Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ship-based Pathfinder Campaign

Sorry about the long delays in posting but the arm overuse injury keeps flaring back up. I've been to see a physio and have been advised that I should take it easy but am able to get back onto the keyboard. So, I thought I'd start by posting up some information on my new Pathfinder campaign. Hopefully I'll have the time / energy to finish off my other weekly article lines as well. Anyway, on to show off my beautiful new campaign based around a massive Avistan / Garund-spanning sea-based campaign.

I'd decided this campaign was going to be the Shackles Pathfinder Adventure Path way back in December 2011 to follow up on Crimson Throne but realised that I had far too many ideas to simply stick to a pre-made. By mid-February, 2012, I entered the planning phases where I settled on a starting city (Westcrown, Cheliax), determined the primary regional conflicts they would face (Cheliax declaring war on Andoren after a 20 year peace treaty) and the approximate time span (about 30 years in the future from Crimson Throne). A lot has happened in those 30 years.

My players diligently created new characters for this campaign. My fiance made about five before finally settling on a Tiefling Witch from Riddleport who came to Westcrown for a more accepted lifestyle with his kin as surely a country that worships devils would treat tieflings kindly (yeah, right!). There's an Andoren Gunslinger who wields Andoren's new secret weapon (pistols and canons, due to the establishment of an alliance with movers and shakers in the Mana Wastes) who serves as the 2nd Lieutenant on an Andoran Naval Vessel. There's a Tianese traveller who's been enslaved twice who has studied combining wizardry with guns. There's a barbarian mercenery, part Tianese, part Chelish, who is always seeking the next cash-based experience and who gets a kick outta hurting people. Then there's the Undine bard / sailor who has sailed on many merchant vessels throughout the Inner Seas.

They're a lively bunch and we began our first adventure two weeks ago. I'll update you soon with what happened in the sweetly dangerous city of Westcrown.


  1. Oh, that sounds cool. I'm running Pathfinder at the moment, adapting D&D standalones into a rough campaign. You might be interested in the Icosahedrophilia. podcast, which is following a 4E D&D ship-based campaign.

  2. To be honest, I really struggled in the last campaign (Crimson Throne) because of its strong dungeon basis in the latter books so I'm going to make up most of it whole-cloth. Having said that, I am adapting the second book of City of Thieves.

    Thanks for the link to the podcast!

  3. Yeah, my current players (two newbies, two relatively new RPers) are not really dungeon-inclined either, they seem to favour investigation and problem-solving. So I'll be casting around again for suitable scenarios, or else just writing something. I don't know about you, but it gets difficult to justify landing the party in dungeons and finding reasons they should explore them, let alone try to fight their way through.

    Glad you like it! I find Chris' ideas and the Prop Shop very helpful - wish he'd collect them up somewhere. Eavesdropping on other people's gaming is always interesting.

  4. Ahh, investigative types are great though it can be awkward if they're awkward with RPing. See if you can get one player on side with the IC chit-chats. My fiance did that way back in his original group and he slowly coaxed them into more RP.

    If you need justification to dump them into dungeons, why not make the dungeons smaller and more flavourful and put them in a High Adventure trail in Ustalav tracking down dangerous artefacts or Indiana Jonesing their way through the Mwangi Expanse (or both).

    Hmm, I feel an article coming on....

  5. Actually, they're pretty keen on RPing and gameworld stuff, which is great, though it occasionally throws up some surprises - I had to invent pretty much an entire kobold culture and religion from scratch in one session. I should write a post on that sometime... It's more persuading them to fight anything that's the trouble!

    Basically I'm running a homebrew setting with the Pathfinder ruleset, cribbed from the setting for our ill-fated 4E game. The idea was for them to be minor government agents slash troubleshooters, so they'd have some continuity and reason to go on adventures. There was obviously a bit of a misunderstanding, so they're inclined to view themselves as civil officials, rather than adventurers, and their reluctance to get into fights is perfectly in character. I'm working on it... And I did manage to pick up a non-spellcaster PC, which should really help.

    I love those ideas, though - must grab the campaign setting and look up some of those in more detail. I reckon they'd be up for some artefact-hunting. But yeah, an article would always be interesting.

  6. Wow, I must have been tired. I could've sworn that you'd said they were RP-shy! Oh well, explanation made.

    I've done one on how to keep my attention in 'dungeon'-styles, as that's where I'm going in my campaign anyhow. I think I'll also do a random list of things you can do that's not a typical dungeon as it'll help me in general and may well inspire them.

    Also, the other option you have is to give them options to subdue foes. They could also go Old West-style and subdue the enemy and bring them in to prison. You could have a lot of fun with that. Give them undead to kill but give them a place for the humanoids they nab. It'd make for a very unique and cool storyline, too, and they'll fight but do so with great verve and interest.

  7. Ah, I was a bit puzzled. Easily done!

    At the moment they're hunting wreckers, so they might bring some back for the kudos if I drop in a few not-quite-deads, though it's more likely execution than prison for them. All the murder, see. I really like the idea of bounty-hunting though, so I might see if I can stitch in some of that. There's penal legions and Greek-style slavery in the setting, so those would work as both a source of bounties and a place for prisoners to wind up. Also bounty-hunting is just a cool element generally. Thanks!

    Right, time to catch up on your other posts...