Here I was thinking this AP would delve in to Eastern European fantasy tropes in the same way other APs have covered other cultures then I see this! I'm a little taken aback that you guys are going this route, but what the heck I'll go along for the ride!
Honestly, I'd rather have seen a more "strait" fantasy here since Slavic fantasy is a goldmine that I think could fill an AP on it's own. Still, I suppose there's plenty of that in several of the other parts. There's just also planet hopping and travel to WWI era earth as well. Weird.
Squash it. That kind of player antagonism will derail a game in a heartbeat. Since you mentioned he's new the player probably doesn't fully realize how destructive it is to act against another player.
I don't see any scenario where letting things go as the alchemist plans that won't run a high risk of derailing your game.
You'll get your fill of investigating once you start "The Skinsaw Murders" so I wouldn't do it here. At that point in my (still ongoing) game I was still too busy getting the players acclimated to the various personalities in town. The players were also really focused on getting to the bottom of why the goblins attacked Sandpoint, so the strait up "go hear and take care of it" nature of the Glassworks was a welcome relief.
I'm not feeling the use of the Pathfinder Society as the main motivator for an AP. The dungeons and encounters look solid, but "you're Pathfinders" being the driving force behind the AP is going to give it a hollow feel. When/if my group does Shattered Star that's one aspect I think will have to be changed.
I don't have a problem with the Pathfinders as a concept for some adventures. It's a great setup for organized play where you're going to have a lot of character rotation and people floating in and out, but it doesn't seem to work that well in an Adventure Path. When you have a dedicated group of the same players committing to a several months long campaign the initial hook needs to be stronger than the Pathfinder Society.
I'd advise playing Rise of the Runelords first. The prime reason for the Pathfinder Society sending the PCs out is directly tied to the plot of RotRL. Playing RotRL first would make players feel more invested in a future SS campaign. It gives players a sense of continuity when the NPCs are discussing events that their prior characters took part in. Considering you just finished CotCT, you would double that feeling of investment if you ran Runelords first.
Just got it!
I'm thoroughly impressed with the "Gangs of Kaer Maga" and "Missions in Magnimar" sections. I tend to have a low opinion of the extras in the back of most APs, but this one was a very pleasant surprise. I hope we'll see more sections like "Missions in Magnimar" in future APs.
I think Golarion is pretty safe from world bloat for the foreseeable future. I was reading a post a couple of months back where someone asked what the default assumption was for the ending of CotCT. James Jacobs answered that if players hadn't run CotCT King Eodred was the ruler of Korvosa and in ill health. That shows Paizos plan for avoiding setting bloat. The key to Golarion is that PCs are the major characters in the setting. There aren't a lot of other heroes running around saving the world and causing major events. There are a couple of NPCs that almost break this rule (I'm looking at you Ameiko Kaijitsu), but by and large PCs are the stars.
Prior to Golarion my favorite setting was FR. I never had a problem with lore bloat because I only used source books and adventures in my game. If I tried to keep up with the latest novels and major events the setting would have been unusable. Paizo seems to be avoiding that trap. They can put out new source books and adventures for years to come using their current formula.
I feel your pain. As a GM, I flat out ban evil alignments. Heroic fantasy depends on you being, you know... a hero. If a player has a... rough... concept in mind we can usually get there without them being actually evil. As a player though, you don't have that kind of control.
It really depends on how the other player approaches playing his character more than his actual alignment. If he behaves in a way that derails the game that's something for your group as a whole to deal with. If he wants to RP an evil character that for some reason is out saving the world with the rest of you more power to him.
I'd just change Falcon's Hollow to one of the Dalelands. You could substitute the dwarf origins of a lot of the ruins to Myth Drannor sites. The Lumber consortium could have moved in from the closest major country. Which one would depend on which Dale you pick, but Zhentil Keep might be telegraphing things a bit.
If your group has fun with the conversion I would HIGHLY recommend running the Age of Worms Forgotten Realms variant campaign. The original is written for Greyhawk, but Paizo has a web supplement to convert it to FR available here:
Dungeon Web Supplements Age of Worms starts with #124.
I ran this for my group, and it was incredible. AoW may actually work better in FR than Greyhawk. It turned out being the last thing I ran in the FR and it worked as kind of a goodbye kiss to the setting.
