Pathfinder RPG – Play Report Two by Rvelasco

Posted: January 20, 2012 by rvel in Actual Play, Articles, Pathfinder, Roleplaying Games
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There was much delay on the second session, and most of it is because of real-life reasons.  First, we changed sites.  Since the original site was rather noisy, a player suggested to game on his own house.  While I am very thankful for the change of venue, our exodus did take away some from our game time, so we had less finished during this session.  Second complication was that I was suddenly flooded by so many players.  When originally, we only had four players (which is the best number of players for a DND/PF module-run game) that number suddenly doubled… in one day!  Yup, 8 players, so I answered character creation questions, and was forced to make sudden changes out-of-module, to introduce these new characters, and to make their appearance as logical as possible.

The session seems like a success, but it was taking too long.   This was supposedly a pre-adventure, an introductory “tutorial” game to let the guys get a grasp at their characters before the game’s actual start.  Thus, I’m allowing them to tweak their characters throughout this pre-adventure.  But I was expecting this pre-adventure/tutorial game to only be one-session long.  But now, it’s lasted more than two.  So saying I’m delayed is an understatement of sorts.  I’ve finally decided to finish this introductory adventure next session, by hook or crook.

Something of note was that most of the guys weren’t too happy about being duped by an impersonating villain.  (That, or disappointed that the cute loli character they were eagerly protecting turned out to be a backstabbing villain in disguise)  I know there’s a GM guide/text around that says “duping” characters isn’t a nice practice, but alas, the “duping” was originally in the module, but I may have tweaked it a little too much to be more deceptive and potentially dangerous.  Also, that’s an important lesson about the price to be paid for not purchasing ranks in Sense Motive.    Their highest ranking “Cal Lightman” character was the elf cleric, who had an even +7 to his Sense Motive roll.  This was Blake, however, who was constantly plagued with bad rolls – sense motive rolls included.  The villain had high bluff and disguise ranks, so they never saw it coming.

Another thing of note is Arj’s character, the halfling merchant, who has echoes of Pointyman’s Roscoe (his Gnome character) albeit much, much less helpful to the party — though the guys don’t seem to mind and treats him like a comic relief character, or a sidebar character like Bodahn Feddic from Dragon Age.   Being genuinely hilarious, I was torn between giving him a hero point for roleplaying his character well, but doing so would seem like rewarding inaction during a dangerous situation.  I just ran with my gut and rewarded roleplaying over tactical decisions.  I’m still wondering if I made the right move rewarding him.

There was also a lengthy rules-lawyering discussion about Blindness and Ranged Attacks, and whether Ranged attacks was visually dependent.  One of the players got somewhat irked at the fact that he can’t do anything when blinded.  He was, of course, a ranged attacker.  By text, ranged attacks had a 100% fail rate while blinded, (the operative word being ranged attacks requiring “line of sight” thus, is a visually based check).  But we simply resolved it with a compromise of sorts – instead of a 100% fail rate to all ranged attacks, we made Blindness a less crippling condition for ranged attackers and gave every enemy of a Blind character full concealment. (James Jacobs said in a post that any ability that completely shuts down an entire class’s abilities is of bad design, so I decided to adopt that line of thinking with regard to this decision.)

Whew.  Now, perhaps the biggest challenge I have left is to readjust the modules I have lined up.  Especially since most of these adventures were made for four players only.  And now that I’m running for double that number – Eight Players! – the loots, XP, and much of the module’s mechanical boons, must be rebalanced for the player’s character progression.  I fear for my free time.

Anyway, that’s it in a nutshell.  Details on the narrative and story (or the absence thereof… but hey, its a dungeon crawl) are written down below, but it’s VERY LONG, so…

To make things simple, I’ll divide the summaries into 2:  Team One and Team Two.  Team One consists of the prior group – The Owlbear barbarian, the necroelf cleric, the nobleman on the run, and the serpent druid.  Team Two consists of the new members, the mercantile team of halfling merchant, gunslinger, and dragon-man.

