Monday, April 29, 2024

Learning Pathfinder by yourself

I have recently taken a look at Party of One: Kalgor Bloodhammer and the Ghouls Through the Breach, a one-player, GM-free Pathfinder adventure. It’s designed to be an introduction to the system, a narrative and an adventure. Honestly, it does an okay but not amazing job at each of these.

Party of One is basically a Choose Your Own Adventure/ Fighting Fantasy scenario with Pathfinder rules plugged in. It’s quite short; with only 73 sections. Pathfinder rules are boiled in, teaching them as the game book goes on. (To be fair, it really only covers basic combat and skill checks)

What surprised me was there was an actual narrative in Party of One. I didn’t realize that at first and then I had to go back and play it again so I could actually figure out the story. You actually have to explore the area and gather clues to put everything together. That touch means I will probably remember the adventure, as short and slight as it is.

And the narrative is the actual value of the experience. The tutorial element is honestly so simplistic (Roll a d20 and try and roll higher than this number) that I don’t think iit teaches much.  And the small amount of content limits how much adventure you get. I’m not even sure it’s a half hour’s worth of play.

The two adventures that come to mind for me whenever I look at D&D reimagined as Choose Your Own Adventure are The Djinni’s Ring from Dungeon issue 9 and Buffalo Castle. The Djinni’s Ring was the first time I’d seen this sort of thing and Buffalo Castle is quite likely the very first solo adventure ever published. My only memory of the Dungeon magazine adventure was the realization that oh, there’s a story going on here.

Buffalo Castle, on the other hand, I remember as having almost no story. It was a map in the form of a game book and not actually mapping it out as you went made it very confusing. It both feels like something that still works and sometuing that wouldn’t be made today. (I would be amused to be wrong about the second part)

For me, a crucial part of the RPG experience is creating a story. (Which you can still do with Buffalo Castle. It just takes some real input from you) Party of One has enough story to explore that achieves that for me. Enough that I’ll look at the other Party of One adventures.

No comments:

Post a Comment