I haven’t run a tabletop game in years. Coming out of the heyday of 3.5, I found myself burnt out on it, and on top of that, right about the time 4E launched, I was planning my wedding. From there, life kept intervening; most of my group moved away, I had other projects to occupy my time.
A couple of years ago, though, I snagged Fantasy Flight’s Edge of the Empire starter set on a whim. I ran a single session with that at a local game shop, and though I never went back to it, I found that I really liked what Fantasy Flight was doing differently. In Edge of the Empire there was a focus on character and story over combat, which I quickly realized had been missing from my experiences prior. As much as I liked the mechanics of 3.5, they’re very, very combat oriented, and so was my old gaming group. I like a story, I like character moments–they like battle grids and attacks of opportunity. Not that there’s anything wrong with that–just that I was realizing that it wasn’t what I was looking for.
Anyway, like I said, I never went back and played Edge of the Empire again, but I did start listening to Kurtis Wiebe’s Bothan Banter podcast when he started running a game with the system. That helped a lot, especially the GM corner posts he’s doing. His philosophies about storytelling dovetail quite a lot with mine, and as I listened to it, I figured out that this was the type of tabletop gaming I wanted to do.
I don’t have the Edge of the Empire rule book (yet), and I was leaning more toward a fantasy campaign anyway, so I figured I’d lean into Pathfinder. It’s built on 3.5, which helps–because I know that system, I have a head start on this one. Pathfinder definitely does things differently, though. There’s a much bigger focus on worldbuilding, and on ways to keep the dice rolls behind the curtain, so that players are less focused on those and more on the experience itself. That and Mr. Wiebe’s ideas about letting the world live and breathe outside of the character’s actions, about making the characters a part of the whole, are really inspiring me to do things differently.
So, here we are. I’m finishing out some NPC builds now, but in about a week, we’ll be ready to pick up our first session. In the interim, I’ll put up another post detailing our players, and the world they’ll be inhabiting. And here’s a title: