Pathfinder: My First Experience

2011 has brought two new campaigns to my group.  One of them, which started Friday, is Pathfinder.  While I played D&D 3.x since it was released, I had never played or run Pathfinder until now.

After running the group through 4e Heroic and Paragon Tier, I was feeling a bit bogged down by all the tactical game play and drawn out combats that are common to the game.  While I do still love 4e (and our other campaign is a 4e Dark Sun game, which starts in two weeks, alternating Fridays with the Pathfinder campaign), not feeling the need to have to play with maps and minis was..liberating.

The campaign world is called “Europa” and is loosely based off of pre Dark-Ages Europe; though this is not a hard and fast rule as some lands are closer to Renaissance and the party is starting on the Avalonian Isles, which are essentially a fey-heavy fantasy version of England, Ireland and Scotland.

The player characters include:

  • Rain, half-elf barbarian who was brought up to hate the fey.
  • Nialli, Highland-born dwarven cleric of Thor.
  • Koloss, Nordland-born dwarven fighter.
  • Ario, elven alchemist
  • Artorios, human summoner

This first session was a little awkward, as all first sessions of a new campaign tend to be, but eventually the PCs joined up to solve a few mysteries happening around the village; an infestation of rats, three missing villagers, the plague (THE plague) and the slaughter of horses and dogs in the surrounding farms.

After some investigation, they discovered that one of the missing was a member of a cult dedicated to the Dark Mother of the Unseelie, Cailieach.  Another of the missing folk was a farmer whose family had died of the plague (and whose outhouse seemed to feed into the village sewers) and the final missing person was a noble lady who had disappeared when she had gone to the local slaughterhouse/butcher to obtain the week’s meat.  And so, the PCs went to the slaughterhouse, hoping to find out whether the noblewoman had actually ever arrived.

Once there, the owner of the slaughterhouse asked the head slaughterer/butcher, a skittish looking little man named Mr. Skit, to show the PCs around.  Mr. Skit couldn’t keep up his lies in the face of the blisteringly good Sense Motive rolls, so after admitting that he had a few “pet rats,” the PCs began to get threatening to him, so he showed his true colors.  Mr. Skit was a wererat!  Weapons were drawn, blood was spilled, though it took Rain to rage before they were able to get enough damage through damage reduction to severely affect the lycanthrope!

Now, the party is pretty sure that this cult of Cailieach has something to do with both the rat infestation and the missing persons in the village, so this week it’s into the sewers they go!

They still don’t have a clue as to the horse killings.

So what did I think of my first Pathfinder experience?  I enjoyed it, I’m pretty sure the players enjoyed it.  I’m definitely looking forward to the next session.  I found the changes to the 3.5 engine to be nice, though I’m still afraid that game play may suffer many of the same issues at higher levels that I found irksome in 3.x, but we’ll see.

[tags]actual play,gaming,pathfinder,PFRPG,Role Playing Games,Europa[/tags]

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