Friday, April 17, 2015

The Pathfinder Chronicles: Master of the Fallen Fortress, Part Three

Our Band of Adventurers
  • Strider, a Kellid Ranger hailing from the rural nation of Nirmathas. He is a quiet individual, dealing death with his twin blades. 
  • Morrigan, a Half-Orc Witch born in the Hold of Belkzen. She has made a pact with a mysterious entity and wishes to learn more about it. 
  • Pix, a Tiefling Alchemist of Varisian descent. He is a shrewd potion merchant and something of a pyromaniac. 
  • Firarli, a Half-Elf Rogue born from the union of a Mordant Spire elf and Ulfen sailor. She was banished from her secretive home and hopes to learn more about the world. 
  • "Coach", a strange Half-Elf bard who randomly appeared out of nowhere. Very little is known about him beyond his strange speech pattern.

After dealing with a troglodyte ambush, the adventurers slowly made their way up the ever-present spiral staircase. Once they were on the next floor, they quickly dispatched a pair of giant frogs, but had trouble dealing with a swarm of hungry bats and two fiery skeletons lurking within a destroyed chapel of Nethys. 

The group continued to explore the ruined tower, finally stumbling upon the troglodyte named Tulok and more members of the small tribe. The fight was tough, but they managed to overcome the subterranean humanoids and learned Tulok was not the actual leader, but merely a figurehead. The tribe's shaman, Tasskar, was the actual leader of the group.

They also found Balenor, but not in the best condition. He was chained within one of the smaller chambers, covered in filth, missing one of his legs. Based on the the bloody knives and other equipment within the room, they figured out the troglodytes were planning to use the unfortunate Pathfinder as a ready food source.

Once they freed him, Balenor quickly thanked the group and offered them the equipment found within the nearby chest to take care of Tasskar in the upper floor. As soon as they were ready, they made their way up the stairs for the final battle.

While things started out well, it went downhill as soon as they throw a bomb at the shaman's head and blew it up. That final explosion destabilized the already shaky tower, causing part of it to collapse. Thanks to their quick reflexes, the group managed to catch each other and ended up dangling over the edge. 

As soon as they were on safe footing, the group made their way back down, picking up Balenor on the way and returned to Absalom. Having completed their mission, they passed the final test and became official Pathfinders. They also learned that Balenor would be their Venture-Captain, and would be traveling with him on his small ship, the Naiad.  

Monday, April 6, 2015

Dungeon Delvers: Musings About a Rules-Light Roleplaying Game

What danger awaits these brave dungeon delvers?
There's only one way to find out...
Occasionally while you're hanging out with a few of your friends, you get this urge to roll some dice, explore some dungeons, kill some monsters, and find some treasure. However, you don't want to pull out the good, ol' rulebooks because you really don't want to deal with all those cumbersome rules and just want to have some fun around the table. 

Recently, I've been toying with a really simple game that would allow that. I'm currently calling it "Dungeon Delver". The goal of this is to create something that's easy to pull out and get started playing in just a few minutes. Currently, I'm still in the brainstorming stage, but I thought I'd post some of my ideas and get some feedback and possibly some additional ideas. 

As the name implies, players will create an adventurer that'll allow them to explore ancient ruins and dangerous dungeons. Each adventurer has an "Adventuring Level" ranging from 1 to 5. Unless told otherwise, players create new adventurers at 1st level and gain a new level each time they obtain 2,000 GP worth of treasure. 

Dungeon Delver won't have classes. Instead, players create 3 "knacks" and 2 "flaws" for their character (with GM approval, of course). Knacks represent something the adventurer is good at, while flaws obviously represent something they're bad at. 

During play, players will make tests when attempting to do something that has serious repercussions for failure. This done by rolling 2d6, adding the results and the adventurer's level together. The test succeeds if the result is equal to or greater than 10. Knacks associated with the test grant a +2 bonus while flaws give a -2 penalty. Adventurers who have an advantage with the test roll 3d6 and keep the 2 dice with the better results. Disadvantage works the same way, but you keep the 2 with the worst results instead. 

All adventurers receive a number of "Life Points" equal to 1d6. Each time they gain a level, they roll a number of d6 equal to their new level. This new result is their new Life Point total. All weapons deal 1d6 points of damage. During combat, you make tests to both hit a target or dodge an attack. When an adventurer reaches 0 Life Points, they fall unconscious and bleed out for a number of rounds equal to their level. Afterwords, they die. An adventurer can be stabilized by a successful test. However, during combat, this test is made at a disadvantage. 

