Saturday, January 21, 2012

Unleashed In The East

My home Pathfinder game is directly inspired by the Ars Ludi epic "West Marches" (the uninitiated may receive solid gold chronic truth here). Although at the time of its beginning, my home game only had 2 players and 1 drunk - far from the epic cast of a true West Marches game - I still wanted to explore a massive, dangerous and uncharted wilderness full of strange things, away from the safety of the city (Confession Time: I never liked city adventures. While you're talking to guys in a tavern to get information, I'm pulling the arm of a statue to open the hidden crypt. While you're explaining your antisocial activities to the city guards, I'm climbing into a 1000-foot pit from whence no one returns).

I knew we were playing Pathfinder, because I impulsively bought the book (this was before I really got my head around these retro things). I decided to go for broke and I let the guys play all kinds of different PC races, because adventurers are rare in this world and they're going to stand out anyway. Don't worry, I have a plan for those planetouched kids. It will be awesome.

The cast has at one point or another included:

Arrai Rivenwen - aasimar ranger, he changes colour and age with the seasons
Adrock - tiefling rogue, he has green hair and an ice touch (I rolled on the original Planescape tiefling table for these ones!)
Trigger McGillicuddy - half-elf wizard, always drunk (player and character)
Aercius - human cleric of the 137 Imperial Gods (played to the hilt by my visiting brother, as detailed here)
"Ratticus Finch" - half-man half-rat hybrid lab escapee alchemist (blurb about the Pathfinder Player's Guide to follow later)

The adventure began in a small town at the edge of a giant, bureaucratic empire where nothing fun or exciting or lucrative happens to adventurers. I called it Land's End, and to disguise my influences I placed it at the far eastern border of the empire. It's a one-church, one-inn, one-horse sort of town with a blacksmith shop, farmers selling vegetables and the occasional travelling merchant. A town of simple folk who smile sadly at the occasional kid with a crazy dream who passes through on his way to an obscure death.

From Land's End, explorers head east for half a day to The Barrier, a sheer cliff's edge which overlooks an uncharted land obscured by mist and clouds. Few have ever gone down, and even less have come back up - but for adventurers craving action and gold, it's the only game in town.

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