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I found running Shattered Star #1 in 5e easy & smooth; the only major issue was when it was some obscure PF monster with no stats & I had no idea what it was supposed to do. Just going by the listed CR seems easiest way to make sure from-scratch stats work out, but usually I can take something from the MM, eg Reefclaw = giant scorpion with no poison sting; carrion golem = flesh golem.
However running Shards of Sin in 3-hour sessions took us 11 sessions! Running all of Crimson Throne in PF took 34 sessions, the early books were 4 sessions each. Not sure 5e runs any faster than PF.
I'm about to start a campaign combining two APs (Runelords + Shattered Star), which could be several years of fortnightly play. The reason I don't think it will feel too long is that by combining APs it becomes an open campaign with genuine choice in what the players do.
The big problem I found running Crimson Throne was length + linearity; the feeling of PCs being shuffled along through the AP from one waypoint to the next. To combat this I think genuine sandboxy openness is vital, the players feeling that they don't have to do X and the campaign will still continue.
They're too long for me, about 50% too long I think. 4 books instead of 6 would be much better, and for PF probably levels 1-10 instead of 1-15 as the default - few as written have the scope to accommodate levels 11+ properly. 4 books covering levels 1-3, 4-6, 7-8 and 9-10 would be ideal for a typical AP designed to be played in a year.
Matthew Kelsey wrote:
As I mentioned over here, I've also had it serve as a sort of neutral ground in my campaign, particularly since I decided that the giant hexagon wards against divinations - so it's a good place for plotters.
Yep, I did that too - did we just make it up, or is it official somewhere? :)
Factions - on their first visit my PCs got in with the Duskwardens and helped them deal with a Gray Render in the prison levels, then took out a renegade Zon-Kuthonite dark naga in the Undercity that had been using cloakers etc to raid the Dusklight Path. This time they're meeting the Pharasma clerics at the Godsmouth Ossuary getting a PC raised, and one has been invited to dinner with the Freemen - he has a rep as a 'people's champion' back in Korvosa.
Douglas Muir 406 wrote:
This was my experience exactly - Book 3, the Arkona mansion would have been a TPK in Pathfinder if my PCs had fought them, although luckily they had no reason to do so and it was clear from Vimanda that facing Glorio would be suicide.Book 4 is a terrible railroad, my campaign avoided it entirely since IMC the PCs made friends with the Brotherhood of Bones in bk 3, and thus found out Serithtiel's location from them, avoiding the whole Shoanti fandango. Which was ok but made Bk 3 a waste of money, it boiled down to a single lopsided fight where the PCs ambushed pursuing party of Cinnabar/Cinderlander/Gray Maidens, in turn ambushed by a Red Mantis & gargoyles, but cleaning them all out pretty handily.
I think if CotCT is rereleased, Bk 3 needs editing, Bk 4 needs to be changed completely, much more open, and with much stronger hooks, eg the Shoanti could be gathering to sack Harse.
My CoTCT campaign (now on Book 5) has gone quite a lot differently, partly because the PCs have been making good use of Kaer Maga as an obvious resource - a city beyond the control of Ileosa, and handily between Korvosa & Scarwall. They've already had several adventures there on the way out, and have just returned there from Scarwall to get a comrade Raised.
I was wondering if Kaer Maga has come up in other GMs' CotCT games, and if so what sort of stuff did you do there?
Our group for the first two books was Bard/Summoner/Urban Ranger. That worked well, albeit the Summoner class seems inherently overpowered - too easy to use long-duration summonings for all sorts of activities, eg earth elementals to scout out the rooms of dungeons - the Summoner speaks Terran. The Eidolon can climb, fly, fight really well, etc. Bard and Ranger both seem effective but not overpowered.
My group just got TPK'd by Nualia in the catacombs, having lost one PC to the Thassilonian trap, some terrible die rolls and she carved up the other two with 5 hp left. Also lost Shalelu Andosana to double-turncoat Orik Vankaskerkin, who turned back to Nualia's side when he saw which way the wind was blowing.
Do you think there's any way to continue the campaign with new PCs, or should I scrap it? I'm kinda down at the loss of all the plot threads & NPC relationships from the dead PCs. If I smash up Sandpoint with a goblin invasion that would make Book 2 un-runnable.
