Time for the annual report of how things went in the calendar year. Honestly, I probably should do this at the end of July because the PFS2 calendar seems to begin at the end of July or whenever the first day of Gen Con is but since we’ve only had lackluster online Gen Cons the last two years, and considering we had just gotten started with live play in Columbia in July, let’s report on the end of the year itself.
Let’s start with the basic numbers for each lodge so we can see how many sessions we had for the League of Aroden overall. I am only using live sessions ran as part of our various lodges regardless of the exact activity.
Valhalla’s Gate PFS Smackdown started live play back up in July. We had 14 scenarios and 7 quests ran plus 1 Free RPG Day adventure ran as well. We had to run quests in lieu of scenarios for a bit due to the Vahalla’s Gate hours. Overall, these are pretty good numbers considering we were restarting live play after 18 months of not being allowed to, plus having to wear masks for five of those six months. We also have had some new faces appearing now and then along with some players driving from St. Louis to play who had been coming before the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the Absalom Lodge of Quincy restarted its monthly Conclave in May. We’ve had 21 live tables in 2021 with two of those tables being the Multi-table Special 2-00 as part of a larger Toys for Tots campaign with the lodge in Northern Virginia. We missed two months of tables because of schedule conflicts with other events taking place at the Quincy Town Center, but now that Tri-States Games & Hobbies is open, I am not expecting those events to take away from our Conclaves. Just like in Columbia, we’ve seen some more new players in Quincy, as well as some of our returning players from before the pandemic. With all the obstacles we’ve had in Quincy this year, these numbers are actually a bit better than the numbers we had in the same period in 2019.
Now, let’s start to celebrate some growth! I had been talking with the management of Game Arena in Hannibal about starting a lodge there. However, the pandemic put all of that on pause for a bit, but both they and I felt it was time to get the lodge off the ground in April. I dusted off the reporting number for some tables we had ran at Java Jive a few years ago and we launched Gryffyn Flight! in April. Like any other lodge starting off in its first year, we’ve had some hits and a couple of misses, but this is also a lodge that is featuring a weekly table, not monthly. We’ve already had a few nights where we’ve had to have two tables because we’ve had too many players for one table. That is huge!
The numbers show 14 tables for Gryffyn Flight! and one Adventure Path book completed, but keep in mind that AP took over 12 nights to play. That’s pretty solid for a weekly lodge in its first year. What is so wild about Gryffyn Flight! is that several new players have been at the tables and it is also attracting some players to come down from Quincy to play adventures we can’t run at the monthly conclaves. The growth potential for Gryffyn Flight! is very high.
We solidified plans to start a lodge in Kirksville, Missouri, and are in the initial phase of starting a lodge in Macomb, Illinois. We also added two additional Venture-Agents, one for Columbia and one for Quincy. I am hoping this current wave of Covid-19 burns out as fast as predicted because that is when we will start to see more growth in the League.
We did have a few players come down with Covid this year who had to spend some time in the hospital. Others were infected, but had few problems with it. I would guess some more had it but were asymptomatic. We all know of some folks who passed away from Covid, be it friends, family, or colleagues. Hopefully, the pandemic will burn out like most previous ones did, but do it in early 2022. One of our Venture-Lieutenants, Bill McQueggue had a non-Covid related health scare, but is recovering well. I really want to extend best wishes to Bill and to anyone else who has had any health problems.
Unfortunately, we are missing players who played with us before the pandemic struck. I do not know what has happened to cause them to miss out on live play with us. I sent out a survey for players at Valhalla’s Gate, but got few responses back. What is clear is that we need to focus on new players to grow our lodges while also extending a hearty Welcome Back to anyone who rejoins us at the tables this year. With that in mind, my plans for 2022 have us trying to advertise for new players and to focus on them for February and March. I am hoping that Organized Play has the Achievement Point grants in place by then where a new player registering on Paizo after playing their first game of Starfinder or Pathfinder will receive 40 Achievement Points.
Some of the best news we have is that we have no shortage of GMs in the League. If anything, we have more GMs than we have tables to run at our events. This makes us one of the few areas that can say that in Organized Play. Most are begging for GMs and their VOs rarely get to play. This is awesome and I just want to thank everybody who ran a session in 2021. We did hold our first GM Academy last month for the League. I want to see how things go over the next few months before scheduling the next one, possibly in April. We will take that one down to Columbia hopefully.
All in all, 2021 was a pretty good year. The biggest disappointment other than not seeing some of our players from 2019 and 2020 is that we haven’t had any Starfinder in any of our lodges. I will accept some of the blame for this because I am focused so hard on Pathfinder 2e. My original goal was to get up to the former table counts before kicking off some Starfinder, but we haven’t hit that goal yet. If anyone does want to run some Starfinder at our events, just let me know and I will start scheduling it. I may try my hand at it some too!
So, thanks to everyone who played or GMed at our lodges in 2021! It always comes down to you wanting to come play at our events. I am looking forward to a great 2022. Who knows? Maybe we will have “Bring A New Player” events this year. I do know we are looking at live cons this year. First up is Winter War at the end of January (hopefully) and then the Spring Con in Rolla at the end of March. I already know that no matter what happens, there will be an online component to PaizoCon, so there’s a great way to play Memorial Day weekend. My hopes are high that Gen Con will have Organized Play at it still in August. If it does, I will do my best to see if we can get several of us set up to go!
So, 2022, here we come!