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Story Archer's page

706 posts. Alias of Wiggz.


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Fraust wrote:

Story Archer...I'm not normally a fan of houserules, though it never hurts to look just in case someone's come up with something brilliant.

Well, I'm making some character-specific changes to help them realize their concepts more fully, but those are unique things, not what I'd term official 'house rules'.

The main things I'm going to be doing is getting rid of Spell Resistance; for monsters who normally have it, 'Spell Resistance' becomes a monster ability which grants a universal +4 to saves vs. spells and spell-like abilities. I just find it really streamlines play.

I'm also adding BAB to Initiative rolls, something I've done in the past that has worked really well. Apart from that I generally ignore WBL and customize the majority of my magic items.

We had our official 'pre-game' meeting last night, finalizing characters and ironing out all the little things including character background. I've got one of the more 'techie' guys working on Roll20 right now to get familiar with it and I've even ordered the Deluxe Edition as a present to myself for being such an awesome GM ;-P

I'll keep you guys updated. I'm going to have them each keep campaign journals, and will be engaging them in RP via email between sessions to further the story and their individual subplots. I'm seriously considering making a website to tell the story as it unfolds, but I'm not sure there's enough interest in yet another RotRL campaign journal, even one as unique as this one will be.

I actually put together a group that knows nothing at all about RotRL, and I'm going to run them through it and work in three books from Shattered Star as well (#2, #5 and #6). With just a little re-write, the synergy should be perfect.

Campaign thread

Kelvar Silvermace wrote:
The party just reached 7th level (actually long overdue, because I gave them a side quest related to the back-story of two of the PCs). If the party Cleric (of Desna) casts "Divination", any suggestions about what she learns? The description of that spell is awfully vague. For a 4th level spell it should be pretty darned helpful, I would think. But I don't want to go overboard.

I imagine who knows what varies a little bit from campaign to campaign... but I figure the first and biggest limitation on the Divination spell will be the questions your Cleric thinks to ask - chances are she doesn't know enough yet to ask the 'right' questions. You might want to privately ask her to write them out for you in beforehand so you can figure out how to best answer them so that she gets good information but doesn't reveal anything that might derail the story. Do this as a general rule rather than specific to this moment in the campaign or this particular Divination. That way you can give her the answers in-game without having to shoot from the hip.

Ongoing Divinations can be a bit of a Pandora's Box, but remember that behind all of this is an incredibly powerful wizard, and when he starts getting wind of the PC's, he may make moves to obfuscate or mislead their divinations, either himself or through minions.

Fraust wrote:
gahhh...just had a rather long (winded) post eaten due to a lousy connection...

Very, very frustrating.

Do you have a link to the roll20 download site? Or any other links which would prove useful?

Also, in our game we'll have some houserules in place - are you interested in those or are you just curious about how we'll be linking the two AP's?

dragonhunterq wrote:


1) Was this just bad luck and bad tactics from the players?
2) Was I wrong to allow Gogmurt to attack from within the bramble walls and gain the cover bonus to AC?
3) Were G and TT's tactics reasonable?
4) Should I have done more to talk the rogue out of his action, and reminded him of the squeezing penalties?

1) Sounds like a combination of both along with the party paying the price for not being especially well balanced. I don't have a problem with a party not being built to fit the traditional 'roles', but they have to be able to play smart to make up for that lack. Dice rolls certainly played a role as they so often do in low-level encounters.

2) I wouldn't have done it, especially not with a small creature who theoretically has no reach to speak of. Casting spells yes, but attacking effectively through a wall, no. He's already got enough tactical advantage.

3) Perfectly reasonable. He could have gone and rallied the visiting goblins from elsewhere in the briar patch and made life infinitely worse on the party. I would expect a Druid to use his natural surroundings to his advantage and to fight effectively with his Animal Companion.

4) Its not your job to talk players out of doing stupid things. Its how they learn. Also, I'm fine with a character role-playing a coward, so long as he understands that doing so can hurt his party, and the smaller the party, the more that pain will be felt.

In our run, after a couple of hit and run attacks from these two, our Fey Sorcerer used her own Woodland Stride ability to follow and Charmed the little goblin. He proved a valuable ally until the spell wore off and he rallied his fellow goblins against us - but by then it was too late.

Story Archer wrote:
This time though I'm doing things a bit differently - I'm going to be adding in three books of Shattered Star (#1, #5 & #6)

Ugh - just realized I originally typed this. Should read #2, #5 and #6. Sorry for the confusion.

I honestly could see myself upscaling Book #1 and running it as well, kind of the PC's introduction into Magnimar once they leave Sandpoint, but I've already got a lot of balls in the air doing 9 volumes and shoe-horning in Book #1 would do much to advance the story.

Latrecis wrote:

We use Roll20 but only for display purposes. All the players are in the same room though the primary mission of Roll20 is to permit remote table-top RP with players geographically dispersed. The DM (me) is logged into Roll20 with a pc. Another pc in the room is logged into Roll20 and connected to a 42 inch monitor. I reveal portions of the maps (taken from the map pdf's) as the group explores. I don't need to worry about scaling or other combat functions in Roll20. When the time comes for combat, I have one of the players sketch out the appropriate sections on a dry-erase grid and we use miniatures, real dice, etc. for combat. (You know, the old fashioned way.) I assume that absent a large screen, each player at the table could log into Roll20 with whatever tablet, laptop, etc. they had to see the map. As Fraust says above, Roll20 is web-based and I don't see why a tablet wouldn't work. This does imply everyone at the table has an electronic device. Or they share one or more of them.

Now you can take it to the next level with Roll20 - get scaled maps (tons available in the community content sticky right here on the RotRL forum) provide each player with a token, find tokens for all the monsters, etc. Again it's designed to permit complete play (including video and chat windows) for players not in the same building or city or state. Using it that way will take considerably more work by the DM.

I don't worry about differing visual capabilities since there is a human in the group and the working assumption is that any light source that lets the human function ruins the special visual capabilities of the other characters. I'm also not sure that Roll20 supports different views per player - the half-orc with darkvision and the elf with low-light vision and the human all see the same map. Roll20 does allow for more "realistic" lighting options at the pay levels (we use the free version) but that seems to me more trouble than it's worth and this setup is vastly superior to the alternative: I describe the room verbally, one player maps the "dungeon" perhaps on graph paper and then we need to draw it again on a grid for combat. The old way doesn't really account for dynamic lighting either. If the players can't see part of the map for whatever reason I simply don't reveal it using Roll20's "fog of war" feature.

My players do have tablets or laptops - they use them for Hero Lab which is a pretty awesome bit of software. But it's $30 to start and probably twice that if you need/want/are genetically compelled to buy all the rule add-ons, so it does call for some disposable income.

This sounds very much along the lines of what I'd like to do - with the understanding that 'what I'd like to do' is still evolving. If I could set it up so that the maps and tokens all appeared on my living room television, that would be absolutely fantastic, even if I am the only one who can move the tokens around. The group might benefit from a shared reveal of the 'Fog of War' but at least that fog will be there, I won't have to draw (somewhat ugly) maps and so on. Again, as we get more comfortable with the software we might attempt more software-savy feats, but that's a great place to start.

What would I need? A single laptop with a connection to the television as a display? How would my view (with all the hidden things) be made different from the view the group sees up on the screen? Would it be more practical to encourage everyone to get tablets/laptops of their own rather than trying to use a shared display?

Again, to be clear, I'm not trying to do anything other than to replace the table-top maps with displays that accurately represent what the characters would be able to see in-game, whether that ends up being on individual computer screens or on a shared universal display. Everything else we'll take care of with HeroLab or dice, pen and paper.

