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Fruian Thistlefoot wrote:
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
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
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
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?
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.
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:
Regarding character attributes:
Regarding hit points:
Regarding character traits:
Regarding Hero Points:
Regarding starting gold:
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.
Irnk, Dead-Eye's Prodigal wrote:
Yes, I just don't see inclusion of the sihedron as being a good idea, especially without the rest of the pieces and the quest that comes with it. Need to find a new motivation though.
As far as being too spoilery, I figure the cat was kind of out of the bag given the title of the AP, that, yes, Runelords would indeed be involved. I don't mind the foreshadowing and, in fact, think it might enhance the experience by serving to tie together seemingly disparate parts of the campaign. I'm not going to be too heavy handed in exposition though, I promise you that.
I'll give Asylum Stone a more detailed browsing to see what, if anything, can be done.
Another factor to consider would be the inhabitants of the Lady's Light. That group is there because of what happened during the Curse of the Crimson Throne AP's endgame - which is why ShSt is recommended for running _after_ both RotR and CotCT. (Also after SD, but I'm not sure if that is so important.)
I can see that being an issue in some campaigns but we don't have any plans to run Crimson Throne. Those events can be simple backstory without affecting anything we want to do.
I've run through Rise of the Runelords and now I want to GM it. One of the changes I want to make is to work in some of the Shattered Star AP early on, specifically the Curse of the Lady's Light while they are in Manginar. I figured I could insert it in right after the end of the Skinsaw Murders and before they set off for the Hook Mountain Massacre. I like the idea of foreshadowing the Runelords involvement early on (it IS the Rise of the RunelordS after all, no?) as well as expanding their time in the city. I also have a player/character for whom the embodiment of Sorshen's clone would be perfect. I think some interesting developments could be worked in throughout the AP all the way to the showdown with Karzoug at the end.
I'm struggling with exactly how to introduce the side quest though - a request by the governor? Introduce Sheila Heidmarch after she has heard of the PC's success in rooting out the Skinsaw Cult? Should I skip the Sihedron pieces as a maguffin and use something else or nothing?
We level at predetermined points in the campaign rather than track xp, and that allows for the PC's to spend more time at one level than at another - but what encounters do you think will need special attention for the potential CR disparity? Are there other pieces of SS that you think I could work in without much difficulty? I'm not particularly worried about keeping to the integrity of the SS AP, the focus is the RotRL all the way, but I don't want to leave out something that could potentially expand or enhance the experience.
Sorry, but an AP who's first two NPC couples include a lesbian pairing with a transgender angle and a gay male couple is hardly the example I'm going to use when complaining about the 'hypersexualization' of female characters... if anything I find that Paizo swings too far in the other direction. Having said that, whether you agree or not, Paizo is demonstrably more sensitive to these issues and concerns than any other gaming company out there right now, and likely moreso than any in history. They go any further and they'll risk alienating the vast majority of their paying customers.
I left out the sexual tension entirely (well, the female PCs still have Conchobar trying to romance them, but he's on their side). With everything else that was going on they managed to top of the loathing tank where Plugg and Scourge are concerned. Harrigan managed to scare the crap out of them enough just from what went on during the first boarding action that they don't want anything to do with him, so things are set up nicely for the mutiny.
I highly recommend you subtly encourage them to mutiny before the shipwreck rather than afterwards...
One of the PC's traded it at the Feathered Serpent for a +2 Cloak of Resistance. They knew at the time that they were technically getting a bad deal, but in their minds they were trading something they couldn't use for something they could which made it worthwhile.
We're not super strict on such things as gp costs or WBL, but my players all manage to end up satisfied with the gear the receive, one way or another.
A good bit, actually, as the situation demands and the opportunities arise. The great thing (for me, at least) about AP's is that I can take all of the free time I might have spent developing the campaign and instead spend it on tweaks to customize and personalize encounters and NPC's.
Here's an example of the kind of rework/additions I've done in an AP...
Skull n' Shackles:
Left Arron Ivy alive as the sole survivor of the Infernus and used him for exposition and the broadening of play on the island - he directed them to the wreck of the Infernus and filled in on its backstory, warned them about the Ghouls on the island and pointed out the Grindylow cave. He also went on to become a major NPC as the ship's carpenter.
Added a side adventure to Bag Island where the PC's helped Rosie's cousin (twice removed on her mother's side) overthrow the corrupt leadership of that island.
Added a side adventure involving the Master of Gales and the Cult of the Eye who, secretly funded by Chelliax, were manipulating him into dispelling the Eye of Abendengo.
Switched out most of the events in books five with book six, specifically, having the PC's oust Bonefist before supporting Fairwind's bid for the hurricane crown so that she could rally the free captains against the invading Chellish fleet.
