Running My First Pathfinder Game

Yesterday I had the opportunity to run my first game using the Pathfinder core rules.  All-in-all it was a success, though I did underestimate how much time it would take the group to get through the dungeon I had prepared.

I used a McGuffan in the form of a stolen chest to lure the PCs to the tomb of an ancient warrior-king.  Therein they fought a number of skeletons, overcame a couple of traps, killed a wight (rather easily, to my disappointment) and then confronted the not-so-dead warrior-king in the form of a slightly beefed up skeletal champion (who, conveniently, also possessed the stolen chest).  The champion was backed up by a couple of bloody skeletons and a couple of burning skeletons.  Two party members where knocked below 0 hit points, but only one died (succumbing to the burning skeleton’s fiery explosions when they were destroyed).

Now that I have a little better idea of how to set up a Pathfinder adventure, and a better idea of how much material the players can clear in a few hours, I’m looking forward to running another session in a few weeks.

That said, Pathfinder still has a lot of clunky moving parts.  I’m not sure I’d want to run a full-time Pathfinder game, unless I could use the Beginner Box rules.  Still, I had fun and so did most of the players (excepting, perhaps, the dead PC’s player 😉 ).

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3 Responses to “Running My First Pathfinder Game”

  1. ronaldsf Says:

    Sounds like it was a success! Good luck moving forward.

  2. cvonwilczur Says:

    I was wondering if you could go into further detail about the clunky bits you didn’t like about Core. I have the Beginner Box and Core, and while I really like the Beginner Box, I’m just concerned that I couldn’t stretch it out beyond one campaign, even with all of the extra content created for it.

    Do you think that’s a realistic concern?

    • edowar Says:

      The clunky bits of Pathfinder core, in my opinion, are all the little nit-picky rules. Taken individually, they’re not so bad, but they do add up quickly.

      Things like: attacks of opportunity (in my experience this can really slow down a game), combat maneuvers, concentration checks for spellcasters, numerous various skill checks and rolling to confirm critical hits (granted, some of these are in the BB as well). And then there’s the numerous feats and class abilities that are highly situational or conditional which requires even our veteran Pathfinder GM to stop everything to look up some obscure rule or rarely used feat.

      IMO, Core combat moves as slow as molasses in winter, and it doesn’t help when one of the players says “wait, I thought that feat did X, not Y.” Then everything stops while everyone hits the books to look up the relevant rule.

      As for Beginner Box, the built-in level 5 cap makes it hard to run a protracted campaign for it. This, of course, was the intent, as Paizo wants players to eventually move on from the BB to Core. I would say, if you want to run an extended BB style campaign, get the Core book and just omit any rules or concepts you don’t like. Just keep in mind that doing so can render scores of feats and class abilities useless, and possibly mess with the game’s balance (though I guess that would also depend on how much you care about game balance). This is something I’ve considered doing, but I’m not sure how our regular Pathfinder group would take it and so haven’t broached the topic yet.

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