Evan has been bugging us for some time now to run his own Pathfinder adventure, and in the end, we came to a compromise - he’ll be the Game Master, but Jojo and I will start off using completely new characters. In fact, to make things easier, we would use the pre-generated characters that came with the Beginner Box; I chose the Human Wizard while Jojo chose the Elven Rogue.
|Daddy the Wizard and Jojo the Elven Rogue|
Evan asks me to help him find the map of Sandpoint in the GM guide, and he points into the map. “This is where you guys are. In the Rusty Dragon Inn.”
So far so good. “What time of the day is it?” I ask.
“It’s dawn,” Evan says. “Near night-time. And there’s lots of people inside.”
“Then it’s dusk,” corrects Jojo. “Dawn is really early in the morning.”
I glance through my wizard character sheet. “It says here that I have SEVEN hit points!? I must be really old!” I read on. “Cool, I have a Burning Hands spell that shoots fire up to 15 feet away. And I even have a Hand of the Apprentice feature that allows me to throw my staff at something, and then have it come back to my hand again.” I demonstrate with a flourish of hands.
“Ooo cool! Like a Jedi with his lightsaber!” The kids are suitably impressed.
|Yeah, I can do that.|
“Does she steal anything from me?” I ask in mock suspicion. “I’ll cast Burning Hands on her if she does.”
“What!? I’m not stealing anything from you, you old wizard!”
Just as our characters are getting acquainted, an old elven wizard comes up to us. He has one palm up, and hovering over his palm is a crystal ball. “The elven wizard tells the both of you a vision!”
“In the crystal ball?” asks Jojo. “What do we see?”
“You don’t see anything. You only hear words.”
Jojo and I exchange a glance. “Uh, huh. What are the words of this ‘vision’?”
“The Ocean is uh.. um..”
“Great?” suggests Jojo.
“Yes! The ocean is great and uh.. dangerous! Don’t die in uh… 30 weeks!”
Jojo gets Evan to repeat the ‘vision’ at least three times as she dutifully writes it down on a notepad.
|Vision Statement. Get it!? :-D|
Jojo and I order drinks to take-away and discuss our options. “Alright, I think if we want to make sense of the ‘vision’, we should head off to somewhere where we can get to the ocean.” Evan points out the Sandpoint harbour in the map, so we head off there.
At the harbour, we are met with a man who seems to be in charge of the harbour. Evan puts on his best impression of a harbour master. “Yo ho! Welcome to the docks! We have lots of ships here, which can take you wherever you want to go!”
“He sounds like a pirate,” I muse.
“You distract him, and I’ll stab him in the back.” suggests Jojo.
“We’re looking for a ship to take us out to the ocean,” I say.
The harbour master attempts to list out the many ships in the harbour, assuring us that there are at least five ships which we can take, and in the end comes up with three because that’s all Evan can make up on the spot. “There’s a small fishing boat, and a cargo ship, and a big, massive ship that brings prisoners to Australia.”
“A convict ship,” supplies Jojo. “We learnt about those in school.”
The wonders of an Australian primary education. “Where are the prisoners from?” I ask curiously.
“From here and there,” answers Evan evasively. “Just then, you hear someone calling for ‘Help!’ from the convict ship!”
“Um, okay. Maybe we should go check out who’s calling for help?”
The harbour master blocks my way. “It’s those convicts tricking again,” he says. And sure enough, the same voice calls out, “Fooled you! Hahahah!”
I roll my eyes. “Okay, I think the fishing boat is too small to get us to wherever we need to go, and the convict ship is too… intense. So let’s take the cargo ship.”
In short order, we are aboard the cargo ship, and are sailing off into the ocean. I ask Evan what sort of cargo does this ship carry, and he says that the ship has one coil of rope, one table, one mug on the table, and one barrel of rum. Evan gets me to do a Perception roll, and I find that the barrel of rum is filled with beer instead.
“I pour the beer into the mug and drink it,” I say.
Evan giggles. “You drink the beer and immediately puke over the side of the ship. It’s very bad beer.”
I grumble while I clean myself up. “Where’s the crew?” I demand. “Where’re all the sailors and stuff?”
“You don’t see anyone on this ship. But, you do hear music coming from below the deck.”
I wonder if this is some kind of ghost ship while my wizard and Jojo’s rogue makes their way below deck and meets a man playing an accordion.
“Welcome aboard!” says the man while still playing the accordion. “We’re off to an island in the middle of the ocean! Yes, a very dangerous island! With frog people and mangroves!”
“I think he’s drunk too much of that bad beer,” I say.
We decide to stay aboard, and soon the ship takes us to an island and docks near the beach. There is a jungle here, with mangroves, and the calls of wild animals everywhere. We get off the ship and head into the jungle.
"Remember that the ocean is great and dangerous!" calls out the accordion man from the ship.
Jojo shakes her head. "Why did he say that?"
"I suppose he might be the old elf wizard in disguise," I reply. “Is there a path or a road in here?” I ask Evan.
“No, but suddenly, you see two red eyes looking down at you! Something very large is in front of you!”
“Oh please, please, please let it be an Earth Elemental!” begs Jojo.
“It’s… an Earth Elemental!”
|Super-sized Earth Elemental!|
Jojo greets the Earth Elemental, and the creature nods. It then chucks my wizard over its shoulder. “You crash into the ground and get 3 damage,” says Evan.
“What!?” I splutter indignantly. My wizard picks himself up as Jojo’s rogue talks to the Earth Elemental. This thing is huge, and I make some observations. “Maybe, the Earth Elemental is the guardian of the island! Or maybe he’s part of the island itself!”
“So the whole island is alive?” asks Jojo. “I watched an Adventure Time episode once where the Ice King finds an island which is actually a girl. Her knee was a mountain, and she had a nice voice.”
|I don't think I've watched this episode.|
“You see a Serpentfolk!” says Evan.
|Finally, an encounter!|
The fight with the Serpentfolk becomes extremely surreal as every time it hits the Earth Elemental with its bolts, the whole terrain around us changes. From a jungle to an icy wasteland, and then to a searing desert. In the end, the Earth Elemental ends the Serpentfolk menace by sitting on it.
By now, it was near bed-time, so as I get both the kids ready for bed, Evan describes the loot we find on the Serpentfolk’s remains. Jojo finds a ring which has engravings of sea stars on it. Apparently, it allows her to hide from sea creatures. I jokingly suggest that perhaps it turns her into a sea star in the process.
I find a bracelet that fires those blue magic bolts that the Serpentfolk was using. Evan calls them Plasma Bolts, so we name the item the Bracelet of Plasma Bolts. I ask Evan how many shots does the Bracelet of Plasma Bolts contain, and he tells me that it has 100 bolts, and recharges every day. I’ve got a feeling that I’ll be blasting quite a few of these in upcoming adventures.
Things I've learnt about letting the kids run your RPG campaign. Take things as they come. Don't stress about the details. And ignore the plot holes that are big enough for a ship to sail through.
If you do this, you'll suddenly find that you've gone on a mystical voyage to a magic island. And upon reflection, you'll suddenly realise that you've actually had fun.