Fraust wrote:

I'm going to have to start reading SS, hopefully tonight as a matter of fact. I remember really wanting to run it when I was getting it as a subscriber, and being excited about the sequel angle. With the rate my group finishes anything though, if I want to run Rise then SS I'll likely be finishing book six of SS sometime in the next decade, maybe what I might do is use what you do here as inspiration and merge them.

Are the first two and last two just better at meshing in with the plot, or is there another reason you recommended reading them and not the middle two?

There's absolutely no reason why you shouldn't read them all - the suggestions I made were just to prioritize your time and were specific to the campaign concept I was intending.

Book 1 I don't plan on using at all, but it establishes the entire premise for the over-reaching plot I'll be using (the discovery, retrieval and reforging of the Shards of Sin) as well as introducing a primary NPC to that end, Sheila Heidemarch. I intend for the PC's to either be casually introduced to her by Justice Ironbriar at a small reception where they are recognized for their recent efforts 'in the hinterlands' (sometime after The Misgivings so that Ironbriar can gauge the threat these PC's pose) or to have her approach them after the Skinsaw Cult is dealt with and they've gained in fame a bit - or both. She'll be the one to cast light on the Shard's they have discovered up to that point and will point them towards the Lady's Light as a potential resting place for the third... or at least, that's where I'm at right now.

I'll be using books 2, 5 and 6 as shown above as they fit the best into the campaign I'm building, and to be honest, 9 volumes of an AP plus the occasional side trek here or there is about as ambitious as I want to get. As you read through them, if you have any campaign-specific questions, let fly - you may bring up something I hadn't fully or properly considered.

Jimmy "Big Daddy" Ho-Chunk wrote:

hello all,

I'm running the Anniversary edition of the Rise of the Rune Lords with a group of 5 players.

What advancement track would folks who've run this recommend? I throw in a few extra monsters to keep things interesting, but I don't want them to far behind the curve and I'm currently using the Medium track.

Thanks for any help!

My best recommendation would be to skip the advancement tracks entirely and simply level the group up at the prescribed moments in the AP. Then, as far as encounters go, just always keep a another wave of mooks in your back pocket (which could be 5 more goblins, 1 more giant, whatever) and send them in whenever an encounter is going too easily. Consider maxing out your Boss's hit points as well in those big, crucial battles.

The AP isn't a cakewalk. If your group is not particularly experienced or especially well optimized, you might not have to do anything at all.

Fraust wrote:

I would start with pulling the maps out of the PDFs and getting them loaded into roll20. Again, minus the grids would be my suggestion :) then searching around the art library for appropriate tokens.

As for me following...a lot of it is to see how things go mixing in the books from SS. I haven't seen anyone talk about that before and I think it's a neat idea. I'm not nearly as familiar with SS as I am Rise, though I do own it. For example, the Shards you mentioned above are something from SS? I might have to look into that for the context.

I haven't even downloaded any software yet (or even looked for any for that matter) - is Roll20 your recommendation? What if I have apple and my players have pc? What if they have tablets or laptops? The technology is a little intimidating - hell, I still write by hand as often as not.

The primary plot behind Shattered Star is to find the seven pieces of the Sihedron, the primary magical rune from ancient Thassilon, and to unite them - basically a 'rod of seven parts' type quest but one that deliberately shares a tremendous amount of history with Rise of the Runelords as well as almost all of the same geography. It was originally written as a sequel of sorts, so there are lots of tie-ins that make it a natural to blend the two. I chose the portions of SS that I did for their particularly heavy doses of Runelord tie-ins and for the organic way they could be transplanted without the story seeming to go off on its own. It also makes for a larger campaign that seems more about the Runelords in general than about one in particular.

If you're familiar with RotRL, then I'd recommend you read the first two books of SS and glance through the last two - you should be able to see for yourself the opportunities to incorporate a lot of that material.

Fraust wrote:
Lotsa stuff.

I do have the anniversary edition. I'm not married to d20 or Roll20 or any other specific software as I haven't made any sort of purchases or downloads yet, and I'm not opposed to paying some money for a product if it will fill my needs.

I'm trying to keep things very simple at first, limiting it to the parameters I discussed. As my group and especially I get more comfortable using the software, I may want to take advantage of more features. Any advice on how to get started would be most welcome.

Also, you mentioned in your original reply that you would be following this - did you mean the technical aspect or the game aspect? With regards to the story, the modifications, the gameplay, etc. is there anything in particular you were curious about?

Fraust wrote:
Looking forward to checking this out. I'm pretty familiar with Roll20, though I've never done any API work, so if you've any nonAPI questions I'd be happy to help.

See, I don't even know what 'API' is.

What I'd like to do is to have my players seated around a table, each with their tablets or laptops showing the battle map, each seeing what their character is able to see and each able to move their characters when their turns come up. That's all I need - we can handle all of the dice-rolling or action descriptions between us verbally. It would add a great deal of realism to battles and prevent the lull brought on from my having to hand draw each encounter.

Its my understanding that roll20 can do that. Apart from that possibly mistaken belief, I have no idea how to get from here to there. I do have all the maps purchased as pdfs as part of the AP subscription.

Blackfingers wrote:
One thing I might recommend - After Runelords 5, the PC's will probably want to take the fight to Karzoug pretty badly. Putting in Shattered Star 5 right after might run the risk of feeling like a side mission. There are three options I can think of that might work there - merge Shattered Star 5 with Runelords 6, or move Shattered Star 5 to after Runelords 6 or before it, likely after Book 4 of Runelords. You'll have to adjust some things, but I think i'll improve the flow signifigantly.

I'm actually thinking about kind of sandboxing/combining SS5 and RotRL5 because, by that point, it will have become clear to the players that defeating Karzoug is absolutely necessary but still just a step (the last step?) in the plan of re-forging the Sihedron, since it will be presumed by them that Karzoug has the Shard of Greed. Personally I'm going to nudge them towards dealing with Cadrilkasta first since I see the battle with Special K as being more climactic and I like the earlier tie-ins with Leng...

Some advancement/encounters will need to be adjusted a bit, but the PC's have already been briefed that they will be leveling at predetermined points, and that there may be some accordian-ing with them spending more time at one level than the next. They're fine with it, they just want to tell the story.

That's definitely going to be the trickiest transition/balancing act though, between those two books.

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I've run through it once as a GM with a four man party. It was very by the book and largely successful. This time though I'm doing things a bit differently - I'm going to be adding in three books of Shattered Star (#1, #5 & #6) and I'll be running it with three PC's:

Human Paladin (archetype undecided, probably Oath of Vengeance)

Half-Elven Summoner (new Spirit Summoner archetype, Battle Spirit)

Human Blackblooded Oracle (Spellscar Curse, she'll be drawing from the Sorcerer spell list instead of the Oracle one)

I'm adjusting the characters by allowing them to use 25 point buys, to take campaign traits as a 3rd optional trait and to gain 2 extra skill points per level in order to help make up for their smaller party size. I'll also be liberally using NPC's scattered throughout the AP. The party's light on healing and has no trap-finding or legitimate ranged threats to speak of - that will obviously have to be addressed.