TEAM ONE: Descending the Dark
– Team One finally entered the underground monastery, trying to find a way to get back against their dark elven adversaries.  Discovering that the spiral staircase down was a very long journey, they descended into the darkness.  None, even their half-elven scout’s eyes, could see the bottom of the stairwell.  But down at the bottom, they found marvelous sights, like an ancient statue depicting the elves prior their self-exile, their eyes made of emerald gemstones, now filled with underground moss, and in it, an elven song of regret is etched in a bastardized version of the elven language.  The song was cryptic, and spoke of The Stars falling and the Sun’s flames raining, of a goddess’s pain and tears, and their people being saved by a Wanderer in the dark when hope was long lost.  Its meaning was lost to those who read it, except for the elven cleric, who coldly calculated that such a construct must fetch a good value in the market, since it’s a valuable archeological find relating to the elves’ pre-exile.

Finally deciding to leave the artifact, they pushed on, into that large door before them – and opened it, seeing a gargantuan dragon statue before them.  Vellara, their child-guide, urged them to touch the inside of the dragon, claiming that what they see as a statue was just a clever illusion.  The Owlbear moves forward, unfearful of any peril, and though suspicious, pushes his hand through the illusion, finding a small latch inside.  He pulls it and the floor immediately crumbles to nothing, the stone door closes shut, and everyone begins to fall, landing on the trap’s waters beneath them, 60 feet below.  The Owlbear, expecting the “trap” held onto the wall, only falling 30 feet, but holding onto a loose stone with his claws.  Many tried to grab onto Vellara, in hopes of saving her from a bad fall, but they were surprised to se her floating above them, “levitating” like a dark elf, and with red eyes like a dark elf, smiling, speaking to her ‘mistress’ that their little interference was dealt with.  She also informed her mistress about the Baroness and her daughter being left unprotected in the city, who “could be the one they sought.”  With that, she teleported away.

Wet and angry, the group struggled to get their bearings.  Nearly everyone, those wearing heavy armor included, managed to stay afloat – except for Thia, who, not knowing how to swim, immediately sunk into the murky water.  And luckily, while drowning down below, saw that they were not alone.  The nobleman immediately rushed to help her, but while down below, both saw a movement in the waters: something huge, and something serpentine.  They immediately sought air and warned everyone that there was something below.  Just at that time, an enormous eel-like creature rose from the depths and bit deep against the defenseless (and drowning) serpent-druid, almost killing her.  The nobleman immediately dragged her with him to safety, and urged the elven cleric to throw a rope above, to the stones 60 feet above them.  Aiming true, the elf managed to snag his grappling hook at the loose stone near the stone door.  And he slowly tried to climb up, away from the waters.  Unfortunately, he discovered that the waters were also filling up rapidly, filling the room with water that could eventually drown them all.  Worse, he discovered that due to his heavy armor, he could not climb fast enough to overtake the rising waters.  With the serpent-druid bleeding and nearly dying, the blood in the murky waters awakened the eel-like creature’s mate, and it also rose from its hole to feed.  The waters rising, and the group being ill-equipped to battle while drowning, they called forth for the Owlbear to help them.  But the Owlbear ignore their pleas, and decide to climb higher, opting to double his speed so he can return back to the doorway. (Yes, the party doesn’t really have good teamwork, nor a good team spirit)  But “luckily” he botched his climb roll, and he fell splashing into the water, forcing him to fight the water creatures once and for all.  Eventually, despite the serpent-druid almost dying twice in a row, they managed to slay the creatures, and with the help of the Owlbear, climbed up the rope into the stone door above.  The waters quickly rising up to meet them, they tried to bash the door open, but it held – so the Owlbear used the full complement of its attacks against it, struggling to break it open.  FInally, the waters rose to engulf everyone under the water – and with a final blow to the stone, it finally broke, pushing them into the dry land on the other side.

Then, knowing that every second counted.  They didn’t spend time to breathe or gather their strength, but instead ran off back up to the surface, where they feared for their charges, and what the dark elves had in plan for them.

TEAM TWO:  They’re Late!

When Team One smuggled the Baroness and her daughter away from the Capital of Cheliax, the second group was assigned to be the distraction for the pursuers.  (To solidify their claim in the story, I made it so that random sights they saw in the past were actually “clues” that they were being followed by their comrades.  Like the mysterious smoke in the first session, turns out to be an an ambush that involved burning a tree.  To this day, I do not understand why they *had* to burn that tree.  But first things first… the new players:

Played by Arjuna, We have an unscrupulous halfling merchant, who uses his Intelligent Baboon servant as a pack animal.  He joined the Red Branch because they travel a lot, and with travel comes a chance to sell, sell, and sell.  He also never gives anything for free to any of his comrade-in-arms.  Unless they provide him an equal offer in return.  So far, he has taken as “mercantile partners” the gunslinger (to provide him guns to sell), and the cleric (who promises to save his life with spells when he’s bleeding in the floor).

