My kids have grown to love play-by-post gaming over the last few months. They created their first Pathfinder Society characters back in December so they could play a scenario my brother wrote. Scenario #9-10: Signs in Senghor was a ton of fun. Mr. Ice, Bunny Paras, Paras and Enzo Jeggare accomplished their goals, made allies, and escaped the clutches of a dangerous monster. So when OutPost was announced they made the decision to move their characters online so they could play some more. In addition, they made their second characters. Lady Naysha and her beloved stuffed animal Miss Whiskers, the ever forgetful Fuzzzy and his clever owl Bobby joined the ranks of the Pathfinders.
Recently, they decided they wanted to do more. They each took some time to think, and registered their third Pathfinder Society characters. Today, we’re going to take a look at my son’s.
He wanted to make a paladin. He also wanted to make someone from Fuzzzy’s past. Someone who knew Fuzzzy before he was a forgetful old man. Someone who knew he was a hero. He’s a big fan of demons in his d20 games, which worked well with his concept. In no time at all, on the way to school, he announced suddenly:
“Mom, I am going to make Fuzzzy’s brother. He died too. But when he came back, he didn’t get to forget. He remembers. And it makes him really scared.”
Immediately, I smiled. “That’s a great idea! Do you think he’s going to give in to his fear?”
My son thought for a moment. “He will be very scared. He will shake and stuff and hide behind his shield. But he is a paladin, Mom. Even though he is scared, he will try to protect other people. He will be a hero even if he wants to pee himself in fear and run away.”
“That sounds like he is very brave.” I pointed out.
My son nodded. “The bravest!”
By then we were at school, so he waved at his friends and handed me his backpack. I reminded him not to talk about ‘demons’ too much in school — unsurprisingly a touchy topic for a grade one classroom — and off he went to play.
After school he did his homework (with only mild complaints), and slowly typed his way though his play-by-posts. He pulled out our Pathfinder books and began to look at the pictures. After dinner we say down to make his character.
Choosing a race, class, and religion was easy. Fuzzzy had been a human in life, and his brother would be one as well. He worshipped Iomedae, and was a paladin. We quickly discovered a favoured class bonus for humans that he loved: “Add +1 to the paladin’s energy resistance to one kind of energy (maximum +10).” He chose to go with Fire Resistance 1 to start with, due to his unfortunate past with demons. He knew he wanted to fight with a longsword and a shield. Dented ones! And some big heavy armour that was scratched. The same gear he wore in his battles in the Worldwound. He chose improved shield bash, and weapon focus longsword for his feats.
He also chose his stats quite easily: Str 18, Dex 10, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 12, Cha 8. Strong and healthy. A little smart and a little wise from his time in the military. But not very nimble — his armour is too hard to move in for that. And not charismatic at all! He’s so nervous and scared that it bugs people. Also, he’s used to friends turning out to be traitors and demons and things! So he doesn’t trust people very easily. He is too scared they might be demons in disguise to be good at making friends! He knew that the low charisma could be a problem for a paladin, but he decided he was fine with that.
Then something wonderful happened. As we were browsing through archetypes we came across two that he wanted: torturer crusader and warrior of holy light.
Tortured Crusader is an archetype from Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Horror Adventures that represents a paladin who has lived through more terrifying and horrifying experiences than most. These events have left a scar on him. Perfect! It uses Wisdom instead of Charisma — even better! It gives him access to more skills per level than a normal paladin, and new skills. He gives up diplomacy and handle animal (fine with him!) and he gains access to survival skills, and a bunch of skills that would be super useful to a guy who tries to battle demons everyday. They can’t detect evil. Seeing the evil all around them only reminds them of how horrible life is. This could also help keep his new character scared all the time, since he has no idea where evil might strike from next! Their smite evil is also a little different. It’s less effective at level one, but later becomes more effective. My son thought this was alright with him. They can’t use their healing powers to heal others, instead he can only heal himself with them. This is because they want to protect others from evil so much, that they can’t ask others to fight beside them. Even though this is quite a downside for his healing powers, my son liked it. He decided that his character wanted to protect everyone from the pain and trauma that the demons caused him, so he would fight them all on his own. Also, this ability would give him extra uses of smite evil, which he thought was pretty cool. Soon he’ll also gain the ability to set conditions that could cause his healing powers to automatically trigger on himself. My son loved this idea, deciding that it was Iomedae herself, still granting him some extra help now and then.
The second archetype he liked is the Warrior of the Holy Light from Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Advanced Player’s Guide. This archetype made him give up his spell casting. Instead, he can make a magical aura of light that makes himself and his allies a little bit better at fighting. Later, it can do other things, like healing ability damage, providing energy resistance, and even harming evil creatures. He immediately decided to give himself this archetype along with the trait, birthmark. His paladin would have a birthmark on his left palm that looked like a glowing sword. It works as his holy symbol, and helps him shake off charms and compulsions, which is really helpful against demons! When he gets access to his light abilities, it will be his holy birthmark that glows with light. When this happens, his scared paladin will turn into the man he used to be. Iomedae’s holy light will help him remember what its like to be brave.
From there, filling in the rest of his character was easy. He chose ‘a sure thing’ as his second trait, gave himself ranks in Knowledge (planes), Knowledge (religion), Perception, Profession (soldier), Sense Motive and Survival. He chose abyssal as his bonus language. And he spent his money on some good gear. A longsword, heavy steel shield, scale mail and some javelins. He also invested in holy water. He made sure to pick up a wooden holy symbol of Iomedae and a battered old copy of her holy text. His, from before his death. He also invested in a shield sconce and some torches. The rest of his gear was pretty basic: backpack, bedroll, so on and such. With a bit more tweaking, he was ready!
We painstakingly typed up his character sheet on our computer, registered him online. My son browsed through character images and quickly found one he liked. Then we spent some time writing his character biography.
He was ready!
So, on behalf of my son, we’re introducing Sir Lansle Eine. Brother of Fuzzzy. Paladin of Iomedae. Known to most as Sir ‘Scaredy.’
Sir Lansle Eine and his brother Sir Palad Eine were holy paladins in the service of Iomedae. They battled together in the Worldwound and saw many horrors. In the end, at twenty-four and twenty-five years of age, they died. But as the demon tore apart their bodies, Iomedae plucked their souls from the Boneyard and placed them in new bodies. They were brought back to life by their faith and devotion and self-sacrifice. But when they came back they were not the same. Death changes everyone.
Palad came back in the body of an old man, with no memory of his past life. He calls himself Fuzzzy now, and doesn’t remember Lansle at all. Fuzzzy has a pet owl who is very smart—a gift from Iomedae—who keeps Fuzzzy safe and on track. Lansle visits his brother often, but it always makes him both happy and sad. It hurts being forgotten.
Lansle didn’t change as much as Palad. He looks the same, and he remembers everything. That’s the problem. Dying at the hands of demons was terrifying and it left a deep scar on Lansle’s soul. He is scared of dying, and all the things that might make him die. But, he is still a paladin in his heart.
He can’t stand on the sidelines when evil is in the world. He won’t waste his second life.
Sir Lansle decided to do some good. He takes care of his brother, even though Palad/Fuzzzy doesn’t remember him. And he joined the Pathfinders. More specifically, the Silver Crusade. Through his missions he is going to make the world a better place. Even though it makes his knees shake, and his arms turn to jelly. He is a scared, but very brave, guy.
Luckily, my son had no trouble finding a game for him to play in. Sir Lansle is currently working his way through Scenario #7-10: The Consortium Compact. Stopping a shipment of horrible drugs from being spread across the Inner Sea? Definitely a good start!
I hope you enjoyed taking a look at my son’s new character. I know I enjoyed helping him make it.
If this doesn’t sound exciting to you, trust me. It is.
This is another wonderful play-by-post convention. It will be run in two sessions, with Session One running from August 13th to September 30th, and Session Two running from October 1st to November 12th. Anyone is welcome to volunteer to run a game, just like everyone is welcome to sign up to play a game. Currently, you can sign up for only three games, but come July 1st you’ll be able to sign up for however many games you desire. Most of these sign ups are first come first serve, but I have seen some that are going to be drawn by lottery. There’s already a wide variety of games up for offer, with more being added daily. Definitely check out the sign ups often. The majority of the games that are open right now are Pathfinder, with Starfinder coming in second. There’s also some Core Pathfinder games openly recruiting, and even some new Pathfinder Playtest sessions! Yeah! Now, that’s exciting!
For full details on Play-by-Post Gameday VII, check out this wonderful discussion thread, Want to sign up to GM a game? Simply head on over to the website and scroll down to the bottom. Click on ‘Submit Another Game Listing,’ and fill out the form. Select what you’d like to GM from a list, and away you go.
What about players? Looking to join a game? Head on over to the website and take a look at the games currently recruiting. Be sure to keep an eye on the dates! Once you’ve found something you’d like to try follow the links and see if there’s space. Be sure to check back often, as new games are constantly being added.
If you’re interested in playing a Special, you’ll need to head on over to the website on July 1st, which is when registration begins.
I wish you the best of luck!
In other news, we’ve added a new feature to d20diaries. Take a peek up at the main menu riiiiight at the top. Custom Creations. This is where you can find anything I (or my children) have made for use with the Pathfinder or Starfinder Roleplaying Games. Free fan content. Currently in it’s infancy, this page will soon be home to NPC stat blocks, monsters, adventures, locations, archetypes, themes, races and more. All kinds of goodies from me, to you.
My husband, my children and I headed out for a trip to our local game shop. There’s a few places you can go in Winnipeg for RPG products, but our shop of choice is Game Knight Games and Cool Stuff. It’s a bit of a trek to get there, two buses and at least an hour and a half of travel time for us, but it has a great selection of RPGs, board games, miniatures, and collectible card games. They also have a spacious game space. It’s a wonderful store. The buses were accommodating, and we made good time. In no time at all we headed inside and perused the goodies on offer. There was quite a selection! Over ten books to choose from, but with only one per customer. Luckily, there were four of us.
Deciding we should pick out our purchases before picking up our free RPG books, we spread out around the store to browse.
For Father’s Day, we wanted to get my husband a book of his choice, so we set him loose on the store. He ended up choosing Pathfinder Player Companion: Blood of the Ancients. Those of you who follow this blog will know that I’ve been dying to get my hands on this awesome new release, so we were very pleased with his decision. Haha.
My kids also got a small budget of five dollars to spend on themselves. Not much, I know, but they accepted the challenge with enthusiasm. My daughter fell in love with a set of pink dice, which was too expensive. As she agonized over the cost and attempted to convince me she would empty out her piggy bank (which contains about two dollars) to make up the difference, my son browsed the boxed minis. All too expensive, of course. So, the three of us moved on to the singles cabinet. They looked over the plastic pre-painted minis, and squealed over all the expensive ones. They each found a mini they liked, but we moved on too keep browsing. In the end, they pooled their budget and picked out three boxes of unpainted miniatures. Pathfinder Goblin Pyros (89002), Dragoth (Dark Heaven Bones, 77201) and Shadow Hound (Dark Heaven Bones, 77366) which is a lovely clear purple colour.