I'm hoping to take advantage of the roll20(?) tabletop program for the first time, and I'll be doing a lot of re-writes (as I've mentioned in other threads), particularly to include the various Sihedron shards in various locations. At the moment this is what I've got:

Shard of Wrath (with Elyrium in the Catcombs of Wrath)
Shard of Envy (in possession of the Skinsaw Man)
Shard of Lust (in possession of the alu-demon Ashamintallu)
Shard of Gluttony (in possession of Mammy Graul)
Shard of Pride (in possession of Mokmurian)
Shard of Sloth (in possession of the Blue Dragon Cadrilkasta)
Shard of Greed (in possession of the Runelord Kourzog)

The AP's will take place in the following order:

Runelords #1
Runelords #2
Shattered Star #2
Runelords #3
Runelords #4
Runelords #5
Shattered Star #5
Runelords #6
Shattered Star #6

I'm going to be drawing from the Wayfinder's, particularly #7, to add a few little things to the campaign and likewise I'll be omitting a handful of things (like the Asylum, probably). I'm really making this post in the hopes of getting any and all advice, both technical and otherwise, regarding adjustments for a 3-man party, using Roll20, what might be good to omit, what might be good to add... any thoughts at all are most welcome.

Thanks in advance!

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I think that Quink is an invaluable NPC, not just for parties but also for GM's to use for exposition. I think the best way to do it would be to have hjim start off with some basic information, including some maverick theories that prove to be true and others that prove to be false. The PC's discoveries and explorations spur, refine and guide his research so that every time they make it back to Sandpoint he has some new tidbits for him - perhaps he even reaches them with a message at a crucial time with something he has just discovered that might provide a key insight.

So many tropes involve having a tech wizard, research assistant, forensic specialist back at base who offers insights as the mystery unfolds. That would seem to be the best way to use him, and he can offer up nudges when the PC's are stuck, misdirection when things are coming too easily and fill PC's in on all of the great backstory along the way..

In our campaign, he was eventually given custodianship over the discovered Library and he and the clockwork librarian going back and forth provided much amusement.

I'm about to run RotRL with a new group. Good role-players, moderately PF experienced, and there's going to be three of them. I tend to work with my PC's when building their characters in order to make certain that 1) they are campaign appropriate, 2) they are party appropriate (designed to add to the group rather than distract from it), 3) so I can get a good sense of the character for when I start writing individual sub-plots and 4) to make certain I can adjust the rules as needed to fit their concept without unbalancing anything.

Since there are going to be three players, augmented by in-game NPC's, I'm allowing them to use a 25 point attribute buy, but that's really the only accommodation I'm making for them on that front.

One of the characters is going to be a Spirit Summoner (Summoner archetype), with the concept that his Eidolon is actually an otherworldly mentor guiding him, protecting him and teaching him the ways of battle - its inspired some really neat ideas RP-wise both from his perspective and my own, but with regards to making everything fit mechanically, these are the changes I've made:

Rather than 2 points for all simple weapons or 4 points for all martial weapons, I'm allowing him to spend 2 evolution points to give his eidolon proficiency in a single martial weapon.

He gains his Hexes in place of (and at the same level as) Share Senses, Maker's Call, Merge Forms and Transposition. He keeps Aspect and, as such, gains one of his hexes a few levels early.

The other changes are primarily flavor, such as his taking the Orc Bloodline via Eldritch Heritage but making it instead be representative of his taking on more and more of his eidolon's likenesses, growing in size and strength as well as skill and ferocity.

I'm going to make the Eidolon in fact his sire, a being from an otherworldly race who has bound himself to his offspring in an effort to guide him through his 'adolescence' before his eventual ascension, gained when he ultimately achieves the class feature 'Twin Eidolon'. None of this will be known initially by the player or character, though clues will appear throughout the campaign.

The second character is going to be a Blackblooded Oracle with the Spellscar mystery. After long discourse with the woman playing her, I'm come to a few conclusions:

The character is most decidedly mystical and arcane in nature rather than divine, so I'm going to grant her access to the Wizard/Sorcerer spell list instead of the Cleric/Oracle one. Her 'Black Blood' will be a manifestation of the Primal Magic that afflicts her like a poltergeist, threatening all spells cast in her presence - in effect, she'll be carrying a region of 'wild magic' around with her. These are the rules I've put into place:

When casting any spell, she has to make a Concentration check to keep a primal magic event from taking place - she will get a +4 bonus to this check.

When anyone else casts a spell or uses a spell-like ability in her presence, they have to make a similar check without the bonus.

As a full round action, she can actively strengthen or weaken the area of wild magic around her, granting a +4 bonus to those concentrations checks by others, or a -4 penalty.

Existing spells who's presence she comes into will be unaffected.

I'll be working several books of Shattered Star into the campaign, including the Lady's Light. There, I fully intend for her wild magic to interact with that protecting Sorshien's clone, allowing her to wake up as the Runelord in the event of her death... which I'll try to let happen at the earliest convenience. When that takes place, it will rid her of the Black Blood curse, at least for a time, but I intend to have it manifest once more and to have her discover that she will only be free of it if she divests herself of the Spellscar Mystery as well, an effort that will involve a quest and will result in her eventually rebuilding herself as an Arcanist or more likely a Sin Specialist Wizard, guided by a sultry voice in her head that belongs to Sorshien herself.

It'll be fun coming up with more and more potential 'primal magic events' as the campaign unfolds.

The third character is undecided, but I'll likely be open to making similar rules adjustments on his behalf as well - I just wanted to get a sense of things from other players and GM's regarding the changes I'm proposing and whether or not they'll be problematic moving forward.

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Mystic_Snowfang wrote:

So, you have a problem with someone playing a character that just has to sleep with every female (or male) or whatever they come across.

Anyway, would it be okay for them to end up with either strange spots in interesting places, or one day being introduced to their son or daughter?

You don't need a solution because its not a problem - what it is is an opportunity. You know the PC's weakness, exploit it with a memorable NPC who uses sex (or rather, the PC's weakness for sexual gratification) as a tool to advance his/her own agenda...

Chunk O'Beef wrote:
During my first day on the ship, after waking up and being assigned a job, I was told to kill rats. I went below deck and summoned my eidolon. My DM declared that my eidolon didn't appear. I then tried to summon a dire rat. Again, my spell failed. Are summoners useless in Skull and Shackles?

We had a Master Summoner in our SnS campaign who summoned only elemental creatures (except at first when he limited himself to things you'd see at sea/on a ship like sea shrikes and dire rats). He was a boon to the party and a lot of fun to GM - so no, summoners are most definitely not useless. I second all of Baha-Who's comments and tend to suspect the latter over the former.

That 70s Bloke wrote:

I've seen threads where people have merged Rise and Shattered Star...

Has anyone tried merging any of the others?

My players seem to want a very long campaign, so i was thinking cut some of the superfluous encounters and link some APs together...but i can't think how to do it.

The APs are all designed to go low level to high level so going from one to another doesn't seem feasible.

Maybe i should just throw in some side quests and modules...

There are tons of modules that are out there which can be inserted into any AP, lots of PFS scenarios and then the companion books outline tons of different plot hooks and side quests that can be fleshed out... the problem is that, unless tied in to some degree or other, they might end up distracting from the storyline rather than enhancing it.

The only other complimentary merging of AP's that I've seen up to this point was Skull n' Shackles with parts of Serpent's Skull or vice versa but that took a fair bit of work.

The Rot Grub wrote:

I'd like a clarification on a rule, or expectation if you will: I recently GMed a group through Volume 1 of Wrath of the Righteous, but I threw some softballs and allowed some rerolls. I also allowed Hero Points. Subsequently, I have gotten into PFS and so have some of my players, and now I see that it might be possible to reward Chronicle sheets for playing sanctioned portions of APs.

But my impression of PFS is that GMs should run "by the book", and that character death should not be fudged. I completely understand the reason for consistency in an Organized Play system.

Is it the intention of the PFS organizers that campaigns run in the manner I ran WotR -- I'll call it "Campaign Mode" because it's intended to foster a long-running campaign where there is character continuity (i.e. characters are more likely to survive) -- should receive PFS credit? Or should I make sure to, when I run an AP with the intention of earning my players (and myself) PFS credit, shift to "PFS Mode" and run it strictly?

