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The story of the AP is a classic and solid. However, Mythic rules simply exacerbates the issues that already exist in high level Pathfinder play. Pile this with additional boons granted by the story, the power is dialed up to 11 and the challenge is not. This gap is further widened by the number of players, optimization and point buy/stat generation of the party.
If you want to game master this AP, use the modified stat blocks presented on the boards or take the action to rework at least the key encounters.
My hope, and this is wishful thinking, is that an AP will be presented either with advanced players in mind either with the core design or at least a presentation of alternate tactics/rebuild suggestions. I believe alternate statblocks are asking for too much.
My thought here is that Paizo has been experimental in theme and design, so I don't know that an "advanced" AP would be completely out of the question. I realize, from the designer perspective, they are aiming to paint with the broadest brush but I believe there's probably enough for a market out there for an advanced type AP. GMs, like those in this and other threads, can scale up encounters, I believe you could as easily scale down encounters if you ran and advanced AP and your group was having a hard go of it but really liked the story.
I like the MMO type suggestion but it is a slippery slope as most MMO content at that level has a model where success is achieved through multiple attempts. Table top campaigns don't have that luxury of having multiple wipes per an encounter, so you have to be real careful with the scripted mechanics.
That's true but certainly that statement was made far before the thought of any Mythic rules were on the horizon, such is the life of an evolving game. I am not going to argue game mechanics as it was just a suggestion that it was something that could be put in play. Certainly, it would need to be made known to the players prior to that 1st mythic encounter. Best just not to mix the two systems into a single encounter concurrently
So, in the background, there is the fact that Kenebres is the breaching point where the demonic hordes flooded south. Even though this kind of sits in the background, has the specifics of this come up in any other GM's games where the players want to know some more details? The Mendevian capital lies south and my assumption is that Galfrey and company as well as any support for Drezen come from the south. Do you suppose the southern battlegrounds are currently localized to a SE sweep towards Nerosyan and Egede by way of the Estrovian Forest? I've gone through the 1st 5 books pretty casually, but I don't recall any specifics mentioned, probably since it isn't paramount to the current adventure.
I think the way to work this may lie with the concept of DR/epic to rule that out. Also, there's a certain amount of give and take when swapping between mass combat and individual encounters. Soltengrebbe is a party set-piece encounter, not resolved through mass combat. My suggestion is to fit the encounter while in transition to a skirmish or as a extra encounter in a skirmish. I am actually planning to have my party encounter twice. A couple rounds as they emerge from the crypt encounter as a nice little 2-3 round preview then the "real encounter" when the army assaults the armies of Drezen. While the Paladin army fights the mass combat, the party encounters Soltengrebbe in their set piece encounter. It should be noted that I use an alternate statblock presented in the stat block thread so except for some crazy dice rolling, the encounter should be a nice wake-up call to the party about what lies ahead.
Just curious to see how other GMs are handling the potential myriad of support cast that can accompany the PCs along on their adventure. Do you limit the number they can take? Do you have the PCs run those characters for the mechanical bits but you play the personality? Do you bear the extra load in combat?
I don't want to shun my group away from bringing along the NPCs and develop those relationships, but frankly, I don't want to run them in combat given everything else I am on the hook for, especially since this is the 1st game I am running completely via VT (D20 Pro).
Just fishing to see what others have done.
I am one of the others with grave concerns of high level play with mythic now in the mix. Mythic levels and the current issue of players outpacing monsters really concerns me. However, I understand the onus is on me to make the necessary adjustments but there are some issues that appear to need addressing for the betterment of high level play.
I really dislike the flavor of the 1st part of this adventure where meeting Iomedae is like meeting a trigger happy high school principal. I'll have to think about how to rework that. Having a LG deity immediately resort to punitive action seems out of place. My assumption is that this may due for the sake of page space and I could make a stretch that Iomedae doesn't have time to fool around as the Crusade hangs in a critical balance but I am definitely not playing this out as written. =(
For Book 1, what were some of the changes you made to the main encounters, what would be the major key encounters such as Hosilla, Faxon, and the Gray Garrison. I don't have an oversized party but they will have 20 pt buy and they are all very experienced players and tend to optimize to an appreciable amount without going full cheese-monger. I am tending not to care about mook encounters, but I am planning to optimize a few of the encounters, mainly the named NPC battles.
I tend to agree with your findings on how the game goes to rocket tag but also that for "advanced" players most AP encounters can't be ran as is ti be challenging to them. Sort of like they need to the game to be put into hard mode for them as if it was a video game.
A couple things;
#1 For those that have ran this and upped the challenge, what steps did you take. Reduce # of combats but have more challenging? Optimize the key enemy NPCs? I am definitely skipping mass combat and doing PC + some NPC support vs enemy army leadership retinue and use the mass combat as the narrative backdrop.
#2 How does Skirmish #3 work with the watchtowers. It sounds like it is one demon per tower x 4 towers but the encounter is CR 9 so, I assume that the party fights all 4 of the demons in a single tower due to their ability to teleport around.
So, I started importing the maps after the holidays, the ramp up time is far more significant than I expected since I am also importing in creatures and streamlining combat within D20 PRO in addition to getting the maps converted and scaled from the AP. Luckily, I am still a few months out before I am up to bat. The most frustrating part is that there are several encounters already in book one where there is no associated map and I am not inclined nor have any more time to throw at this to also learn a map making software.
