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Author Topic: Small group, cooperative Pathfinder: starter thread  (Read 2314 times)

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Offline IxyTopic starter

Small group, cooperative Pathfinder: starter thread
« on: January 10, 2015, 08:14:29 PM »
Hi guys... I'm thinking that I'd love to take part in a PF game with a small group of characters that is cooperatively GM'd... what I mean is that every player helps to build the story for their partners.  It's not fair that STs don't get to run their own character, and if they do, they get burnt out on constantly driving the plot.  So I have an experimental solution...

The rules would be simple...
1- You make challenges for each other to overcome.  This means that, if you determine a goblin horde would be cool, your character can help fight them but doesn't get to be the big hero there.
2- Combat is short and sweet.  Pick your actions, insert your rolls, and then the next player describes how awesome it was in their next post, including their character's action toward the next challenge (like another goblin, etc.)  No XP-giving situation should take more than a week to resolve.
3- The story and feel are what matters more than anything else... you have to want BOTH good AND bad things to happen to your character, because sometimes losing is as interesting as winning.  And finally...
4- Carry on.  If you get bored, don't know what to do, find another way to participate.  Should you feel like you're left out or need a change, talk to your fellow players in OOC and figure it out.

If you are interested in this kind of game, please add your thoughts to this thread.  There's no "first-come, first-served" here, this is not a service nor a free-for all.  Anybody can share their thoughts on this thread and then, when we land on a group, you guys express your feelings as to what characters, story elements, basic scenario, etc. that you want.  Communist gaming!  ... just kidding. 

Also, please don't have hurt feelings if your idea doesn't work well-- just find other players who like it and start another thread with it.  No effort will be wasted!  This isn't about meeting one person's vision... it's about meeting A FEW people's vision and building it together.



OK... here's my thoughts.

I'd like a gritty game, set in the typical PF settings, with intrigue, moderate power level, and a small group of sexy characters.  For the game I'd like to see, there would be no anime avatars, no jokey characters (but a sense of humor is good seasoning, just not the main course), lots of graphic violence, a potential for some NC content but not tentacle-rapiness or flat-out snuff stuff. 

A cool setting that I loved, but had to abandon last year, would be a non-canon island in the vein of the Eberron setting's Xendrik, with outposts and a fort from some empire and a whole savage land into which the group can foray.

As for other characters, I'd look for a group of unique, interesting PCs that have a good reason to work with each other but perhaps don't know each other well YET.  I'm not a huge fan of futa but I guess we can get into that case-by case, and a monstrous character should be at least able to relate to a human-type mindset in some way.,, even something non-human should have some reason to build emotional or physical connections to others.

I'm thinking for the sake of building balanced characters with interesting histories, we have 4 gestalt PCs at level 4, 25 pt buy, 12K gold, 1 trait max, using Paizo resources.

Thoughts?  Anyone interested?

I'm going to post some characters as I come up with them.  Love to hear some other ideas, and would appreciate feedback oin any you'd actually like to play with.

Hope this works, thanks for your interest!


Update, 1/11: First story is starting to brew.  There are any number of games, groups, etc. that could spin off here... just going to start heaping them together for reference. 

Also, here' s a super-simple example of how story development COULD go.  Remember, every player doesn't have to introduce something new every turn... just help keep the plot moving if possible.

Game 1:Thundering Shores
Primary game elements:
  • Limited resources
  • Frontier feel
  • Exploring the unknown
  • Discovering ancient secrets

Setting:
Empire-claimed remote island, with jungles, swamps, harbors, rivers.  Tropical climate, small government, lots of ancient ruins of ancient cultures.  Powers at work: a powerful church with resources to support missionary work, the government's limited-supply, but important, fort and garrison.  Local authority figures: a few wealthy traders who are monopolizing goods production, an eccentric brother and sister who lead the brothel/tavern/drug trade, an adventurer's company that fulfills requests from the mainland, and a craftsman's guild (cigar rollers, blacksmiths, potters, glassblowers) council.

