Bah, simply take the East of Faith trait and be a monk who's "decided to walk the world a spell."
Before a friend of mine have to leave our run of the AP after book one, he ran a monk named Xian Wu who was played kind of like Shepard Book from Firefly. That character was the first first mate of the campaign.
Alagard, don't think I was being too sarcastic. I actually have a best friend who is a pretty good musician and self recorder who comes around to borrow my kids for an hour or so to record onto his laptop what he wants to modify later. (Usually before we game that evening.)
I usually have to explain beforehand to the younger ones that this is the ONLY time it's Okay to use language I wouldn't normally allow, and he's pretty good about not crossing that line without my wife and I knowing first. He usually pays them with cash, ("So they can tell people they're paid musicians.")
Keep the new characters on shore. Their Heir Marks 'resurrect' the PC's long enough to complete the task of returning the Seal to the awaiting party at the top of the well. However, they cannot pass beyond the well, and fall back to their state of death. (Peacefully... For now.)
Now Ameiko & Crew can pass back through, recruit new Allies, and come back to fight whatever horrendousness you have planned.
This should fit fairly well based on my (albeit not extensive) knowledge of Asian-style haunts and spirits. And the worst/best part (depending on your GM style), you could describe their bodies' coming fate you have planned as it's happening to them!
Lawful doesn't always mean someone is hellbent on bring order to everything.
Consider the ancient Samurai quandary; "Which is better to serve - the Just Lord or the Evil Lord?"
It's the Evil one. Because of their warrior code, Bushido, serving the Evil one is the harder trial of the Samurai. Basically because Samurai be Samurai and such.
Lawful neutral in this campaign shouldn't be too much of a bother.
This is a popular topic you can find many answers to in the Advice forum.
However, this is the quick and dirty way: using a PDF viewer, select a 7"x10" area and Print to Fit your average paper stock. Repeat this process, overlapping slightly for when you tape/glue/adhere the sheets together.
Or take the PDF to a printer and tell them the dimensions you want the map to be, and have them print one large map-like sheet. This may be costly, and take some explanation as to what things like RPGs and such are, unless you're lucky enough to come across one who games.
Once the PCs have their own ship, how the run it is up to them. Also, Privateering is pretty much what they're doing once the get their Letter of Marque from the pirate council and begin working for Tessa Fairwind in book 3.
Despite what I've seen to the contrary, there is absolutely nothing stopping a bunch of "good" characters from playing this AP. the fact that they may have a harder time bringing their changes to the shackles could make for a truly epic finale.
A couple of your statements remind me of several of my players.
It sounds more to me that several need the startling awakening that their own lack of willingness to immerse themselves in the game means that their PCs are going to fall behind in the Experience (and XP), and possibly die because of it.
You've given them more than enough opportunities to help themselves - it's time to stop pulling punchess. Remind them of the ways you've given them to excelled and then explain the gloves are coming off. Because frankly, if they just want to hack'n'slash, they need to just invest in some video games and stop wasting your time as a GM. Politely, if possible. Then start racking up kills as "legally" as possible. The fact that their own unpreparedness is hindering them shouldn't make it difficult.
Then begin rewarding the good role-players at the table with extra gold, items, and in really awesome moments XP. Maybe even those are the only PCs that can be brought back from the dead. Once everyone "gets it," phase it all out.
This has worked several times for my group as they've gotten lax and tightened again over the years.
My party going through book 1 was usually 5-8, and one time hit ten. While I didn't have to change the crew of the Wormwood, I did run more events like the the one in the bilge and crabbing for the captain - using different PCs as participants. I simply re-flavored them to different areas and critters. I think they even chased rats a few times.
I didn't have to do too much to the other books when my group stabilized at 3-5 and I made them run a few levels behind for a while to make up for Powder weapons.
Considering I put the caravan rules aside to try to clean my brain-bits off the wall, these look a lot simpler and concise.
And loaning out workers seems like a great way for random encounters with the caravan in settlements to include Angry Husbands whose wives have run off with workers. Or the local unions protesting, "They're taking our jobs!"
Something I've been toying with for when I eventually run this AP is this:
Because of my own desire to adventure in the rest of Tian Xia, Simply allowing travel to that side of the world via a portal somewhere after/below Ravenscrag (sp?). However, something goes wrong and they spend the level range of Hungry Storm traveling the other direction across Tian Xia to where book 4 starts. I call this plan "Reverse Path of Agenhai." It is for this contingency - the players discussing travel by Sea - that I've come up with this plan.
Depending on what you're using to do it, it can be easy.
