Super Mario Pathfinder

Super Mario PathfinderI have a son who is getting interested in role-playing games. He is also extremely interested in the Mario franchise, to the point where he refers to himself as Mario. His sister gets to be Princess Peach, his mother gets to be Princess Daisy, and I’m stuck as Luigi.

Recently, I decided to fuse these two interests together, resulting in a Super Mario Brothers edition of Pathfinder.

The process was actually pretty easy. Since combat and task resolution in Pathfinder are abstract, you can fill the flavor text in yourself. If you hit and do 1d6 bludgeoning damage, what difference does it make if you’re swinging a mace or jumping on bad guys’ heads?

Since the game is focused toward a young audience, I wanted it to be skewed toward success. Since 1st-level characters are too squishy, I started everybody off at 5th level. That allows them to survive multiple hits from enemies of equal levels and also allows them to cut through low-level mooks like a knife through hot butter.

I created the characters using the automatic bonus progression rules from Pathfinder Unchained. Those have pretty much become the default in my games, since I don’t like requiring people to stock up on cloaks of resistance and other boring items. Those rules also benefit players who aren’t experienced in the system, since you don’t get unfairly penalized if you forget to grab items with enough plusses by the expected level.

Since the automatic bonus progression rules cover the permanent magic items that the system expects PCs to have, the majority of equipment on the character sheets is actually a collection of disposable magic items. Mushrooms are potions of enlarge person, 1-Up mushrooms are potions of healing, and so on.

Monsters, like attacks, kept the same stats but got reskinned to fit the story. When you get right down to it, does there really need to be a statistical difference between a goblin and a goomba? Of course, some creatures don’t need to get reskinned. The myceloid made an excellent boss monster, which I dubbed El Goomba Grande (and yes, I realize this is bad Spanish on my part).

The focus on reskinning stuff that is covered by abstractions and providing characters with an arsenal of disposable items allowed me to create character sheets that focus on visual cues and make it easy to track items used as the game goes on. Here are the PCs that showed up in the inaugural session of Super Mario Pathfinder.

Super Mario

Click here to see Mario’s character sheet

Mario

Of course Nintendo’s big mascot shows up in this game. He’s my son’s favorite character and the first one I developed stats for. With his focus on jumping and athletics, Mario is a monk. His unarmed strike represents attempts to jump on opponents’ heads. Perhaps at higher levels I’ll give him Vital Strike to simulate his ground pound ability.

Mario’s fire flower and ice flower are flaming and frost shuriken, respectively. In the future, I might change the ice flower to be a tanglefoot bag, since the ability to freeze opponents seems to be more interesting to my son than his ability to deal damage.

The super bell from Super Mario 3D World is a potion of beast form I which transforms Mario into a large cat. The raccoon leaf is a potion of fly. At some point, I hope to incorporate my favorite of all Mario suits, the tanuki suit.

Princess Peach

Click here to see Peach’s character sheet

Princess Peach

I’m really not interested in running a plot where Princess Peach gets kidnapped yet again, and I’m very happy that games like Super Princess Peach and Super Mario 3D World have her available as a playable character.

Peach gets Perry the umbrella, who showed up in Super Princess Peach. Here he’s an intelligent magical glaive. His feather fall ability represents the floatbrella ability you can buy in that game, which presumably leaves the door open for additional upgrades in the future. She also wears a chain shirt (I guess under her dress?). Since she’s not proficient with shuriken, her fire flowers are instead flasks of alchemist’s fire.

Princess Daisy

Click here to see Daisy’s character sheet.

Princess Daisy

Princess Daisy is probably the hardest character to come up with something original for, since the only reason she even exists is because the development team of Super Mario Land wasn’t allowed to use Peach. She’s played by my wife, who wanted a class she didn’t normally play, so I made her a paladin.

Daisy’s scepter functions as a greatclub. Like Peach, her fire flowers and flasks of alchemist’s fire. I considered adding the glamered property to her breastplate, but then I decided that would be a waste of gold considering the other abstractions that were already in play. I guess in this setting, everything gets a limited form of the glamered property.

Yoshi

Click here to see Yoshi’s character sheet.

Yoshi

My original design for Yoshi was an awakened deinonychus fighter, but it turns out that such a creature does an insane amount of damage each round thanks to the pounce ability. Instead, Yoshi gets to be a reskinned axe beak, which also makes him a better mount.

Yoshi’s fire flower is an elixir of fire breath, which gives him the most powerful fire attack to make up for otherwise limited equipment. He gets P-wings instead of a raccoon leaf because he doesn’t wear costumes, but the effect is still a potion of fly. He gets Improved Grapple to simulate his sticky tongue.

Waluigi

Click here to see Waluigi’s character sheet.

Waluigi

Last but not least is Waluigi. Yes, an adult in the game specifically asked to play as Waluigi. I decided not to include any evil PCs, so he’s chaotic neutral. He’s got the same general array of stuff that the other PCs got, but also has a returning dagger, some smoke pellets, and rogue skills that complement his sneaky nature.

For added fun, the player running Waluigi found 10 hours of Waluigi sounds on YouTube. If you know the people I normally game with, I bet you can identify this individual by name.

And that’s that. Other than the fact that I ditched encumbrance and used an action point system similar to what was introduced in the D&D Eberron setting, this game ran using the unabridged Pathfinder rules. It goes to show how flexible the game can be and how many different ways you can describe the same d20 rolls.

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