Water Cooler War Stories of a Tabletop Gamer

At the end of last year, I started playing Pathfinder with my husband. For those of you who don't know, Pathfinder is a tabletop fantasy role-playing game (RPG), who's game mechanics are like Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 edition with some modifications.

I posted a blog about how hard it was to find a gaming group, and believe it or not, I got a group together, and we started our first session within a week of my search for players. My husband pretty much thinks I have some sort of magical powers, because he's never seen anyone get a group together so fast.

I actually had to start turning people away because we had the full amount of players we were looking for. Any fears I had of finding a group of gamers that we would get along with are long gone. I love our gaming group! What's even better is I love the characters everyone created. I never thought I could be so attached to fictional characters from a tabletop game.

We've been playing a Rise of the Runelords campaign about twice a month, in 5-6hr sessions. It's usually the highlight of that weekend for me. I even started creating my own little info cards with all my Rogue Talents and Feats. I was inspired to make them when I saw my husband's spell cards.

Our Game Master (GM) isn't doing the normal experience point (XP) system. We have no idea how much XP our characters have, but he tells us when we gain a level based on things our characters accomplished in the story. We do get to go on adventures and kill evil creatures, but instead of focusing on how many goblins we can kill for points, we can actually role-play, develop some personality for our characters, and gain levels as we progress the story.

This weekend was one of my favorite gaming sessions. At the end of our previous session, we gained enough experience to level up. So, this weekend was the first time our characters were going on an adventure at 3rd Level. In our party I play a Rogue, we also have an Oracle, a Paladin, a Wizard, a Bard, and a Fighter.

Before the game, or GM prepared us to be ready for a possible TPK (Total Party Kill...when all the players' characters die), so I was pretty nervous about what we would encounter. Luckily we all survived, and we walked away with minor injuries. We outwitted some Goblin Dogs by feeding them pickles (yeah, it sounds insane, but they were so happy we fed them, they didn't try to kill us), and I got an impressive amount of critical hits this game.

As a Rogue, I'm somewhat fragile in melee, but being 3rd Level, I was able to get loads of sneak attack damage, not to mention I also use two short swords now (which doubles my chances to land a hit). During one attack, I threw a dagger at this mutant goblin, it was a critical hit, and it was a sneak attack, so the damage was 2D4+2D6+STR...and this thing was taking bleed damage every round from that attack. I felt like a BOSS!

Everyone had all these new spells and abilities at 3rd Level, we pretty much wiped the floor with any enemy we encountered. At the end of the day we gained enough experience to level up again. I was so excited I brought the Core Rulebook to work, so I can figure out what talent I want to take, and which Ability Score I should increase.

While the guys at work were telling me about their weekend, I was telling adventure stories to them like I actually went to Thisletop myself! I was seriously proud of what our characters were able to do as a team, and how some of our choices weren't expected by the GM. Pathfinder plays out in my head like an epic series (Xena, Legend of the Seeker, Merlin, take your pick). If our schedules allowed it, I would want to game every single weekend.

My co-workers aren't gamers. When I mentioned we played for 6hrs. one of them asked if that's like playing a really long game of Monopoly. Pathfinder is not a board game, it's a role-playing game. When I told them about all the different things our characters could do, and how we influence the story, they actually thought it sounded cool.

I wish my husband had introduced me to this gaming world sooner. In a lot of ways, it's better than any video game I've ever played. You're not limited to the story programmed into a console game. You can actually make choices as your character and change the course of how a story plays out. It's like this amazing world of unpredictable story telling, wrapped in a fantasy adventure game.

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