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New GM and new to PF


Beginner Box


Hello guys!

I've had my eye on the PF Beginner Box for some time now and finally bought it the other day and got my hands on it today. First impression - wow!

I've read through and "played" through the demo game on the Hero's Handbook and I must say this is a very well written book, very easy to follow and understand. I am planning to play this with my two sons, aged 9 and 3 (youngest does whatever his older brother does, so he can at least roll the dice!) and my wife. However, this is the first time I will be GM-ing --- I've played CRPGs in the past such as Icewind Dale and Temple of Elemental Evil and Neverwinter Nights so I am somewhat familiar with the player-side of things. Any tips for a new GM to keep in mind? I will be tackling the GM guide tomorrow but have read a bit on the included adventure which seems to be simple enough yet still be awesome.

If things kick off and we really get into role playing, I want to keep things fun and cinematic and not too rules-heavy, so will it be advisable to get the Core Rulebook? I am worried that the stuff in it, specifically the post level-5 spells, rules, or monsters will be too much for a party that operates only on the basic rules presented in the Beginner Box. So basically, can we use the "core" books and monsters in a "extended Beginner Box rules" game? What will I need to change to make it compatible? I hope "transitioning to the full rules" is not a requirement to enjoy Pathfinder.

Next question, and I throw in the obligatory "sorry if this has been discussed before" line, what scenarios/modules (what is the right term?) would I want to look at next for my players? A quick read of other posts seems to suggest The Rise of the Runelords adventure is the most recommended, is this still true? And again, how do you think this scenario will play out with my "extended Beginner Box rules" game?

Thanks for reading, any help for a green-as-grass GM is greatly appreciated!

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Alright, I'll take a crack at this one.

First off, for more adventures and the like you can check out the extra free stuff on the site: Paizo Beginner Box
They've put out rules for the barbarian, some extra adventures, monsters and the like that you can download and print off.

*On second thought, I think you found these but I just want to make sure you have found the webpage.*

Based on the age of the kids I would stay away from the Core Rulebook for now. The Beginner's Box offers a stripped down version of the rules in the Core, so anything else in there can be considered "extra" and can be really confusing. Also, any products beyond the Beginner's Box do rely on the Core Rules; however, since Core and the Box both run on the same basic ideas you could pick-up the Bestiaries and use the monsters in those, ignoring the stuff that doesn't fit in to the simplified Box's rules (it might take some effort, but it can be done).

Okay, now for adventures. Rise of the Runelords is held up as one of the best of Paizo's Adventure Paths, if not the best period. It screams traditional D&D, has been updated for the current ruleset, and seems to be better for young kids. However, if you are avoiding the Core you'll get through 1/3 of the AP and then will have to transfer over to the full rules.

That said, a company called 0one has actually started publishing adventures based on the BB's rules - you can find them here. It might be preferable to getting the full rules.

I have two more ideas. First is taking the E6 system, essentially a game fixed at level 6, and adapting it for level 5 characters using the BB; make your own campaign and let the characters grow more slowly later on (the Bestiary would now come in handy).

Second, just end the campaign there and start a new one, maybe giving the kids a chance to run it. A 9 year old can have a lot of imagination and it can be a cool outlet for it. You could also start using some self-made rules like these for the other classes.

---

I hope that helps. I know that a lot of my suggestions are kinda heavy on the "you'll have to make it work" side, but adventures like 0one's seem like a good way to have fun with the kids and not worry about fitting pieces together. If you have any other questions or need more details (this was rushed) just let me know.

Sovereign Court

I dont think your next step after the beginner box should be the RotRL (Rise of the Runelords)adventure path. Its kind of an advanced player/GM thing and can take over a year to run, not to mention some of the scenes can be rather gruesome and possibly scary to a 3 and 9 year old.

Back in the day I GMed for a group of friends and a friends 9 year old sibling, and it gave them nightmares even though it was a pretty tame storyline.

