One of God's own prototypes. A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.” -Hunter S. Thompson

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Pathfinder Beginner Box: Session 3

I managed to finally get another game of the Kids Pathfinder Beginners Box in. Hopefully we should be chucking dice again soon. This time I tried something new. The last few times we played it became obvious to me that there was just information overload for the kids. The character sheets just have too much information scattered all over them. This has the effect of causing the game to grind as everyone searches and guesses at what numbers to add. Hell I even found myself looking over the character sheets trying to figure out where the hell something was. As a veteran of 3e I found this particularity frustrating. In fact I think this was part of the reason it took me so long to want to run the game again. This time however I took a bunch of index cards and wrote on the most relevant information on them. I threw out skills and now use ability checks. The most important information for me was Ability modifiers and excluded the actual ability scores. In addition I included attack and damage rolls, saving throws, AC, HP, XP, and initiative scores. I also told the players they only needed a d20 and what ever damage dice they required. This reduced the amount of time searching for the right dice. I also dumped feats and most class based abilities, since most people forgot they had them anyway. I kept, flanking, sneak attack, and charging

The result was that we had a much better session. I couldn’t believe how many encounters we blew through. The index card character sheet worked great. The only thing I think I would change would be damage dice. There was still a certain amount of “Which one do I use? ” that I found frustrating. I think from now on all weapons will use a d6 for damage and the type of weapon heavy or light, will provide a flat bonus to damage. Same thing with AC. It will be either heavy or light. I'm at the point where I find the billions of modifiers and rules exceptions grate on my nerves. I love the core ideas behind the d20 system, just not the excess of minutia of detail that typically comes with it. Honestly if I played with people who knew the rules and enjoyed crunch I would totally go whole hog, but at this point even the Beginner Box is too much for the level that the kids are at to make the game actually enjoyable to play.       

The new character sheets. Each  of the wizard's spells are on a separate card. 


  1. Nice character sheets!

    I'm definitely working on paring things down to their essentials for this upcoming game that I'm planning, even though I'm going to be playing with adults. I like cards for specific game elements like spells and magic items because it cuts down the amount of time that the players spend paging through the massive rulebooks.

  2. Thanks! Yeah I hear what your saying. I was considering making cards to hand out treasure and magic items too. At this point its still a work in progress, but I've been considering the changes as a way of creating and transitioning into my own personal d20 hybrid rpg system.

  3. I stumbled on your post earlier this week, and these cards made my life a whole lot easier. It's been decades since my wife and I played AD&D, and a lot has changed since then. Now I'm a first-time GM and we're introducing our teenage daughters to tabletop RPGs with the Pathfinder Beginner Box. I adapted your cards (see ) to include key skills, and it definitely made it easier to find key numbers quickly. Thanks for posting this, it really helped us out!

  4. Thanks micahw156! I'm glad the card idea helped you out.It's always awesome to discover that something you did is being adopted by someone else. Keep chucking them dice!