A follow-up question to this:

I plan on running RotRL soon and I'm going to work in three of the Shattered Star books as well. All are approved for campaign mode. Do the individual books count or even parts of the books count separately, or does the AP (in whole or in parts) need to be run start to finish before chronicle sheets are allowed?

W E Ray wrote:
I've done things like this many times over the years with several APs and published adventures -- always with great success.

I'm also thinking about working in Chopper's Isle from Wayfinder - and modules you'd recommend to drop in here and there that wouldn't detract too much from theme or mood?

DundjinnMasta wrote:
I am working on something similar (but more then just Rise and Shattered). I'll see if I can't find the threads I've been reading over when I am not posting from my phone.

Thanks - any perspectives might offer inspiration or help me avoid potential pitfalls.

For my campaign, 1.5 AP's will likely be more than enough... anything longer might run the risk of being too unwieldy or scattered over time.

Afternoon, all.

I've played around with this before but now I'm getting really serious about it with a new group getting together soon. I've run RotRL (Anniversary Ed.) before but I've only played around with Shattered Star until now.

My plan is to run Rise as normal, but to include three books from Shattered Star:

The Curse of the Lady's Light (Book 2) to introduce Sheila Heidmarch, the PFS and to foreshadow the Runelords connections.

Into the Nightmare Rift (Book 5) as a pre-cursor to the eventual showdown with Karzoug, tying in the nightmarish Leng.

The Dead Heart of Xin (Book 6) as a finale to the entire campaign, the ritual to reforge the Sihedron in reaction to the very real threat of the Runelords as shown by Karzoug's defeat.

Basically the order will be like this, though there will be some blurring at the edges:

Runelords Book 1
Runelords Book 2
Shattered Book 2
Runelords Book 3
Runelords Book 4
Runelords Book 5
Shattered Book 5
Runelords Book 6
Shattered Book 6

Leveling won't be a concern as I'll be leveling them at predetermined times and will make sure wealth and CR's are appropriate. What I'm trying to do right now is cobble together a cohesive storyline, which will in part necessitate scattering the shards of the Sihedron throughout the campaign (though I don't intend to have one lead to the other, I'll be using the Runelords plot hooks to guide my players).

At the moment, this is where I plan on having the shards encountered, in order, with their influence affecting those whom have come into possession of them:

Wrath – In Catacombs of Wrath with Elyrium

Envy – In the Misgivings with the Skinsaw Man

Lust – In the Lady’s Light with Ashamintallu

Gluttony - In the Graul Homestead with Mammy Graul

Pride – In the possession of Mokmurrian

Sloth – In possession of the Blue Dragon Cadrilkasta

Greed – With Karzoug in his prison.

Taking this into account, any recommendations regarding what I can and should expand upon, as well as what I might be able to cut out would be appreciated. for instance, I already plan on skipping the 'Things in the Attic' trip to the Habe's Sanatorium in Book 2 of Runelords and probably the 'Haunted Heart' in Book 3 though I'm not sure yet.

Any and all advice would be much appreciated as I try to tighten all of this up. Thanks in advance.

Babbling Bazzar wrote:

I will try and keep the NPCs up to date. I no longer have a magus, and so I don't have any spell casters currently, but if I get someone who is, I will remember to keep someone to around so that they can get their spells.

I will be definitely be trying to keeping track of all the NPCs with. It'll be a fun task...

Should I allow leadership or will it be enough with the PCs collecting a crew for the ship?

I will take a look at the ship battle combat. I would like to get ahead of the players with the books.

There's never a time I would allow Leadership, but that's just me personally. I'd say it was especially unnecessary in Skull n Shackles unless you choose to let them name one of the many NPC's already presented as a 'cohort', though I've never really understood the difference (or the need for a difference).

In our game, Rosie Cuswell was the Second Mate through out the first three books until she eventually got a ship of her own and was replaced with a Tengu. Aron Ivey was a vital member of the ship's crew as a carpenter and all-around old salt until the fourth book when he lost his leg and retired to work on the PC's flagship. Sandara Quinn was a constant ally of the party, going on their adventures with them until her departure in book 5 and eventual return in book 6. Mardus Siggs and eventually Caulky Taroon headed the ship's 'junior' team. Any of them could be considered 'cohorts' I suppose but in our game they were just NPC's.

Budoman wrote:

I am quite torn. I really like the RoTRL and now that I've read quite a bit into like it even more. But some other people's posts, such as Story Archers post about the goblin unnecessarily drawing attention and possibly spoiling fun to be a big factor in making me reconsider. However, I may have a solution and was wondering what you guys thought.

For the goblin, I was going to start him out as an outcast from the local Sandpoint tribes, similar to what other have done. But because he is an alchemist with cure light wounds as one of his first potions, I was thinking he may have some tenuous dealings with Sandpoint, even if not fully welcome, selling potions to the temple and maybe some others so that many of the villagers know about this rogue goblin even if they don't fully trust him. He would know something about the initial raid and try to warn the Sheriff, Mayor etc. but not be believed however, afterward he would have some trust with key people like the mayor, sheriff etc. who know about this. This would allow him to at least interact directly with these characters.

Because we have big barbarian, the goblin can be carried around in a sack by the barbarian that will let him travel with the party unseen in populated areas so he's not the center of attention. He can whisper to the barbarian to participate by proxy in conversations. If he wishes to participate more fully he can purchase, go on a side quest or invent some alchemist potion to let him disguise more fully (with the illusion of halfling or polymorph or some such thing) when traveling in a city.

If he has set on making an Alchemist, then my first thought would be to make him the clandestine contact of the proprietor of The Feathered Serpent (the local magical shop) - the owner buys potions from him and sells them for a profit, and it'd be up to you to decide if the relationship was a mutually beneficial one or an exploitative one. Alternately he could be an acquaintance of Madame Mvashti from one of her many long walks through the local environs. Either way, one of the PC's could discover the relationship or the NPC could step forward and 'vouch' for the goblin when it appears there is need for him.

In our campaign, before the PC's ventured down into the catacombs they realized that non elf them had dark vision and elected to 'volunteer' our resident Goblin to join them, instructing him to scout ahead (and watch for/spring any traps he may encounter). At that point the group was kind of treating him like he was expendable, with his character not yet having endeared him to the others although out-of-character everyone was fine and having fun. The point is that if he offers something (like dark vision or magical healing) that the PC's might be in need of, that becomes a very good way to introduce him into an encounter and eventually the AP as a whole.

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Pnakotus Detsujin wrote:
I'm running Runelords for the second time right now with a new group, and I've already incorporated The Lady's Light into the AP, intended as a bit of Runelords foreshadowing (and the Sorshien thing has happened to one of the players). I had Shieldmarch approach the PC's after their triumph in that nasty business concerning Justice Ironbriar. Now they are a bit further along, I'm wondering if I should incorporate any other parts of SS and if so, which and when?

Here my suggestions.

** spoiler omitted **

I appreciate the input. My thoughts were...

Spoiler: incorporate the Sihedron Shards into Rise of the Runelords by having them appear here and there throughout the story. I figured I'd tie it in to Karzoug's plans to return from Leng - the entirety of Star book 5 takes place in and around the Storval Plateau which the PC's will be familiar with already.

I'm thinking:

Rise book 1
Rise book 2
Star book 2
Rise book 3
Rise book 4
Rise and Star's book 5's (combined)
Rise book 6
Star book 6.

The placement of the shards will be dotted throughout the campaign and recovered by the PC's - not leading one to the other, but part of a natural progression, perhaps aided by Divination magic. I'm trying to think of the best places to have them encountered...

