Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Pathfinder Experiment, Part One

Okay, I'll give credit where it is due.  My son pressured me into running Pathfinder for him, and the rest of my gaming group went along.  As it turned out, we had a great time.

The story was really straightforward: the PC's are trapped within a large building when a huge earthquake strikes the city.  The thrown-together survivors of the quake agree to accompany a small NPC girl back to her father, a wealthy alchemist in the city by moving through the city's sewer system and avoiding the chaos above. Along the way they battle a few denizens of the sewers and meet a small and very smelly group of cultists.  The father points them towards the home of a powerful wizard who might be able to ascertain the source of the (unnatural) earthquakes, and the PC's rescue said wizard from a demon the earthquake accidentally unleashed in his tower.

A few thoughts about the game:

  • I don't know if it was just changing the game system or what, but the group approached encounters very differently than we were in 4E.  Often the question was raised, "can we roleplay out of this one?"  And since the answer was yes a few times, they did.
  • They also exercised more creativity.  For example rather than just seeing what daily/encounter/at-will could be used, players would often try to interact with their environment looking for advantages.
  • With a witch, druid, and ranger on the team, all with animal companions, the group looked a little bit like an episode of Pokemon.
  • Challenge ratings for encounters seem really inconsistent.  The group could plow through one CR5 encounter and then struggle terribly with another.
  • Cavaliers seem really over-powered.  Charging from horseback, the PC cavalier could dole out 40 points of damage, which is pretty good for a guy who isn't a spell jockey.
We got a good way through the mini-adventure, and in fact we should easily finish the entire thing next time.

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