Pathfinder 2 – Yay, we fought something that isn’t a Goblin!

Tsuto KaijitsuWelcome back, whoever is reading this.

Second game was this past weekend. A bit too short, and a bit too disorganized, but still fun.

The characters present:

  • Nox/Karen, Female Changeling Swordsage
  • Elias von Rasenberg, Male Human Ranger, favoured enemy: goblinoids
  • Mao Swiftpaw, Female Tibbit Rogue
  • Nonnie Killing van Huttington, Chaotic Evil Male Halfling Sorcerer (“Killing is my middle name”)
  • and introducing Reza, Dwarven Cleric of Desna

This game had some warning signs from the start. We normally start around 2:00-ish, but nobody arrived until almost 4:00. (Not due to anyone’s fault, as morning work schedules caused trouble.) Additionally, I had homework to do for uni that night, so the session wasn’t going to be a long one.

But we also had another player join this week. Now, our group is a bit odd, both demographically and socially.

Firstly, we have 5 players, 2 male, 3 female, for a 3:3 split including myself.

Second, the makeup of the group has been in flux for a while. A few years back, schedule conflicts mandated the change of group structure, and we brought in our Tibbit’s player. A short time later, there was a falling out in the group, and both Elias’ and Mao’s players ended up leaving for a while. Eventually, Raza’s player joined up with a couple others. Those others are too busy these days, and the falling out has been over for some time, so Elias and Mao came back since we had room.

Now, what this means is that while Myself, Nox/Karen, and Nonnie have played with everyone here, Elias, Mao, and Raza have not played together yet.

As such, the night became similar to the formation of a new gaming group, where players are beginning to get used to each other. Our friend ChattyDM would call it Storming.

Distractions came up too frequently, attention spans were short, and play time was limited. I was as guilty of this as anyone, of course, but it was all still there.

That’s not to say we didn’t have a good game, however.

When we last left our intrepid heroes, they had just finished cleaning up some remnants from the recent raid on Sandpoint. It is now 3 days since the raid, and the Sheriff comes to see them, and brings them to a meeting with a one of his, well, informants. Shalelu is an elven ranger who aids the local towns against the goblins and other threats in the area. And she wasn’t expected to return so soon.

Shalelu has brought interesting, and worrying, news of the goblin tribes getting organized for something. Any time goblins get organized, you know something bad is happening, right?

She praises and inquires about the PCs’ involvement with the raid battle, and offers whatever information she can.

But first, the PCs decide they want to interrogate one of the goblins that the Sheriff had captured. They find him to be fully willing to talk about what he knows, which isn’t a heck of a lot. But through the Sheriff and the Goblin, they find out a few things.

  • a “longshanks” was leading them
  • the longshanks had pointy-ish ears
  • the longshanks was on a secret mission in he graveyard (discovered to be the theft of the former town priest’s remains)
  • the goblin is from the Thistletop clan

Well, after Elias gets a chance to exercise his favoured enemy muscles, and Nonnie gets to play up his CE side, the Sheriff leaves to get reinforcements from Magnimar, and asks the party to remain in town to be a calming presence for the people.

So, of course, the first thing they decide to do is leave and hunt goblins in Thistletop.

Now, this is where I need to get critical of the Pathfinder book. It says “It’s likely that, after this event, the PCs will want to start scouring the region for goblins and reasons for their increased aggression, but you should use Hemlock’s request for them to stay in town as an anchor for now.”

Well, that’s all fine and good, but Thistletop is only a couple hours away, and there are closer goblin nests as well. It’s not really possible to convince the players that they wouldn’t still be visible in town by going there.

For anyone planning on running this adventure, watch this part.

Anyways, it was getting late that night, so the party asked if there was anything closer to check out.

Now, Goblins are rumoured to rummage through the dump at night, so the decided it could be good to go look.

Of course, by go look, they mean “sneak down to the beach and slaughter some Gobbos”.

So, we kill some goblins and, by around 1:00 AM game time, track them to their warcamp of about 25-30 (visible) goblins. At this point, the party begins entertaining the idea of attacking the camp.

Now, just to make a point here, I am not a Killer DM. I usually attempt to help the players survive a bit.

But I will not protect them from their own ideas.

Luckily, the other party members talked the more suicidal ones down, and they headed back to town for the night, planning to go scout out Thistletop the next day.

Until they were woken up by the sound of tiny fists on their doors. The halfling maid reports that Ameiko, the owner of the inn (and the bar) who the PCs have become friends with, has gone missing, with a crumpled note left behind.

So, they head to the Glassworks, finding the windows covered and doors locked. So they climb up on the roof and look through the skylights. Formulating a plan, they get 3 of them up on the roof, station a couple by the doors on the ground floor, and prepare to break through the skylight on top of the goblins they can see inside, 20 feet below.

At this point, I realise I hadn’t made clear that these skylights were 10-foot wide domes of fairly thick glass. (Though, in my defense, I don’t think I’ve ever played in a game where the first instinct at a locked door was to not have the rogue open it.)

So they move back down, open the rear door of the building, and move in to the workshop where the goblins are located stealthily… and roll a 2 to open the door.

Goblins perk up, initiative is rolled, and the first 4 gobbos take the rogue into negative hit points on the first round. Healing is administered, players roll poorly, goblins roll well, and a CR 2 fight with 8 goblins goes far worse than it should have, until the last round of so. None escaped, and the players find the dead body of Ameiko’s father encased in glass.

At this point, we break for dinner, and come back to finish off the dungeon quickly before we end for the night. We skip exploring the entire first floor, as there is nothing interesting there, and move on to the basement. There, they find Tsuto (Ameiko’s brother, and a half-elf). Hmm… pointy-eared longshanks?