I made similar types of changes to Rise of the Runelords and Wrath of the Righteous, the only other AP's I've run.
Well, it probably doesn't help that my husband (Wiggz) and I share an account. Gender confusion on the internet will never bother me, I just figured I'd through it out there for you boys ;)
In my experience you'd be right more often that wrong... I just happen to be the exception.
I wonder, does that make me exception-al?
Has anyone considered running this AP with Gestalt PCs instead of Mythic? No more ridiculous dpr and broken action economy, but the PCs are still stronger offensively, defensively, with vastly more resources than a regular PC.
I'd be interested in seeing how this would work. My biggest concern would be the lower amount of hit points and the reduced BaB - that was one of the concerns that led to us doing it the way we did.
I share all of your concerns. In my opinion Mythic was utterly unnecessary and was to the detriment of the game. I feel the same about the new so-called 'hybrid classes'. New is not always better. More is not always better. But New and More inevitably sell, and Pathfinder is suddenly in danger of following 3.5 down the tubes for the exact same reasons and in the exact same way.
Just my opinion. Mythic will not see play at our table. Hybrids will not see play at our table, but when I eventually get to the point of banning more rules than I'm allowing, what's the point?
I think a point needs to be made - the AP is absolutely not a failure, its the Mythic rules that are a failure and they've drug down the AP for most everyone I've heard from due to their being incorporated as an integral part of both the mechanics and the story.
It was kind of obvious (to us at least) that the Mythic rules were unnecessary bloat that would not end well, even from the beginning, so we chose to go without them, using some very simple home-brew rules instead which I've detailed on other threads. We just finished book 5 and thus far its worked out splendidly, only further enforcing my belief that the company line that this was a story that 'could only be told using Mythic rules' was bs. Its a great story and a great AP with a wonderful cast of characters and plenty of climactic moments both in and out of combat... just junk the Mythic ruleset rather than let it bring everything down.
(almost) Everybody liked Mythic when it came out, but that's pretty much only because it was shiny and new and it made them more powerful... but more, bigger, higher, greater, etc. isn't always better, and nowhere is that more on display than in the Wrath of the Righteous.
I'm going to start doing some game journals because I'd hate to dissuade anyone from enjoying this AP and people need to see how playable it is without Mythic - if nothing else, players deserve the chance to actually get and USE their capstone abilities for once.
The Human Diversion wrote:
We actually already have 2 pairs, however both are in the higher tiers and we wanted to start a new pair.
Seriously, consider the paired Aasimar Dervishes. At just 4th level with Allegro they are each attacking at +14 twice per round for 1d6+10 damage with a 17+ critical each...
...and then the teamwork feats start to kick in.
Take a look at Broken Wing Gambit and Paired Opportunists to get a sense of how they might work together. Talk about whirling blades.
And of course there's useful spells/SLA's like Grease, Charm Person, Silent Image, Glitterdust and Cures, all known by 4th level as well. You just build on that.
The Human Diversion wrote:
I'm trying to convince her to play a beefy up-front type or a wizard/sorcerer type, but doesn't have to be either of those two - we're mostly looking for a combo that will work well together, preferably to use teamwork feats to frightening effectiveness.
Forgive me in advance for not knowing exactly what is PFS legal or not, but your post inspired me to respond - we're currently running through a non-Mythic Wrath of the Righteous campaign, and two of our players are twins, running identical builds designed to be complimentary. They are Aasimar Dawnflower Dervishes and they use teamwork feats to compliment one another, specifically Paired Opportunists, Broken Wing Gambit and Seize the Moment (though that last isn't attained until 13th level). They focus their FCB into Inspire Courage which, when combined with Dervish Dance, makes them immediately deadly.
The effects have been spectacular, and one of the strong points of the build is that they are very effective from 1st level on. Strong melee ability, some strong spell-casting options (including combat healing) and obviously good face as well.
If you're curious about the builds drop me a line.
To clarify, I am the one actually running the AP - Wiggz, my husband, is one of the players in it and we recently completed Book 5 so they haven't quite finished the campaign yet. He and I trade off GM'ing duties in what is supposed to be a 50/50 split but usually ends up working out to something closer to 75/25. If one of us begins an AP we see it through though, we don't switch off mid-game.
Its actually not as much rework as one might think, especially in the early going, since there are so few mythic opponents to start. For the most part up to this point all I've done is remove Epic DR and double initiative and its worked out fine. Obviously every boss needs a little tweak here or there to account for specific rules (such as replacing or using non-Mythic versions of spells or feats). I plan on doing a little more extensive rework in this final book simply due to the nature of the foes they face.
