Groundbreaking – Vacation Hot Spots

Much of the lives of our PCs involves chewing bubble gum, kicking down doors, taking names, and running out of said bubble gum. Even the codified downtime system in 2e assumes that downtime is used either to recover from a near death experience or to further your agenda by acquiring more money to acquire or create more powerful bubble gum. When is the last time you had a PC just take some time off and relax?

A person admires the Aurora Borealis late at night on the Snaefellsnes peninsula in western Iceland.

I am going to be moving soon, and so we have been making some trips recently to see some people we aren’t going to be able to see much anymore. I just spent the weekend driving my family around California, through varying types of terrain at speeds that would haunt pretty much any NPC in Pathfinder. We live in a valley that sees temperature swings, seasonally, that range from just above freezing in the coldest of winter to over 110F in the worst of summer. We drove to the cold and damp coast of San Francisco one day and then up and over the snowy mountains to the dry desert of northern Nevada. On our drive home through the mountains, the weather was so bad that we spent 2 hours at the top of the mountain driving through fog, rain, and snow at roughly 10 mph in a line of hundreds of cars, if not thousands. The point of this context, is that I had a lot of time to think about vacations and travel, and as we all do, I started to relate that to gaming.

Marathis’ Cradle doesn’t exactly have a Department of Tourism, but there are always popular stories and tales of places to visit should you have the time and means. Plus, traveling bards are often paid to spread positive opinions of places they have been, and adventurer’s are always talking about their favorite watering hole, some epic climb they made, or how big their monster fish was that they caught. Here are a list of “common” vacation activities and where you are likely to best enjoy them in Marathis’ Cradle.

  • Stargazing / Aurora Gazing Possibly due to ley-line activity, there are some amazing auroras above the Cradle. The eastern slope of Mount Marathis is known to have some of the best views. The better serve vacationers that wish to see the auroras and their full glory, while also being fully pampered, a halfling named Sissan Quinn opened a little resort on the eastern cliffs, near the top of the mountain. What started as a Bed and Breakfast for the daring, they have expanded and can now host over a dozen guests, in 5 suites that include hot tubs and meals on demand.
  • Mountain Climbing / Canyon Sights The Gorge in the south-eastern part of the Cradle is home to dizzying heights/drops and the most difficult to cliffs you could possibly want to (try to) climb. Rock and Company has grown in size to the point that they are branching out, and it turns out that canyon tourism isn’t terribly different than desert tourism, but more lucrative. They are working on ways to make the sights and climbs more accessible without the constant need for feather fall.
  • Cliff Diving / White Water Rapids The river through the Misty Forest picks up a lot of energy and speed as it squeezes through the ravines on its way out of the Cradle. While it isn’t exactly a sport, there are those that make their money navigating said rapids, which means there are those that can be hired to traverse them should you feel the absolute need to do so (be that for fun or on the run). Likewise, generations of Rapid Riders (as they call themselves) have charted all of the safe areas and pools, many of which are caused by deep holes in corners of the ravines and are thus “safe” places to cliff dive.
  • Backpacking / Hiking / Camping Let’s face it, it is more of a modern thing to want to “get back to nature” … our adventurer’s entire lives is often backpacking from place to place and camping out. That said, should you want to do so, you have a wide assortment of options. Mountains, hills, forests, rain forests, deserts, cliffs, ravines, pick your terrain, your favorite town, and simply follow a game trail until you get tired and want to camp for the night. The Hunting Grounds are the most popular, especially in summer, when the weather is conducive, the large game are easy to find, and the Huntsmen are more likely to be around to keep you safe from predators.
  • Waterfalls While water pours out of 3 faces of Mount Marathis, the southern faces is said to have the more magnificent of the falls. Something about their location seems to catch the light better, through more of the day, allowing you to bask in warn sunlight while enjoying the cold mists from the falls. As the more commonly used road to Lakeside Proper is on the southern side, there are also many more chances to explore the dozens of falls that water flows down the height of the mountain.
  • Fishing This is another activity that is more lifestyle than hobby, but if you want to experience fishing there are many choices out there for you. The rivers in the north are likely to offer the best fly fishing, while the lakes in the south are likely to offer bigger fish, provided you take a boat out on the water. The slow currents and swells in the swamp are going to be great for noodling, and the rapids are likely to provide fighting predators … assuming one doesn’t crawl onto the land and eat you first.
  • Lava Tubes / Liquid Magma While they aren’t known for their open arms, the dwarves of Clan Stormbrew are trying to better their relationships with top siders so that they can improve their exports. The most difficult part of this vacation is finding their doors in the desert.

And there we have a number of vacation ideas for your characters in Marathis’ Cradle. It shouldn’t take much to adapt these to locations on Golarion or in your homebrew. An let’s face it, each one of these is simply a thinly veiled premise for something to go wrong and become the start of an adventure.

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Randal Meyer

As a lover of crunch (rules and numbers), Randal is always tinkering with rules options. His love of magic users has led him to always fuss with the mechanics of magic and magic items. Years of GMing on the fly have given him vast amounts of ideas and content from which to draw on for adventures (ideas, plots, NPCs). When not working, playing with his kids, bowling, or running a PF campaign, Randal is likely writing some new mobile web app ( to enhance the experience of playing Pathfinder!

1 Comment

  1. I’d heard about this app before, but since I almost never use my phone except to… phone someone, I never thought I’d use it.

    Thanks, Perram, for making it so easy. The emulator worked like a charm, and once I also DLed Adobe into it, I was able to export a character as pdf, email it to myself, open it, cut & paste to wordpad then to word to make double-collumn listings of NPCs for games (and eventually for published adventures).

    Only a small amount of post-paste formatting was required on my first test characters. A great tool, time-saving and effective.