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GMing second session. Where to go?


Beginner Box


As I mentioned on another thread, our first session was great and now we are going to meet up again to go into our second adventure!

However, the number of guests has been increased by 2 to a total of 6!
I don't want to send anyone home so I would like to run a 6 player game.

Description:

The two new players ares completely new to RPGs so I was looking for something similar to Black Fang's dungeon in terms of simplicity and variety, and easily scalable to 6 players.

As for characters I will be creating a barbarian, and another core class from:
http://edowarsblog.wordpress.com/downloads/
thanks to edowar for the templates!

I would prefer to have different classes so everyone feels different. Any suggestions? I am more familiar with the core rules classes, but not enough to make a decision. For example, I see the paladin in the same light as I do the cleric, and the sorcerer the same as a wizard. I am pretty sure I am wrong since I have just played a wizard in PFS but that is why I ask for advice.

For adventures, my original plan was to run the Begginner Bash! and the Deadly Mine, but I find them way too simple compared to Black Fang Dungeon, and was hoping to provide the new players with a similar experience (So they will want to join us in the future!). Does anyone have any experience with the beginner box bash/deadly mine for 6 players?

I created the Raven's Watch adventure, but it is supposed to be played in a later sessions since I want the players to gather information about black fang as side quests on the coming adventures to give the world a sense of connectivity.

I thought of creating a new adventure with 6 players in mind, but the thought of creating the maps, the plot, all the encounters from scratch and having 2 new players is very overwhelming. I do have 1 month to work on it, but in the back of my mind is this constant worry of "Will they like my adventure?, will it be boring?, Will it be tedious?"

So I come to you in hopes to give me some advice on creating encounters for 6 players. I believe I am supposed to add 1 to the average player level to get the CR for the encounters, but other than that, what else should I keep in mind. I was thinking to use the plot seed in the Game Master guide about the werevolves controlling a band of wolves.

I have also been toying with the idea to use PFS in Service to Lore as a template since I already played it. It is very easy for beginners and has a lot of variety, but I have no idea how to modify some of the encounters for 6 players.

I want to have an adventure for 1 session only (3-4 hours), since we are still testing the waters, and I don't want to commit anyone to finish a module of numerous sessions. Also they are not ready to jump to full pathfinder rules.

TLDR;
I need help on what adventure to run, or how to create an adventure for 6 players. The free adventures for beginner box, seem way too simple and won't give the 2 new players a good view of the game. I was hoping to have some practice creating an adventure, but having 2 new players and having a party of 6 is making me very cautious of this route. Raven's watch is not an option since I will be using it in a later date. I want an adventure that can be finished in 1 session (3-4hours).

I probably looks that I am stressed out, but I am actually enjoying GMing, it is just that I never expected to run anything for more than 6 players, and it worries me that this will cause some adventures to not be as fun.

Any advice, suggestions and help is appreciated!


That's tricky, deltas. In your shoes, I'd be tempted to get those new people to play through the Black Fang dungeon themselves before the joint session. They could use the new NPCs you've selected (maybe Barbarian and Druid?) and get help from either NPCs controlled by you or two of your original players. This is how I plan to introduce many people to the Beginner Box - my fiancé is one of my first group who would like to join 2-4 other newbies going through Black Fang's dungeon.

Barring that, it is important to start the group session with some simple tasks that are clearly well-suited to the talents of the characters for the new players. Perhaps a door is stuck that can only be opened by the barbarian in a rage; or a Knowledge (Nature) check is required for some key info - unfortunately I'm not familiar with edowar's conversions so I'm not sure what works. Just like Black Fang introduces the whole party to some basic concepts in small chunks at the beginning, try to do that for your newbies somehow.

Thinking about an easy adventure to do, here's some brainstorming:
- use Deadly Mine as a base
- make three encounters leading up to the mine
- 1) A chance for the druid to shine: Animals attack the party (like two boars) who are quite powerful; give the druid an opportunity to change them from hostile to neutral so that the party doesn't have to engage in combat with them (make it obvious that a tough fight at this point in their quest would be debilitating).
- 2) Perception and combat: Have a small group of orcs (4?) set up an ambush (originally set up for the dwarves who were noticed on their way to the mine - but for obvious reasons haven't yet returned down the path). Have everyone roll perception checks, starting with the newbies, and then start the combat.
- 3) Boulder in their path: A recent avalanche has sent a big boulder down on top of the entrance to the mine. The dwarf tracks obviously go into the mine, so they must move it. The barbarian and Valeros together can move the boulder if the barb is raging.
- consider replacing the Giant Spider with the Giant Black Widow from the GM Kit (this serves to increase the challenge but also to introduce your original group to another type of giant spider).
- leave the gold elemental fight the same - seriously tough - I'm still surprised at the manoeuvre our group's Ezren pulled in order to not only prevent a TPK but to beat it

That might not be enough for one session - it depends on how much time is spent introducing the newbies to their characters and helping them play. You could prepare an exit encounter - something that would happen on the way home - and only use it if you feel time permits and it isn't too anticlimactic.

