GM Granta's AP Planning

Game Master Granta

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Sovereign Court

Solstice Scar B Player Signup: Session 1, Session 2

I am thinking about running the upcoming Adventure Path: War for the Crown. Since it isn't even out yet, we most likely wouldn't start until March--and that is assuming Paizo releases it on time.

Scarab Sages

HP 10/10; CLW wand 47/50; reroll at +3 1/1; Reroll vs drug, poison or disease 1/1; AC 11; Fort +3; Ref +1; Will +4; Perception +8; init +1 Cleric-1

That would be pretty neat. I've always thought doing an AP as it released would be pretty neat.


That could be fun.

I assume this will either be a home game or campaign mode, assuming it's sanctioned?

Sovereign Court

Solstice Scar B Player Signup: Session 1, Session 2

Assuming it's PFS sanctioned, we will do campaign mode--preferably core.

Scarab Sages

HP 10/10; CLW wand 47/50; reroll at +3 1/1; Reroll vs drug, poison or disease 1/1; AC 11; Fort +3; Ref +1; Will +4; Perception +8; init +1 Cleric-1

So with different characters from the current table setup.

Campaign mode does make a bit more sense with AP specific traits and such being avaialble.


The content sounds interesting from the description.

I don't have a preference if it is Core or Standard or something else. Core has some problems for some classes if I understand the description correctly. With 2 skill points it is challenging to become a spymaster or politician. At least we know that beforehand.

Sovereign Court

Solstice Scar B Player Signup: Session 1, Session 2

The core or standard designation will just apply to the chronicle sheets we all get. Character creation rules will be somewhere in between core and classic.

Sovereign Court

Solstice Scar B Player Signup: Session 1, Session 2

I just purchased the Adventure Path Subscription, so we are officially running this AP. Character creation will start once the Player's Guide is released.


Cool :)

Sovereign Court

Woo! Standard is my preference, but I'm just happy to play!

Sovereign Court

Solstice Scar B Player Signup: Session 1, Session 2

Most likely, we will not get started until the end of April. I just ran some numbers, and realized that if I work 60 hours/week instead of 40, I can pay off my debt by mid-April instead of the end of the year.

Of course, that means a lot of sacrifices in the rest of my life, and GMing an AP is a big--and optional--responsibility. I will also be cutting back on player campaigns, so you probably won't see me anywhere other than Solstice Scar until May.


That's fine. I'm not going anywhere. :)

Sovereign Court

Beat that debt down!

EDIT: If the first book comes out mid February, would y'all be interested in starting the party making process when the player's guide is released? Especially for an AP, it would be fun to make a party that functions really well together and it sounds like we'd have the time to work at it!


Male Human

Doing the WftC AP would be great! If we post often maybe we can keep up with it as it's published. That would be better than I'm doing with my home game of Ironfang... Nine months and we're halfway through book 2. :-)

I'm interested in creating the character as soon as the player guide is ready.

Also, this AP is replacing the long campaign that the GM was doing before, right?

Does that mean that the characters that we had for that sequence are now free to do other things? I've got a half-orc barbarian with a chip on his shoulder that would love to keep beating things up.

Sovereign Court

Solstice Scar B Player Signup: Session 1, Session 2

All three tables of Consortium Compact finished tonight, so it's time to start discussing the new campaign . . .

The days of GMing 10 tables at a time and playing in another dozen have passed. It's looking like my bandwidth is going to be 1 GM and 2-3 player tables. And that probably means no more PFS for me. Everything that I liked about organized play, depended on playing a ton, i.e. the opportunity to play lots of different characters.

So with the reduced bandwidth, I am going to be looking for adventure paths to play in. Those are a lot rarer though, and harder to get into, so I would like to reserve seats in my AP for a GM trade. Ideally, that could be accomplished with you guys, although I would consider changing the roster if necessary.

And that leads to the million dollar question: would any of you be willing to GM an AP? It would not have to start at the same time as this one, and might even be better if the starts were staggered by a couple of months. If needed, I would be happy to purchase the AP books for the GM.

@MindXing: Yes, your characters from the other campaign are now normal, free Pathfinders.