Shard of Envy: Noted for sale in the Feathered Serpent early on, purchased by Aldern and playing a part in his transformation. Recovered in the Misgivings, perhaps much later in the campaign once its purchase is tracked back.

Shard of Lust: In the Lady's Light

Shard of Gluttony: A trinket worn by Mammy Graul

Shard of Pride: Held by Mokmurian who is seeking the others, and it is the search for them that leads him to Sandpoint where the PC's are from.

Shard of Wrath: In the Scribbler's Lair

Shard of Sloth: Held by the dragon antagonist in the combined book 5's.

Shard of Greed: In Korzoug's prison with him

Basically the 'climax' against Korzoug will drive home the dangers the Runelords pose and drive the Ritual to reforge the Sihedron at the end of the campaign. Thoughts?

DM Dad in FL wrote:

We are currently between Burnt Offerings and Skinsaw Murders and I need help with a side-quest.

Current party are level 4 and it looks to me like the PCs level way too fast in book 2. So I want to send them on a side-quest.

We are adding a new player who will be a Samurai who is a distant relative of Ameiko's. I was hoping for a backstory of the Samurai proving protection for a group of new workers for the glassworks.

I was thinking the current PC's could be sent by Ameiko to gather the new workers and find them embroiled in some kind of trouble in either Magnimar, Riddleport or the swamp.

Need help fleshing this out.

Please offer any thought and assistance.


In my second time running it through I wanted to expand the players experience in Magnimar and add in some foreshadowing regarding the Runelords eventual involvement. The way I did this was by adding Book 2 of the Shattered Star AP almost exactly where you are now - I actually shoe-horned it in between books 2 and 3 of Runelords, after Justice Ironbriar was dealt with. The local Pathfinder Society saw how the PC's handled the insidious threat of the Skinsaw cult and Shiela Heidmarch asked them to look into the Lady's Light. It might suit what you're looking for perfectly with the possible exceptions that its a little bigger than your typical 'sidequest' and wouldn't really involve the Samurai's backstory.

Alternately, you could power up the first book of Jade Regent and take away the 'quest' aspect of it. That would serve really well too.

Both would be highly recommended for flavor, theme, location and level.

Joshua Goudreau wrote:
I've been considering grabbing Rise of the Runelords AE and the pieces of Shattered Star as soon as I get my business license and doing a mashup campaign. The latter chapters will need to be scaled up since the party will reach level 20 using the slow XP progression. I'm trying to decide the best way to mix the stories into a single narrative. I don't think a straight up mix such as RotRL part 1, then SS part 1, RothRL part 2, SS part 2, etc. will feel right so I'm going to dissect the adventures and mix up the segments of each into a something more organic.

I'm running Runelords for the second time right now with a new group, and I've already incorporated The Lady's Light into the AP, intended as a bit of Runelords foreshadowing (and the Sorshien thing has happened to one of the players). I had Shieldmarch approach the PC's after their triumph in that nasty business concerning Justice Ironbriar. Now they are a bit further along, I'm wondering if I should incorporate any other parts of SS and if so, which and when?

Gilarius wrote:

Everyone has made good points above, which I agree with. I'll just add one possible option: make the goblin PC a prisoner in Thistletop who allies with the rest of the party when they get there. In return for being rescued, he can give them useful info about the fort.

Meanwhile, the player could run a different character who becomes an npc.

Our Goblin PC was from a rival tribe whom had been outcast for being too smart and a potential threat to the resident chief. He had come across the goblin raiding party on their way to Sandpoint and followed at a distance thinking he might be able to take a few rival heads to his tribe and be accepted back... but during the Sandpoint raid he was 'captured' by another PC using a Charm Person spell and interrogated under the presumption that he had been one of the raiders. The Charm effect was used repeatedly and we decided that eventually it stuck.

Budoman wrote:
Story Archer thank you for the wonderful comments as well to everyone else. It likely is the case of the "special snowflake" you mention more than anything. And calling me out on the racism thing was appropriate, I had only recently read RA Salvatore novels which are well done even if they create the problems you mentioned. They were likely more heavily influencing my thoughts than they should have been. I will consider the comments strongly, likely asking the player to consider another character and keep this character on reserve until I get a campaign better suited for monster PC or in area more tolerant of monster characters.

Just so that you know, I wasn't trying to call you out at all and if I came across harshly (which re-reading that I may have), then I apologize. I was speaking in general terms and certainly not targeting you or your group in any way.

Babbling Bazzar wrote:
Any other first time GMing advice would be great. I am planning on starting to prep for it now and get all the encounters and loot squared away to try and streamline the sessions.

A few thoughts:

1. Ditch the 'Rum Ration' rules aboard the Wormwood. Its an unnecessarily cumbersome addition that won't do anything to enhance your game. On the island, be ready to ditch the Botfly swarms as well if your PC's have no effective way to deal with them.

2. Think ahead of time how you are going to nurture the player's hatred for the Wormwood's officers while not provoking them to such a degree that they party wipe before its time for them to act. I also find it worked out better to have the PC's rebel before reaching Bonewrack Isle rather than after - being shorthanded and having the storm sweep them into the reef makes much more sense.

3. Encourage them to discuss ahead of time and come to a consensus as to how they are going to deal with captives when they capture a ship (this is more for books 2 and 3 but important) as well as how they feel about slavery. 'Evil' is fine for this campaign, but evil doesn't have to mean being horrific and brutal for the sake of being horrific and brutal.

4. The biggest change I made in book 1 was having Aron Ivy be alive rather than an undead. He was able to fill the PC's in on the ghouls on the island, the backstory concerning the Infernus, and even show them to the wreck (good chance to give them some extra loot). He also will be able to show them to the sea caves instead of relying on a chance peek through a spyglass ('those little sea devils caught and ate the last two of me mates - if they've taken one o' yore's, you can bet they drug em down to that thing what they call their mother'). In our campaign he was the ship's carpenter aboard the Infernus - which explains how he built his own stockade - and offered to fill the same role on the PC's ship in return for being rescued, including helping them with repairs.

This was my all-time favorite AP - if you have any specific questions feel free to pm me any time.

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Samy wrote:
Play up how the other party members feel safer near the Paladin and make sure to point out the save bonuses a few times. The Paladin player is probably not going to have too many times that aura is going to be useful, so make sure he gets to have that power's moment in the sun.


There are times when each class gets his chance to shine - let's not punish a player for that by denying him the chance. If you feel compelled, tweak a few things, replace a haunt or two with creature encounters, perhaps even ones neutral in alignment, but don't remove a Paladin's opportunity to benefit from an aura that will rarely be used otherwise. That would be like removing combat encounters because the Barbarian's Rage is 'just too good' or deliberately omitting creatures because they match a Ranger's favored enemies list.

When we ran RotRL we had a Goblin in our group. That race was allowed due to the proximity of goblins in the beginnings of the AP in and around Sandpoint, and not until it had been discussed with the group as a whole that it would 1) be a limiting factor for them, a great deal initially and continuing on to some degree indefinitely and 2) it would distract at times from everyone else's RP as the focus would often be on the freaking goblin right there in their midst. For all to have a good time and remain involved they would have to gain some sort of investment in this character that wasn't their own. I wasn't all for it but the group rallied nicely and we decided to move forward.