Step one: Round up some children. You could ask friend w/kids, or just get a big van with "Free Candy" painted on the side and you should have no problem.
Step two: Using some sort of recording device, record the children running and playing in a park or yard, or for better acoustics, a single stalled public restroom or busy restaurant is perfect. Bonus points if the recording picks up statements like "What the Hell?"" or "AAAAGGGHHHH!!!" from innocent bystanders.
Step three: Using a program like Garage Band (Standard on most Macs), Pro Tools (if you're also REALLY into media production), or any other of any number of internet programs out there; use the effects on the vocal track to get what you feel to be a "gobliny" sound before adding it to the master track.
Step four: Ditch the children somewhere, lose the van, and eat the candy.
My two cents for original poster:
1) A Cleric/Druid isn't too necessary if you keep them supplied with healing via treasure (I.e., Potions and Wands, etc.) Especially if...
2) ...you don't worry too much about the things like encumbrance or other rules I refer to as "background" rules. If you've played, you know the ones I'm talking about. You are getting the next generation, but take your time to ease them in. Nothing can run off a young gamer like realizing your pastime is almost like Math and English homework, with a pinch of Drama thrown in.
Also, Have you considered the Starter Box Set?
This copy is slightly cheaper than the PDF, but it's really a matter of personal opinion. (Plus paying $10+ for six things is silly when you you can pay $40 or a little more for an All-in-one volume.
That being said, I understand there ARE small differences and slight changes here and there (in fact, it says so in the intro of my copy), but a good portion of those changes is based off of posts made here on the boards by all those players that have come before - which to me is like the difference between Beta-testing and final release of a video game; it usually makes it better.
As I'm about to begin GM'ing this one myself (Have never played this one before), I'm on my umpteenth read through in preparation. The AE is well worth the price of admission. (I don't know about cost of AE Bound vs. PDF Printed-in-a-binder, however...)
This is a solid adventure, and no matter how you approach it, you'll likely have fun.
I have a semi-recurring character I call Fah Goh; he's usually a traveling Magic vendor (of different races usually) that I try to play like the merchant at the beginning of Aladdin.
Usually his stuff is good, but for every character who makes purchases, one item has a 1 in 20 chance of breaking after leaving the store, never to see Fah Goh again. He'll keep showing up until this happens. He's made appearances in over 4 different campaigns and 3 game systems. He is always a hit when he shows up, especially with my players that have seen him before in other games.
Indeed. To put it back on topic, and stop making the necromancers angry, how about this to the original poster's request for aide:
If you have access to the Skull & Shackles books, it's simply a matter of embroiling the PCs in pirate politics by dispatching a commandeered pirate lord over the course of an adventure. Heck, Isabella "Inkskin" Locke from book 2 sounds about like the perfect level to harass the PCs with her sahuagin.
Mirrel the Marvelous wrote:
CAN a character just lay claim to any old ruin they clear out? If so, then I know an Evil Cleric who wants a place to stash his growing army of undead, as well as a base of operations for his Leadership-bought minions. Thistletop was his first thought!
I believe this was settled in the precedent setting case of Bigby & Co. Vs. City of Greyhawk.
Wherein the court's finding was that if;
a) The PCs aren't directly responsible for the Location's condition and use by a BBEG;
b) The Location cannot be claimed by any person, company, City, or Country with a pre-existing and valid interest in the area;
c) If the PC's intend to reside in the location, they must do so for at least three months out of a year for any length of time designated between 5 and 100 years; as well as pay taxes to the local collectors for that time. They must also keep the location in good condition and standing.
Shattered Star Stuff
This is a viable option, and according to the posts in the Obits page for that campaign indicate that this is indeed a great RP opportunity.
...However, I like the idea of a PC coming back as a racially opposite race (Elf to Dwarf, for example). Or a platypus or something...
First awesome anecdote:
Book 1 - "The legend of Tiger-Claw!"
During their time on the Wormwood, Theoric Starhelm (Lvl 2ish at the time) was dragged on deck to fight the Owlbear.
Just as it was looking like Theoric was ready to finish off, what happened next would live on for the rest of the campaign:
Scourge shouts for Owlbear to, "FINISH HIM!" and throws a club to the meaty fisted Owlbear.
A guest player's PC reacted by using Mage Hand to knock the club out of the air, sending it over the side of the ship. Theoric then proceeds to hammer into Owlbear with a series of perfect (double 20 Critical hit) punches while shouting, "TIGER CLAW!" (He later said that he'd "Learned it from a ninja he knew once.")
