Two days left for the start (restart?) of The Path to Power (my chronicle title for the Crimson Throne/Korvosa game). I still have a long list of stuff to do to get ready. My to-do list, parts redacted for spoilers:
- Fully outline metaplot/plot points
- Finish reading/skimming ALL player guides
- Sort out music/playlists
- Figure out how to play music at B&Ks
- Detail out first game
- Scene order & details
- Character descriptions/introductions
- Important hooks/information
- Reminder instructions
- Prepare combats
- Draw map of XXXXXX
- Pull out monster pogs
- Print out character & NPC pogs
- Input monster stats for encounters at XXXXXX into combat manager
- Write up/send Shoanti myths to Adrienne
- Write up/send area history tidbits to group
- Send Harrowing interpretation to Bryn
- Confirm that final character sheets from group are in folders
So… that’s a bit of stuff still to do.
Tuesday night I ran the characters through a mock combat. It was the ‘All the World’s Meat’ encounter from the Edge of Anarchy path, so it was more than just combat. It was terrain, NPCs fleeing, a few other surprises. It went surprisingly well. I did some damage, they did a bit more damage (so it was well-balanced, I think). Everyone got a refresh on the rules, and our new-to-Pathfinder (and fairly new to gaming) player did very well and didn’t get too arm-flaily over how confusing everything was.
I also used the combat as a way to try out Combat Manager. In the past, I’ve always just pen-and-papered it. That requires a fairly significant amount of prep, and I’ve never found a system of tracking things that I’m entirely happy with. It always feels like my tracking is bogging down the flow of combat.
Holy macrame, where has Combat Manager been all my life? I think the encounter (with one very new player, three somewhat rusty players, a rusty GM, and some breaks between combats for exploration) took an hour and a half. The first fight (CR 1) went two rounds. The second fight (CR3) went five rounds (including some fleeing and catching up and other movement shenanigans). Everything flowed well. There was hardly any downtime that wasn’t ‘what was that movement rule again?’ It was… just lovely.
There are some flaws with Combat Manager. There doesn’t seem to be a way to calculate in feats (like weapon finesse), but there are manual entry things that I can do to fudge the effects of the feats. It crashed several times, but I found the behavior I was doing that was making it crash, and I can do the same thing using another path. Once I figured that out, no more crashes. Sadly, it looks like the program isn’t being supported anymore, but I think I’ll be perfectly fine working with it as-is. I can use it on my tablet (and honestly, the tablet interface is a bit nicer), but I think I will stick to my laptop for the larger screen and east of typing stuff in quickly.
Overall, A++, will definitely use a lot going forward (though if anyone has suggestions for a more robust and supported combat manager, I’m all ears/eyes/senses/whatever).
We were down one player last night because Wendy is at VMworld schmoozing and getting lost. But I think we’ll be in good shape for the first game.
The future saviors/destroyers of Korvosa are:
- Bryn – Lady Renata Viraudax/Arenza Lenskaya, “Ren” – Human Varisian con artist and social rogue posing as a Chelish noblewoman.
- Kyle – Calendral Kalessarien, “Cal” – Elven urban ranger, shingle-runner, and son of Persifal Kalessarien, the elven ambassador. Batman with living parents.
- Lil – Carandolwen Duvanieth, “Cara” – Elven (Forlorn) brawler and newest recruit to the Grey Maidens, the personal guard for Queen Ileosa.
- Adrienne – Altani (honorifics TBD) – Human Shoanti ‘Shaman’ (class: druid), nomadic princess with a pet landshark, Olon Töms (a bulette runt made with a modified snapping turtle template. His name means ‘hungry potato’).
- Wendy – Name TBD – Half-orc alchemist (grenadier template) who is currently working at the grotty local circus (Exemplary Excrebles), but will soon be getting a griffon and grudingly allowed to join the Sable Company.
Oh yeah. This is going to go well.