|Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber||
Some of the biggest and most common complaints about RPG settings come from major world developments and big moves in the timeline. Just look at all the angst surrounding Forgotten Realms (the major plot developments between 1st edition and 2nd; 2nd edition and 3.0; 3rd and 4th).
While I’m sure some people liked these changes, many many players who were invested in the setting hated them. The big shake up going into 4th edition gets the most recent publicity (“They killed the Realms!”), but I know of people who still play in pre- Time of Troubles FR and basically ignore anything released for the setting afterwards.
Big changes and advances in the Dragonlance, Greyhawk, Dark Sun and Ravenloft settings have caused similar (if perhaps less published) angst. I remember reading somewhere recently that a big change in the Dark Sun setting fairly early in its publication history (killing of the setting’s major big bads) pretty much killed the setting.
It really doesn’t make much sense for Paizo to be publishing major, world shattering current events for their setting, or killing off major iconic BBEGs this early in Golarion’s publication history – it invalidates too much of their (still sellable) back catalogue and risks alienating a significant portion of their fan base.
Having said that, if you want to have your PCs face off against and defeat the campaign’s big bads at 15th / 16th level at the climax of the Adventure Paths, in many cases it’s about as simple as changing a name, slightly altering a few plot points and maybe creating an additional stat block. I’m a bit hazy on the fine details of the plots for some of the APs I read a while back, but the way I see it …
Curse of the Crimson Throne: Ileosa is the queen of the kingdom that the bulk of the AP is set within; as far as big bads go she’s pretty much the top of the heap in the context of the campaign. But if you want more, have the crown metamorph her into that blue dragon dude for the final battle, or have her complete the ritual to turn into Sorshen (sp?).
Legacy of Fire: Sub out the efreet in the AP for the Sultan of the City of Brass instead. Or have his plan accidently free Xotani and the PCs have to fight it at the end … maybe the efreet’s whole plan came out of being subliminally influenced by Xotani.
Council of Thieves: I agree that this one was potentially something of a wasted opportunity, I would have liked to see something bigger and better from (what might be the only) Cheliax AP. Having said that, not every AP needs to be epic, and as the AP that ends at the lowest level (I think) having the campaign end with finishing off the city’s big crime bosses is maybe not so bad.
Carrion Crown: All along AA’s plan in creating the Carrion Crown potion has been to turn himself into a lich vessel for the Whispering Tyrant. He didn’t need the count except for part of him as one ingredient. At the campaign climax atop the tower he drinks the potion, transforms into a true lich and allows the Whispering Tyrant’s soul to inhabit him – effectively the PCs fight the Whispering Tyrant himself.
Kingmaker: The nymph is a fairly suitable villain, she just needs to be foreshadowed a lot more. Alternatively, change her name and make her one of the Eldest (banished and somewhat diminished in power). OR, change a few things here and there in the AP to make the Kign of Pitax behind ALL the troubles and finish the campaign early with his defeat.
Jade Regent: Call the leader of the Five Storms the King of All Oni. Solved. Or make him the oni Voidlord who already rules the neighbouring kingdom.