All this of course is dependent on you running the game in the pre-Spellplague realms. I'm just assuming you're not since you said you like the FR setting. :)
That's how I handle grab. The grab is a free action with the attack so it counts. Even if the rules said otherwise, I'd house rule that in because it makes so much logical sense for creatures with the grab ability. Most creatures with grab are attacking with a tentacle, claw, hook, or what-have-you that is functioning as the attack itself. In your case the scorpion is using a claw to pinch at the fighter. How can it NOT make a grab attack if it's AoO is to pinch the fighter with it's claw?
From the description in Fortress of the Stone Giants that area seems pretty desolate. If it's battle mat style maps you're after, I'd recommend scrounging around for anything Grasslands. Varisia as a whole is described as being sparsely populated and this seems to be part of the big nothing as far as civilization goes.
And following that logic means it's even more absurd that the gods are watching their Paladins like hawks if they step out of line. ;)
I'm playing a trump card in favor of Iced2k:
Smite is a divine power granted by his god. As a LE creature this Kobold is subject to Smite. If he had used Smite before killing the Kobold his god would grant him the Smite, but take away his powers because killing the Kobold is an action that would make him fall? That doesn't make any kind of logical sense. If your god will give you divine power to kill something you should never be punished for killing it.
Setting aside the horror show of this specific situation, I'm still of the opinion that killing him isn't an evil act. In itself. There are some mitigating factors (dude, crying?!?) in this one case. I do think confirming that he's evil does help Iced2k's case a bit.
This Kobold was involved in the kidnapping of children for strait up evil reasons. He's no innocent. Him defending his tribe and family is totally beside the point. Short of somehow redeeming himself, his fate should be sealed. If he doesn't die by an adventurers sword, the townsfolk would hang him. I don't see a problem with the Paladin being the instrument of justice here. That's part of what they do. Granted, there could be some nit picky argument about the law of the land (not that Kobolds apply), but the Paladin is loyal to his church first. Applying divine justice may seem presumptuous, but that's the nature of the class.
It was crying and pleading for it's life? Wow... that's... Yeah, good call, man.
That's very NG attitude to have. :)
Paladins are more than might makes right when you keep in mind they are still good. They shouldn't throw their weight around with Neutral of Good NPCs, but evil is another matter entirely. The Paladin doesn't even have to make a judgement call on whether someone is evil or not. They can detect evil at will. That's not to say just because some evil merchant is having a drink at the same inn as the Paladin he has a right to kill the guy. Once that evil translates into harming the innocent though...
To me a vital part of playing a Paladin is a lack of equivocation. They KNOW what's right and act on it. They also don't put up with excuses when it comes to evil. That may be a little Spanish Inquisitiony, but Paladins are holy warriors. A little bit of that comes with the territory.
I'll pick out that bit rather than quote the whole thing. You're misunderstanding the nature of Lawful alignments. At it's core Lawful= a belief in order. For a Paladin the Lawful in his alignment stems from his church and code. Any other power (such as a king) comes a distant second. Paladins should be respectful of good authority, but Church and Code come first. Part of his code and divine mandate is to slay evil. They answer to a higher "law".
I'd suggest both you and your GM unhouserule the NG Paladin thing. Any character who keeps a knightly code is going to be lawful. You're early enough in your campaign that this shouldn't be a big deal. It will continue to be a problem.
Paladins are my favorite class for those rare times I'm not the GM, but I have to know the GM and I see eye to eye on alignment. If I even get a hint that he'll try to impose his modern Judeo-Christian preconceptions on my Pagan knight I won't go there. I don't think that's what's going on here though. You guys need to have a talk about behavior. He's probably not an unreasonable guy since he let you create a NG Paladin. I'd never allow it.
Killing the Kobold prisoner is not itself a problem. Early in a campaign where I played a Paladin my party captured a bandit. After a bunch of mealy mouthed weasel talk out of him I did a detect evil, declared him guilty in the eyes of my god, and beheaded him. That's what Paladins do. What you did was more along the lines of "Tell me what you know or I will kill you." That's not very Paladin like.
I don't think a mistake early on should be punished by falling. Both you and your GM are clearly struggling with the concept of the Paladin. A little more communication will go a long way. I'd point out most fallen Paladins in gaming fluff are guilty of some pretty heinous stuff. A small infraction early on should be part of the learning curve not a deal breaker for the class. That's more fun for the entire game group. GMs included.
The PDF with interactive maps was what made me recently opt for a subscription over Amazon. You also get a discount on other purchases which you can bundle with your subscription without it raising the cost of shipping too much. I'm sure I'll keep using Amazon for certain purchases since I don't want a PDF for rulebooks, but the extras on the AP subscription make it worth it. You also would wind up paying about the same in shipping from Amazon if you only buy one AP book. In order to get free shipping at $14 a pop you actually have to buy 3 books per shipment.
