Oddly enough, I am sitting here at my computer with a cup of Harsk’s Bracing Breakfast tea in my Goblin Gulp mug from Geek Grind Coffee. The League of Aroden’s 2022 is about to be history and 2023 beckons to us. Will it turn out to be a year filled with joy and satisfaction or will it end in ruins leaving us with the taste of ashes in our mouths? We will never know unless we enter the new year and strive to make it a good year despite whatever pitfalls we find in our path.
As far as Pathfinder Society goes, 2022 was a good year. Now, there were some setbacks, but on the other hand there were some pretty good successes too. We struggled to build momentum at every lodge for various reasons, but we also launched a new lodge in Kirksville in August that has us wishing for a game store there. Covid kept rearing its ugly head which inconvenienced everyone at one point or another, but we managed to deal with it. Some of my own disappointments stem from what were extremely lofty goals, but even then the results were still positive.
The best news we had this year was that we managed to launch a new lodge, run Org Play at QuinCon 33 after a two year absence due to Covid, saw the return of several conventions in the surrounding region, and established some pretty regular gaming groups in every lodge. The disappointments for me were not getting SFS any traction, not having more people at QuinCon 35, mask issues at one lodge, and not seeing more growth at our lodges, although they all grew. As I said, I think a lot of that was caused by my own lofty goals. I set high bars for success personally.
I do want to thank all of the Venture-Officers at our lodges and everyone who ran a table at the lodges this year. We could not even begin to do this without them or without the players. I appointed a few new officers during 2022. Most are returning for 2023.
Let’s get into some numbers! Before I get too far, I want to point out that we had a RSP event, the League of Aroden New Player Experience across the league which had a lot of tables, 23 PFS2 and 1 SFS. Those tables were played at all three existing lodges (this was before Kirksville). I did not separate them by lodge, but they were pretty evenly distributed among them. This had great turnout over the three month period. We will do it again, but it will be significantly different this year.
Our oldest lodge is the Pathfinder Lodge of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri. Despite mask policies which greatly inhibited growth, we ran 17 scenarios, 3 bounties, 2 quests, and 1 SFS Beginner Box during the year, not counting the NPE as described above. We also started to dine out after the monthly game day and that’s been fun. I actually look forward to this event because of dining out. Wish we had a medieval themed restaurant there…wait, do I hear a road trip call to one wherever it might be? Now that would be a heck of a game day, wouldn’t it? Our VOs for Columbia are Venture-Lieutenant Bill McQuegge and Venture-Agent Janine Bolster.
Next up is the Absalom Lodge in Quincy, Illinois. We shifted our gaming location from the Quincy Town Center to Tri-States Games & Hobbies when the new FLGS opened up in October of 2021. We’ve definitely increased our player turnout and table counts, plus there’s just a lot of Pathfinder being played in the area which is not being reported. We’re going to work on that! But take a look at these numbers! There were 31 scenarios ran on our Conclave days, 2 more for the Monday night crew (who are now running an AP which is good), 4 tables at the Black Friday special, several more tables at the NPE, and had two tables ran during the Toys of Boundless Wonder event this month. Plus we did a special run of Book of the Dead as well. There are also a few more APs being ran there which have not been reported, so there’s a lot of Pathfinder 2e gaming going on here!
Our only weekly lodge is Gryffyn Flight in Hannibal, Missouri at Game Arena. This lodge has really developed a solid core group of gamers over 2022. Any given Thursday evening game session could see one or two tables being played depending on turnout. Having several GMs in the group is a big plus! We had 17 scenarios, 1 module which took about 12 sessions to complete, a run of Book of the Dead, 3 more tables ran during the Toys event, and 7 tables of the Dark Archive adventures which are a blast to play. Not only that, but we also had a full table for the multi-table special run during Toys of Boundless Wonder. We even had some homebrew games to change things up. Gryffyn Flight is doing really well and is poised to soar higher in 2023! The Venture-Agent there is Russell Amberson.
Our newest lodge is the Emerald Gamers Guild in Kirksville, Missouri. Unfortunately, there is no FLGS in Kirksville. If I win the lottery I will change that. But thanks to the work of Lee Camacho as well as others who have been trying to promote gaming in Kirksville for a few years, we saw an opportunity to launch the new guild in August. It was wildly successful and we are looking forward to building on this for 2023. We had 7 scenarios and 2 bounties ran in 2022. The Venture-Agent for the EGG is Cordaro Boughton. We are seeking a consistent location for 2023, but keep running into problems securing one in town which will be convenient for everyone.
We also set up the Organized Play portion of QuinCon 35 in July. We had 12 PFS2 scenarios, 3 PFS2 bounties, 6 SFS scenarios, and 2 tables of Book of the Dead (equals 4 scenarios total) which was a bit less than the 2019 QuinCon. We really need to work on advertising for next year’s QuinCon if we do decide to participate in it.
Speaking of conventions, our Venture-Lieutenant in Quincy, Stephan Ingram, sets up Organized Play at several conventions in Illinois. Plus, some of us went to Winter War in Champaign, Illinois and Heroicon in Bloomington, Illinois this year. I think some went to a con in Wisconsin as well. I’m already booked to go to Winter War in 2023 too! I should be at Gen Con this year as well.
We did try to launch another lodge in Monroe City/Shelbina, but once again we ran into some scheduling problems along with construction conflicts at the venue choices. This is a 2023 possibility, so keep your fingers crossed. I have been looking at Peoria, Illinois as well and we may be able to make that lodge a reality next year too. We will find out.
All told, counting every event in the League of Aroden playing area, we had 124 PFS2 scenarios, 8 SFS scenarios, 6 bounties, 2 quests, 7 Dark Archive adventures, and 1 module reported for credit. This is missing several private games which were reported under GM’s personal events, which include scenarios, modules, and APs. This was a vast leap over 2021 as we rebooted Organized Play after 18 months of forced inaction due to the pandemic. Multiple GMs have earned at least one Glyph for running 10 PFS2 tables and a couple are closing in on their second Glyph. We have more GMs in the League of Aroden than 90% of my fellow Venture-Captains have, so that definitely shows there is a lot of interest in our gaming.
You ultimately are the final judge of how 2022’s gaming went. I always set lofty goals, but in looking at the numbers and then the barriers placed in our way, I’d say we did pretty good. I am in contact with VOs across the globe and many are struggling mightily to overcome Covid anxiety among players and GMs, the closing of FLGSs in their community, shorter hours for the surviving FLGs, and in some cases hostility from store owners who refuse to promote RPGs, instead focusing on cardboard crack.
As for 2023, well, let’s just say I expect it to be better for Organized Play. The more I see about the upcoming D&D edition, the more it resembles Pathfinder 2e, but also doesn’t have the core game mechanics that make 2e so much fun to play. I definitely do not see anything even remotely close to our Organized Play on the gaming horizon for any game system. With that in mind, I think we will see some growth for us across the League. More on this as I develop some game promotion events for 2023 and announce them on the calendar!
Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
See you at a FLGs in 2023!
Jimmy Dick (Xathos)