Sunday, September 27, 2009

Update: Details of my first Pathfinder game--what actually happened.

Here are the details of the game you asked for.

I am playing something I’ve wanted to play for a while, a dwarven wizard who can cast in armor, a “fightin’ wizzie!”  Pathfinder’s rules have 2 feats that allow me a arcane failure reduction of 20% by 7th level I think.  Also, I want him to make his own magic armor, shield, and weapon eventually.

I decide to start him as a fighter at level 1, so as to not have to take feats in armor proficiency, and also to give him a boost in hp at low level.  By way of backstory justifying it I came up with the basic “His family was killed by an assault of Drow, and he watched most of them get killed by Drow  wizardry.  Now he wants to learn the ways of the wizard to seek his revenge some day.”  He is already a trained fighter, and for some years has been studying under a wizard master, who says he’s almost there, he just needs to clear his head a bit, go out and see and do things, and eventually those spells in the spellbook he is having so much trouble with will eventually come to him.  So he joined a bunch of people on a mission for hire.

We did the 4d6 dropping the lowest for character generation, and I came up with (after racial adjustments):
Rags the Dwarven Wizard-in-Training

Str 12
Dex 16
Con 17
Int 16
Wis 12
Cha 9

I dropped a point into Craft: Armor; Craft: Weapon; Knowledge: Engineering; Knowledge: Engineering; Ride.

Then we did something interesting: we took some background traits or stories which gave half a feat.  We are doing the Legacy of Fire adventure path, and I ended up taking Reactionary, giving me +2 initiative, and Reclaiming Your Roots, which gave me a masterwork Dwarven Waraxe.

The Dwarven Waraxe thing is cool because I planned on using one as a bonded item, and starting out with it as part of my backstory is damn neat, and it gives me a reason to have one.  Plus, a universalist wizard gets an ability to telekineticaly hurl and have return to me a weapon held in hand a few times a day. How cool is it to hurl my family heirloom bonded item a Dwarven Waraxe?  Totally unexpected for a wizard to even have one, the ability to use it, and a proficiency with it.  When it flies from the hand of a dwarven armored wizard who has a shield in his other hand, its gonna be neat.  Thankfully this group isn’t a bunch of min/maxers, so I can try out stuff like this.

The rest of the group consists of a druid with a big snake as a companion, and a cleric and a paladin who both follow the same god.  We are all NG or LG, though after the first session I decided to change to N to better reflect the character’s personality as it was coming out in-game.

The DM is a cool guy, a Yale University post doctoral student, with a German or Austrian accent I think.  It’s often like listening to Arnold Schwarzeneggar when he takes on the voices of the NPC’s. :)  It’s sometimes hard to understand his pronunciation of proper nouns, but he does a great job in every other department, and is very prepared, and takes a lot of pleasure in acting out the roles of the NPC’s in character.
So, the adventure begins with us traveling with a guy to meet his boss-lady, who wants to hire us to clear out/reclaim some town for her.  She is of a noble family, working for an overlord of the main city of the area.

As we approach the caravan she is in (desert setting), we see flames coming from camp.  We manage to help put out the fire in one of the wagons, but not before one unfortunate guy in the wagon was burned to death.  We are thanked, and asked to do the main mission, which is to clear out the town from gnolls.  I manage to haggle for a few hundred more gp each out of her.  Through all this I learned about something in the game we never did before–assisting another character in something.  We did it a lot with strength checks, and in talking to other people with diplomacy stuff.

We are also given a side mission–-to find out how the fire started, and if it was caused by someone.  My character, Rags the Dwarf, doesn’t believe in extra missions without extra pay, so he just goes through the motions and by way of “investigating members of the caravan” just hangs around the fire with the dirty, smelly, scruffy, greasy mercenaries, sharing cheap wine and feeling right at home.

The other members of the group do their jobs and ask everyone everything under the sun.  The guy who plays the cleric is an exceptional roleplayer, and he does a great job at asking questions and getting to know people.  Through it all, though, I am amazed at how many skill checks were made and for all manner of things.  Just during one conversation many skill checks were made for bluff diplomacy, sense motive, etc.  In my main group we never make such use of social skills, letting the scenarios be roleplayed out mostly and what you think about if someone is full of crap is what your character thinks.  For diplomacy, we live and die by what we say, not the roll of the dice, though our high skills can enhance it. The main determiner though is what the player says, not the character’s score.  There was also heavy use of knowledge checks.  Apparently these are all standard in most gaming circles in the 3.5 era, so when I say heavy, I mean in relation to the game I normally play in or run.

Anyhow, all signs point to one guy, the greasy smelly guide, who everyone thinks did it.  The rest of the group talks to him, and basically piss the guy off enough that he doesn’t  want to talk anymore.  He says he didn’t do it, it was little bad luck gremlin-like things that did it, and he hates gnolls, having had his whole family killed by them.  He now lives for revenge.

Rags the Wizard in Training, upon hearing this from other members of the group, takes a bottle of wine from the now-drunken mercenaries, walks over to the caravan guide (who is reputedly an expert at killing gnolls), sits down next to him and says basically “Hey buddy, you have hatred and want revenge, I have hatred and want revenge.  I don’t give a shit who killed the guy in the fire.  I don’t even care if it was you.  Have some wine and tell me how to kill gnolls so I can get more powerful and kill drow.”  It was a beautiful bonding moment.

Next up, the middle of the night mission to find and save the caravan’s prize goat.  We hear the sound off in the distance, and head out to investigate.  Rags is thinking “the hell with the goat, but if it’s dead, hey, we can have a good meal out of it maybe.”

So the thing is stuck in a cactus grove, which bordered a steep ravine filled with cacti.  It is also tied to a cactus, an obvious trap. I figure, lets head in, spring it, and beat the shit out of whoever set the trap once it’s sprung.  I didn’t count on losing 3 of my 13 hp from the perilous cacti in walking 3 rounds to get through the grove.  I also didn’t count on having to roll 10 different failed checks to just pick up the goat, cut the rope, and walk out of the grove.  Apparently these gremlin things cause bad luck, in that you have to make every roll twice when near them, and take the worst roll.  Of course, as soon as I managed to do so, the little gremlin thing jumps out from behind a cactus and starts shrieking at me.  I go to throw the goddamn goat down the ravine and into cactus trees so I can fight, but the rest of the group yell to me “No!  It’s the prize Goat!” I say “yell to me” because every one of them, including the brave Paladin, is safely on the other side of the cacti, and the other side of the fighting zone, 3 movement rounds away. Rags taunted the paladin whom I’ve dubbed “Brave Sir Robin” about this during the fight.

Apparently this shriek is a very special kind of shriek, usable once a day, that shatters metal.  Bye Bye family heirloom and future bonded item Masterwork Dwarven Waraxe.
Now Rags is pissed.  He pulls out the light crossbow and shoots and kills the little fucker, which was trapped by the druid with an entangle spell.  Still enraged, he picks the corpse up, and begins to drop-kick the corpse into the ravine to be impaled on cactus trees.  The rest of the group yells “No!  We need it as proof that the caravan guide was innocent!”  Note:  they yell this from safely behind the other side of the cactus grove.

Rags finishes the drop kick, and the gremlin thing goes flying.
He then picks up the shattered pieces of the Axe, hoping to repair it some day.

We return to camp, heroes of the hour again, for saving the little goat.  The cleric can’t heal me fully, having used his other cure light wounds on the goddamn goat who got fucked up running away from the gremlin thing after I dropped him.

We go to bed, planning to set out next day to clear something out as a prelude to clearing out the town.  Rags is planning his future goat dinner, cooked by fireball, once he figures out how to be a wizard.