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PATHCO is a weekly livestream involving four Brits and one Belgian attempting to navigate the Pathfinder rules system and whatever trickery the current DM has devised. Every main team game is broadcasted at Sunday, 7pm GMT, to the PATHCO YouTube channel and uploaded immediately afterwards. The videos are, very slowly, being organised into playlists of each module.

A handful of adventurers met in the shabby town of Riverton, little more than a bridge over the River Ton, took out the recent undead infestation and henceforth became known as the PATHCO adventuring party, operating independently of the more prominent and allegedly law-abiding Pathfinder Society. The current lineup includes Sigmund von Bek, a disgraced ex-nobleman now acting as PATHCO's Human Fighter; Apollyon Buckheart, an Elf Sorcerer hailing from a long line of aristrocratic undead; Dave Barrowhill, a cheerful teenaged Halfling Bard; Brother Glanvar, formerly a bandit but now a solemn Dwarf Monk and Thyra Bergfalk, an enthusiastic Dwarf Cleric of Thor. Each adventure is largely distinct from those that come before and after it but with a handful of recurring characters and themes, as well as a few lurking plot strands waiting to be called upon when needed.

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A couple of years after PATHCO's creation the 'B-Team' was formed - same players, different characters, with each adventure being contained to just one 2-hour slot rather than spanning multiple sessions. Designed to be played when too many players are missing to progress the main plot, it focuses on low-level 'interns' in the Pathfinder Society: Bea von Bek, a Human Investigator who also happens to be Sigmund's nervous niece; Delta Viatore, a stoic Half-Elf Paladin and member of the Tide Knights; Rokou, a Human Slayer on a mission to retrieve a holy artefact; Nyx Xian, a mysterious and competent Human Soulknife, and Myra Navratilova, a Human Cavalier who wants to prove herself to her family.


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PATHCO contains examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: While not romantic in any way, Seth clearly admires Sigmund a lot. Sigmund, on the other hand, can barely stand him as he’s a troglodyte.
  • Accidental Truth: Apollyon very convincingly lies about the location of a far larger Living Metal Treant when caught in a fight between the lumberjacks and PATHCO, saying it's in the direction of Arbello. Unbeknownst to him he was completely right as a very large, very ancient one is later awakened by the lake around Arbello Castle to join the fight against the troglodyte cultists. Fortunately for the Treant in question, Darla and her crew got the sense that they were lied to (even if they technically weren't) before they got anywhere near.
  • Aerith and Bob: Deliberately invoked by Dave's player, who noticed that she was surrounded by Thyras, Sigmunds and Vladimirs.
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  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: All of Dave's summoned animals have the 'celestial' subtype due to a feat he has, and are described as being improbably pastel and sparkly.
  • Amazon Brigade: While the Tide Knights are equal opportunities they are mostly women, who are pretty much all tall, broad, and exceedingly badass.
  • Batman Gambit: On the part of the DM of the Welcome to Ossenheim module. In-universe, the task was to capture a baby deer on the castle grounds and bring it to the task-giver, but the real challenge to the players (preventing the fawn from being eaten) relied on them caring about it enough to save it from death. And they did (apart from Sigmund).
  • Breather Episode: The B-Team Festival Episode came sandwiched between a slew of plot- and character-heavy A-Team sessions, acting as such for the players.
  • Caffeine Bullet Time: Rokou ends up with a sugar high from her first ice cream and enters this state when tasked to build a sandcastle.
  • The Cavalry: While fighting Darla and her goons for the second time by the river, Apollyon was knocked to a very low HP when casting a spell and was on the brink of death before Rarl, a ranger PATHCO had previously rescued, leapt down from a cliff with his wolf Silver and took out the threatening half-orc.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The scorpions Polly steals and then leaves in an inn by accident later crash his cult meeting, engaging both PATHCO and cultists in a pretty lengthy battle.
    • The existence of Living Metal Treants around Arbello. One growing by a pool of discarded weapons is awakened by Dave and is easily persuaded to kick the crap out of both cultists and demon.
  • Creepy Crows: Thyra ends up blinded by a swarm of them hanging about the place during the fight at Cobbler's Mill, during Return to Arbello.