Characters so far interested:
PC: Revven Winter
  • Human, Ranger/Inquisitor.
  • Player: Ixy
  • Notes: Jungle critter specialist, human-hunter.
  • Works for the church at first, promising to protect their missionaries, but free to take side work.
  • Would be good at tracking criminals, jungle/swamp hunting, offering some helpful info on religious/magic history.
  • Female, bisexually interested.


Game 2: Reclaiming, Inc.
Faro is a great nation of people.  It is ruled by an Emperess, whose power is balanced with the Council of Lords, and on a third side by the Council of Faiths.  The nation has its issues-- foreign wars generate refugees, trade routes are threatened by piracy, barbarian uprisings in its remote reaches must occasionally be put down, and there is disparity between the wealthy few and the broader poor-- but overall, the nation is stable. 
This was not always the case.
Once, the nation was the pinnacle of tyrrany.  Much of the regency had achieved untouchable wealth and power by bartering with extra-planar powers, an arrangement that brought the former reign the power to amass great wealth and influence at the price of enslavement of the people, acts of depravity, and draconian rule that lasted  This nation has always known that it is built on the ruins of that civilization, which ruled for hundreds of years-- its architecture, monoliths, and infrastructure remain today, grim reminders of what gathered the fuel upon which the current empire feeds.
Much remains below the surface- literally, and figuratively.  Some opportunistic parties still petition for the right to study the tomes guarded by the Council of Faiths, mages and sorcerers still practice under license by the empire, and occasionally rumors emerge that remnants of the former empire are still being discovered deep underground or in the remote wilderness of the empire's reach.
You are among those brave souls who has made a career from these discoveries.  Whether as a long-term retainer of an existing power or a freelancer, you are experienced with the strange, mad mechanations of the old empire-- massive complexes for defense, storage, and torture... vaults of hoarded goods and wealth... mining tunnels repurposed with mad vision... vainglorious tombs, galleries, and collections of unusual relics. And traps... lots of traps, which were an obsession of the old lords, who often staffed and tested their defenses in sadistic competition.
Many resources have been raided-- Faro's armies maintains a corps of delvers and engineers whose mission was to capture these resources, and who sealed off and protected ruins to prevent them being overrun by the deep-dwelling creatures that were drawn to them out of their geographic features or some remnants of evil power.  The corps now is dedicated to preserving places of archeological interest and patrolling for the sake of security.  It's a cushy job, but it involves long weeks away from home and long hours underground.
New discoveries are rare-- more elusive year-by-year.  Officially, delving into old-world ruins is considered a criminal offense, punishable by jail-time and hefty fines.  However, special licenses are granted based on expertise and political favors.  They require approval by the Imperator and both councils, an insurance deposit, a hefty license fee, and actual expedition funding.  Upon receipt of said license, all parties must sign a contract.  In doing so, they agree to accept full liability of any damage they cause to public property (such as a subterranean collapse that breaks an aqueduct above-ground), forfeit all property to the city in event of their demise, release all liability in the event of injury or death, and relinquish 60% of their monetary profits-- 20% to each branch of government.
Despite these expenses, a new expedition sparks up almost every year.  In fact, five years ago in a quest called the Hive Crawl of Mintevol, a company returned a derth of amazing artifacts and wealth... of six partners invested, four survived, as well as nine of the fifteen contracted workers.  Each worker's stipend was enough to buy a home outright.  Three partners retired to the south coast, set for life, while one reinvested her fortune into her own Reclaiming company.
What are your odds?  Three of ten expeditions turn a major profit.  Usually one in ten makes a bloody fortune.  If you're caught gaming the system-- trying to escape with your wealth-- your sentence of twenty-year imprisonment includes forfeit of all possessions.  Most contracts include a clause that, if anyone survives, the estate of each who died gets a cut of the profits.  This discourages anyone getting shivved and left in the deep.
You have a map of an entry point.  It's an old well in a new-growth forest that, at one point, must have been a field on an estate.  The land once belonged to a countess' estate, the ruins of which were reclaimed repeatedly over the centuries.  It is promising... in applying for the license, you managed to downplay the potential, which is based on a combination of folklore and written history.  The Countess was a reputed libertine with a penchant for powerful lovers, amassing fortunes in taxes and trade, but bored with simple power.  Her downfall reportedly was her intemperance-- she serviced the mad emperor, Draxis III, a Tiefling Sorcerer who personally led his cadre of mages to eradicate her palace, family, and grounds 1,300 years ago.  Layers of ash ten feet thick compressed to a brittle, pyroclastic sheet so toxic with corrupt magic that none would set foot on the grounds for a hundred years.
Little has been reclaimed since then, but the ground is like a living thing and coughs up relics from time to time.   Livestock is occasionally found missing from the surrounding farmland, and there is evidence of crude hunting technology.  Civilized artifacts are increasingly common on the grounds (cut stone, metal buttons beads and arrowheads, preserved bones, remnants of clay and the like).  This well may lead to something so deep it has been undiscovered.  Most assuredly, however, there are resuorces for an entire ecosystem in such depths, and something may yet dwell there that will be unwelcoming.

