Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Wrath of the Righteous - Solo Pathfinder Game

It's amazing what you can do with a solo campaign.  Basically I got the itch to run a game and have been eyeing off this adventure path for quite some time.  My husband is always present and available and one of our big hobbies involves running things for each other so I figured: "Why not?"

He created a Tiefling Monk called "Alfie" and was given a set of Base 14 stats where he could increase a stat by reducing another one by one.  And yes, it was a one for one basis so the cost of going from 17 to 18 was the same as to go down from 13 to 12.

I also gave him maximised hit dice (so that he had a full 8hp on a d8, or whatever it is that monk's get - I forget), three additional starting feats (though they couldn't all be pre-requisites for each other, no early stage chaining) and three traits. 

I also let him roll thrice on the tiefling special ability chart to replace his Darkness spell-like ability and even let him roll again when one of those abilities didn't make any sense.  He's meant to be a Good Tiefling, so cannibalism for hit points wouldn't work out for this type of campaign.  He personally chose to swap out his sorcery bloodline benefit for a mobile tail.

I even gave him a free Sin Rune - Rune of Resistance - and he was allowed to take it for one of his existing Resistance 5s and Acid Resistance.  This was connected to his backstory whereby he was used for some terrible ritual before being rescued at an early age and dropped off in Vigil (which I transplanted to Mendev for my own needs).

Other than that his equipment was selected by me and was all pretty ordinary.  Other than a Ring of Protection + 1 it was all very mundane.  Monks don't need elaborate weapons and armour anyway.

Finally I gave him an extra 2 skill points per level.

Oh, and he started at level 3.

So why did I do all of this?  Well, he has to play the role of four Player Characters for while there are allies included in this particular game, sometimes he'll be on his own.  I could just make him higher level, but I didn't want his saves / base attack / AC to wildly overwhelm the opposition so I made him smarter, harder to kill, with better stats and a slight boost in level at the beginning (later he'll probably only sit 1 level higher than the suggested CR).  So yeah, versatility over pointiness.

We're partway through the first Part of the first Book and it's working out well so far.  It's also a hoot as the NPCs are really well detailed and there's points in various rooms where they respond and react to things and it's all laid out on the page for me to follow (or branch off from where I need to).

I started him in my moved area of Vigil as I wanted him to have a stable base of operations and he got to have a rather ordinary time interrupted only by the arrival of some Nidalese Kuthites wanting to join the Crusade (or so they say) who did odd things like dropping in on the Shelyn Temple to pay their respects and who were hiring on a guide to Kenares (which is an easy three day ride away across a well-travelled and protected road).

"Alfie" was an orphan raised by the Temple of Shelyn whose destructive impulses have been channelled into martial arts training (since he can't quite do a monk-like aspect as he's too ADHD).  Other than being a real food glutton and a bundle of energy, he's a good kid as one of the chief clerics to Shelyn has managed to position him as an example of the redemptive qualities of goodness, so he gets given special treatment that does tend to irritate tieflings' with a rougher history.

Anyway, been loads of fun so far.  Just thought I'd share on the character creation changes.


  1. Sounds like a great game. Knowing your husband, you should have got him to make 2-3 character and roleplay all of them at once. It is always fun to watch him argue with himself :-)

    1. So true, so true. Jealous you're too far away to play? :P

  2. Sounds like fun! I am so behind on your posts right now...
    Y'know, it occurs to me, given the amount of solo stuff you run, I'd be interested in your take on my party-splitting hack? Harder to do in D&D, but I think it's doable... You could have a pool of tokens equal to party size, which can be tapped for various boosts. I do think in D&D actions would be the key thing though. Tokens that let you modify any d20 roll (yours or enemies') by 1d6? I'd need to think on it more.

  3. I just picked up the first book to this path. I am glad you are running it, and I am looking forward to your game reports. A tiefling heading towards a place that is at war with demons...

    I did not know that it's not the modern thing to not have hirelings and henchmen accompany the party. I think it's a good option when there are not a lot of players in the group. Dragon Age makes the npc henchmen (and henchwomen) fun as they have their own motivations. Even when there is a full crew of PCs, I am not sure why people don't consider it an option.

    Our group is currently running a Rise of the Runelords game. We have hired a pack bearer to help carry stuff. There's no sense in anyone being encumbered! We also have a torch bearer to provide the light for the group as no one has any sort of enhanced vision. We have managed to keep them from harm so far, as there has not even been an attack against them.

    Our last mission has taken us out of the town of Sandpoint to scout and possibly engage a goblin tribe. The party took horses and a pack mule for the trek. To relieve us of animal care duties, we hired a horse handler from the stables to take care of them, and an archer to guard and assist him. If it was a longer journey I would have hired a cook too.

    Since our npcs have now been with us multiple session, they are starting to take on personalities of their own.

    Our game (if you're interested)

    Our party (4 pcs) in the dungeon with 4 npcs: packbearer, linkboy (torch carrier), and an archer and a fighter from the Sandpoint town watch.

    It might look a bit crowded, but it's a dangerous world.

    David S.
    Minnesota, USA

    1. Hey David, I might actually be playing that campaign (rather than running it!) so I'm going to have to avoid it for now. If that ever changes, I shall read up on it.

      I think the reason why most modern games don't include NPCs is because it's too easy to do GMPCs and do them badly. In a game with four players at the table, the limelight is split so solidly that you really need to ensure that every NPC (or GMPC if you must have one) is reflecting that light back on the player every time.

      Dragon Age: Inquisition is a great example of how to do that - players choose where the loot goes, players choose where they go, NPCs may disapprove but unless something terrible happens they won't just leave....

      The trouble is that too many GMs use railroads anyhow and use the tagalong NPCs to help with that railroad, or because they've pre-plotted the adventure they think up that epic combat manoeuvre the NPC can do, or most likely they're just not very good at RPing allied tagalong NPC on top of everything else so that NPC drops into the background.

      Heck, I have a Very Young Umbral Dragon tagalong NPC and while she whines about having no loot, I've built in reasons why she doesn't just steal stuff from the PCs. i.e. She has very particular tastes in goods, and hasn't come across any of them. She wants the city to succeed so that she can take over it in her own way. At present, she sees the brass dragon wyrmlings that they liberated as "loot" and wants to train them into being a fleet of rogues she can find change shape amulets for so that she has what appears to be toddler rogues once they become small.

      In other words, her urge for loot has led to humour for my player - who keeps warning her not to lay on the brass dragon wyrmlings as they're not a treasure pile. I could play it seriously, but only in terms of how it services the plot and the players.

      In other words, every NPC action needs to be measured out to make it work and it all depends on the players' needs and the GM's interests / capabilities, so I think that's why it's no longer a core assumption.

      Of course, if you can do it and do it well, I think it's brilliant! I tend to adopt NPCs when I'm a player, anyhow, if my husband is running them as he does very good complex psychologies for them that I find fascinating. Some of the other GMs? Run. Run hard.