Another week has passed, and another of our OutPost games has come to an end. It was an oldie, but a goodie, from way back in Season 0. Scenario #06: Black Waters was an absolute delight. Put on by GM Shieldbug, the best GM I’ve ever had the opportunity to play alongside, my kids, my husband and I all had a ton of fun! Black Waters is designed for 1st to 5th level characters, and was written by Tim and Eileen Connors. In it, the Pathfinder Society sends its agents to the Tri-Towers Yard, an elite academy for the children of Absalom which was destroyed and flooded by an earth quake a decade ago. During the quake the school collapsed into an undiscovered necropolis, and the Pathfinders have been itching to get at the ruins ever since. Kept out of the mass graves by the (understandable) sentimentality of the influential parents whose children died in the tragedy, the Pathfinders have bided their time. Now known as the Drownyard, the Pathfinders are finally granted a chance! Sent to retrieve a magical ring, this scenario is more than just a dungeon delve. It’s got a surprisingly wide cast of entertaining characters to interact with, from influential noblewoman Lady Dacilane, to a gardener who is more than he appears, and the spirits of the dead themselves. I highly recommend this one!
Five lucky Pathfinders were chosen for the job, including my husband’s character: Enzo Jeggare, a Chelaxian occultist with a splendid moustache and a habit of summoning a dog to battle on his behalf. My daughter played Bunny Paras, a two-tailed kitsune druid with a fondness for dinosaurs and rabbits. Bunny Paras owns a rabbit breeding farm and is a vegetarian. In addition to her many pet rabbits, she has a pet parasaurolophus named Paras, who loves to dance and toot out rocking tunes. My son was paying Senton, an Ulfen ranger better known as Mr. Ice who fled south to escape the continual cold of his homeland: unfortunately, he’s still freezing anyway. I played my wood kineticist, Everbloom, a kitsune who grew up alone in the wilds and views life and death as just another fascinating part of existence. More than a little aloof and uncaring, Everbloom comes off as way nicer than she actually is. The final character was Tera Fosham, a veiled ifrit oracle with clouded vision whose healing touch and blessings were invaluable on this adventure. For more information on Enzo Jeggare, Bunny Paras, Paras and Mr. Ice, check out the following blog posts (Joining the Pathfinder Society and Signs in Senghor: Part One and Part Two) where I talked about their backgrounds, creation, and their first adventure playing Scenario #9-10: Signs in Senghor. To read about our adventures playing Black Waters, check out the gameplay thread, here.
After wrapping up that wonderful game, my kids wanted to immediately begin another one, but my husband had other plans. Knowing he was only one adventure shy of a reaching level two, my husband suggested I GM them through another scenario this weekend, and my kids agreed. I spent some time thinking about what my kids love best about playing Pathfinder. Fulfilling faction goals, of course, which means missions that have importance to the Scarab Sages and the Dark Archives. My daughter loves adventures that contain animals and cute things. Definitely nothing with lycanthropes. My son loves missions where he gets to interact with colourful characters, and make friends. Also? Turns out he loved messing with the Aspis Consortium, which he saved his good pal Gideon Wren from. And my husband? Something he’s never done before. And surprisingly, he showed interest in missions regarding the Shadow Lodge. Awesome! So after a ton of sifting, reading and sorting through the scenarios I own, I made an absurdly long list of potential scenarios we could play, and set to work reading. In the end, I decided to run us through an old scenario from Season 0 intended for Tiers 1-7: Scenario #14: The Many Fortunes of Grandmaster Torch. Why, you might ask, did you choose to run that old thing? Well, for starters, Grandmaster Torch is an important character to both the Shadow Lodge and the Scarab Sages, so I definitely wanted to ensure my family got to meet him before we played later scenarios which might involve or mention him. Second, this scenario takes place in Qadira and involves the illegal smuggling of Osirian artifacts, a topic which would interest both my son and daughter’s characters, as they are members of the Scarab Sages. Third, it involves retrieving the stolen relics, all of which have magical properties, and turn out to be more dangerous than originally thought–aspects which could interest my husband’s character, who is a member of the Dark Archives faction. Fourth? This scenario has a lot of roleplaying opportunities, not just with your venture captains and Grandmaster Torch, but also with the people around each of the relics, and the people who possess them. And lastly, although this scenario might seem to be pretty straightforward, there’s actually a lot of ways that players who think outside the box could shake up or alter how the encounters are supposed to take place. And if there’s one thing my family’s good at, its coming up with crazy plans and ideas that no one’s accounted for. In short, I thought they’d have a blast.
