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The West Marches - RPG that is always open to new players. Even if you want to play solo! Back for 2019

What is the West Marches?

The West Marches is a player driven roleplaying setting. It’s an open world experience where every person decides what their character does. You pick what plot thread you want to follow and get other players to join you on your adventure. For PBF it’s really good, because any person can create a character at any point and walk them straight into a world that’s constantly being expanded.

I’m going to use the pathfinder system for this, and everyone wanting to create a level one character can do so. If anyone is interested in the game but is a complete novice I’ve got some pregenerated characters ready to go.

Here’s Matt Colville explaining the concept

And the original author explaining the setting.


Or alternatively, here’s the start of the adventure itself…

*Pathfinder is here http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/
*Character sheet is here http://charactersheet.co.uk/pathfinder/#/login
*Roll your own dice or points buy for character creation.
*All players start at level one.

Roster of characters.

@Sleepywill Cristian – Jinnie
@Scribbs - Kyla
@Sagantine - Ssora - Kaiza
@Abubu Nyoll -Cal
@Gambauge - Borgar
@HrafnkelRedBeard - Arthur
@necro-1000 - Ezran
@decitrig - Taliesin


On the edge of the Kingdom of Serk sat the great goblin marsh. As the Kingdom grew and prospered the world became calmer, more ordered. Although bandits and thieves still exist, the great heroes are all dead or long retired, for there is no more adventure to be found. The last great frontier, known only as the West Marches was beyond reach.

That is, until now.

At great personal expense, the Lord Leas has driven a roadway through the marshlands, the foundations are deep, and its surface is furnished with flagstones of polished granite.

As solid ground rises above the reeds and the pathway ends, you find yourself approaching the last outpost of civilisation; A most curious coaching inn. The paint is still wet on the sturdy oak doors of The End of the Road. Beyond this building is nothing but lawless wilderness.

On this bright morning the Lord Leas himself is standing in the inn’s great hall. Around him is a throng of characters, all no doubt seeking to be part of this historic day.

The landlord, who introduces himself as Hugo, hands you a free drink. “First one free for every adventurer!” He shouts, patting you on the back, “Riker! Where is that second cart of beer? It should have been here by now!”
You glimpse Riker scurrying through the crowd, hear him complain under his breath. “Why am I even here, being bellowed at by this oaf?” He ignored Hugo, darting behind the bar.

On the second floor you can see a selection of hardy people, tools hanging from their belts, where you might have slung a weapon instead. They appear to be talking to a man with huge forearms, who is drinking from a fine wooden bowl. They seem to be in good spirits.

A cry goes up from the crowd. Everyone falls silent. Lord Leas has some words to share.
“Adventurers! Yes, that is what you are. Adventuring is not a common or safe profession, so I am not surprised you few are the only ones interested in risking your lives in the wilderness in hopes of making a fortune.”

A small cheer echoes around the room.

“Between sorties into the wilds please rest up, trade info and plan your next foray in this cheery taproom. Your bed, food and drink will all be at my expense!”

A louder cheer erupts.

“No doubt you’ve already heard many rumours, such as the one of strange lights in the Sky, yes, beyond these towering trees is terra incognita. The Western Marches are dangerous, very dangerous, but remember danger unites. Look around you, your greatest strength is the other adventurers. Learn to observe the environment and adapt. When they stumble into the lair of a terrifying hydra retreat and round up a huge posse to hunt it down. I know you are all inexperienced, as we have nothing else like this place in Serk. Go out, have the adventures you want, but make sure you come back. Talking of which…”

Lord Leas pulls a velvet cloth of a large round table. It is made from the trunk of an enormous tree. On one edge is etched a small drawing of this Inn, the End of the Road.

“Tomas Woodsman, the leader of the Woodsman loggers gives you this. Consider this your map. As you return, carve the world into the surface, record the monsters you have slain. This land, and your path through it are waiting for you!”

He raises his own tankard.

“To adventure!”


Jinnie stands among the cheering adventurers, her thin lips pinched tighter than ever. She does not cheer, and most would mistake her for a kitchen maid, were it not for the withering glare she gives any who even attempt to ask her what’s for supper.

When the commotion has subsided, she makes her way over to the tree trunk, examining it closely. Her plain, repaired many times skirt, modest shirt and greying hair should make her indistinguishable among the hero’s in their armour, with gleaming polished weapons and youth, yet she captivates others with but a word, her small knife is like a flash of quicksilver in her hands as she snags an apple from the bar.

