Table Talk – That Time We Played 3 Systems at Once

One of the wackiest table top games I’ve ever played happened at GenCon 2018. I got a chance to play Jen McTeague’s “Paizo Unchained,” her April Fool’s day scenario poking fun at Paizo’s staff and taking place at the Paizo offices in Redmond, Washington, run by the illustrious author herself. (Spoilers to follow)

Veterans of GMing for Paizo’s Organized Play program know that the most over-the-top games happen on Sunday night after the convention is officially over and the Sagamore Ballroom has been packed up and cleaned out. Conventioneers looking for one last game to blow off some steam, try something new, or just hang out with friends one more time before returning home the next day. On this night, I had the pleasure of looking for a table with Jen who was hoping to run her completely unofficial “Paizo Unchained” scenario. We found a small group of people that quickly expanded when they heard about getting the chance to play this game that included friendly ribbing at the creative teams behind our favorite games.

The Players

As we sat down to play, Jen let us know that this adventure was appropriate for 5th to 9th level Pathfinder PCs. Some players immediately stopped, heartbroken. “But I was only playing Starfinder this year, all I have are my Starfinder PCs.”

Jen thought for half a second then said, “That’s fine. We’ll make it work.” Half a second later, another player stated that he only has his Adventure Card Game decks. Jen pauses for a long moment before shrugging and saying, “Sure. We’ll make it work.” And make it work we did! Though my memory is fuzzy (drinking after four days of minimal sleep can do that), among the players we had: Hilary Moon Murphy, Kate Baker, Kyle Hallberg (who had the ACG deck), Mike Kimmel Marshall, Quinn Shannon, myself, and Paizo’s own Ron Lundeen.

The Scenario

I don’t want to give too much away just in case you can get your local GM to run this hilarious romp, but it involves stepping through a portal to the Paizo Offices and making your way around them to recover various publications from Paizo, such as Ultimate Combat and the Advanced Players Guide. While there you find out that the real world and the game worlds are merging and the Paizo staff is turning into reflections of their own creations, complete with Jason Bulmahn as a minotaur and a rogue eidolon. Suffice to say, the more of a super-fan you are about Paizo and have knowledge of their staff, the more in-jokes you’ll get from this scenario. It had us dying with laughter over the puns and parallels.

The Game

So here we are, a giant table of players, one GM, and too much alcohol. Jen did a masterful job getting the rules interactions from Pathfinder, Starfinder, and the ACG to all work together. Each character worked using their own game’s rule set, including the ACG character!

Kyle says, “Ok, this round I move you to a new location. This square, that’s your character’s new location.”

Random player, “Did I just get teleported?!”

Jen says, “I guess so! That’s a new location.”

Kyle continues his turn, “And then I play this card to give everyone +2d4 and the fire trait to all combat checks.”

The next player asks, “Ok, so I attack with my melee weapon and… add 2d4?”

Kyle, “–and the fire trait.”

Later a player casts blindness and Kyle interjects, “Don’t forget the 2d4 plus fire on the blindness!” That particular power became really absurd as we roll initiative as Stephen Radney-MacFarland comes running down a hallway chasing a pig.

Hilary says, “I sense motive on the pig…”

Jen replies, “The pig is being truthful. It takes 2d4 points of fire damage and disappears!”

At one point we found the Advanced Race Guide and Quinn’s character starts flipping through it. He looks up and asks if he can change his race to drow? Jen replies, “Changing your Race to drow would require a Standard Action.”

By the end of the scenario we had saved our reality, plus both Fantasy and Future versions of Golarion. Suffice to say, it was a bizarre game and one I’ll never forget.

You can download the scenario for free here, as fan made content, linked with permission from Jen McTeague.



Vanessa Hoskins

Vanessa has been creating games and adventures since she was 10 and raided the family board games for dice while using her vast LEGO collection for minis and locations. Today, she has authored several Pathfinder and Starfinder Society scenarios including an interactive special. She’s also crafted adventures and encounters for multiple 3rd party publishers in addition to her devious class options appearing in both Paizo and 3rd party products. When not writing, running, or playing role-playing games, she enjoys narrative based video games, musical theatre, and spending time with her wife and their adorable cats.