With our purchases in hand we headed over to peruse the Free RPG books up for offer. As already mentioned, there were a lot of cool choices, most of which we didn’t know anything about. Exciting!
My six-year old daughter immediately scampered over to the table and swept up Skitter Shot! While I grabbed We Be 5upergoblins! This left my son and my husband a bevy of books to browse. In the end, my husband settled on a book for Numenéra, which he had heard good things about. My son fell in love with the maps inside a Dungeon Crawl Classics book, so he hugged it close, I paid for our products and left.
We took a walk down the road for lunch to eat at a local Mexican restaurant called Carlos and Murphy’s, which everyone enjoyed, and then headed home for the best part: reading them. In short: they were awesome!
Dungeon Crawl Classics, by Goodman Games, came with basic rules and character details for making characters of up to second level, as well as character creation rules and two different adventures. One for level 0, entitled ‘The Portal Under the Stars,’ and one for level 2 entitled ‘Man-Bait for the Soul Stealer.’ This game has a definite old-school D&D feel to it. Also, it’s SUPER deadly. You roll up a bunch of meek peasants and hopefully one of them will survive long enough to reach level 1 where they can choose a class. The random character creation rules were quite fun, and the adventures were entertaining. My son loved all the black and white artwork in this book — of which there was a lot! He also loved the maps. All in all, it’s not my cup of tea, but as a family we liked the system — especially my son. He’s super excited to get to put it on his bookshelf, instead of mine. For the full rulebook, pick up: Dungeon Crawl Classics .
‘Ashes of the Sea’ is a complete adventure for the Numenera Corebook, which uses the Cypher System and is published by Monte Cook Games. The adventure is written by Sean K. Reynolds. Chances are, both of those names are familiar to you. Haha. In addition to containing the adventure, it also contains details on the setting, some of the rules, a mini-bestiary, a link to a collection of pre-generated characters. It also comes with a nifty coupon that could earn you a second free adventure if you purchase a Numenéra sourcebook from the same store you got the Free book from. A pretty solid pay off! We really enjoyed the Cypher System, although it will certainly take some getting used to. I also like that the focus of the game is discovery. Not battle or influence. Discovery. I feel like it’s going to be very character and role play driven. I can’t wait to give it a try.
‘We Be 5upergoblins!‘ is a level 6 Pathfinder Module written by Crystal Frasier. It’s the fifth instalment in the much beloved ‘We Be Goblins’ series. It should go without saying — but I’ll say it anyway — that this adventure was AWESOME. Hilarious. Entertaining. I burst out laughing many times while reading it. It’s just a ton of fun! It’s also sanctioned for Pathfinder Society Play, which is an extra bonus, and comes with four regenerated goblins: Chuffy Lickwound, Mogmurch, Poog of Zarongel, and Reta Bigbad. So what’s up this time around? These crazy goblins explore the wonderful world of Bagland. It’s awesome, I promise. My kids particularly enjoyed the character ‘Golgum the Tall.’ And the ending? So good! If you didn’t get your hands on this amazing product, don’t worry. You’ll be able to download it for free on Paizo’s website in two weeks or so, and can purchase a physical copy for around five dollars American.
The last book we got out hands on was ‘Skitter Shot,’ which is a level two module for the Starfinder RPG written by Jason Keeley. It’s sanctioned for use in the Starfinder Society, and even gives you a boon which can (with a lot of work) allow you to unlock Skittermanders as playable race! AWESOME! But, enough about the boons, what’s up with the book? This delightful adventure lets your players take on the role of four adorable and enthusiastic skittermanders who work on a salvage ship with their vesk boss. Unfortunately, their boss went out to scavenge what he could from an abandoned luxury liner, and hasn’t returned! Lucky that skittermanders love to help! The pregenerated characters are really fun to play and sufficiently unique. The adventure was a lot of fun. So fun, in fact, that we played it today.
It’s a BLAST. I highly recommend it.
If you weren’t able to get a copy on Free RPG Day, a free download will be available in another few weeks on Paizo’s website. Keep your eyes open!
The products we purchased were great. My kids love their new minis, and Blood of the Ancients was as great as my husband and I hoped. I’ll be dedicating an entire post to it later this week.
I hope a lot of you got out to Free RPG Day! If you did, I’d love to hear what kind of products you got your hands on, and what you thought of them.
Today on d20 diaries we’re heading back to Wati for more of the Mummy’s Mask Adventure Path! That’s right! It’s game night! So while all of our kids settled in for a night of movies and popcorn, we adults cracked out our dice, scrambled around for our character sheets and settled in to play!
Mummy’s Mask is a six part adventure path for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, intended to bring your characters from level one to around level seventeen. This campaign takes place in the deserts of Osirion, and involves trap-filled pyramids, haunted tombs, scorching deserts, bustling bazaars and more undead than you can shake an ankh at! The Mummy’s Mask Player’s Guide is a free download on Paizo’s website, and contains a ton of useful information for players looking to make characters that have lasting ties to the campaign. For more information on Osirion, you can pick up Osirion, Legacy of Pharoahs. Players looking for desert-themed character options can also check out People of the Sands.
When we last left our quirky crew of heroes, commonly known as the Fateway Five, they were standing in the Sunburst Market surrounded by the dead. Or, rather, the recently destroyed undead. The team had been present at an auction which had been rudely (and violently) interrupted by a pack of roving zombies and a particularly angry crawling hand. After saving the other attendees and laying the smack down on some undead, they headed out into the city to find Wati under attack by walking corpses. Without hesitation they waded into battle, saving more than a few familiar faces. But on the wind they could hear the screams of the living, and the rasping groans of the dead. The battle was far from over.
Wati was under attack. But from where? And why were the dead rising?
The Fateway Five paid a quick visit to the three local churches in order to coordinate a plan to save Wati and then set their sights on the town. But first? Gear. Having just come from a fancy auction with the nobles of Wati, they were more than a little under-equipped for battle. Or rather, some of them were. Arc had shown up half naked with a bag of dirt on his back, like always. But Nazim and Kasmet had attended in finery and jewels! Jewels would not win a battle. And finery? It would get torn and stained! They needed their gear, which was tucked away safely in their rooms at the Tooth and Hookah.
As they turned to leave the Sunburst Market they heard some loud screams. Women! Lots of them! And infants….
Immediately my players looked at each other and nodded. They all agreed without argument that paying a visit to Insula Mater (the local hospital dedicated to the care of pregnant women and infants) far outweighed their need for gear. And so, dressed in their finery and under equipped, the Fateway Five rushed off in the opposite direction, to Insula Mater.
Insula Mater is a large, multi-level building with easily locked and shuttered windows and lockable doors. The grounds are surrounded by manicured bushes in order to offer the women and infants on the grounds privacy. Insula Mater is run by a learned and weathered cleric of Pharasma known as Auntie Jehuti, staffed by a team of six other Pharasmin midwives known as the Mother’s Handmaidens, and guarded by a small contingent of holy guards. As the group arrived on the scene they found the windows shuttered, and doors locked. Two guards stood in front of the building’s doors, fighting off two zombies, with two other guards flanking the zombies from the other side. The zombies would not live long. But from the upper windows came panicked cries and the wailing of infants. Another voice rang out above the din, shouting: “We’re missing one! We’re missing a mother!”
Knowing that the two residents of Insula Mater with whom the Fateway Five had shared an evening with had signed themselves out for the evening and were currently safe at the Grand Mausoleum, the group all knew that their companions were not the mother in question. With worry, they left the guards to deal with the zombies and scoured the grounds for the missing woman. They found her easily, engaged in an argument with a guard on the corner of the grounds. It was Keera, a confident pregnant woman they had met earlier in the day, with nasty scars across her face from some kind of clawed creature.
The guard was urging Keera inside, proclaiming: “It’s not safe.”
Only for Keera to reply. “You’re right. It’s not.”
Suddenly, from behind the bushes burst a quartet of zombies, all of whom moved to attack the poor guard. He howled in pain and moved to protect Keera, while Nazim let out a loud ululation and charged into battle with his khopesh raised high. Kasmet dashed into the fight right behind him, while Arc moved to help Keera. Much to their surprise, Keera began to cast a spell, proving herself much more capable than they expected.
The zombies began to fall under the player’s attacks, while the guard was heavily wounded. Kasmet tore into the zombies with her claws, Nazim swung his khopesh, and Arc pulled out a dagger and cut up the zombie’s arms. Suddenly there was a flickering of magic, and some grotesque-looking wild dogs appeared on the battlefield. Keera’s spell was complete! Her dogs let out a growl and attacked the guard. Keera stepped back away from the fight, let out a series of manic laughs and began to cast another spell.
Needless to say the Fateway Five was confused! Arc tried to get through to Keera (because clearly she was delusional! Right…?), while the rest of the team put an end to the zombies and slaughtered the magical dogs. The guard fell during the battle, while Keera laughed and danced away from the group with a dagger in her hand. She intoned a prayer in a foul language and sent a pulse of evil energy out at the PCs. The only discernible word the PCs had understood was a name: Lamashtu. Goddess of monsters, madness, pregnancy and deformity.
In a rage, Nazim charged at the woman and cut her down, ending her life with a slash across the throat. As she gurgled in surprise, Nazim and Arc got to work on attempting to save her baby. With one of them a trained midwife, and the other a gifted healer, the odds of the child surviving were pretty high. Confident in their abilities, and well aware that she was near term, they performed an emergency cesarian, cutting the infant out of her mother’s womb, only to discover the baby was a hideously deformed monster with crooked hoofed feet, horns on its head, and a scaled tail. While Kasmet raised an eyebrow at the proceedings, Arc and Nazim were unphased by the child’s appearance, caring only for it’s health. During the operation a guard came upon them.
Covered in blood, with a nearby guard killed by the teeth of a dog (which could be easily confused with those of say… Kasmet), and a dead pregnant woman at their feet, a guard commanded them to stop. Nazim and Arc refused. Instead they finished delivering the baby, and ensured it was hale and healthy. Then they passed it off to the guards, explained what happened and moved to leave. The guard didn’t believe them at all. Perhaps due to the unbelievability of their tale, the evidence that seemed to point to their guilt, or their HORRIBLE social skills. But, in the end, he let them go anyway, clearly deciding that bringing an infant into battle against three warriors was a horrible plan.