3-4 PCs partners, each with one or more of the following:
Knowledge (languages, history, religion, arcana, local knowledge)
Rogue Skills (climbing,trap building/disarming, magic item identification/utilization)
Combat (close-quarters)
Engineering (mining, construction/stability assessment)
Professional reputation

I'd like to keep NPC involvement to a minimum... sure, it makes sense to have a crew of mercs go down there to help you out, but that gets messy for mechanics.  Let's suspend disbelief and have just the PCs do any fighting, trapfinding, and the like, but NPCs do boring tasks like maintaining supply routes, mining found resources, or clearing blocked tunnels.


Simplified example of how players can build a scene
I rather imagined it being improvised along the way.  The overall quest would be determined by the group (investigate a temple, investigate bandit camp, explore ruins) and then the players would determine encounters for each other based on the time that things 'should' happen in the story when it makes sense or works to create drama.. otherwise, they would just add something for setting, etc.

For a tavern scene, for instance... purely imagining this, but add the details that we Elliquians love and make it read like a story...

So player 1 might post that they're heading into the local tavern, deciding it would be called the Golden Leg, and describe the room as they come in... sights, sounds, etc.  Then  Player 2 could decide that their character is already there, and is playing cards with a half-orc in the back corner, describing how much money is on the table, and that they're holding a pretty good hand.  Player 3 chimes in and describes that their character is throwing darts in the back of the room with some halfling prostitutes and a drunk nobleman, and is watching the new people enter... not really ready for something to happen yet, so they let it go on as they feel.  Then,  Player 4 gets the idea that the half-orc bets all his possessions on the hand, but is bluffing.  Player 4 decides that she's been hired to be the nobleman's bodyguard, but kind of hates the job and is ready to quit.  So it's now back to Player 1, who posts that (like player 4 said) their hand is better, so win the pot from the half-orc... player 2 then describes the half-orc being stereotypically ill-tempered and starting a barfight.

The only big issue I see is the risk of double-posting... even with a small group, a guy might be three paragraphs into a post and find out that another player's written something different happening, so their post is kinda useless.  So, my suggestion is this: when ready to make a post, just add a quick note of what's gonna happen so other players can start working on their response.  Then, after writing it up to quality-level, edit the post and add the cool details for everyone to read.

I realize this is a weird kind of idea, as it really relies more on the players to change their view of an RPG... it's not players vs. DM, it's players building story for each other.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2015, 11:14:54 AM by Ixy »

Offline Mantis Shrimp Prime

Re: Small group, cooperative Pathfinder: starter thread
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2015, 08:31:56 PM »
Ahhhhhhhh... dare I Pathfinder myself out...

Offline Warlock

Re: Small group, cooperative Pathfinder: starter thread
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2015, 08:36:03 PM »
Throwing in my hat in this as well. Now where did I leave my Xendirk book?
*Goes of scrounging*

Offline kckolbe

Re: Small group, cooperative Pathfinder: starter thread
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2015, 08:41:01 PM »
So, are "quests" rotated from one GM to the next?  Or is it by encounter?