Hm, I think on average what I said is true. But there are certainly exceptions; eg in my Rise of the Runelords campaign Titus Scarnetti has a sister Alicia, who is a very sexy character indeed, but she's also taken seriously (to the extent that one PC is engaged to marry her), I think because she's also very smart and capable, in her own way. The PC was attracted to her by her brains as well as by her looks and demeanour, and by their similar natures, both being roguish bad boy/bad girl types. IME that's very common - intelligence is probably the most important single attribute.
Yeah, it wasn't very impressive. Would have looked more plausible if Clegane had wielded a big axe or somesuch.
On PF, it just sounds as if the 'lift over head' numbers are a bit high relative to the 'carrying capacity' numbers.
All of this was in reference to the poster who claimed a friend 'prayed the gay away'. I was implying that if simple prayer was enough to 'cure' him then he MIGHT not have been genetically predisposed in the first place even if he thought he was...
Most likely he was somewhat genetically/inherently disposed that way, but not as much as some other people, who would not have been reorientable. We like hard bright lines, either/or, but that often doesn't fit reality.
Curse of the Crimson Throne #1 has Korvosan Guard as War-2; likewise in Magnimar City of Monuments the Magnimar guard are War-2, as are the Sandpoint regular guard in Rise of the Runelords. So that seems to be the Golarion baseline, although the guard in GMG is War-3 and the soldier is War-1.
You can have a world where half the population are 1st level, 25% 2nd level, and have plenty of 2nd level characters to fill positions such as town guard where one might expect above-average prowess. The adventures tend to have mobs of generic townsfolk and such be War-1, which stats out pretty much identical to Com-2; either 1st or 2nd level is useable as a baseline for demographics.
Chengar Qordath wrote:
If I'm running a sandbox, I'd probably tell the player whether thing X existed in the campaign and if so I might let them attempt to find and recruit thing X. Or if thing X was already part of the PC's backstory, then that would probably be fine. All the current cohorts IMCs were created by me though, and I generally much prefer that to PC-created cohorts. For one thing it means I'm confident I know how they think, I have an internal aspect on them.
I'm generally very very wary of allowing full-progression caster cohorts, though, unless they are the same class as the PC.
Sure; that's why most APs close out at 15th, so the players can enjoy being demigods a little while before retirement. If I'm running a sandbox campaign in my own setting I tend to run it 1st-8th or 1st-10th, with NPC demographics to fit.
Any GM who's having 10th level PCs taken down by regular city guard patrols (arbitrarily upscaled) is a pretty crappy GM IMO. Of course 10th level PCs can ride roughshod over regular troops, typical goblin lairs, etc. That doesn't mean they are all-powerful, though a 20th level PC party might be (leaving aside Baba Yaga, Treerazor and such Epic threats). I'm running Curse of the Crimson Throne, so I see a lot of Korvosa demographics. The regular City Guard might be 2nd level, but there are crack squads of 5th-7th level guys too, including PC types, who can be deployed if necessary. If that's not enough, well there are the Hellknights of the Nail if you need to call in plenty of 7th-10th level types, there are the Acadamae mages, the Queen's elite Gray Maidens (Fighter-8) and so on.
Golarion has well established level demographics as per ISWG - lots of level 1-5, plenty of 6-10. 11-15 are rare though, and 16-20 are extremely rare. Overall the level spread is well designed to challenge PCs in the typical 1-15 range of most APs.
I wouldn't put total population above half a billion sentients (including goblins and Underdark dwellers), and 200-300 million probably more likely. I don't think it's anything like as high as post-industrial-revolution Earth ca the mid twentieth century, which is what 2-3 billion would indicate.
For level demographics; the GMG and Pathfinder APs tend to have 'typical' people be 2nd level NPC class, though 1st level NPC class is common too, for novices, incompetents, green recruits etc. I'd suggest these both be about equally common for the adult population, then halve numbers each level higher. 50% level 1 and halve number each level higher also works.
Landon Winkler wrote:
Oh, sure - and I have had the occasional male 'beefcake' character in my games, eg Prince Konn of the Tigerclaw Uthgardt, played by Dolph Lundgren as 'He-Man' - http://frloudwater.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/2261480-karse.html :) - but he wasn't intended to be a serious romantic interest, just a short term 'engagement'... Longer term romantic-interest characters tend not to be so overtly physical, that goes for the female ones too - eg I think Ameiko Kajitsu catches players' interest more than NPCs who look like Seoni.
