Sunday, 29 January 2017

Keep on the Borderlands - The Path of Evil - Session 0

We’re looking to start a new Pathfinder campaign. I’m still unsatisfied that we haven’t, after multiple attempts, been able to defeat the Keep on the Borderlands so we’ll have another attempt at it.

To keep the module fresh, the Keep will be set in another area of Golarion (I’m still working out where exactly) and the Keep itself will be the full Keep from the module as opposed to the home brew Keep and surrounds that we used last time. I’ll home brew up some different surrounds.

The goal this time will be to take over the entire region and to rule it. This includes subjugating the Keep, the Caves of Chaos and anything else that will need to be ruled. The extended objective is to bring the entirety of Golarion under the parties rule. Lofty goals I know but evil tries to do what evil wants to do.  

The players can use any means at their disposal to do so including hiring of mercenaries, working alliances with various parties and then backstabbing them, subterfuge, assassinations and/or just plain old assaulting everyone and killing them all. Really the only rule will be that they aren’t allowed to kill each other but I think that the complexity and difficulty of the task ahead of them will bind them together anyway.

We’ll keep the party size to a manageable level (4 or less, ie three player characters and a DM NPC) which will allow for more player interaction and input to the game. I think this works better with an evil campaign because of the level of planning and scheming that will need to be entered into if the party is to have any chance of survival.

In terms of character creation rules the players can use anything from Core Rulebook, Advanced Players Guide, Ultimate Combat, Ultimate Magic and Ultimate Equipment.  

We’ll use the 20 point high fantasy ability scores (page 16) and standard Starting Character Wealth for the character class (p141). Characters will start with max hit points.

Whilst I’m very familiar with the Core Rulebook, I am less so with the Advanced Players Guide, Ultimate Combat, Ultimate Magic and Ultimate Equipment so the players may need to help me along a bit with some elements of interpreting rules from those books.

Whilst I’m to work out all the details with the Keep, it’ll likely be ruled by a Lawful Neutral leader. I’m thinking of modelling it on one of the crusading knightly orders such as the Knight’s Templar or some such. They will have taken this region and be using the Keep as a bastion of worship in relative peace. They will be fairly insulative in nature and not necessarily patrol the surrounds substantially (hence the lawlessness of the local lands) but will charge a payment for people entering the Keep (1gp per person/animal) including the caravans passing through and this maybe how they maintain the Keep. They are not necessarily exploiting the land to gain wealth but rather are providing overnight safety to those that pass through what is otherwise a very lawless land. So their form of Lawful Neutral is applied to themselves as a personal code of conduct and to the Keep as a place where rules are strictly kept but outside of the walls are essentially lawless.

Similar to the Call to Arms campaign, to keep matters simple we’ll only use gold pieces (ie no silver, copper etc) and I’ll just round to the nearest gold. Living costs will be charged at 1gp a day per character no matter where they are (ie in town it’ll be 1gp for a room and food per character or hireling or dog or cat or whatever) and when out of the keep it’ll still be 1gp a day (because trail food is more expensive but the board is free). This simplification is just to help me keep sane and to also put a little financial pressure on the characters. The cost of living will go up by 1gp per day per level so that by 5th level, for example, a character will need to provide 5gp per day. For every day where the characters don’t have the 1gp to pay they’ll go hungry or their equipment will degrade and this will be simulated by a loss of 1 con point a day until a con of 0 is reached at which time the character will be dead. The reward for dead monsters will be in play (ie 10gp reward for every monster disposed of).

Hired men at arms, if they are available, will be found at the Tavern and will charge 1gp a day whilst they are at first level (and the characters will also have to pay for their living expenses so the total cost will be 2gp a day). They’ll come with leather armour, spear and large shield but if you want you can upgrade any of their equipment. Normal moral rules will apply for all followers/hirelings.

You can use some of your skills/feats to develop starting equipment by the start of play. For example, if you buy an animal, such as a dog, and you’ve got the Handle Animal Skill, the dog can start trained (let me know trained in what). Similarly, if you’ve got Scribe Scroll you can start with scrolls scribed. You just need to tell me and it’ll need to be paid for out of the starting character wealth.

I’ll keep a register of individual character wealth.

Similar to last time players will also need to give me an overview of their characters behavioral information with, for example, answers to typical questions such as the following:
·        Personal morale. When would you withdraw from combat or would you fight to the death. Run at the first sight of blood (yours or someone else’s) or when you get down to 25%. Let me know.
·        Key hates or likes. For example, hate dwarves, fair enough, like flowers, fair enough too.
·        Interacting with non-party members. Are you diplomatic or aggressive? Are you arrogant?
·        Combat or spell strategy. What are your favorite combat tactics or spells? How do you approach combat, charge in or fight in formation? Are you aggressive with your spells and use them early or are you conservative and wait and use them later? Will you only heal people that worship your god or will you heal anyone in your party?
·        Treatment of doors. Prefer to listen or just boom the door, maybe you prefer to have the lock picked.
·        Party formation. Where do you like to be in the formation, front rank, in the middle or at the rear.
·        General demeanor. Are you kind to strangers or a loner who just sits in the corner. Perhaps you’re a sulker or a swearer or maybe you’re depressed. Let me know.

These are just a few ideals.

Everything about the party will be known by other party members. It becomes too difficult to run a number of games within the game and it’s very difficult to manage individual agendas. If there is a need or desire to split the party we’ll talk about that when the time comes. I can see the merit in it from a strategy pov but it’s very difficult to manage from a DM pov because only a portion of the players are involved and it can be boring for the others.

Just so everyone knows I’m thinking of running an Undead Lord Archetype Cleric (page 32 of Ultimate Magic).


No comments:

Post a Comment