Saturday, September 3, 2011

Pathfinder Solo Playtest

I played my first game of Pathfinder tonight.  Having come from a D&D background, and having read all versions of D&D, the transition wasn't so bad.  I have forgotten how heavy the rules are for these games.  There's basically a test for everything you want to do.  But from my group gaming days, we tended to ignore stuff that got in the way of the story.  So, I did the same here!

Meet Taka the 1st level human monk.  I'm trying a "Bourne Identity" type of opener here.  After this premise is established, I'm going to let GME determine the rest of the story.  I bought the Pathfinder Inner Sea World Guide to use as a setting.  I plan to have Taka wander those lands and discover them along with me.

I also did this session completely paper free!  I'll detail that set up in another post.  But it was quite a liberating experience.  However, my PC was cluttered for sure.

Pathfinder Sessions
The story begins with a man awakening in an unlit, natural cave. All he can remember is his own name, Taka.  He doesn't recall anything else.  He doesn't even know what his own face looks like.  However, he recalls how to do things.  He knows how to fight, how to wield certain weapons with great skill.  He knows several languages.  He knows just about everything except his identity and past.  The story begins here.
Start Prologue
Taka awakens in a small cave.  It is late at night. He realizes he is naked and alone in the cave.
Is there any light source?  50/50 = yes
Moonlight streams in from the cave mouth.  It illuminates all of his belongings which amount to monk robes, a quarterstaff, a small backpack, and a water skin.
Is there any money for him? 50/50 = No
As he slowly gains his senses, a voice floods the room, "Look to the future and forget the past."  The voice fades and Taka finds himself standing in a fighting stance.
Is it winter? (50/50) No, it is a balmy summer night.
Taka dresses and leaves the small cave.
What does he see? Take / Peace
He is high on a wooded hill.  Stars blink above him and nothing but dark woods stretch out below him.  Taka is wary of travelling alone at night, and decides to wait for the morning in the cave.
Does something come to find Taka?  Near Sure Thing = yes
Is it hostile 50/50 = 7 Critical Yes  Due to critical yes, roll a CR 4 encounter.
Is the threat aware of Taka? 50/50 Yes, and Random Event!  Introduce New NPC, Oppose/Benefits.
UNE NPC Pious Worker / Much Weaker.  Motivations = Establish expertise; Divine Spirits; Comprehend Purity
As Taka meditates, trying to recall anything at all about how he got to the cave or what had happened before, he suddenly hears a shout outside.  A man is screaming and several reptillian voices hiss out.
Taka runs outside, finding three Kobolds (he knows what they are instintictively) surrounding what looks like another monk.
Without hesitation Taka knows he must fight the Kobolds or he and the other man will be killed.
He leaps into the fight, his quarterstaff in hand.  The first Kobold appears to be a spell caster, and Taka focuses on him.  The Kobold collapses as the quarterstaff connects with its head.  The other two converge on Taka.  In a flurry of blows he dispatches both of them, though not before one slips its spear through his defenses. (Game mechanics: Taka now at 9hp)
The other man who was cowering just moments ago now comes forward.  He is evidently a holy man, dressed in poor robes and carrying nothing more than a walking staff.  He confronts Taka for being in his cave.  (Oppose/ benefits)  He doesn't even bother to thank Taka for saving his life.  In fact, he insists he saved Taka's life by alerting him to the danger.
Taka wants to know who the man is and where they are.  (Game Mechanics: Diplomacy check, DC 15 = 16 success)  The man introduces himself as Liradi and tells Taka that he is in the River Kingdoms.  This doesn't sound familiar to Taka.  Liradi seems exasperated, tells Taka they are in the Gleneborn Uplands, close to Brevoy.  Still no recognition from Taka.
Liradi demands to know what Taka was doing in his cave.  Taka admits he doesn't know.  Liradi is a hermit, and came to live on this hill due to the spiritual nature of the cave.  He is perfecting his spirtual purity, and doesn't appreciate Taka's presence.
Are Kobolds common in the area? (50/50) No
Liradi further castigates Taka for bringing Kobolds out of hiding.   "I've never seen Kobolds here before.  And now you appear bringing bloodshed to this peaceful place."
Taka reminds Liradi that he in fact saved his life.  He asks that Liradi allow him to remain until morning, and then he will depart for good.  (Game mechanics: Diplomacy check, DC 15 = 1, failure)
Liradi is adamant that Taka must leave immediately.  "What else might you bring here?  You don't even know how you got here. I don't need a lunatic sleeping next to me!  Get out!"
Taka accepts this logic and seeks shelter for the night elsewhere.  (Game Mechanics, Survival check, DC 15 = 16, success).  He travels down hill and constructs a lean-to against a large, lichen covered stone.  He settles down for the night, confused and amazed the events of the evening.  The voice from the cave echoes in his head.
 "Look to the future and forget the past."  It seems to be the only thing that Taka can do.
End Prologue


  1. To get to know a new setting along with your character is an excellent way to experience a campaign world!

  2. Thanks for the comments. I'm interested in exploring the Inner Sea World, but don't just want to read the book and put it down. So I thought this would be a good way to examine areas as I have my character wander around.

  3. Hey Jerry,

    Did you know Pathfinder is putting out a Stater Set soon with miniatures. I am waiting on that and I hope to try some Solo Pathfinder as well. Your approach is really helpful keep it up!

  4. I hadn't seen the Starter Set. It reminds me of the D&D starter set from 3.5. I guess I shouldn't be surprised at that!

    I'm glad my approach is helping. I feel a little lost, not having a "module" to run like I always had in the past. I'll be needing lots of tables for random encounters and dungeons, etc. Hopefully a cogent story will emerge!

  5. Loved reading this.