Pacificon SF 2012 Report

         This was my tenth year coming to ConQuest/Pacificon. I went with my son on Friday evening and Saturday, and then by myself on Sunday.

Clear the Causeway!

EH-720 Clear the Causeway!
Historical Miniatures
Time Block E: 6:00PM - 10:00PM
GM Graham Montgomery
System: "Firefight" (self published)
regular signup, room for 8 players
Firefight is a squad level infantry game with good detail and everything you need is on a single page. Play either Germans bringing artillery to bear on the invaders or American paratroopers on D-Day. American players must take out the German observation post before Utah Beach gets decimated.

We hadn't scheduled it, but when wandering by Milo and I joined in this WWII miniatures game that only had 4 players. The scenario was paratroopers attacking a German position defending a forward observer for artillery. The system seemed like a fairly solid squad-level simulation, with orders for a squad of 6 written two actions at a time.

A Vision of Betrayal

A Vision of Betrayal
Time Block F: Sat 9:00AM
GM Euan Fernsler (Scenario by Larry Wilhelm)
4 hrs, 6 players
Pathfinder Society Module
Dispatched on an envoy mission overland from Absalom to port city Escadar, you must weather the harsh wilderness of the Isle of Kortos before you can hope to meet with the representative of the elusive gillmen, and only then come face to face with the greatest threat to the Pathfinder Society. A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for 1st level characters.

This was my first time playing in a Pathfinder game, and my first time playing in a Pathfinder Society event. This was an introductory scenario, which amounted to a straightforward string of wilderness encounters (mostly combat) - though there was a bit of intrigue at the end that devolved to a more complex fight. The players included myself as the half-elven cleric Ntisi, Milo as an elven rogue, Joe as a massive damage min-maxed barbarian, and Rory as a gunslinger. We got through most of the encounters fairly easily, though the last one was a bit challenging. I thought it was a bit dull as Milo's first Pathfinder Society play, but he definitely enjoyed it.

Race for the Runecarved Key

Race for the Runecarved Key
Sat 2:00PM
GM ?? (scenario by Kyle Baird and Tim Hitchcock)
8 hrs, 77 players
A Pathfinder Society Special designed for levels 1-12+ (1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9, 10-11 with a 12 and up tier!) An ancient Thassilonian artifact has been unearthed in Magnimar and is to be auctioned off by the city government. In order to maintain good relations with those in power in the City of Monuments, the Pathfinder Society must obtain the relic without simply stealing it, although employing any other means necessary. It falls to the PCs to infiltrate the auction, sabotage the other bidders' efforts, and call in favors from those in the Society's debt to ensure the Runecarved Key (and the secrets it unlocks) belongs to the Pathfinders when the adventure draws to a close.

This was an interesting event for Pathfinder, where twelve tables in the same room were playing variations of the same basic scenario. We had to get through as many challenges as we could within a time period - some combat, some social, some intrigue. The format was very contrived, as we could tell that other tables were taking on the same challenges changed around to be higher-level. However, it still was fun to be in a time-pressured competitive event like this - and the non-combat challenges involved real role-playing. We had six players including me and Milo, but I didn't record their names.

Acting for Gamers

Acting for Gamers 1: Character Analysis
Acting for Gamers 2: Preparing to Perform in a LARP
Acting for Gamers 3: Performance Workshop
Time Block L: Sat 1:00PM
Presenter Johanna Mead
6 hrs
(1) A panel/roundtable where participants learn about an actor's approach to character analysis and how to apply it to RPG characters. Gamers unwittingly use many of these techniques when they play - learn how to adopt a more methodical and conscientious approach. Suitable for all gamers.
(2) Actors don't just walk off the street and into character and neither should you! Learn about the most common physical and mental exercises used by actors preparing for a performance - and how these techniques can be applied to LARPing.
(3) Using a short script as a focus, participate in a set of exercises that will grant you insight into your performance technique and help you learn how to refine it. Learn more about maximizing your presence in a LARP!

This was technically two one-hour seminars and a four-hour workshop, but they blended together and wrapped up in about 3 hours after starting late. We had seven people, though two left before the workshop portion. The seminars were a collection of ideas from acting classes that could apply to RPG characters, including:

The workshop consisted of reading through a two-person scene in pairs, trying out different ideas and then discussing how the scene reading went. It was fun and interesting, but as a scripted two-person scene it was fairly distant from most RPG play.

Shadow Centurions Assemble

Shadow Centurions Assemble
Time Block ?: Sun 7:00PM
GM John Kim
5 hrs, room for 16 players
In the 1930s, the Shadow Centurions are a secret society of pulp villains. They are meeting on an uncharted South Seas island to plot their upcoming plans, and different factions will vie for the backing of the league. This is a live-action game for all ages in the spirit of the pulps and Dr. Horrible.

This was to be the same larp that I ran at KublaCon and GenCon this year, but there were only 8 players and I decided that it wouldn't run at that time. Instead, I hung out with the larp crowd and played a few pick-up games.

Pick-up Games

With my event for the evening canceled, I went and hung out with some of the larp crowd there. I played three games:


The main deal for me was my first time playing D&D/Pathfinder organized play, and with my son. It was interesting, and I'll be doing more of it given that he has definitely latched onto such play. (He's been reading the Pathfinder core book for weeks after.) Pacificon was in general smaller than it was in previous years, and signups were done as first-come write-ins on papers sheets rather than a shuffler system. The unspoken issue is that it continues to compete with Celesticon - a newer Bay Area convention that has moved to the same Labor Day weekend. I have not attended Celesticon yet, so I can't compare.

John H Kim <jhkim-at-darkshire-dot-net>
Last modified: Thu Sep 20 11:29:00 2012