Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Let's Switch Gears Pathfinder time!

Originally when I was going to write this post I was going to write about something serious like depression, suicide, Gaza, the flood of refugees hitting our boarders and how we are still calling them immigrants, how frustrated I am with President Obama, or racism.  Then I realized deep down that I didn't really want to write about any of these topics and so I am going to switch to Pathfinder.

I've been into roleplaying games in one form or another my entire life though it wasn't until middle school that I got to take my first hesitant steps into running a game.  I've both run and played games on and off ever since.  I'll be perfectly honest I haven't run as many games as I liked and I certainly haven't played as much as I want to but it is hard when most of the people my age still don't work 9 to 5 jobs, myself included.  One of the most important things for a roleplaying game to work is everyone being on a set schedual so you can reliably tell who is going to show up.  I understand that life happens but god damn.  So there is it.  Currently I am running nothing.  I was preparing to run a Pathfinder game when a friend of mine declared that he is okay with running it and so I rolled up an alchemist and I find myself very much looking forwards to game night Friday.

It still doesn't stop me from coming up with campaign ideas some of which I am gleefully still kicking around.  I kinda want to start writing up rpg materials and start selling it for "what you think it is worth".  That thought has lead me to start writing again in this blog because I need the practice.

Anyway one of the things that I love about Pathfinder is that it seizes my imagination.  When I look at 4th edition it does nothing for me.  I see stale stat blocks and characters that slot together with little independent choice for the end user.  It just doesn't strike up my imagination.  Whatever this is old territory and I wanted to write about the stuff I had kicking around for the current game.

One is a Crusader Kings style courtly maneuvering.  Crusader Kings has provided just about everyone in my play group with a crash course in medieval politics.  What a duchy is, cassius belle, getting claims killing children you know the deal.  Throw some monsters, magic, gods, and player characters into the mix and you got the potential for a pretty rocking campaign.  The obvious parallel is Game of Thrones but this game would have fewer wars and more boarder skirmishes IE high crown authority.  However, the vassles could be plotting to get the crown authority reduced and should that happen all hell would break loose.  I really like that idea it would suit a group of rouges and bards really well.

On a similar tangent either the players themselves or the Player's duke have all recently served with distinction in a war that struck deep into foreign lands.  The king to show his gratitude forms a new dutchy with either the players of their duke in charge depending of the level we settle on.  Of course in Crusader Kings terms this is the equivalent of taking Jeruselem in a crusade while you are playing Spain and you dump off one of your least favorite vassals in the foreign land grant him independence and watch his ass get eaten.  I've done that before and it is fun.

On a similar vein but not quite.  The idea that a new continent has been discovered!  A ship got blown off course, and stumbled upon a landmass of indeterminate size.  Everyone from the great wizard colleges, to the various kingdoms want to explore the strange new island and learn its secrets.  This would give the players a chance to play honest to god explorers.  Not only would they be forging new paths and making bold new discoveries but they would also be helping to build up the settlement, fending off the natives, and generally being important.  It would be less "Heart of Darkness" and more Alan Quatermain/Indiana Jones.  I think that would be super fun.  There would be a little bit tensions like when they have to save clerics from being chucked into a volcano but in general I want it be more of a grand adventure than post colonial finger waving.

Going back to Crusader Kings and medieval politics I find it interesting that there is so much hand waving that happens with that stuff in most games, mine included.  The idea that the players just kinda get randomly hauled before the king who then tells them to go do something is kinda silly.  It is romantic in a, "Are you bad enough to rid the hills of goblins and save my daughter" kind of way but realistically the King is busy doing other things.   And there is plenty of time for swords and sorcery.  Like in order to get a claim on a neighboring country the players need to explore an ancient crypt and recover an amulet once thought to be lost but whose previous owner is the rightful air to the county and thus they go to war.  Hell the orcs could stand in for the norsemen and I mean damn there is just so much that can be done with the setting and a small dose of complexity of the government.  For example the possessed trait could take on a whole new meaning and a witches coven with a little bit of access could seriously fuck some things up.  Like one of the witches has access to the King's son due to his penchant for "ladies" who aren't his wife.

The last idea I was kicking around was SPAAAAAAACE.  A proper space sourcebook for pathfinder is coming out next month.  Until then to get reading the world the players would be playing on would be getting ready for something call the bazzar of wonders.  Once every 300 years their planet gets visited by the bazzar.  The people of the players planet have the opportunity to trade away their crafts and treasures for great secrets, powerful items, or exotic pets.  The bazaar is a grand event felt the world over.  During that time no war is allowed and even the Orcs and the barbarian tribes hold true to this tradition because the bazzar's wrath is something no one wants to behold again.  For one month Drow walk among their elven kin, Drugar with the Dwarves.  The great dragons of the world awaken from their slumber and liches from their studies.  All are welcome at the bazaar, assuming they do no harm to anyone else during the course of the week.  Dwarven kings spend decades on crafts, Elves create incredible works of arts, Dragons bring their most valued treasures, and humans innovate at a breakneck and reckless speeds.  That isn't to say that just before the bazaar there isn't some old fashioned score settling and hey sometimes tensions boil over.  The idea is that the players do something to distinguish themselves during the bazaar and they are offered passage on the ship and are allowed to see the stars.  I think that could get awesome real quick.

I have other ideas too but those are the main ones and my hour is up.

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