Yesterday I ran my first tabletop session using the Forgotten Realms setting and the Pathfinder rules set. The starting scenario was one that I played about 4 years ago in Leicester, run by the king of upstatting himself, although we used DnD 3.5 rules instead.
I had four players, two of which are also GMs which in itself was pretty daunting. There are very definite things that I dislike as a player and I know that other people get annoyed with so I was nervous about getting it right, especially with things like pacing in fights which I don’t know if I managed.
A brief run down, the players started in the Dale lands of Faerun at the town of Whitehaven, in the midst of a large wave of fire and destruction. They run along with many of the local populace of the area to a known cave system in the woodlands for shelter. Around 200 (of a potential 20,000 people) make it to safety before the entrance to the caves is blocked by a large boulder thrown by a huge winged creature. There is no one the players can see that has survived who is younger than mid-twenties. A letter appears on the body of a mortal avatar of Ao which tells the players that a person named Korthas is attempting to turn the Faerun into the 10th plane of Hell. The party is each granted a blessing of Ao, listed below. After searching the body, the players find a number of high level items, (listed below) which are distributed amongst them.
The players then started to work their way out of the cave system, fighting through a pack of gnolls with hyena guard dogs and sneaking badly past a grizzly bear and her cubs (whilst squeeing at the fluffiness of the cubs I might add). Once outside, the extent of the devastation is evident as the woodlands surrounding the caves have been utterly destroyed. Heading to the blocked entrance they encounter a small group of devils. There was some interesting level drain damage, which ended up in the death of Anaerian, a half-elf ranger. However, after the devils are destroyed and the party start to discuss how to bury Anaerian, he gets up. Perfectly well and healthy and very much not dead. The players have no idea how this has happened (well, they have some but I’m writing anything on it in a blog post that they could all read). The party heads to Whitehaven to find ruin and destruction. There are dead bodies littering the floor from the cave system to the town of those who died in their escape, once in the town area itself there are more bodies of the dead. The party make camp with the intention of heading to the nearest city, Highmoon the capital of Deepingdale, in the morning.
Running this scenario after playing through it gave me an interesting perspective. It’s not one from a pre-written book and so after the initial session I’m free to pretty much do what I want and it will largely depend on where the players want to go! There was some very obvious differences in party membership though that gave the game a completely different feel to what I knew and had done before. The player group is far more comedy orientated that mine was, although this nearly proved to be a bad thing when the suggestion came from the Cleric of Chauntea that the survivors should immediately get onto repopulating as it was obvious that there were no children, not quite what I expected I’ll admit and if he’d have carried on there was a strong chance that the party would have TPK’d from an immediate attack from 200 angry and grieving townsfolk.
I very deliberately gave the party 5 items, there are 4 of them and there was one for each of them and then one left over. In my game, this was given to the woman in charge of the townsfolk, yesterday, it was kept by the players. Both completely valid options, but made for an immediate difference in parties.
I’m now not entirely sure of what will happen next session, I have the main plot arch planned but now have to write the rest of it!
Items from the Avatar of Ao:
Boots of Marux: these were identified using the Identify spell, which technically shouldn’t have worked as they are an artifact item. Sadly due to my lack of system mastery I allowed it, but it doesn’t really matter. They grant the bearer +3 AC (normal armour plus). Part of a set of items made by a dwarf smith, made from mithril and silver dragonscale.
Staff of Insight: this grants the bearer +1 spell at every level they can cast, this goes up as the player levels.
Ring of Wisdom: +10 to diplomacy and perception checks
Amulet of Natural Armour +3
Oaken Fury: a keen, mighty +3 longbow. With a quick action, this can be unstrung and then becomes a +1 quarterstaff dealing 1d8/1d8 damage, to restring is another quick action.
Blessings of Ao:
Gains Precise Bombs as a free discovery at 1st level
Precise Bombs takes effect even when the target has been missed.
The number of extracts that you can create per day is increased by 1 to each level.
Archaeologist (Bard archetype)
Special: DC for saves against spells is ‘Spell level + 10 + ranks in Knowledge: History/Planes/Arcana/Religion (whichever is highest)’
1/day can choose for ’Archaeologist’s Luck’ to affect another PC
Special: ‘Compulsion’ based spells work on any creature
Universal Resistance 5/-
Damage Reduction 10/-
Channel energy can be used 5/day plus half your level
DC for save against your spells is ‘Spell level + 10 + ranks in ‘Knowledge Religion’
1st Favoured Enemy – Maximum damage on criticals
1st Favoured Enemy – With a ‘Quickened Action’ you may work out the exact AC and HP of a single creature.
May ‘Take 10’ on any survival check