Into the Northwyld

Session 1

Most of this session happened about 2 months ago, so forgive me if I am a bit hazy with the details.

For our first session, the usual cast was in tow:

  • Drummden, Human Ranger 1
  • Zar, Drow Monk 1
  • Illyra, Elf Cleric 1
  • Tark, Gnome Barbarian 1
  • Edgar, Human Rogue 1

To start off the session, we find the party hitching a ride with a supply caravan out to the aptly named frontier town, King’s Reach (get it?). Having some time to kill before they reach the town, the party begins with the usual introductions. I don’t quite remember all the backstories (or if they were really mentioned), but I’ll try to update this part when I find out. At some point during the trip, Edgar manages to snatch a few unattended scrolls and a potion or two, though he has no idea what they say or do, and decides to introduce himself to the rest of the party in the best possible way, with a gift.

A side note about Edgar: As you may or may not have noticed, he is being played by yours truly. The reason for this being that we may decide to switch GMs at some point during the campaign, so I have included a character for myself in case I get the opportunity to play. However, Edgar is generally with the party for roleplaying purposes. Being a tremendous coward, he strays from combat and really only becomes useful when encountering a trap or lock. Regarding the scrolls and potions, I had the players roll for one minor magic item during character creation, and figured this would be a good way to introduce both Edgar and the items to the party.

Back to the adventure at hand, the party arrives in King’s Reach about midday, and I believe some proceed to help with the unloading process. Upon finishing, they explore parts of the town. Drummden goes to the blacksmith to inquire about the types of weapons and armor he has, and the details on specially ordering items, specifically a well made longbow. The smithy is happy to help with prices on the armor and melee weapons, but says that Drummden would do best to find a fletcher to make the longbow. Unfortunately, there exists no such fletcher in King’s Reach yet, so he instead decides to try the town marketplace, filled with new supplies from back South, which Edgar has been busy surveying.

Meanwhile, Tark and Illyra head to the local inn, the Drunken Dragon. Among the patronage are a few farmers, merchants, and a couple mercenaries. Tark, feeling the need to establish himself in town, decides to challenge the two mercenaries to a drinking competition. Illyra sits down alongside him (for moral support, I assume). Tark downs tankard after tankard, somehow managing to hold his own against the two mercenaries, who take this quite good-heartedly. This was a point in which the party could have hired some extra help for their expeditions, but elected not to for one reason or another. They engage in some small talk with the barkeep about what’s been happening in town, and who they should go to for a paying job. The barkeep replies with what he’s heard about recent town activity and the whereabouts of two of the most likely employers that he knows of, a local botanist named Bartholomew, and the head clergyman of the local temple to Abadar, patron of wealth.

After leaving the smithy, Drummden makes his way toward the somewhat crowded marketplace, inquiring about the longbow to various merchants. Elsewhere in the marketplace, a commotion has broken out. Curious, he arrives to find Edgar being strong-armed by what looks to be a local militia member. (Through a series of varying rolls made by Edgar to try to steal from one of the merchants, it is determined that while he does pick up a valuable looking ring, he is caught in the process.) Illyra and Tark also arrive on the scene, along with Zar, who, being a Drow, has been skulking through the presumably dark alleyways in town. A conflict with the guards and merchants almost erupts, but is calmed by the combined diplomatic prowess of Tark(!) and Illyra.

With the conflict resolved, the rest of the party is told about potential work from the botanist and clergymen, with the botanist being decided as the easier employer. They meet the botanist shortly after, asking for work. He tells them that he generally doesn’t collect many flowers that would put him in any sort of danger, however, a alchemist friend of his, Simon, has a garden of very beautiful basilisk roses, and he would very much like to have some of these. Stating that he will pay 5 gold per rose, he gives them the location of the alchemist’s manse, on the southern coastline of a Lake Bright to the northwest. Bartholomew reveals that he would go there himself, but has some cash to spare and would rather not risk his own life out in the Northwyld.

