I waited decades for this?!

16 09 2009




Yes, my long awaited return to the GM side of the screen happened last night.  It was not without hitches.  Firstly my wife said she wasn’t feeling well – so could I stay home.

Having circumvented that stumbling block, I arrived on time (not early as I’d hoped) and started to set up.

Most of the players were on time but one was an hour late.  The assembled crew filled in the time tweaking their characters and buying all sorts of unneccessary stuff.

The ‘rules guy’ cast his eyes over the character sheets to make sure they were OK.  He’s been reading the beta rules for Pathfinder forever and knows the game better than I do (especially as he’s the group’s D&D GM).

Finally we started.  I felt I was doing a lot of description at the beginning.  I didn’t mind as I knew the first session would be a few battles and limited role-playing.

So how did it go?  The pluses were:

  • The players stayed around until the end
  • I kept control (mostly)
  • I enjoyed it (and they seemed to)
  • The campaign is awesome

What could have been better?  Well:

  • The group didn’t like the attack of opportunity rule.  More specifically, they didn’t like it that a player could go a roundabout route to an encounter to avoid one. Having reviewed the concerns, a house rule will come in next week.  In the heat of battle, a ‘will check’ is required to not fight in straight lines.  A success means the PC has remained calm and collected and has enough wits about them to avoid the attack of opportunity by taking a less direct route
  • Some of the rules confused me at times.  That will take practice I guess
  • The PCs did stuff I didn’t expect.  I winged it OK, but I could have been better prepared
  • The space of the GM is small and a lot of stuff I had prepared, I couldn’t find in the heat of the moment.  I will revise my preparation for next time
  • Spellcraft – this gave me the most headaches and I’ll have to work harder on this

Overall it was an OK session.  Room for improvement – but that’s always the plan.  I fudged a few rolls to make the game work and that’s what GMing is to me.  I’m not against the players.  I want them to succeed 100% – but by the skin of their teeth.  The first couple of encounters got them lazy but the third encounter woke them up – and that’s how it should be.

The best bit I can’t share without spoiling the adventure.  Suffice to say there is an aspect of the story that the GM has to shoehorn one of the PCs into.  As luck would have it, a player is being exactly what I want I need – so no shoehorn required.

I may talk some more about the game tomorrow – or I may go to one of my prepared topics.  I’ll just have to wing it.




3 responses

17 09 2009

I need a little background before I can understand your gripes of the rules. What system are you coming from? Attack of Ops have been around for over a decade.

To talk about that for a moment, there are two aspects of Attack of ops that exist. Firstly, they are there for balance, honestly. To get through a threatened square you need to roll a tumble check (Or acrobatics, if you’re playing PathfinderRPG). This is to simulate the fact that if you simply walk around someone they are going to strike you for getting close.

What about Spellcraft was difficult?

Hope I can help.

18 09 2009

In D&D/Pathfinder, if two characters are slugging it out in melee at low levels, they each get one attack per turn. They ought to be focused on the person they are toe to toe with. If someone runs past them, it doesn’t seem logical they could get an extra strike in at this running figure without taking a penalty to their current melee.
Similarly, the PCs are taking really convoluted routes between melees in order to avoid AOO. In the heat of the battle, this seems a little unlikely – especially for a Barbarian!
I was proposing a house rule for a ‘will check’ to take a roundabout route rather than a straight line. Similarly, I am planning a house rule that says AOO don’t exist if the character you pass is currently engaged in melee combat. Your thoughts?

18 09 2009

Oh, spellcraft. The players know more spells than I do, and as they rolled characters just prior to the game starting, I was on the back foot in terms of what the spells could do. Also, I had to react as to how it would affect the campaign.
It’s not a real problem, more that I need to do more homework.

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