It’s been a while since I stopped to reflect on what’s been happening in my ongoing Rise of the Runelords Pathfinder campaign. Needless to say, I’m still learning as I go along, trying to keep up with the ever-expanding list of rules I need to know as both the player characters and their allies and enemies are leveling up and enjoying more powerful abilities.
The party is currently about halfway through chapter 3 of Rise of the Runelords, but I thought I’d touch on a session I added between chapters 2 and 3. It was my first mini-adventure that I had fully designed on my own. I chose the enemies (the black dragon from our very first session), their minions and even created an NPC who had captured the sisters of our PC ranger. Heck, I even created a map from scratch (seen above) using inspiration found in several Pathfinder sources, and a style inspired by Dyson’s Dodecahedron maps.
I particularly enjoyed crafting my own NPCs and building on the back story that my players had provided for their characters. I think it gave that character some closure on his own background, as well as a reason to go on with his adventuring career. I also added a few other touches that I will eventually tie into the story later on.
Naturally, the players prevailed, utterly destroying the dragon and his minions, including my NPC Talathel (link to his character sheet on Google Docs), who I was a little sad to lose – he was a spell-less ranger/sorcerer/dragon disciple who could have been a rather nasty adversary at higher levels… meaning I had to learn how to let go of one of my creations for essentially the first time since starting the campaign. And although I probably could have just adapted an NPC from one of the many sources I have, I really enjoyed hand crafting each of his abilities, and also learning what each one did as I went along.
This session was particularly lengthy due to the major fight at the end, but also thanks to the story elements, but I think it went well. I really enjoyed hand-crafting all the aspects of the session, from the map to the characters and the environment. Destroying the boggard tribe who had allied themselves with the dragon left our PCs with a bit of an ethical dilemma – the women and children were found huddled in the town above the dragon’s lair. Our ranger, the focus of this story section, took pity on them and left them some food and other provisions, but whether they will accept this as good enough compensation for murdering their entire tribe remains to be seen.