Hey there, folks!
It's unfortunate that the caravan rules aren't working as smoothly as we'd hoped they would... part of the problem was, I suspect, that we overstepped our capacity to incorporate subsystems into this AP, what with the addition of the Beginner Box to the workload on top of everything else (I'll note that the previous big subsystem we developed for an AP, in Kingmaker, was done not during the convention season and without beginner box stuff pulling even more resources away).
We should have done more playtesting for the caravan rules, in other words, but we didn't have the time.
The "good" news is that "The Hungry Storm" was always intended to be the big "caravan adventure," and in the last three adventures, the caravan element recedes once again into a more optional, background element as they were in the first two adventures—so if you decide to just get rid of the caravan encounter system entirely, the Jade Regent Adventure path still works just fine.
In the meantime, I'd love to see more analysis of what the problems with the system are, and I suspect that some folks will come up with some pretty elegant workarounds or solutions here.
Alas... we don't currently have the time or manpower to go back at this point and officially "fix" the caravan rules or the encounters in "The Hungry Storm." (I would RAHTER rebuild the caravan encounters in the adventure, to be honest, since that keeps the caravan rules themselves from having to be revised...). In any event, hopefully when we get a chance to look back at the caravan encounters, we'll be able to post some solutions... it might take a bit of time till we get to a point where we can do that is all I'm saying.
Anyway, sorry it didn't work out. Frustrating for us as well!
Thanks for the honest reaction, James. I still hope, that there will be an official "patch" for the caravan rules here on the Paizo boards. It isn´t too late for that, becaus the vast majority of GMs and players hasn´t even started the campaign.
Our group for instance starts "The Brinewall Legacy" in Decemeber. I hope, I don´t have to drop the caravan rules. I did that with Kingmaker. The kingdom building rules were not realistic enough for me and my group, but I hope that I can use the additional rules this time in my campagin. Without them the long, long journey could be a little boring. Because most journeys are boring. This campaign NEEDS a proper caravan system, please give it to us, Paizo! :)