You may also encounter new players getting bored with the same storyline for a year. I would reccomend one night modules like the Pathfinder Society Scenarios for 4 bucks each (pdf).
http://paizo.com/pathfinder/pathfinderSocietyScenarios

If you follow this path you will want to pick up the core rulebook, and a beastiary or 3 as the scenarios often reference these books. Though, you could just skip the books and use Paizo's free online reference at http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/

Also, when you get the basics of the rules and storytelling, you dont need any other resources, just make up your own stories and monsters.

Good luck,
SE


Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Maps, Modules, Tales Subscriber

I'd steer clear of the Core Rules until the least rules-savvy member of your family starts to want to do more than the beginner box lets them. If you get into RPGs, you can always pick up the PDF for ten dollars and see if you think it will be too much for your kids.

I think the Pathfinder Scenarios are a good idea. Also some of the low level modules. There'll be a few parts that make you scratch your head (references to rules which arent in the beginner box) but you can literally just ignore those bits and nothing goes wrong. (Though it might feel a little odd the first time something like that happens - it's par for the course with tabletop RPGs).

Crypt of the Everflame is a great introductory module, in my opinion. Although it's written for the Core Rules, it will play fine using the rules from the beginner box.

Master of the Fallen Fortress is a shorter (and cheaper) option - also designed for level one characters of the core rules and which would play fine with Beginner Box characters.

Finally, The Godsmouth Heresy is an excellent although slightly more 'advanced' module.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Hi,

I'm in very nearly the same boat. I played Black Fang's dungeon with my wife, 9 and 7 year old. We followed that up with Crypt of the Everflame (which they enjoyed) and are now halfway through Masks of the Living God (which I've posted elsewhere as having just gone off the rails :-))

I DID end up purchasing the Core Rulebook (and Bestiary and APG), but mainly just because I wanted to read them. There are some core rule mechanics (swarm, combat maneuvers) that the modules mention, but I ended up mostly hand-waving them away, or using with a lot of hand-holding in very specific situations.

Going forward, I will probably introduce some more elements in when we tackle The City of Golden Death, but at this point, I don't foresee my wife or the 10 year old REALLY digging into the depth of character options available in the Core Rulebook for a while yet. The 7 year old, I expect will be a power gaming munchkin, but that's a totally different problem.

Good luck!


Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Maps, Modules, Tales Subscriber
ElPapoFugitivo wrote:

Hi,

I'm in very nearly the same boat. I played Black Fang's dungeon with my wife, 9 and 7 year old. We followed that up with Crypt of the Everflame (which they enjoyed) and are now halfway through Masks of the Living God (which I've posted elsewhere as having just gone off the rails :-))

I've wondered how Masks of the Living God would play with beginner players and/or kids. An ambitious module for a new DM, I think! It's a real skill to be able to watch the story disintegrate and to realize its all ok because the players don't know what was "supposed" to happen.


Space Titanium wrote:

First off, for more adventures and the like you can check out the extra free stuff on the site: Paizo Beginner Box

They've put out rules for the barbarian, some extra adventures, monsters and the like that you can download and print off.

*On second thought, I think you found these but I just want to make sure you have found the webpage.*

Yes, I have downloaded the free stuff from the Beginner Box section of the website. My apologies, I probably should've said that as well.

Space Titanium wrote:
Based on the age of the kids I would stay away from the Core Rulebook for now. The Beginner's Box offers a stripped down version of the rules in the Core, so anything else in there can be considered "extra" and can be really confusing.

Exactly my point, plus new GM as well and I tend to get "information overload" rather quickly. Plus I want to run a quick and fun game, cinematic, if you will. After reading a few more threads, it seems like the Beginner Box rules do not include something called Attacks of Opportunity which I remember from Temple of Elemental Evil. Anyway, the gist of the thread was that even WITHOUT AoO, the game was fun, and faster! I am curious how long character-level-wise can I push the Beginner Box rules before I **have** to use the full rules.

Space Titanium wrote:
Rise of the Runelords is held up as one of the best of Paizo's Adventure Paths, if not the best period. It screams traditional D&D, has been updated for the current ruleset, and seems to be better for young kids. However, if you are avoiding the Core you'll get through 1/3 of the AP and then will have to transfer over to the full rules.