This is the general blueprint of rules that I have at the moment. I'm still working out how magic will work, thinking I'll just keep it free-form by utilizing the same test mechanic representing if the casting was successful or not. I'm also wondering if I should lower the number of knacks and flaws a character has and maybe refine some of the other mechanics to make things as easy as possible. Feel free to give me any advice or ideas. They are greatly appreciated. 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Pathfinder Unchained Preview: A Few Thoughts

Last year at PaizoCon, Pathfinder Unchained was announced. This upcoming supplement will supposedly shake up your game by introducing new rules and ideas that change fundamental aspects of the game. However, that's not all. The book will also contain four "unchained" versions of certain classes: the Barbarian, the Monk, the Rogue, and the Summoner. We've received a few snippets about some of the changes for these classes, but nothing major, so many Pathfinder fans have been speculating about the class for the past few months. 

Until now. 

Yesterday, Paizo released a blog that revealed some of the big changes that will be made to these classes. Because Pathfinder is my go-to fantasy roleplaying game and I've done this for most of their major rulebook releases, I thought I'd give my thoughts and opinions about these changes. 

Let's start with the Barbarian. Like most Pathfinder players, I was confused about this class' inclusion in Pathfinder Unchained. The Barbarian is actually a pretty solid class and I feel its spot should have gone to the Fighter. However, they've explained the reason they decided to unchain her is to simplify her. That makes more sense. They're making rage much easier to use at the table by cutting out all the calculations you have to do when entering it. They're also simplifying some of the rage powers and buffing others. The example they give is Rage Climbing. This power normally just gives you a bonus to Climb while raging. Now it will just give you a Climb speed. I still wish the Fighter had gotten this slot, but I'm okay with what they're doing with the Barbarian. 

Next is the Monk. I've always had a problem with Pathfinder's version of the class. You can actually go back to the first few posts of this blog and see that. I'm glad its one of the classes getting a unchained version and I like what I'm seeing. I'm happy its getting a full base attack bonus and a d10 hit die, and I love the idea of focusing the class around ki powers and allowing that layer of customization (which is an idea I've been toying around with for awhile). I'm totally on bored for this alteration and can't wait to see it. 

I'm also happy to hear about the changes to the Rogue. She gets an ability that allows her to hamper her enemies in combat, an ability to do cool things with her skills that only she gets, some of her rogue talents are getting a good boost, and she apparently gets Weapon Finesse as a bonus feat as well as being able to add Dexterity to damage! These sound awesome and I hope it means the Rogue won't be horrible anymore.

Finaly, we'll talk about the Summoner. Unlike the Monk and the Rogue, the Summoner was included to bring it more in-line with the other classes by simplifying its eidolon and fixing its spell list. Now, you pick an outsider theme for your eidolon and I believe can customize it from there. Also, they'll be reworking the spell list so it won't have some really stupidly releveled wizard spells. That's all good in my book. 

What do you think about these changes in Pathfinder Unchained? Are you excited for them? Are you dreading theme? I'd love to know. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

The Times They Are A Changin'

I'll do my best to keep this brief. Nearly two years ago, I set a specific schedule for myself on this blog. I made sure I would try my hardest to post something every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. While I would occasionally break that schedule, I tried to keep those instances few and far in between. 

However, I've had trouble keeping that schedule this year. My life has gotten a little more hectic and since I just got a new job, I don't see that changing anytime soon. Because of that, I'm going to be altering my posting schedule slightly. Instead of a MON/WED/FRI schedule, I'll only be making posts on Monday & Friday for the foreseeable future. 

I feel like this new schedule will make things easier on myself, allow me to make sure the two posts I do turn out are of a higher quality, and will work better with my new work schedule. I hope to return to the original schedule at some point, but for now, this is how it will be. I just wanted too give a head's up to everyone. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Halflings for Pathfinder Beginner Box

Recently, I've been toying with the idea of running an open table Pathfinder campaign at my FLGS. However, instead of using the full set of rules, I thought it would be easier to use the streamlined version found within the Beginner Box.

With that being said, I have a few additions and changes I'll be making to the content presented within the Hero's Handbook, mostly to give the players a few more options and make things easier. The first addition I want to make is a fourth race, which should be obvious based on the title of this post. 

I understand why Paizo decided to not add small races to the Beginner Box, especially when you consider some of the added layer of complication they add to the game with weapon and armor sizes. 

However, I feel like it's relatively easy to create a simplified version of the halfling for use with the Beginner Box rules. Here's my rough draft. 

Ability Scores: You add 2 to Dexterity and Charisma, and subtract 2 from your Strength score.

SpeedYou have a base speed of 20 feet (4 squares). When wearing medium or heavy armor, your speed is reduced to just 10 feet (2 squares). 

Small Size: You are a smaller size than other races. This grants you a +4 bonus on Stealth skill checks. However, you can't wield two-handed melee weapons. 

