There are plenty of people who attend gaming conventions from the first hour to the last and do so on very little sleep. I used to be one of those people, but my own time commitments, aging body, and change of priorities has changed all of that. To me, a 15-hour day at a gaming convention is considered long by my current standards, and that’s just what Saturday was at Gamestorm this year.
I only had one game on my schedule: a Pathfinder Society adventure called “Day of the Demon.” After that, my plan was to meet up with a friend and spend the rest of the day hanging out and playing whatever random games we could put together.
Pathfinder Society – 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
If you’re not familiar with Pathfinder Society (PFS), it is an organized play group for the Pathfinder Role-playing Game by Paizo Publishing. “Organized play” means that each player has one or more characters which he can take into pre-written adventures and receive a record sheet indicating he’s played that scenario. By keeping detailed records like this, anyone in the Pathfinder Society is able to go anywhere in the world and play with any other PFS group. All of the campaign rules are standardized to avoid variation between individual groups. It’s a great way to meet other role-players and connect with people no matter where you travel.
I arrived at Gamestorm around 7:30 a.m., about half an hour before the game was scheduled to start. The room was closed and locked and only a couple of other people (one of whom I used to work with several years ago and hadn’t seen since) were standing around waiting. As a crowd formed in front of the door, we chit-chatted about games and other things until finally, at about 15 minutes until 8, the coordinators arrived and the room opened.
Our GM for Day of the Demon was also one of those coordinators, so it took us a while to get things going because he had other things to attend to. Our group was comprised entirely of local players who I game with on a regular basis, so we didn’t have any problems coordinating ourselves and getting characters ready to play.
I didn’t check the time, but I don’t think we started playing until about 9 a.m. It was a late start, but after we got going we had a lot of fun. Day of the Demon was a very difficult adventure for our team, especially since two of us (myself and another player) were at a lower level than the adventure was written for. The game ran until 1 p.m. and we hadn’t even finished the scenario yet. Our characters wound up having to make a tactical retreat, complete with one dead and two unconscious bodies in tow, and since we’re all part of the local PFS group we agreed to get together soon to finish the scenario.
Unfortunately 1 p.m. meant we played through the noon lunch break. All of the other players at the table were scheduled to GM in a big Society Special event at 1:00, so they basically had to go straight from playing to running. Talking to them later, it sounded like they were all pretty exhausted by the end of the day.
I, on the other hand, was late meeting up with the friend I mentioned earlier. I excused myself from the PFS room and stepped into the hall to phone him and see where he was.
Psi-punk – 2 to 6 p.m.
I met up with my friend shortly after 1:00 and we stepped into the Hospitality Suite at the convention for a bite to eat. Gamestorm (and many other conventions) often set up such rooms where attendees can go to get a free meal. The food is usually build-your-own sandwhiches, chips, and cans of pop. It’s not the best food, but it’s free (well, we paid for it with our entry fees) and it did the trick. It meant not having to leave the convention and seek out food in the surrounding city.
After a bite to eat, we decided that we really wanted to give Psi-punk another shot. He had GMed Psi-punk for me at Gamestorm last year while I sat back and took playtest notes, and he also ran a short campaign at home. He was excited to get a chance to play again, and this time from the player side of the table and not the GM side.
Because my game wasn’t on the master schedule, I had to put it together as a sort of impromptu session. We found a coordinator for the RPG room and he helped us find a table that wasn’t scheduled for use for the next few hours. After that, it was up to us to find players.
We did so pretty quickly by simply standing outside the room and approaching people who walked by. I felt a bit like a shady character peddling watches from the back of his unmarked van. “Psst. Interested in a game pal? What if I told you I could put you into this fancy new Fudge-based game today? Of course it’s genuine, and I’ll give you a great deal!”
Within about 15 minutes we had found 4 other players and we set up shop.
The game was a blast and a big success. Everyone had a lot of fun, and at least one person took down information about how to find out more about Psi-punk online (if you’re reading this, hello!). I regret not having shown up to the Con with business cards, but live and learn right?
Board Games – 7 to 11 p.m.
We ended the game around a quarter to 6 and headed back to the hospitality suite for dinner. After that, we spent the rest of the evening in the board game room trying out some new games.
We played three games between about 7:00 and 11:00 p.m., all of which were new to me: Castle Panic, Pirate’s Cove, and Ra. Since I write reviews and impressions about games individually on this site, I’ll add a few posts to this series about each game individually. We wrapped up around 11:00 and headed home for the night. Once again I planned to be back at 8 a.m. for Pathfinder Society, so it was a night of little sleep for me.
Next up: First Impressions for Castle Panic, Pirate’s Cove, and Ra. Then, a detailed write-up of Sunday’s events.