Throughout most of the first book the goblin character was left to skulk on the outskirts of town with a lone PC serving as a liaison to him and then, after 'proving himself' in the Glassworks and Catacombs (something that happened largely away from the public eye), he was upgraded from outcast to simply an odd resident of the Sandpoint jail when not directly engaged with the other PC's. Remember that the citizens of Sandpoint have a long familiarity regarding goblins, one punctuated by the assault during the Swallowtail festival and then again by the horrific desecration of one of their most prominent citizens. Most will never see or know Nualia or Tsuto, but the goblins and their face-eating barbarism is front and center all of the time. In truth even the populace of Sandpoint never became largely accepting of him until his heroism was witnessed by many in the Giant assault on the town, half-way through the AP.

What ground was eventually made up in Sandpoint was washed away again when the PC's ventured into Magnimar, and then again at Turtleback Ferry and on and on it went. The player did a great job RP'ing the character and the other players were very generous with regards to embracing the RP distraction/limitations often put on them and a good time was had by all... but it is not something I would recommend to anyone wanting a 'realistic' RP experience and I certainly would not have half the group made up of such notorious and dangerous 'monsters'.

What is it, I have to ask, that will prevent these players in your group from enjoying the myriad of challenges ahead of them with a Human, Elf, Half-Elf, Dwarf, Gnome, Halfling or any other of the more appropriate character races? Is this a case of power-gaming, a matter of everyone trying to be their own 'special snowflake' or something else entirely? You bring up the drow character (whom I have grown to hate for the 'precedent' he set in that regard) and I'm encouraged to remind you and everyone else that the key aspect was his rarity - if half of every adventuring party is made up of renegade drow (or goblins and orcs), then the entire trope collapses.

The AP's are built with tons of intrigue and challenge already. Adding something like a menagerie of monster races tends to simply distract from the reason everyone is there to play and inevitably shifts the focus of the entire AP to the racial choices made by these specific players. In all but the rarest of circumstances the game suffers, often becoming a circus or an outright farce.

One last point - the argument that playing monster races allows the PC's to 'explore the history of racism in Golarion' is just absurd in my personal opinion. We're not talking about different kinds of humans distrusting one another due to culture and historical differences, we're talking about one race mistrusting another race because their family was massacred by them, or because their father just had his face eaten off by one of them. That's not racism, that's personal experience and historical fact. If you want to explore racism, make I between elves and dwarves or humans and elves, races that are peaceful and share common goals, who's similar culture can become obfuscated by differing appearance... but don't let a player use it as an excuse to shoehorn in a higher attribute bonus and derail the game in the process.

David Annable wrote:

I don't really have anyone in the party capable of tracking but I can have Shalelu show up claiming to have picked up the trail of some goblins and a human who are carrying two humanoids. From there, they can head to Thistletop.

How does that sound?

That's what I would have done.

Insain Dragoon wrote:
Hey now it's Japanese terminology, not otaku terminology. The term "otaku" is actually considered an insult and you should not use it unless you mean to insult.

I generally try to take things as they are intended, not as they can be technically misinterpreted.

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Mikaze wrote:

So...we're getting six new iconics in Occult Adventures.

Their races haven't been announced yet.

We still don't have any non-core race iconics.

We still have a need for sexy "bishounen" iconics to balance the fanservice scales.

The iconics featured in Hell's Rebels have not been announced yet.

Hell's Rebels is looking to be a very social-RP heavy AP.

Hell's Rebel's is set in a one of the countries with the highest tiefling populations in Golarion.

Just throwing that out there. :)

Going on the record as a female who enjoys a little fanservice as well - male AND female-wise. In their efforts at inclusion, Paizo has worked hard to divorce femininity and masculinity from actual gender, but please, please let's try to do a little 'including' of the majority as well.

Lascivious, salacious, sensual, sexual, feminine, masculine, erotic... these aren't the dirty words they're made out to be.

Dabies wrote:
Yes I made him a thrall of mokmurian and gave him the worm that walks template and made him my final boss in book 3. It was a lot of fun.

I REALLY like that. Worm that Walks is a great template for this AP.

In our group he was turned over to the authorities and Ironbriar set him free with the intent of using him to hunt down the PC's but he got exposed before that plan could come into fruition. Lucrecia 'picked him up' and repurposed him - he ended up acting as her agent in Turleback Ferry after she departed, participating in the abuse and transformation of the nymph Myriana and hunted the PC's through the Shimmerglens with a veritable army of undead he raised from the townsfolk drowned by the flood at Turtleback Ferry.

I ask because he became a bit of a recurring villain for us and I never see him mentioned on the boards...

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Askren wrote:

So my current group is pretty much all male characters, and I'm really not a huge fan of the suggestions for changing Aldern's obsession for a PC from lust and jealousy to like, envy of strength and stuff. I may be alone here, but I think the mod works best when it's playing up the creepy aspect of some stalker's obsession with a female character.

So, not having anyone in my current group to focus on, it was suggested to me to use Ameiko, which I certainly don't mind because I actually have two players who are basically fighting for her attention, so she'll likely end up getting a lot of screen time.

The problem is, we're kinda late into Book 1. Specifically, they just defeated Erylium, so by this point Aldern has come and gone from town (it's never actually mentioned when he leaves, so I usually just make him slip out unnoticed after the boar hunt).

So I'm looking for some input here, what do you guys think I can do to play up this obsession, keeping in mind a lot of it will have already happened? I'm thinking of having her, now that the PCs are closer to her, come out with stories about Aldern's unwanted attention and stuff, so I'm looking for some interesting ways to play it out over the coming story. Maybe some letters delivered to her, or presents scoured from his house or something?

Let me tell you what we did and maybe it'll give you some ideas.

In the early going Shayliss tried to seduce our group Bard - and almost succeeded. After Ven chased him out of the house he decided the drama wasn't worth it, but Shayliss, being the petulant flipskirt she is, tried to make him jealous/win him back/punish him for his rejection by flirting with the visiting pretty boy Aldern in front of him at every opportunity. The result was an eyeroll from the Bard and an infatuation by Aldern, allowing Shayliss to become the target of his obsession later on.

Here's the thing though - the Bard eventually got romantically involved with Ameiko. At the time the whole Shayliss/Aldern thing was a very minor subplot and basically a source of minor amusement for my players. Aldern on the other hand secretly viewed the group's Bard as a rival for Shayliss' affections and wasn't around to witness his romance with Ameiko develop... so, when he left threatening notes for the Bard, he constantly referred to 'her', making insinuations that she would never be his, that his love for her would be eternal, that should he decide to come to the Misgivings to try and reclaim her he would find only his doom, etc.

The PC's of course assumed that Ameiko was the target which really served to throw off their investigations as to the identity of the Skinsaw Man (Aldern had never expressed any interest in her) and it wasn't until very late in the game when they returned from the Ghoul Farm, rushing to see if Ameiko was alright did Hemlock approach them with the note that had been left at the Vinder residence and the news of the disappearance of Shayliss.

It was actually a really cool moment, watching the tumblers click in their minds as they realized not just the real target but the real perpetrator as well. Obviously it required that I write my own notes, with the Bard being the target of 'Wrath' while Shayliss was the target of 'Lust'. Added a nice dimension later at the Misgivings since it was a rescue mission as much as anything else.

Dynas wrote:

What of Ameiko and Shalalu (her ranger freind). Ways to tie them in together?

I have also consider borrowing from the Jade Regent campaign for the romance score. Or perhaps just develop relationships with these two NPCs. Maybe even a love triangle?

Thoughts on some good sub plot arcs with her?

One of our PC's, the Bard (Arcane Duelist, actually) and de facto leader of the group became romantically involved with Ameiko, but she remained in town to look after her affairs during most of the AP. Shalelu accompanied the group on their return to Thistletop (a GM-added bit) and then later on the adventure to Hook Mountain. It was during that latter bit that she pressed her friendship with the Bard into something greater and the two became romantically involved as well - he grew quite conflicted about it until Shalelu made it clear that Ameiko had asked her to 'look after' him on their travels. The line in the campaign, as Shalelu was putting up her tousled hair after an amorous interlude, went something like...