Jinnie is a bard, and her performances are in storytelling, and… well, talking to grown men and women as if they are children! She is middle aged, and obviously spent her life until now working hard, her hands are calloused, her skin started to wrinkle from long hours toil in the sun and her her is grey from stress. Yet when she talks, her eyes twinkle, her smile hints at the beauty she once was - still is, and she is as keen as any to set out on adventure, even if she is more modest in how she celebrates this event!

I went from 2nd Ed. D&D to 5th - I missed Pathfinder completely - I’ve got a core rulebook, 5th printing - is this the appropriate starting point, and which other books should I look into getting?


Kaiza Blackhand stands awkwardly on the outside of the group. Her half-orc ancestry is obvious from her height, grey-green skin and carnivorous teeth. What’s a little off-brand is her robes and gear - a complicated ensemble of pockets and pouches, vials, scroll cases and book bags. Around her right wrist is a twist of silver with a dangling ruby focus, which she plays with absentmindedly. From a distance her hands would appear to fit her name well - her family’s elaborate coming-of-age tattoos cover from the middle of the forearm down - magically protected from wear and age.

She’s not as heavily built as many half-orcs, though she is taller than many of the men here. Her mother boasts that she’s ‘one quarter elf’, and that she gets her good looks from her father’s side. Kaiza mostly appreciates that she received her father’s talent for magic, and passionate pursuit for knowledge. She’s devoured every book and scroll available to her (many sent to her by her father), and she’s ready to see what she’s capable of.

She usually eschews anything related to law or monarchy - she was taught that independence was the way that a Blackhand honoured their ancestors. But this opportunity is too juicy to pass up. She’s excited, (though a little shy at the moment) to meet like-minded individuals who share her passion for exploration and discovery.

So psyched for this. What a great way to start the new year!
I have a character builder thing on me tablet - should I use that? I’ve never played Pathfinder, but I’ve read the books and know the rules relatively well.
Any rules on character creation??


She be a wizard, btw


Level one, thats all really. If theres anything daft on your character sheet I’ll flag it up.

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Can you ping them to me too? I’m interested in playing, but have only learned 5E.

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Publicly roll for stats? I just rolled some real life dice, but I don’t think anyone would believe that I wasn’t cheating.

Can you send me the PDF you’re using?

If anyone is desperate to spend money, my primary source of reference is the PFRPG rd app. It’s £3 or so.

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Best source of free pathfinder rules http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/

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The young shepherdess leant thoughtfully on her crook, looking intently at the group of adventurers. As outsiders, there’s a fair chance they’d be more accommodating of her half human-elvish heritage than the villagers at home. That and they might be far less superstitious about her other abilities.

A sleek flash of fur darts from behind her braided tail of red hair and rests on her shoulder. Kyla reaches up and affectionately rubs the weasel’s face with a knuckle. “How about it Fierce? Sounds more interesting than minding the flock.” The weasel nips at her hand playfully and chitters back. Seems he agrees.

In case that was too vague, she’s a half elf witch


Jinnie positions herself close to the half-orc Kaiza. On tiptoes she whispers “We could use the talents of that half-elf, don’t you think?”


Kaiza looks at Jinnie and then at the half-elf. She’s caught off-guard a bit by Jinnie’s whisper - she was zoning out a little.
“Oh! Sorry, I didn’t see you.” She extends her hand with a smile, and also whispers just because Jinnie did. "Kaiza Blackhand. Student of the magic arts, and wannabe scholar. Pleased to make your acquaintance."
She looks at the half elf again, and tries to get her attention with a wave. Kaiza has a good feeling about these two! She tends to trust other women easily. “I suppose we should move fast if everyone is forming groups!”

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When Kyla is in earshot

“Listen, these blockheads are going to spend the day drinking, and tomorrow nursing the hangover, hows abouts, when they manage to overcome the nausea enough to open their eyes, what if we’ve already put the first mark on that map, us three?”

Kyla smiles nervously at both the others. “That sounds like a great plan. I’m Kyla. You’re the bard that was playing here last night, right?”

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(Jinnies performance is in storytelling - she tells old fables and uses a touch of magic to liven it up, and a pouch of foley (her instrument) to create sound effects)

“That was me, the story of the great giant, who lived in the clouds and the boy who climbed the beanstalk to take his treasures!”

(Twispby is still looking at character creation, but feel free to discuss possible actions or chat as you see fit.)

(No worries, whoever Twispby turns out to be, we’ll find a reason to want them along!)

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Kyla runs her fingers lightly over the wooden round. “To be the first people to put a new marker on this might be worth a tale or two perhaps? Any thoughts on which direction to explore first?”