Last week, Scott D wrote his ARTICLE about the pleasant surprise he experienced with the D&D 5TH EDITION STARTER SET. Well, I was there! He was the Dungeon Master and I was actually playing; enjoying it all. (Having been unable to consistantly play RPGs for a little while, it was refreshing to be able to play.)
I will say that I purposefully did not partake in the playtest of 5th edition in the last year or so. First off, I was playing other stuff like Pathfinder and Edge of the Empire and Dungeon Crawl Classics. Secondly, I did not want to be one of those guys to be sitting at the table and say, “Oh, that changed from the second revision? Well, that totally screwed up my strategy.” And finally, I just did not know if I believed in Dungeons & Dragons anymore.
While playing the Starter Set I came to the conclusion that I liked the new edition. It fits right in the middle of everything that is out there right now. You do not have to be a calculus professor to crunch the numbers and you do not have to rely on the dice for every single decision that is made about your character. It fits in between all of that, with, from what I could see, the potential to swing in either direction, depending on your group’s play style. It has easy to understand mechanics and more story-telling opportunities over the long term that could easily entice new players to join the fold.
I jumped at the chance to play because it was so new to me. I had only downloaded the BASIC RULES that day to familiarize myself so I would not slow play down and became hooked (Especially when I got to character creation; more on that later.). See when I play Pathfinder and see the problems that so many have with keeping the rules straight from 3.0 to 3.5 to Pathfinder, it is sometimes a turn off. Especially if it takes 10 minutes to find the correct rule. And then there are the arguments about which edition is better. I was not looking for that; I wanted that fresh RPG feeling. And I think I got it.
Honestly, I was not sure that I believed in Dungeons & Dragons any more. My personal RPG journey did not start like most did in Dungeons & Dragons (I actually started with TMNT), so even when I played it, it was always reluctantly. I went through a tiny bit of AD&D, 3.0 quite heavily and then onto 4th Edition. Now do not get me wrong, I enjoyed the vast majority of my experiences with D&D, but I always felt like there was something out there that had to be better and more fulfilling than the current edition. I know I just played one session of 5th Edition, but it has something about it. I just cannot put my finger on it… yet.
Well, enough of all that sappy, critical thinking mumbo-jumbo. Let us get to the fun stuff! I thought the pre-generated characters in the Starter Set were interesting, but they lacked oomph. They lacked complexity. They lacked… my touch. So I took the bare-bones character creation rules in the free rules set (Those are the only rules available right now; payday cannot come quickly enough for the PLAYER’S HANDBOOK.) and turned them upside down. My first creation attempt was lacking until I decided that there just had to be an entire party created.
I only provided blurbs about each character because I wanted you to get a general sense of who they were but not totally define who they are and how they came together. Every DM and every group would play them differently. And that is why I am liking this 5th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons; definition without definitions.
For your enjoyment:
- Sgt. Carse Youngblood is a young, upstart officer in the king’s army charged with investigating arcane threats to the crown.
- Azure is a somber elf obsessed with exacting revenge on the dark elves; all in the name of Shevarash.
- Bilgar Hilrock is a studious dwarf bent on reviving a university dedicated to dwarven warfare.
- Gilygan Hairyfoot is a tender-hearted Yondalla-loving halfling cobbler who once stood up to a greedy tax collector.
Download their character sheets HERE!
Here’s another themed adventuring party by yours truly. This week we take a look at the swashbuckler playtest class. I am probably behind presenting anything with playtest material, but I thought I would give the class the same treatment as I gave the gunslinger party (Thundersmoke) since the two classes are close cousins. I wanted to show everyone what types of characters you could create as a swashbuckler and break the traditional mold of The Three Musketeers.
I normally only create six characters for a party, but Grogg the half-orc came to me late to make seven. Out of this group I think that Taichyu may be the deadliest (Daisho at level 3 with Improved Critical for both blades at level 5) and the Princess may be the most fun to roleplay. Take a look at Bashir to see how Improved Trip would work with a swashbuckler then at Baedley and Johnas for the more Golarion-specific duelist types. And do not forget about Friedl the rabble rouser; he may be the most interesting of them all.
Now presenting for all you fun-loving swashbuckler-types; the Korsairs of Kortos!
Baedley Leafrunner (Male Half-Elf Swashbuckler)
A recent product of the academy in Taldor, Baedle Leafrunner has brought his formidable dueling abilities to Absalom in a sort of wanderlust. Wielding his falcata Chakre and buckler in the traditional Taldan style of Rondelero, he has subtly altered his style to focus more on blade speed than brute strength.
Advancement – Weapon Focus: Falcata (3rd), Taldan Duelist (4th), Endurance (5th)
Class Advancement – Horizon Walker (7th CL)
Johnas Northsun (Male Human Swashbuckler)
Hailing from the northern nation of Brevoy, Johnas Northsun took up dueling early in his life. After defeating many of those his age with his blade Excuri, he has sought out new challenges and adventure in Absalom at the Grand Lodge.
Advancement – Piranha Strike (3rd), Weapon Focus: Aldori Dueling Sword (4th), Dazzling Display (5th)
Class Advancement – Aldori Swordlord (6th CL)
Friedl Baredas (Male Human Swashbuckler)
The witty and carefree Friedl Baredas lives for the open sea and drinking the latest ale. Sailing the Inner Sea for Andoran, he sometimes (inadvertently, of course) blurs the line between pirate and privateer. With his rapier Geonal raised up high, he has pledged his blade to ending slavery on the open waters.