"Do you really think you're the first man we've shared?" she grinned and then favored him with an amused wink, "If it helps, you might be the first one we actually keep."

I thought it would be fun to play up the long-standing relationship Ameiko and Shalelu had had as adventurers as well as their similar but still very different free-spirited attitudes. I also wanted both to get a chance to be involved romantically and since the other three PC's included a real life man and wife (whom played character romantically involved with one another) and a goblin, there weren't a whole lot of options to go round. Besides, it was a great fit due to the character's dual nature.

Both Ameiko and Shalelu played a big role in the Stone Giants assault on Sandpoint, the Bard later looking tenderly after her grievously wounded friend as the PC's pursued the escaping Giants and their captives. They loved one another like sisters, though some greater intimacy was implied if never actually played through. The two were never 'the' story, but they constantly added to it, for that particular PC and for the group as a whole. Above all, it grounded him - and them - in the world and made it feel a lot more 'real' to them... when it was discovered that the Giants planned to assault Sandpoint, you can believe that Shalelu and Andurian (the Bard) risked all to get back in time to save Ameiko.

EDIT: As far as the rest of Ameiko's family - Lonjitsu had his funeral in a mostly private affair (he wasn't very well liked) while the PC's were away at Thistletop. Tsuto on the other hand, had become romantically infatuated (obsessed, actually), with his half-sister Ameiko rather than Nualia (whom he was terrified of in our campaign). He believed she alone had ever been kind to him, that she alone was worthy of his love and had come back to rescue her from the fires that would burn the town, quite without Nualia's permission incidentally. When his advances had been met with disgust and then horror, he had beaten and imprisoned her, unsure of what to do next, until the PC's intervened. He escaped and was killed back at Thistletop by the PC's when they ventured there, his body left to feed the Bunyip by the Druids whom eventually made their homes there.

Renegadeshepherd wrote:

I'm not a good judge on mounted combat but why take knowledge (planes) at first level? It's not that big of a deal in my eyes even among skill monkeys or bards. I'd rather see u take skill focus riding at first level.

Also if u want to do mounted combat u can do that as early as level one with ur eidilon without too much effort.

You get those feats for free at 9th level with the dip into Dragoon, and I couldn't use them before then as a medium creature with a medium eidolon. I took a Knowledge as my Skill Focus because it was a pre-requisite for Eldritch Heritage: Arcane and Planes seemed the most appropriate given my class.

EDIT: Just realized I can't take Improved Share Spells where I did so I replaced it with Improved Initiative instead.

I'm thinking about building a Summoner for PFS and I've been toying around with this concept for a while now. She's not going to be a 'true' mounted character in that I don't expect to be doing much if any direct combat while mounted, but rather taking advantages of feats and class features that benefit my eidolon and I both when we're together/adjacent.

She'll be a Half-Elf and I'm thinking something like this:

Half-Elven 11th level Summoner / 1st level Dragoon
(Dragoon level taken at 9th, after eidolon gains the 'Large' evolution)

1st - Extra Evolution
1st - Skill Focus: Knowledge - Planes
3rd - Eldritch Heritage - Arcane Bloodline (Arcane Bond)
5th - Extra Evolution
7th - Improved Initiative
9th - Skill Focus: Riding
9th - Mounted Combat
9th - Indomitable Mount
11th - Extra Evolution

My spells will be buffs, probably some Pit spells and some utility-type stuff. At lower levels I'll probably just stay back and support the Eidolon and the rest of the party at range, but at higher levels it'll be me and it in the mix together.

I've never played a mounted character before and while I suspect I'll be keeping things from getting overly complicated by never actually making attacks, I'm still not entirely sure how the mounted rules work. I'm assuming:

We'll use my initiative.
We'll use its movement.
During my turn both I and it will act, in whatever order I decide.

Should I bother giving myself a bit of Strength and maybe, earlier on, fight beside it with a longspear or should I stick to casting and remain out of harm's way until we're best able to look out for each other? Regarding Indomitable Mount, are 'local feats' PFS-legal? Does anyone at all have any experience or advice for running this kind of character? Would I be better off taking the Orcish Bloodline and Touch of Rage to buff my eidolon over the bonus spell a bonded item would grant?

Thanks in advance.

1) GM'ed a group all the way through. I'm giving the first category (Ease of Play) a 6/10, primarily due to two reasons - new rules that were cumbersome and subpar, specifically those for ship-to-ship combat, and a massive presumption of sandbox-style play with almost no support whatsoever. Its assumed that the PC's will have dozens of incidents of piracy on the high seas and a paltry few examples are provided, and even they not well detailed.

2) Synthesis of the Story: 8/10. The AP presumes that A) the players actually WANT to be pirates and B) the players WANT to gain renown for being pirates and climb up the pirate social hierarchy. Those are safe enough assumptions given the theme of the AP, but only if the GM and the PC's are very clear on what to expect from one another at the outset.

3) Role-play Friendly: 10/10. Superb opportunities for RP from beginning to end with a wide array of interesting characters.

4) Combat Design: 7/10. Piracy lends itself to a lot of 'once-a-day' type encounters which PC's having an entire crew at their backs typically blow through. Bonewrack Isle is a terribly overpowered adventure for such low level characters and the Wormwood presents an entire cast of potential foes, some of which are to be battled immediately, some soon but not yet and some not for a very long while - its difficult to pick and choose who is who.

5) Fun factor: 10/10. Perhaps it was the theme, perhaps it was some of the extensive re-writes and add-ons by the GM, perhaps it was the NPC and freedom offered by the thinly populated sandbox, but this was absolutely the most fun, least 'high-powered' feeling campaign we've ever run. Unanimous favorite by GM and PC's both.

Played through Rise of the Runelords

Played through Skull n Shackles

Played through Wrath of the Righteous (non-Mythic, just finished)

Added one book from Shattered Star to RotRL, played through the first three books of Second Darkness and am currently GM'ing the Emerald Spire.

Fruian Thistlefoot wrote:

Well the class a kitsune does the best is an sorcerer focused on enchantment magic.

I would say with the racials they make good: bards, s ummoners, oracle, mysterious stranger gun slingers, swash buckler.

Im planning a enchanted because how powerful they are.

Either a Serpentine Sorcerer or a Fey-Serpentine Crossblooded Sorcerer for me.

I've really had the writing bug biting me of late, and the thing I'd most like to do is immortalize one of our successful AP runs in narrative form, from the perspective of one of the players or chief NPC's. I'd like to do them all, obviously, and one day I might but for now I can't imagine a bigger undertaking than just one. I'm not sure if I'd do it like journal entries in a diary or try something more comprehensive, like actually writing it as a novella with multiple person views.

I keep copious notes after each session and there's enough that's become legend among our group that every entry just triggers more memories of how things went down, so I've got the details and the framework in hand... I just can't decide which one to tackle. All three AP's in contention were heavily modified but stayed true to the direction and intent of the original AP. I feel like there may be some interest/benefit in seeing how we did things among other players and potential GM's.

These are the ones I'm debating:

Rise of the Runelords
PC's: Human Arcane Duelist (archer), Human Invulnerable Rager, Goblin Brawler and a Human Sorcerer (Fey bloodline)

Alterations: The biggest change we made was incorporating the entire second volume of Shattered Star, Curse of the Lady's Light, as an interlude in the middle of The Skinsaw Murders. It had huge implications for one of our characters and really channeled the story in a spectacular way, foreshadowing the Runelords active involvement in the overall arc.

