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Last Wednesday was the first real chance to play Eric.  To help me keep track I’ll be using posts like this one to note impressions, key or amusing events, etc.

Eric and the Planet of Hats

The Realm in which this Pathfinder game is set has one of the more extreme variants of Planet of Hats that I’ve seen since The Belgariad or the Dorsai trilogy.  I’m not complaining however as this also presents Eric with some difficult choices.

There are currently three major noble houses in the setting: Hewett (Fighters), Ramsey (Wizards/Sorcerers), and Vance (Priests).  None of the major houses play well with others, there is the bare minimum of tolerance needed to prevent a civil war covering mutual contempt.

As a sorcerer Eric would do well in the magic Guild run by House Ramsey.  However his initial research into his bloodline in a Ramsey library is pointing him to House Vance libraries if he wishes to find any evidence of his bloodline.

Indeed he will need to visit the Vance capital of Altar at some point to get at the really good stuff, and members of the Guild are not likely to be welcome there.

At this stage there doesn’t seem to be any pressure on Eric to join the Guild, possibly because he has yet to become powerful enough represent a challenge to the Guild’s monopoly on arcane magic.  The key word there of course is “yet”, and the pressure may come later.  For the moment Eric is remaining in the employ of House Ramsey [1], but isn’t joining the Guild.

Kali the dragonrider, the bard, and the Planet of Hats

A good chunk of the session was devoted to discussing the backgrounds of the other characters, as well as to negotiating sales of loot and buying advanced gear [2].  This was a good call on the GMs part, especially as the party has been travelling together for some months and much of this information would have come out in campfire discussions etc [3].

Amusingly it does mean that by now Eric is probably the only member of the party that still believes Eric is human. Most of the others can work it out by various means. Denial: it’s not just a river in Egypt.

House Hewett (the fighter house) has a monopoly on dragonriders, except for Kali.  Kali is a former servant girl, who stole what was believed to be a dead egg, successfully hatched it, and is now trying to keep her possession of a dragon secret from House Hewett.  This is possibly my favourite of the other character’s backgrounds, and certainly the most memorable [4]. The player has based a fair chunk of this on The White Dragon by Anne McCaffrey, but it reminds me more of Dragon’s Blood by Jane Yolen [5].

Prior to this session this basically meant not bringing the dragon with her into Drakehold.  However the dragon is growing, Kali wants to be able to ride it, and therefore needs a saddle.

Purchasing the military saddle for a dragon that shouldn’t exist in the city that would take an extremely dim view of this, and Kali, provided the funniest scene of the evening.

Several of the negotiations had involved a polite fiction that the PCs were representing an unnamed noble to justify their possession of certain goods that they were buying and/or selling.  For the most part this was there, but not a major part of the story.

Somewhere along the way Sebastian the bard [6] got the idea to exploit this polite fiction and made this unnamed noble a paragon of idiocy and/or insanity [7]. This noble is apparently collecting war saddles for exotic beasts to form a collection for display.  Having recently arrived in Drakehold he sent Sebastian to obtain examples of saddles for a young dragon, a griffin, and a giant war toad.

The reaction around the table, and from the GM, to the giant war toad bit was priceless. Sebastian brilliantly played this confusion for all that it was worth ending up with the dragon saddle whilst avoiding suspicion that there was an unregistered dragon out there somewhere. He may also have ended up having to buy the griffin saddle to preserve the story, I’m not sure about that.

Well played sir, and thanks for the hilarity you created in the game.

Eric and the Genre Savvy PCs

A previous session dealt with organised (to military discipline levels) werewolves and other wolves attacking the caravan.  As a follow-up the party was tasked to investigate a dark-ish cult in Drakehold in hopes of tracking down a druid who might be able to help.

What was left of the cult proved to be darker than expected.  One of the basement rooms included pits with bodies, or parts of bodies, in them that the later House Ramsey reinforcements discovered to be ghouls.

The party had not discovered the ghouls because we are all apparently genre savvy enough to a) keep a wary eye on the pits and b) not poke the bodies with spears.  The House Ramsey mages may not be quite so genre savvy since they did discover the ghouls.

The party did get caught by a few other surprises, but dodged what would have been the main fight of the session.  There were some interesting plot hooks set up but I don’t remember those well enough to write about today.

The next session should be on Wednesday, the next write up will probably be next weekend sometime.

[1] Like the rest of the party Eric’s employment is as a caravan guard and urban trouble consultant. So far there haven’t been any “It’s not our fault!” moments ala the Dirty Pair, but I’m sure there will be eventually.

[2] Eric mostly skipped the negotiations for the research into his bloodline, and was mostly equipped as part of character creation.

[3] See previous comment re employment as a caravan guard.

[4] I’ll try to discuss the others in later posts as I remember them.

[5] I recommend Dragon’s Blood as well worth reading, very strong YA science fiction from Jane Yolen.

[6] Sebastian the bard is a somewhat more obvious Aasimar than Eric, especially given that Sebastian has a halo…

[7] The jury is still out on that one, but I think the merchants of Drakehold are definitely leaning towards eccentricity at minimum