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Got the BB and extremely new to traditional RPG's


Beginner Box


So like a great many other users in this thread, I have recently acquired the Beginner Box. I'm pretty excited as I have zero experience in a traditional pnp RPG and I felt that the time was right to delve into something that I've wanted to be involved in for many, many years.

Anyway, I read through the HH and the GM's book, did the solo adventure and even 'played' as a rudimentary GM for my girlfriend, and did the solo adventure (not the Black Fang's adventure) for her as well, reading out the parts and playing the part of the Goblin, boy, etc. So now, we've rolled up some characters as we wanted to try that out (and I think we've done everything correctly, although we will likely re-roll at some point, rather than take the pre-determined suggestions as outlined in the HH), just for the heck of it, but that will come at a later time.

Earlier tonight, we began the Black Fang adventure, myself as GM and my girlfriend as an Elf Cleric. I realized that this adventure would be pretty difficult with just her, so I have rolled a dwarf fighter and act as her 'mute' companion. We'll possibly have a group of 3 or 4 this weekend, so we may re-run the adventure then for the full effect :D

Since I'm a true pnp rpg virgin, being a GM was confusing, exciting and hugely entertaining. I forgot a lot of small rules, but at this stage I was simply excited to let it bother us too much. However, and this may be a question that I can easily answer myself, but I just wanted feedback, I did have a recurring thought come up and I wanted to seek clarification from you guys...

The PC was told early game that she is free to make an attempt to do anything that she would like to do. We discussed beforehand the importance of skill checks and she really took it to heart. So for every room that we entered (we only got up to the Spider before having to quit for the day) the Cleric would ask if she could perform a perception skill check upon entering. In some areas, I wasn't sure how to handle this. I understand the concept of checking the skill against something (DC) but there were times where I didn't have anything to check against so when she claimed that she wanted to perform a perception check, I didn't really know how to respond other than to let her roll (that may have been silly) and then to come up with some sort of dialogue like, "You peer into the gloom but you are unable to determine anything other than the rough walls and slick stone floor of the room". I'm cool taking some creative license but I don't really know if she's applying the skill check wrong, does she need to use it on a particular aspect or can she treat like a 'scan the environment' type of behavior? If this doesn't make any sense, I'll try to rephrase the question!

Anyway, this forum has been great. I've read a bunch of the threads and have had some other questions answered, predominantly confusion over movement (I wasn't sure if a PC's speed was something that had to be applied at all times or if it was something that only came into effect during combat/important scene stuff).

Glad to meet you all, and thanks to Paizo for creating a great Gateway produce that is more accessible to us RPG virgins!

Osirion

Guacenspiel wrote:

So like a great many other users in this thread, I have recently acquired the Beginner Box. I'm pretty excited as I have zero experience in a traditional pnp RPG and I felt that the time was right to delve into something that I've wanted to be involved in for many, many years.

Anyway, I read through the HH and the GM's book, did the solo adventure and even 'played' as a rudimentary GM for my girlfriend, and did the solo adventure (not the Black Fang's adventure) for her as well, reading out the parts and playing the part of the Goblin, boy, etc. So now, we've rolled up some characters as we wanted to try that out (and I think we've done everything correctly, although we will likely re-roll at some point, rather than take the pre-determined suggestions as outlined in the HH), just for the heck of it, but that will come at a later time.

Earlier tonight, we began the Black Fang adventure, myself as GM and my girlfriend as an Elf Cleric. I realized that this adventure would be pretty difficult with just her, so I have rolled a dwarf fighter and act as her 'mute' companion. We'll possibly have a group of 3 or 4 this weekend, so we may re-run the adventure then for the full effect :D

Since I'm a true pnp rpg virgin, being a GM was confusing, exciting and hugely entertaining. I forgot a lot of small rules, but at this stage I was simply excited to let it bother us too much. However, and this may be a question that I can easily answer myself, but I just wanted feedback, I did have a recurring thought come up and I wanted to seek clarification from you guys...

The PC was told early game that she is free to make an attempt to do anything that she would like to do. We discussed beforehand the importance of skill checks and she really took it to heart. So for every room that we entered (we only got up to the Spider before having to quit for the day) the Cleric would ask if she could perform a perception skill check upon entering. In some areas, I wasn't sure how to handle this. I understand the concept...

Perception in Pathfinder can be both for examining things up close (checking a door for traps) and scanning the environment (just as she was doing). Those actions actually used to have separate skills in Dungeons & Dragons 3 and 3.5(the game Pathfinder is based off of), but they just combined them for Pathfinder. The game is all about doing things in as much (or as little) detail as you want.. going fast or going slow, whichever suits you best. So you absolutely handled it correctly by saying she didn't notice anything out of the ordinary of the room. If she wants to check out every room like that, keep doing what you're doing... sounds like you'll be able to think of slightly different details if there's nothing truly remarkable.

Glad you found the Beginner Box, welcome to Pathfinder!!

Lantern Lodge

I see your girlfriend is becoming a properly paranoid player. Good for her! Basically, characters can do a Perception check pretty much whenever they like and they don't have something more important they should be doing (like fighting). This basically represents them stopping to just look around and listen for a few seconds. Have them roll; if there's anything nearby that they'd notice with their roll, they notice it. If they didn't roll high enough, or if there's just nothing around to notice, they didn't notice anything. It's important, as a GM, not to distinguish between these two possibilities. Pretend to check your notes every single time, even if you know there's nothing to see. This way they have to stay paranoid all the time, rather than knowing that something is up even though they blew their Perception check.

In fact, I know a lot of GMs that specifically roll Perception behind the screen, so the players don't know how well they did. That way they aren't even tempted to metagame the fact that they know they blew their check. This gives much more of a spooky, "ok guys look sharp, there could be anything down here" kind of atmosphere. But this means you have to develop other misdirection habits like rolling a bunch of dice and pretending to check tables at random moments. That way the players don't know something is really up when they step into room 5, and you roll a bunch of dice and then say "You don't see anything." Most players' response to this one would be "Riiiiight."

It's the same as bluffing at a poker table. You bluff so that everyone else doesn't automatically fold when you bet on real hands, because they think you might be bluffing. Similarly, you bet on real hands so that sometimes people do fold when you're bluffing, 'cause you might actually have it this time. A proper bluff needs to be exactly the same as what you'd do if you actually had good cards, so that no one can tell which is which. In the same way, when you roll a bunch of Perception checks and decide they don't see the giant spider in the corner, it has to look to the players to be exactly the same as when you "roll" a bunch of "Perception checks" but there's nothing in the room for them to see. If you only do it when there's something to see, then the players will know there's something to see, even if they don't know what, and they might decide to just fireball the room on general principles. Players just do stuff like this sometimes: apparently they think the average adventurer in a dungeon has the social skills of a thermonuclear warhead.

If you want only one person to see it, hand him a note. Corollary: hand people fake notes every couple of minutes, especially right after bursts of fake die-rolling, just to throw them off track.

Anyway, glad you're enjoying your Pathfinder experience! Keep it up and tell us about it.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Sounds like you handled things exactly right. Glad to hear that you are enjoying the experience so far.


Thanks for the replies and the good suggestions! I think I need to listen to a few podcasts or sit on a few sessions to get a real impression of what Gm'ing is all about. It sounds like I did pretty good for a first time, so I'm happy and will keep fleshing things out as the adventure unfolds.

I'd like to run the other Beginner Box stuff that Paizo has as a free download and then start delving into some of the other adventures that are low level. I plan to hold out on the core rule book set until we've advanced a few levels and have run through a few scenarios.

Thanks again for the input.

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