I'm intrigued, but not sure I understand.

Offline IxyTopic starter

Re: Small group, cooperative Pathfinder: starter thread
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2015, 09:01:02 PM »
I rather imagined it being improvised along the way.  The overall quest would be determined by the group (investigate a temple, investigate bandit camp, explore ruins) and then the players would determine encounters for each other based on the time that things 'should' happen in the story when it makes sense or works to create drama.. otherwise, they would just add something for setting, etc.

For a tavern scene, for instance... purely imagining this, but add the details that we Elliquians love and make it read like a story...

So player 1 might post that they're heading into the local tavern, deciding it would be called the Golden Leg, and describe the room as they come in... sights, sounds, etc.  Then  Player 2 could decide that their character is already there, and is playing cards with a half-orc in the back corner, describing how much money is on the table, and that they're holding a pretty good hand.  Player 3 chimes in and describes that their character is throwing darts in the back of the room with some halfling prostitutes and a drunk nobleman, and is watching the new people enter... not really ready for something to happen yet, so they let it go on as they feel.  Then,  Player 4 gets the idea that the half-orc bets all his possessions on the hand, but is bluffing.  Player 4 decides that she's been hired to be the nobleman's bodyguard, but kind of hates the job and is ready to quit.  So it's now back to Player 1, who posts that (like player 4 said) their hand is better, so win the pot from the half-orc... player 2 then describes the half-orc being stereotypically ill-tempered and starting a barfight.

The only big issue I see is the risk of double-posting... even with a small group, a guy might be three paragraphs into a post and find out that another player's written something different happening, so their post is kinda useless.  So, my suggestion is this: when ready to make a post, just add a quick note of what's gonna happen so other players can start working on their response.  Then, after writing it up to quality-level, edit the post and add the cool details for everyone to read.

I realize this is a weird kind of idea, as it really relies more on the players to change their view of an RPG... it's not players vs. DM, it's players building story for each other.

Offline kckolbe

Re: Small group, cooperative Pathfinder: starter thread
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2015, 09:03:48 PM »
Okay.  As level 4 gestalts, challenges will have to be less mundane, but I definitely have a better idea.  Still interested.

Offline PhantomPistoleer

Re: Small group, cooperative Pathfinder: starter thread
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2015, 09:30:29 PM »
Definitely interested . . . in playing a Barbarian / Something.

NM!  I changed my mind.  WIZARD/CLERIC.  o_o
« Last Edit: January 10, 2015, 10:13:11 PM by PhantomPistoleer »

Offline Mantis Shrimp Prime

Re: Small group, cooperative Pathfinder: starter thread
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2015, 10:32:18 PM »
It'd take a lot of restraint for me to avoid making a ridiculous character, but I'll still be interested.
Though a question, would this be a firearms-friendly setting?

Offline IxyTopic starter

Re: Small group, cooperative Pathfinder: starter thread
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2015, 10:42:56 PM »
Glad to hear you're interested, Phantom--

Mantis: I would be ok with that, but it'd be up to all 4 in a group (if we do end up with 4).  We're building as we go.

Offline kckolbe

Re: Small group, cooperative Pathfinder: starter thread
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2015, 10:57:40 PM »
I really want to do a magus-like char, only an archer.  Arcane Archer comes close, but only allows area spells *and* takes 8th level.  I'd love to be able to do touch spells through an arrow.  In general, though, I want to play an archer.

Offline Mantis Shrimp Prime

Re: Small group, cooperative Pathfinder: starter thread
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2015, 11:10:14 PM »
Glad to hear you're interested, Phantom--

Mantis: I would be ok with that, but it'd be up to all 4 in a group (if we do end up with 4).  We're building as we go.


Well, tentative interest as a Gunslinger/something then.