Fearless: You are incredibly brave, possessing a knack for staying cool in harrowing situations. You receive a +2 bonus on saving throws against fear effects.

Keen Senses: You are good at spotting details. You receive a +2 bonus on Perception skill checks. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Pathfinder Chronicles: Master of the Fallen Fortress, Part Two

Our Band of Adventures

  • Strider, a Kellid Ranger hailing from the rural nation of Nirmathas. He is a quiet individual, dealing death with his twin blades. 
  • Morrigan, a Half-Orc Witch born in the Hold of Belkzen. She has made a pact with a mysterious entity and wishes to learn more about it. 
  • Nonali, a Gnome Bard from the strange land of Numeria. She has a hunger for knowledge, wanting to know everything about everything. 
  • Pix, a Tiefling Alchemist of Varisian descent. He is a shrew potion merchant and something of a pyromaniac. 
  • Sarkeesh, a Vudrani Cavalier from the island kingdom of Jalmery. He used to be a criminal and hopes to redeem himself. 
  • Firarli, a Half-Elf Rogue born from the union of a Mordant Spire elf and Ulfen sailor. She was banished from her secretive home and hopes to learn more about the world. 

When we last left our heroes, the group had stumbled upon a gang of young troglodytes upon the upper floor of the Fallen Fortress. Having discovered the existence of the reptilian humanoids due to the footprints found earlier, the heroes were ready to fight. They made quick work of the inexperienced troglodytes, leaving one to question.

Although the language barrier made the interrogation difficult, the adventurers managed to learn the troglodytes were being led by a particularly strong specimen named Tulok. The captive also mentioned they captured a "fleshy" and have been keeping him upstairs. Having gained this information, the group dispatched with the captive and moved forward.

They entered the next room, which appeared to be filled with pools of water, broken shelves, and other miscellaneous debris. While the room appeared to be abandoned at first glance, the group discovered it to be the den of an infant shocker lizard. Although they were first hesitant towards the creature, Strider noticed it seemed rather happy to see them and managed to win the little reptilian over, deciding to keep him as his own. 

After exploring the rest of the floor (and setting off a javelin-based trap), the group's noise (specifically Pix's urge to use rather loud bombs) drew the attention of troglodytes from the upper floors, who ambushed them as they approached the stairs. A fight broke out and once again, the heroes were victorious. 

Once they defeated this group of troglodytes, the group made their way up the stairs, wondering what they'd find waiting for them. I'll give you a hint, it's probably going to be more troglodytes.

Tune in next time for the conclusion of the Pathfinder recruits' very first adventure!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Gaming With Depression

Today, I want to talk about something a little more serious than normal topics on this blog. Something I've wanted to discuss for awhile, but always sat to the side for one reason or another. However, I feel like I'm ready to finally pull it off the shelf, blow off the dust that has collected atop it, and give it the spotlight it deserves.

However, before I begin, I feel like I need to confess something. The reason why I feel an urge to discuss this topic is because I have a personal state in the matter. A few years ago, I was diagnosed with a depressive disorder. It's something I deal with on a day by day basis, some of which I'm better at handling it than others.

Like most people, I play tabletop games because I personally enjoy them. However, I also play them because they give me a chance to leave the problems that bother me in everyday life. I know that sounds stereotypical, but it's true.

Unfortunately, I occasionally can't achieve that when I sit down at the table. When I happen to be in a really bad depressive state, I can't enjoy the things I usually love. I try my hardest to force myself to have a good time, but it never works. I know I'm not alone in this regard, so I want to give people who might be feeling this right now some advice about the topic and for those who care about said person ways for you to help them in their time of need.

While the advice I'm going to give you might seem hard to accept, it really is probably the best thing you can do for yourself when you're in a depressive state. Don't force yourself to play if you don't feel up to it. Don't be afraid to take a step back from the table and take a short hiatus from gaming all together. That might sound like heresy, but honestly your mental health is more important than the game and should be your first priority. Return to the gaming table only when you personally feel up to it.

Now, you might not personally be suffering from depression, but you might have a friend who is. You've noticed a change in attitude and they just see to be a little different at the table, like they aren't having as much fun, even though they're smiling and laughing. You want to help, but you don't know how.

Honestly, the best thing you can do for your friend is to listen to them and be understanding of their situation. Allow them to express themselves to you, talk about how they're feeling, and don't judge them for it. Understand they're having a hard time and make it clear that you're there to give them someone to lean on and will support them no matter what.

Also, be patient with them. Don't try to force them to feel better because that will most likely backfire. Just stand beside them and help them along their own path, letting them move at their own pace and speed.

I hope this advice helps someone who's experiencing this at the moment or knows someone who might be. Depression is a serious issue and is misunderstood by so many people. Sometimes, we all need a little help.