Monday, February 20, 2012

Family Gaming with Pathfinder Beginner Rules

What happens if, after you take your brother-in-law and your nephews through the Beginner Box dungeon, you say, "Well, they're in Sandpoint already, I just want to pick up with an adventure in Sandpoint.  Hasn't Paizo published a good adventure based in Sandpoint?"  So you pick up Rise of the Runelords: Burnt Offerings.*  And you can't be bothered to convert anything in the volume from 3.5 to PFB that isn't already statted in the PFBB Game Master's Guide, so you just fly with it as is, concentrating more on the narrative structure and making adjustments and rulings on the fly as needed.  I'll tell you what happens: An awesome Sunday of gaming.

Now, it takes some thought.  Burnt Offerings is an adult adventure, and I dialed a number of elements back to be appropriate for 5/6th graders.  It still worked beautifully.

Minerva (Merisiel reskinned), my brother-in-law's character, is getting obsessed on a by a certain young nobleman from Magnimar, much to my nephews' delight.  The dwarven cleric of Gorum successfully downed the water from the Hagfish's tank, to great acclaim.  The handsome elf fighter was tricked into smooching a certain General Store owner's amorous daughter and getting caught.  Oh, to see the sixth grade boy wracking his brains and getting help from his dad over how to come out of the situation all in one piece, while he blushed furiously!  And they're making plans, and buying better weapons, and negotiating with NPCs.  And, of course, killing goblins.  Lots of goblins.  Okay, they were 2nd level after the dungeon, so I threw even more goblins at them, making them really earn that heroic status.  A combination of smart planning and great dice rolls made long fights have sudden, dramatic victories that rewarded the boys for slogging it out with the maniacal little pyros.  Above all, Paizo's reimagination of goblins continues to be a hit with new audiences -- everybody loved them.  They are, as Las Vegas has it, just the right amount of WRONG.

Also, a shout-out to Callous Jack: I finally made your paper minis and used them along with the BB pawns.  Even if I still cut, fold, and glue at about the same skill level as I did in second grade, they are fun, handy, and economical.

So, this Mythopoeic Monday, I wish you all happy play. 

* Still available in PDF if you can't find the out-of-print paper, but the entire Adventure Path is being republished, in hardback, in an updated version.


  1. This is quite fantastic and I hope you have plans to chronicle this adventure as it goes; running Rise of the Runelords was a lot of fun and I've been anxious for the hardcover reprint--one of the burs in the saddle was how tremendously difficult some of the encounters could be on first blush (looking at you, Mokmurian!)

    I imagine you're probably already familiar with the material, but just in case I expect you'll want to make changes through book three in particular--the Graul family is thoroughly nasty.

    Nevertheless, the fun with the Golarion treatment of goblins alone is worth the price of admission for new players and I think it's a fine thing you've done to transition them from the beginner box to such an epic adventure; Runelords has a great variety too--and between the haunted manor to potentially running Fort Rannick and eventually tracking down ancient cities, they're sure to have a blast!

    So, please do write about the family's ongoing adventures! :)

  2. Sounds like a real good time Doc, I was unaware that the BB held a Sandpoint adventure. That's our favorite settlement to run out of.

  3. The first time my girls faced goblins they hid. I think they were 3rd level at the time. The three girls definitely can be "bloodthirsty", but it was funny to watch them discover the greenskins for the first time.

    How do Paizo's goblins differ btw?

  4. This sounds great, Theo! I've spent all weekend working on stuff and telling myself, "As soon as I finish this, the girls and I will get to play Pathfinder." It hasn't exactly worked out that way, because we ended up watching Harry Potter movies. (Mom's not into RPGs, but will watch a fantasy movies with us.)

    Still aiming for some gaming, this afternoon. :D