After that emotionally draining experience, the Fateway Five hurried off to the Tooth and Hookah to pick up their gear. On the way they ran into a pair of clearly wealthy people, who were battling a group of six zombies in the road. They seemed experienced with their weapons, and unworried about the entire ordeal. Nazim let out another ululation and rushed into battle, with Kasmet and Arc following close behind. The battle was over quickly, and the moment it was, one of the unknown warriors, a dashing middle-aged man with a charming grin, gave Kasmet’s hand a kiss and began to flirt with her. The other unknown warrior, an imperious woman in her late twenties, rolled her eyes.
“You’re an embarrassment,” she told the man.
The man laughed, and introduced himself to the group as Ahben. He continued to flirt, which Kasmet accepted with a swish of her tail and a purr.
“We need to go home,” the woman pressed.
“Nonsense, Hakor! We have business in Bargetown.” He then proceeded to ignore the other woman’s complaints and explained to Kasmet, “I have a friend I need to visit before they leave. Perhaps we can see each other again, in a more intimate setting.”
Kasmet agreed, then was left in a bit of a daze as Ahben and Hakor turned to leave.
Hakor shook her head in disgust. “You’re the worst father.”
“Oh, don’t be silly.” Ahben remarked as they left. “It’s well known I’m a wonderful father. Just ask your siblings.”
The woman didn’t seem amused.
As the Fateway Five watched the wealthy pair walk away, Kasmet’s heartbeat returned to normal and she finally realized where she had heard the names Ahben and Hakor before… Ahben was the Patriarch of House Okhenti, one of the most powerful families in Wati. He was a member of the city council, and well known for taking care of his many children by giving them government jobs, and seeing to their martial training. His many, many, MANY children. For Ahben was notorious for having hordes of lovers. His legitimate children were known as the ‘Scions’ of House Okhenti, while his bastards were simply his children. All of whom he took to live with him on his vast estate. Much to the displeasure of his wife. In fact, the Fateway Five had met two of Ahben’s son at the auction earlier that night: the pompous Scion of House Okhenti, Khammayid Okhenti, and the irreverent Teos Okhenti. And Hakor? She was Ahben’s eldest child, a Scion of her line, and set to inherit her family’s wealth and estate.
Kasmet shared what she knew of the man with her companions as they made their way to the Tooth and Hookah. There were a few zombies out front which they dealt with quickly, before being ushered into the building by its owner, Farhaan. The Fateway Five had little time to rest. They quickly re-equipped themselves, ensured the Tooth and Hookah was secure, bid their patron farewell, and headed back out into the night. They headed right for the front gate, but as they passed by the many courthouses along the way they came upon a grotesque sight: fresh corpses lined the road. The PCs approached closer, to discover that many of the bodies were Voices of the Spire, and all of them were missing both of their eyes.
“Oh, gods,” Kasmet gasped while Nazim intoned a Pharasmin blessing over the corpses. “Back in the time of Wati’s first occupation, a common punishment for lawbreakers was enucleation: the removal of the eyes. It’s still practised in some places today, but not here. Once though… Hmm… There was a judge who was known for plucking the eyes out of people for even the simplest offences. A task he would carry out with his own bare hands. They called him ‘Old Eye-Taker.’ And he operated out of that courthouse.” Kasmet pointed to the ancient looking court one building over.
“That’s horrible!” Arc exclaimed.
Kal appeared out of nowhere and let out a laugh. “Hey, sometimes losing an eye is a blessing! Like if they had to look at your ugly face every day!”
Nazim clanged his khopesh onto his shield. “Enough bickering! We must find the culprit.”
And with that the group raced down the road to the courthouse.
Inside they found an undead trial in session. Four skeletal bailiffs presided over a criminal kept on trial against her will. It was Ankhet, a young dwarven member of the Voices of the Spire, whom they were acquainted with. She was unarmed and bruised, with a look of terror on her face. Presiding over the courtroom was a bloody skeleton wearing a judge’s robes with a black fez on his head. It was Old Eye-Taker, himself! Back from the grave!
He slammed his gavel on the wooden podium. “And the verdict has been rendered! You have been judged guilty!” the skeleton announced. “Those who sin against the pharaoh should forfeit the souls their eyes house. Therefore, your punishment is enucleation, to be carried out IMMEDIATELY!”
Ankhet let out a scream.
Nazim burst into the room with a shrill ululation and raced down the aisle towards the front. Arc hurried around the sides, hugging the wall in an effort to get to Ankhet before she lost an eye. Kasmet dashed over pews and benches, tumbling up and around to the other side, in the hopes of flanking the skeletons with Nazim.
“ORDER IN THE COURT!” Old-Eye Taker howled. “GET THEM!” After ordering his bailiffs to attack the PCs he moved down from his podium to attack Kasmet. He gave her a shove and tried to pin her down, in an effort to take her eyes.
Kasmet shrieked and squirmed, and managed to evade his grasp.
Meanwhile, Kal let out a series of ‘eye’ jokes. Then came one of the most enjoyable parts of the session: I challenged my players to come up with eye jokes while we played. Every turn Kal would shout out a new joke or pun and whoever called a new one out first would get to choose it. Everyone took to the challenge with glee, shouting out puns that ranged from obvious to witty. In the end, my sister-in-law ended up giving Kal the most lines, a victory worth celebrating!
Back in Wati, Arc readied his quarterstaff and waded into battle with the skeletons who held Ankhet prisoner. He urged her to help, but she was too scared, leaving Arc one heck of a challenge! The bailiffs all moved to try to capture and pin down Kasmet, which proved very difficult. Nazim smashed them to pieces with his shield, while Kasmet tumbled around, flanking with Nazim in order to get her sneak attack damage on the skeletons, all while evading their efforts.
Soon, Ankhet was free, and only Old-Eye Taker was left standing among the enemies. United, the group made quick work of him, and promptly stole his wonderful fez. Even better? No one lost an eye.
Arc quickly tried to get Ankhet ready to move, a task made extra difficult by the rude cat making eye jokes from Arc’s plant-bag. With the dwarven woman ready to move, Arc healed everyone and they set out for the gates to the Necropolis. There they hoped to discern if the undead were escaping from inside the Necropolis, or were coming from somewhere else. But, as they reached the road they felt a sudden pulse of foul energy roll through them. A moment later, the eyeless dead shuddered and twitched, and climbed up onto their feet. They had become freshly risen zombies! This wasn’t the first time they group had felt such a feeling, or seen freshly killed dead rise…
“Necromancy!” Nazim shouted. “An affront to the Lady of Graves! We must find the source of this evil!”
“Less talking, more killing!” Kasmet shouted back. She dashed into battle as the zombies tried to gain their footing. Meanwhile, Arc drew his dagger and Nazim let out an ear splitting ululation before charging at the undead with his khopesh. Ankhet stood there in stunned terror.
Kal waved his paws in front of her face and laughed. “HA! Look at her! She looks half-dead herself!” he told Arc’s rabbit familiar.
The little rabbit twitched her nose, wiggled her ears and then shook her head once.
“What? It’s FUNNY!” Kal replied. “You’re too kind!”
By the time the silvanshee was done making his jokes at poor Ankhet’s expense, the battle was over. Eight weak undead stood little chance against the Fateway Five.
Arc sheathed his dagger and turned to face Ankhet. “I’m sorry about your friends. But we have no time to mourn. Wati needs us.”
The group hurried the rest of the way to the Necropolis without further trouble. There they found the gates shut and barred, with a great wailing and banging on the other side. The voices of dozens of undead moaned and screamed on the other side of the gate, their fists pounding against the doors and the walls. Bal Themm stood at the gate, bracing it shut with her body alongside two other guards from the Voices of the Spire. They strained with all their might, but with each bang from the other side the entire gate shuddered.
“Fateway Five!” Bal shouted at the sight of them. “Come here! I need you to deliver a message to the Precinct of Left Eyes! It’s the base for the Voices of the Spire. Tell them we need reinforcements! And we’re out of holy water!”
The group urged Ankhet to join the other Voices before turning away, when they suddenly noticed a strange sort of shifting ripple across the gate. Two undead shadows emerged from the Necropolis and into the road, passing right through Bal Themm and the other guards.
They gasped in pain.
“Hold your… post…” Bal groaned, but the other two guards broke ranks and ran. Weakened and surrounded by undead spirits, Bal held her ground alone. She did not flee.
Behind her, the door shuddered.
Nazim let out another ululating cry and held his holy dagger, the Fate Blade, to the sky. He prayed to Pharasma, causing a burst of holy energy to surge out of his dagger. The shadows howled in pain. Kasmet quickly pulled out a few vials of holy water and began tossing, while Arc grabbed Ankhet and dragged her to the gate.
The shadows surged forward at Nazim, who combatted them alongside Kasmet with holy water and divine power, giving Arc the opportunity he needed to help Bal hold they gate.
The gate shuddered, and the undead moaned. Finally, Ankhet seemed to realize that if she didn’t help, the gate would fall, and she would die. Together, she and Arc helped Bal Themm. A few moments later, Kasmet joined them. Nazim struggled against the incorporeal horrors, but he never lost his faith, and soon he defeated them with the powers of his goddess. Tired and weak, he let out a victory cry. Then he pulled out his portable ram and helped use it to brace the gate. Kasmet and Nazim moved over a wagon, then some heavy crates and other heavy objects scavenged from the nearby roads and buildings.
The undead continued to wail and bang loudly against the gate, but it held firm. They had secured the Necropolis Gates.
Arc did his best to treat Bal Themm’s wounds and heal some of her strength damage, then did the same for Nazim.
“Go on,” Bal urged them. “Get the reinforcements.”
Ankhet took a deep breath and nodded. “I’ll stay here.”
And so the Fateway Five headed off down the street and over a few blocks to the Precinct of Left Eyes, home to the Voices of the Spire, and the city’s prison. They could tell there was trouble even before they neared. The wails of the dead mingled with the cries of the living. The clash of steel, and the thudding of flesh on shields thumped below the din, like the drum beat of a wild, savage song.
They quickened their pace and emerged to a great battle. A large group of the Voices of the Spire’s holy warriors stood on the building’s front steps, locked in mortal combat against a thong of undead. Their Commander, Nakht Shepses, stood among them, with his second in command, Shenanda by his side, battling like any other soldier. On the other side of the undead, surrounding them, were other Voices of the Spire warriors. Although the undead were many, the Voices fought with skill and determination. Many of them fought undead on a daily basis, and let neither fatigue nor panic interfere with their duties. Clearly, the skeletons and zombies in the throng stood no chance.
With a cry, the Fateway Five charged into battle, fighting alongside the Voices to bring an end to the undead assaulting this part of the city. Upon the defeat of the final undead, Commander Shepses began giving orders to his troops. He was organizing them to reequip and begin patrols of the Necropolis walls. As expected, they were going to use their resources to keep the undead within the Necropolis, instead of helping the living survive.
