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James Jacobs wrote:
Groovy, thanks for the reply. I didn't expect it to add enough material but thought I'd ask. How long is "a little longer?" The average AP installment is about 50 pages of adventure content. How long will this one be? About 60-70, I am guessing.
You've been spying on our PFS Lodge haven't you?
Dominion of the Black - I want to see the Pathfinder version of those classic Call of Cthulhu campaigns, plus I love me some Lovecraft.
Wuxai - This is a fantasy genre that is sadly lacking in RPGs but is a really rich tapestry. Tian Xia really needs some love.
Nidal/Kytons - Let's face it, a Hellraiser style AP would be super badass. Of course, I would accept a module as well. Extra points if there is a bed that eats people.
So, if issue #100 is going to be a little longer than normal in the adventure department, what will is the projected level range of this AP? I know that it is in the air until the books enter final development, but I am curious. Most APs lately have been going 1-17 but with more pages might we go higher? I assume we won't get the page space to go 1-20 but perhaps 18 or 19? Alternatively, since this is an urban-focused AP with lots of room for role-playing, I would be really happy with a robust AP that only went 1-15 or 1-17.
So the only real elevator pitches I'm seeing deal with a Dark Tapestry/Dominion of the Black theme. Specifically in Hermea, but it has been said that the location was a little off. Perhaps the next AP really will be the Call of Cthulhu inspired path.
I could be off the mark here and missed a post or two that give a good plot pitch. Thoughts?
I'm not even close to that point yet in my game, but my plan is to set up books 3-6 as a giant sandbox the party can explore at their leisure. Things like the monkey king's arrival will still happen outside of their control, but I will let the party discover the vaults and the way down to Ilmuria without using the Eando hook. Most likely I will sprinkle hints and rumors throughout the ruins that hint to there being much more than just the above ground city.
Just about any module would probably work, though I recommend Feast of Ravenmoor since it is both awesome and takes place over the course of a single day.
When it comes to scaling gestalt characters its really pretty easy. A party of four gestalt characters will be functioning as if they were about a level higher. In the case of Ravenmoor, it's written for a group of level 3 characters so throw your party at it when they are level 2.
Gestalt isn't nearly as powerful as it seems, it just means that the group will have more utility to approach situations and there will not likely be a party roll unfilled. I ran Shackled City in 3.5 from beginning to end (level 1-20) with four gestalts (elf paladin/cleric, dwarf monk/barbarian, drow sorcerer/rogue, and ogre barbarian/ranger) and it worked out just fine.
I feel that the rules are adequate for most games where the environment isn't a major factor. They do a decent job of giving a little something to reflect that hot and cold conditions can be dangerous without miring casual games down in extensive rules. When and if Paizo makes some kind of wilderness book we will likely see more robust rules sets for people that want to make use of them.
As an outdoorsy type it constantly amazes me how little people understand about the dangers of the woods. I am constantly hearing stories of or encountering people on the trail that just don't get it. They set out with children and no water or light sources thinking they can walk in the mountains 'until it starts to get dark' then turn around and be just fine. So many people get lost and some die because they just don't understand or take things seriously.
Chuck Wright wrote:
This is my suggestion. :D
Or just dump it all together into a giant sandbox and let the players loose!
I sure can!
They're not super pretty but they get across what it's like to be out and about in the heat and humidity. Here in Maine the heat is not what makes the summers dangerous, it's the humidity. I work as a CNA and a while back worked in a building that wasn't air conditioned and we had a few of the girls pass out while working because they weren't remaining hydrated appropriately. It's a serious danger, especially to the elderly.
Behind the spoiler tag are the rules I made for my current Serpent's Skull game to attempt to reflect the dangers of heat and humidity. They have been working pretty well so far.
I considered extreme weather conditions to start with temperatures around 80 and humidity over 80%. At this stage anyone not relaxing in the shade was required to make a Fort save (DC 15) every 4 hours with a cumulative -1 for each save they needed to make previously. Failure caused the character to take 1d4 points of non-lethal damage and be fatigued. A character fatigued who fails a save becomes exhausted. An exhausted character falls unconscious and begins taking Con damage at a rate of 1 per save period.
More extreme conditions kick in when temperatures exceed 90 and the saves become hourly. Temperatures over 100 raise the saves to every 10 minutes. Relaxing in the shade and drinking water for four hours will reduce the level of drain a single step (exhausted to fatigued, etc.)
Characters wearing inappropriate clothing make the saves more difficult. Wearing light armor imposes a -2, medium a -4, and heavy a -8. The heat and humidity double the amount of water a character needs to drink to remain hydrated (2 gallons for a Med character, 1 gallon for small). Not having adequate water forces Fort saves as if conditions were a severity level higher. Lack of water also imposes dehydration as described in the book (page 444).
These rules are used with a spreadsheet I made detailing the weather conditions day by day. They won't work so well if you are rolling weather randomly using the tables in the book. I based my days on the actual weather of an island off the coast of west Africa over the summer of 2013.