Can you tell me why exactly will I have to "transfer" to the full rules? What do I lose if I keep to the Beginner Box rules? Or does the adventure simply break down if I don't use the full rules?

Space Titanium wrote:
That said, a company called 0one has actually started publishing adventures based on the BB's rules - you can find them here. It might be preferable to getting the full rules.

Thanks for the heads up on that one.

Space Titanium wrote:
I have two more ideas. First is taking the E6 system, essentially a game fixed at level 6, and adapting it for level 5 characters using the BB; make your own campaign and let the characters grow more slowly later on (the Bestiary would now come in handy).

I love the idea of E6 (still reading up on it) --- I always liked the "starting adventurers" idea and I remember reading a D&D book before, can't remember if it was 4E or earlier, about how player characters can then go to different planes and travel freely on high levels --- I didn't quite like that. I like the idea of the players being weak and unlikely heroes but with cooperation and luck, prevail against a mighty foe!


SterlingEdge wrote:

I dont think your next step after the beginner box should be the RotRL (Rise of the Runelords)adventure path. Its kind of an advanced player/GM thing and can take over a year to run, not to mention some of the scenes can be rather gruesome and possibly scary to a 3 and 9 year old.

Back in the day I GMed for a group of friends and a friends 9 year old sibling, and it gave them nightmares even though it was a pretty tame storyline.

Can you tell me more about this? I have not read RotRL yet, but can't I just tone down the gore? For example, instead of saying "you cut his head clean off with a swipe of your mighty sword!" after a crit, I can say "you strike him really hard and he yelps in great pain, then runs away into the darkness!" Basically just making it a "E" game instead of "Rated 18+" with a few description changes...

SterlingEdge wrote:
If you follow this path you will want to pick up the core rulebook, and a beastiary or 3 as the scenarios often reference these books. Though, you could just skip the books and use Paizo's free online reference at http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/

Thanks for the heads up on the PRD. I have no qualms about buying the rulebook or bestiary but I would like to keep the rules we use during play at the Beginner Box level. I know I would want/need the core books for more "toys" like equipment to buy, magic items to find, monsters to fight, etc., but I just don't think I want to use the full rules just yet.

SterlingEdge wrote:
Also, when you get the basics of the rules and storytelling, you dont need any other resources, just make up your own stories and monsters.

I'm not too confident of my story-telling or story-creating abilities just yet, hence the search for "additional resources" that I can use to aid me in playing and GM-ing the game, but with my "requirement" of keeping things in Beginner Box rules level even past level 5 plus my inexperience with tabletop RPGs and PFRPG, well, you can see the odds are kinda stacked against me for now.


Steve Geddes wrote:
I'd steer clear of the Core Rules until the least rules-savvy member of your family starts to want to do more than the beginner box lets them. If you get into RPGs, you can always pick up the PDF for ten dollars and see if you think it will be too much for your kids.

Exactly my plan of action. However, I am thinking ahead for if/when we go past level 5, or when I am done running the adventures presented in the Beginner Box --- that is why I am asking which adventure/module is best to get and whether material written on the assumption of using the full rules will work with a game using just the Beginner Box rules. Again, as a new GM, I wouldn't know if my game was breaking apart due to rule problem/incompatibility and I'd just be left in the dust shaking my head and wondering where I went wrong.

Steve Geddes wrote:
I think the Pathfinder Scenarios are a good idea. Also some of the low level modules. There'll be a few parts that make you scratch your head (references to rules which arent in the beginner box) but you can literally just ignore those bits and nothing goes wrong. (Though it might feel a little odd the first time something like that happens - it's par for the course with tabletop RPGs).

Again, see my earlier post about being a new GM and no confidence in my story-editing/creating skills, so getting an advensture/module/scenario that requires minimal alteration plus getting one that is long enough to take the characters through a good few levels (enough for an overarcing storyline) I think is a good idea as it cuts down my workload. Or I hope it should. Shouldn't it?