This drops Owlbear to a 'dying' state, at which point Theoric, to the NPC crews' amazement, spares the crab eating man-child by asking Sandara to heal his wounds. Plugg and Scourge are not amused, and Harrigan has a good laugh at their expense.
This also caused Owlbear to start calling Theoric "Little Brother" and follow him like a puppy from then on. A big, meaty, ham-fisted, crab-eating puppy.
Mr. Jacobs was nice enough to go ahead and include "The PCs should be Xth level by Y event" for the entire campaign, so I'm just using that data for my party and dropping experience entirely.
This works better at my table for 2 reasons -
1) My table always has at least one of our players missing because of work or other responsibilities.
2) I'm the only one who has Hero Lab currently, and my players, well, they're stilling learning to take care of their own stuff.
This is an excellent angle...
Maybe the sisters send word (along with a stipend to be dispensed by the mayor's office) that they'd like the PCs to Repair/Consecrate the property for their visit to it. From there, the possibilities branch everywhere... Do the Sisters like the remodeled building? Are they evil, or do they bring a new form of the curse based on how Vorel's spirit was defeated?
I'd like to imagine that The Misgivings become the kitschy new Inn just out of town, run by a pair of sisters that may or may not be cursed. Perfect place for "Side Encounters."
Haladir, you always have such clever ideas.
I'd also recommend that if you intend to run the Jade Regent AP, Ameiko should remain a GMPC, or be aware you will have to replace a major NPC for that campaign.
Just incase of death or other nasty things. (The showdown at the glassworks can be hazard enough to her health as it is.)
Really, it's just a matter of renaiming either one so that you can create a "younger" sibling.
I've seen it noted somewhere (Her Jade Regent spread I believe) that Ameiko worships Sarenrae. I figured this was because of Sarenrae's near perfect resemblance to the Japanese sun goddess Amateratsu, whom it was believed gave divine right to Japan's emperors.
I'd match the other three families with the gods that match them best - such as Scarnetti (the loggers/shipbuilders, right?) with Shelyn (forest God I think, but my brain is shutting down because of the late hour).
One of the best. And my groups' first fully finished RPG campaign, not just their first Pathfinder campaign. (All converts from D&D or new to the game.) our previous campaigns with 3.5 & 4th editions tended to eventually devolve into bull sessions.
There's already talk of a 'second playthrough' type campaign, but I'll be running Rise of the Runelords next, to be followed by Jade Regent.
Congratulations! My group lost momentum before they even got off Bonewrack Isle, but I hope to run it again in future. A lot of folks seem to feel books 5 & 6 need major work. What did the guy who threw his character through the demon portal do for the last few sessions?
Books 5 & 6 rely heavily on fleet combat, which my group found convoluted at best. So I worked around that.
Theoric's sacrifice was during the final session. For the rest of the evening the played a 'pirate crewman' that was a level 10 ninja I'd had made for the scenario.
So we finished our Skull & Shackles Campaign this evening - Here's our group's significant experiences through the campaign. There will definitely be spoilers. I'm only putting a synopsis for now, but I'll try to add more specific anecdotes over the next few days.
East Clintwood (Half-Orc Gunslinger)
Supporting Crew (Guest Players):
Jacky Calico (Human[Chelaxian] Rogue)
Book 1: The Wormwood Mutiny
The crew is whipped into a group of real pirates aboard the Wormwood. After taking the Man's Promise, and just as Mr. Plugg is putting his plans into motion, he's forced to kill Scourge as a distraction to allow his escape from a mutiny of his own.
Both Plugg and the PCs land on Bonewrack Isle at separate locations and times, but collide at Aaron Ivy's place and are forced to work together to eventually defeat the Brinebrood Queen and her Whale. During this encounter, Plugg is swallowed by the Whale and then rescued by East Clintwood, leaving Plugg an acid-burned shell of a man, as well as the group's prisoner.
They are able to make successful repairs and head for Rickety's Squibbs.
Book 2: Raiders of the Fever Seas
After trying to pry the broken and now insane Mr. Plugg for information about Harrigan's plans and getting nowhere, Captain Eastwood executes Mr. Plugg and stuffs the body in a large barrel with 'BARNABUS HARRIGAN' written on the side in Pugg's blood. Many view members leave the ship at Rickety's because of this.
While there, however, they manage to win some back, as well as some new ones after saving Rickety's workers several times. They also manage to impress Free Captain Merrill Pegsworthy during their encounter with him. His words at the christening of the "new" ship Blarneycock lead the to seek an win Tidewater Rock through the Marriage of Theoric Starhelm to the Lady of the Rock.
