Pathfinder Fantasy Adventures: Day Two

The second day of my Pathfinder course had a couple of hiccups due to some poor coordination that left the kids half an hour late, meaning that both of my hour-long sessions became 45-minute sessions. Despite the delay, the two groups began to show their separate personalities on day two. Group One was much more violent and more prone to infighting, while Group Two ran like a well-oiled machine.

Too Much Violence?

One of the coordinators of the program happened through and displayed some concern about the level of violence the kids might be getting into, and as a result I toned down the fighting where possible. I had already made sure that any monsters battled would be non-human, and decided to double down on constructs in the future. I did still give the PCs a chance to strap on some armor and pick a weapon, though. Pathfinder is based on the fantasy genre, and it’s hard to have fantasy adventure without swords and sorcery.

Group One needed to get out of their cell. Everybody came up with their own plans, and I emphasized that the plans that had people working as a team probably worked the best. They decided to scare their hobgoblin jailer into dropping his keys. They had Axel fling the dirty straw on the floor at the torches on the far wall, putting them out. Then they made a lot of noise, bringing the hobgoblin into the hall. One of the players had decided previously that his character had glowing white eyes, so he stayed hidden until the hobgoblin came in and then popped out, trying to look like a ghost in the darkness. I decided not to bring up the fact that hobgoblins have darkvision, because that would have ruined what was a pretty fun scene.

The player with the white eyes (his PC’s name was Herobrine – his PC in the second session was named Steve) rolled poorly on his Charisma check, so I introduced the concept of aid another as an action. With some good aid another checks in which the rest of the group made ghost-like sounds, the PCs succeeded. The hobgoblin got frightened, dropped the keys, and then ran away. The group then got out of their cell and headed out the door. In the next room they found some torches, and each took one. Others also took some loose stones as weapons.

The next room had a pair of goblins playing dice. The goblins had apparently ignored the screaming hobgoblin, because they remained focused on their game. I gave the players a breakdown of what their characters had heard about goblins – they love fire, tend to be a little crazy, and are afraid of dogs, horses, and writing. The group started to come up with a plan to deal with the goblins, but they wound up with three separate ideas that nobody could agree upon. We ran out of time, and I told everybody to think of a good course of action for tomorrow.

Goblins Fight, Goblins Bite

Group Two had already broken out of their cell and knocked the hobgoblin out. They met Axel, who was much more friendly to them since they had proven their mettle already. Still, Axel is a bit of a con artist, and wanted to get paid for any answers he gave. The group found some silver pieces on the hobgoblin’s belt, and that gave me a chance to put some math into the game while advancing the plot. Okay kids, ten copper pieces equals one silver piece and ten silver pieces equals one gold piece. How many copper to a gold?

Axel answered questions at a rate of one per silver piece. One of the PCs was sneaky and slipped in two questions, getting Axel to reveal that they were prisoners of Zanzer Tem, who captured people for his salt mines.

Another PC asked, “How do we get out?”

Axel held out his palm, took his payment, then said, “I don’t know.”

Nobody wanted to pay Axel for questions after that.

Group Two also had a goblin encounter to get through, but I decided to use only a single goblin who was rummaging through some trash. I did this because the player of Steve had talked about how he avoided raw food because of his low Constitution score and thought I could get some laughs. Steve went in armed with torches, which he offered to the goblin in exchange for information. This was difficult to manage, since the goblin didn’t know Common, but after some pantomiming, an agreement was struck. Steve gave the goblin his torches in exchange for the way out and a hunk of rotten meat, which he immediately passed to somebody else. For some reason, our minotaur PC decided to keep the rotten meat, even though I described in detail how it smelled.

I do a pretty mean goblin impression, if I do say so myself. I crouch down, hop around, and scream in high-pitched gibberish. They’re among my favorite Pathfinder monsters, which is no surprise because the first adventure path for the franchise made them extremely awesome. Perhaps I was a bit too good in my impression, because the group decided they liked the goblin better than Axel. They befriended him, and he became part of the party.

Gearing Up

The group then got hold of some weapons and armor on their way out, which segued nicely into choosing character classes. I gave the basic spread of fighter, rogue, cleric, and wizard. One of the players was already familiar with these basic concepts because he had read A Practical Guide to Monsters, which is a rules-free description of monsters for Dungeons & Dragons.

The players of the human and catfolk chose to be rogues, the player of the minotaur chose to be a fighter, and the player of the gnoll asked, “Can I be a fighter and a wizard?” I really wish Pathfinder had the old apprentice rules from 3rd edition D&D that allowed multiclassing from level 1, but they don’t. I decided to allow it anyway, telling him that he wouldn’t be as effective as a single-classed character in either field but that he’d make up for it with a broader set of skills.

After getting their class-appropriate weapons and armor, the group found some miscellaneous equipment, including a spellbook, and five healing potions. Each of the four PCs took a healing potion, and they gave the other one to the goblin, who had become too adorable to let go – if a dog-hating pyromaniac can ever be called adorable. Axel got upset that he wasn’t getting a healing potion, and the catfolk he had ripped off earlier took this opportunity to get her silver back, making him pay both silver pieces in exchange for the potion.

Okay, so the group didn’t quite get the economics of the setting. Sue me.

The session ended before we could get into skills and feats. The players all seemed to get a bit bored with dungeoneering, groaning when I revealed that they aren’t out of the dungeon yet, so it was time to allow them to escape and give a chance at some wilderness exploration.

Images: Paizo, Inc.

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