Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Pathfinder Update - End of February Edition

The game I'm running:
Wrath of the Righteous just completed Session #25 over the weekend and the party is just about finished with the Book 2. I'm happy with it and the players seem happy with it so it's an ongoing win.

Mass combat played a role in this part of the campaign and my guys enjoyed running an army quite a bit. We have named most of the individuals in their army, purely for the flavor when they take damage - "Oh no Sir So-and-So has fallen!"

So far Mythic has not broken the game, but from I have read Book 3 is where it gets hairy. We shall see. For now many of the mythic powers add some 4th edition flavor in their effects but they do typically take a point and a swift action to use so there are some clear limits on the power creep. Blaster is doing his best to push the limits of the system in one way as he keeps taking "more points" as his mythic ability to enable him to keep his initial choice of "extra shots/swings" going for every round of a typical combat. It's an interesting choice - find one or two powers you like and then use other choices to fuel them.

I am also having better luck tinkering with the difficulty of the encounters as having six mythic characters in play instead of the designed-for four makes the encounters far less challenging than they are supposed to be. Plus I think the AP's in general lean towards the  I'll share some details on that process in a separate post.

The game I'm playing:
Kingmaker rolls on once per month and it's a lot of fun. We've finished Book 1, slain the Stag Lord, and founded our kingdom. Book 2 has kicked off with a whole bunch of kingdom building and that's been interesting though I admit I am ready to get back to some more personal adventuring. Sir Ivan Zhukov (Russian name, French accent - don't ask me why) is now 4th level and in charge of the fledgling realm's military forces - which consist of Sir Ivan Zhukov and his mighty charger Fesarius - for now.

Coming at it from the perspective of taming and conquering a region has made for a somewhat different game than the usual looting for personal game approach. I don;t think I've ever hung as many bad guys, even in a western, as I have in this campaign. Having a legal writ in-hand, and as a prop in my actual hand, does do interesting things.

Paladin Steve is pretty happy because it's the first campaign that he's run for more than a year and that's a pretty big milestone after decades of being a player almost exclusively. Congratulations man!

Stuff I'm not playing
The Giantslayer AP kicked off this month with the first of the six installments. I've skimmed it, I'll read it once I get some time and I may even post some thoughts on it. After the "everything to 11" AP Wrath of the Righteous, the very distinct flavor of Mummy's Mask, and the Pathfinder 40,000 of Iron Gods I think this one is going to feel like the most traditional D&D style adventure path since Rise of the Runelords. I'm fine with that. It's definitely on the "I'd like to play or run that someday" list, exact ranking to be determined later.

I also picked up the Emerald Spire superdungeon this month. After a quick run-through I like it, but those levels are relatively small. I know they were limited by the size of the flip-mats as they wanted to do one for each level, but I'm thinking some of them could have been double-sized levels and we could have used two maps side by side to create some larger levels. With 16 of them there's no lack of content, and I appreciate the challenge of working within a set of constraints. I still would have liked some bigger playgrounds here and there. I'm not sure what percentage of people picking up the book will also pick up the flip-mats but unless you're only selling them as a package it seems a little forced as far as design constraints go. Regardless of my issue here, even if you look at a flip-mat as somewhere between a quarter to a half a page of notebook-sized graph paper, that's comparable to 4-8 levels of old-school dungeon and that's fine.

I have the Thornkeep book as well which covers the surrounding region and I think a pretty decent and very traditional type of campaign could be run with those two items. Couple of "home base" type towns, a wilderness area with various sites of interest, some power groups with a web of relationships in place, and a nice big dungeon to focus on is a nice start for a more sandbox type game than most APs. There's no plot going on, just an interesting region to explore.

That's the Pathfinder rundown - more on non-Pathfinder stuff tomorrow!

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