A marriage that proved quite profitable for all and eventually lead to the birth of several smaller Starhelms. During their time operating out of the Rock, they made quite the name for themselves and eventually captured Isabella Locke - which eventually lead to the conquering of Mancatcher Cove.
Later, they rescued a sea-stranded sailor whose last words where, "The Bell... We came to fear that Bell... You will too..." Soon, Whalebone Pilk came calling, and the crew faced him down, with Eretria destroying the cursed captain's Bell and sending him to his final end.
Book 3: Tempest Rising
The Players are eventually given a Shackles Letter of Marque placing them under Tessa Fairwind's command after proving themselves to Goldtooth Tsadok and the Hurricane King.
After following dead trail after dead trail, they eventually track down the information they need to prove a spy is leaking information and bring it to Tessa. As a reward, she pays the entry fee into the Free Captains' Regatta.
The Blarneycock finishes neck-a-neck with the Wormwood, the later of which being disqualified for violations of race rules. This leaves the group with an Island to claim, and the chance for a seat on the Pirate Council.
Book 4: The Island of Empty Eyes
After being tasked with the taming of their Isle, the Blarneycock sails forth, delivering them to the Cyclopian Isle.
They eventually put Captain Otangu's soul to rest and make arrangements to begin bringing a population to the Isle.
They quickly decimate the local populations of monsters and rebuild the isle, just in time to protect it from the Eel and his machinations as well as impress the visiting Pirate Dignitaries to become members of the pirate council.
Eventually the Island of Empty Eyes becomes a major Pirate Port and the cyclopean ruins house a bustling town.
Book 5: The Price of Infamy / Book 6: From Hell's Heart (Extreme modifications to story and adventures)
After defeating the fleet sent by Harrigan and Thrune against their Isle, the PCs find a way to Harrigan's lair in the records of the Wormwood, captured in a pitched sea battle.
The players eventually face Harrigan on a stormwracked rooftop as a demonic portal is being opened. Players defeat Harrigan, whose body is sucked through the Portal. It's determined that the only way to close the portal is from the otherside - Someone must sacrifice themselves.
Without time for anyone to react, Theoric Starhelm jumped through the portal, and was last seen fighting devils as the portal collapsed.
Sailing back to Port Peril, the captains are able to intercept the Cheliax Fleet and sink it.
However, the Hurricane King has been missing since the word of an incoming fleet - leaving Tessa Fairwind to try to get the other Free Captains to work together.
Eventually, a showdown with Thrune and several demon lords on the Port Peril Docks leads to the return of Kerdak Bonefist - as Thrune's ally, and with it the revelation that He was the true spy, and that a "cleansing" of the lesser pirates from the Shackles is a good and needed thing.
Once defeated, The council eventually decide that Captain Eastwood would become the next Hurricane King. A crown he held for many years, on a troubled brow. (But that is a tale for another time...)
Captains Eretria Seaborn and Alric Fray traveled north in search of a ship that tales said could "fly across the sky to distant realms." It is generally known they where successful, if only after many more years.
And finally, when all the credits have rolled, fade back to the top of that doomed keep of Harrigan's. A pile of rubble lies where a Portal once was. A few small rocks tumble away, and Starhelm's tattooed arm pushed through the rubble...
And Probably only an issue for some characters/players.
I kindly disagree. American did it.
To carry out this mission, the Continental Congress began to build up, through purchase, conversion, and new construction, a cruiser navy of small ships--frigates, brigs, sloops, and schooners.
The simple act of changing the name or paint (or adding weapons) could be considered Squibbing even though it probably wasn't referred to that way. Changing the design/decor is extravagant, but probably wasn't beyond the wealthy of the times either.
The rest of your points are great though.
This is an open request for advice (And also, maybe a sticky if this takes off...), not just from players of the Anniversary Edition, but from all readers of this section of the Paizo-verse, for advice on running Rise of the Runelords as it pertains to the Anniversary Edition.
Well, maybe especially from others using this Tome instead of the AP Books or PDFs. Or have the AE and one of the other.
This is mainly because it can be hard to sort some of the Old Reign's rules conversations from the New King's system. (I know I could work from the later pages, and I enjoy many anecdotes along the way, but really, it can still be a mixed bag looking for Crunch sometimes.) Particularly in the AP Specific, already stickied posts that have 150+ posts already.
I plan to, as I find them, try to add or link relevant suggestions (New or Old) I find in other posts along the way, and I'm sure there are others doing the same thing, and all perspectives are welcome to add.