I am going to replace the mass combat and distill the encounters into fights with the PCs versus leadership retinue of the enemy armies with a random events type table to still keep the tinge of the organized chaos of mass battles. So, friendly and not so friendly conditions can occur during the encounter such as temporary reinforcements etc. I hope it brings a sense of ebb and flow to it. Haven't decided to do it as a random even table or something else. Mass combat just seems to take the focus away from the PCs.
I am planning on running this once all of the books are out. I am starting my prep by doing a more thorough read through of the 1st three books to tweak etc. Are there any major landmines or things to look for based on your current experience running the AP so far?
Obvious this is a GM thread so spoiler tags as you feel appropriate.
My group will be 4 players, all but one very experienced players as gamers and experienced with the pathfinder system. We're currently going through RotRL with one of my future players as GM. 4 out of the 5 of us have known each other for 10+ years, so no typical group drama stuff to be worried about
For the escalation at the Gray Garrison;
Are the reinforcements split between the wardstone chamber and the rest of the garrison areas? The reason I ask, is the way it reads is that each escalation, more demons and cultists are specifically added to the chamber by Jeslyn, but it doesn't specify if this is pulled from the escalation troops on page 42 or if these troops are specific to the wardstone chamber are on top of these troops.
@j b 200
Did you consider having one of the NPCs be tied to the traits/back story of at least one of the players. I think encouraging the players to have background basing them Mendev, not necessarily in Kenebraes would be ideal. I would go so far as offering a free third trait for Mendev regional or Wrath of Righteous campaign trait.
Any chance this AP will be the one where support material will be oriented towards the GameSpace VTT? I have a "in person" group where I'll pick up WotR minis if there's a set but for my Skype group I'd like to run this and give our GM a break but I want to do it via VTT and save all of the hassles of cameras, battle mats and the like.
I just hit 10th on my Paladin for RotRL
Aasimar (Angel Kin)of Sarenrae
I will say the extra lay on hands was well worth the feat. However, the Oath of Vengeance never really has come into play for me personally. I am thinking of using the ultimate campaign to retrain out of my archetype (I think I can do this). To be fair, another player is a Holy Vindicator of Sarenrae and the 3rd is a Oracle of metal, so I get buffed/shielded and supported.
So then why even bother allowing people to roll dice for stats in the rules? Why not just state Pathfinder uses a point-build with 15 being the norm?
Not everyone may run APs. That's just the choice for the APs. I still think you can adjudicate having a greater point value without having the character's being trivializing the AP, especially if you optimize the party's foes.
This AP is supposed to be a high powered with mythic levels and such. I am planning to run this myself. Does this break the mold of typical AP point buy? If not, would running this with 25 point buy be terribly detrimental? Player base will be 4-5. I do plan on extensively reviewing the big bad and key foes stat blocks and potentially optimizing those foes, if necessary.
I am about to start a new game that is inspired by Kingmaker but is not the AP itself. Anyhow, we're doing a 15 point build. The other characters so far;
Right now, I am planning to do a Fetchling and go bow focused versus doing twf or shuriken based. We're starting at 3rd level. So far, I've taken precise shot and point blank shot. For my ninja trick, I took vanishing. I'll also probably take shadow clone and deadly range at least once.
I originally thought of taking the scout archetype, but decided losing uncanny dodge is too big a risk. If I went shuriken or some sort of shuriken/melee switch hitter, I think it would work well especially with charging hurler.
Anyway, anyone ever do a ranged ninja (short-bow focused) and if so, how did it work out?
For a bladebound/hexcrafter, is there any great need to get extra arcane pool feat at least once or just keep pumping the int. Eventually you get on par with the arcane pool (I think) than a normal magus they just end up being split between you and your black blade.
I am going to try to run one but run it with dervish dance (don't hate it's the 1st time I've finally been able to PLAY a Magus as a PC).
Elf with the extra arcana every 6 levels is just so good.
I have a melee build (1/2 orc) with cross blooded (Dragonic/Orc), my chassis for that was Barb 4/ sorc 1 DD 2. I might retool to Barb 4/ 1 Bard. As filling the caster slot, going cross blooded removes one spell known per level. I don't think I can take that hit. The whole concept with that was more focused as a natural weapon monster with spells focused on buffs before activating rage and going to town. This build is more about switching modes from caster to reasonably able melee presence. Due to our party size, I will be exposed to melee often.
@Morgen. One of my questions, is when do I dip into DD? I like that I have 3rd level spells before I hit the dead caster level of DD1. I did take magical knack to shore up the CL discrepancy. Right now, I sit at CL 7. I guess I could go 1 Fighter 4 Sorc 2 DD at 7th. Eventually I need to bring back those two caster levels. BAB 15 CL 16 at 20 seemed pretty balance. Although I think I get 4 of that BAB with the last dip in EK.
@Waiph. Appreciate the idea
I already have several pure magus built so I don't want to muddy those waters. I am just trying to see how best to get to a balance of caster/melee with what the DD seems to offer. I don't like to dip magus myself, but cool idea.
@Tandriniel. I am not sure if the Diabolist is on the table as a PRC that I could choose. I take it you had no martial class in that build then? What was your level progression past Sorc 5? Sorc 5/DD4/ Diabolist 3?
I want a pretty balanced mix since we're a 3 man party, our casters are exposed. One of our players already lost two characters both arcane casters. So, he went oracle of metal, so this would fill in the arcane caster slot. My current character is a paladin so this is a potential back-up. With the full 20 level build, my BAB is 15 and CL is 16 though again I doubt we'll make it to 20. We're playing RotRL and are about mid in book 3.