Expedition to the Ruins of Castle Greyhawk

Playtest Reports

Here We Go!

I’ve decided to run Expedition to the Ruins of Castle Greyhawk campaign using the Pathfinder RPG beta release. I've been waiting to run this adventure for a while, and now seems like a fine time :). While I’ll be documenting the game as it progresses. My players will likely read this thread, so information not meant for them will be hidden behind spoiler tags. Please comment on anything, but use spoilers liberally.

I'll also be following the lead of other recent playtesters and posting a blog containing both the content posted here, and other information not relevant to the playtest (but possibly relevant to the campaign).

You can find that blog here.

We've spent a few weeks in character creation so far, mostly over the internet, though we've done some work in person as well. As we're using the Pathfinder beta, the rules are a bit new to all of us--not entirely new, of course, but new enough that there have been some questions.

Part 1: The Guide

Here is the guide that I gave the group:

Character Creation Guide wrote:

Character Creation Guide

Use the material in the Pathfinder Beta to create eighth-level characters. You may use material from the core book, and its various web enhancements. Your characters live and have always lived somewhere in the Flaness.

Use the "Purchase" method for ability score generation outlined on page 5 of the beta. You have 25 points. Don't forget that because you are 8th level, you get two +1 bumps to any score after all is said and done.

Hit Points
You get maximum hit points at first level, and half your hit die (plus appropriate modifiers) for each subsequent level. Add 10 to your total hit points at eighth level.

For each odd-numbered level beyond eighth, gain half your hit die plus appropriate modifiers; for each even numbered level beyond eighth, gain this number plus one.

You may choose to get one bonus hit point for each level you take in your race's favoured class, but you may opt for skill points instead. Choose wisely.

You may use feats from this thread in addition to those in the beta.

Purchase equipment from the Beta and its web enhancements with a value of 33 000 gp. Anything left over is cash on hand.

Of course, I made one mistake: while I meant to tell them they could have 15 points for ability scores, I was so used to "standard 3.5 point buy" that I must have written "25 points" by accident. By the time we all got together to talk about characters, many of them had purchased their scores based on these guidelines, and I didn't have the heart to tell them to reroll.

Knowing what they will be up against (thanks to the devious gentlemen who wrote it), I doubt this will help them all that much when all is said and done.

Part II: The Characters

So far our lineup looks like this:

lineup wrote:

• ______ - Elven Fighter 7 / Cleric 1 (Bralm)

(two-weapon fighting specialist)

• Kirek Rendkali - Mostly-Human Fighter 6 / Sorcerer 1 (BlueDragon) / Dragon Disciple 1
(natural weapons specialist)

• Darius Grey- Human Fighter 7 / Bard 1
(two-handed weapon specialist)

• Winston Acareis - Human(?) Fighter 6 / Rogue 2
(shield specialist)

• Sagihlahahl "Saige" Ehv'nscatil - Elven Cleric 3 (Boccob) / Universalist 3 / Mystic Theurge 2

Observant readers will note that of the five characters listed, four chose to play fighters. Their "concept party" idea was that everybody would play a fighter of some sort, and multiclasss to fill another party role (albeit lackingly). Horrified by this idea, the fifth player decided to break the mould in an attempt to cover all the spellcasting bases herself. I look forward to seeing how this party functions in the Greyhawk dungeons, especially if confronted with Will saves.

Part III: Questions

The following issues or questions were raised by various players over the course of chacter creation. These are summarized below (with my temporary rulings):

questions wrote:

Q: Does the DR from my Adamantine Full Plate (3/-) render 3 points of my vicious weapon self-dealing damage null?

A: No. Vicious weapons deal damage with 'a flash of disruptive energy', or untyped energy damage of some sort (one of the vagaries of magic items, I guess). DR doesn't help against energy damage.
Q: How about hardness?
A: Energy damage doesn't cut through hardness. Objects in general only take damage from specific types of energy, and the type done by vicious weapons is not among them. Negative and positive energy similarly do no damage to objects.

Q: What happens when a vicious weapon wielded by hand of the acolyte hits a target?
A: Mage hand is 5 lb telekinesis that targets an item, therefore there is no "hand" per se (even if hand of the acolyte seems to imply that one exists). While this is seemingly contradictory, I'm going to say that the target takes 2d6 damage, but because there is nothing actually wielding the weapon, nothing takes the additional 1d6.

Q: Does Devastating Blow work with the Critical Hit Deck?
A: Critical Hit Cards count as a special effect; devastating blow is for damage only.

Q: Fleet's movement bonus does not apply if one is carrying a "medium or heavy load". So... if I'm wearing heavy armour, but have a high enough strength, my base move goes up 5'? Does that mean my move is 25'? Or does 35' get reduced to 20' as well?
A: For now, I'm ruling that 35 becomes 25 in medium or heavy armour, and 25 likewise becomes 20. Literal interpretation of the rules implies that this is not the case, but why explicitly make the the feat function in medium and heavy armour if it clearly does nothing under those circumstances?

Q: Can a shield be used as a primary weapon?
A: The rules don't mention this, but I see no reason why not (I'm sure I will soon). Remember one can only have one shield bonus to one's AC at a given time.

Q: Into what fighter weapon group do a dragon sorcerer's claws fall?
A: This is unclear. I'm going to say an unlisted one called "natural" that also includes other forms of natural weapons.

Q: How frequently does one get new feats?
A: While it's not explicitly stated in the beta, the chart implies every odd-numbered level.

Q: Now that specialist bonus spells have been rolled into a wizard's class features, does a mystic theurge continue to receive them?
A: The rules seem to imply that, no, the mystic theurge is screwed, as compared to 3.5. Tough beans.

That's it for now; more as it develops.

The players have decided that all of their characters are from or have at least been living on Lof'Rhiane, a small island in the Nyr Dyv that houses the equally small town of Salt Harbour.

In truth, Salt Harbour was our group's Living Greyhawk "club village", and is an entirely original creation. Those who played Living Greyhawk in the PNW circa 2001 might remember this as the setting for the adventure Lonely Harbour, as well as a couple interactives, and a regional adaptation for Descent Into Darkness. It's been fun updating the setting six years from 592 to 597, though it's been a slog cutting through my own writing from age 17.

If you're interested in slogging through such prose yourself--which I've had time to update and add to, but not greatly improve upon--you can see it here. Fair warning though, it's long.

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