  • Creepy Cute: Polly's homunculus Ryan looks like a tiny, distorted, tentacle-armed version of Polly. And yet, somehow, he still manages to be oddly sweet, especially when he's portrayed as hiding out in Polly's handy haversack to hand him items when needed.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Rather surprisingly in favour of the party rather than their foe when they stumble across Vladimir Tumblefluff at the Marshtop Inn and proceed to beat the shit out of him, forcing him into surrender in less than three rounds due to a combo of bad DM rolls, Dave's Ear Piercing Scream, and Thyra's newly magically-imbued hammer.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Sigmund's being doing it one way or another for most of the campaign, even if the 'sorrows' part of it only came to light in Return to Arbello. It's built into his class now, as the Barbarian archetype 'Drunken Brute'.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The very first few sessions have additional player characters who left early on, with no Sigmund and no Thyra. In addition to this, the three modules preceeding 'Welcome To Ossenheim' aren't on the YouTube channel as it hadn't been created yet.
  • Enemy Mine: Invoked by PATHCO: after defeating Vlad Tumblefluff it is revealed that the boggards who hired him are about to attack while he's still in the Inn, something he's not happy about. With enough clinking of coin from Apollyon and Thyra, PATHCO sends him back to the boggards with the task of toppling the leader of the group.
  • Epic Fail: While all critical fails are this to some degree, Apollyon glitterdusting himself and then having to roll a Will save against his own spell was one of the most epic failures experienced by PATHCO.
    • And then he shot himself in the foot with his only crossbow bolt, which happened to be poisoned.
  • Evil Counterpart: Slowly but steadily a collection of ‘Anti-PATHCO’ characters has been developing - the cherub-faced but bloody killer Vlad Tumblefluff for Dave, the brash but cruel, tradition-hating Darla to Thyra and the skilled but loud, obsessive Drevert to Brother Glanvar.
  • Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: Vladmir Tumblefluff, Halfling assassin, was first encountered very successfully disguised as child who wanted to find his father when in actual fact he wanted to kill the guard captain in cold blood. Dave's been suspicious of children asking for his help ever since.
  • Fastball Special: Dave’s been thrown at (and usually into) things quite a lot by Sigmund.
  • Foil: Characters within PATHCO have ended up being foils, or at least contrasts to one another.
    • Apollyon and Dave are both from huge, sprawling families: the former aristocratic and the latter barley farmer, both considered odd-ones-out and both encouraged by a fellow family oddball in the forms of Great Uncle Azaezel and Great Aunt Tilda respectively. They also have their own 'entourages', with Apollyon’s flesh golems and undead servants contrasting against Dave’s blue psychic bird and giant adorable dog.
    • Thyra and Glanvar are also similar sides of the same dwarf-shaped coin, as Thyra is a very typical dwarf from a mountain home and is a holy woman of a dwarf god, while Glanvar appears to have been raised in a city and has spent most of his life partaking in banditry, feeling little for his cultural heritage or any higher powers.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Dave's higher-level summoned animals are named like this - his goblin dog, a giant long-legged rat with disgusting dandruff, is called Precious, and his huge toothy crocodile is called Angel.
  • Funny Background Event: When Rokou asks if the Temple of Odin is where 'you worship your heathen gods', the nearby High Priest of Odin splutters out all of his coffee, unnoticed by the rest of the party.
  • Genre Savvy: In a moment of pure wisdom on Thyra's part (appropriately enough considering she's a cleric, but rare nonetheless) she smashes up some creepy taxidermied animals after a diary found in the Cobbler's Mill in the forests near Barktown suggests that they might have moved. This is later proven to have been an excellent idea, as a Graverisen tries to cast Animate Dead on one of them only for it to fail miserably as the thing can barely move.
  • Handicapped Badass: Bryce the one-armed ex-adventurer innkeep and Esme the one-footed Tide Knight both qualify in a major way, especially Esme - who had only been missing her foot for a few hours when the Raid on Marshtop Inn began and she was seen kicking ass, giving orders, and being a Big Damn Hero for the Barktown Boys.
  • Heroic Lineage / It Runs in the Family: Not as vivid or dramatic as other examples but present in the Barrowhill family of Scir. It’s something like a recessive wanderlust gene, and almost without fail through the family’s recorded history there has been one ‘odd one’ every other generation. They don’t even have to be direct descendants (Dave and Tilda are the only living examples and she’s his Great Aunt, not Grandmother), just to have the blood.
