April 2019 Industry Interview: Cosmo Eisele

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.

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GM Registration Now Open for ConnectiCon 2019 (July 11-14)

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!

 

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Special Preview: Games with Terrain

So often in Organized Play games, we use Flip-Mats, hand-draw maps (for colorful, reusable maps, I suggest using wrapping paper with a 1″ grid on the back!), and “theater of the mind.”

Metro Boston GM Eric Nielsen takes things one step further: he brings his amazing collection of 3-D terrain tiles from Dwarven Forge to the table, and all you have to do is show up to be a part of this amazingly immersive experience.

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Eric will be bringing his terrain set-up to Adventure Pub in Arlington on March 16th and March 30th. The sign-up links are below:

PFS #4-18: The Veteran’s Vault (3/16/19 from 2pm-6pm)

While many Pathfinders meet unfortunate fates in their ongoing explorations of the dangerous world of Golarion, some retire with decades’ worth of treasure in their coffers, and their lives still intact. When one such Pathfinder approaches the Grand Lodge with the hidden location of her treasure vault, it falls upon a new generation of Pathfinders to retrieve from within a valuable keepsake. That they can keep anything other than the ex-Pathfinder’s locket makes the assignment all the sweeter.

PFS #8-22: Wrath of the Fleshwarped Queen (3/30/19 from 2pm-6pm)

When members of the Shoanti Axe Clan saw fire shooting up into the sky over Varisia’s Caliphak Mountains, they rushed to investigate. They found a pair of doors inscribed with runes from ancient Thassilon, along with clear signs that the doors had recently been opened. In recognition of the Axe Clan’s expanding alliances, the Shoanti offered both the Society and a priest of Soralyon from Riddleport the opportunity to explore the ruin and neutralize its dangers. Now that the priest has vanished within the complex, the PCs must uncover the ruin’s history before the Shoanti lose faith in them and take matters into their own hands.

Here’s some more examples of Eric’s amazing builds:

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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.

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!

Player Profile – Terry Bruno

Just the facts:

  • Lives in Bedford with her husband Allan and dogs Josie and Chip
  • Frequents Comicazi, GamingEtc, and Knight Moves (Somerville)
  • Played DnD from 1978-1981 and started PFS/SFS in 2016

Q: You played D&D back in the 70s, right? Tell us about that.

It was at the University of Illinois. Some graduate Astronomy students pulled together a game and Allan and I played. We hadn’t heard of iD&D and didn’t know anything about it – but I had a blast. We played AD&D – I had one slim book with the rules for players. We rolled up our characters with dice and things were a lot simpler. We didn’t use maps or minis and there were no skills, feats or other characteristics of characters, just the six abilities. I had two characters, an elf rogue named Ram and a human cleric named Nasea. When I started playing again I tried to find my old book and character sheets, but no luck!


Q: How did you get into organized play here in Boston?

After I retired I was thinking of fun things I had time to do now. My daughter, my nephew and my downstairs tenants all were playing RPGs so I knew they were popular again and I had enjoyed it a lot way back when so I tried to find a way to get back into it. One of my downstairs tenants suggested Pathfinder and I saw a meetup listing at Comicazi, a comics store very near my apartment, so I went there one Thursday night with nothing but some dice.

Lisa Neilson was GMing and I ended up playing the pre-gen wizard, Ezren. There were some very nice folks at my table who helped me figure out what was going on. I learned about player signups on Warhorn and started going to games in my area (Somerville/Cambridge).


Q: You’re known as somewhat of a baker around the lodge. I know I’ve eaten my fair share of those ginger cookies. What’s your favorite thing to make?

Chocolate Pound Cake.


Q: Alright, time for a hard question: Starfinder or Pathfinder?

Pathfinder right now, just because I know it better at this point and have more characters. In general, I prefer the science fiction setting and I may end up preferring SFS in the long run.


Q: Who is your favorite character you’ve created and why?

This is almost like asking who your favorite child is, no way to pick, but I will mention my top three.

  1. Viv, arrogant Elven archer-first RPG character
  2. Martha, painfully shy, stuttering librarian-she kicks ass!
  3. Atticus, cowardly chemistry grad student-everyone “gets” him.

Q: What’s something interesting that people probably don’t know about you?

I was a competitive carriage driver and horse show judge.