Reavers on the Seas of Fate, Season Five, Thirteenth Session

wendifa

The Wendifa

Thirteenth Session (12 page pdf) – “The Key To War Machine, Part III” – An epic fight with juju zombies and a Wendifa (female witch doctor) has lasting effects as they scour the tomb for the amulet of the Terraken.

Bonus: Jitikai the Wendifa’s Character Sheet (pdf)

More dungeoneering, and then a fight with a Juju oracle! Voodoo all over the place; juju zombies, she zombifies and mind-controls party members.  Fun!  They even leave her alive… Kinda.

 

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Reavers on the Seas of Fate, Season Five, Twelfth Session

Twelfth Session (8 page pdf) – “The Key To cannibalWar Machine, Part II” – Cannibals apparently infest the crypt, which in addition to normal crypt dangers keeps the pirates on their toes – and losing some, to the grinding bear traps all over the area.

It’s all sodden dungeon crawling with cannibals this session!  Still using “Tomb of the Necrophage” from Tombs of Golarion.

Easter egg – the cannibal’s chant of “Upote, maepote, maepu, maedepote” is from one of my favorite Karl Orff pieces, “De temporum fine comoedia“.

 

 

Freak Watch – Session Six

The Freak Watch continues their heroics!  See the campaign page for more.

Session Six Session Summary (3 page pdf)

Well, thanks to La Catrina teleporting her possessed mom inside the mansion, now Smorgascorpse himself is on the rampage.  Which is the silliest villain name ever.  But, he summons zombies, takes control of the ghost of Meriweather Lewis, yadda yadda. We execute a complicated plot including a “make the baby disappear like in Willow” gambit and eventually bust his lame skull up.

But, he’ll be back… Floating necromancer skulls are hard to kill.  We decide to go steal more bits for a ritual to put him away for good.  Paul randomly decides they’re at an abandoned amusement park in the Philippines.  Then we google it and find out there really is an abandoned amusement park in the Philippines named “Fantasy World” which is a great cover for an underground SKULL base.

But sadly, this is the last session summary.  We played another time or two and finished out the campaign, but Chris wanted to focus more on playing the game and less on the session summaries because so much of the game’s focus is the interpersonal relationships and personal journey of the characters, and session summarizing kinda gets in the way of interaction.  It’s easier for “long round” mechanics games like Pathfinder, but it can be hard to keep up and participate well in an Apocalypse type game.

Never fear, we all live, Kid Kafka gets turned back human and gets a big ol’ kiss from Teenage Vengeance Shadowblade! La Catrina and The Infamous Wasp make up and decide to be real heroes their own way.

I enjoyed playing La Catrina, the emo Hispanic teenage girl with various family ties. Masks is a good system, we are loving the various Powered by the Apocalypse games and how people can really mold them to suit the exact kind of feel they are looking for.  This campaign definitely came off as “Young Justice”-y and the teenage mind-changing and self-discovery, and the up and down relationships with peers and adults, were deeply hooked both into the roleplay but also the game mechanics in a very satisfying way.

Freak Watch – Session Five

The Freak Watch continues their heroics!  See the campaign page for more.

Session Five Session Summary (5 page pdf)

First, we go to the HQ of the Los Muertos motorcycle gang to call in a favor from Centipede. Then, Kid Kafka disappears into a cocoon.  And La Catrina’s mother gets possessed!

Finally, the group all comes together to fight a killer robot and bunch of goons trying to deliver an explosive statue.

I take a lot of joy in always using a different word for the Infamous Wasp’s name (Incredulous Wasp?  Inconsolable Wasp?) and arguing with him about race and gender politics. He basically is a black teen whose mentor (The Question) has become a Rush Limbaugh style radio host which La Catrina finds incredibly vexing; depending on the state of their relationship her reaction varies from gentle ribbing to “what is wrong with you, you Urkel looking pendejo.”

Freak Watch – Session Four

The Freak Watch continues their heroics!  See the campaign page for more.

Session Four Session Summary (3 page pdf)

Kid Kafka has a bad experience at a Denny’s (par for the course) and then when we find out Junior Musto is going to steal a hovercraft that Rory Limbo is building for the Atomic Skull, we decide to steal it first!

The Masks rules continue to balance us between superheroic action and teen interpersonal drama in an entertaining way.  And Paul takes with good humor our lack of knowledge of the fringes of the DC universe. (La Catrina keeps getting Lady Shiva mixed up with The Centipede because obviously someone named Lady Shiva would have multiple arms, right, it just stands to reason…)

Pathfinder Second Edition!

Hey all! Real life has been getting in the way of blogging, but luckily not of gaming (at least not too much).

Paizo came out with Starfinder late last year. It looks nice, but I’m not really interested. I like hard sci-fi, I like fantasy… But the “Spelljammer” type of crossover always leaves me flat.

I’m still running my super long Pathfinder pirates campaign, Reavers on the Seas of Fate. Other than that we’ve kinda stopped playing PF and have been playing a variety of other games – one shots, a number of Powered by the Apocalypse games like Dungeon World and Masks, and now a campaign of Unknown Armies second edition.

But then out of the blue, news of a second edition of Pathfinder! They’re dumping info now on paizo.com and a playtest version of 2e will be available for free in PDF on August 2. Or, you can buy it in book form! We played a whole campaign using the original Pathfinder beta playtest, so that should sell well I bet.

So am I into it?

Some random thoughts.