My take on this, as well as the bulk of the severe weather rules, is that it is place to offer some simple rules for the majority of games. It has been my experience that the majority of games don't deal with severe environmental conditions very often and thus the rules are adequate.
The rules really don't hold up in a game where the weather is a constant challenge and characters are facing off against the elements as much as they are monsters. For that kind of game the GM will need to come up with a rules set that is more robust. I made such a rules set for my current Serpent's Skull game because I wanted the party to be fighting the environment as much as anything else.
I live in Maine and in the summer the heat and humidity are a threat. I have seen people pass out because they weren't taking appropriate breaks or remaining hydrated and that was working inside. Outside is even worse. I am an avid outdoorsy type as well and need to always make sure I have enough water and I'm wearing appropriate clothing. Around here, the weather really can kill people if they are not smart.
My group is about four sessions in and they are still on Smuggler's Shiv.
They are still first level and tried to make an alliance with the cannibals, who led them into the heart of their camp and ambushed them. It would have been a TPK but the cannibals wanted meals. The party has now escaped with no gear into the jungle. They may die of dehydration before the savages track them down. Not to mention the NPCs are manning a camp on the other side of the island...
I ran this in Golarion and plopped it down on the Lost Coast Road between Sandpoint and Magnimar, placing them on the edges of the map.
When I ran the game I tried to create a series of quests that would promote delving into the dungeon on specific missions instead of trying to tackle it like one big slog. It didn't really work out and we stopped the game.
If I returned to Rappan Athuk I think I would do it differently. I would probably just plop the characters down at first level and let them loose, running it like a big sandbox. I feel the product has tons of potential even if it ends up being kind of overwhelming. If you look at it like a toolbox to build your own adventures and delves and whole campaigns it is an amazing resource. If you approach it like it has a cohesive story and you can run it along the same lines as a Paizo Adventure Path, you will be disappointed. This product was never intended to be that type of book.
What this book does, it does REALLY well, but be aware of it's intentions.
I missed the PFS connection with the Mwangi Expanse. Perhaps we are going back to Garund...
The only thing I can really say about that however, is it was specified we are getting another traditional AP, and traditional usually implies some kind of medieval European-based fantasy in the vein of old-school D&D. This implies to me that a Mwangi AP may not be on the slate for the next AP.
It's stated upthread by Mr. Jacobs that we will not be returning to Tian Xia yet.
I know the clues are out there to really spoil this before the announcement is made. Let's get to digging guys and see how close we can get!
My local lodge recently ran Feast of Ravenmoor over three sessions and myself and the other event organizer decided that if someone was able to attend two of the three sessions they would receive the chronicle sheet. You might be able to make a similar ruling here, though with only two sessions that would likely be harder to judge. Ultimately, I would rule that to get the chronicle sheet a player would need to attend both sessions and thus complete both levels of the dungeon.
I would love to see a hardcover in the RPG line that adds other tech levels to the game for those who enjoy something a little different. I'm envisioning a book that includes more options for everything from the Renaissance era tech we have touched on all the way through this sort of sci-fi tech. Something setting neutral for folks that want different tech levels, be it steampunk or sci-fi or the weird 20th-Century we saw a glimpse of in Rasputin Must Die!. I am sure there would be calamatous uproar from the community, but having a place on the RPG line would remove it from Golarion cannon and put it purely in the realm of optional.
So, the way to make this happen, is to support books like this one and show that something larger and more inclusive would find it's niche and be worth the investment to produce.
Now here's some wild speculation:
If I remember correctly, Mr. Jacobs said elsewhere that the next AP would also be traditional, but did not specify traditional fantasy. Perhaps that was an allusion to gaining influence not from Dungeons & Dragons but perhaps the other powerhouse game that has been around forever, Call of Cthulhu. Perhaps we are getting our Dark Tapestry/Dominion of the Black AP finally. Something that harkens back to those epic campaigns Chaosium made for CoC. The seeds for this style of adventure have been sown in Dragon's Demand and Occult Mysteries and we all know how much of a CoC fan Mr. Jacobs is.
Adam Daigle wrote:
Oh please, stir away. The entire point of this thread is to have some fun speculating and then see how close we got when GenCon rolls around.
First off, thank you for playing along Mr. Jacobs, you are making this fun.
Okay, so given those hints its clear we're not getting the Absalom AP we desperately need. I'd venture a guess from the hints that it a delve into Hollow Mountain, but it was said elsewhere that there would be no Runelords, or at least, that more Runelords were not ready to rise yet.
So where does this leave us? From the post, I'm guessing we are close, but we haven't quite hit on it yet... kind of like that one really cute girl I work with.
It's a bit of a drive for you, but we have a lodge in Lewiston/Auburn Maine. Our fine PFS VC from Cambridge makes it up to join us frequently.
If all goes according to plan, we will have a brick and mortar store in September to call our very own.