The Fateway Five tried to push their way through the Voices in order to reach the Commander, but had no luck. Fortunately, they had fought alongside Shenanda on multiple occasions. When she saw them she made her way through the crowds to them.
“What is it?” she asked without preamble. “Have you come to help?”
“Undead are trying to batter down the Necropolis gates. There’s only two guards there. They need reinforcements.” Kasmet explained.
“And holy water!” Arc added.
Nazim locked eyes with Shenanda. “That’s not the worst of it. Shadows slipped right through the gates. If we would not have been there, the gate would have fallen, and Bal Themm would be dead.
Shenanda looked shocked. “Shadows slipped through the door? You’re sure?” As the others nodded, Shenanda shook her head. “That should be impossible…. The gates and walls are warded to prevent undead of any kind–even incorporeal spirits–from passing through. How did… What is…” She shook her head. “I’ll inform the Commander immediately. Thank you.”
Shenanda slipped back through the crowd and the Fateway Five took the opportunity to follow her. The Commander was shocked at her news. “Send word to the Grand Mausoleum. We’ll need their clerics to assist in reconsecration.”
“We can do that!” Nazim suddenly blurt out. “We need to return there shortly, to inform High Priestess Sebti of your plans.”
Commander Shepses eyed the group with a mix of suspicion and disdain. “Very well. Be gone then. Ensure you don’t lapse in your duties.”
Nazim nodded, and the group turned to leave.
Kal chose this moment to begin speaking again. “MAN! This jerk has a huge stick up his butt! You think he’d give us a thank you or something!”
The Commander glared at the cat (and it’s presumed owners) before ignoring them completely.
Arc blushed brightly and stammered out an apology, but the Commander was already in conversation with a priest. They spoke about summoning psychopomps to combat the undead.
Nazim’s furry jaw dropped. Unable to resist, he pointed out that psychopomps were dangerous creatures. Although they did hunt and destroy undead, many had little care for the living. Such creatures could be incredibly dangerous to the populous!
Unfortunately, The Commander ignored his warnings, and returned to his conversation with the priest.
Nazim frowned. Turning to his companions he growled, “We need to tell High Priestess Sebti. NOW.”
“We promised Manaat we would fetch her family before returning to the Grand Mausoleum.” Arc pointed out.
Kasmet nodded. “They live right against the Necropolis walls, Nazim. They could be in trouble.”
Nazim considered this, then nodded. “You’re right.” He pointed off towards the slums of the Asp District. “Let’s go!”
That’s all for our adventures in Wati today! I appreciate you coming along for the ride. Keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming post, wherein the Fateway Five battle their way through the slums of the Asp!
I recently started watching iZombie (iZombie: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)) on Netflix. For those of you who don’t know, it’s a show about zombies that is currently starting its fifth season. Now, this isn’t some depressing ‘Walking Dead’ (The Walking Dead: Complete Series) type show (although I also love that…). It’s more like a funny cop/murder mystery show. Except if one of the main characters was a zombie who needed to feast on brains in order to retain her humanity. Oh, and she works in a morgue. It’s loosely based on the comics (iZombie Volume 1: Dead to the World) that were written by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred, and published by Vertigo.
My husband and both thoroughly enjoy it, and are currently nearing the end of the third season. Anyway, we were watching last night and suddenly came upon an episode entitled “Twenty-Sided, Die” wherein our beloved zombie heroine devours the brains of a dungeon master in order to help solve his murder. It was a hilarious episode, and completely absurd, but halfway through she convinces her friends to play a session with her, in order to help stimulate memories of the deceased. So there they are, sitting at the table: four people attempting to humour their friend. One secretly wants to play, one’s there to give it a shot, and the other two would rather be doing anything else. By the end of their session nearly everyone has had a blast, and gotten right into it. At the end the episode one of the serious cop characters tells the zombie girl that she should run a game every week. It was just SO refreshingly entertaining.
Which got me thinking.
It’s rare you get to see d20 games featured in popular media. I adored this episode of iZombie, and of course, there’s plenty of wonderful Dungeons and Dragons cameos and references in Stranger Things (Stranger Things (Season 1: Collector’s Edition))). But where else have I seen good d20 references? I know there’s others out there, but I couldn’t recall any specific instances.
More than that, though, it brought back memories.
The first time you played a d20 game.
Trying to figure out the rules while you make your first character? Being a little nervous at first, as you figure out what you can and can’t do? Finding your voice? The laughter?The nerves?
The first time I made a character for Dungeons and Dragons I was in high school. A friend had insisted a big group of us make characters and get together to play. Most of my friends said no, but I was one of the few who said I would. A few years before that I had stumbled across a copy of the Dungeons and Dragons Player’s Handbook (3.5) in a bookstore and flipped through it. I wanted the book so bad, but had no idea what it was. I must have looked at it over the next twenty trips. Passing by, browsing, but never buying. Flash forward a few years and I suddenly went ‘A-ha! That’s how you use that book!’ I made myself a dual-wielding elven ranger with long red hair named Meloriel. We went to the store and browsed minis until I found the perfect one. And then…. Nothing. We never played.
It wasn’t until many, MANY years later that I finally had the opportunity to play again. This time I made a half-elven bard named Lorelei. My husband (we had just started dating at the time) played her boyfriend, a gnome illusionist named Blount who worked as her stage-hand. My brother played a fierce minotaur warrior, while co-workers of my brother and husband played a lizardfolk and a half-orc monk. It was DMed enthusiastically by another co-worker of my brother’s. The game wasn’t very long-lived, but it sure was fun. We immediately began buying the rulebooks and campaign settings. I got addicted to Dungeon Magazine. We went out and bought pewter miniatures, only to paint them ourselves with whatever we had on hand. I even cracked out my pencil crayons and drew my own character art. Sadly, the campaign came to an abrupt end when my husband and I went on a vacation, but we never lost our love of the game. We were hooked from that first roll of the dice!
In the years since we must have remade our characters at least three times. But, each time, they never get further than a few sessions into their tales. Maybe we’ll make them again one day. Perhaps as Pathfinder Society characters, or in a home game with my kids.
It’s funny, I suppose, that something as simple as playing a game for the first time can change your life so completely. But, here we are.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Have any stories to tell me about your first characters or first experiences playing a d20 game? Know any awesome shows or films that reference d20 gaming? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear what you have to say.
In the past I’ve spoken a lot about my home game of the Mummy’s Mask Adventure Path. Played by my brother, sister-in-law, and my husband, with me GMing, it’s one of the only face to face games I have running that is adults-only. We play on Friday evenings (presuming everyone is free), while our kids run around like maniacs, enjoy a movie night together, and indulge in some popcorn. It’s been a total blast. But, despite the many times I’ve mentioned it, I have yet to get into detail about the characters involved. Safe to say it’s overdue!
What is Mummy’s Mask, anyway??
Mummy’s Mask is a six part adventure path for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, intended to bring your characters from level one to around level seventeen. This campaign takes place in the deserts of Osirion, and involves trap-filled pyramids, haunted tombs, scorching deserts, bustling bazaars and more undead than you can shake an ankh at! The Mummy’s Mask Player’s Guide is a free download on Paizo’s website, and contains a ton of useful information for player’s looking to make characters that have lasting ties to the campaign. My home group has recently completed Mummy’s Mask: Book One: The Half-Dead City, and have moved on to Mummy’s Mask: Book Two: Empty Graves, both of which take place in the desert city of Wati. For those of you looking to run the game as a GM I highly recommend picking up the Mummy’s Mask Adventure Path Pawn Collection, which has a over a hundred unique pawns for use in this campaign. You’ll also get a TON of use from the Mummy’s Mask Poster Map Folio. Trust me, by the end of Empty Graves your map of Wati will have had one hell of a workout. Mine’s already covered in a ton of numbers and labels I’ve added in permanent marker, to help my players keep track of the many locations in this quirky city. The campaign is also available in other formats, including The Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Mummy’s Mask Base Set, and as a series of audio stories beginning with Pathfinder Legends: Mummy’s Mask 1: The Half-Dead City. I haven’t had a chance to play either the Card Game version of the campaign, or to listen to the audio tales, so if you’ve done either let me know what you thought of it in the comments!
Our home game centres around three wonderfully colourful characters played by my husband, my brother, and my sister-in-law. Together they make a powerful team called the Fateway Five. No, that’s not a typo. So who are these three numerically challenged heroes? I’m glad you asked!
First up, Kasmet! Kasmet is an attractive catfolk rogue with a pelt like that of a clouded leopard, and an exceptionally long, fluffy tail to match. She’s sneaky and greedy, and particularly adores shiny, sparkly treasures, jewelry and gems. She can pick locks and disable traps–although so far she’s had quite foul luck with that disabling thing. Nimble and quick, she’s prone to tumbling around the battlefield, flanking her enemies before tearing into them with her sharp, well-manicured claws. Kasmet’s a worshipper of Bastet, the ancient Osirion goddess of cats, pleasure and secrets. She can speak the ancient tongue, and is particularly interesting in discovering what she can of Osirian’s ancient past. She’s a sassy thing and more than a bit…. catty. She wears the most luxurious equipment she can get her hands on, and has a particular fondness for clothing and jewelry with an Ancient Osiriani aesthetic. Kasmet travelled to Wati to delve into the recently opened tombs in the little town’s massive necropolis. On the journey, she travelled with another catfolk, although the two couldn’t be more different.
Nazim Salahadine is my brother’s undead-hating catfolk cleric of Pharasma. Nazim looks like an overgrown persian cat. He wears traditional Osiriani armour, and wields a khopesh and shield. He always leaves his chest fur exposed, which he strokes whenever he’s excited, causing him to purr loudly. He’s territorial, and is prone to rolling around all over the things he desires or plans on visiting, marking such places with his scent and hair. (I’m sure you can imagine how much the innkeeper likes that habit…) He eats a lot (and often), favouring fish and a nice tall cup of milk. He’s incredibly pious, and is often heard spouting Pharasman prayers, or blessing himself and others with a spiralling motion over the heart. He’s also a well-trained midwife. He despises undead with his whole being, always attacking them without remorse, with an ear-piercing ululation on his tongue and his khopesh held high!
Nazim also came to Wati to explore the necropolis, although for entirely different reasons than Kasmet. While she was drawn by greed, he was guided by fate. Not long ago, Nazim died. He had been prepared for death. Had known it was coming. So as his spirit wandered the endless desert he had died in, he opened his heart to his goddess, and prepared to walk the spiral. To allow her to draw him into the Boneyard and her realms. But as her psychopomps appeared before him, another made their presence known: Anubis, an ancient death god of Osirion. Anubis destroyed the psychopomps and punched Nazim right in the chest while uttering the words: “Your time has not yet come.”
Nazim awoke on the hot desert sand, dehydrated and alive once more. Emboldened with purpose, but worried at having been denied his judgement in the Boneyard, he found a single word written in the sand beside him. ‘Wati.’ And there he traveled.
