On Character Death

Character death is a touchy subject in RPGs. Some people think the PCs should always be at risk, and that an adventure is an outright failure if at least one character doesn’t get killed off during the action. Others never have PCs bite the dust, using house rules that cause a hero to go unconscious but not die when the rules as written would have them pushing up daisies. And, as with any divisive topic with extreme opposite stances, the majority of players fall somewhere in the middle of that scale.

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Gaming Stories: Curse Your Sudden but Inevitable Betrayal!

Night Below: An Underdark Campaign is a classic AD&D adventure that I purchased when it came out in the 1990s but which I never got to run all the way through until the 2010s. Beginning with D&D 3rd edition and eventually converting to Pathfinder, my final version of the campaign saw some changes, including revising the Rockseer elves and adding a secret villain behind the aboleth conspiracy: the Red Mage.

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Pathfinder Fantasy Adventures Revisited

One year after my original Pathfinder Fantasy Adventures course, I took a class on how learners use their brains. This allowed me to overhaul my lesson plan to give a better and more educational experience should I ever get to teach the course again. While I have not yet had an opportunity to run this course, here’s what would have been, along with an outline for an adventure roughly based on Paizo’s Crypt of the Everflame module.

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Pathfinder Fantasy Adventures: Day Three

Three days in, the distance began to grow between the two groups. Group One was initially behind because of some bad rolls that kept them in their cell for an extra day, and then fell further because they didn’t work very closely together as a team. I had to institute the initiative system not as a way of keeping track of combat but as a way of determining who got to act when the group was trying to decide on a plan. Things were complicated a little bit by the player who is in both groups, who I had to give an actual warning about metagaming. Since Group Two had befriended the goblin, he was convinced the same tactic would work with all goblins. The rest of the group, though, wanted a fight.

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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.

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Gaming Stories: Pirates of the Astral Sea

Well, that was certainly unexpected.

Last fall, my players greased up a rowboat and sent it hurtling down a waterslide of doom. They wound up in an entirely different world that used a version of the classic AD&D module Dungeonland, tweaked to fit with Pathfinder 2nd edition. And, well…they found a way out of Dungeonland. And now they have a bigger boat.

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Gaming Stories: A Contract with Mind Flayers

Over the course of several years, I ran Night Below: An Underdark Campaign in a multi-year game that spanned the gap between Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition and Pathfinder 1st edition. As we entered the endgame, the PCs learned that a group of aboleths had been kidnapping spellcasters in a bid to power a mighty structure that will extend their natural psychic domination abilities across the globe, effectively taking over the world.

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