As for scaling up other adventures, I'd simply increase any established encounters by 50%. So three goblins instead of two, sort of thing. Single monster encounters could be left at 1 or doubled to 2 - a decision you can reserve until the party gets there (for instance, if they just got beaten badly in a previous encounter, you could go with one to give them an easier time).

I hope that helps.

- Niilo


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I don't know how interested you are in spending more money. Ultimately RPGs are very cheap entertainment for half a dozen people - nonetheless, the GM often ends up spending the majority and there's always something else to buy, unfortunately.

If you were interested in a bought adventure, I'd recommend Crypt of the Everflame. Although it was written for the full ruleset, not the beginner box, it was also specifically designed as an introduction to the system and is based on a story of 'bright eyed new adventurers embarking on their first quest' so I think it would be ideally suited for people new to RPGs.

The fact you have six players instead of the assumed four is not something I'd stress over, if I were you. You could add an additional monster here or there and maybe increase some of the 'solo' monsters hit points a little bit. Ultimately though, beginners are generally not going to be as familiar with the rules and are quite likely to adopt some sub-optimal tactics, so going easy on them in the first few sessions is not unreasonable, in my view.

You'd need to be quite familiar with the material as it is significantly larger than Black Fang's dungeon. There are also one or two parts which arent as clear as they could be (stairs going nowhere which arent mentioned in the text, a locked door with no mention of where the key is, etcetera - those things you can work out and/or make up easily enough, but it's best to do that before the session, in my view, otherwise the players have to watch you frowning and flicking through pages, frantically reading...)

You would be unlikely to complete it in one session, but that has the added bonus that, if everyone is keen to continue, you have a few sessions ready to go while you all learn the system. There are also occasional references to a rule from the core rules not present in the beginner box. However, I'd strongly recommend not ruling it out on this basis. I personally ignore a large portion of the Core Rules on a routine basis (I just dont have the brainspace to memorise 500+ pages of rules) and it has no impact on my player's experience of the game - they dont know I'm leaving out some complicated sub-systems of the rules.

If you did go that route, Paizo also sell A Double-Sided Flip Mat of the Entire Dungeon which I found to be super useful. It's just like the flipmat you got in the beginner box but with a different dungeon on each side. Of course, it's not really necessary since you can use the blank side of the map which came with the beginner box.

With regard to the story - Crypt of the Everflame isnt written as being near Sandpoint, although you could easily transplant it there in your world if you wanted to continue focussing your stories on that portion of Golarion. I'm also kind of assuming that those who played the first time are going to start again with new characters, although that wouldnt really matter (provided they are all still first level - it can be annoying to play in a game where some characters are higher level than others, since the low level PCs can feel a little bit like 'extras'.

Having said all of that - one of the most rewarding parts of GMing is creating your own material. If you were up to it, I'd certainly encourage you to give it a shot - once again, the players dont know whether you're reading from a glossy, professionally written book or some hand scrawled, dog eared notes. It can be a good idea to read through some pre-written adventures though if you have the cash to spend - see how the professionals do it.

Good luck. :)


Thanks both of you for your advice.

I have considered the Crypt of The Everflame but I am hoping to use that as the first adventure when we make the jump to the full Pathfinder rules and since some of the players are new, I want an adventure that can run in just one session so they can have closure and sucess on their first try. I feel if they have a "to be continued" they won't be as excited as my first group did when they defeated Black Fang. What has been your experience with new players and multiple session modules?

I like Niilo's sugesstion to use Deadly Mine as a base and add some encounters leading up to the mine. Any idea how long Deadly Mine runs for? From reading it, it looks like it could be run in half the timed compared to the Black Fang Dungeon.

I have also looked at some of the other adventures like Hollow's last hope and Master of the Fallen Fortress which look more lengthy that the Deadly Mine. Any ideas how long they run for?

I have also seen Fangs from the Past, an adventure by a third party designed for the beginner box, read good reviews about it, but once again I don't know how long it runs for.

I have also been working on an adventure, but I think it might be too long for one session, but due to my inexperience I am not sure if it just me. Any tips on determining how long an adventure is going to be?
Also, any tips for creating my own adventure? Should I wait until the PC's are higher level? or the lower the level the easier it is?

Thanks again!


ebay! Sell the beginer box and play real patherfinder!


I didn't have any trouble running Crypt of the Everflame over 2 4-5 hour sessions, with a break point at the top of the stairs down to level 2. The players seemed excited after the first session and eager for more. Mind you, it took the PCs a week of game-time to complete the mission, with all the resting up they did! By the end of the adventure I had 4 2nd level PCs who definitely seemed ready for more adventure.

Re length of adventure - for PBB it looks like around 12 encounter-areas/rooms, with 6-8 battles, takes around 4 hours to play; Black Fang's Dungeon and Crypt of the Everflame both ran at that rate for me. You can use the handy random encounter tables in the PBB to stock your dungeon, make sure to include at least a couple nice items even if the random treasure rolls turn up low.

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