I don't design cohorts - I create NPCs. If the PC has Leadership feat & high enough Leadership they can then attempt to recruit suitable NPCs encountered in-game, eg Trinia Sabor in Crimson Throne.
Ben Parkinson wrote:
Quite a few people seemed interested in this blog post - Go to blog Teaching Changemakers using Kingmaker - where we were discussing the potential of Pathfinder for developing vision, creativity and leadership skills among youngsters in Uganda.
It occurs to me that the main challenge your youngsters are likely to face in future life leadership positions is the balancing of kinship network/extended family demands with their other responsibilities; whereas this is something completely absent in default Golarion - everyone seems to be an American-style individualist with a nuclear family or no family at all. Is it worth including 'family' in Kingmaker as an issue, or would that make things too complicated?
Historically gold was typically worth 10-20 times as much as silver. Not just in medieval times; in classical Greece it was typically a 20-1 ratio, falling to 10-1 during the influx of Persian gold in the later classical era. More recently 'Gold standard' economies, and holding of bank reserves in gold, lead to gold value inflation, which we still have currently.
D&D/PF wages tend to be inflated by comparison to medieval Europe, but not always wildly different from Classical-era; for long periods a silver coin was indeed the standard daily wage of a heavy infantry soldier such as Roman legionary or Greek hoplite. Some prices though are wildly inflated, and could typically be divided by 10 or converted to silver for a more historical feel.
@OP: I would contribute to a male-romantic-interest thread (Sir Jereth Rogare, Hellknight of the Nail, in my Curse of the Crimson Throne game was pretty cool, in a Judge Dredd/Robocop sort of way), only 'beefcake' is the male equivalent of female 'cheesecake', ie it's all about the visuals, and I can't get past the terrible thread title. If you weren't going for that, you should have chosen a better title. Sorry.
Do you feel that some of the female iconics as presented in their class entry (i.e. the "iconic" iconic picture) are being objectified?
Eh, no. I think they're all clearly subject of action, not object. I haven't really seen seriously objectifying FRPG artwork since the 3e D&D era with companies like Mongoose and the Avalanche Press book covers. I think Paizo artwork is gratuitously sexy (good for sales) and the costumes often impractical, but it's nothing like '90s Clyde Caldwell stuff, or even Larry Elmore (much as I love Elmore).
"They are speaking in another language", maybe "It sounds like Minkaian/Tian/cetera". No I didn't make up gobbledigook or type Japanese - it's a text-chat game.
Hm. I don't think Paizo's approach is really aimed at you, no. There is no single canon continuity. At best it may be that the comics will all stick to one comic continuity; you could fix on that and ignore the other stuff. Or likewise with the novels I guess.
Interesting analysis of Seoni - I will use that in future, thanks. :) I agree with you on all the Iconics except Amiri; she's not just a typical Kelid, she's a PC and will have access to wealth, gear etc. An Iconic 3e/PF Barbarian should wear a chain shirt - it's Iconic. :p(Also I think I'm a bit sick of the whole Britney Spears bare midriff thing, it only looks good on a tiny minority of women and my eyes have suffered quite enough over the years...)
I agree about the Oracle's priestess garb, to me that's a clearly appropriate depiction of a non-armour class (I would probably cover her belly too given the choice, but no big deal); same with the Witch.
One thing - going by Gamemastery Guide and most of the adventures, it seems to me that in Pathfinder a typical person tends to be 2nd level, not 1st level, and they tend to average 7-8 hp, whether that's because they're a Com-2 with Con 10, or a War-1 with Toughness. Most typical soldiers/guards seem to be War-2 with around 13-15 hp. This fits a lot better scaling with typical animal hit points than 3e's 2 hit point Commoner-1s, and supports having the bear trap do the listed damage.
If in your game the typical healthy adult is a Com-1 with 3 hit points then I think this is exactly the sort of thing that should be rescaled to avoid the 'world of cardboard' effect.
I don't have magic item shops IMC, Curse of the Crimson Throne. I have crafting require rare components with limited availability, plus all charges require castings into the charged item - 50 fireball spells for a 50 charge wand of fireballs. I use random rolls for the available magic items, which change monthly - around 20 items for Korvosa, a large city, on Gather Info Diplomacy DCs of 11-30.