I own Curse of the Crimson Throne. I'd like to run that for Standard Mode credit.

I'd need to review them, but some that seem interesting to run are Strange Aeons, Carrion Crown, and Ironfang Invasion.

I didn't enjoy playing RotRL, so I doubt I'd enjoy running it.

Sovereign Court

Solstice Scar B Player Signup: Session 1, Session 2

One of the better GMs that Gummy Bear and I play with IRL raves about Curse of the Crimson Throne, so I would definitely be up for that. I know nothing about Strange Aeons or Ironfang Invasion, but have played one of the Carrion Crown books.

Lantern Lodge

Sign up sheet Dragon.

I've got half way through legacy of fire before, and that was a lot of fun, but a huge amount of work.

I'm currently playing Hell's Rebels (book 2 I think) and shackled city (probably near the end of book 4).

I started GMing a Strange Aeons game, but it was hard to get atmosphere right in PBP, and I let in a summoner. I also started a serpents skull game many years ago, which I think had a huge amount of potential.

I'd probably be up for any of them though. I've not heard much about the Azlanti one, but kind of like the idea of some of the lore behind it.

Sovereign Court

Blake's Tiger, what did you not like about Rise of the Runelords? So far I like it, I'm just curious as far as considering other AP's.

Rise of the Runelords: Currently in
Giantslayer: Currently in
Skull and Shackles: Currently in
Carrion Crown: Played part way through book 1
Legacy of Fire: GM'd through first 3 books
Age of Worms: Played through all of it

Curse sounds like it would be fun! Haha as Granta said, I've only heard good things about it. I'd also be interested in the other AP's Blake's Tiger mentioned. I'd rather not play something I'm currently in, but, with the exception of Legacy of Fire, I wouldn't have a problem replaying anything.


I think a lot of my opinion was colored by my player experience rather than being based on the AP's design. The builds were restricted and we were losing 2 characters (deaths) per book, so I didn't feel invested in the party as story characters (wizard #3 is just going to die again, so why get to know him). It just brings back bad memories.

Sovereign Court

Solstice Scar B Player Signup: Session 1, Session 2

@Blake: So would you be willing to GM CotCT in campaign mode for standard chronicles? Projected start some time in the next 6 months?


GM Granta wrote:
@Blake: So would you be willing to GM CotCT in campaign mode for standard chronicles? Projected start some time in the next 6 months?

Yes :)


Male Human

I'm currently playing Reign of Winter, Giantslayer, and Mummy's Mask all as PbP. I'm also GMing Ironfang as a home game (as mentioned above). As of now I haven't been a GM for any PbP games but I'm getting ready to take the plunge. I think I'll start with scenarios before I tackle a full AP. That being said, I'm open to running Ironfang for this group as PbP but starting a few months from now.

I read Granta's post above as a proposal of this group playing multiple APs with each of us GMing. And those games would have staggered start dates by a couple months. Does this mean that Granta is starting WftC in April then Blake's Tiger would start CotCT a couple months after that? By then I _think_ I would be ready and could start Ironfang.

Just some ideas.

Sovereign Court

Solstice Scar B Player Signup: Session 1, Session 2

You're all here because I like playing Pathfinder with you, so of course I would like to play other APs with this same group. However, I consider that decision up to each GM. You may not like each others' playing styles as much as I do, or you may just have a friend that you really want in your own AP. Or a player may reach their bandwidth limit. But as long as there are GMs willing, (role-)players can be found :-)

And your proposed schedule works for me. How about everyone else?

Lantern Lodge

Sign up sheet Dragon.

I can play in probably one more AP. I suspect picking up more than one would be a mistake for me though.

Sovereign Court

I could do two more AP's.


I am not currently in any AP's, so should have enough time.

Sovereign Court

Solstice Scar B Player Signup: Session 1, Session 2

I would like to create a sort of GM report card, in the hopes that having an organized system for judging my performance will help me improve it. The first question is what questions to ask? What are the things we want to measure?

My ideas so far:

  • Posting Consistency/Game Speed
  • Clarity (Combat & Story)
  • Challenging Combat
  • Narration/Storytelling
  • Player Agency/PC Effectiveness
  • Rules Knowledge/Enforcement

Any items to add to the list? Comments/questions on the list so far?

