Thursday, August 28, 2014

GenCon Recap: Thursday, August 14

The Sagamore Ballroom, where all the Pathfinder Society
games take place.
My GenCon started like so many other early morning events--I realized that I was running late.  I needed to get Khygar, my first Pathfinder Society character to level three so that he'd be in tier for the Pathfinder Society Special that evening.  He was one level short, and I needed one more session to raise him to third level.  Unfortunately, I had tickets for a new GenCon player orientation-type thing and was slotted to play a session of the Demonworld RPG (which I never got to do and wish that I'd had the opportunity to try it out).  Fortunately, I was able to pick up some generic tickets and make my way to the Sagamore Ballroom for my first PFS session of the Con!

I ended up at a table with the Venture Captain of Norfolk, which is right around the corner from DC.  Joe was an amazing GM.  He ran us through The Confirmation (#5-08, levels 1-2), which is designed to simulate a final test for an aspiring Pathfinder.  Khygar is my first Pathfinder character.  He's a Dwarven fighter with the foehammer archetype, which basically means he likes to hit things with his hammer quite a bit.  One of these days I'll get around to posting his backstory--I'm pretty pleased with how he turned out.

Anyway, Joe assumed the role of GM that narrated our party's journey around Kortos.  In the party were Ferdy, Gerdy, and Herdy; gnomish triplets that spoke with Swedish accents and rode war dogs.  They are a bard, druid, and summoner and were played by a father-son-uncle team.  It was an absolute blast to go through the island's dungeons with them.  Our adventure concluded successfully.  Khygar picked up some well-deserved loot and qualified for level 3.

After the PFS game, I headed over to Paizo's Adventure Path Q&A panel.  This was my first seminar of the Con and I learned something important: they don't come anywhere close to selling out.  I'd have been much better served by just showing up at the event without.  I'm not sure why people would pass on an opportunity to have live interaction with the three guys that develop Paizo's leading product line.

Every game you play earns
a single token.  You can use
two tokens to roll the dice
 for a special GenCon boon.
Get a 20 on your roll, and
you get free Paizo products!
On top of getting good Q&A time, they also announced the Adventure Path that will launch next August.  It's called Hell's Rebels.  The PCs get to take on roles in Kintargo in Cheliax, where a quiet rebellion against the throne has been underway for some time.  It's going to feature a lot of devils, remain mostly in one place and offer lots of urban encounter/roleplaying opportunities.  All in all, it sounds like a great event.  They don't appear to be giving us an opportunity to take down Queen Abrogail Thrune, but instead to strike a major blow to Cheliax's territorial integrity.  But, don't take my word for it--the guys from the Know Direction podcast recorded the whole thing.  I ended up asking a question, so you can hear my voice on tape--can you guess which one is me??

After that, I had to book it over to the Westin for a session on using HeroLab.  GenCon is huge!  If you have events on opposite sides of the Con, you could be walking the equivalent of seven or eight blocks to get from one to another.

HeroLab character sheet for one of my
PFS chacters, Averitt.  He's a Taldan
rogue and a huge dick to anybody
not from the crumbling empire.
If you aren't already using HeroLab to manage your characters, you should be.  Honestly, it is hands down the best character generation software out there.  The session was on basic programming using HeroLab.  I like to write my own content, and it was fantastic to learn some of the tips and tricks to make that work more rationally.  I'm especially pleased for the option to put all my stuff in its own tab at the beginning page, so I can keep track of what I've written as opposed to what's traditional RAW content.

Best tip of the seminar: if you have an idea of what you want to do, take a look at the coding content for an attribute that does something similar.  You can copy that content and then drop it into your own custom content.

I slipped out after the first hour of the session.  I enjoyed it, but it was already 2:00p.m. and I needed something to eat.  After stopping at one of the ubiquitous food trucks for an Italian sub, I wandered back to the Con.

Insider tip: Plan you Con so that you have off peak meal times.  Lines can get atrocious during normal lunch and dinner hours.  By scheduling your meals early or late, you can walk straight up somewhere for a meal without having to waste half an hour in line.

Back at the Con, I wanted to check out Paizo's booth at the Exhibit Hall.  Unfortunately, the line was out the door and around the corner.  People were saying it was over an hour's wait.  So, I decided my time would be better used just wandering the Exhibit Hall.  I'll do another host that does nothing but talk about the Exhibit Hall, but for now, let's just say that it's massive.

After a few hours wandering the exhibit hall, it was time to run up to CVS and pick up a couple of Diet Cherry Cokes and snacks for that evening's Pathfinder Special.

The Hall is huge.  This picture, taken on the panorama setting on my phone, distorts things.  But there are almost 1,000 people playing the same scenario in this shot.
The Pathfinder Special was something else.  Okay, number one, it is HUGE!  I thought that there were a lot of people at the morning session.  This is like that, except everyone is playing the exact same scenario: The Paths We Choose.  The Paths We Choose was designed to wind down the factions that were being retired and to get the new factions for Season 6 started.  Factions are a way for PFS characters to identify with larger goals in the meta-campaign PFS is designed around.  I ended up at a table with five gamers who all knew each other.  4 of our characters were from the Osirion faction, one from the Silver Crusade, and Khygar, from the Grand Lodge faction.  Fortunately, The Paths We Choose selects up to three mini-adventures based on the PCs' factions, so we had just the right number.

Without spoiling the plot, it was fun.  And by the end, we knew which factions were being retired.  Thankfully, not the Grand Lodge (shocker!).  Unfortunately, my second character, Averitt, was of the Taldan faction, which did get the axe.  He'll be returning as a member of the Sovereign Court.

After the PFS Special, it was midnight.  I slipped over to Scotty's Brewhouse for a drink.  Scotty's is the official PF bar in Indy during GenCon and I wanted to check it out.  At that hour, things have pretty much quieted down.  Doing a bar solo was pretty lonely at my first GenCon.  This was definitely one of the times that I'd have liked to have had my friends with me.  After a couple of drinks, I caught a taxi back to my place and got ready to get up and do it all over again!

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