This all works fine; signature items that level with the PC (+1 per 3 levels, say) are also fine. The system assumes the PCs have '+' items at higher levels, but doesn't require that they're kitted out with exactly the items they want for a particular build - it's your choice whether charop through item purchase is a part of your game.
This being the case, would it make any sense for the PC to have been friends with Nualia?
I don't think Nualia is a very nice person - hence all the murdering... it would make sense to me that Nualia was far too wrapped up in her own 'woe is me, I am too beautiful' thing to think of being friends with another, younger, girl. You could also do it that Tobyn is Chelish, this PC is Varisian and they occupied very different social circles and wouldn't come into contact much; although Nualia did have that Varisian bad-boy...
Keep in mind that right now, there are threads talking about the hypersexualization of women in Pathfinder by citing characters like Seoni and ignoring characters like Kyra. There's a thread looking specifically...
NB: DIFFERENT PEOPLE WANT DIFFERENT THINGS. Some people want more Kyras, some want more Seonis, some want more Vencarlo Orisinis. Obviously Paizo cannot please everyone! That's not the point, and it's not illegitimate for people to post their wishes even where those contradict the wishes of other people.
Landon Winkler wrote:
Yeah, I add potential male & female romantic interests, and other PCs, to both the APs I'm running. In Curse of the Crimson Throne I added heroic Hellknight of the Nail Sir Jereth Rogare (the anonymous dude on the cover of Book 1), who has had a major part in rescuing a female PC from induction into the Gray Maidens, then solving the mystery of the Blood Veil and leading the assault on its source, before riding off into the dawn light with his comnrades in arms at the end of Book 2. In Rise of the Runelords new characters of mine include Alicia Scarnetti, Titus's glamorous & loose-moralled sister, who is about to be in a shotgun wedding with an equally promiscuous PC... :D
I'm sure I'd keep adding to the APs and making them my own whatever Paizo do. More canon romantic interest male NPCs would still be good, though. I guess it doesn't need to be 50-50, but at least 33-67 would be nice. :)
No, but Seoni's outfit and depiction certainly is; it looks specifically designed for sexual allure over practical considerations. She could be wearing less cloth and be a lot less sexy. IRL example would be bikini design vs nudity: bikinis are typically designed to look sexy, whereas nudity isn't inherently sexual, as you say.
I quite like the matriarchal demons idea, might use that. I found the idea of Devils as patriarchal odd, given that most of the leading NPCs in Cheliax seem to be female. This is the kind of thing that bugs me re making most of the powerful NPCs (good & evil) female - it's done with no consideration for setting implications, so you end up with 'patriarchal' Asmodeus backing the House of Thrune, when nearly all the senior Thrune (& other Chelish) noble characters I've seen are female. I'm sure it can be justified in-setting; but I would like to see a justification. Eg: maybe the Chels think women are less subject to diabolical influence, so that Thrune being female-led acts as a sort of counterweight to potential Hellish corruption?
Re Erastil - as with other gods, my favoured approach is to have the cult vary geographically, so Erastil in the River Kingdoms, the Lake of Mists & Veils, and Mendev might be patriarchal, while in Cheliax or Nirmathas he's egalitarian. The Kingmaker write up for Erastil can be canon for the area covered in the AP (which seems less egalitarian or gynocratic than (former) Chelish territories), while the ISWG write-up can be canon for lands around the Inner Sea.
Sorry for the OT... :)
This thread got me thinking, so I started a post in the Golarion Products forum asking whether the NPC levels in Guide to Korvosa should be lowered for PF play.
My own approach has been to keep Darb Tuttle at 13th, since the Church of Abadar seems dominant in Korvosa, with at least one 9th level underling. The churches of Pharasma & Asmodeus have leaders of at least 9th level (ie they can Raise Dead PCs - but not dead NPCs, judging by King Eodred!) while other church leaders are likely to be in the 6th-8th range for casting purposes, though they may have the occasional Aristocrat etc level on top. Saranrae's high priest is probably 8th level, while Durnhelm the PC Barb 1/Clr 5 of Gorum may well be the highest level Cleric of Gorum in Korvosa. :)