Fun Way to Run the Hopeknife Ceremony



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So my entire 6 person group is fresh and new to Pathfinder...and d20 systems for that matter. So for the opening sequence of Giantslayer I decided to beef up the involvement of the Hopeknife Ceremony to get them all used to rolling d20s, hitting DCs, and applying modifiers.

This is how I did it.

The ceremony has the basic tug of war game which honestly I thought was rather lame. No one was rolling dice for it, no one felt involved. Afterwards though I announced that through the course of the celebrations there would be a raffle and in addition 4 other main events: Knife Throwing, Orc Trivia, Boulder Tossing, and a Drinking Contest.

Each of these allowed someone in the group to be excellent at.

The Raffle:

I kind of spoiled them with this, but I had potions of heal, enlarge person, giants strength, and invisibility, masterworked armors, and the grand prize being a war-trained heavy horse. The tickets were 30 gp each (I made the price relative to the leftover starting gold each player had) and assigned each person a number on the d20 die to represent their ticket. At the end of the day I rolled for prizes and everyone managed to get something cool, as did a few NPCs. This led to some roleplay later that involved swindling those NPCs out of their raffle prizes haha.

THe Main Events:

So with the four main events, I allowed each player to sign up for a minimum of two of them. In each one that a player wasn't signed up for, I let them play the role of an NPC. This gave everyone something to do at each stage of the ceremony. Each event had a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, with prize money of 100, 50, and 25 gp, respectively.

Knife Throwing:

This one favored Dex characters. The rules were simple; each person signed up and in each round through a special throwing hopeknife at an orc mannequin. The kill spots on the orc were colored accordingly: DC 10 hit the blue parts, not lethal; DC 15 hit the yellow, highly damaging but not lethal, and DC 20 hit the red parts, the face, heart, and groin, all lethal! I broke it down to one throw per round for 4 rounds. Hitting blue was 1 point, yellow 2 points, and red 4 points. Everyone had fun and hilariously the elven mage beat the paladin archer in this game, a fact she hasn't let him forget.

Boulder Tossing:

This one let players show off just how strong they are. I made sure everyone had a different colored die (and had some for the various NPCs) and we all rolled in a shallow cardboard box all at once, applied each participants strength modifier, and gave points accordingly. The highest result represented the farthest throw, and they received 5 points. After that the next lowest and so on received 4, 3, 2, and 1 points. Everyone else received 0. After 4 rounds the results were in, points added, and the rogue beat the fighter and barbarian.

Orc Trivia:

This one was for the smarty pants' in the group. The way I set it up was I asked 10 increasingly hard questions worth 1 point each, and then a final bonus question worth 4 points. The first question was a DC 10 Intelligence roll, and each following question increased the DC by 1, with the bonus question being a DC 20. THe wizard won this one, but surprisingly the Barbarian wasn't too far behind.

Drinking Contest:

This one involved fortitude rolls, and everyone was super excited to drink, even if it was in a roleplaying game. I invented a local specialty firewhiskey that was donated to the event that everyone was drinking. The way the contest worked was starting with a DC 5 fortitude roll, each player would knock back shot after shot, each consecutive shot increasing the DC of the save by 1. Whenever a player failed by 5 or more, they received an increasing -1 penalty on future saves. If they failed by 10 they passed out. The rogue was the first to go down, and the barbarian won only after raging halfway through the event to push his saves a little higher haha.

The unconscious players were revived by volunteers from the Sanctuary. Once everyone was semi-conscious, I did the raffle, rolling a d20 and calling out numbers.

After every thing was said and done, the whole group had a fun time with non-combat rolling and roleplay, got to interact with the important NPCs in more than just dialogue, and they even got really attached to Rodrick Grath, moreso than if he had just walked up and monologued to them and then left as the AP had written (Which was perfect for getting them involved in what happened the next morning) In addition they all had stories and swag to brag about, as well as extra spending money to go celebrate with the other adults at the afterparty at the Ramblehouse.

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