  • Improvised Golems: Apollyon was desperately trying to invoke this trope throughout the first module, with his attempts to create golems from the potatoes he had on hand, but it ultimtely just culminated with his blood oath against them (the potatoes, not the golems). Gillhelm, while put together out of any old random organic garbage Polly had on him at the time, was a little bit too thought about to be truly improvised and thus averts the trope.
  • Knight of Cerebus: PATHCO is a generally light-hearted campaign, with the odd spooky monster, but Petros stands out as a particularly vicious opponent in a brutal encounter that ends with a friendly NPC being almost fatally poisoned.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Barrenhelm ‘Barry’ Stoat the ghostly cobbler who haunts Apollyon’s shoes, whose existence beyond the veil of human life and death has apparently given him a ‘unique’ insight on the universe, often talks about things in terms of actual Pathfinder RPG mechanics which no one understands.
  • Made of Iron: For the most part, the adventurers are very tolerant to damage, as player characters tend to be in Tabletops. Set on fire? No problem!
  • Multishot: Glanvar’s ‘Flurry of Bows’ move allows him to shoot three arrows at once, and will probably be able to reach more as he levels up.
  • Mundane Utility: Using the combined powers of Glanvar’s epic bow skills, Dave’s bardic abilities and Apollyon’s alchemy, the team… opened a door which could easily have been opened with a slightly higher STR check.
  • Oh, Crap!: Usually, anything involving a natural one - this can also apply to an Acrobatics check for anyone but Glanvar and/or Dave. Finally, about fifty-fifty in regards to Apollyon’s spellwork.
    • One fight in the Scumport module involved Sigmund/his player taunting a foe with ‘good luck buddy, you’ll need a crit to hit me!’ literally seconds before said foe rolled a crit and stabbed him in the gut.
    Sigmund: That’ll do it!
    • Dave is entirely unconcerned by the evil-detecting security wand being operated at the gates into the Marshtop Inn, and then he remembers he has Darla's extremely evil cursed cleaver in his backpack.
  • Riddle Me This: Has come up not once but twice so far. The first time in Cassandra’s tower (in which the three questions were issued by the heads of Nick Cage, Ross Hornby and Robert Downey Junior) and the second time by a mysterious tavern figure who turns out to be what is essentially a genie.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: DMs seem to delight in placing them in front of Dave, from wombats to dire rats to baby treants and troglodytes, knowing he will absolutely fall over himself trying to help them and thus drive the plot forward in a predictable fashion.
  • RPG-Mechanics Verse: Barry, the ghostly cobbler, frequently speaks this way when dispensing wisdom during battles. He's the only one with this ability, so no one in the party has a clue what he's talking about.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Sangharl, the large armoured elf who is part of the Buckheart elite, is actually a woman.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: All of the Buckhearts have long ears, pale skin and shining blond hair, and most of them wear green. Most of them are also undead.
  • Super-Detailed Fight Narration: Anything involving a natural twenty, or a finishing blow - narration of attacks generally result in a paragraph-long description of damage and/or violent death.
  • Swamps Are Evil: The marsh that PATHCO find themselves making their way through in the second half of Return to Arbello is a textbook example, containing giant man-eating tadpoles, giant man-eating alligators, and regular-sized possibly man-eating frog men. A lot of fuss is made by the bewildered NPCs as to the fact that it's much bigger than it ought to be, too.
  • Theme Naming: Most if not all of the Buckhearts (Apollyon, Azaezel, Lethe…) have names with routes to classic literature from Greek to Latin to Biblical.
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: Apollyon steals one from Kate Fishwhisker's tower and finds that he is unable to open it, even when he tries to burn the lock off with acid. Later, his family back at Ossenheim help him crack it open... and he receives a sinister brand to the forehead and a whole host of creepy new powers.
  • Überwald: Ossenheim, Apollyon’s homeland, shows off many of the required traits in the eponymous 'Welcome to Ossenheim' module.
  • Unishment: Polly is cursed from the moment he cracks open the evil tome mentioned above: cursed with new necromantic powers that don't stem from his heritage, i.e. what he's always wanted. The brand to the face is less desirable, but his hair covers it easily most of the time.
  • Webcomic Time: While this was largely averted in the first few modules due to the timeskips between each one, 'Sea Storms and Scum Ports' and 'Return to Arbello' have put the trope into full effect. The former spanned only two or three weeks tops in-game and the latter only one - but when combined it took the players almost two real-life years to get through.

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