Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Apprentices, Pirates, and ... Pathfinder ?!

Where to start ... the Apprentices have been asking about Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay over the last two weeks because they really liked it after trying it out for a bit. However, I've run into a problem in that ever since 3rd Edition came out (a very different game, sort of a mix of board, card, and RPG by Fantasy Flight Games) I've had a hard time finding copies of the core rulebook for the second edition game. Well, difficulty finding it at prices I'm willing to pay, since I need two of them at least. I pick up at least one spare copy of the main book for most games I plan to run but I never got one for WFRP 2E - I'm wishing I had now. Regardless, right now it's an impediment to play. I'm also not sure I want to dig in to that game with them because it tends to have a very different atmosphere and different themes than a typical D&D campaign. It's pretty gritty, you tend to deal with a lot of ugliness, characters die easily, and I'm not sure it's the best way for the teens & tweens to spend their limited RPG time over the summer.

So I started looking for alternatives. They've asked about playing a pirate game for about a year now driven mainly by the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and the Savage Worlds powered Pirates of the Spanish Main. I'd really rather run 50 Fathoms for them which is just as piratey with more fantastic elements added in. I do like the system. The "plot-point" books are really handy for the DM to run as they have an overarching adventure running through them but they also have a ton of side adventures and random generators in the book along with a complete sandbox world to roam around in. So it's a full-on campaign in one book. The only downside here is that we would have to set aside another game as we have a lot of irons in the fire and not as much time as I would like.

Additionally they expect to have a recurring D&D game and we do have our 4E ToEE game going, but the combat time is a problem on weeknights, making it harder to fit in. They aren't as keen on Basic as they once were, and the Next playtest left them unexcited. So we're looking for a good D&D option here that we can play on a weeknight.

I've also been hearing almost universally good things about the Pathfinder Beginner Box. It has a lot of nifty components and is playable up to 5th level. I was looking for a way to introduce them to 3rd Edition last year and gave up in frustration at the prices for 3.5 PHB's and the lack of a good character generator as they do like their computer-made character sheets - they've been spoiled by 4E. Hero Lab just happens to have a free downloadable character generator for the Beginner Box - how convenient! A reasonably-priced currently supported version of third edition D&D that has a free chargen program - that's pretty much what I was looking for! Then I saw the latest Adventure Path:

It's Pathfinder Pirates, with the PC's starting off as press-ganged crew members on one pirate ship and then rising up through the ranks (and the levels) to do all sorts of cool things. That pretty much sold it for me.

So tonight I am surprising them after dinner by breaking open a brand-new box set and playing through the initial adventure to get them familiar with the system. We will likely use some of the supplemental adventures from the Paizo site as well and build up a small crew of low-level characters in the small town of Sandpoint. Once we've run through that I will offer them the pirate campaign option and that will likely be one of the main games for July.

What if they don't like the system? What if I don't like the system? Well, then it gets converted to 4th Edition (though I'm already doing a lot of converting) or maybe Savage Worlds (or maybe I chuck it and go ahead and do 50 Fathoms anyway), but my intention is to proceed as planned and see if we can run through the entire campaign by the end of the year. If that works out, well, the town of Sandpoint in the beginner box is the starting point for the Rise of the Runelords adventure path which is getting a shiny new anniversary edition in the near future. If it works out REALLY well, then maybe I won't have to run that one - maybe I'll get to play it.


Adam Dickstein said...

That's a lot of games in a lot of (albiet related) directions. I like it! Huzzah!

How much 3E have they played and how much did they like it? Pathfinder is basically D&D 3.X and tends to go well for those who miss the old girl in its third and change incarnation.

Blacksteel said...

It is a lot of games - I walked a fairly complicated 'path' to end up with Pathfinder, especially considering that it's a game I never intended to run. I considered trying to a do a WFRP Pirates thing but there's not a lot of supporting material for that kind of thing and I'm not looking to build it from scratch for a weeknight game - I'd like to have a book to run from.

They have not ever played 3rd edition. We tried once and they got bogged down in character creation and it never turned into an actual play session. I think for bringing people into 3rd Edition as a brand new game that Pathfinder is the best way to go right now. Last night went pretty well so I'll post it up a little later.