We’ve got a fairly tight schedule with this campaign. The first game was last Sunday, the second one we played yesterday and the third one is coming up next Tuesday.
It’s good to gain some momentum for a campaign.
This post, in case you could not tell from the title, contains some SPOILERS for Paizo’s excellent Legacy of Fire adventure path and especially its first module, Howl of the Carrion King. If you’re going to play this in the future, go read something else. Honestly, this isn’t even all that entertaining a read. Try Order of the Stick, or something.
Yesterday’s session was mostly comprised of various scenes of carefully planned and meticulously executed violence. The party, after clearing out the monastery for their base camp, set out on a reconnaissance mission to scout out Kelmarane and its environs. After learning the guards’ patrol patterns (there weren’t any) and identifying points of interest on the edges of the settlement, they went in stealthy and took out some dangerous beasts guarding the perimeter, such as a peryton and a huge black mamba. In addition, they gained an ally in the harpy Undrella and rescued an adventurer, Felliped, who had been captured by the gnolls but fled from them, and took him to the monastery to recover.
The next day, they went back, ambushed a party of gnolls who were supposed to feed the peryton and then went and killed a dire boar they had as a guard beast and set an ambush for the party who was supposed to feed that animal.
In short, the party has been cutting through Kelmarane’s defenders like a flaming chainsaw through butter. Pathfinder characters seem to be mildly tougher than 3.5 characters, and my tendency to roll incredibly low doesn’t much help. In the dire boar fight, it failed to land a single blow on the characters, and the ranger Amra seems quite unable to hit a gnoll without killing it. He’s got gnolls as a favoured enemy, the trait Gnoll Killer (same bonuses, and it stacks), and is going for the All Gnolls Must Die achievement feat.
The party’s efficient use of stealth and ambush tactics is paying off. If they’d just charged in, kicking down doors, they would’ve eventually seen an alarm raised and the whole tribe arrayed against them, with whatever supplementary troops they can field. Now, they’ve taken out ten gnolls, a peryton, a giant warthog, a huge viper and a jackalwere that may or may not have been affiliated with the tribe, and the only one in Kelmarane who knows something is up is a harpy they allied with.
That’s not to say they didn’t occasionally screw up. In the second ambush, they placed Bouzak, a half-orc cleric with a Stealth modifier of -4 as their point man, and got spotted and swarmed by six well-armed gnolls. For one round, things looked pretty dire. Then they remembered they were big damn heroes and killed all six. Bouzak got his ass kicked a bit, though.
I must evidently beef up the adversaries in the rest of the module by thorough PFRPG conversions, added hit points, increased patrol sizes and character levels. I should have anticipated this, really, when I gave the party the highest offered stat point buy and double starting hit points.
Incidentally, apart from small power level differences (in the baseline – the characters in my campaign are noticeably more powerful than that), 3.5 really is more or less fully compatible with PFRPG. I don’t remember half the rules revisions in the beta and I can run the game just fine. When I’m not sure about something, I can ask the players.