Thanks for the module recommendations. I shall take a look into them, but are they "better" or "on par" with Rise of the Runelords? Again, I have zero experience with any of this so I can end up with a totally wrong module and won't realize my error until after I played a horrendous game. Obviously, I want to present a fun and exciting experience to my players so I want to be doubly-triply-quadruply sure that I am getting the right material at the right time for the group.

ElPapoFugitivo wrote:
I'm in very nearly the same boat. I played Black Fang's dungeon with my wife, 9 and 7 year old. We followed that up with Crypt of the Everflame (which they enjoyed) and are now halfway through Masks of the Living God (which I've posted elsewhere as having just gone off the rails :-))

Hello! Boy, am I glad to hear from you. I will look up your thread after this and see how you did, but I'm glad to see that someone has gone through this path before me and come out unscathed.

ElPapoFugitivo wrote:
I DID end up purchasing the Core Rulebook (and Bestiary and APG), but mainly just because I wanted to read them. There are some core rule mechanics (swarm, combat maneuvers) that the modules mention, but I ended up mostly hand-waving them away, or using with a lot of hand-holding in very specific situations.

I have said so before, and I think I don't have a problem with BUYING the core books. I like my toys and DLCs and mods for PC games, no reason why I should limit myself here. However, my main concern is being **forced** to use the full rules before my party is ready... hell, I wonder if I can skip using the full rules at all?


I agree with everything that was said about avoiding the Core Rulebook. I'm playing a game now with my wife and three kids (ages 13, 11, and 5), and I regret trying to introduce Attacks of Opportunity and some of the other mechanics, partially because I can't remember all the rules, and that's very confusing for the kids when I'm inconsistent, or say "I can't remember how it's supposed to go, so here's how we'll play it this time and I'll look it up later." As a point of comparison to your own experience level, I used to play in high school, but this is my first RPG in 20 years.

Games and Geeks wrote:
Can you tell me more about this? I have not read RotRL yet, but can't I just tone down the gore? For example, instead of saying "you cut his head clean off with a swipe of your mighty sword!" after a crit, I can say "you strike him really hard and he yelps in great pain, then runs away into the darkness!" Basically just making it a "E" game instead of "Rated 18+" with a few description changes...

I don't own it, but I've browsed through a copy in a game store. If you're really interested, I suggest you do that too. Here's what I remember:

Spoiler:
The middle part of the adventure seems to focus on a group of ogres that have destroyed a human settlement, and done very nasty things to the humans and their corpses. I remember reading about humans cooking on a spit, human-scalp blankets, and piles of skulls, for example. So it might be possible to remove all that stuff for the sake of the young ones, but I don't know what would be left.

I have heard that the Pathfinder Society scenarios are often written to be a little more tame as far as kid-friendly material, because they are meant to be played in an open play environment where you never know who's going to show up.


Arma virumque wrote:
I agree with everything that was said about avoiding the Core Rulebook. I'm playing a game now with my wife and three kids (ages 13, 11, and 5), and I regret trying to introduce Attacks of Opportunity and some of the other mechanics, partially because I can't remember all the rules, and that's very confusing for the kids when I'm inconsistent, or say "I can't remember how it's supposed to go, so here's how we'll play it this time and I'll look it up later." As a point of comparison to your own experience level, I used to play in high school, but this is my first RPG in 20 years.

Ah, thank you for posting as well. Glad to see this is a "family friendly" game, lol! I remember AoO being a pain-in-the-@ss for my ranged PCs in Temple of Elemental Evil, so I'm not too fond of introducing it in my game. Now I'm glad to have a reason for avoiding it altogether; though at this point I am now curious about this rule... a quick read on the PRD just convinced me to stay off until such time as my players can identify and call for AoO. I don't want to be having to watch out for this by myself.

