|2 people marked this as a favorite.|
Hi. This is my preliminary report on running the first half of The Lost Star the first time. I wanted to get this out while it was still fresh, as this group probably won’t get to finish TLS before this portion of the playtest closes.
So the group consisted of 4 PCs. three of them are experienced 1st Edition AD&D players who have never played Pathfinder or 3e. The fourth is my 12 year old son. They played the following characters:
Human Cleric of Gorum, Gnome alchemist, human fighter, human rogue. My son played the rogue. All of them had trouble making characters - specifically with the frequently addressed issue of cross referencing material spread throughout the book. There were occasional jokes about using the 1e AD&D rules as a spiritual “organizational guide” for this playtest. (If you’ve played AD&D, you’ll know what that means).
All but the gnome alchemist were present for PnP - the alchemist attended virtually using a rather ingenious set up of my cell phone resting on the back of Icingdeath (a gargantuan D&D dragon mini) + facebook call. We used the flip mats and I had enough minis for everything except the centipedes. So, basically, it was the full PF experience (because I wanted to show off the lore / game as much as playtest).
Prep time: I spent about 8 hours prior to this reading through the module, including playing out the encounters solo with pregens, just to get a feel for the combat system.
Session time: At the rate we are playing, we should be able to finish this with one other session, for about 5-6 hours total.
Hero points: I gave out the minimum 1 each of hero points; none were used.
HP / death / dying: As we ended, the fighter was down to 1 HP. That’s the lowest any one got.
Summary of encounters
This encounter almost was played twice. The rogue was the only character to roll a better initiative than the sewer ooze. I’d decided beforehand that the ooze would use its tentacle attack in the first round and its burst attack in the second. The rogue nat 20’d the ooze with a rapier, who unfortunately was immune to crits and precision, and did a piddling amount of damage. The ooze was adjacent to the rogue and the fighter (who had previously charged into the room, initiating combat) and I randomly selected the fighter as the target. The ooze hit the fighter hard with 2 hits, one a crit, doing something like 17 points of damage. It was then that we all remembered the rogue still had two more actions. So… wipe that all out.
When we redid that combat, the rogue hit the ooze again for more damage, the ooze missed the rogue in return and the rest of the party made short work of the ooze. The fighter and cleric hit the ooze three times each and the rogue finished off the ooze at the start of round 2.
This encounter could have gone really badly for the party, with a crippled fighter from the outset. But it didn’t and we moved into the first big room.
The 4 goblins.
Based on my reading of the scenario, I decided the goblins wouldn’t be paying attention to the door, focusing more on their sculpture. The party alchemist (with darkvision) snuck ahead to scout the room,saw the goblins and retreated. The party decided that maybe the goblins would want to be freed if the PCs announced themselves as liberators. (None of the PCs spoke goblin). The PCs decided that they would sneak in a fair distance away, announce themselves and through gestures explain that they are friendly.
You can guess what happened. The fighter in chain mail failed his sneak roll, making the goblins aware. The fighter still tried to motion “out”, but honestly, four adventurers show up heavily armed from the shadows, weapons drawn, and there’s really no other answer other than “roll initiative”.
The PCs made short work of the goblins.
The alchemist snuck into the room, failed his stealth but won initiative. Tossed one alchemists’ fire at the bugs and fled like the dickens. The centipedes pursued to the narrows and then retreated. The party decided they wanted no part of the centipedes, since they seemed content to just stay in their own area and left.
4 dead goblin room.
The rogue snuck into this room and gave it a look around. The party was worried that all the bones on the floor meant everything in there would rise as skeletons and wanted no part of that room, either.
The rogue snuck into this room. The party wanted to burn it all, and it was at this point that I gently reminded them all that in PF I only give descriptive info and if they wanted to know more, they needed to make a skill roll to “recall knowledge”. Being 1e AD&D players this was a new and fun thing. So they all did knowledge rolls and learned about the mind spores and how to kill it. They decided it wasn’t worth the effort, seeing as the spores can’t chase them, and left.
The gnome very very carefully crept down the passageway to the pool room using darkvision. They strongly considered using the thief, as they felt they were due for a trap very soon. But they thought the light would be too dangerous. Reaching the pool, they noted the fetid color and odor, saw the Lhamatshu carving, considered taking it to sell (go 1e AD&D!) but figured they’d loot the pool on the way back.
The party ignored the locked door, and the rogue wanted to take apart the armor trap (after detecting it). The rogue nat 20’d the armor trap to disable it, and I ruled that he was able to take the whole thing apart without arousing suspicion. Only because it was a nat 20.
Because they could see a little glow (from the campfire). off in the distance, the rogue went ahead to scout this room. He saw the goblins, and went back to report. The party decided to sneak in with the rogue and alchemist, and as soon as trouble started the fighter would charge in with his feat and enter the fray. Cleric would bring up the rear - presumably with lots of bandages.
Unfortunately, the alchemist failed his sneak role, but the rogue was already ready with his shortbow (looted off the goblins in area 2, i might add), so I ruled that he could get one shot off before initiative. Unfortunately the rogue missed the goblin.
A messy combat ensued over 4 rounds - quite long for 1st level. Highlights were: the fighter taking burning hands in the face… twice! (because the fighter was in the center of the cluster right by the goblin pyro.) The cleric had terrible rolls, missing everything and rolling very low on heals. In the end, the cleric was down 2/3rds of their HP, the fighter was down to 1 HP, the rogue and the alchemist were down several HP. The goblins never got the chance to spring their rock trap.
Overall thoughts - Combat flowed pretty well. I screwed up on a few rules, mostly forgetting some things. That third action in a sequence was sometimes left hanging in space. The alchemist wanted to start a spell with that third action and then finish it on the next round. Which I didn’t allow, though I’m not sure there’s a rule specifically against that. I kept forgetting the sneak damage on my son’s rogue when flat footed because of flanking. But overall, it played smoothly at first level in a simple dungeon.
My players played this very much like a 1e AD&D module, with a heavy dose of paranoia and willing to leave rooms behind. For awhile I was worried that they'd miss almost all of the module. They had the advantage of a crudely drawn map by the one goblin at the start to help them, though I don't think they made as much use of it as they could. But everyone had a great time. The AD&Ders were particularly impressed with Golarion's lore and expansiveness (I spent several minutes describing Magnimar) and are looking forward to completing this portion of the playtest and moving on to the next part.
I’ll post the back half when we get to finish playing. I’ll post the feedback from my other, long running PF group after we play tonight!
And hey, if you've read this far, you've certainly earned the right to send me some feedback! I appreciate all feedback :)
The alchemist wanted to start a spell with that third action and then finish it on the next round. Which I didn’t allow, though I’m not sure there’s a rule specifically against that.
You're correct there. I don't have an exact reference for you, but is is not allowed to split actions across multiple turns.