I'll defend Amazon a bit here and say their problems with Paizo products stem from the distributor they use and not anything they or Paizo are doing wrong.
Oops. I'm familiar with the time frames in the mid to late 90s since I worked for a RPG distributor. Things get murky after that since I changed jobs and gaming companies weren't a part of my typical day. I'd always blamed 4e on Hasbro not understanding why Wizards set up the OGL. I guess I'll have to revise that to Hasbro not understanding Hasbro's own business model that was set up just a few years prior.
Obviously, IP has to be protected. Paizo has a broad community use policy with a game system based on OGL rules. That's one of the major selling points for the company. Paizo has succeeded in a large part because a certain other company got too "lawyery". I'm just pointing out the other side of the equation.
TSR went crazy with it's lawyers before going bankrupt. Hasbro (they stopped being Wizards really after the buyout) tried to legal their way out of the OGL and lost their customer base to another company. Clearly that's not the reason those companies failed. It does show a certain attitude that is poisonous for a gaming company to adopt. The less the better.
Paizo's got to do what they have to do to protect their IP. Hopefully, whatever they send out in situations like the above is polite enough and not I WILL CRUSH YOU legalize. I do find trying to sic a corporation on bloggers extremely distasteful. I'd have a different attitude if there was any malice or attempt to profit off Paizo's work.
Wow. Some random blogger did a Google image search for "Herald" and found that image to post in their open thread. The horror. While that may not technically be community use, I'd hope Paizo wouldn't have a problem with it.
I remember in the mid 90s TSR went lawyer happy with the "CEASE AND DESIST!" letters. Huge D&D fan that creates a webpage with some artwork from TSR? Get ready for the letter. Other game companies such as SJG and White Wolf had a PR field day at the expense of TSR. Since the Paizo higher ups were around then I'm sure TSRs absurdities were on their mind when they created such a broad community use policy. Heck, Wizards was probably partially thinking of TSR going after it's own players when they made the OGL (in addition to financial reasons).
My point in a nutshell is that Cease and Desist letters do not make you friends. Do you actually want Paizo to go after some random blogger here? They wouldn't be seen as the good guys in that situation, I guarantee you.
Snow Crash wrote:
I'd say he's fine on the first point. It's certainly not a good thing for him to do as a player but there's no inherent problem with once the retreat has been sounded to retreat. The fact that he is the king in Kingmaker means he has greater responsibilities, so I think he has great leeway when it comes to his own safety. Lawful Good kings send people to die for them all the time in fantasy. The fact that he risked a PC instead of some NPC is irrelevant when it comes to his alignment.
The second point is a lot more tricky. If he asked for a reward to continue his good work he's fine. If he's refusing to give them back their property without a reward he's violating LG. It's all in character and player motivation.
That's just my two coppers. I've been the victim of nitpicking when it comes to LG as a player so as a GM I'm inclined to ere on the lenient side. LG to me is simply a good person who believes in order. Paladins do have a more ridged code within that framework than your typical LG character, but punishing the player should only come up for gross violations. I don't think he's done that.
First I'll dust off the old political science class stuff and say there is no such thing as an anarcho-capitalist. The term is an oxymoron. An anarchist is opposed to all hierarchy. That means government, religion, and capitalist hierarchy. I know the term gets thrown around a lot these days, but if you are calling yourself an anarcho-capitalist please stop. You are a libertarian not an anarchist.
As far as the much more important gaming stuff goes... Lawful=Order. There's no judgement call to make there. I've actually enjoyed the way Paizo has highlighted that concept with things like the Hellkights. They only care about order and don't care if it is good evil or neither. Awesome concept.
An anarchist character could be CG, CN, or CE. So no paladins for you.
Part of me would love to see more done in Falcon's Hollow. That arc was what introduced me to Pathfinder and it's got a special place in my heart because of it.
That being said, that poor town goes through a lot in a small amount of time. Depending on PC actions it could be an abandoned ghost town. And after Revenge of the Kobold King some kind of reckoning between the PCs and the-powers-that-be in Falcon's Hollow is inevitable. It would be hard to do a follow up module with that many variables thrown in.
What I'd really like to see is an AP set in Andoran that at some point passes through Falcon's Hollow. Maybe have a sidebar for working in changes that play groups may have brought to the town with other characters.