Arma virumque wrote:
I don't own it, but I've browsed through a copy in a game store. If you're really interested, I suggest you do that too. Here's what I remember:

Again, I may be totally wrong here, but can't I just say the ogres are really mean creatures and started stealing the livestock in broad daylight and have even had the gall to cook the meat in big pots right in the town square... they've even raided the houses themselves and took all the pillows and blankets for their own use and now the townsfolk are in danger of starvation and/or freezing to death during the night. To make things worse, the ogres don't clean up after themselves which means the town is now very messy, with animal bones and hide everywhere.... it's only a matter of time before the livestock run out and the ogres start killing humans.... at this point the PCs come in to the rescue!

That's just how I'd deal with that scenario, although of course I don't know if any of the original gory details are required to progress the story or if it's just there to impose how "evil" the ogres are.

Arma virumque wrote:
I have heard that the Pathfinder Society scenarios are often written to be a little more tame as far as kid-friendly material, because they are meant to be played in an open play environment where you never know who's going to show up.

I shall look into the PF Society scenarios then, thanks!


Games and Geeks wrote:
Can you tell me why exactly will I have to "transfer" to the full rules? What do I lose if I keep to the Beginner Box rules? Or does the adventure simply break down if I don't use the full rules?

Here's what playing beyond Level 5 would seem to entail:

Higher-level monster statblocks: For abilities unique to a monster, there's a description right there and these are relatively easy to run. But as for generic abilities that require rules mastery, you as the GM can run this without the players having to. For example, you can play out the rules of swarm, incorporeality, and invisibility without the players needing to know them. Also, you will be experimenting as you go as to what rule subsets you'd want to exclude, such as Damage Reduction and Spell Resistance. Excluding these will give you less math to work with and the players a couple less things to worry about (such as needing to switch to a silver or cold-iron weapon, etc.), but it might skew with the game balance. That's why I say you'd have to "feel" your way. The biggest obstacle you'd come up against with high-level monsters is...

Spells and Spell-Like Abilities: You will need to read through spells when they come up, and decide to exclude them for being too complex or being balance-breaking for Beginner Box-style PCs. For example, if you are not giving PCs access to spells to buff before a big fight, you may want to lower the DC of a save-or-die spell, for example. Also, monsters that fly who have long-range attacks may need to be toned down.

Class Progression:

*Looks at Pathfinder PRD*

If you're sticking to the BB classes, you reduce the complexity immensely. Not only are the 4 classes there because they're the classic classes -- they're also mechanically the simplest for players to grasp.

Your main problem here is that you want to pare down the spell lists, perhaps to 10 spells per level the way the BB does. You'll want to do this (1) so that they're not overwhelmed by options and (2) some spells you may want to rule out because they're too complex and change the nature of the game (i.e., greater teleport, plane travel). Be mindful of the adventures you'll eventually run. For example, if you know the PCs will face a lot of dragons, make sure your spellcasters can learn Resist Energy.

Basically, look at the class progression for the BB classes: Cleric, Fighter, Rogue, and Wizard. The rogue has rogue talents and you may want to pare down the options here and limit it to simpler mechanics (i.e. those that don't rely on AoOs, that give constant bonuses, etc.). (Watch out for the fact that Uncanny Dodge was changed for the BB. The BB uses the Improved Uncanny Dodge mechanic instead.)

I don't think that iterative attacks will be too much of a problem. More dice rolling, but your players will love being able to make multiple attacks. If you're sticking to the Feat list provided in the BB, you'll avoid two-weapon fighting and Manyshot and other feats that add to the number of attacks.

You may want to stick to the ~30 feats in the BB. They're in the BB for a reason. Your Fighter might feel a bit constrained because he/she gets a feat per level: let your fighter choose from some of the CRB combat feats -- many of them are relatively simple to implement (Greater Weapon Focus, for example). For the Fighter, a lot of the class progression offers flat bonuses, so they should be easy to implement. You can disregard Armor Check Penalties.

Review the higher-level Cleric Domain abilities keeping in mind all the considerations above about complexity and balance.

Your other alternative would be an E6-like system. There, the workload would more have to do with replacing the monsters in the 2nd half of an AP with lower-CR encounters. If you are comfortable with that, then you not only will keep the game relatively-simple for your players but you will also maintain more of the gritty feel that it sounds like you want your game to have.

Having read through RotRL...