Lantern Lodge

Sign up sheet Dragon.

I like posting consistency / game speed - although that is a bit subjective so you may want to set out a benchmark to be graded against.
Clarity is a good one to ask.
Challenging combat... I'd avoid. There is often quite detailed tactics that the GM is supposed to follow, and you have no control over them or the set up/encounter make up - at least in PFS
Narration - another good one to have
Not too sure what you are after for player agency / pc effectiveness
Rules knowledge / enforcement is a good to have, but I'd not weight it too heavily.

Sovereign Court

I'd include a short description about what each one means to you. That seems pretty comprehensive to me, I'll have to think about any other questions I'd want to know about a GM.

Sovereign Court

Solstice Scar B Player Signup: Session 1, Session 2
GM Aerondor wrote:
Challenging combat... I'd avoid. There is often quite detailed tactics that the GM is supposed to follow, and you have no control over them or the set up/encounter make up - at least in PFS.

We are doing an AP though. No more GM straitjacket.

GM Aerondor wrote:
Not too sure what you are after for player agency / pc effectiveness.

Do you feel like your decisions and actions matter? Do they influence the story?


Several of those are how I judge PbP PFS GMs to keep track of whether I want to sign up for another one of their games. I think the two biggest ones are posting consistency and rules application.

Outside of PFS...

Posting Consistency/Game Speed
Clarity of Posts
Narration/Storytelling
Player Agency/PC Effectiveness
Rules Knowledge/Application (a GM has to know when to bend the rules)

I would say Appropriateness of Challenges rather than Challenging Combat. You could throw 3 pit fiends at a group of level 1 characters and that would be A+ challenging but not very fun.

Responsiveness to Player Questions/Concerns. I recently queried a well known PbP GM about the action economy of the main villain, and in response, he retcon'ed 3 rounds of combat to allow the NPC to make an AoO. I had a PbP GM apparently quit midway through a scenario because he kept getting rules clarification questions. These are bad examples. You should be encouraged to know that you're scoring very well, Granta.

Adaptability. Sometimes PCs (or builds) throw off the usual equation. Good GMs can adapt to it and consider creative solutions (or at least add circumstance bonuses), poor GMs just tell you that you can't do that.


Male Human

I've not GMd PbP (yet) so I'm only coming at this from a player point of view. I agree with all of the previous posts. One thing that I don't see captured but is important to me is what I would call "PbP Mechanics". That is, how well does a GM adapt the normal at-the-table mechanics to PbP. Some examples include handling initiative as blocks instead of as a strict order, providing the DC for certain skill checks/saves with the results in a spoiler, preannouncing what types of knowledge checks would be useful instead of waiting for players to ask, and dealing with those situations where a player can reroll after they see their roll but before they know the result of the roll.

In general, better GMs put as much as they can in a post to avoid mechanics-based interactions that would happen normally at a table.

Sovereign Court

Solstice Scar B Player Signup: Session 1, Session 2

@Blake: To me, "challenging" implies an appropriate level of difficulty. A challenge is something that stretches our capabilities, not overwhelms them.

@MindXing: Most of what you mentioned falls under Clarity for me, though perhaps it could/should be split into two categories. For me, making sure that the players know what is going on is a huge part of adapting to the PbP format.

Updated List:

  • Posting Consistency/Game Speed
  • Clarity (Combat & Story)
  • Challenging Combat
  • Narration/Storytelling
  • Player Agency/PC Effectiveness
  • Rules Knowledge/Application
  • Communication & Conflict Resolution


You might want to change that to Challenging Encounters, since all challenges are not combat.

Also, not every combat/encounter is supposed to stretch our capabilities. In a campaign, for every "chapter" (not talking APs here) there are easy encounters (things that let you say, "Yes, I am the hero who does this thing"), a few average encounters, a couple challenging encounters, and maybe an epic encounter. If every encounter requires stretching your creativity and resources, it creates a stress environment for the players. If every encounter is a cake walk, it creates a non-stimulating environment for the players.

Think of it like a piece of music.