Anyways, they wake him up, beat him down with subdual, and tie him to a chair.

In the next room they find Ameiko, who takes the news of her father’s death stoically. And in the final room they find an old smuggler’s tunnel.

They take Tsuto back topside to prison, and read his journal. Notes about, and drawings of, a celestial girl who was assumed dead, including drawings of her as a succubus. Goblin plans with notes on them, including mention of a smuggler’s tunnel.

What’s that? A smuggler’s tunnel? They decide to check this out…

Well, despite my massive amounts of rambly writing, this session didn’t take very long. It was an alright session, with too many distracting moments.

After reviewing it, however, I’m definitely satisfied with what happened, all things considered.

What I liked:

  • Battlemat. It’s much easier to work tactically with one on the table. And this is important when you have a rogue in the party, as you need to be able to adjudicate flanking.
  • After the game, I got some questions I had answered by Elias. I have a much better understanding of a few things that have been happening.

What I didn’t like:

  • I felt like I was railroading too much. I don’t know how the players felt, but it was more than I like to do. Unfortunately, I wasn’t feeling totally comfortable with improv that day, so it was hard to avoid.
  • Shortness. Luckily, the job that delayed my players is gone as of this Saturday. We will start at 2:00 as per usual next week.
  • Distractions. There were numerous sources of distraction this game. I will need to make sure that many don’t come into play in the future.

What the players liked/didn’t like:

  • Level 2 now!
  • Besides that, honestly, it’s difficult to say for this one. The game was short, and didn’t have much roleplaying. The encounters were… well, okay but somewhat uninspired. I’m going to just focus on making the next game better, and not worry too much about this one.
  • Though if any of them have any comments, they’re always invited to let me know them.

Lessons (re)learned:

  • My players are conditionally invincible. Against impossible odds, they can’t be hurt. Against gangs of mooks, they almost die.

10 Comments

The Chatty DM  on January 24th, 2008

Maybe the invincibility is a function of the whims of the gods of Dice.

You played the adventure quite correctly IMO and I agree that expecting PCs to listen to a NPC is a structural weakness for an adventure. I think it’s assumed that PCs basking in the glow of heroism and having bonded with Sandpoint would have been enough.

Well I’m glad your group is forming/storming without any furniture being broken… :)

Dave T. Game  on January 24th, 2008

As much as I like the Pathfinder series, I found that railroading was inevitable. I told the players up front that this is a premade adventure/campaign, and as such would not nearly be as free form as a game I plan myself.

My players got just a little beyond where you are, and we haven’t gotten a chance to get back to it yet. I’m curious to hear how the next part goes for you…

Graham  on January 24th, 2008

Agreed, Dave, and I warned them about this as well. This is the first point where I actually was uncomfortable with it, however. Really, the whole issue was caused by external factors.

Usually, my group has a kind of plot sense, where the way they want to go it the way I’ve plotted out. If they do leave the plot, I’m usually good enough with improvisation to account for it and still make sure everyone has fun. This time, unfortunately, I wasn’t up to the task, and the game just had a bit of a forced feeling at that part.

Christine aka Nox aka Karen  on January 26th, 2008

So this is kind of a new experience for me, being the sane leader-type of the group (Usually I’m one of the ones running around after “XP chunks” or lootz). But when there’s a mini-psycho sorcerer, a trigger-happy (against gobbos at least) ranger, and a rogue kitty cat around, somebody has to take the lead, and I got elected I guess. Hopefully the dwarf cleric tilts a little more toward sanity.

Yeah, specifically I’m talking about the “hey, let’s invade a freaking goblin village” scenario that cropped up. It’s metagaming, I know, but when the DM is sitting there saying outright that he won’t protect us from our own stupid decisions, it’s time to back away… and no one else seemed to be listening.

Had they gone forward, I guess I would have been hanging out back at the inn for a couple of days until a new batch of adventures wandered into town. :P
Also, yay level 2!

Graham  on January 26th, 2008

While it’s not normally your role of choice, you tend to do pretty well as the group leader. Or at least as the voice of reason. :D

Graham  on January 27th, 2008

Oh, and the expression on everyones’ faces when Ameiko states she needs to go warn her father…

“Yeah, um, about that…”

Gold!

Crut  on February 1st, 2008

I’m also running this campaign with my group, and I’ll second that irritation with the railroading. This is often a problem with premade adventures, even really good ones like this one.

For example: my players wanted to go out and run down every goblin in the area the day after the initial assault, something the adventure doesn’t really account for. It kind of assumes that the characters will just kind of hang out in Sandpoint.

The way I was able to manage the railroad was with the excellent description of Sandpoint that is found in the adventure. Every place of business has an interesting character that you can use to keep the players on the tracks. It actually ended up being kind of fun as I was able to distract my players with intrigue and NPC interactions so that they didn’t run away on me during our first session.

Musings of the Chatty DM » DM Chronicles: The legend of the Broken Dice, Session 2, Part 1  on February 19th, 2008

[…] remembering that Graham’s players had no intention of sticking around town , waiting for stuff to happen, I sprung the next […]

Musings of the Chatty DM » DM Chronicles: The legend of the Broken Dice, Session 2, Part 1  on February 19th, 2008

[…] remembering that Graham’s players had no intention of sticking around town , waiting for stuff to happen, I sprung the next […]

DM Chronicles: The legend of the Broken Dice, Session 2, Part 1 : Critical Hits  on January 24th, 2010

[…] remembering that Graham’s players had no intention of sticking around town , waiting for stuff to happen, I sprung the next […]

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