And I was right!
We began our adventure with a short introduction to it’s setting: Qadira and the city of Sedeq, followed by our mission briefing with Venture-Captain Yasmin Kal’al (complete with pictures, of course!). From there we set out into the city, to track down the smuggler Matzal Chaim and determine who he sold the relics to. Bunny Paras and Mr. Ice were also interested in who his inside contact was within the Osirian Cultural Ministry, without whom the relics would have remained out of his hands. They found Chaim, and came up with a good plan to corner him, but he noticed them and fled into a bathhouse. While our Iconic filler character and Mr. Ice watched the outside entrances an exits, Enzo and Bunny Paras chased him into the bathhouse, and cracked out a bunch of wonderful skill checks to avoid slipping on wet tiles, pushing past crowds of bathers, jumping over baths, and seeing through stream. Enzo nearly slipped and fell on the tiles, while Bunny Paras was thrown off guard when she had to slip past a group of naked bathers who fled from Paras in a panic. In the end they caught up to their target, but they were too late. He had run into a private bath and was cut down by the guards–guards working for the notorious information broker, Grandmaster Torch. Lucky for them, Torch had the information they were looking for and was willing to part with it–for a price.
My kids had a blast interacting with the ever-creepy Grandmaster. My daughter immediately began trying to purchase other, non-related, frivolous objects from his associates for her rabbit farm (a giant rabbit statue and planter, anyone?), while my son offered Torch a whopping two dollars for the information. Hearing the price was 3,000 gold pieces, Mr. Ice sure was surprised! He bargained for the information by offering favours and was rewarded with four names–one for each person who had purchased one of the stolen statuettes. Mr. Ice promptly asked for more information on them, in exchange for another favour each. Grandmaster Torch was more than happy to oblige. With that information, my son set out to learn more by offering MORE favours, but was interrupted by Enzo Jeggare, who had to drag his companions out of the bathhouse before they agreed to any more favours and absurdities. Clearly, his companions had never dealt with anyone unscrupulous before! Not trusting the Grandmaster, Enzo himself led the group through the streets of Sedeq to find each of their targets.
Although it’s expected that the PCs will have to engage in four or five combat encounters during this scenario–some groups might manage three or four–my family managed to use quick thinking, cunning plans, distractions, summoned creatures and childish optimism to complete three of those encounters non-violently. That left only two battle encounters for the entire scenario. A real feat! The battles all went well, but weren’t particularly difficult for them. But in this scenario it was the interactions and roleplaying that really shined. Everyone had a BLAST.
After completing their mission and some minor interactions with their venture captain, the group was given an invitation to have dinner with Grandmaster Torch–an event which Enzo accepted with some trepidation, Bunny Paras was happy for, and Mr. Ice was over the moon. Seriously. He was SUPREMELY excited. In the end he decided that Grandmaster Torch was his second favourite NPC, and he wanted to make him his best friend–alongside Gideon Wren, of course! Mr. Ice invited Grandmaster Torch to his upcoming birthday party, and the group bid him farewell.
And so our scenario came to an end. As their third scenario, they got to spend some time levelling up their characters to level two, and purchasing gear. And which adventure will they go on next time?
I’m thinking… Scenario #7-10: The Consortium Compact! It’s a low level, repeatable scenario involving the Aspis Consortium that I think my kids will rally have a ball with!
And that’s all for us today!
See you next time, on d20diaries!