5 year old and 8 year old were ready for a new adventure after successfully completing the Pathfinder Second Edition Beginner Box. Both expressed interest in an adventure where they defended nature and rescued animals. It was also important to them that their Beginner Box characters – Luna and Meowmena – were active in the world. So I decided to base the campaign around a well defined forest in a vaguely defined world. Our heroes will be responding to some threats to the forest.
When 8 year old was a 5 year old herself I ran a series of ‘Pathfinder Lite’ settings for her based around putting out forest fires, rescuing animals, and so on. We only used the most basic rules – action economy, rolling skills and to hit, etc – but it was fun for her. The narratives were pretty straightforward back then. This time there’s actually going to be an overarching plot and the campaign will have a BBEG. We’re going to engage with material relevant to actual environmental conservation work but in a safe cartoony way made possible by Trash Mob Minis. I learned my lesson after the trauma caused by using the Beginner Box Undead tokens.
8 year old actually picked the name for the group. She had a school assignment to study local not-for-profits and then design her own. There’s an P[lace name] Animal Welfare Society nearby, going for the PAWS acronym, and 8 year old gave her fictional not-for-profit helping animals a similar name. So we reused the ‘Welfare Society’ bit for the adventuring group name.
The players are once again 5 year old, 8 year old, and Mom. The characters are all new and starting at Level 1. 8 year old actually read through the classes in the Pathfinder Second Edition Core Rulebook and decided she wanted to play a Ranger.
5 year old is playing Lamima, a human sorceress. Lamima is a herbalist who makes a living gathering flowers and herbs to sell.
8 year old is playing Tigerlily, a woodland elf ranger. Tigerlily is a friend to nature and protector of the forest. Tigerlily is a citizen of the elf queendom where Luna is princess. Tigerlily’s animal companion is a dog named Leena.
Caqui is a fruit leshy fighter. The forest is more than Caqui's friend, the forest is literally Caqui's family.
Before starting the first session we talked about the geography of the forest, deciding where the characters live, and if they knew each other yet.
It was decided that Lamima is from a town just outside of the forest along the river and that she doesn’t know the other characters yet. 8 year old and 5 year old decided to name the town Forest Lily.
Tigerlily and Caqui already know each other. Since Tigerlily lives for a very long time (compared to humans) 8 year old decided that she lives a nomadic life, traveling around the wilderness. Caqui is relatively young and from a Leshy village hidden deep in the forest.
The first session started with Lamima and her friend Lymb (5 year old picked the name) walking through the forest to gather some herbs. Lymb, an orc, was telling Lamima about a new potion shop that had just opened in town and letting her know that it was selling healing potions at ridiculously low prices. Lamima made and sold healing potions, but she sourced her ingredients from the forest and could only make so many at a time. How was this new shop making so many healing potions and selling them at such low prices? Lymb felt bad for Lamima’s livelihood but also admitted that cheap healing potions are a nice thing to have.
Caqui was called aside by her grandmother Treant and told that there was something troubling the forest. Caqui promised to get to the bottom of this and prepared to set off on her own — but then Tigerlily showed up asking about the same thing.
Tigerlily had started off a long trip deep into the mountains to visit the griffin aviaries when she had a nightmare about the forest burning down. Troubled, she decided to head back to the forest and check in with Treant at leshy village.
Tigerlily and Caqui set off for a section of the forest where the trees were troubled. Arriving they found that several trees were withering. Examining them the two came to the conclusion (using their Nature skill) that the trees had been poisoned! But they couldn’t deduce were the poison had come from (failed skill checks).
Downstream, Lamima had just come to the same conclusion (using her Nature skill) after examining a sickly looking tree. What had caused this? She soon realized that the source of the poison must be the nearby creek (passed skill check). Moving over to examine the creek she noticed translucent sludge flowing beneath the surface. What was that?
At this point, Lamima made a leap of superhuman deduction by announcing authoritatively, “This creek has been polluted to make those cheap healing potions!!!” I didn’t mind the metagaming, it was neat to see 5 year old making connections and accurately predicting the plot based on a couple of cues.
Of course, Lymb was astounded by this leap of deduction and told Lamima that she’d need to collect evidence to back up that claim before anyone in the village would believe her. Lamima noted seriously and tried to collect some of the translucent sludge…
But then to her horror the sludge coalesced into a sinister form and leap out from the creek to attack her!!! Caqui and Tigerlily came running when they heard Lamima’s scream! (5 year old actually did scream – it was fantastic.)
Caqui, Tigerlily, Lamima, and Leena battled the animate sludge! Lymb hung back and healed them during the battle. Things took a desperate turn when the larger sludge managed to engulf Lamima but the others were able to save her.
The defeated sludge left patches of filth and pollution on the forest floor. Lamima took a sample of the sludge but wasn’t sure what else to do. Caqui thought about the situation and realized that some of her distant cousins might be able to help (succeeded on a Nature check).
Caqui sent for her relatives, the mushroom leshys, who ate up the corrupted filth. Lymb left to head back to town and learn more about the new potion shop. Caqui, Tigerlily, and Lamima headed upstream following the pollution to it’s source.