Though I’m not certain, I don’t remember any time being spent on gathering supplies, the party simply heads out to find the manse. A combination of having no map and having never navigated the Northwyld made the trip very tough for them. Thanks to a failure or two on the survival checks, they were quite lost somewhere between the town and the manse. It was at this point that the first combat of the game erupted. Owlbear ambush! Checking it’s stats, I began to realize what it meant to be truly unbiased or balanced. The combat went fairly poorly at first, with a couple PCs dropping to low hit points almost immediately. Fortunately for the party, I wimped out on them, causing the owlbear to retreat after taking a decent amount of damage. The players did help out my decision, though, with the clever use of a command spell. This would be one of hopefully few times in which I took it easy on the party.

After finally managing to pass a survival check, the party is able to get a bearing on their surroundings and make their way to the manse. It is a fairly small building atop a cliff side on the edge of what appears to be Bright Lake. About 300 feet away from the estate, the party stops to observe a figure patrolling around a small well. A successful knowledge check shows that the creature was a Tengu, a raven-like humanoid. The party spends a short time discussing this, which is interrupted by the declaration of Drummden’s player that he will “fire off an arrow.” This turns out to be a poor decision, as his arrow flies hopelessly over the Tengu, alerting it of his presence. It darts off towards the manse, and disappears over the edge of the hill. The party moves up to the well, and manages to find some gold pieces hidden in a removable brick in it.

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Intro

First, introductions:

These are to the best of my knowledge, we haven’t played enough for me to remember names offhand yet.
  • Player: Character-Name
  • Dustin: Human Wizard 1 -Acroama (formerly Drummden, Dwarf Ranger 1)
  • Leah: Elf Cleric 1 -Illyra
  • Matt: Gnome Barbarian 1 -Tark
  • Tucker: Drow Monk 1 -Zar
  • Tentatively:
  • David: Unknown
  • Chris: Half Elf Paladin 1
  • Aly: Elf Druid 1
  • Myself: Human Rogue 1 -Edgar

While all of these players except for Aly have played 3.5 DnD before, Dustin is the only one with any experience in previous editions, and even then it is very little.

My goal with this game is to find out how well I can create an old school, sandboxy feel with the fancy new Pathfinder RPG system. Having no experience with any old school or sandbox play myself, this should be quite interesting.

The gameworld is undefined as of right now. I have a few locations ready to go, but nothing is very cohesive yet. Storywise, I tried using a similar setup as West Marshes, giving the players a budding frontier town to base their operations from, and telling them that the lands to the south contain nothing but boring old civilization. More specifically, the kingdom they are citizens of is in a state of relative peace, allowing them to expand their borders into the northern wilderness (or Northwyld). To expedite this, the rulers have begun encouraging adventurers to explore, map, and possibly pacify any region they may find. Their reward is, of course, that they are entitled to anything they find out in this wilderness.

With the frontier town hopefully being their permanent base, I will try to show the effect of the PCs party and other parties bringing in all this new wealth by expanding the town as the game goes on.

As much as I want to encourage the thought that the town in a safe haven, I want to reciprocate this feeling about the Northwyld. I am trying to diverge from the “more dangerous the further you get out” aspect, making areas appropriate to their inhabitants and surroundings, not the level of the PCs. The players must determine…

Rules-wise, I am using the recently released Pathfinder RPG, with a few tentative changes. A few skills are being removed, including Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, Fly, and possibly Perception. These are all done to promote the concept of player skill over character skill, as I hope to encourage my players to actually roleplay their interactions, instead of simply rolling for a skill. Other than that, I’m quite satisfied with the Pathfinder RPG and the improvements it has made on 3.5 DnD.

As far as books being used, I am using the core rulebook, but don’t have access to the Pathfinder Bestiary as of yet. Seeing as how Pathfinder is mostly just a streamlined version of 3.5, I don’t think using the Monster Manual will be any problem. I may also be using some monsters and rules that I find online. If so, I’ll most likely provide a link or source. Various modules will also most likely be used as well.

Update!

I am the proud owner of the Pathfinder Bestiary, which, in case you were wondering, is amazing.
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