October 2nd to October 4th. TenCon. Twelve Seekers enter, six Venture-Captains leave.
Don’t worry, we didn’t kill the other six, they just haven’t finished yet.
Eyes of the Ten, that prestigious quartet of scenarios designed for characters who have made it to level twelve. An amazing series of adventures, designed to test anyone brave enough to play it. And we, twelve players, with wildly different characters. Surely we were ready for the challenge? A wild idea that finally gestated into something beautiful: running all scenarios back-to-back, with only time to sleep or eat. In retrospect, that might not have been the best idea, but I’m glad I was part of it. If you have the chance, I highly recommend playing the scenarios, but only with people you know really well, and preferably with party members you’ve adventured with.
Let me paint you a picture:
I’m a relatively young Pathfinder player. I started playing roughly four or five years ago, when an old friend and eventual classmate invited me to play a module. A while later, that same friend wanted to try her hand at GM’ing, and that turned into playing a biweekly adventure path. Then, about one and a half year ago, that same person introduced me to Pathfinder Society, where you can create a character and play whenever you want, with complete strangers or with friends.
Me being a terrible introvert, I was hesitant. Why would I want to play with people I don’t know if I can have fun with my friends? But still, in an attempt to overcome my shyness, I joined with a dinky Cleric named Saa. I had built only a handful of characters at this point, and had never played a Cleric before, so in retrospect he wasn’t terribly well built. Over the course of those twelve levels, I’ve definitely considered retiring him and never playing him again. But I stuck with it, because I filled a niche no one seemed willing to take up: a dedicated healer. And while I’ve often felt useless in battle because of my piss-poor damage output, the other players were always glad to have me there, and I always felt great joy to be able to help others. Suddenly it dawned on me (though probably later than I would like to admit): I wasn’t there for damage output; I was there for support. Even though I rarely downed an enemy, being able to keep party members on their legs was what often turned the tide of battle. Constantly seeing that grateful look on the faces of your friends is what made it worth it.
Speaking of friends, I had two people who joined me on my adventures, and I’d like to use them to illustrate my point: Carla and Vatra. Carla started out as a Bard with a crush on a certain faction leader. Over the course of the game, she’s grown to have multiple lovers, changed sex multiple times, and became more and more loose in her morals in general. Totally not my type of person. But even though she freaked me out, she was a useful asset to our team, even if she was a tad suicidal. I’ve had to save her most often (remember that Otyugh?). Vatra was a Magus permanently in pissed-off mode, who got possessed by his own sword for a while (it’s a long story). He was angry at everything, and was scarily efficient at disposing of enemies. Vatra’s first adventure was with Carla and me, and looking back at it, even back then we were a team: Vatra ruthlessly mowing down opponents, Carla smoothing things down again, or (usually) making things worse, and me standing in the back, supporting people where necessary. And that’s where that bond began, even way back at level one. Knowing what everyone’s capable of, the feeling that you can rely on each other, that everyone can contribute to the team, and being able to think, “don’t worry, he’s got this.”
That’s what made TenCon memorable for me: being able to look back on your history with other characters and say, “This is it, guys. We’ve all been working towards this. Thank you for the great memories together.”
That isn’t to say that my other party members weren’t part of the team, it’s just that I felt more intimately connected to these people I’ve known for more than a year and a half now. But, to not make them feel left out: thanks for the memories, Xuno, Lyrinn, and Shamira. Xuno, an ex-gladiator, who defeated an amazing opponent in arena combat. Lyrinn, who went against her own faction leader to clean up the mess she inadvertently made herself. And Shamira, to whom the term “one-woman army” is an understatement. That mammoth is scary, man. I’d hate to be the Shambling Mound that’s being crushed beneath those feet.
As for the rest, thanks to everyone who made this possible. From organising this thing, to booking the place, to the catering, the GMs, and the others for their great companionship. I’d love to do it again sometime.
And if anyone ever tells you that in-combat healing sucks, just point to me. I’ve saved more asses than I remember, including the Silver Crusade’s faction leader. If anyone disagrees, I’ll bring down a storm upon them so fierce even their grandchildren will be afraid of water. And all that from a hippie Cleric with seaweed in his beard.