Played by Vicente, We have the blunderbuss-wielding gun-merchant, who gives any customer of his the secret weapon for winning any war, encounter, or rebellion: namely, guns.  Part Clint Eastwood, part Tony Stark, and Part Nicholas Cage Lord of War – he also joined the Red Branch for the mercantile opportunities, particularly in arming desperate people who wants secret weapons for their private causes.

Played by Victor, We have a Loreseeker, who travels with these merchants in hopes to stumble upon a civilization or anything that would forward his research in magic.  He professes that he just woke up one day, and had the utter (psychotic) belief that he was a dragon.  In accepting his strange fate, he allowed himself to be changed to better suit his destiny, and has synched, merged, and fused his own essence to that of a Draconic creature.  Now, convinced that the answers to his questions (be it magic or his bloodline) can be found in the ruins long forgotten, he joined the Red Branch for this purpose.

The secondary team was sent to accompany the first team, with their leader, Red Vayle, getting worried – realizing that the first team he sent were all impulsive by nature.  It was a worry that had a good basis, actually, since the group has been missing from the meeting point for nearly two whole days.  “They’re Late!”   So this small ragtag team of merchants and loreseekers were sent to investigate.  Following their tracks, they eventually stumbled upon the village of Serpent’s Bluff, now filled with the chaos of a small town under siege.   The gunslinger decides to take the direct route (basically walking through the front door) and was greeted by a small cadre of kobold warriors, intent on their bloodthirsty raid.  Practically announcing their presence, the kobolds were deadly prepared for their arrival.  It was a dangerous gambit, and the gunslinger paid dearly for it, getting a dread wound after being struck by a deadly bolt of acid from a kobold’s ballista.  (It’s actually just a Heavy Crossbow, but for the small creatures, too heavy to lift, they placed wheels on it and called it their “Ballista”)  Thankfully, with the scattershot quality of his weapon, he wiped out most of the kobold minions, and went on to duel the Ballista oeprator.  Though challenging, the kobold eventually fell from the combined attacks of the gunslinger and the dragon-man.  The halfling merchant, not willing to rsk his wares, just decided to hide behind his monkey-slave and “wait it out” until his friends finally wins and the kobolds all die out.

Deciding that entering the chaos in the village was too dangerous, the secondary team was about to make a run for it, but found, to their surprise, a floating MAN-LIGHT dancing in the SKIES.  (Back with the First Team, upon hearing the sound of gunfire, they immediately knew that their comrade, the gunslinger has arrived to pick them up.  So the Draconic Sorcerer, ever creative in his use of Dancing Light spells, conjured a Light in the Shape of a Man that Danced.  Everyone knew it was his trademark Dancing MAN-LIGHT, which eventually became the group’s BAT SIGNAL.)  It’s silly, I know.  Following the light, Team B intended to finally meet-up with Team A.  However, the dark elves also saw the dancing lights (and rolling a natural 20) immediately knew that something was amiss.  They immediately sent a small cadre of kobolds and a dark elf taskmaster to deal with the “interruption.”

This AMBUSH, was perhaps one of the more challenging encounters they had.  Particularly also because the player of the Owlbear had fallen asleep (probably due to RL fatigue) and they had to make do without their usual Tank Character.  The Dark Elf Taskmistress, complete with a whip, had an intimidating AC, and used her whip very effectively.  She was also accompanied by 12 kobold warriors, which complicated much of the encounter.  Thankfully, after using the “Kobold Ballista,” lobbing a Grenade, and finally shooting a scattershot in the center of the kobolds’ charge, they wiped out the opposition.  Taking down the dark elf, however, took more time from the PCs, but eventually, she too, finally fell.

As she lay dying, the elf cleric immediately rushed to the dark elf’s side and stabilized her.  She awoke hours later, tied up, and with the Draconic sorcerer preparing his little knife for some “interrogation.”  And that’s how the session ended.

  1. Hikkikomori says:


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