Session the First
This RPG group includes five individuals: Ron (my husband), Richard (an old family friend), Nathan (my son), Riley (a friend of Nathan's), and Jenni (me).
All the players have played fantasy RPGs at one time or another but to differing levels and with differing styles. All of which is going to make this very interesting.
Ron (mid-50's) is a very, very, very casual FRPG gamer. Most of his gaming was done in high school, umpteen years ago, using 1st Edition AD&D. He has tried RPGs with our other FRPG friends but just hasn't taken to it because the "usual suspects" I have gamed with over the years are almost all "Real Roleplayers" and he truly is a "Real Man" – happiest playing a Paladin in a Monty Haul dungeon, with little time or patience for namby-pamby roleplaying. (cf. : Real Men, Real Roleplayers, Loonies and Munchkins). He has never played PFRPG.
Richard (early 40's) is a solid D&D FRPG gGamer, and a core member of the group of "usual suspects" I have gamed with. He has crafted and DM'd his own in-depth campaigns using 2nd Edition and 3.5 Edition D&D and played in many D&D campaigns using rule sets from the Rules Cyclopedia version of classic "BECMI D&D" through to 3.5 Edition. He has played PFRPG campaigns in the past, but not recently.
Nathan (18, just graduating high school) has been playing RPG's since he was 7, though mainly the Serenity RPG until a few years ago when I encouraged him and the other older kids of the players in an earlier campaign of mine to join us. In high school, he joined and eventually became one of the key participants in, the Games Club. This past year he has been running a 5th Edition D&D campaign for some of the younger members of the club. He a passing familiarity with PFRPG.
Riley (18, just graduating high school) is a bit of an unknown. He's in the high school games club as well and has, apparently, DM'd D&D more than he's been a player. This past year Riley also DM'd D&D 5E in the Games Club for much of the year. One thing I can say, based on evidence from this session, is that he seems to lean towards the "Loonie" side of the spectrum (this will definitely be interesting). He's never played PFRPG.
Jenni (late 40's) is me, your friendly, neighbourhood DM. I've been playing FRPGs on and off since the original "Basic D&D Boxed Set" came out in 1978. Got back into things heavily in my mid-to-late 20's with D&D 3.0E and 3.5E and quickly switched to PFRPG (aka 3.75E) rather than throwing out everything and starting over with D&D 4E. Haven't bothered to look into 5E.
The first session was for finishing up all the player's characters. They'd all decided what races, classes and archetypes (if any) they wanted, so this was all about ensuring their stats, feats, and skills were selected and calculated correctly; any special abilities were written down; magic casters had chosen spells, and everyone had purchased equipment.
This process had to take into consideration the classes and custom rules I was allowing/using:
- Pathfinder Core Rulebook
- Pathfinder Advanced Players Handbook
- Pathfinder Unchained
- Signature Skill Feat
- Expanded Skills
- Background Skills
- and the following classes replace the originals in the Core Rules and the Advanced Players Handbook:
- Archetypes available through Paizo's Pathfinder Reference Document (PRD) for all allowed Classes
Rhen grew up in the upper city of Magnamar, the child of a middle-class merchant family. His life was relatively easy and, as his parents doted on him, he was little more than a dilettante in his teen years, allowed free reign to do and try whatever he wanted. And then he discovered alchemy, and that his true talent lay in mixing concoctions and, especially in blowing things up. Not having much opportunity to do the latter at home or his parent's shop, he joined the Pathfinder Society.
Found by members of Shriikirri-Quah (Hawk Clan) Shoanti when his family was killed by Goblins, Tapuaki was taken in and raised by the Chief Shaman and his wife (a respectable witch herself) who had not been able to conceive a child. Being a halfling, he was always smaller, slower, weaker than his human brethren and was relentlessly teased and bullied by the other kids, and even some adults, in the tribe. As it happened, he had the makings of a summoner and, unwittingly, attracted a Psychopomp who would eventually become both his friend and defender against the cruelties he faced. His adoptive parents worked with him to build up and control his powers, but when they were both killed in a goblin raid, the tribe ordered him to leave. Heading for Magnamar, he hopes to gain experience, wealth, and prestige with the long-term goal of returning to his tribe and earning a respected position within it. He'd heard tales of the Pathfinder Society and, thinking it would be a likely path towards his ambitions, he joined up once he reached the city.
Mate Ora is the name given to Tapuaki's Eidolon. Its body is roughly the size of a pony or a Great Dane, with the hind legs of a great cat, and forelegs taloned like those of a great lizard or bird. Above the forelegs, it's body continues upright, a narrow column curving backward like a snake to its head, the front-top portion of which is a bone-white fleshless horse's skull, below which there is a long sharp, under-beak flanked by two long sharp mandibles. Its skin is a mixture of taught black flesh giving way to patches of shiny black scales and sprouting a plumage of scraggly, sickly looking black and grey feathers, intermixed with empty and broken quills, running from the back of its head all the way down its neck and back.
Abandoned by his mother as a child of only five or six, he lived for several years as one of many urchins that flit around the under bridge and docks of Magnamar. When he was around 12 or 13 (he doesn't actually know how old he is), he was taken in by an old salt of a fishing captain who had a good eye for seeing potential when others might dismiss a person out of hand. Darvo was young, and smart and quick to learn the ways of working on the fishing trawlers that ply the coast of Varisia. A charming young man (despite his half-orc nature), Darvo took to the music of the sea and taught himself how to play the pan flute. He would often be found playing music on deck to lighten the crew's mood even when nets had failed to bring in a good catch. Eventually, he realized that, with his music, he was able to touch and call upon magical powers. Showing his old friend and father figure, the fishing captain, what he could do, the old man told him he to leave off fishing and do something better – "You ken joyn dat dere Pat-finder So-sai-ety. For right sure, dey'll help make sometin' more o' you."
Zaz, Half-Orc Fighter 1
Not from Varisia, Zaz comes from a country known for its armies (he's still deciding which one, current options are Taldor, Molthune, or Lastwall). Born into poor circumstances, he joined the army specifically to gain skills and training that would allow him to improve his lot in life as soon as his commission ended. Due to his size and strength, they put him in a unit trained to create phalanxes, protecting themselves and their allies with a wall of heavy tower shields. When his commitment to the army was finally completed, he decided he wanted adventure and travelled to Absolom "The City at the Center of the World". It was there that he decided to join the Pathfinder Society. Shortly after, he learned about the untapped potential for adventure and riches in Varisia, so he took a ship to Magnamar and checked in at the Pathfinder Lodge the day he arrived, perhaps a week before the start of the campaign.