Since arriving in Wati, Nazim has made cherished friends and met the love of his life: the mysterious Black Kiss. Unfortunately, her skin is toxic. Also unfortunately, she left him. Sort of. More accurately, she left town. They were never really dating in the first place. It was more like he announced that they were meant to be together and she laughed. Although, his persistence did earn him her attention and some smiles. But, with his beloved soul-mate gone, Nazim is now heartbroken and forlorn, periodically breaking down into sobs and tears. Kasmet thinks he’s being an idiot.
The third and final member of our party is Arc Goodstorm. Played by my husband, Arc is a socially awkward, plant-obsessed witch. He grew up with his over-bearing, druidic mother, Gwen, in a desert oasis, and until leaving a few months ago had never spoken to another person. Prone to blushing brightly and stammering at women with wide-hips (who he finds incredibly attractive), Arc’s still learning the ways of the world, and the intricacies of social interaction. He’s hilarious to see in action!
But, Arc’s not all adorable awkwardness! He’s a dependable spellcaster, a magical healer, and a talented herbalist capable of making all kinds of wondrous balms and cure-alls. He’s a caring physician, and a passionate gardener. On his back he carries a deep, heavy basket filled with soil and luscious plants, which he tends with care. His rabbit familiar, Mischa, lives inside the basket, and a sarcastic silvanshee named Kal follows him around most of the time, mocking him and his friends. And his dates. And everything, really. Except the rabbit. The silvanshee LOVES his rabbit. Which brings us to members four and five of the team. See? They can count!
Why, you might ask, does a silvanshee follow him around? The answer is part love and part laziness. Kal (short for Kalenthadris) is charged with finding and putting an end to undead on the material plane. Unfortunately, he’s extremely cowardly and doesn’t like to put himself in danger. But, you know who does? Humans! They’re super reckless! And there’s so many of them! Enter Arc! Despite Kal’s irritating jokes, constant pranks, and habit of leading Arc into trouble (only to promptly vanish and leave Arc to fend for himself) Kal’s a big softy. He’s enchanted with Arc’s rabbit familiar, Mischa, who he converses with as if they could understand each other. And when push comes to shove, Kal’s been there to heal Arc on more than one occasion.
And there you have it! The Fateway Five. Heroes of Wati and, maybe one day, something more…
Tune in later this week for an update on our Mummy’s Mask Campaign!
My kids are Earth Rangers. No idea what I’m talking about? The Earth Rangers are a kids conservation organization which empowers Canadian children to embark on missions to save local ecosystems, endangered animals, and do their part to reduce pollution, waste, and climate change. It’s free to join, and in addition to missions, videos and games there’s also an educational blog my kids enjoy reading. Both of my children are members, but, because of my son’s dedication to saving the planet, he set out at the start of this school year to accomplish two things:
One: start a litter collecting club to beautify the school yard and neighbourhood parks. Two: get the Earth Rangers to come to his school.
It should be noted that he’s seven years old.
While his litter club is still in the works (he had to wait until he snow melted before his teacher would help him get it started), just this afternoon the Earth Rangers came by his school to put on a presentation. Now, this isn’t super strange–they do school assemblies across the country–but it’s never happened at my son’s school before, nor any of those nearby. He’s been trying his best to get this to happen all year long, so you can imagine how excited he was that they came. And man, did they put on a show! In addition to an energetic, fun assembly, they also brought along a quartet of awesome Animal Ambassadors to show off. My favourite? The barn owl that they sent soaring through the gym right over the crowd! My son’s? The three-banded armadillo which we got to see scurry around, roll up, and nibble on some mealworms. My son got mentioned during the opening, and at the end both of my children and I got to go behind the scenes to meet all the animals personally, and chat with the presenters. Surprisingly, once my daughter got up close it was the ball python that stole her heart.
They honestly made my kids daymonth year.
Which brings us to the topic of todays blog: animals!
I have yet to meet a player of d20 games who has NEVER made a character that has a pet. Perhaps it’s a familiar, an animal companion, or a mount. Whatever the case, animals are a huge part of most d20 games–as both companions and enemies. I find that among children, they’re an even bigger draw. My daughter’s first character had so many pets I took to calling the entire party the ‘Animal Crew.’
Everyone’s got a favourite animal. Chances are everyone’s got a favourite choice for familiars and animal companions, as well.
My daughter? Easy! Rabbits are her favourite familiar by far, and that’s not even taking into account that they grant their masters +4 initiative! She’s also a huge fan of the arctic hare. And animal companions? Parasaurolophus, of course! Particularly if you let them ‘sing.’
My son prefers pigs as his familiar of choice–mostly because he thinks they’re adorable. They also grant their masters +3 diplomacy, which is handy for those of you who want to make friends. For animal companions, he favours the boar, although he’s also pretty partial to owls and eagles on occasion.
My husband’s top choice for familiars is the raven, which can speak any one language. Awesome! And his favourite animal companion, hands down, is the wolf. Love those free trip attacks!
And me? The fox is my favourite animal by far, so choosing my favourite familiar is a simple decision. Fox, fox, and fox again. Maybe toss in an arctic fox for a bit of variance… Haha. Those lovely little fennecs grant a +2 on reflex saves.
But animal companions? Wow, tough choice! I’ve always been a big fan of the grizzly bear. But then there’s the crocodile… Who doesn’t want a badass beast who can go on land OR water? But, when it comes down to it, I’m a big sucker for the ankylosaurus. SO COOL! Unfortunately, every time I’ve made one it’s master died a horrible death within a session or two. Haha. I’m cursed!
But, in my opinion, it’s not what animal you choose that makes your pet important, but how you choose to play them. Big or small, they can be living breathing characters and allies–not just a pet you give a scratch here and there.
My daughter has a druid with a pet parasaurolophus who loves to sing and dance. She dresses her in bows and fluffy tutus, and always gives her hugs. She spends time comforting her pet, and always plays that little dinosaur as a young, skittish, easily scared little (big) thing. When battle starts, she doesn’t just tell good old Paras to attack, she tells her to strike up a battle tune, which sets her dear tooting, and bellowing, and shaking her tail. That’s not to say that Paras never enters the fray–she does. She whips that tail around with a vengeance whenever her master’s hurt. But, it is to say, that Paras is a character, more than just an extra attack form.
I have a meek, shy wizard who fell in love with a vicious, man-eating dog during a session, and ended up taking it home with her. Barely able to control her big, snarling brute, clearly it’s Prickles the dog who’s the alpha in that relationship. Unfortunately, that same wizard hates killing things and, knowing she won’t be able to stop her dear dog from devouring something once he gets a taste of blood, she never orders him into the fight. That said, Prickles is a territorial pup. With the awesome bodyguard archetype, from Ultimate Wilderness and the Animal Archive, if there’s one thing he won’t abide is someone harming ‘his pet’ (my wizard). I have a ton of fun roleplaying these two and their weird, unbalanced dynamic.
In another campaign, when we played the Second Darkness Adventure Path (which starts with Part One: Shadow In The Sky), my husband’s character befriended a sleazy scumbag named Bojask, and made him his cohort. Later, Bojask got a horribly stupid and overly friendly swamp barracuda, named Gulper, for his animal companion. This dopy thing was hilarious and a total blast to have in the party, especially as he licked and tried to ‘hug’ his grumpy, cussing owner. Half-way through the campaign, poor Gulper died. So heartbroken was the party we used resources to have the goof reincarnated, only to have him come back as a ram. As lovable as he was before, Gulper was even funnier trapped in the body of a completely different animal. He kept trying to bite when he should headbutt and swim when he couldn’t. But the best part? The first time the poor thing found himself in water and had no idea he couldn’t breathe water. HILARIOUS. In time, he died again, and this time was brought back as a spider. Admittedly, that didn’t last long. The poor thing kept trying to lick people with a non-existent tongue, and only ended up poisoning them with his mandibles. In the end, we paid a ton of money to have him returned to his proper form, only to have poor Gulper–who had finally gotten used to being a spider–adjust all over again! You haven’t laughed until you’ve seen a swamp barracuda try to figure out why he can’t shoot webs and climb up walls. Priceless!
But my favourite pet of all time? It belongs to my seven-year old son. In a previous blog post we talked about the creation of a character of his, Fuzzzy. Fuzzzy is paladin of Iomedae who died battling demons in the Worldwound alongside his brother. Luckily, Iomedae rewarded them for their service, seeing them brought back to life in new bodies. Unfortunately, Fuzzzy found himself in the body of an old man, with no memories of his past life. Or any memories, really. He barely recalls what happened two minutes ago. Now a wizard, Fuzzzy is accompanied by an intelligent little owl, who keeps him on track and safe. This little owl, Bobby, ranks as my favourite pet by far! Seriously! They have such a wonderful relationship. Take a peek at any of his play-by-post adventures and you’ll see what I mean.
Now, I know all of you have beloved familiars and animal companions! You’ve got funny stories and heartfelt ones. And plenty more of you have preferences. So let us know YOUR opinion in the comments! Share your picks for favourite animals companions and familiars! Tell us about the most memorable ones you’ve created or played. Did you ever see someone else with a pet you wish you’d thought of? By all means, let us know!
Whether they’re feathered, furred or scaled, we want to hear from you!
Despite their wounds, Nix had insisted on digging through the piles of debris for useful parts and scrap. She was an impulsive woman. Impatient, and reckless, but she was also brilliant. The bits of wire and metal she might find in the blocked passageways could become something wonderful with a bit of tinkering in her workshop. Like the massive metal arm that she wore. Built from scrap salvaged from the junkyard, it was a fine replacement for her missing one, which had been torn off by a piece of malfunctioning machinery a few years ago.
Haji had watched with exhausted fascination. His one remaining eye piercing the darkness with ease. The second eye socket was filled with a glittering gemstone, and surrounded by a strange triangular rune that had been branded into his flesh by his one-time master. The same master who had taken his eye.
Perched on his shoulder, a hideously ugly rat with strange rocky protrusions jutting from his flesh hissed in impatience. The rat was Haji’s keeper, and the source of his magical powers.
Haji eyed his rat-master and shook his head.
“I’m not leaving her behind.”
The rat hissed again and nipped Haji on the ear, clearly disappointed in his decision.
In the skulk caverns, Sef had eyed them with ill intent. It was clear she was contemplating taking advantage of their weakened state to murder them, but apparently thought better of it. She bit her tongue and let them pass. For now, their alliance still stood.
The swim through the Weeping Pond was the worst. It’s toxic waters stung their wounds, and made their eyes water. Although Rothmhar was unwounded, neither Haji nor Nix had much strength left in their limbs. Swimming while weighed by scrap and scavenged equipment took forever, and in the end they ended up walking along the bottom of the lake for the better part of an hour. Finally they clambered up onto shore wet, exhausted, with their wounds seeping puss. Unsurprisingly, this meant their first stop would be the Temple of Brigh.
