Saturday, 13 November 2010

Half term Pathfinder

Half term came and went, and with it the chance to play some more Pathfinder. This seems to be all that we really play at the moment, with the main Kingmaker campaign rolling on Friday evenings, and Kelvin's Carrion Hill scenario looming once we complete the current Kingmaker story arc (of which more in a later post).

At half term we try to get some gaming in with Sebastian, and sometimes Jed. This October we had Sebastian and Ric round the table, with Ben in the GM's chair running a 1st level Pathfinder adventure. Sebastian and I rolled up some characters in advance: Seb had a human fighter, and I was armed with a gnome druid. Ric turned up with a drow wizard (specialising in necromantic magic), and we had an elven rogue nominally being played by Maya to round it all off (although in the end Seb took over the rogue too).

Our basic mission was to head off in the direction of a lost tower/keep, owned by a wizard who had left Ptolus (our home base and GM Ben's default urban setting at the moment) to go into self-imposed exile. The wizard was an acquaintance of Ric's pc, but it looked as if contact had been lost with him, there was a good chance he was dead, and thus the opportunity existed to go plunder the tower. Game on!

To complicate things, we were being spied on by a raven familiar belonging to one of Ric's academic rivals. I apologise to readers for not including the names of PCs as I can't remember them, other than Rom, Seb's fighter.

Our first encounter happened in the middle of the night: we were lured, in the rain away from our camp by the sound of a child in distress. Yes, veteran players of D&D will have guessed that we ran into an ambush by a mother and baby team of leucrottas, both of which we managed to slay.

Another nocturnal encounter found us being attacked by a pack of stirges. On this occasion my druid used Summon Nature's Ally to call in his own stirge to act as a sort of anti-missile missile. It woke me up to the opportunities of summoned stirges, of which more later.

We also passed what was obviously meant to be the location of the Tomb of Horrors, before we were distracted by what looked like a bonfire in the distance. We decided to investigate - against my own advice (my gnome was all for pushing on) - and found a burned out homestead with some bodies scattered around. Entering the ruins, we were ambushed by the bodies themselves, which became animated as zombies and fell on us. Two half orc mercenaries, a raven, and Ric erstwhile academic rival completed the sorry situation.

This was a close-fought battle. My druid had a wolf animal companion, and we also had purchased two trained guard dogs, giving us some much-need extra fangs in this fight. An Entangle spell (cast by yours truly) created havoc for the half orcs and the zombies, although one of our guard dogs got hacked to bits. The Entangle caused the enemy wizard to fluff one of his spells, and then a summoned stirge embedded itself in his chest, making his life yet more difficult. He tried turning himself invisible, but the drow cast faerie fire on him, leaving Rom the fighter to finish him off (beheaded with a great sword in a coup de grace). It was a bloody battle, with my gnome at one stage fleeing due to a Fear spell cast on him. But we succeeded, and walked away with some Dust of Invisibility.

We now reached the village which was to be our likely base of operations before our assault on the dungeon. We didn't stay there long, pausing only to level up to 2nd before pressing on. Ric had been largely dissatisfied with the performance of his drow, and so multi-classed into paladin. He is now a 'necrodin', a paladin of a drow death cult.We were aware that we were running out of time in the real world, and dallying in the village was deferred to next time.

Pressing on, we found that the 'tower' was in fact a ruined keep, and well guarded by orcs. This time round, the elf came into her own, scaling a tower to backstab an orc sentry, then using her bow to try to pick off some others. Eventually, this raised the alarm, as an arrow doing 1d8+2 damage is unlikely to kill orcs outright. We rushed through the gatehouse, with the druid casting Obscuring Mist in an effort to stop orcs shooting at us from the walls.

This encounter turned into a confused battle, with orcs rushing out of a guardhouse to engage us, and the drow going off on his own to tackle some orcs in one of the towers, and the wolf tracking down random orcs in the courtyard. One orc tried to jump off the gatehouse to escape sniper fire from the elf rogue, only to break both his legs. Another orc had his throat ripped out by a guard dog as he approached the mist, only to have a ferocious canine come bounding out to pounce on him. Blood, and guts, and screaming all over the place.

Suffice to say, all the orcs seem to have been killed, for the loss of one guard dog. We have now sadly lost both guard dogs, but we're now at 2nd level and twice as powerful as we were.

This was pretty much where we left it, as Ben was ailing from a stomach virus and needed to retreat anyway. The last two encounters were played using 3D terrain, including ruined buildings and trees/bushes/foliage, which I felt added considerably to the aesthetics of the game. I also got to trot out some of my Games Workshop Lord of the Rings orcs for the final battle, so good to have them getting an outing.

Overall, everyone seemed quite pleased.

Next: Plans for Winter BenCon and my first effort to GM a RuneQuest game!


  1. Things are a bit Pathfinder-heavy at the moment, I agree, but we've got a nice change of pace with Winter BenCon coming up, and then when we're done with Kingmaker, I think we're going back to Rogue Trader.

    I'm very much looking forward to Runequest. I love the Chaosium ruleset, and the one time I played RQ -- about fifteen years ago now -- I had a great deal of fun, although I think the party were massacred by Broo in their first encounter!

  2. Pathfinder heavy? ;)

    Runequest? ;)

    Happy to give RQ Japan a go-go - and I wonder how it will square up to the beauty that was L5R as a system - eg I really liked the L5R duelling system for samurai duels, just as deadlands do gun-pistol duelling better than any other system....I also liked the materials for it, so long as you ignored the plot which was driven by the card players!!

    I guess the beauty of designing a system to capture what you think are important elements of a setting/ genre - not that these settings necessarily do this well.

    Thus you have:

    Cold City - a great trust mechanic - well done Stuart - and a very open game. That for me was a classic -so hats off to you for running that!

    Deadlands - 1st edition clunky and complex at times (so many different attributes and dice!!) BUT the use of poker chips and cards, and their rules on duelling, with the lovely flavoursome feats for the setting - FAB!

    Fading Suns - again - whilst clunky - had some great ideas about loss of humanity, linking your personal traits to spell casting/ interaction skills etc.

    L5R - mentioned above

    Unknown Armies - simple system and great sanity mechanic

    etc etc

    HOWEVER - I am looking forward to using the new RQ version of BuRP and seeing how it works. Have the Basic/Advanced version from GW from many moons ago! Now have the SRD for it, and the Japan book. Thank the lord there are no Ducks and the like - Ducks really put me off Glorantha!

    I realise we have played a lot of PF of late - combat based games are what keeps me awake on a Friday night. If we were playing on Sat afternoon for 5 hours, I could easily play another game - but am aware that would probably only include me and Kelvin (at best) since everyone else wouldn't be able to make it! lol! LIFE! Isn't it just GREAT! :D

  3. Perhaps you should have a nap before the game on Friday? ;)

  4. I loved L5R, but the system is heavily wedded to the Rokugan setting, which I know some people don't buy into. RQ being a generic fantasy system, I doubt it will work as well in the oriental setting as L5R did, but it should suffice for a snapshot. My thoughts on generation a ninja for Manoj to follow in a future post on this blog.