Tuesday, May 9, 2017

And now for something completely different...

I mentioned at the beginning of this blog page about adding some roleplaying material, and here it is.

I'm a big geek, and Ive played tabletop RPGs since I was 12.  In fact, come June, Ill be celebrating 25 years of rolling dice and being a hero on paper.

As one of our adventures wind down, the group is gearing up for another.  Specifically, Strange Aeons!  This is a Pathfinder Adventure Path with a lot of Lovecraftian elements, and I dont have to tell you, Ive liked what I read from Lovecraft.

Now that all of that is out of the way, Im going to share how I go about creating a character in Pathfinder.  This is a rare glimpse into my creative process, so buckle up!

First, Im going to eliminate any role in the party that Im playing in any other game.  Im playing a healer in one other, and a wizard in yet another.  (Yes, I have two other bi-monthly games, essentially one a week.)

Second, Im going to disregard any classes, or variations there of, that I dislike or dont feel comfortable with.  Instead of listing these out, Ill just make a mental note and nix the optiins as they come up.  After all, Ill be playing this game for around 4-5 years, I want to be comfortable with it down the road.  (Thats not to say I dont challenge myself with new rules, I just save those for shorter games.)

Now comes step 3, which is a necessary evil, and thats finding and reading the players guide.  Most Adventure Paths have one for free online, and it helps me understand the setting and gives advice on building your characters.  I wont make you suffer through it here, but Ill break down the key points.

A)  There's an option for us players to use the Occult classes and archetypes.  Im not going to take that option because Im not comfortable with those rules yet.

2)  There is a fair amount of suggested Urban choices, and part of the description mentions a big city.  Im intrigued by this, Ive not played in an urban enviroment much, but I know a lot of good rules about it.  I will try to include some urban options, but nothing super focused.

D)  The guide mentions a lot of Aberration (makes sense with Lovecraft monsters) and Human enemies.  Humans are easy to kill, but Aberrations worry me.  So Ill try to look at some way to include a variety of weaponry and alternate ways to hurt them.

One thing about this path worried me when I read the players guide.  There is talk of starting off without gear, and possibly recovering it later.  Im never a fan of this, for personal reasons I wont go into.  In order to mitigate this issue, Im going to try to buy/use as lottle gear as possible.

And thats my starting point to go look at options out there.  Heres where I decide to do a mechanics build, as opposed to an organic build.

"Mechanics build" is where you lay out your character from start to finish and work out the details ahead of time, so theres little effort as it levels.

"Organic build" is where you play the character without preplanning every level, and instead, adjust your character during the course of the game, in response to the adventure itself.

When I do a mechanics build, I like to start with the higher levels first.  I look at Prestige Classes first, to see if anything really appeals to my notes from the Players Guide.  At first glance, there is one or two that jump out at me.  The Assassin, and the Rose Warden.

Ive always wanted to play an assassin, and Im very familiar with their rules.  Sneak Attack is key, and useful in putting down enemies quickly.  I used to play Rogues, an almost required class to get into Assassin, a lot back in the Dungeons & Dragons era (2nd ed Advanced through 3.5), so I would also be well versed in the rules for Rogues as well.

Rose Warden is new to me, but has some familiar rules mixed in.  It also has Sneak Attack, spiffy.  And its got some options for Urban areas as it grows in power too.  I like options.  The big selling point though is the bonuses and eventual immunity to fear.

Its a Lovecraft themed game.  Its going to be scary in there.  Fear saves will happen people.

So I'll put that down as the Prestige class I want to go into.  And getting into the class is a breeze.  It requires 5 ranks in two skills, and a feat that will benefit me right out of the gate.  Alright. I can get into the class at 6th level, which means I need a good build to set the Prestige Class on.  Since there's no big racial or class feature requirements, I have a blank slate to work with.

Now I want to look at races.  Since I dont have any requirement for races from the Rose Warden, but I do need a feat, Ill go for Human.  The bonus feat takes care of Iron Will, and I get a boost to my saves vs fear.

At this point, I want to talk to some of the other players, and see what they want to play.  Yes, Ive done some work, but if someone else wants to play a build similar to mine, Ill just start over after step three.  A few of us talk, and its decided that I will cover the Skill Disable Device, and play some build that can do a lot of damage.

Now back to building.  Im thinking Rogue as a base class here.  Its got Sneak Attack from the start, and covers Disable Device.  But I need a way to do damage without a weapon, and Rogue doesnt cover that by itself.

With a bit more research, I find a class archetype that gives me a cool weapon no one can take off my body. 

The class is Vigilante.  The archetype is Warlock.

This gives me the ability to make mystical bolts of energy with my bare hands, and I really like that.  Also, as energy damage, it bypasses the dreaded Damage Reduction on nastier enemies.  Bonus.

The downside is that I wont get Disable Device as a class skill, but Im lucky enough to get it from a trait instead.  I wont be better than a Rogue, but I can make that up later.

That is it for tonight.  Later, I go over ability scores, feats, and level dips.

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