So there's Pacing, which could fall under Storytelling.


Male Human

Based on some experiences in another game I came over here to post a new item to your list and I see you already have it: "conflict resolution".

I don't know exactly how you will score that, but I'm glad to see it on your list since poor handling of conflict and disgruntlement in a game can kill it faster than a TPK.


Some thoughts as we get slowly closer:

I'd like to play a Pavo-esque character. I've been trying to play the Crimson Nuthatch for over a decade, so I would like to try again.

I've got the bandwidth to play this AP and run CotCT, but I don't think I'd be able to play in any more APs, just so you all know when it comes time for recruiting.

Sovereign Court

Would you elaborate on what you mean by "Pavo-esque" and "Crimson Nuthatch"?

The Exchange

CG Human (Taldane) Bard 1.2 | HP 11/13 | AC 18 T 13 FF 15 | F +2 R +5 W +2 | CMD 14 | K: All Other +2 K: Local +6 | Perc +4 SM +0 | Init +3 | | Speed 30 ft | Bardic Performance 0/6 | 1st 2/2 | Active Effects: ---

He's the character I was playing in the Core series. :)

Happy-go-lucky, ladies man, prankster who likes to break into places and steal hearts because he can... and then hijinks ensue.

The character was born a long time ago, but my home group has the guy who always plays the skill monkey in every campaign we played.

Sovereign Court

Solstice Scar B Player Signup: Session 1, Session 2

It looks like the book 1 PDF will be available February 28, so I expect the player guide then as well.

@Pavo: Have you played with Tagir Mohandis at all?


No, I've nit had the pleasure. :)

Sovereign Court

Solstice Scar B Player Signup: Session 1, Session 2

Tagir is a Pavo-ish character of mine, that has been a lot of fun. I'm too tired to search through his posts right now for goodies, but if you get bored one day and want to check him out, he might give you some ideas for Pavo.

Sovereign Court

The anticipation for this is killing me. COME OOOON PLAYERS GUIDE! Would anyone be opposed to doing some preliminary planning? Like generally what roles they like to play, loot distribution, etc?

Lantern Lodge

Sign up sheet Dragon.

I'm pretty easy about what I play, although I have a slight tendency to talky characters. Okay, a large tendency. So face-type roles often suit me well.

Sovereign Court

Solstice Scar B Player Signup: Session 1, Session 2

Fair warning, I will not be hanging back this time and letting each individual do whatever they want; that did not work out so well last time. We are going to build a well balanced party, even if I have to tell people "tough s++*" a dozen times.


Male Human

Ensuring that we have a balanced party seems like a good idea to me. I am interested in many different types of characters so I'm sure I can find something that will work.

Do we know if this is going to be urban, wilderness, dungeon, etc?

Sovereign Court

We might have an idea if the player's guide wasn't MIA :D

Haha I'm a little bitter about it, sorry.

I find that I'm partial to melee based characters, but I like to think I can perform well enough in any role. I have to say that in my experience as a face type of character, I can be hit or miss. Some days I'm on, some days I'm off, so I'd rather not be the main character for that :)

I would like to see this Crimson Nuthatch hit the map... a decade of character brewing has got to have at least a couple of gems stowed away ;)

Sovereign Court

Solstice Scar B Player Signup: Session 1, Session 2

From the description, I assume mostly urban. I still don't have book one though, so not sure yet.

Lantern Lodge

Sign up sheet Dragon.

The guides normally have some good suggestions for character concepts, both those that work and those than won't.

I'm playing a sovereign court ranger(dandy) at the moment in PFS and I suspect that would be an idea type of character for this.


I have thought about some preliminary characters, for different roles. It has to be somewhat talkative type, as it's pretty hard for me to build posts for more silent characters. It doesn't necessarily mean a good diplomacy, one of my favourite comments from GM's is when my CHA 7 ranger got the ruling "From now, I take all your diplomacy rolls as automatic fails".

Anyway, I'm up for any part. Even the dreaded support-healing cleric, my first PFS character was a dedicated healer and I really liked playing her. The 2 skill points is a bit tricky if the preliminary campaign rumours are true, but workable.

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