Spoiler:
There are some places I think that assume that players can teleport or jump planes, or use other high-level spells. There probably are easy fixes for these. (Magical portals, etc.)

By the way I think your approach is very concrete and cognizant and that you're going to do a really good job with your players/family. Have fun!!


Thank you for the vote of confidence, The Rot Grub! I wish I was as confident as I sound! Haha!

I am curious about that E6 system; I am currently reading up on the link given by Space Titanium and so far I like what I read... low-level, low-magic, gritty, and more focus (hopefully!!) on the story and less on "I can't wait for the next level up!"

The Rot Grub wrote:
Higher-level monster statblocks: For abilities unique to a monster, there's a description right there and these are relatively easy to run. But as for generic abilities that require rules mastery, you as the GM can run this without the players having to. For example, you can play out the rules of swarm, incorporeality, and invisibility without the players needing to know them. Also, you will be experimenting as you go as to what rule subsets you'd want to exclude, such as Damage Reduction and Spell Resistance. Excluding these will give you less math to work with and the players a couple less things to worry about (such as needing to switch to a silver or cold-iron weapon, etc.), but it might skew with the game balance. That's why I say you'd have to "feel" your way.

Well, the Beginner Box has rules on Damage Reduction (skeletons) so I can deal with that. Same with Spell Resist, I think. As for that extra rules on the monsters, I think it'll be easy enough by using DIFFERENT monsters! Yay! See how I cheated right there?! Hehehe...

The Rot Grub wrote:
Spells and Spell-Like Abilities: You will need to read through spells when they come up, and decide to exclude them for being too complex or being balance-breaking for Beginner Box-style PCs. For example, if you are not giving PCs access to spells to buff before a big fight, you may want to lower the DC of a save-or-die spell, for example. Also, monsters that fly who have long-range attacks may need to be toned down.

This is exactly what scares me... I think my newbie-GM status means I won't know what my criteria is for including/excluding spells or monsters.

The Rot Grub wrote:

Class Progression:

*Looks at Pathfinder PRD*

If you're sticking to the BB classes, you reduce the complexity immensely. Not only are the 4 classes there because they're the classic classes -- they're also mechanically the simplest for players to grasp.

After reading a few posts, it seems like even with the 4 classes (or 5 if you include the barbarian), these were toned down even more for the Beginner Box.

At the very least, I am happy to know that the possibility of continuing the game on a Beginner Box rule set is possible. I wonder how long it'll take for them to get to level 5? The closer they are to that level, the more I would need to decide if we go the E6 system (which is probably simpler for us) or if we continue as normal but with me having to do a lot of input regarding which can and cannot be used in the game (which is scaring me no end!).

Oh well...


Don't be scared, we all have to start somewhere. :)

If you're really worried about progression, don't be afraid to ask your kids what they want to do; it sounds like you'll be communicating with your nine year old. From everything you've said, I'd go with E6 in your position.

If you've got the spare time you can read up on the various rules on PFSRD, but I wouldn't refer to rules during gameplay, like ever. It kills the mood!

I also wouldn't buy the CRB unless you really, really need it. Mind you, one of your children could well bring it home in 5-10 years and start educating you about the game; circle of life.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Games and Geeks wrote:
Can you tell me why exactly will I have to "transfer" to the full rules? What do I lose if I keep to the Beginner Box rules? Or does the adventure simply break down if I don't use the full rules?

All of the APs are meant to go from level 1 to about 17. RotRL should hit 5/6 level in part 2 I think, which would be a third of the way into the new hardcover version. Carrying on after this would require HUGE changes to fit it to lower level characters, or to adapt the BB's classes to higher level play.

The reason why I mentioned 0one's modules is because I think they're trying to make the equivalent of an AP for the BB. It might be preferable for the time being compared to Paizo's APs.

