I’m a lucky guy. I’m now part of a Pathfinder game where it has a player who has never played any tabletop before. The Furious One is a player in my 5e game, and he has become enamored of the system. He has made the executive decision in swap the rule set from Pathfinder over to 5e. I’m pretty laid back when it comes to systems. I care first and foremost about the story and setting, and as long as the system supports those, it’s all I ask. It’d be nice if it was simple, but I understand sometimes complexity gets added to the mix. I’m not unreasonable.
It’s a surprise to me that my friend who is tabletopping for his first time hasn’t played before. He’s in his 30’s, and has been an MMO player for damn near twenty years at this point. While not a guarantee, it’s strange to consider someone who played Everquest had never dabbled in a traditional pen and paper RPG.
All of our group is a bit on the goofy side, and while we poke fun at ourselves and our concepts, we treat the world with respect. I might be Lance Granite, dwarven cleric of Sarenrae with a love of dance and showing off his beach body, but never do I denigrate the setting or game. The rest of the group falls along these lines, with Alton Ramsay, the engineer turned folk hero, Gordon Brown, the crazy alchemist chef, Jaiya, the gullible monk, and John R., the mysterious warrior without a past. While we are all a little silly, we more or less play it straight, within a certain tolerance for comedy. It’s not a fully serious game, but it’s definitely more of a dramedy than a full on comedy.
John R. is the character of the new player, who until the point has been a man with a taste for vengeance. One who doesn’t have any insight into his past. He resorts to drastic measures for effect, and isn’t above a little tasteful graft when the situation allows it. He’s the dirty cop to our DA’s office. The bad lieutenant to our aquarium fish. In a fortunate turn of events, we were all distracted and puking in other rooms when he challenged a necromancer as facing off against one who is most valuable to their dark lord. All we know is the necromancer was cowed, John R. had a new minion, and we were off to deliver him to justice.
On the path back to Sandpoint, the others in the group attempted to make the necromancer talk through a little rough interrogation, but forgot to tell me what was going on. The necromancer escaped a grapple, look liked he was going to cast a spell, so I stabbed him in the gut. Then I get blamed for panic stabbing! All I’m saying is, if you don’t want the necromancer to be stabbed, you have to clue in the ruggedly handsome, yet soulful cleric of Sarenrae.
This was the last session before the conversion to 5e. Our conversion session went fairly well, and everything was expediently done, thanks to the ease of 5e, the combined previous experience of me and the GM, and the quality of the Roll20 custom character sheet. I was a fairly easy port over, and was done in short order. I just removed my stats from the Pathfinder racial package, put in the 5e racial package, and I had pretty easy fits for everything else. Light Cleric, Entertainer background, and ready to never heal anyone. The only allowance was giving me the Fire Bolt cantrip, as a nod to the Pathfinder fire bolt channel divinity, and due to the fact no real fire domain exists, but totally should. Why is it called Light rather than Sun? I don’t know, it’s a bit silly. Sun would have had my back, anyway.
The rest of the characters were a bit more esoteric fits. The monk wanted to be a Dragonball Z monk, so he became a Sun Soul monk, something that Pathfinder didn’t possess. Alton became a battlemaster, so he didn’t really change in concept at all. Gordon will almost certainly still be some homebrew reworking of Alchemist. John? Well, the new guy opted for the hard road. He decided paladin was his best fit, becoming an Oathbreaker Paladin somewhere in his forgotten path. This is a bold choice. As a first time player, we spent some time talking about table rules and all had the discussion of “our actions are in-play, if we die from in-play conflict with each other, no hard feelings. If the evil guy wins out, well, we re-roll something else and join him. If the good guys win out, well, he can re-roll something and join us.” There isn’t any reason for us to suspect him in-play, as he was fairly covert about his actions, but having the out-of-play conversation was a good move, and I think he was surprised by our good-natured, frank discussion.
I’m interested to see where this goes, and so every week I will be posting a summary of our latest game, and what sort of things were encountered by the new player, with his reactions to them. To be clear, I am not mocking or insulting him at all. He is a good friend of mine, but it’s not often I have a chance to observe the play of a totally new player with a boatload of other experiences.