Offline IxyTopic starter

Re: Small group, cooperative Pathfinder: starter thread
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2015, 11:13:22 PM »
I'm essentially working on a ranger/inquisitor, if that helps; I kind of imagine having a mission from a god/goddess that requires delving, tracking, and stalking.

Offline PhantomPistoleer

Re: Small group, cooperative Pathfinder: starter thread
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2015, 11:27:15 PM »
I'm essentially working on a ranger/inquisitor, if that helps; I kind of imagine having a mission from a god/goddess that requires delving, tracking, and stalking.

Oooh.  Well, if that's the case, then I kind of want to switch things around.

I like the idea that you mentioned earlier, where there is like... a Xen'Drik like island.  I like the idea of setting up a fort of some kind, too.


Offline Mantis Shrimp Prime

Re: Small group, cooperative Pathfinder: starter thread
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2015, 11:42:33 PM »
I'm essentially working on a ranger/inquisitor, if that helps; I kind of imagine having a mission from a god/goddess that requires delving, tracking, and stalking.

I was thinking Gunslinger/Investigator (assuming it's okay to use Advanced Class Guide).
For a super smart, kind of proto-sciencey type.

Offline Warlock

Re: Small group, cooperative Pathfinder: starter thread
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2015, 11:54:06 PM »
Understanding your concept better, I'll bow out. It's not something I'm currently looking to do. Wish the best to those who stay, good luck.

Offline MrBubbles

Re: Small group, cooperative Pathfinder: starter thread
« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2015, 02:15:31 AM »
How would we be rolling up health?

Character-wise, I'm thinking of a good old Elf - not just any Elf though, a manly Elf, the kind that harkens back to the likes of Elrond, Legolas or even Feanor.

Methinks Slayer/Fighter to capture that bow/melee expertise... Oh, question! Do you see Mythic coming into play for this campaign?

Offline Mantis Shrimp Prime

Re: Small group, cooperative Pathfinder: starter thread
« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2015, 02:18:49 AM »
Im super interested in this but I hate guns, I think it ruins a good fantasy setting.

It's not a gun, it's a boomstick!

(I do somewhat agree, with esp. with the Pathfinder Gunslinger basically being a western character its capstone ability is call True Grit for crissakes).

But still... I like me my flintlocks.

Offline kckolbe

Re: Small group, cooperative Pathfinder: starter thread
« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2015, 02:32:36 AM »
I'm seeing a lot of interest in ranged characters.  I see a pretty easy tie in here.  Maybe our characters were all participants in some ranged support training for armies or something along those lines?  By the way, Myrmidarchs (Magus archetype) allows spellstrike through ranged weapons, so I know what I am playing!

Offline Mantis Shrimp Prime

Re: Small group, cooperative Pathfinder: starter thread
« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2015, 03:09:29 AM »
I'm seeing a lot of interest in ranged characters.  I see a pretty easy tie in here.  Maybe our characters were all participants in some ranged support training for armies or something along those lines?  By the way, Myrmidarchs (Magus archetype) allows spellstrike through ranged weapons, so I know what I am playing!

"Reach out and touch someone."

>D

Offline kckolbe

Re: Small group, cooperative Pathfinder: starter thread
« Reply #19 on: January 11, 2015, 06:21:33 AM »
Exactly Mantis.  Here's what I have for my char, a crossbow-wielding heavy damage dealer.

Level One: Magus (Myrmidarch)/Fighter (Crossbowman)
Level Two: Magus (Myrmidarch)/Fighter (Crossbowman)
Level Three: Magus (Myrmidarch)/Rogue (Sniper)
Level Four: Magus (Myrmidarch)/Rogue (Sniper)

His highest stat is INT, so he isn't a horrible caster, and he has a fair bit of knowledge.  He makes sense as someone sent to adventure in a ruined, desolate area.  He only really offers solid damage as a contribution to the group.  It's a little weird, because I always play hybrid types in normal games, and now that we are going Gestalt, I am specializing.  Even without his magic damage, he can put a hurt on folks (ranged sneak attack, INT bonus to damage), but for a Gestalt game he's fairly lacking in defenses.  I don't plan on him taking any prestige classes or different classes, so there won't be any surprises from him down the road, just consistent damage.