It needs to be said that although they have a four-man party, I usually give them NPC's to help out, most notably to this point Lann, rebuilt as a Mongrelman Archeologist archer and Arushalae whom I rebuilt as a Sorceress with a homebrew bloodline that reflects her Demonic nature. Neither benefits from the extra levels afforded by what would have been Mythic tiers, however, so they're more or less like cohorts under my control (we don't allow the Leadership feat). Both have been with the party about 75% to 90% of the time since their introduction into the campaign. Also, the group is very well built and plays very well together, which tends to more than make up any perceived power gap. As a result, through five books we've had no deaths though there have been some desperate battles.
In the interest of full disclosure I also have to say that I plan ahead to adjust encounters on the fly, most notably by tossing in a useful scroll or potion when the villain needs it most or by having an extra wave or two of mooks come in - as a result, I'd rather an encounter be a little easier and adjust it upwards as needed than to make it overwhelming and then try to figure out a way to walk it back. Generally speaking, while I find it very important to challenge my players, I'd prefer not to kill them - if they elect to kill themselves, that's a different story, but with this current group that hasn't been much of a problem.
If there are any specific encounters or bosses you're curious about, just let me know, either here or in mail. The party consists of a Tiefling Oradin, twin Aasimar Dervishes of Dawn with Paladin dips (we allow off-alignment Paladins) and a Human Sorcerer/Dragon Disciple who also dipped Paladin later on. When building their characters it was difficult at first figuring out what to do with those extra levels since we're still not allowing more than 20 levels in a class, and Paladin seemed like a natural gravitation in each case, considering both the theme of the AP and each character's unique circumstances. The Tiefling went 20 levels Oath of Vengeance & Oath Against Fiends while the twins went Holy Tactician (they already had several teamwork feats) and the Dragon Disciple (offspring of Terendelev) took levels of Sacred Shield.
EDIT: I forgot to add something - one of my own little homebrew rules intended for Epic play. With the understanding that the linear nature of power dips post-20 (a 20th level Wizard is basically the same as a 20th level Wizard/1st level Fighter), and to give my players a little more control over their own destiny, I instituted the following:
Epic Destiny: Epic characters may re-roll any d20 roll and add +1 for every level beyond 20th. He may do this 1/day per level.
In other words a 21st level character may re-roll once per day, adding +1 to the roll, a 22nd level character may re-roll twice per day, adding +2 to those rolls, etc. Its served as a nice device to keep the story rolling and to aid in survivability when a bad roll can mean the difference between an epic campaign and a long-winded failure.
My advice is almost always the same in such instances - max out the boss's hit points and always keep an extra 'wave' of mooks in your back pocket to send in should the fight be going too easy. Never fails form me, when it comes to a slightly-larger-than-average party.
In the earlier parts of Rise of the Runelords, I allowed the PC's to borrow a divine wand from Father Zantus as a thanks for service to the town - it basically worked something like a Witch's Hex in that it cast Cure Light, Moderate, Serious or Critical Wounds based on the level of the recipient and it would only do so once per day per person. Once a month it could be used to cast Breath of Life.
It was the ideal divine item for a town priest, but of limited use to an adventuring party. Nonetheless, they lacked a dedicated healer and it made the difference at those low levels.
Obviously every game differs, but one of the thing that differentiates between role-playing and video games is that players generally become very attached to their characters, and that those characters are more than the accumulation of gear, feats and spells. My players put a lot of work into their characters from well before we ever start a campaign, usually collaborating on backstories and motivations before a single dice is rolled. As such, dying is rarely fun for anyone. In addition to that, we have a slightly different view on the role of divine magic (i.e. it shouldn't be purchasable at every corner store), so no one is running around with fistful of Raise Dead or Resurrection scrolls. Death is generally not fun for our players, but its also meaningful and as often as not, final.
I try to tailor difficulties for my group to keep them challenged and feeling threatened, but not to overwhelm or to 'punish' them for not having a well-balanced party. I have no problem fudging dice rolls or altering encounters on the fly to keep them from getting in over their heads. The goal from the outset is to weave a grand cooperative story, not to 'win' or to have a tactical answer to every possible threat beforehand. Players (and groups) should have vulnerabilities and imperfections and from time to time those should be exploited - but in service to the story, not as a means to their eventual end.
Generally speaking, when a number of deaths might occur its more likely that I'll have the PC's captured and divested of their gear, or an individual PC suffer a permanent disfigurement (usually with a mechanical penalty to go with it) rather than simply announce that they should role up a new character than can be awkwardly and unconvincingly be inserted into the campaign. As a result, deaths rarely take place and when they do its as often as not the result of an intentionally heroic sacrifice or a pre-determined out-of-game discussion with the GM.
