To Boldly Nerd…

Video games, pen&paper RPGs and other nerdery

RPG: Pathfinder update

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I am trying to get myself more in the habit of blogging again, and thus I have decided that I am going to start by blogging at least once a week. It’s really a time management issue. Once upon a time, I had a job that lent itself to piddling around on the Internet all the time (tech helpdesk), providing me with ample time to blog and research, back in the days of blogging at Tank Like A Girl. I no longer have such a job (which is good) and my life is full of more social activities than ever (also very good) that spare time after work has become an incredibly valuable commodity.

Today I will use this spare time to speak about the most fulfilling hobby of mine, tabletop RPGs. Last time I wrote about tabletop games, I was GM of two campaigns, and player in two different campaigns. Things have slowed down on that front.

Games I play:

  • The original campaign that got me playing tabletop again fell apart in December. There’d been tension between two players for a while, and it got fairly unbearable for everyone in the group. Additionally, the game just didn’t feel as fun and rewarding as it could have been, e.g. as far as leveling goes. We played for several years and never made it past level 5. It was a relief when we all decided to call it quits. I think it might have permanently damaged some friendships within the group, but maybe time will heal all wounds.
  • The new homebrew campaign I joined as player in November is great fun. It’s an urban campaign, and with us just being three players that are very comfortable with each other, it’s an extremely RP-heavy game. We created the characters together and picked a backstory of being urchins who grew up together in the poor quarter of the city, as gang members, who are now setting out on their own. We used the system from Ultimate Campaign to create a background, which was fun. I did not care for the alignment system, but believe our alignments will change over time. It won’t affect me much, as I was fine with the alignment it came up with for me, but my SO plays a slightly demented girl who likes to experiment, choosing the vivisectionist archetype of the alchemist class. I am playing Thera, the bastard daughter of a rich merchant who rebelled against her father by joining a criminal gang. She learned how to use the sword, but also has magical talent, making her a magus. Like all base classes in Pathfinder, I find her vaguely OP, but it’s also incredibly fun to be able to be good at melee and cast spells. Our third party member is an inquisitor. Story-wise, the city we live in has a problem with undead, and so we joined a night watch of the cemeteries, because it pays well. We discovered that one of the more influential families in the city are actively participating in necromancy, which is anathema, but for our own protection were brought into the main church to hide from the wrath of the nobles at being discovered. The campaign is great fun, the biggest issue for the most part being that we play very irregularly.
A reminder for my players. Love the pugwampis! ;-)

A reminder for my players. Love the pugwampis! 😉

Games I GM:

  • My Rise of the Runelords campaign is with some of my co-workers, plus one boyfriend and my SO. We didn’t have drama (at least not game-wise) but the player of our rogue quit, so we’re down to 5 people. The biggest issue with this game is that we really really don’t play often enough. Our last two sessions were on Halloween and then mid-January. Every three months is not good enough to keep a campaign exciting and immersive. As most of the players are new to tabletop RPGs in the first place, it’s like starting from scratch. They only ever use half their abilities, because they’re not familiar with their classes or forget what they can do. It’s problematic. But I like the game, and so I’ll keep trying to organize it so that we can have a return to a monthly schedule. It’s a big difference to my online-game though. Our next session is this coming Saturday, and we’ll start the second adventure of the AP: The Skinsaw Murders. Ever since I first read this AP, I wanted to play it just for this adventure. It’s full of RP and investigation, and has heavy horror elements. I hope I can convey this and make it creepy and exciting. We shall see!
  • My Legacy of Fire campaign is almost on fire. We started with a Friday night schedule, every fortnight, but then the holidays and personal burnout made me slow the pace a bit. After we came back from our holidays we managed to keep it at a decent pace and moved the game to Sunday afternoons, which works perfectly for me. We just finished our eleventh session on Sunday, and the group reached level 4. It helps that the first adventure is really quite diverse and interesting. The party is an expedition to free the merchant town of Kelmarane from its gnoll occupation. In the first half of the campaign, they established a base camp by liberating a forgotten monastery. Since then, they have made first, nearly lethal forays into Kelmarane, and explored a lost temple of Nethys, to be confronted with a lycanthropic menace. They’re now at a point where they’re ready to infiltrate the HQ of the gnolls, the battle market at the center of town, but first they have to make a deal with the harpy lover of the leader. Regular playtime really helps with immersion, honestly. I am not Matthew Mercer from Critical Role, but I think I am doing okay with adding my own touches to the game. My players are all excited, our paladin in particular, and well-prepared. It’s a pleasure to GM for them. My only issue is that I am having a hard time understanding one of our Scottish players. Lovely accent, but sooooo difficult for me to understand.

Games I want to GM:

We’re having so much fun with our online group, the players being some of our best friends from our days as MU*ers that we decided it’s time to meet again RL. We booked a cottage in Sherwood Forest for a long weekend of fun and games with friends. Our friends from Scotland will bring many board games, and I will be GMing a face-to-face session of our Legacy of Fire campaign, plus a Numenera one-shot. This is so exciting for me. I’ve been wanting to try Numenera for ages. It really grabs all of my interest. It’s rules-light, RP-heavy, and has the most exciting setting. Basically, the world has seen the rise and fall of eight civilizations, each ruling for millennia and then disappearing, leaving behind remnants of their highly advanced technology. The game is set in the Ninth World, the ninth civilization, a feudal fantasy setting, but the world is full of lost technology and marvels of the previous eight worlds, some considered magic to the inhabitants of the Ninth World. It’s heavy on exploration and wonder, and I love it. Science-Fantasy is one of my favorite genres if it’s done well.

numenera

I would love to try the other games by Monte Cook as well. They are all so creative and interesting. There’s The Strange, which is basically a modern world game where players have joint a secret organization that can travel to other worlds. In other words, you can play anything. High fantasy, sci-fi, Victorian age, anything is possible. Based on those two games, Monte Cook has created the Cypher System, using the basic rules from Numenera and The Strange and allowing them to be incorporated in any game possible. Their latest Kickstarter was Worlds of the Cypher System, creating campaign books to use with the Cypher system. Again, they’re highly creative and teeming with cool ideas and imagery.

I will be certain to post more about Numenera, once I have actually played it, aaaaaah. I would also like to test D&D 5 sometime, because I am battling Pathfinder fatigue a bit. Pathfinder has become a bit bloated, and I will have to read the D&D 5 rules to see how fun they are. Furthermore, I am totally keen on Star Wars: Edge of the Empire. That seems incredibly cool as well. I have fond memories of my last Star Wars campaign, like 20 years ago, oy.

I shall forever suffer from GM syndrome. So many cool games, not enough time to play all of them.

 

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