What do you get when you let 4 new players seemingly get more than their share of magic items, and run an effectively Monty Haul-ish D&D/Pathfinder game? You get what happened on Friday night. I had what I thought was a really tough set of bad guys with support attack the players. These were the big bad guys in the campaign.
And the two frontliners, a fighter and a Paladin, took him out in 2 rounds. Inflicting almost 400 points of damage. Yes, there were 3 critical hits involved but it was still a measure of just how lethal these characters had become. And it was not even close for my bad guys. Could I have done things that made it much harder? Sure, but only at the cost of the story line (the big bad guy was leading a horde of berserk Savage Orcs, and going invisible and flying would have removed him as the leader.) So I made a choice, and it backfired to an extent. I rushed the big guy in there, and he got whomped, with no way to fix it. Oh well, not a big deal, the boys had fun, and were awful proud of themselves.
Since we had the time after the battle getting cut short we went ahead and rolled up the boys new characters, and decided on what they wanted to run. And then spent some time doing the background stuff in the PHB. And so they at least have stats, classes and some back story to use when we get the game really started. Here is what we have.
Ranger #1: Human Ranger with astoundingly good stats, used the Outlander background, ended up coming from a Pilgrim family, and is really the good guy in the party.
Ranger #2: Half Elf with good stats, used the Orphan background, is a little stealthier, sneakier than the first ranger, and not as trusting.
Monk: Gnome who was raised as a jeweler, but instead went a different route, and is now devoting his time to being the ultimate martial artist.
Rogue: Human, used the Orphan background and ended up with all the ‘bad guy’ results. He will be the go to when they need something underhanded and really sneaky done. He will definitely be morally questionable.
That’s a real change from the Fighter, Paladin, Cleric, Sorcerer group from before. Trading stealth and skills for the front line brute force. As a result I will have to change things a little more in my style. Give them more options to sneak, be smart, and try to resolve problems by going around them, instead of going with the frontal assault.
I am looking forward to this, working with the boys more to encourage role playing, and getting away from the murder hobo lifestyle. Rewarding them when they do or say things that fit into their Ideals. Playing with the Advantage/Disadvantage system a lot more. Getting away from the monstrous stats of the first group.
While Pathfinder is fun, and has it’s place, I think it will be more fun for me to run D&D 5E now, after having given Pathfinder a real test. I think I understand the reasons why D&D 5E works the way it does now, which will make it easier for me to run the games.