We started our Purple Mountain Campaign tonight. I used the accompanying battle mat for level one - the Temple of the Locust Lord. The trollspawn chose miniatures to represent their characters and we got right into it. For today's session we jumped into the dungeon after a brief description of the surrounding area, which will be explored in much greater detail in the future. But for tonight I wanted them to get right into the centerpiece of the campaign - the megadungeon.
In the dungeon, they battled the mites in entry chamber, winning with little difficulty. Subduing one of the mites, the Leprechaun Specialist Mage cast Charmed, I'm Sure on it to serve as a minion. [I renamed the Yassa Massa spell Charmed, I'm Sure, maybe 20 years ago. Yassa Massa is, if not racist, at least something I'm not comfortable with. Other than this spell, I'm fine with T&T's "silly" spell names and have never seen an issue with them, in spite of the somewhat widespread dislike of the spell names.] After looting the bodies and searching the room, they moved on to another chamber. This time they beat giant scorpions and flash beetles. This is where we stopped after an hour and a half.
So, 90 minutes to set the stage and clear two rooms. In my opinion this was slow progress compared to what I'm used to. The play session was intentionally short, as we are playing with a child as young as 7. However, using minis and the battle mat was something new...and time consuming. While it was visually pleasing, I wonder how much it really added to the game. It sure took a lot of extra time for me to print the maps, cut them, lay them out piece meal as they were explored, to say nothing of looking through minis and cardboard tiles for the appropriate monsters. As I stated in a prior post, much of this is an experiment. While I enjoy the actual content of the dungeon and think it will only get better, using minis isn't something I've done much, and I don't feel it enhances the game, at least for using T&T. This isn't to criticize Purple Mountain. I realize that for Pathfinder or D&D in many incarnations minis are important. T&T combat isn't blow-by-blow, nor jockeying for position. In fact, pinning characters down to specific squares on the map restricts the creative flow of a narrative approach. Nevertheless, I am committed to using the battle mat throughout the first level. I doubt I will do so for levels two and beyond. Additionally, because I knew I would be blogging about this, I took the time to formally convert the adventure to T&T rules. Normally I do this on the fly while playing; reading the adventure through once is sufficient on the ocassions I've used D&D adventures in the past because I know both rulesets well enough to do so. In this case I've spent several hours to formally convert the rules over. One of the reasons I enjoy T&T is so I don't need to spend hours constructing stat blocks, and so forth. There is minimal prep. None of this is meant to criticize Purple Mountain, Pathfinder, or D&D, just to identify differences in using T&T for a Pathfinder adventure.
After we complete the level, I will post my conversion notes for the original dungeon (Pathfinder rules) into my T&T house rules.