Investing In: Gen Con 2023 News

Merriam Webster defines FOMO as a noun. It is the “fear of missing out; fear of not being included in something (such as an interesting or enjoyable activity) that others are experiencing.”1 And frankly, I experienced major FOMO at the beginning of the month. Why? Gen Con 2023! There was so much going on, coming out, let alone the people I wanted (still want) to see that I knew it was going to be tough not to be there. Thankfully between Twitch streams and other benefits of the Internet, I still got a taste even if it was after the fact. There’s a lot to be excited about!

Paizo Keynote

First and foremost, that Paizo keynote with Erik Mona and more! I was live in the sky as I watched! Okay, yes, and Twitter too or X or whatever it is now, but you won’t see me linking to it anymore unless I’ve no other option. I can’t quite let go of it from a community connectedness standpoint (yet) but honestly I believe that once they’re your X, they stay your X and you don’t get back, so… I was thrilled at the announcements and I loved Erik weaving in the team with Logan Bonner, Luis Loza, Alex Speidel, and more! Rage of Elements was announced last year with Yoon bringing the fire back, and now it’s available! I’m envious of the special Rage of Elements dice pack you could get at the booth but hopefully they’ll show up online. I also want that new Campaign Coins Pathfinder Metal Compass (see below). We got a reminder to check out the Remaster preview as Rage does reference parts of the remaster rules. I’m really excited to check them out and bring them to my groups. Logan and Luis were teasing the Remaster presentation later in the weekend that I’ve still go to watch in totality.

Then Alex and Linda Zayas-Palmer about all things Pathfinder and Starfinder Society. We learned – I learned – the candidates for First Speaker were PCs submitted to be chosen! As I and Ateran can tell you, any adventure with a Night Hag involved is sure to be dangerous. I was glad to hear that Society releases will now get full Foundry treatments, the package updated over the course of the year as new ones come out. Bravo team! Oh and I might have buried it but a new playtest starts September 1st with two new classes and two new iconics from the minds of Michael Sayre and James Case! There’s a connected adventure path, novel, multimedia omnichannel war about to hit that spans multiple realms. A core deity will die! Is it because of one of those new iconics? Who knows! Honestly they did hint to us that those new classes are quite literally born from the inspirations and experiences of Michael and James. I’m psyched to learn more. Any ideas what they will be? Which core deity might get offed? Does Pharasma even know? Is it Pharasma?

Starfinder2E Playtest

And then Thurston Hillman took over with a mighty crew to roam the stars, well more like bring the stars to us. Starfinder2E is coming! Ryan even said it this week how it seemed like there wouldn’t be a lot of Starfinder based on the schedule, but oh what a surprise! Putting aside all those Zon-Shelyns we kept hearing… Yeah, terrifying is right. It’s going to be an amazing step for Starfinder to not only have a second edition, but be fully compatible with the Remaster rules and Pathfinder2E. Jenny Jarzabski, Dustin Knight, Jessica Catalan, and Thurston took turns giving us hints of the “most open playtest” Paizo (any company ever?) has planned. Make sure you check out You might’ve missed that detail watching the keynote, but be sure to check it out. That’s 

Chk Chk’s grown up and will be the new iconic mystic! The field test as it were will feature a number of classes like the mystic, but also soldier, envoy, and solarian. That solarian iconic is the Pahtra ancestry! Go check ‘em out on the Paizo blog. The idea of blending Pathfinder2E and Starfinder2E is really exciting to me. Crashed space ship? Time traveling? I’d say the stars are the limit but we can go beyond the stars. Maybe that’s how we’re getting Zon-Shelyn actually, so be careful going beyond the stars. Could one of them be dying in that Pathfinder grand plot and they must unite to survive or is this just unrelated? I’m leaning toward Zon-Shelyn being a red herring and another will face Pharasma. Back to the classes, I did come to love the Witchwarper so I’m intrigued to see if that remains and what changes along with it. Finally, lest I forget, I’m thrilled to hear Paizo will be at PAX Unplugged! I will be there in December and I’m excited for a strong Paizo presence!

Unrelated to Gen Con, they just announced Pathfinder Lore Masters: a new mobile game that will test your knowledge of Pathfinder rules and lore! If you’re a regular reader you know I’m a lore fiend, and I love how this helps teach on the amazing lore the contributors to this game have produced. Yet you can also improve your knowledge of the ruleset. I’m hoping the Remaster rules will be reflected. Considering the growing and awesome content in the comics and novels, I hope we can see that too. Clearly we’ll need a lore off at the next Gen Con!

Critical Role’s Making Games!

