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Growin' Monsters in Texas

Third session of the "OMG Giants!" campaign last night, first one using Pathfinder. The heroes faced off against a pair of salamander nobles (large) and their fire elemental pal (huge), then later on fought with an advanced remhorhaz (also huge). As a matter of fact, I think a couple of bog-standard CR 5 trolls have been the only things the players have fought in the whole campaign so far that was their own size.

But that'll change. Having gotten back to Brindol, the heroes have found that there's strangeness going on in the mines to the south with drow mysteriously carting off dwarves -- which seems to dovetail with the giants mysteriously carting off dwarves to the north. So next time they're off to the mines to investigate, which means I can finally pull out all those drow miniatures I've been saving up! ;)

I also ran my first "retrofitted to 3.x/Pathfinder" skill challenge last night, two in fact, one to identify a magic artifact, and one to find some clues about the whole "fire giants vs. dwarves" subplot. I ran them both concurrently, so that if a player was stumped as to what they could contribute to one, they might be able to contribute to another. While Pathfinder is a lot more generous with skill points than 3.x, it still doesn't have the automatic "+1/2 level" bonus going on, so there is a much wider range of possible skill DCs that might apply. To get around this, I allowed for a certain number of automatic or "semi-automatic" success factors, e.g., casting identify on the magic artifact automatically provided a success in that challenge, whereas finding the NPC librarian to look up the history of the dwarves gave you a +4 bonus to a Knowledge (History) check, that kind of thing. D&D is traditionally a game of specialists, so typically only the wizard or cleric is going to have any useful "researchey" skills, and if you want any kind of schmoozing without a bard in the party, you're in big trouble.

Still, it went pretty well, all things considered. Everybody got to contribute at least one success, and jamesbarrett's fighter, who actually had practically no useful skills to actually roll on, managed to get two successes in one round simply by picking a particularly apt thing to try.

Of course, this was a very lightweight exercise in skill challenging, mostly to get our feet wet as a group. Going up against the drow will probably provide plenty of opportunities for more complex (and more difficult, more high-stakes) challenges. Getting into the dungeon environment will also set up some interesting opportunities for mixing a skill challenge into a combat encounter (in the form of a trap or hazard, for instance).

I think the highlight of the evening for me was when sirfox remembered an NPC from the earlier campaign (the proprietor of the Stone Wyvern, for those familiar with Red Hand of Doom) and made a point to seek him out. It was a great lil' RP moment, and I'm jazzed that the group is getting into making the setting their home (not to mention taking their roles as the "Heroes of Brindol" quite seriously).

-The Gneech

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