Pathfinder-inspired pondering

Pathfinder is a tabletop roleplaying game based on Dungeons and Dragons revised 3rd edition (or D&D 3.5).

Last night at work I was remembering the game of Pathfinder I ran when I was dating my ex-girlfriend. The party was composed of my ex (playing a half-elf sorceror), a couple coworkers (I think one was a ranger and the other was a paladin), and the human bard I was running in addition to acting as DM/GM.

The plot was that a group of bandits had been causing trouble in the area, and the captain of the city watch had tasked our party with taking care of the problem. The reward was a few hundred gold pieces each, I think- I don’t remember if I said a firm number, but I mainly seem to remember not thinking about a reward until someone asked what the reward was. Oops, the perils of being a novice DM.

At one point, I had this idea that a human adept could be in a relationship with the bandit leader, and that she could escape the party’s assault on the bandit HQ (an old mansion in the forest) and become a recurring villain causing trouble for the party in the future. This plan didn’t work out- if I remember correctly, the ranger got a good attack roll and shot her with a longbow. In any event, she didn’t survive to escape after the party stormed into the mansion, so I think my loose future plans adjusted to make the adept’s sister the possible future villain.

Anyway, thinking about that game reminded me that I still have the character sheet for the half-elf sorceror my ex had made, and I think when we broke up I asked if she wanted her character sheet and she didn’t, so I put it with the rest of my notes from that game and I haven’t looked at it since.

I remember my ex had wanted our characters to also be in a relationship (naturally), and I remember her saying at one point that she wanted a baby in the game, if I wasn’t ready to have a real baby yet. I had agreed to that, and said that maybe her character could get pregnant after we finished the current adventure. My ex had agreed to that, though of course we never finished that adventure and we broke up. I don’t remember the last time we had played, but it might have been over 6 months between the last time we played the game and our breaking up – I know we started playing the game in the fall and we met at least once during the winter, but I think after a couple of sessions we had scheduling conflicts and issues and didn’t play again. My plan for the adventure had been dealing with the bandits in the old mansion, and then venturing into the old family tomb that was on the grounds. Now that I think about it, there are a variety of ways I could have made that seem less contrived, rather than “oh look, an old tomb with some undead wandering around nearby, we’ll deal with that later.”

Anyway, remembering how my ex and I had talked about her character possibly getting pregnant while celebrating the demise of this band of outlaws somehow got me thinking last night about marriage in different cultures and how we could have handled that, and possible plot implications.

Presuming the bandits were dealt with and we collected our reward (let’s say a couple hundred gold pieces each), we would have had to discuss how much time we wanted to pass before the next adventure. I don’t remember if my ex and I discussed our characters getting married (it seems possible, if not likely, that I didn’t want to start a fight about how I didn’t want to marry her “for real”), but I’m sure if I had mentioned the idea she would have wanted our characters to get married, especially if her character was going to get pregnant.

If my ex had wanted our characters to get married soon after we defeated these outlaws, getting married a month or two later wouldn’t be the same thing as waiting, say, 6 months, or long enough for her character to be noticeably pregnant and possibly affected. Granted, a sorceror might not be as physically affected as, say, a fighter or another martial class, but I’m sure she would still be physically affected (depending on how we wanted to handle it).

Aside from not knowing the gestation period of a half-elf pregnancy, I also was thinking about the wedding. Since cultures and governments are different, I happened to think that the wedding planning could be a plot itself (having to earn money to afford it, or having to collect something). For example, maybe there’s a culture where a valid marriage requires the participation of 3 clergy (if 3 is a holy or lucky number in that religion or culture), or maybe there’s a culture where there’s an ornate process (like arranged marriages, or something different and more complicated than modern Western marriages). Granted, adventurers are sort of unusual, but they’d still have to interact with society, if only to have their marriage recognized as legal and binding (and all that entails- property, inheritance, etc.).

It could be a plot point that the wedding was about to happen, but then there’s a goblin attack mid-ceremony. Something like that, anyway, where there could be a story and something happening, rather than just “well, we’re married now, so we’ll take a couple weeks of honeymoon and… time skip ahead a year, now we have an infant”.

Thinking about the wedding and cultural differences got me wondering about moral alignment differences. A Lawful Good wedding probably requires consent from both parties, witnesses, and probably some involvement by local government (the local priest records it in the temple records and the local lord issues a license, for example), while Chaotic Evil characters, by definition, probably don’t believe in marriage and don’t care about their partner or anyone other than themself.

I was also amused thinking about a Lawful Evil marriage might require something like getting the local authorities to approve with no consideration of the wishes of anyone else- maybe something like bribing the local priest to officiate, paying a generous price to the family of your chosen spouse (and the future spouse, of course, gets no say in the matter), and paying off the local authorities so everything’s legal, but your selected spouse might not be happy about being ‘bought’ like a fine stud or brood mare.

I don’t know what a Neutral Evil wedding might be like, but I imagine corruption and evil would be part of it somehow. “Getting married will benefit me by enriching myself and gaining more power at the expense of others, so I’ll do it.”

This has been an interesting and entertaining train of thought, but I probably should accomplish something before I go to work today. Until next time.

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