Convention GM Guide

Thank you for stepping up and helping make Sibcon happen! You have no idea how much we appreciate it.

This email includes some instructions to help you get oriented. There’s nothing too surprising, but if you haven’t GMed for us at a convention before, it’s probably worth reading. Otherwise, if you’re a veteran, give it a quick skim, at least.

GMing suggestions

  • Be prepared. Read your adventures, have dice, take notes, have something you can put on a map. Have maps. We’re going to ask you all to provide chronicle sheets.
    • Don’t feel like your gear needs to be perfect. The theater of the mind is real!
  • For your first slot, check with headquarters. HQ will have “welcome packets” for each of you (that you can keep) that includes:
    • Your name (in case you forget)
    • These instructions
    • Rosters for each of the games you’ve signed up for
    • A GM boon, if you’ve earned one
    • COSBucks (convention credit) if you’re GMing a number of slots that’s not three. (these might be handed out later.)
  • Please arrive early for your slots (usually 5 or 10 minutes is fine, depending on your setup) and get everything ready to go!
  • Please try to get started on time unless we are actively mustering for your table. Don’t spend too long waiting for people to show.
  • The first seven players on the list get priority. After that, players are waitlisted. Once you hit the starting time of the slot, if one of the first seven signups hasn’t been by the table to sign in yet and you can’t find them, that’s when you can start filling slots with waitlisted players.
  • Finish games on time! When preparing, have an idea of what you can cut to speed things up. This is especially important on Saturday morning.
  • As a GM, you have a responsibility to keep the table respectful and safe for everyone. Some disagreement happens, but shut it down if it gets personal (or if you need to move things along). Don’t condone intolerance.
  • Escalation Procedure:
    • If it’s about rules: you’re the GM! Make a call. If it’s serious, or you don’t know what to do, check with Alex or Quinn. We might know the answer.
    • Interpersonal disagreements: if you have an interpersonal problem you can’t solve, get Quinn or Alex, or get HQ. If it’s something serious, get event staff. If there are serious threats of violence, we’re out of our depth. Call 911.

Operations Stuff

  • Finding your tables: if you’re GMing multiple tables, the HQ staff will be trying to keep you at the same table as much as possible. If you’ve got plans or need something, let HQ know and we’ll try to accommodate.
  • Pathfinder Society 2e boons and GM rewards are granted through Achievement Points that can be redeemed on paizo.com.
  • Pathfinder Society 1e boons, Starfinder Society boons, and paizo.com coupons are going to be distributed by a random drawing. The winning numbers will be on a whiteboard at HQ. Numbers aren’t going to be recycled–if you weren’t a winner for slot 2, don’t keep your tickets in the hopes of winning something in slot 3.
  • We’re gonna try to provide one bottle of water for you, free, for each slot. HQ’s got the water, but if we do run out, we’re out.
  • Pregenerated characters will be available at HQ, unless those pregenerated characters are unique to a scenario (like skittermanders).
  • HQ will be running a lost and found for things like minis and stuff that’s more expensive than that. (Character binders, glasses, etc.)
  • HQ should generally be staffed, but there might be a slot or two where the HQ person has to step away to make a table happen. 

Preparation

  • We often try to schedule a “Slot Zero”, or a preparatory slot, for any multi-table special. Depending on the schedule and other factors, we may try to schedule other sessions before the convention.
  • If you GM multiple systems, the convention organizer will get in touch with you ahead of time to see which boon you want.
  • It’s a good idea to make sure you’re up-to-date with your vaccinations before a con, especially influenza! Try not to get the con crud.
  • Get enough sleep before the convention, especially if you’re not likely to get enough sleep during the convention!

Things you need to bring

Essential Items

  • The scenario, in some format. You can print it, you can bring the PDF on something to let you read it like a phone, tablet, or computer
  • Chronicle sheets—we can’t provide chronicle sheets for everyone, so we depend on you bringing these yourself. If you need to locate a printer, we recommend either a FedEx Office, UPS Store, OfficeMax/Depot/Staples, or similar retail service; alternately, a local library will usually have affordable printing available.
    • We recommend pre-filling some of the information, like the event code, and leaving the signature.
    • Make sure you don’t presume the subtier, XP, prestige, or fame.
  • Dice (is this obvious?)
  • Something you can use for maps, whether they’re printed or drawn
    • Theater of the mind for mapping can work with a dedicated group, but it’s a bad idea for convention play!
  • Something you can use to represent creatures on the map (like 28mm gaming miniatures or pawns!)
  • At least one printed copy of each handout, if the scenario has them
  • Pens for filling out chronicle sheets
    • Don’t sign chronicles with something erase-able like pencil!
  • Some way of tracking initiative

Optional Items

  • A GM screen
  • Portraits of NPCs, possibly printed
  • Multiple printed copies of each handout

Things We Provide

  • A reporting sheet / roster for each of your games
  • Your race boon (if earned)
  • Some supplemental materials for a multi-table special, if you’re running it
  • A bottle of water during the slot you’re running (while supplies last!)

Conventions are crazy. We know you’re going to be tired; we will be too, and so are the players. Let us know if there’s something we can do better; let the players know if they need to change their behavior; but in either case, please try to be understanding.

Finally, thank you again for stepping up!