Advancement – Combat Reflexes (3rd), Extra Penache (4th), Sea Legs (5th)
Class Advancement – Inner Sea Pirate (6th CL)
‘Princess’ Furasha Busha (Female Human Swashbuckler)
The beautiful and intelligent Furasha Busha is a fiery swordswoman from Qadira. Trying to stand apart from her two hundred and eighty-eight siblings, she has become quite the master with her scimitar Jakia and strives to become the princess that she is destined to be.
Advancement – Retrain Slashing Strike with Dervish Dance (3rd), Combat Reflexes (3rd), Dodge (4th), Mobility (5th)
Class Advancement – Duelist (7th CL)
Bashir Narenan (Male Human Swashbuckler)
The quiet Bashir Narenan secretly revels in the dangers of explorating the unknown. He was once wrongly imprisoned in Osirion for exploring the wrong tomb and is now more attentive to who hires him and his khopesh Dread Talon.
Advancement – Combat Expertise (3rd), Improved Trip (4th), Piranha Strike (5th)
Class Advancement – Pathfinder Delver (6th CL)
Taichyu (Male Tengu Swashbuckler)
The pious Taichyu hails from the Far East and lives a code that almost mirrors that of the samurai. With his well-honed katana Yurashi, he intends to spread goodwill in the name of Grandmother Crow, Andoletta, and the Silver Crusade.
Advancement – Two Weapon Fighting (3rd; purchase wakizashi), Combat Reflexes (4th), Piranha Strike (5th)
Class Advancement – Paladin (6th CL)
Grogg Ironfist (Male Half-Orc Swashbuckler)
While growing up in the slums of Absalom, Grogg Ironfist did whatever he had to do to survive. Having been an enforcer, a gladiator and now an adventurer, he bears his morningstar and gladius seeking fame and fortune in the Worldwound for the Sczarni families.
Advancement – Piranha Strike (3rd), Weapon Focus: Gladius (4th), Mounted Combat (5th)
Class Advancement – Low Templar (6th CL)
Check out some more Pathfinder Adventuring Parties:
And some product reviews:
In last month’s ARTICLE I asked for help in creating my next character who would be the son of my very first PFS character, Danaris Redfeather. Over 50 people took the survey and the RESULTS came out great! After analysis, the proud and determined Adrian Redfeather will be a quick and agile (yet physically weak) swordsman from Andoran who is secretly joining the Pathfinder Society contrary to his parents’ wishes. Such interesting possibilities for this character! But we are not quite there, just two pieces of the puzzle remain; Adrian’s secret identity and his final class.
So, onto the final voting (only 2 questions this time!). This will determine the secret identity (and signature weapons) that Adrian will adopt and the class that he will proceed through his adventuring career through. Two of the classes are playtests and this could give me an opportunity (or excuse) to play one. We will not be worrying about a prestige class since voting was so close, but it could come up later if I think he needs some sort of boost. I will post Adrian’s final character sheet next week along with another one of my famous Pathfinder pre-gen parties – The Korsairs of Kortos.
Thank you again for voting!
Even though Pathfinder Society agents are part of a larger organization they tend to group themselves into smaller factions based on nationality, religion, race or ideology. Some of these parties are easier to play and some take a more experienced role-player to accomplish the goals set forth in a scenario or module. Here is one of those more difficult to play parties of pre-generated characters.
One of the foundations of the majority of role-playing games is combat, but what if a party does not believe in violence and chooses to focus instead on the exploration duties of the Society? Do the players use diplomacy or intimidation when dealing with others? What happens when presented with situations that only combat could accomplish? Do they automatically give up or do they find another way? Do they rise above and become legends of the Society?
This balanced party presents unique challenges and opportunities. Everyone has impressive social skills and can still hold their own in actual combat. In combat they do only deal non-lethal damage so as to not break their oaths and corrupt their values. Look them over and let us discuss them; this is a very interesting group. And now to present the Pacifists:
Gaerk Hardrock (Male Dwarf Cavalier – Huntmaster) : This tough, grizzled old dwarf and his trusty old dog joined the Society’s Silver Crusade after years of struggle with orcs, giants and goblins. Gaerk is just tired of the fighting and has taken up the Order of the Blue Rose to help point him in a new direction in his life. (Possible Prestige Path : Stalwart Defender)
Tarkhun Marxion (Male Human Cleric – Hidden Priest, Separatist) : Born and raised in Taldor all his life but keeping his worship of Sarenrae a secret, Tarkhun poses as a sorcerer and uses his blunted morningstar to promote peace and goodwill throughout the Inner Sea. (Possible Prestige Path : Dawnflower Dissident)
Ping Jing (Male Human Monk – Ki Mystic, Sensei, Monk of the Lotus) : From the Far East, Ping arrived at the Grand Lodge looking to learn more of the world so that he may in turn pass it on to his students. He seeks perfection and peace for this world and wishes to share all of the knowledge he gathers in this life. (Possible Prestige Path : Pathfinder Chronicler)
Selene (Female Aasimar Paladin – Warrior of the Holy Light, Tranquil Guardian) : Hailing from the deserts of Osirion, the tanned Selene claims a distant ancestor as a celestial being. Drawing on her inner light, she intends to bring peace and tranquility to the world while serving the Ruby Prince. (Possible Prestige Path : Living Monolith)
Eagilis of Forest Green (Female Half-Elf Witch) : As a stalwart champion of freedom and peace, the aging Eagilis uses her gifts from her magical dove to promote her homeland of Andoran. Wearing her somewhat suspect fullplate and brandishing her shiny spear, her knowledge of the world and magical abilities complement her goals. NOTE: The patron of peace is not legal in Society Organized Play, so pick another and the dove familiar would the just a re-skinned thrush to complement the theme. (Possible Prestige Path : Steel Falcon)