We played the first session of my Legacy of Fire summer campaign last Sunday.
On the whole, it went well. We were all pretty excited about the new campaign and though one of the players was a bit ill and had to lie down for most of the session, the game worked. We got a feel for the PCs, played through the first two parts of the module and had great fun.
The party met their employer, helped put out a burning wagon, solved the mystery of the fire, and cleared out an abandoned monastery of Sarenrae so the caravan they’re accompanying could camp there. Next session, they’ll start the attacks on Kelmarane, the old battle-market taken over by gnolls.
The combat encounter design in Howl of the Carrion King is excellent. The module introduces the pugwampis, tiny and mischievous gremlins that spread ill fortune. In game terms, anyone within a twenty-foot radius of a pugwampi must roll 2d20 whenever he makes a d20 roll and pick the lower score. Apart from that, they are nearly defenceless, with low AC, low hit rolls and low damage output. However, they can really bring the pain in the correct environment. The module features a thicket of cacti, a kitchen liberally strewn with improvised caltrops, and an abandoned chapel of the sun goddess, where a significant part of the battle takes place in the rafters, high above the ground.
The pugwampis make an excellent first-level enemy for PCs in the right environment. They provide a good challenge with a cool mechanic without the risk of sudden death through a critical hit (the reason I never put anything with a falchion or a scythe against a first-level party).
During the session, I used Pathfinder Paper Minis to represent some of the NPCs and especially the pugwampis. While I prefer three-dimensional miniatures, they came in handy, since the sets are tailored for the adventure paths. Nobody is going to release a set of metal pugwampis any time soon, and while one could always proxy them with Tiny-sized WotC miniatures, it’s a bit unsatisfying to have two Flameskulls, a Bat, an Imp and a Quasit standing in for a bunch of little dog-headed gremlins. The paper miniatures are cheap and quick to assemble, and I bought all available sets.
I also considered purchasing and assembling the Ruined Undercrypt of Kelmarane terrain set, but then I noticed that the file clocks in at 102 pages, with a 57-page manual. It would certainly be nifty but I don’t have that kind of skill, printer ink, or time.
The next session is on Friday.