As for when you'll hit level 5, that is entirely up to you and your family. If you play more than once a week, and depending on how level progression works in the BB, I would estimate that you would probably hit the cap in 3-6 months; it would take closer to a year otherwise.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Other than the issues with pruning down the options that Rot Grub mentioned, the issues I've run into in my limited experience that might call for advanced rule are:

1) Monsters from the Bestiary, not in the BB. Not a huge deal, you can substitute easily with creatures from the BB.
2) I didn't know what a swarm was (as I hadn't purchased the Bestiary or discovered the on-line rules yet). I ended up just ignoring this. It was fine, made the encounter much easier, but I don't think anyone felt cheated
3) Attacks of opportunity. I may NEVER add these in. Not because they are overwhelmingly difficult, but because I don't think the tactical element they add is really key to our group's experience.
4) Combat Maneuvers. I have sort of half-assedly added these in already. The mechanic isn't terribly difficult, and there are just a lot of situations where they want to push or trip someone. I don't work the number crunching aspect too hard, but I think these will become important to any players sooner or later.
5) Magic items. Similar to the monsters, I've run into a couple items listed as treasure that aren't in the BB. I suppose substituting isn't too hard (though estimating equivalent values based on CR might not be fun), for me it was easier to just look them up to see what they were.

Hope this helps.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Modules, Pawns Subscriber

Yea Attacks of oppourtunity is the only thing that I struggle with for realism. Although if you walked past a guard who isn't occupied he should get a free swing sure, if you walk past a guard who has your buddy slamming his face in, he shouldn't get to attack you just because you moved past him. Then he is distracted isn't he? Then your buddy should get an AAO. I don't know. But from what I've read this is an old and eternal debate lol. I'm new so what do I know.


Ellestil wrote:
Yea Attacks of oppourtunity is the only thing that I struggle with for realism. Although if you walked past a guard who isn't occupied he should get a free swing sure...

I allow Readied actions in my BB game, and I'd count the guard in your example as Readied to hit any hostiles coming within reach.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Modules, Pawns Subscriber

That's exactly how it makes sense to me. Someone not occupied with someone could attack a passerby. But if they are occupied it makes no sense that they suddenly get a "hold on a sec" moment to stop, turn, and attack a passerby before resuming their previous engagement.

A fighter having a reactive to a designated square i can see making sense. And with feats spent the number of adjacent squares could increase. A hold the line kind of thing. But this would be specific to them.


Games and Geeks wrote:
Arma virumque wrote:


I don't own it, but I've browsed through a copy in a game store. If you're really interested, I suggest you do that too. Here's what I remember:
Again, I may be totally wrong here, but can't I just say the ogres are really mean creatures and started stealing the livestock in broad daylight and have even had the gall to cook the meat in big pots right in the town square... they've even raided the houses themselves and took all the pillows and blankets for their own use and now the townsfolk are in danger of starvation and/or freezing to death during the night. To make things worse, the ogres don't clean up after themselves which means the town is now very messy, with animal bones and hide everywhere.... it's only a matter of time before the livestock run out and the ogres start killing humans.... at this point the PCs come in to the rescue!...

First, let me say, welcome to the game!! Always great to see new people get involved especially when they bring in the whole family.

Second, I think it's great you're getting your 3-year-old involved. My father got me into D&D when I was 5. I've been a hardcore hobbyist ever since. Ran my first game as a GM when I was 8 with a bunch of my friends. So cheers on ya for that!

Now to the point at hand. Regarding Rise of the Runelords :

Let me say, I'm a huge horror movie buff. I also don't shy away from "Mature" subject matter at times (themes such as slavery, etc.). I'm also running Rise of the Runelords currently. For my group of early 30-somethings, none of the material is obviously a problem.

However, for a 9-year-old, let alone a 3-year-old, I STRONGLY advocate NOT running this campaign. That's coming from me, a guy who was already watching R-rated films when I was 8 years old (I like to think I turned out pretty good). And that's a Canadian R-rating, which is worse than the American one. I saw Aliens 3 in theatres, I was 7.