Well, most of the changes they’re mentioning are good. A couple of the ideas don’t seem well baked (“resonance” to power your magic items? Lame and gamey. Goblins as a core PC race? Ridiculous, given the flavor of Golarion goblins.) but in general I will bet it’s a better Pathfinder in the end. They are smart, they are playtesting, many of the changes promise to reduce complexity…

I didn’t care about extreme 3.5e compatibility with PF 1.0 and I don’t care now. On the Know Direction podcast, Erik Mona was talking about the new version and said that it’s not about slavish devotion to a ruleset, it’s about being able to tell the kinds of stories we want to tell with D&D (something D&D 4e scuttled hard). And while some of the more autistic Pathfinder people can’t understand or accept “winging it” (some of the host comments on that podcast really made me wince), I’ve run previous edition adventures with PF just fine even if they’re not 3e. It’s not hard. Rules compatibility isn’t important, storytelling compatibility is, I’m totally with Mona on this.

I own nearly every single Pathfinder product – I’ve been a subscriber to all the lines except like minis and trinkets since the beginning – every AP, every campaign setting and player book – just not like special editions and cards and whatnot. But I don’t mind my investment taking a hit, the campaign setting stuff is the best and it’ll all be usable.

But am I excited? I don’t know. Erik clearly says it’s still going to have the complex rules detail PF does now. And as I get older, my patience for the OCD min-maxing crowd goes nowhere but down. I don’t mind having more character options per se (Paizo’s classes are all brilliant, unlike the muddled mess of 3e’s Complete series…). And I can get being an “Advanced” Dungeons & Dragons – in a way, 5e is the Basic and Pathfinder is the Advanced, in old D&D terms. But… It’s just so God damned fiddly. And then that attracts the fiddlers, and then they cater to that more and more in their products. I played Pathfinder Society once… Once. No one gave a single crap about roleplaying or story, it was all a tactical exercise in optimized combat. I mean,even RPGA organized play events came off better (Living City in D&D 2e, Living Greyhawk in D&D 3e).

It’s definitely time for it. I was just about to cancel my Player’s Companion subscription – I held on for a long time but now it’s like “I need another dozen random feats why?” +2 to something, whoop de fucking do. So it’s possible to recapture my attention. I mean, I am still running a PF campaign.

So, I’ll definitely check out the playtest. As for whether I’ll then play it… I don’t know. Like, I like D&D 5e, I think it’s better than 4e by 100% and probably better than 3.5e. But I’m not playing it, because it’s still complex and time consuming. “Ooo look at me take my 5 actions in my turn.” And PF is doing some of the same things in 2.0 – 3 actions instead of 2 per round. Bah. 1e/2e were great, you took one swing and on to the next guy and then your turn came back around in less than 30 minutes.

In general I’m buying Pathfinder for the great adventure paths, interesting class and monster ideas, and the great campaign setting and its lore. I read the comics and the books (which I guess have stopped? I subscribe to Pathfinder Tales but haven’t gotten one in quite a while). But Moar Powerz and more minigames are not interesting to me. And I don’t know if that’s really the majority of their customer base, or just the ones that then spend their time spamming their message board all day, but they seem to think the money lies that way.

TL;DR – I’m ambivalent. I think it’ll be better, and I’ll definitely check it out. Can they re-fire my desire to play it? We’ll see, I’m open to it!

Freak Watch – Session Three

Welcome to the Freak Watch!  See the new campaign page for more.

Session Three Session Summary (5 page pdf)

This session begins with the ghost of Meriweather Lewis hectoring Teenage Vengeance Shadowblade in the haunted mansion that serves as our base.  He warns of a supernatural threat poking around.

smorgascorpse

La Catrina’s Artist’s Rendering Of What Smorgascorpse Must Look Like

La Catrina, Infamous Wasp, and Kid Kafka are driving back from Whitey Gated Community when she calls.  La Catrina, happy to get away from her continuing argument with Wasp, teleports there and they drink Boone’s Farm and commiserate till Zombie Marco probes the perimeter… Apparently TVS raised him (a former capoeira-oriented hero) to help in some fight. He demands she give the shadowblade back to “Smorgascorpse”, some enemy necromancer of TVS’es.

Then the rest of the group shows up, and TVS gets a text from the boys she met in Session One and we go to an underground club to meet them.

So it’s hard to get across in the session summary all the emotions and stuff involved in the session. It’s easy to write down the physical action, but in Masks the emotional action is as important (and it’s what a lot of the mechanics are about).  From La Catrina’s point of view, she went and got paired off with some boring guy who started talking smack about the killer “ripper roach” – obviously Kid Kafka – and got her mad. He missed the increasingly dangerous glint in her eyes as she led him on with “ooo tell me more,” and then she lures him over to an alley to “stand guard while she throws up” and then makes an illusion of the giant killer roach, panicking him.  Kid Kafka and Wasp “come to her rescue” and she’s laughing, she tries to get Kafka to feel good about her “sticking up for him” but he gets mad instead and they have an argument with various game moves involved. 

catpaladin

Paladin Cat!

Then there’s a fight with a bag lady or something, she didn’t pay as much attention to that, though when the zombie rat swarm went towards the club full of kids she did make an illusion of a phalanx of paladin cats that turned them away!Anyway, then we steal a safe, and then we go to a zombie hobo jungle.  Plot ensues. The most interesting part is when Kid Kafka gets overwhelmed with zombies and la Catrina tries to leap into the horde to teleport him out but fails, she suddenly becomes possessed by Santa Muerte, which works well in the short term but then TVS smacks her right out of Catrina. So that seems like it’ll be some long term conflict.