust keeping a sharp eye on your home, maybe you can wait to post your awesome photos on social media until after you’re back.  No need to let everyone know your stuff is ripe for the picking.

Have a plan for what you want to do at the convention.  It can be as general or as detailed as you feel comfortable with.  It can help keep you on track and on budget, too! Realize that sometimes plans go awry. Try to go with the flow if things fall through.  If you have the time and energy, you can try to set a backup in case anything you wanted to do is unexpectedly unavailable–for example: if a panel was accidentally oversold or a fire alarm interrupts a tournament game.

Try not to get so absorbed by everything that you forget your personal safety.  Sadly, incidents are on the rise–bomb threats, harassment, attendees being attacked and more. Everyone owns their own safety and should never give that power away. If you witness something inappropriate, or if it happens to you, the subsequent procedure should be:

  1. Get to a safe place
  2. Inform someone

That’s it.

Sure, there are other nice-to-have suggestions (take notes, take photos, find witnesses, etc).  However, in the moment, you might be too frazzled, confused, or frozen to act–and that’s OK.

Your first responsibility is to yourself: get to safety.  Once you’re safe, you can take a moment. Breathe. Know that you are valued, and that someone will believe you.

Next, even if you wonder “what just happened?” find someone you trust. Let them know what seemed wrong.  Now more than ever, if you see something that’s not right, it’s important to say something. And remember: criminal activity falls under the purview of law enforcement.  Dial 911 when you need to.

Do you have any other tips for going to conventions?  Please share them!


You matter!

In light of recent happenings at all sorts of venues for all manner of events around the country, we, the Metro Boston Lodge for Organized Play, would like to reiterate our pledge to the community:

  • If you feel unsafe,
  • If you need someone to walk with you to your car, or any other location,
  • If you had or have an issue with anyone (be they a random passerby, a convention guest, a convention volunteer, or a Venture-Officer), and you need someone to help you,
  • Or if you need assistance with anything,

We will help.

Don’t be afraid to interrupt anything we are doing. You and your safety, whoever you are, are more important than whatever we’re doing.

If you feel like you’ve witnessed or experienced something, please do not hesitate to sat something.

We will listen. We will believe you. We will step up, speak up, and, if necessary, bring others in.

(With thanks to Owen KC Stephens for the text and inspiration for the original pledge.)

Conversations about Gaming

Continuing our series of conversations about various aspects of gaming, Metro Boston Organized Play recently chatted with a gamer, Julie, who is brand new to Pathfinder.  Her first exposure was the Pathfinder Playtest system, and she candidly shared her thoughts with us.  If you’ve got a free moment, have a listen!

It’s interesting to note that Julie is a very experienced gamer and LARPer.  She simply hadn’t the opportunity to give Pathfinder (or Starfinder) a test drive.

If you missed our previous videos, you can subscribe to our channel.  Or you can view the videos individually:

  • Episode 1: Liz Lyddell talks about inclusivity and representation in gaming.
  • Episode 2: Kate Baker and Mike Kimmel talk about working as freelancers in the RPG industry.
  • Episode 3: Julie shares her thoughts about gaming in general and the Pathfinder Playtest in particular.

Disclaimer: We experienced technical problems during the first two recordings; sorry about the occasional dips in sound quality.  Stick with us; we’ll get better at this as we continue! 🙂

This November we’ll have a piece on painting miniatures.

If there are aspects about gaming or gaming-adjacent topics that you’d like to hear about, let us know!