Pathfinder 2E Finally at the Table

It has been a while!  There are legitimate reasons for that though and I make no apologies for it.  I had settled myself into a period of writing once a week on the blog, but I just found the week after the last post that if I was to write, it would be forced.  I was also aware that I had a lot of work still to get Pathfinder 2E at the table.  I was pretty sure I was not going to like the result but I had to focus on the world I was creating and give it a good chance.  Today we all met in my gaming shed and set up the screen.  I set up the laptop with Realm Works on it and we talked about the new edition.  Then we stopped talking and started playing.

Realm Works

I had a lot of information in the Realm Works setting I had started as an Advanced Dungeons and Dragons (AD&D) game.  I tried to run it once, but it was as a smorgasbord of games and another system got chosen.  The need to play this story gripped me and we are here converting it to Pathfinder 2E.  There was a solid backbone to this setting set in Realm Works.  But it needed to be bigger and better.  I grabbed my copy of Kevin Crawford’s Worlds Without Number and I also grabbed a tutorial on how to make your own campaign world map.

I set down to some serious work.  Instead of blogging here, I was creating this world in GIMP and Realm Works.  I was fleshing this world out with the tables and assistance of Worlds Without Number and I then focussed on the specifics using the Pathfinder rules.  I decided to run with the Pathfinder Rules for balance and the like for the characters’ first level.  I envisioned the prelude I wanted that would hint at the things to come and it all settled in Realm Works.

The structure of this program is excellent.  it is laid out and I can see what I am trying to achieve and the path to get there.  I will talk about that in my next post.

Prepping Pathfinder 2E for the Table

I thought I was going to dislike this.  read my reviews I wrote recently.  They are not overly complimentary.  So let me say this about my recent experiences.  I really only started revisiting the rules as I started to nail down the initial adventure.  It was to be a traditional enough game with flavour.  It is in essence a game in a dungeon with an unexpected threat beginning to brew.  Add to that unexpected threat a twist that makes the characters and the players wonder what is below the surface.  I built this adventure over a couple of days and I did it using the Pathfinder 2E rules about encounter design and providing treasure as a reward.

I do not like, as a general rule, balance in my game.  The balance needs to exist in the player’s brain.  If they hear that an ancient black dragon lives in a nearby swamp and they are first level, they should not go looking for it.  An ancient black dragon will eat them.  But modern games have taught younger players that they will only face challenges balanced for their level.  Not in my game.  But, on the flip side of this, it is my job to make sure the players are not faced with that in their first run out of the tavern.  So, I designed the entirety of the first area with the Pathfinder rules at heart and I liked it.

Designing is much easier in Pathfinder 2E

The way that the encounter is built and the fact that the experience gap between each level is the same makes this game so easy to design.  Dealing with only creature level and how that interacts with the character’s level makes things simple.  Some neat encounter headings (which coincidentally are on the GM screen) and you get into a flow!  Encounter after encounter built in a fluid day of design.  Locking all the details into Realm Works and linking the stat blocks to the web hyperlinks is such a breeze.  Plus, as an additional bonus, you just do not focus on the treasure rewards until later.

Treasure as a reward is something that Pathfinder takes away from the type of creature you are looting.  Now they say you need x number of this item type and level and y number of this type and level and z worth of GP to be given out over the level.  Simple and straight up.  Then you get to decide where to place it!  So after pulling the map apart and making the encounters I then opened a note-sheet and wrote down the whole level’s worth of treasure.  I calculated the experience they were going to get from this adventure and worked out it would take them three-quarters of the way to level 2.  Then I worked out which three-quarters of the treasure I was going to give to them and looked at how I was going to place it.  This approach allows me to decide the most logical place for stuff to be.  Treasure can also be given out by patrons!  Not just as murder hobo rewards.  Congratulations Paizo, this makes sense to me and works brilliantly.

Pathfinder 2E Finally at the Table

Pathfinder Core rulebook image
This is a heavy tome at over 600 pages…

OK, so we played today.  The first time any of us had played this version of the game.  In short, the players enjoyed the premise of the adventure and got involved.  They did the unexpected at the start which produced different results than what I was expecting, but I had a plan for this.  And then, like players everywhere, they split the party and one half found their way to the final confrontation way too soon.  The adventure ended today on a cliffhanger as the half that had split were unconscious and the other half tracked them to where they were beaten and found no sign of them.  That is a neat cliffhanger ending.

There were pauses in the game as we tried to work out some rules, and I imagine that will continue for a little.  The players had heeded my warnings and were largely across their character abilities, which was nice.  I personally really liked the three action system.  it makes sense, and the players seemed to like the structure too.  There were comments around the table about how much more substantial their starting characters were, and how they would improve exponentially better than the 1E equivalent.  At the end of the game, I asked how they enjoyed the setting and the system.  It was a thumbs up to both so far from every one, with one player going as far to say:

As far as the d20 system goes, this is my favourite version.

Can’t wait for next fortnight!

I really enjoyed myself today.  I enjoyed the system a lot more than I ever thought I would.  I had a long discussion with one of my friends online about it months ago and he was positive about it.  I did not know if the men in black from Paizo had brainwashed him, but now I get it.  I have gone carefully into this new edition and restricted the ruleset to only a couple of books, and further restricted some of the content (particularly ancestry choices).  I think this is a good thing.  I do not want to hit the bloat that was prevalent in Pathfinder 1E when they made the change.  There is already a scary amount of stuff on the market for it.  But we will continue, and as long as things stay like this, or improve, I think we may be giving it a red hot go.  Keep rolling!

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