Most of our posts so far have been more of the Travelling and less of the Nerd. Not so with this one. Last weekend I decided to invite some friends over and play a table-top role playing game. Something that, unfortunately, I haven’t had the time or opportunity to do for some time. The holidays usually get in the way of any regular schedule of gaming and, let’s face it, even I would be hard pressed to prioritize gaming ahead of Thanksgiving or Christmas gatherings.
I’ve been looking for something I could run with just a few (in this case, two) players for a while. I really have enjoyed many of the 4th edition D&D games I’ve run or played in the past, but it’s really difficult to do so with less than 3-4 players. And recently, it’s been difficult to coordinate weekend schedules with more than a couple of players at once. I could run something in the White Wolf genre of games, few of them require more than a couple of players, but those games don’t grab me quite as much as fantasy games do. So, I decided on Pathfinder. It builds on the 3.5 D&D rules set and as long as someone can heal and someone can find traps and open locks, you end up only really needing those few characters.
Another important factor I wanted to account for was the ability to easily add in new players or allow existing players to temporarily leave the campaign without disrupting the game. I had an idea for a theme for the campaign, but wasn’t exactly certain how to handle players possibly coming and going. I stumbled upon the Pathfinder Society modules, though, and realized this was the perfect solution. Each of these modules assumes that all of the PCs are members of an in-game society called the Pathfinder Society. This group is basically a bunch of adventurers that catalogue their adventures, recover ancient artifacts, and, in general, do the things that adventurers typically do. In the main campaign setting, this group has outposts in all the major cities and there are countless members across the world. So, it’s incredibly easy to justify a new PC showing up in just about any location or one needing to leave to do other work for the society. Of course, this is the basis of how the gaming organization for Pathfinder functions to allow players to easily bring in a character to any of these modules.
I didn’t really like all of the rules presented in the Pathfinder Society rules for character creation and organized events. For instance, each character is supposed to be built using the point buy system, which is fair, definitely, but not very interesting. Also, the Pathfinder Society limits characters to 12th level. None of my players wanted to impose this limitation on their characters and I really wanted to have the option for slightly more powerful characters considering we would start the campaign with only 2 players. Ultimately, we stayed close to the Pathfinder Society creation rules, but with a few things here and there that differed.
Overall, I think the first session went rather well. The players seemed to enjoy themselves and we didn’t have any real kinks with the rules while we were playing. Of course, everyone was just first level so there weren’t a ton of complicated options. The module played really well and it was really easy to run. It was overall well written and I think I may well run several more in the future.
Perhaps I can encourage NerdMom to put up a post describing the game experience from the perspective of a player. Hopefully, it won’t be a very scathing review of my game mastering.