Pro's & Con's: Its Runelords, the oldest and most storied of all the AP's... would this be a fresh new way of exploring an old favorite or simply yet another RotRL journal?

Skull n' Shackles
PC's: Human Seasinger Bard, Human Invulnerable Rager, Human Knifemaster, Half-Elven Master Summoner

Alterations: In addition to a number of customized and unique battles on the high seas, including a prolonged cat and mouse game with the Dominator, there were two extended side-treks, one to free Rosie Cuswell's cousin and help overthrow the ruling government on Bag Island and one involving the Master of Gales and the Cult of the Eye's efforts to end the Eye of Abendego. We also flip-flopped the key events in books five and six, and in book one, Aron Ivey was still alive and became an important member of our crew.

Pro's & Con's: This was our favorite AP though the next entry became a very close second, but it seems to be fairly polarizing - either you're into pirates or you're not.

Wrath of the Righteous
PC's: Human Dragon Disciple & Sorcerer (Draconic - Silver), Tiefling Paladin (Oath of Vengeance, Oath Against Fiends), twin Aasimar Dawnflower Dervishes

Alterations: Made extensive modifications to many of the NPC's, including the replacement of several outright. Incorporated the players very heavily into the backstory of the AP and had a couple of additional side-quests, including one that involved going back in time to experience the fall of Kenebres, another that featured a run-in with Zelmisdria and her fiendish green dragon Azrivauxus and a third involving the redemption of the undead at Pulura's Fall. We also ran this AP as a non-mythic game, using some slight rules variations that worked very well for us.

Pro's & Con's: Absolutely loved the story and feel of this campaign, really let our character builders flex their muscles both mechanically and thematically - and it offered some surprisingly good RP opportunities. Will telling the story non-Mythically be a plus for those who are considering the same or a minus for those who prefer an as-written template to follow?

Assuming I'm actually able to do this, what would you prefer to read... or rather, which would you find least objectionable cluttering up your board?


Book One:
Ditched the rum ration, the bloody hour and the botfly swarms. Made Scourge a lecher and rapist and it got him killed very early on. the biggest change was I kept Aaron Ivey alive - he filled the group in on the Infernus backstory, warned them about the ghouls, told them about the sea caves and led them to the shipwreck where they were able to unearth (unsea?) potions of water breathing that made their rescue of Sandara possible. He later on became a regular NPC, serving as Ship's Carpenter as he did aboard the Infernus and eventually oversaw the design and construction of their flagship.

Book Two:
Customized a number of unique seaborne encounters as the players raided and plundered their way to Infamy including a protracted game of cat and mouse with the Dominator. Had them run afoul of the Aspis Consortium and have to fight off a couple of clandestine attacks before finally buying their way out. (I tried to mix sea adventures and land adventures as much as possible)

Book Three:
Worked in an extended side quest where the PC's helped liberate Rosie's cousin (twice removed on her mother's side) from the dungeons on Bag Island and then eventually helped overthrow the corrupt government there. The group decided early on that they opposed slavery and the leader of Bag Island was infamously and secretly 'rescuing' slaves only to sell them back at a premium. Rosie was given her own ship and left the crew after this book.

Book Four:
Ran it pretty much as-is, flushing out some of the details for RP purposes but almost all within the established framework. It did feature a memorable duel between Avinnar Sorrenash and the First Mate in the banquet hall, one which left the werewolf decapitated at our captain's feet.

Book Five:
We completely flip-flopped Books Five and Six, having the PC's captured and imprisoned inside Bonefist's stronghold, only to escape with the aid of their crew and under the distraction of an assault by Tessa Fairwind and her fleet. Once Bonefist was defeated, Tessa was given the Hurricane Crown and began to rally the pirates against the perceived Chelliax threat. Sandara departed to go on a quest/pilgrimage for Besmara.

Book Six:
Worked in an extended side quest involving the Master of Gales and the Cult of the Eye, a group committed to the destruction of the Eye of Abendengo - it worked, until it was discovered that the cultists were led by Chellish agents, and a Cheliax invasion fleet waited just beyond the hurricane's boundary. The Chelliax invasion was the climax of the AP for us, culminating in a joining of forces old and new, including Rosie and Pegsworth as well as the PC's flying under Tessa's banner with a dramatic and triumphant return by Sandara (along with a few friends) to turn the tide of the battle.

The group included a Human Seasinger (Captain), Human Invulnerable Rager (First Mate & Master at Arms), Human Knifemaster (Quatermaster) and Half-Elven Master Summoner (Pilot & Navigator). Aided primarily by Rosie Cuswell (Second Mate), Sandara Quinn (Ship's healer & 'morale') and Aron Ivey (Ship's Carpenter).

Best campaign anyone in our group has ever played.

scadgrad wrote:

Do you force you players to use these or do you allow them to simply pick any 2? I can see where some APs they are mostly required. You'd be a pretty sad puppy in Reign of Winter for instance or say, Jade Regent if none of the PCs had any connection at all to the NPCs. OTOH, I find it kind of dumb to bring in new characters to that one and force them to be connected to Amieko, Shalelu, etc.. I can see now how originally, it would have been fine if a few characters simply lacked any past association with them.

Your thoughts?

We use the standard two Traits, and a third campaign-specific Trait can be taken as a bonus, so everyone tends to want to take one.

Regarding party make-up and having a full arcane caster:
Let people play what they want to play. As a GM/control freak you have plenty of things to occupy your fetishes, but the only thing in the game the players can actually control is their characters. Its fine to ban whatever you think might be unbalancing to your campaign but once you have, give them free reign. Full casters aren't for everyone and low level full casters are even less popular. Let them have a go, and if someone gets killed down the road, nudge them towards a full caster when the average level is a bit more palatable. In truth we often play without a full caster of either arcane or divine and it works out quite fine - things may be a bit more difficult at times, but facing and overcoming challenges (even if they're of your own making) is a pretty big part of the fun.

Regarding character attributes:
We never, ever roll. We always use the 20 point buy for attributes (including for our RotRL run) and we've never regretted it. The increase in power is very, very minor and might be appreciated a bit to make up for lacking a strong caster.

Regarding hit points:
We always give max hit points for your hit die for level one, and then follow the more traditional max/2+1 thereafter. It helps keep the low level characters alive when they are at their most vulnerable (especially @ 1st level). Following that, I wouldn't hand out Toughness myself.

Regarding character traits:
Four would seem to be too much. We usually allow two standard character traits and then one campaign trait, kind of splitting the difference. They are of mechanical benefit to the character certainly, but can also help in establishing a history and a place in the world they are about to begin. I find it helps more with backstory than role-play moving forward.

Regarding Hero Points:
I like the concept, especially as a means to increase the 'fun factor', but we've never used them as written and have never missed them.

Regarding starting gold:
No need to be a miser. They could start with twice the normal gold and be fine - they still don't have enough to buy magic items, which is what matters, who cares if they have enough to buy a pony and some saddle bags or maybe a masterwork weapon which they'll exchange for something magical soon anyway?

wellsmv wrote:

Thats right I am starting a epic 3-D run of ROTRL

so we had to start things off right with a 3d layout of Sandpoint for the opening game.

This was how i pictured Sandpoint for the festival

I used..
Dwarvenforge- tavern set, round corners(dwarvenite), tables and bits
Hirst arts- temple ruins, towers, podium.. and misc bits
some homemade tree's and other bits

Go to Video Link is here..

That's absolutely outstanding. I can only dream of being able to run a campaign in an environment like that. Truly impressive and well-deserved kudos for the work involved.

I've run RotRL (almost) twice now and I've come up with some really great tweaks and suggestions. If there is anything I can do to help, just drop me a line, please.

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