Thursday, January 26, 2012

Pathfinder Complete, Part Two

DSCN0205, a photo by The Gonk on Flickr.
The second half of the first day of our Pathfinder fun, but only the first half of the second game, so the second half will be in a third part. Whew! I asked Number One Daughter, twelve, to join us for the module included in the Pathfinder Beginner Box. She is not a gamer. She has fun when she plays games with us, but she rarely will initiatie or even express desire to participate in any games we play, unlike her brother. She wasn't opposed, just somewhat apathetic. She does enjoy drama a lot, though, so I talked about the story aspect, about how it wasn't a game in the traditional sense, but there were some rules to help people stay in their character's abilities. I also discussed the similarities with improvisational acting, and she became mildly intrigued. She noted how she was familiar with XPs and levels from Pokemon, and I told her how all that had originated with D&D.

Number One Daughter chose to play Merisiel the elf rogue. Only she didn't want to call her Merisiel...first, she wanted Patrish (that's correct, Patrish), but after seeing the Sandpoint Innkeeper art of Ameiko Kaijitsu, she decided to change to name to Kaijitsu. At which point Number One Son piped up that he didn't know he could change his name, and went through a couple of typical choices, including his real name, before deciding on Slate.

One Kid Easy, Two Kids Hard

And this is where the wild ride began. When it was just Number One Son and me, things went very smoothly. However, now that Number One Daughter had been added to the mix, they began to compete, try to one-up each other, interrupt and talk over each other, etc... Once one had a good idea, the other had to do it, too, and take it to the next level. Typical stuff, really. The game itself proceeded just fine, but I occasionally had to "Dad up," calm them down and force them the speak in turns.

Number One Daughter decided that Kaijutsu would speak in a stereotypical New Jersey "Joisey" accent. Inwardly, I am cringing. That's her latest fun thing with her friends, talking like the cast of the Jersey Shore, which she has never watched under MY roof, I will note. Number One Son was saying that as an elf, she should use Thees and Thous. Anyway, I explained that it was her character to develop as she liked. However, I note that in her background, she was an orphan adopted by humans, and the accent could play into that-- I'll have to mention that to her.

I started off back at the Rusty Dragon, Sandpoint's Inn, weeks after the last adventure. Ezren/Slate and Merisiel/Kaijitsu were in the common area, although they hadn't really met. Sheriff Hemlock returned with another request-- some huge creature had been attacking and killing livestock around Sandpoint. The community had gotten together a reward of 1,000 gold pieces to whatever adventurer(s) proved themselves able to run off or kill whatever terrible beast this turned out to be. That piqued Kaijitsu's interest! It's funny, I guess to an experienced roleplayer, this is a sort of eye-rolling start to an adventure, but both times the kids completely took the bait, totally in character-- Slate for the help of other people, Kaijitsu for the money.

This time, one of the town guard was going to accompany the pair. Milton, as he was named, was just the City Guard from the GM Guide. He took no initiative and, being timid, he never took the lead-- he was simply coming along for the ride, it was the PC's story. I thought he might be useful to help deliver some damage-- or soak some. The big bad of the adventure, Black Fang (a very young black dragon) had 54 hit points, AC 21 and could deliver a 3d6 acid breath attack, so he was more than capable of Total Party Kill regardless. However, there are a few items useful along the way, such as a magic ruby that can deliver acid invulnerability and a +1 Dragon-Bane sword (+3 vs. dragons, +2d6 damage).

A Bit More Improvisation

Anyway, the sheriff showed them a black fang that had been left at one of the livestock attacks. Milton the town guard took the pair to the bachelor farmer Reed's farm, site of the latest attack. This wasn't part of the written adventure, but I didn't want to start the kids at the entrance to the dungeon and just let them crawl through. Old man Reed detailed that this "Black Fanged" beast had been killing livestock off various farms. He talked a bit about how valuable such animals were to a farm, and thus it was causing serious problems for the area. His own best dairy cow, Betsy, had been killed just the night before. All that was left for the adventurers was the cow's severed head, laying off to the side of the farm and buzzing with insects. The kids "EWWWED!"

They both rolled Perceptions checks, and both saw a crushed trail away from the site of the attack. Kaijitsu's keener Elf senses saw breaks in the trails, with impacts in the dirt after the break. She picked up right away that the creature was trying to fly, but couldn't. I had in mind that it was carrying Betsy's corpse and it was too heavy. She saw a creature so gorged on livestock that it could hardly fly anymore. I expected them to follow the trail-- however, I mentioned as an aside that it went in the direction towards Weasel Creek, a geographic feature I picked pretty much at random-- and they seemed to assume they would not be able to track it past that!

They decided to wait for the next attack. They debated about how to do this, and decided since it was already late, they would stay at Reed's farm. Reed gave up his bed to Kaijitsu, and the rest of the party slept on the floor. Again, Kaijitsu's keen senses roused her to a disturbance from Reed's sheep. She woke everybody else, and they approached the sheep pen, without lights. She could make out the black form of a winged form about the size of a very large horse on the far side of the pen. For whatever reason, they had pretty much convinced themselves this it was a dragon. I suspect I told my daughter as I was painting up the figures. However, my son suggested a manticore, a beast he had browsed in the bestiary.

