And so we forge deeper into the caverns, discovering new challenges and adversaries.
Luckily for us, a new player (a friend of Jackie’s who was curious to try Pathfinder) has joined our ranks. It of course doesn’t make sense for a new party member to simply appear out of nowhere, so our GM came up with a little backstory to tie him into the story, namely that he is the half-brother of the barbarian in the group. After a long time searching for his long-lost kin, he’s finally caught up with our group and joined us in our adventures.
Like myself, our newest addition is a ranger, but I must admit I’m a bit jealous of his stats. He was apparently quite lucky when rolling for his stats during character creation, and has strong numbers across the board (especially in strength and dexterity), making him a considerably more formidable archer than myself. Of particular is that he has a +4 strength modifier makes him something of a super-powered archer when combined with what’s called a composite longbow.
There are two types of longbows in Pathfinder, standard and composite. The first cannot be used while mounted, but requires no strength modifier to use. The composite bow, on the other hand, can be used on horseback, but forces a -2 attack roll penalty on anyone with a negative strength modifier. Things get really interesting, however, if you can afford to shell the extra gold to get a composite bow with an increased strength rating. For an extra 100 gold pieces per strength point, the bow can take advantage of high strength modifiers, such that it deals extra damage up to the value of your strength modifier. I’m not quite sure how he possibly afforded it (this would have cost the 100gp base price of the bow, plus another 400gp in strength point bonuses – I’m pretty sure it involved a misreading of the rules), but he now deals 1d8+4 damage every time he connects with an arrow. Needless to say, this makes him quite effective in combat, especially since he also has a high dexterity modifier (+3, I believe) that lends itself to strong attack rolls with ranged weapons.
But enough about that; I should actually be talking about events in the our play session. The most interesting challenge we faced was a flying creature (a gargoyle) with a dangerous screech attack ended up paralyzing all but one member of our party. Unfortunately, the one man (halfling, actually) left standing was Travis’ character, a rogue who is not at all well-suited to ranged combat (the only means of hitting the gargoyle as it flew about). The paralysis was to last three rounds, so Travis was planning on trying to draw the creature away from our now immobile party until the effect wore off. His efforts would not be necessary, however. The GM, seeing that we were in what could be a dicey situation, decided that a ghost hostile to the gargoyle would choose that moment to appear, eliminating it and saving our skins. I won’t go into the details of how she explained its presence (it was a bit contrived, to say the least), but I must say I have mixed feelings about the course of events. I’ve mentioned this in a previous post, but I’m reminded here of the extreme level of freedom granted to the GM in this game. While the flexibility this affords can lead to some really fun and interesting situations, it can at times leave things so open-ended and up to the GM’s whim so as to cause a certain reduction in engagement. An open-ended game can be fun, but I still contend that a major appeal of games is that they offer a controlled world governed by concrete rules – a world we can make sense of. To see the rules so easily upended can sometimes be less than pleasing.