His theme is that he is formally trained in magic and/or ranged combat, but has an unconventional approach.  After all, no serious marksman uses a crossbow, but he likes it because it leaves him free to cast and because it makes him memorable. 

Since we are all responsible for creating encounters, I put together a quick reference below.

Where he excels: High health/high defense "tanks" (he has a high bonus to attack and does a lot of burst damage, could kill a level 2 "tank" in one hit), small groups of moderate foes
Where he is weak: Mobs of weak enemies (due to his lack of rapid shot, so can only kill one enemy/round), mind-controllers (due to low Will save), really quick chars with sneak attack/burst  damage (due to his average initiative bonus, low AC)

Offline IxyTopic starter

Re: Small group, cooperative Pathfinder: starter thread
« Reply #20 on: January 11, 2015, 10:48:17 AM »
Thanks for all the interest and encouragement :)

It sounds like we have a few ideas brewing... I could see this potentially going into a couple of different small groups, depending on concepts and setting elements. 

Just to clarify... we're still open to just about any kind of story ideas and character concepts.

I'm still working on the first PC.  I really don't want more than 4 characters in each group, but I could reasonably handle 2 or even 3 new games at a steady posting rate.

Below, I'll start to track some ideas as they develop.  We can add to this, change it, etc. as we go along.  I'll also edit the top post to keep track of current status and examples for others' reference.

Game 1:Thundering Shores
Primary game elements:
  • Limited resources
  • Frontier feel
  • Exploring the unknown
  • Discovering ancient secrets

Setting:
Empire-claimed remote island, with jungles, swamps, harbors, rivers.  Tropical climate, small government, lots of ancient ruins of ancient cultures.  Powers at work: a powerful church with resources to support missionary work, the government's limited-supply, but important, fort and garrison.  Local authority figures: a few wealthy traders who are monopolizing goods production, an eccentric brother and sister who lead the brothel/tavern/drug trade, an adventurer's company that fulfills requests from the mainland, and a craftsman's guild (cigar rollers, blacksmiths, potters, glassblowers) council.

Characters so far interested:
PC: Revven Winter
  • Ranger/Inquisitor.
  • Player: Ixy
  • Notes: Jungle critter specialist, human-hunter.
  • Works for the church at first, promising to protect their missionaries, but free to take side work.
  • Would be good at tracking criminals, jungle/swamp hunting, offering some helpful info on religious/magic history.
  • Female, bisexually interested.

Offline PhantomPistoleer

Re: Small group, cooperative Pathfinder: starter thread
« Reply #21 on: January 11, 2015, 12:32:45 PM »
Ooh!  Can I build the fort!?  I want to build the fort.

With a MAP!

Offline IxyTopic starter

Re: Small group, cooperative Pathfinder: starter thread
« Reply #22 on: January 11, 2015, 01:19:11 PM »
You can build the town, even.

Offline PhantomPistoleer

Re: Small group, cooperative Pathfinder: starter thread
« Reply #23 on: January 11, 2015, 02:49:45 PM »
There is a town!?  Huzzah.

Okay, so I ended up building an elven rogue/wizard who specializes in summoning.  He is also an engineer of sorts, and I imagine that he has been sent to ensure the continued existence of the settlement.

In my mind, I sort of see a nation, ruled by a theocracy, sending forth settlers to an island that was once in dispute by great nations.  However, with the advent of a treaty, the nation has been pressured to found a new settlement, and wresting the land from the aboriginal/indigenous heathens is one of the  primary goals.

I am so excited!!!

Offline kckolbe

Re: Small group, cooperative Pathfinder: starter thread
« Reply #24 on: January 11, 2015, 03:01:14 PM »
So a once-significant colony that was all but obliterated and now needs to be rebuilt and have some monsters cleared out?  Be interesting to see a proper summoner.