Gryphcon 2013 is over!
The event went off without a hitch, and it was a joy and a privilege to oversee the Pathfinder Society game room over the course of the weekend.
Before I get started with my review, I’d like to thank all the people who helped to make the convention such a great success. Kudos to John, Cameron, Geoff, Greg, Matt H, Paul, Eric, Tim, and Jess for taking up GM duties for Gryphcon. I heard nothing but good feedback from the players. Special thanks to Mathew for prepping three slots and staying the extra night, and to Daniel & Angela for putting on a great event!
Without further ado, here is the weekend breakdown!
By The Numbers
- 225 Gryphcon visitors total.
- 20 tables of Pathfinder across 6 slots, with nearly every table at capacity.
- 7 major prizes awarded (hardcovers, splatbooks, flip-mats).
- 20-30 Pathfinder novels handed out.
- 3 fatalities (Sewer Dragons of Absalom, Runecarved Key x2)
- 85 points accumulated at the winning Race for the Runecarved Key table.
- 2 stars for Michael after GMing 5 slots of games, resulting in 10 hours of sleep Sunday night.
As mentioned earlier, Gryphcon was very well attended and the Pathfinder presence was strong. I was surprised how quickly the slots for PFS filled up, and even more surprised that nearly every player showed up for their slots (on time even!). Across Friday and Saturday we operated almost exclusively with tables of six players, and we even had to turn a few walk-ins away since we didn’t have space. Sunday was a bit of a down day in comparison – likely due to general convention fatigue – but we still ran 5 tables across the two slots.
I had a few people comment to me about how great our GMs were, which I knew already (you dudes rock) but was nice to hear. We even had a few players join Pathfinder tables after playing other RPGs, simply because they liked our GMs better. I think this is indicative of the friendly atmosphere that we try to cultivate in PFS, and a great example of how well organized play can be executed.
Paizo prize support was distributed through raffle draws at every slot, and a boon roll-off was initiated after every game session. Novels were handed out to whomever wanted them, and we still ended up having a quite a few leftover.
The Race for the Runecarved Key
I must admit, I am not a huge fan of this particular convention special. It seems a bit low for the Pathfinder society to be engaging in acts of general thuggery and intimidation, and I think that cathedral fight is essentially a “win initiative or fail” situation. I may approach Kyle Baird at some point to debate the ethics of siccing a group of conjurers upon an unprepared party.
Prior to the con, Adam and I made some tweaks to the overall formatting of Race for the Runecarved Key to circumvent some evilness and reduce scenario length. I think the changes paid off! We managed to run the entire event in under 5 hours, so people did have the chance to go home and get some sleep afterwards.
We had a wide range of successes for the convention special. Tier 5-6 never made it out of the cathedral, 8-9 just barely defeated the assassin, 1-2 destroyed a single wave of extra-planar enemies, while 3-4 managed to defeat three entire waves! They won the day with 85 points, and made off with the much-coveted Runecarved Key. The key itself may or may not have been a cardboard tube filled with candy; I am not at liberty to divulge its arcane secrets.
Gryphcon supplied us with a rather excellent play space for the convention, which looked to be a small meeting hall. We could have probably fit 7 or 8 tables in there comfortably, and ended up using four tables for gaming and one as an admin (AKA Mike’s crap) table. The only downside to the space was the fact we were a full floor away from the rest of the con, but it didn’t really affects us since most of our slots were registered ahead of time anyways and we didn’t need the walk-in traffic.
The convention’s prize support was nothing short of excellent. We had a prize given to us for every table in every slot, which ranged from goblin plushies to splatbooks. I generally let GMs choose how to distribute their prizes, whether it be through rolling off or a table MVP award.
One of the things I didn’t really consider – but turned out to be a major boon – were the amenities within the student centre itself. There was a full food court within walking distance, with such fan favourites as Subway, Tim Hortons, Starbucks, and Pizza Pizza. There was also a salad bar, a prepared food rack, and even a vegan food booth. We certainly did not go hungry!
Transportation seemed to be the only issue in Guelph, with bus service ending shortly after midnight and pretty much not existing on Sunday mornings. I think this was one of the reasons we had attendance issues on the final day of the convention, and is something to note for future events.
With an attendance well over 200, I believe Gryphcon is a convention that we should be strongly supporting every year. There is a strong player base out in Guelph- and although they may not actively be participating in PFS – they certainly do come out in force to Gryphcon.
Based on this year’s results, I have the following recommendations.
- Increase the number of tables from 20 to 25. Friday (4), Saturday (15), Sunday (6).
- Do our best to ensure that no other convention is booked concurrently by opening up communications with Gryphcon, Spellstorm, and Game Summit.
- Send an increased number of GMs from Toronto to assist with organization and GMing.
- Get someone to bring a camera to better document the events.
Gryphcon was a blast! I am looking forward to returning next year as either a player or an organizer, as well as heading down to Gryphcon Shadow come October. Once again, thanks to all the GMs and players who helped make this event a success, and much gratitude to Paizo for the amazing convention support.
One final note: I have entered all the tracking information for Gryphcon’s games. If I have made any mistakes (likely, due to the 120 player slots), please email me and I will get around to fixing them as soon as I can.
I’ll be around this Thursday at Dueling Grounds if anyone would like to discuss the convention with me in person. I’m going to stop typing now since I’m up to 1100 words and my hands are starting to hurt a little bit.
Venture Lieutenant (Southern Ontario)