Monday, August 20, 2012

Swashling Bucks

A game broke out spontaneously at my house this weekend.  Sophie decided to run a game using the Pathfinder Beginner Box, making up an adventure on the fly.  Nora and one of their friends from down the street played, and I joined in.

The girl, whom we'll call 'L', played one of the pre-generated characters from the box set.  The sheet described the character as a swashbuckler.  L asked what the word meant and I told her.  Her subsequent play would suggest that she interpreted this in the most violent way possible.  Meanwhile, I played a cleric who was determined to convert anyone and everyone to the worship of Serenrae.  This is the same character who insisted on donating loot to "the orphans" a few months back.  Nora played a "fashion fighter," which she described as someone who fights and kills people who aren't fashionable. The pieces were set:  I would play the lone voice of reason between two murderous adventurers.

It didn't take us long to figure out what we were supposed to do.  A terrorist human named Josh was kidnapping children from around town, and we were the only ones equipped to deal with him.  L went around town with her rapier drawn, trying to intimidate people into telling her where Josh was hiding, referring to him as "the human kidnapper."  She wasn't getting anywhere fast with this approach.  For her part, Nora was wheeling and dealing, borrowing gold against future looting profits at exorbitant interest rates just so she could buy fashionable dresses, tiaras, armor, and accessories.  Her matching pink chain mail and shield will surely set her apart from her peers.

It was up to me to figure out where Josh and his gang were hiding.  One guy seemed to be lying to L, so I followed him to a tavern to keep an eye on him.  I'm still not sure if he was really hiding anything, but some bribes to the barkeeper got me all kinds of information.  The human kidnapper was rumored to be hiding out either in the old mines at the edge of town, or under the long-dormant volcano, Mt. Toughmore.  And a guy by the name of Biggle living across the street knew where the hidden door into the volcano could be found.  I met Biggle and convinced him to show us the way for 10 gp.  We agreed to meet at his doorstep at first light the following morning.

When it was Nora's turn, I was treated to this gem of a conversation:

Nora:  "How much is the shield?"
Sophie:  "Twenty dollars."
Nora (not at all joking):  "Oh good!  Now I won't have to spend the rest of my gold!"
Sophie:  "Sorry, I mean gold, not dollars.  Twenty gold pieces."
Nora (crestfallen): "Oh..."

Then I went outside to do some yard work while the kids continued to play out the shopping portion of the game.  At one point I was talking to my new neighbor when Sophie ran out to ask me a question.  "Dad, L wants to pick a person's pocket.  How do we do it?"

"She rolls a d20 and adds her Sleight of Hand bonus against the target's Perception," I replied.

"I don't see Sleight of Hand."

"Just use Stealth then."

"Ok!"  And she ran off.

My neighbor looked at me.  "Dungeons & Dragons?"



"Pathfinder."  He nodded.  Turns out he used to play, but I digress.

Eventually the girls were ready to join Biggle and me and head to Mt. Toughmore to apprehend Josh the human kidnapper.  We arrived at the hidden door and couldn't get it open.  Through a hole in the door we could see there was someone on the other side.  I asked if we could come in, you know, just to talk a little bit about Serenrae.  "It will only take a few minutes of your time," I assured him, "but it could change your whole life for the better."  He didn't let us in, but eventually we figured out the trick with the door and got in anyway.

The first room's lone inhabitant was a goblin.  Instead of killing him, I hired him.  L explained to the goblin that she was a "buckswashler."

"You swashle bucks?" I asked.

"That's right!" she declared.  Who was I to judge?

After that it was stab all the things.  Boggarts, giant spiders, you name it.  Kids were really into it, although Nora tried to get out of having to do the actual fighting at first.  "Here, give me the torch, and I'll give you my sword so you can attack."

"I already have a sword."

"That's ok, I can still hold the torch for you."

"That's fine," I said, "but we won't be sharing the treasure with people who don't share the risks."  That fixed that problem. 

Good times.

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