The beast seemed to hear them, and was circling around the sheep pen. Slate prepared a spell, although he couldn't see the beast. Kaijitsu gave a running commentary of it approaching. Bachelor farmer Reed had his limit and fled back to his shack. As soon as Slate could make out the form, he fired off a Ray of Frost, striking it. The creature roared in surprise and fled in the direction of the old trail. The party went back to the shack, roused Reed from under the bed where Kaijitsu scolded his cowardice in over the top Joisey form, and they all rested for the rest of the evening.

The Module Begins

The next morning, encouraged a bit by me, they decided to follow the trail. I told them they had no problem following the tail due to the weight of the cow being drug and the blood that leaked out of it. "EWWWW!" This led the easily to the beginning of the printed module. There was an ancient statue from some other civilization, but the statue's features had been worn away, perhaps by acid. "It can breathe acid!" exclaimed my daughter.

At that point, the moss wall behind the statue parted, being in actuality only a curtain, and two goblins came out. They were walking funny, I stated. "Are they hurt? Are they limping?" asked my daughter. I stated no, they were woozy, and had one of them throw and empty jug at here. "Aaaaaaaaaaaaah" she said, knowingly.

They dispatched the two goblins without much effort, Milton following their lead and helping out. They hesitated, but eventually entered the curtain. In the room, I detailed the chest (locked) they saw, and the dirty straw beds (which hid the key). Not being familiar with the "kill 'em and take their stuff" trope, they started to walk on by, so Milton suggested they see what was in the chest.

The chest being locked, Slate started to look for ways to bash or burn it open. Kaijitsu dissuaded him, but didn't seem to have a better idea. I reminded her of her lock tools, and noted if they simply bashed it open, they might damage something inside (there was a healing potion). She rolled, and unlocked the chest.

They were pretty sure the "potion" in the chest was magic, but didn't have any idea what it might do. Leading my son, hoping he would think of his Detect Magic spell, I asked, "What would you do to try and figure out what this might do?"

He pondered a moment, then asked, "Try it on Milton?"

I couldn't help but laugh heartily at this, thinking what a GREAT roleplayer my son was going to be. Anyway, I prompted him to use his Detect Magic, which in these rules, when cast directly on an object, fully identifies it. I think that works really well for an intro game like this, with lots of synergistic magic items sprinkled throughout the dungeon.

In the next room, there was a magic fountain, which via Detect Magic they knew fully well was magic. It had a random list of possible effects, so when Detect Magic was cast on it, they got a variety of words over the top of the fountain related to the possible effects. This didn't inspire any confidence, and they couldn't make DC 20 checks to read the runes around it, so they basically left it along. Nothing much missed here.

From here, there were two paths, and down one, they could hear goblins arguing. They debated which way to go, then went the opposite direction, to the Gemstone Altar. On the altar was a big, glowing ruby, flanked by two statues, and they immediately suspected a trap. Kaijitsu went to retrieve the ruby while Slate and Milton stayed a safe distance away. When she got close to the ruby, she triggered a sheet of fire from both statues. She made her Reflex save, only taking four points of damage. She ducked and immediately grabbed the ruby, while the statues waited for a five second reset. Then, she stood up, and the flame struck again-- only this time, the ruby protected her! At a safe distance, Slate revealed the big, valuable ruby was an Energy Heart, protecting its bearer from acid (convenient, n'est pas?), cold, fire and electricity one time a day.

Number One Daughter, apparently a natural rogue alright, stated firmly that she would keep that.

Continuing on this passageway, they went into a room covered with spider webs with a dead goblin on the floor. "EWWW!" The giant spider there completely blew its Stealth roll, and even Milton saw it. "OH NO!" my son said, as I went for a miniature-- he apparently expected something much larger, and was slightly relieved to see the spider fit on a one inch square base. Regardless, the group immediately decided to completely bypass this room! Kaijitsu was stuck in the webs, but Slate and Milton broke free and ran past the spider, and Kaijitsu followed on the next turn.

There was a wand of Magic Missile in the goblin corpse I didn't want them to miss, so I detailed that, as they ran past it, they noticed several items scattered about it. Slate used Detect Magic to identify the wand there, and immediately wanted it. However, they seemed VERY leery about the spider. They charged it, striking at it and doing a fair bit of damage-- lots of fun explaining the ichor and bug goo leaking out of it!!-- but Slate was bit for four points of damage and posioned (-1 to hit, damage for 10 turns). That was enough for Kaijitsu and Slate to try and leave Milton behind to fight it, but he followed their lead and fled the room to.

Then they mocked Milton's cowardice! I had given Milton a young, breaking sort of voice, and had him full of trepidation and following whatever they did. However, I did point out that nobody else from Sandpoint had the guts to come with them EXCEPT for Milton, and they decided to cut him some slack. They went back and slew the spider, gathering the goblin's items-- Slate keeping the wand, Kaijitsu the 14 gold pieces, and they let Milton have the toy dragon (an item that might be useful later in the adventure, but apparently not very glorious to eleven and twelve year olds!)

Anyway, that was as far as we got in about two hours. Number Two Son was up from his nap and about, and it was time to get the family all back together again. The kids both seemed to enjoy it, and hopefully we can finish the adventure soon, possibly this weekend.


  1. The Jersey accent is killing me, haha. So who is Milton? A familiar? An NPC?

    Sounds like more beginner-RPG goodness...

  2. Great story, and wonderful that you can share this with your kigs, Andy!