The Temple was crowded with worshippers all praying that the Torch would reignite. Without it, many of them would starve and the town would sputter and die. The old high priest, Joram Kyte, was in the middle of leading a sermon, so Haji, Nix, and Rothmhar plopped down at the back of the chapel, bleeding all over the pews and stinking the place up with the toxic fumes of the lake. To say they made a disturbance was an understatement.
In time the sermon drew to a close, and the worshippers moved on to pray privately, either in the chapel, or by creating a useful device in the holy workshops nearby. Joram strode over to them with a pleasant smile on his face.
“I see the caverns proved a challenge today. Lucky for you, Brigh blesses all who beseech her for aid.” He gestured at a nearby donation box made of elaborate clockwork parts.
“You cheap bastard,” Nix cursed.
Haji dug a pile of money out of his belt pouch and dropped it into the box. With a clicking and a whirr, the box began to move. Sprouting metal protrusions It formed and created a golden mask—the holy symbol of Brigh, goddess of invention and clockworks. The mechanical face bowed it’s little head, then clinked and clanked its way back into its constituent pieces and withdrew itself inside.
“A fine blessing, indeed!” Joram remarked with a wide grin. “Now, let’s see what we can do about those wounds?”
It took more than a few castings, prayers, and a heavy dose of antiseptic cream before Haji and Nix were feeling more like themselves. Haji was grateful to the clerics, but Nix grumbled and complained the entire time that she could just brew her own potions at home. To drown her out, Haji explained to Joram what they had seen.
“The behaviour of these skeletons it strange,” Joram admitted. “Can you describe their behaviour in detail? And their bodies… Is there any chance they were particularly rotten zombies? I… have heard tell of something similar sounding…”
After further conversation, Joram sighed. “I believe that this red light is a sign that the skeletons are being controlled by another. By an intelligent undead, capable of forming a mental link with the skeletons, and bending them to his will. Unfortunately, if I am correct, then there’s a high probability that these unquiet skeletons will reform daily.”
Haji scowled. “Reform?”
“But, we just destroyed them!” Nix exclaimed. She crossed her arms in an angry pout.
“And you’ll need to destroy them again tomorrow,” The preacher added with a stern look.
“So how do we stop their rejuvenation?” Haji asked.
“You’ll either need to destroy their controller, or bring their spirits peace. I’m afraid I can’t tell you more without witnessing them personally.”
“Bring them peace?” Nix scoffed. “Pretty hard to do when they’re shoving their claws into your chest! Ass.”
Joram ignored the insult and shrugged. “If I’m wrong, you’ll soon find out. But, if I’m right… Well, it wouldn’t hurt to be prepared. Have I mentioned that we sell holy water? Brigh protects all who show her the proper respect.”
Haji nodded quickly, before Nix could insult the old priest further.
With their holy water in hand, and their purses significantly lighter, Nix and Haji left the chapel and entered the streets of Torch. Wide, well-worn dirt roads stood empty. The forges and bellows lining the roads were quiet and dark. Doors were shut. Windows shuttered. Shops closed.
Torch was dying.
Eventually they came to the home of Val Baine. Val was a child, barely twelve, but she had promised to feed Haji, Nix and Rothmhar. Not indefinitely, of course. Only while they were exploring the caverns under Torch. Val’s father, the town councillor Khonnir Baine, had gone missing in those same caverns, and Val was hopeful that Haji and Nix would bring him home.
At the sight of them, Val smiled. “You’re back! Did you find my father?”
Haji shook his head no, while Nix ignored her and held her stomach dramatically.
“I see,” Val sighed sadly. But a moment later she smiled. “I’m sure it won’t be much longer now! You’ll bring him home, soon.” She led them into the nearby bar that was her father’s. “We’re having roast crow for dinner. Come on.”
The bar was large and empty, having been closed by Val until the day her father returned.
Val was a decent cook for a kid. Better than Haji and Nix, anyway. Of course, that wasn’t saying much, as Haji had been known to eat garbage and rotten meat on occasion, while Nix often cooked out of the same pot she brewed alchemical concoctions from. Standards were not high.
They stuffed themselves, and then Haji stuffed himself even more. Food had been scarce growing up, so he had a habit of gorging himself to bursting whenever possible.
Eventually they left and made their way to the market. They had goods to sell, and Nix was intent on discerning the uses of the strange devices she had discovered. The market was pretty empty, with only a few stalls in operation, but they were lucky. They met a man by the name of Sanvil Trett who was an expert in the advanced technology that littered Numeria. He was a friendly fellow, who chatted away happily with Nix and explained how all of her scavenged goods worked—for a fee, of course.
Haji didn’t like the man. He smiled entirely too pleasantly at Nix and flirted with her while they talked. After Haji wrapped his arm around Nix and gave the man a growl he backed off a bit, and the conversation turned professional. Turns out Sanvil was pretty helpful. They learned that the silverdisks they regularly used as currency were batteries capable of charging up advanced technology. Most of the ones that they had were spent, and had no purpose other than money, but others had a visible lattice of metal lines on one side that shimmered in the light like a rainbow. These possessed the power to recharge advanced devices. The strange pen-like stick Nix had found a while back was a zipstick. When charged it would send a minor electrical current into something. Although not powerful on its own, a zipstick could be used with ion tape and some other advanced devices. Ion tape was pliable and sticky, but solidifies when electrified, becoming solid and smooth. Another shock caused it to revert to its original form. The smooth rectangular disks they had turned out to be a strange kind of key, which would open doors within metal ruins—presuming the ruins still had power. Nix also picked up an e-pick—a set of tools that would help her pick electronic locks—and some of that splendid ion tape!
After a bit more ooh-ing and aah-ing over the devices Sanvil had for sale, Haji and Nix wandered off to sell some of their more mundane loot. Afterwards they would head back to Nix’s house to rest, recover, and brew a heaping pile of potions for the next day.
On the way they came upon a messenger.
“Miss Nix! Mr. Haji!”
Nix turned with a raised eyebrow to find a scrawny messenger holding out an envelope.
“What?” Haji growled.
The messenger stuttered nervously. “P-p-please come and visit the illustrious Silverdisk Hall! My master bids you welcome!”
Haji glowered at the messenger with his one good eye, while Rothmhar hissed at him.
Nix raised an eyebrow. “Your master? Seriously? Garmen Ullreth just suddenly decided to offer us an invite to spend our coin at his casino?” She scoffed. “How generous of him.”
Haji snatched the envelope out of the messengers hands and opened it. Inside was a fancy invitation and a writ for 100 gold worth of credit at the casino. Sure enough, it was addressed to them personally, and signed: Garmen Ullreth.
“M-my master has heard of the good you are doing for the town of Torch, and wanted to honour you for your efforts. The c-c-credit is good on our games, beverages, and food.”
“Food?” Haji’s frown transformed into a bright smile.
“Uh, yes, sir!” The man stammered.
Nix let out a laugh. “We’ll be there.” She told the messenger. “Now, get.”
The messenger scurried off, while Haji and Nix went back to the business at hand: selling their loot and buying supplies for Nix’s crafting. By the time they got back to Nix’s crowded home/workshop it was late afternoon. Nix only had a few hours to tinker and brew before they left for Silverdisk Hall.
The casino was swanky! Staffed by scantily clad workers, and filled with the finest furniture in town, Silverdisk Hall was like another world. Tables of card and dice games filled the main hall, while a bar and restaurant at the back served food. Impeccably clean servers wound through the crowds of grungy townsfolk, carrying trays of alcohol and drugs for sale. And everywhere they looked: siverdisks. Haji and Nix found their way past the half-naked greeters and over to the cash counter. A burly looking fellow with bulging muscles and a sleazy smile gave Nix a wink before cashing in their voucher for ten shiny silverdisks.
“All games and services are paid for by silverdisks here. When you’re ready to cash out, just come on back. Enjoy yourselves, now!”
Haji growled in response.
Nix snatched up the silverdisks and discovered one had a tell-tale shine to it. She pulled out her zipstick and pressed it against the silverdisk, like Sanvil had taught her. The shine on the circuitry faded. Nix clicked the button on the side of the zipstick and a small jolt of electricity shot sparked at its tip.
“Ah!” She exclaimed happily. She waved the zipstick around for Haji to see and smiled brightly. “Did you see?” After testing it a few more times, and wasting half the charges provided by the battery, Nix finally put the stick away and returned her attention to her surroundings.
“Care to waste our coin on gambling?” She asked.
Haj shook his head. “No. But I will waste it on food.”
Nix laughed. “Honey, food is never a waste.”
There was a chuckle from behind them, and a hand fell on Nix’s shoulder. “Oh, my dear, this is delightful!”
Nix and Haji turned to find the infamous Garmen Ullreth smiling at them. He was clean and handsome. Dressed in gleaming sutdded leather armour, and with a rapier on his hip, the man was clearly well off, and not to be trifled with.
Haji growled, but refrained from threatening the overly wealthy (and politically powerful) man.
“Oh, Miss Nix! You must have a brilliant mind to forge such a wonderful device! Your arm is exquisite! And you, Mr. Haji! I was told you were a terrifying sight, but I must say, I’m impressed. That gaze alone could send a trained warrior crying back to his mother’s skirts.”
With a bow, Garmen introduced himself. “My name is Garmen. I’m the owner of this fine establishment, and I’m so happy you could join me.”
Haji grunted, but Nix smiled. “Thanks for the invite.”
“Oh, it’s the least I could do for the saviours of Torch! Now, go on. Enjoy yourselves. It’s on me, tonight.”
Garmen gave Haji a bow, kissed Nix’s good hand in farewell, and was gone as fast as he had appeared.
“Well, that was weird.” Nix remarked.
Haji only grunted. “Let’s eat.”
Wandering through the tables, the duo made their way to the bar at the back of the hall. They sat down to eat, only to discovered Sanvil Trett already there.
“Hey! Happy to see you two again!” Sanvil greeted them. “I didn’t peg you for the gambling type.”
“We’re hungry.” Haji remarked.
“Hungry? But the food here is horribly over priced!”
Nix laughed. “Figures.”
Haji shrugged. “We’re eating free tonight. So why are you here, then?”
Sanvil smiled. “Why, didn’t you hear? They only deal in silverdisks.” Leaning over conspiratorially he whispered, “They don’t know the difference between a charged disk and a spent one. I cash in my sales from a day to disks, and often end up with one or two that are charged. That’s a ton of profit! I just hang onto those at the end of the night, and trade in spent ones. It’s great turnaround!”
Nix let out a laugh. “That’s genius!”
Sanvil grinned. “Let’s keep it our little secret, dear.”