Rise of the Runelords is split into six parts. I'm going to spoiler some of the stuff for the sake of others. Here are the issues at hand:

Part One:
The later half of the first part deals with a cult to the goddess Lamashtu, Queen of all Demons. She's a monstrous fertility goddess who deals in deformed and monstrous births and stillbirths, as well as all of the other usual nasty stuff you'd expect from a Demon cult. Now this can mostly be glossed over and downplayed but the major villain of part one features these themes as a huge part of her backstory. That said, this is the least problematic of the first three parts (Parts 1 to 3 are the worst offenders).

Part Two:
The second half of Part Two is fairly mild with the usual exception of lots of violence. The first half, however, is all about investigating and trying to stop a serial killer responsible for a series of gruesome murders. This part is written in a tone reminiscent of 70's and 80's slasher films. It can get fairly grisly at times.

Part Three:
This is the worst offender of the entire campaign. I love it, but it's not appropriate for the very young unless you massively edit it. This is the one about the Ogres. They don't just kill people. The ogres and their half-ogre kin (you can imagine exactly how they were conceived) are modeled after the "American Hillbilly Horror" style of the 70's (recently revived in many modern remakes). Think Deliverance. Think Texas Chainsaw Massacre or The Hills Have Eyes. The first third of Part Three has the adventuring group come across a cabin in the woods filled with these nasty hillbilly Ogres. We're talking incest, necrophilia, torture, murder, cannibalism, and worse. The second third involving the Ogre clan at the fort is only slightly better and less graphic. You'd need to completely change how the ogres act and some of the encounter structure. Something you might not be ready to take on as a new GM.

Parts Four to Six:
The rest isn't so bad. There's a bit involving a Succubus Demon in Part Five that's somewhat sexually charged but that's about it. It's mostly just violence from here on out.

So, with all that being said, I also recommend Crypt of the Everflame.

Follow that up with Masks of the Living God and then City of Golden Death. That should bring your group to about Level 7 or 8. A great finale for your first campaign.

If the group wants to keep going with that campaign, then you build upon the themes started in those three adventures and do an entire campaign centered around the Church of Razmir and the region surround Lake Encarthan. I've been planning a similar campaign for one of my groups using these modules. I'm also inserting Clash of the Kingslayers at Level 10.

Anyway, hope this all helps in the interest of full disclosure.

Cheers,
Tony


Wow, thanks for that post, The Block Knight! That put me off RotRL for sure! I can fudge a few scenes, but not if the entire adventure is chock full of them!

Can I get a quick gist of the Crypt, Mask, and City modules you guys recommended? I've read the blurb from the relevant module pages, but I've been clueless about RotRL up until your post just now, so I'd like to hear from guys who've run these modules if they are suitable for kids or at least easily modifiable?

Note that my 9 year old isn't really a horror/thriller buff, nor is my wife but she likes watching such movies.... then insists I go with her downstairs when she needs a glass of water or a bottle of milk or something, lol! So in as much as I can do scary stuff, I'd like it to be kid-friendly, like the "evil" Team Rocket in Pokemon :D


I'm just about to finish Crypt of the Everflame with my kids (ages 13, 11, and 5). I can verify that there's nothing age-inappropriate in the whole module, as long as the general concept of fighting skeletons and zombies isn't too scary. My kids weren't bothered by the undead, although I toned down one description to remove the reference to blood covering the bad guys. You've already shown a lot of creativity in that sort of modification.

My only complaint about the module was that the overarching plot was weak, and I don't think my kids have any real understanding of what's going on behind the scenes. In our next session I'm going to use the classic cliche of "Now somebody's going to explain everything that happened." (It worked for Saturday morning cartoons, right?)

As for the module after that (Mask of the Living God), I haven't played it but I'm concerned that my kids might not be up to the challenge. It appears (based on reviews) to require roleplaying and detective work, and that's the part of the game where my kids have shown the least interest so far.

(P.S. A second "thank you" to The Block Knight for the detailed description of ROTRL....)

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

TBK hit the nail on the head. Though, RotRL is a great investment. Either A) get it for when your kids get older, B) get it if you ever decide to start a second group with some adult friends, or C) get it for the sheer awesomeness of the story and you want something good to read to inspire you for more adventures with your family. Oh, and I second CotEF!

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