Technical blog and writings by Micah Webner.

Blogrimage 2014 Day 9: Creating Worlds is a Lot of Work!

We finished the Black Fang's Lair adventure from the Pathfinder Beginner Box today. I won't tell you how it went, because I don't want to let any spoilers slip. Our fledgling heroes rested well after the final battle, and had an uneventful trip back to Sandpoint, but as they arrived at dusk, they were greeted by a man (a priest from the cathedral, as they'll find out) running around yelling about strange happenings at the graveyard. It looks like they'll have to deal with that problem in their next session before getting any down time.

So tonight I started working on the details of that encounter and populating the town of Sandpoint, so the characters will have people to meet and things to do once things quiet down a bit.

These characters are ostensibly from Sandpoint, or at least nearby, so they should be somewhat familiar with the town, but they're sure to discover even more now that they're leading adventurous lives. (Thinking about what to do with Sandpoint reminds me of the recurring visitation, exploration and encounters at the Citadel in the Mass Effect Trilogy. Sandpoint will be a good base of operations and a way to learn of assignments and missions, but there will be some adventures in town as well.

I also want to stretch beyond the Pathfinder Beginner Box in my preparations, so I started generating at least one of the NPCs using a new class from the Advanced Class Guide Playtest. Inspired by a picture and a one-sentence mention in the Game Master's Guide, this half-completed character is already absolutely stinking cool, and I really wish that I could play her as a regular PC. (While I would normally play a male character, the idea of playing a fierce and dangerous female character does intrigue me a little. Maybe it's all from those hours of watching my wife play the female Commander Shepherd in Mass Effect and thinking that my male Shepherd might be a little lame by comparison.)

The ability to stretch the limits for parts of the game is helped by Pathfinder being released under the Open Game License, which means that the core rules are freely published in the Pathfinder Reference Document for anyone to use. That, combined with the fact that much of the game is open to the GMs discretion, is making it relatively easy to mix in selected elements from beyond the Beginner Box while still working within a somewhat simplified system that ignores rules and edge cases that aren't really relevant for lower level characters.

I've been looking at the PRD for additional details on creating NPCs, but I'll mostly stick to using pregenerated templates or the Hero Lab app I mentioned a few days ago to generate most of the other characters.

I'll also be taking a closer look at things like downtime documentation before we play again.

All I can say at this point is that it's a lot of work. Especially at this stage in the game. I basically have to prep the whole town and introductions to several more adventures in the near future. Once those are done, I can slow down, and work on new adventures as the prepared ones are completed. I'm getting ideas everywhere, forum posts, Instagram photos, downloaded content, but I need to get it into some semblance of order.

This has taken a lot of time, but that has pretty much come by simply replacing other inert activities. Even though I'm halfway through the final segment of Mass Effect 2, I haven't touched the game controller in a week, and the only TV I've watched is a couple of movies with the family (my daughter and I wrapped up her first time through Firefly, so we watched Serenity this week, and I also finally saw Thor: The Dark World) and tonight's return of Once Upon a Time.

The effort spent so far has been well worth the investment, though. We're having a lot of fun as a family around the table with this, and that's the whole reason I started it.