Haji narrowed his eye at Sanvil, and growled.
“Miss. Nix.” Sanvil corrected. “And Mister Haji, of course. And now, if you’ll excuse me, It’s time for me to cash out.”
Sanvil excused himself and left, while Nix and Haji ordered—horrendously overpriced—food.
Deeper in the bar there was a disturbance. Some drunk loser at the other end of the bar was making a fool of himself.
“Figures.” Nix scoffed. Turning to Haji she added, “You eat. I’ll check on him.”
While Nix settled down her father, Haji watched the gaming hall. He saw some strange things, but nothing particularly weird. There was a lot of cheating by the dealers. And a lot of guys walking around had ropes wrapped around their forearms and fists. He had seen people like that around Torch, but had no idea who they were. A gang, maybe? Some weird fashion trend? Fist-fighters? He didn’t know and, frankly didn’t care. There was a suspicious woman slinking around the tables. Foolish girl was going to get herself killed. And a surprising number of customer altercations. The rope-fisted fellows were prone to picking fights with other patrons, only to have the dealers take advantage of the commotion to cheat for the house.
Haji shook his head. He didn’t understand gambling.
The silverdisk’s didn’t go far. A few drinks each and a couple of helpings of food, and suddenly they were broke. The place was a money pit.
Haji and Nix left the Silverdisk Hall not long after arriving, no richer than they went in. On the plus side, they were full, and drunk. They stumbled home happily, their earlier brush with death temporarily forgotten. They spent the night wrapped in each others arms, with Rothmhar hissing at them angrily.
They had survived one hell of a day! But, with another battle against the strange skeletons looming on the horizon, they might not be so lucky next time…
Thanks for checking out d20 Diaries today! Haji and Nix’s adventures playing Iron Gods Book 1: Fires of Creation, will continue soon, in their sixth instalment: Master of Skulls. We hope you’ll join us again!
OutPost marked my first PFS convention. It was also my husband and children’s first foray into play-by-post gaming, and their second adventure in the Pathfinder Society, so it was pretty exciting for us! My husband signed up for one game, while my children each signed up for two. And me? Well, I signed up for a lot. Three for Starfinder and three for Pathfinder. Plus the Solstice Scar Special.
All of the scenarios were a blast, and we had the wonderful luck to play alongside some awesome GMs and players. All told, not counting specials, OutPost hosted fourteen games of Core Pathfinder Society Scenarios, fifty-seven games of Classic/Standard Pathfinder Society scenarios, eleven games of the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, and twenty-four games of Starfinder. That makes for nearly a hundred games!
So, what did we play?
I’ll tell you!
My husband, children and I all signed up for an old classic: Scenario #06: Black Waters. From season zero, this adventure is intended for tier 1-2 and 4-5, and was written by Tim and Eileen Connors back before Pathfinder had it’s own rules set. It was being run by one of my favourite GMs I’ve had the pleasure of playing alongside on Paizo’s Messageboards, GM Shieldbug, who gave us a great game. Seriously. It was such a wonderful experience, my kids and husband are now thoroughly spoiled. I warned them after we finished this scenario to lower their expectations for whatever scenario they signed up to next, because not all GMs are as awesome as Shieldbug. They didn’t believe me at the time, but for the record, they do now. If you happen to be lucky enough to join a game he’s running, I highly recommend leaping at the opportunity. You won’t regret it.
Black Waters takes place in the Beldrin’s Bluff district of Absalom. Once a neighbourhood full of the wealthy elite, this area was devastated by an earthquake a decade or so ago, which killed many, and sent an entire chunk of the cliffs the neighbourhood was built upon, tumbling into the sea. Included in this devastation was a school for the city’s elite called the Tri-Towers Yard, which collapsed into an ancient underground necropolis. As the buildings are destroyed, black foul water rose up from below, drowning all those who weren’t crushed. The Tri-Towers yard was sealed up, and no one has been allowed inside–or into the necropolis–since. Lucky for us, the Pathfinders have finally been granted clearance, presuming they treat the site with respect.
My husband played Enzo Jeggare, a well-groomed, Chelaxian nobleman with pale skin, black hair, grey eyes, and a fabulous moustache. He’s a handsome, if lanky, gentleman with a reputation as a philanthropist and a conjurer. He enjoys fine wine, fine company, and ancient magical objects. Enzo is a secretive man, which gives him an air of mystery. Though well-practised in the art of evasion, he’s an awkward liar. He is never without his Devil Deck—a beautifully illustrated harrow deck adorned with images of devils and infernal symbolism—and a worn-out dog figurine that he can occasionally be seen speaking to. Enzo’s an occultist who specializes in conjuring creatures. He used his esteemed family’s political connections to gain membership into the Dark Archive’s faction of the Pathfinders, and is hopeful that handling other objects of power will allow him to access other magical abilities.
My daughter played a two-tailed kitsune druid (saurian shaman) with pink fur and eyes by the name of Bunny Paras. She is always accompanied by her pink and yellow pet parasaurolophus, called Paras, and adores rabbits. She and Paras run a rabbit farm–although they are sold only as pets, and are not for eating! Bunny Paras is a vegetarian, and a good healer. Paras loves to sing and dance, and is very, very loud.
My son is playing Senton, a pale Ulfen ranger better known as Mr. Ice. He is always shivering with cold, and has constantly chattering teeth. He wears warm winter clothes in every weather, including a big furry hat on his head, and a fur cloak and boots. He has a black patch on his cheek from some old frost bite, a big bushy beard, and a full moustache. Under his hat his hair is grey and his eyes are blue. He likes to fight with his short swords and his fine longbow. Senton works on Bunny Paras’ rabbit farm as a guard. He often lays traps to protect the farm.
But, this kooky trio wasn’t the only Pathfinders on the case. I played my wood kineticist, Everbloom, a wild and curious kitsune who grew up alone in the wilds and views life and death as just another fascinating part of existence. Her fur is an orangy-brown, with bits of leaves and flower petals constantly tangled in its length. Everbloom’s easily fascinated by people and places, and just as easily bores of them. 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.
Together, these five Pathfinders enjoyed some awesome roleplaying with their venture captain (Drandle Dreng), at a fancy dinner party held alongside Absalom’s nobility, and with the caretaker of the Tri-Towers Yard, who is equal parts sad, deluded, and gifted. Possibly insane. I’ll leave that up for debate! From there they investigated the haunted classrooms, and foul black waters of the estate. Battling off monstrous bugs and undead, they descended into the ancient necropolis to discover its secrets. Along the way, they made some amazing discoveries, and even saved a little girl. The frail–but still alive–Junia Dacilane. Junia reappears a decade down the road in the Pathfinder Society Scenario #7-05: School of Spirits (which is a delight), and can even be found in the Pathfinder Society Pawn Collection, which I only recently discovered and am itching to get my hands on!
Want to follow along with their adventures? Check out the complete gameplay for our group here.
My children were so excited to play in OutPost that they created a second character each for the occasion, a pair of twenty-five year olds who couldn’t be more different. Lady Naysha is an oracle of whimsy who stumbled in the First World through a fairy ring, and came back over a decade later looking like not a day had passed. A few years have passed since then, but she still doesn’t look a day over twelve. Lady Naysha has a child-like enthusiasm and innocence about her. She believes her stuffed rabbit, Miss Whiskers, is the source of her powers (which is entirely false, by the way), and can all upon her fairy friend to play tricks on her enemies. Contrariwise, my son made a paladin of Iomedae who is brave, bold and true! Unfortunately, he died fighting in the Worldwound. Iomedae took pity on him and granted him a second life, but he was reincarnated as an old man, with horrible memory problems. Unable to even remember his name, he calls himself Fuzzzy, and he relies on his pet owl, Bobby, to keep him on track. For full details on my Lady Naysha and Fuzzzy, check out my blog post OutPost Commences.
I joined them, with my dwarven fighter, Juno Berik, a self-centred woman who believes she’s far more important than she’s given credit for. Together with some other quirky characters, they entered a complicated maze underneath Absalom City to search for a lost minotaur prince, Nuar Spiritskin, in another classic PFS Scenario, #45: Delirium’s Tangle. This is a tier 1-5 scenario written by Crystal Frasier. Personally, I find this is a difficult scenario to run by play-by-post, as navigating a maze is always tricky in person, never mind over message boards. When it could take an entire day for a team to roll a single perception or survival check–which could be done in seconds in person–there’s a high probability the game will get bogged down. Fortunately, our GM was wonderful at streamlining the navigation process. In fact, this scenario finished first out of all the games I played! As poor navigators, the sheer number of pit traps we endured (and by endured I mean fell into over and over again) was painful (literally), and has left permanent mental scarring on Juno. Fuzzzy was also traumatized by the event–for about a minute before he promptly forgot about it. The fights and secret chambers were interesting, and left my kids hungry for more information on the maze and its connecting chambers. The final battle was interesting, as was the wrap-up roleplaying. All in all, we had a lot of fun, although this one certainly left a lot of unanswered questions.
You can read our complete gameplay experience here, if you’re interested.
In the time since, Lady Naysha’s begun Scenario #5-08: The Confirmation, alongside my husband’s character, Toban Tangletop (check out the ongoing gameplay here). Fuzzzy’s moved on to combat the Master of the Fallen Fortress (a free download on Paizo’s website, by the way) and rescue a lost Pathfinder (check out the ongoing gameplay here). And, Juno’s decided to tell the Aspis Consortium where to shove it, in Scenario #4-07: Severing Ties. Currently being as boorish and mean as she can be, she’s in Riddleport, happily dragging the Aspis Consortium’s name through the mud. This scenario’s about to begin a two-week break while some of the participants go on vacation, but you can check out it’s progress so far, here.
The Unseen Inclusion
I was positively thrilled to bring my beloved half-orc monk, Kenza Bloodborn, through Scenario #9-04: The Unseen Inclusion. Why? Well, as a member of the Scarab Sages, whose faction stories have come to an end, I wanted to see my stoic warrior tackle a Scarab Sage-centric mission. Taking place in the Thuvian city of Merab, Kenza delved into haunted ruins on the hunt for a mysterious spirit that even now seeks her master’s jewels… Part dungeon delve and part investigation, I had no idea what to expect with this scenario when I signed up for it, but I ended up having a blast. She had plenty of opportunities to hurl herself into danger to protect her allies, and nearly died on more than one occasion. You can check out the complete gamplay here.
In the time since, Kenza’s journeyed to Absalom for the first time, in order to pay her respect to the centre of her order. There, she’s been called on by Venture Captain Drandle Dreng, on a mission of great importance… Fetching him a bottle of wine. Fortunately, this mission is a lot more than it seems at first, leading the group through hidden chambers, abandoned homes, conspiracies and secrets, and even into Absalom’s Temple of the Fallen. That’s right, she’s playing through a super quick run of Scenario #6-10: The Wounded Wisp. Check out her adventure so far, here.
