Know Direction PaizoCon Countdown correspondent Darran Caldemeyer writes a guest post about what new con-goers should know about the amazing upcoming convention known as PaizoCon. This year will mark his 5th attendance to PaizoCon since 2013.
Some of you have never been to a gaming convention, while others may wonder what PaizoCon is all about. Please allow me the opportunity to discuss what sets this convention apart from other gaming conventions, what PaizoCon has to offer, as well as how PaizoCon impacts the gaming community.
I have attended many gaming conventions over the past 15 years and PaizoCon is a convention that keeps me coming back nearly every year. Like most conventions, attendees tend to arrive a couple of days early for one reason or another. In this span of time many members of the Paizo community set up pre-convention games ahead of time with other attendees through the use of the Paizo messageboards or various sites like Warhorn. Others arrange to visit the sights and sounds of Seattle in gaming tour groups using Seattle’s convenient Light Rail commuter system as they explore the city. Seattle is home to many gaming companies such as ArenaNet, Paizo, Cryptic Studios, Wizards of the Coast, Green Ronin Publishing and many more. I find attendees coming together in these shared experiences to be charming and an amazing testament to the gaming community at large.
The impact PaizoCon has is clear when you see how it brings the vast array of the gaming community together all in one place. PaizoCon is generally a smaller convention with a sense of intimacy and close community that creates a pleasant atmosphere for all attendees. This characteristic helps breed a sense of welcoming inclusion that some conventions do not possess. For some of us the Paizo boards are a place to connect with friends from all walks of life, participate in play-by-post campaigns, or share our enthusiasm for the game we love so dearly. PaizoCon allows us the opportunity to come together and meet one another in person from all parts of the world.
Over the span of the convention the Paizo staff conducts these incredible seminars on a number of topics. These seminars include topics such as Mapping for Writers, Queering Your World, Creating Believable Evil, Auntie Lisa’s Story Hour, Secrets of Golarion, and many more wonderful seminars to fit your interests. For convention attendees wanting to grab a small bit of gaming between seminars step on up to the Delve (a short rpg session both for Pathfinder and Starfinder) where you play the Iconic characters from those systems fighting for survival. These games usually run between 15-20 minutes and are enjoyable as you strive to survive alongside other convention attendees.
For dedicated gaming, look no further than the Society Ballroom which runs scenarios for Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, and the Pathfinder Society Adventure Card Guild. The guilds runs games in the morning, at night and even in an overnight slot from 12:45am-6am! There is an interactive special held on Sunday night integrating story elements built up over the years culminating in an immense collaborative story-based scenario. As an attendee you tend to interact with so many amazing players and gifted Game Masters through these society scenarios which potentially build up lasting friendships with fellow gamers who moments ago were complete strangers. One of the best Game Masters I have ever had the pleasure of gaming with was at PaizoCon a couple of years ago.
On Saturday night the Society Ballroom is set aside for the PaizoCon Banquet which is a paid ticketed event. This is a catered event allowing you the opportunity (in most circumstances) to sit with a Paizo employee over a nice dinner along with other convention attendees engaging in a pleasant conversation. After dinner Erik Mona and other Paizo staff members present some of the new and upcoming announcements for the coming year. The PaizoCon Banquet is an event that I feel all attendees should at least experience once as it is at times humorous, intriguing, and overall a pleasant event to attend. For attendees not interested in the Banquet, many people take advantage of the hotels open space while the Banquet is happening as they arrange pickup games in various parts of the hotel all through the night. When the Banquet concludes everyone ushers out and clambers to the bar for a long night of socializing and small meetings between Paizo employees and freelance writers, or sticks around for Pathfinder trivia that is as difficult as it is funny.
For those of us attending PaizoCon this year, be prepared for some amazing lottery events. A few years ago I had the distinguished pleasure of playing in James Jacobs’ Red Bishop game and it was an amazing session with amusing players. In years past I took part in playing X-Wing miniatures with Stephen Radney-McFarland, a Worldscape scenario with Erik Mona, painting miniatures with Sean K Reynolds, and many more wonderful events. Playing games with the Paizo staff is an enlightening experience and overall a fun time. Signing up for lottery events will happening soon so keep checking the Paizo website for more details.
The Glass Cannon podcast and the talented artist Taylor Fischer are the special guests at this year’s convention so be sure to say hi to them and make them feel welcome. I imagine OwlCat Games MAY have a setup this year showcasing their recent release of the Pathfinder: Kingmaker CRPG for attendees to play demos and interact with the OwlCat staff. The sound environment company Syrinscape has become a staple of the convention allowing attendees the chance to lend their voice to some of the company’s amazing sound effects for tabletop roleplaying games. There is so much to participate in and enjoy while attending this convention which allows attendees to have a vastly different yet enjoyable experience.
One of the last and most important reasons why I attend PaizoCon year after year is to respectfully say thank you to the Paizo staff, freelance writers, and volunteer staff for all of their hard work throughout the year. Every week my gaming group and I gather together to play various adventure paths, modules, or society scenarios all due to the countless efforts these talented individuals put into all their projects. They work long hours and occasionally sacrifice much of their personal time to work on the products we love and adore. They are the hidden gamer at my table and like many creative fields they are not shown the appreciation they rightfully deserve. I am speaking to all of the departments at Paizo from the warehouse crew all the way through the executive team. These individuals help shape many of our gaming experiences at the table and they rightfully deserve our gratitude. With that I hope to see many of you at PaizoCon this year. For those of you who cannot make the convention please keep a close eye on the Know Direction website for breaking news and convention coverage as it becomes available. Until then take care everyone and game on!!