Besides all that I love that is Pathfinder and Starfinder, I had two Darrington Press (Critical Role’s publishing company) games that I wanted to check out. The first is a board game created by Kyle Shire (see the Himbos below!). Queen by Midnight is a deck-building game and I enjoy those from a strategic perspective, like Dominion. It’ll be available next week so if you find the reviews thus far interesting, be sure to pick it up quickly. They ran out every morning at the con! Considering many likened it to a more robust, tactical, alliance-forming Dominion, I’m excited to invest some time with it.

The second of course is Daggerheart, Critical Role’s “long form game” for rich narrative storytelling, gaming, and character development. The big question everyone’s asking – if they’re a Critical Role fan anyway – is if this means they’ll stop playing D&D. After all the licensing, OGL nonsense it makes sense they’d want to get their success to be wholly owned. They already remove copyrighted references from their Amazon show and increasingly change up names during live games. If you’re interested to learn more, there’s plenty who got a taste of it that you can find on youtube or social media, but I’ll recommend Bob World Builder’s here. I of course am a big Pathfinder fan – no doubt there – but I do enjoy many other games who have more open form character abilities or storytelling mechanics like the various Powered by the Apocalypse games. Daggerheart seems close to D&D inspirations, but it’s a 2d12 system. Ultimately I believe people will play it if only because Critical Role does, and that’s telling.

The Himbos

One live game I was sad to miss but eager to watch is the Oops All Himbos that Norse Foundry and Swole Initiative put together. Luis Carazo, Danny Quach, Kyle Shire, Omega Jones a.k.a. Critical Bard, and Jesse Jerdak were all brought together under the GMing of Jay Foster of Swole. You can also tune in by watching this video, starting at the 1 hour mark. Thank you to the amazing Laura (Critical_Mrs) for linking that out after the Con! It’s only the first hour, so I need to find the rest. If you know where it’s at, let me know, but Jay Foster said he’d share it once available. What a hilarious, good-hearted group. I’m a big fan of the live play energy and I’m wondering if Johnny Stanton did manage to show up. He was adorably hilarious, and seemed very much the fan getting to play with awe in the Dragonlance game Jasmine Bhullar ran with Erika Ishii and Anjali Bhimani.

Lastly I’ll note that yes I’m playing Baldur’s Gate 3, but that is content best saved for another time!  Instead I’ll encourage everyone to invest in the joy and love I’ve seen at Gen Con. However, I did have some concerns with Gen Con this year. Of course health reasons and the decision not to enforce mask wearing, but definitely glad they pushed support for anyone to wear a mask should they wish to do so. Moreover my larger issue was investing in a state that would pass anti-abortion laws like those passed in Indiana literally while we are at Gen Con last year. Now I’ll say surveys show that overall this legislation is not supported by Indianapolis but rather than debate a topic that shouldn’t be up for debate… How to support the Con and the game-makers while supporting what we think is right? I think it’s important we remember who and what we support when we make the decision to get involved with events, companies, etc. We’re hopefully too informed a world to forget that and thus I encourage you to donate to Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky

Investing In:

I wasn’t quite sure what to name my article series when I first started but the idea of showcasing or discussing things that make me excited, that I find new and interesting, or maybe I’m otherwise passionate about seemed to fit with the idea of Investing In something like the Pathfinder 2E mechanic. To use some magic items you have to give that little bit of yourself, which helps make these things even better. I like the metaphor of the community growing and being strengthened in the same way!

I also want to hear what you’re Investing In! Leave me a comment below about what games, modules, systems, products, people, live streams, etc you enjoy! You can also hit me up on social media as silentinfinity. I want to hear what excites you and what you’re passionate about. There’s so much wonderful content, people, groups (I could go on) in this community of ours that the more we invest in and share, the better it becomes!


Banner – Gen Con 2023 program book cover, Gen Con, image by Lauren Brown

  1. Definition of FOMO, Merriam Webster
  2. Starfinder booth, Paizo twitter
  3. Pahtfinder Metal Compas, Campaign Coins twitter
  4. Chk Chk the Mystic concept sketch, Paizo Blog, Paizo, sketch by Kent Hamilton
  5. Queen by Midnight, Darrington Press
  6. Planned Parenthood giving

Rob Pontious

You may know Rob Pontious from Order of the Amber Die or Gehenna Gaming's first series of Monster Hearts 2. He currently writes Know Direction's Investing In blog as well as a player for the Valiant podcast and Roll for Combat's Three Ring Adventure. He's been a lover of TTRPGs for over three decades, as a gamer, and a GAYMER. You can find him on social media as @silentinfinity.