But not everything’s about Pathfinder! I’m also involved in three wonderful Starfinder Society Scenarios. My primary SFS character, a bold, boastful vesk solarion with far more brawn than brains by the name of Julakesh Starfist participated in Scenario #1-03: Yesteryear’s Truth. We’ve already spoken about Julakesh earlier this week, but if you’ve missed it, check out my blog post Competitions and Compliments. If you’re interested in reading Julakesh’s experiences in Yesteryear’s Truth, the complete gameplay if found here. Want a summary? She discovered a new planet, engaged in amazing battles, attempted to befriend the planet’s natives, and made a lot of people laugh! Seriously, a ton of fun. Speaking of fun, Julakesh recently began a new adventure that’s tailor made for her: Scenario #1-07: The Solar Sortie. Or, it’s half made for her, anyway… Sent to retrieve information from a corporation that orbits the Sun, Julakesh gets to begin this infiltration by impersonating a gladiator! This pretty much consists of her being herself, in front of a large adoring crowd. Awesome! And all that other subtle espionage stuff? Well…. we’ll cross that bridge up (and mess it up horribly) when we get to it! Check out the start of out adventures, here! It’s been a ton of fun so far (and it’s only just begun).
Fugitive on the Red Planet
I also used OutPost as an opportunity to try out two Starfinder classes I had yet to have a chance to test. Firstly, I created a proud, smooth-talking ysoki xenoseeker envoy by the name of Aurora Vim (Rora, for short) who was tasked with finding a rogue Starfinder and retrieving an powerful object he stole from the Society in Scenario #1-02: Fugitive on the Red Planet. Her adventures took her to the grungy planet of Akiton alongside a haan, a human, and a whopping three other ysoki! Apparently those furry little fellows are popular! All in all this scenario was a lot of fun, and Rora really had a chance to shine throughout its length. It was completed quite quickly, and was hosted by a wonderfully humorous GM. You can check out the complete gameplay here.
Following her adventures on Akiton, Rora hopped a shuttle back to Absalom Station, where she’s been invited to attend a gala in honour of the First Seeker, Luwazi Elsebo. Scenario #1-05: First Mandate is right up her alley, and has seen her wheeling and dealing with a bunch of movers and shakers–including Zo!, who I’ve been dying for her to meet! This scenario is reaching its climax, but you can check out its progress so far, here.
Cries from the Drift
I also made a curious but awkward shirrin spacefarer operative, Zez’ka, who is prone to announcing her emotions to the world. She’s friendly, but super awkward, and honestly a blast to play. Unfortunately, Scenario #1-04: Cries from the Drift, is a horror scenario, which tossed my chipper shirren into the most traumatizing, suspenseful, and gory Starfinder Scenario to date. This adventure particularly benefits from having the element of surprise, so I won’t mention much more in the way of spoilers. What I will say is that if you’re uncomfortable with body horror, don’t play it. That being said, when played by play-by-post the suspense is lost, so it turned out to be a fun, romp despite the tone. For those of you who aren’t afraid of spoilers, our complete gameplay can be read here. In the time since, Zez’ka has joined a delightfully fun and carefree mission, which won’t possibly be as traumatizing for her as her previous one was! Right? Right…? Wrong. She’s currently engaged in Starfinder’s second horror scenario, Scenario #1-10: The Half-Alive Streets, which amuses me to no end. She’s currently oblivious to the dark turn this scenario’s going to take, and is currently having great fun making friends and shopping. You can check it out here.
The end to these Starfinder scenarios will mark the sixth games I’ve played in the SFS, which means I’ve reach a milestone on my Alien Archive Boon. No idea what that means?
Well, let me enlighten you!
For every Starfinder Society game you participate in as a player (not a GM) you can get your GM to sign your boon sheet, which is available here. When you have six games played you can apply this sheet to a new character to make them either a wrikreechee, or a ryphorian. Or, you can wait until you have twelve games played, and then apply it to a new character to make them a barathu. After applying it you can start a new boon, and begin earning new plays. Note, that there is a time limit on earning credit for this boon. After June 14th of this year they’ll be releasing a new boon in its place, which will let you unlock other races for play.
Now, of the current options, I think I’d get a kick out of a Barathu, but I won’t have a chance to earn that bad boy. I’ll be hitting six, which leaves the wrikreechee and ryphorians. And for me, the choice is clear! Ryphorians! I have honestly no idea what I’m going to make for her class, but its definitely going to be different than the others I’ve got! Soldier, perhaps? That’s a question for another day!
And that’s it!
OutPost and its associated adventures have come to an end–for this year. But, there’s plenty more adventures out there waiting to be played!
Well, Spring has finally sprung here on d20 Diaries. In the last few short weeks we saw our last snowfall of the winter, we’ve watched the sandy snow melt, and we’ve seen the grass begin to green. My children went from complaining it’s too cold, to whining it’s too hot and bemoaning the lack of prepared swimming pools all within the same two weeks. We had our first sprinklings of rain, and the line-ups for slurpees have officially tripled.
My kids are very interesting in making our planet a brighter, healthier place, so they took to our apartment’s patio at the first opportunity, insisting we spend ‘just a little bit of money’ on some potted plants.
“It will help bring back the bees, Mom!” (Thanks for that tag line, Cheerios, by the way).
“It will bring beautiful butterflies!” (which will leave their cocoons splattered all over my patio walls)
“The rabbits can eat them!” (Not a very compelling argument…)
“They are great for smelling!” (I’m allergic).
“They help us breathe. Well, maybe not YOU, Mom, cause you are allergic to EVERYTHING. But it will help everyone else breathe great!” (Fair.)
Compelling (and not so compelling) arguments aside, I always encourage my kids to follow their passions. My daughter’s embraced her love of rabbits with wild abandon, while my son carries gardening gloves and extra bags in his school backpack, so he’s always ready to clean up the litter we pass by. So, I had every intention of helping my kids do some gardening, despite how ill it was going to make me.
Well, five trips to Rona, nine pots, four tiny bags of soil and infinitely more than ‘a little bit of money’ later, and my kids have transformed our dour little concrete slab into a riot of colourful pots and flowers. They planted three pine seeds they got from the Earth Rangers. (If you don’t know, the Earth Rangers is a Canadian kids conservation organization which challenges kids to help the environment and save endangered species one mission at a time. They have a kid-friendly website, mission lists that give kids easy to accomplish ways they can make a difference close to home, rewards for completing tasks, and nature themed games and articles the kids can play or read. You can also donate or fundraise on behalf of their various missions to save endangered species, but my kids don’t do that part cause I’m a big stick in the mud. For more information on the Earth Rangers, check out their website!). We’ve also got a lovely fern, plenty of flowers and an overpriced rabbit planter. We’ve got a bag of wildflower seeds to plant, as well, which we recently got free from the Cheerios Bring Back the Bees campaign. If you haven’t done so, check out their website, where you can get a free book for your kids and a packet of wildflower seeds (Note: I have no idea which countries can receive the free seeds and book, but it doesn’t hurt to try!).
Admittedly, some plants aren’t doing so well. My kids can be overly eager with the water, we don’t get much sun, it was still below freezing some mornings, and rabbits have been eating all the petals off of the yellow flowers (much to my daughter’s delight). But, that doesn’t really matter. My kids are thrilled to be doing their part to help our local environment, and they’re learning how to be responsible for another living thing. And hey, if it feeds a few rabbits and brings back a bee or two, that’s a bonus. It’s their smiles that really make it worthwhile.
On the gaming front, OutPost has finally come to an end. It was a lot of fun, and my whole family enjoyed themselves. Despite the many games I was a part of, I never managed to win one of the special convention boons, nor did my husband or any of my kids. Happily, what my kids did manage to win was respect. Both of their GMs from the convention were impressed with their crazy characters and their handle of the game. Not long after the end of their convention games they applied for more. My daughter easily scored herself a spot in another play by post, despite worries about her age, after providing a link to her last game to prove she was a decent player. One of the people who played alongside my kids during Outpost decided to GM a scenario and opened a sign up for prospective players which got a ton of interest. My son’s character earned a spot with ease, with an admission from the GM that he had enjoyed playing alongside my son’s character so much that he was the first person selected to play in his scenario. Suffice to say my son was pleased. Both games have been running for a few weeks now, and are going well.
Closer to home, my kids have been plugging away at the The Shackled City Adventure Path. It’s been six play sessions, and we’re still in Jzadirune. The end of their exploration is in sight, and soon we’ll be descending into the Malachite Hold! I’ve had to make some changes to the dungeon. After the first few play sessions my son was getting a little bored of all the fights and what felt like a lack of progress. I streamlined the encounters, removed the unnecessary ones, and added some flavourful fluff. We refocused slightly, and have been really paying attention to the things my son’s character recalls from Jzadirune. He did live there as a child, after all! Last session ended with my son discovering his family’s old home, and meeting the ‘King’. He’s grown to love this haunted little dungeon, and has every intention to fixing up when we’re done down there and living in it. What could go wrong?!
My daughter, meanwhile, has been on the edge of her seat, exclaiming after every session, “But, we have to finish it! I have to save my good friend Griffin who I work with! He was supposed to be married! His girlfriend is so sad she cries everyday! We must hurry! He could DIE!” She says the word ‘die’ with such drama. It’s adorable.
We’re about to undertake a side quest in our Carrion Crown campaign (we’re currently on: Carrion Crown Book 1: Haunting of Harrowstone), but were stymied by an excess of laundry, and a need to purchase summer shoes. More details on these characters will come in an upcoming blog post.
Out in the wider universe, my family is currently one battle into the delightful Starfinder Scenario #1-03: Yesteryear’s Truth! They’ve just fought their way past Elytrio’s automated defences, deployed their drift beacons, and are about to touch down on the surface. You can pick up this awesome scenario for a few dollars on Paizo’s website. You’ll need the Starfinder Core Rulebook to make characters and play.
My kids have been hard at work creating their own custom adventures, which they’ll be running through as GMs for our family soon. Not long after that they’ll be up on d20 Diaries for your enjoyment. We’re keeping it under wraps for now, but what I will tell you is that they both involve islands, and lost treasure. But, while my son’s gone for a pirate adventure, my daughter’s taken a different approach. And yes, before you ask, hers has some rabbits in it. Haha.
In other exciting news, I’ve cashed in my various gift cards left over from Christmas and have a delightfully tall pile of Pathfinder and Starfinder books to read through sitting on my dresser. I’ve recently finished reading through Pathfinder Player Companion: Legacy of the First World, and have just begun reading the highly anticipated (in my house at least!) Starfinder Roleplaying Game: Pact Worlds! My daughter’s particularly excited for the SROs race, for reasons we’ll go into another time.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for us to water the plants.