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Party of One BB Series
Posted On 5/15/2012
The Party of One series is a third party supplement for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Beginner Box (Beginner's Box). All three gamebooks are mini solo adventures designed to teach the basic Pathfinder RPG system, introducing players new to paper RPGs. Since the Beginner's Box only includes a six-page, 23 section, solo adventure, the Party of One series fill the need of a full Pathfinder RPG tutorial.
The Party of One series comprises of:
- BB1: Kalgor Bloodhammer and the Ghouls through the Breach –- The undead break into the dwarven halls. It's up to you and your warhammer to repel the intruders and find the cause of the breach.
- BB2: Elgar Fletch and the Dark Army –- You must be stealthy, cunning, and sometimes forceful as you travel secretly to warn the capital of an incoming invasion. Can you save your love and the capital?
- BB3: Alosar Emanli and the Creatures from the Fallen Star –- A falling star brings strange creatures into the forest. This is no game but a true rite of passage as a young druid.
All three are short, having around 75 sections plus detailed character sheets if one wants to continue the characters into a custom Pathfinder campaign. Being around 10 pages, there is little room to work on the background and you start in the middle of the action. Matthew J. Hanson, the designer of all three gamebooks, is well versed in gamebook system design as well as writing. The Party of One series has systems for time, inventory, and point-to-point movement, a similar innovative system used in the Night of the Nazgul.
Since describing the story further gives spoilers, I want to highlight some innovative design features. In BB1 you can travel freely between a location (point) to another (point) to investigate the breach--a point-to-point movement system commonly used in board wargames. In BB2 you are given interesting options in dealing with a miniboss: stealth, negotiation, or combat. Finally both previous gambooks are based on warrior classes; in BB3 you play a spellcaster.
In short, the Party of One BB gamebooks are packed with good design and tense narrative, and provide paper RPG sessions with zero prep time. If I had to choose between the three gamebooks, BB1 has the best game system and an interesting plot twist. However, at $2.99 per book and around 20 minutes of play time, I recommend all three. The three gamebooks are available as PDFs from the Kobold Quarterly Store and RPGNow/DriveThruRPG.