Jul 062010

Image by: Ross Catrow

I had some pretty excellent sessions in my time at Origins. I’ve written about some of them already, and my expanded takes on the rest are coming soon. However, I don’t think that anything I did at Origins will stick out in my memory more than The Cheese Grinder.

I wrote about it during my on-sire coverage, but if you missed that, The Cheese Grinder is a tournament that has been a long-standing tradition at Dragon*Con, and it made its first appearance at Origins this year.

The premise is this: using the standard Pathfinder rules, make the biggest, baddest, cheesiest 11th level character that you can (or grab one of their not-awful pregens) and play in a round-robin tournament, surviving for as long as you can. The Cheese Grinder consists of a series of randomly-chosen challenge rooms and pits you against traps, monsters, puzzles, riddles, and… well, almost anything you could think of. Each room has a time limit assigned to it, and if you don’t solve the room in the allotted time, then you move on to the next, albeit with a negative level hanging around your neck.

The tournament itself lasted for 48 hours, and those that qualify move on to the finals. How do you qualify? By winning an award, of course. The awards are as follows:

The Energizer Bunny – The most consecutive hours played, or, the most hours played, in total.

The Crispy Critter – The player whose character died by having taken to most damage from one attack.

What Do You Mean I’m Already Dead? – For the player whose character dies the fastest.

The WTF – For the player that says or does the thing that makes everyone go, “What the F**k?”

The Gouda Award – Most Rooms Completed – Pretty self-explanatory.

Best Role-Player – Again, doesn’t take much to figure this one out.

My time in The Cheese Grinder was both fun and interesting. I think I lasted as long as I did because I was the only player for the back half of my session. Still, the length of time that I spent there didn’t end up mattering all that much since I won the Crispy Critter for having my character die with -443HP.

For my troubles, I won some nifty prizes and got a spot in the Finals. For the audio of my time in The Cheese Grinder, just click on this.

The finals were much different than the Grinder itself. Instead of working together to complete rooms, we were paired into teams to do battle, deathmatch-style. The first team to 10 kills, or to have the highest total when time ran out, would be the winning team. The King of Cheese would be determined by the losers and the GMs voting on whom they thought was the most valuable/effective of the winning team.

The folks I played with seemed like a good bunch of people. We all got along well, and aside from some contentiousness during the later stages of the Finals, everything went smoothly. You can give the Finals a listen by tapping this with your clicker.

The Cheese Grinder is something that I recommend everyone try, especially if you like Pathfinder. I intend to try again next year, but I plan on making my own character to see what I can bring to the table.

[tags]Origins, rpg, rpgs, role playing games, The Cheese Grinder, Actual Play[/tags]

About Tracy

I love games, and I love to write about games. Hopefully when I write about games, you'll find something to like. I actively play Pathfinder and Savage Worlds, but am always willing to give something new a try. Follow me on Twitter, and check out my openly developed campaign setting for Pathfinder, Savage World, and Fate: Sand & Steam.

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