After our introduction to Pathfinder and to new friends this past Friday night I have received several instances of positive feedback from those involved. I was afraid that playing a game that we only had a basic level of familiarity with and doing so with people we were meeting for the first time might be a little rocky, but I thought things went well and was glad to hear the others did as well. We are still sorting out our schedule – we will not meet this week but will meet again next Friday (11/16), and we will figure out our end of year plans from there.
Now that the players have a some Pathfinder game play experience under their collective belts they have two weeks in order to work up the character they wish to play. We did discuss character types and everyone knows what type of character to build, so it is just a matter of working up and equipping the character and we will be ready to go. The Herolab character builder tool for Pathfinder has been recommended for this and I have gotten plenty of feedback on how well it works. It should be easy, except of course, it isn’t quite that easy. Several discussion points have come up, so let’s review them.
The DM decided that in rolling for ability scores we should use the method described on page 13 of the Hero’s Handbook from the Pathfinder Beginner Box, basically roll 4D6 and drop the lowest, repeat six times, and then assign the numbers as you please. The Herolab tool does come with a handy-dandy dice roller so you can set up to do this all at once (see picture).
The DM further decreed that a minimum ability score would be 8. One of the players had rolled up a character with a Charisma of 3 – a character with a Charisma of 8 would be kind of grumpy to begin with, but someone with a Charisma score of 3 would be someone that would be impossible to live with.
The party was also asked to read The Rise of the Runelords Players Guide. Besides a basic level of introduction to the world of Pathfinder it also provided some history of the area and other locations the players are likely to encounter throughout the course of the adventure. Not that I expect anyone to actually memorize any of this, but it is there. The book also provided some character creation hints and provided some background choices – background choices that have bonuses applied to them if chosen.
Unfortunately these bonuses weren’t a option to have applied via the Herolab tool, at least in the free demo version we were using at the moment. But there was no guarantee they would be included in the pay version we would migrate to eventually. These kind of tools need to work with a finite set of source books and can’t include everything single option published from any source. The Herolab website did go into detail as to which books it does include, but the Players Guide wasn't specifically mentioned. But for now if the player wanted to choose one of these backgrounds and receive the benefit from it please feel free to do so. I would ask that a player doing so please document this via a comment in the notes section of the character sheet – reference the name, bonuses, and page number of the chosen background option – and then just make a note of it on your character sheet where these bonuses apply.
Which will lead to one more request for the players – since you were going through the character creation process anyway please think about some kind of history or back story for your character and then add a paragraph or two of character background information to the notes section of your character sheet. Where did you come from? How did you get here? Where do you want to go, or what are you running away from? You are all fledgling adventurers of course, but you weren’t born yesterday. Don’t write a book, but try to come up with something – after all, a good DM should be able to incorporate some of these elements into the game over the course of time. The Herolab tool will also let you include a character picture of your own choosing, so feel free to have some fun with this as well.
As an additional note - when trying to determine exactly what Pathfinder material was included in the core Pathfinder character builder tool I came across the page that lists all the supplemental material that one can purchase. One the one hand it was nice to see what options were available - even at a cost - but on the other hand it was also easy to see how the bloat of having too many choices exists. On yet the other hand ... I wonder if they have special Christmas prices?