In Skull n' Shackles out of four PC's we had no deaths until the climactic conclusion where 1 PC died quite heroically and set up an awesome epilogue for the campaign.
In Rise of the Runelords out of four PC's we had no deaths from beginning to end though there were a handful of near misses.
In Way of the Wicked we had one death in the second book, though that was as much a result of a discussion with the GM as anything else and it was played out to the enjoyment of all involved.
In Wrath of the Righteous, deep into the 5th book, we've had no deaths yet.
All in all its more likely that we lose a player than that a character dies, and its generally agreed that losing valuable gear, an eye or even a hand is better than having the character die. Jamie Lannister and his plight in Game of Thrones as well as his character development afterwards is a classic example of a better way to deal with a character than simply having him cut down on the bridge and forgotten about.
Loos of gear, serious injury or disfigurement and the death of valued or beloved NPC's have always been better ways to deal with my players than arbitrarily killing them due to bad luck or completely missing some random story element.
I'd like to point you towards this discussion, particularly towards my first post. I threw in a handful of extra giants and a couple of roving gangs of Ogres... they can appear or not as and when you wish since the PC's have no way of knowing how many villains are participating in the raid nor of knowing where everyone is at any given time. Still lots of options for you to prolong the battle and ratchet up the drama.
Yes, Litany of Righteousness is definitely a spell GM's need to be aware of - but many forget that its subject to Spell Resistance. We don't play with SR, but its something to consider in future encounters. We also don't use the 'doubling' rule of the Paladin Smite (just over the top in our estimation), but regardless you need to be aware of his ability to lay the smack down on any 'BBEG', so have some mooks there to run interference from time to time.
It's not "exactly right", it's a "horrible abuse of a typo".
Heh - if we start basing rules on our 'interpretations of what might be a typo', the entire house of cards will come crashing down...
Now if you can show me somewhere that a dev has acknowledged it was a typo, then I might be willing to hear an argument.
Actually no, you have to take:
(that gets you +4 DR/-)
Dragon Totem Wings
(additional +2 DR/-)
That's four Rage Powers to get +4 DR/- with the option of a 5th for 2 more.
This is exactly right.
Is 7 PCs too many for an evil campaign? Can I realistically expect 6-7 NE and CE murder-hobos to cooperate with one another? Looking for advice from a fellow DM that has ran an evil campaign. How did you handle in-character conflict (say conflict of interests, vying for power, etc.) PVP?
To keep combat moving at a pace where participants don't lose interest or wander off and to allow me to write in subplots for each character over the course of the campaign, I won't GM a group bigger than five. Four is preferable, but five or less is where I draw the line.
I honestly can't imagine how these 7, 8, 9 and even 10 groups ever get anything done. Kudos to you guys.
That's ironic - I greatly dislike the Mythic rules and think that juggling cohorts is much more work than a couple of characters with a handful of extra feats.
Gestalt all the way is my advice. They're nowhere near as over-powered and difficult to account for as Mythic characters and they're nowhere near a much work as animal companions + cohorts + NPC's, etc...
I'm okay with kind of hand-waving the purchase limit of a town like Sandpoint because its so near the larger metropolis of Mangimar. I've had PC's sell magic items through the Feathered Serpent, the proprietor of which acted as a go-between with contacts in Mangimar and elsewhere, taking a small percentage as his fee of course, and I've had Brodert Quink put the PC's in touch with a couple of wealthy collectors of Thassilonian artifacts there as well. The PC's may have to wait a little while for the deal to come through and for them to get their pay-off, but it makes for an effective way to 1) tie the PC's to various NPC's in Sandpoint, 2) open up contacts for the in Mangimar and 3) get gear sold that Sandpoint might otherwise not be able to support.
My opinion from the start was that there would be a strong element of unpredictability in power levels due to so many rules and options being added, some using completely new mechanics. We were told that this was necessary to 'tell the story they wanted to tell'. Hogwash.
We dispensed with the Mythic rules, in part because I didn't want to have to deal with the over-complications that would inevitably ensue, in part because my players wanted to finally get to use their capstone ability, and in part because there seemed like genuine interest in how playable the AP would be without them.
Party of 4, 20 point buys and the characters leveled at the predetermined times as well as gaining levels at what would have been Mythic Tiers 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 and 10. Meaning characters would level faster and would top out at 26th level, though no character was allowed to have more than 20 levels in a particular class. To keep the power curve more even at higher levels, I added a single 'epic' rule:
At each level beyond 20th, you get to reroll a single d20 X/day with a bonus of +X where X equals your level above 20. In other words, once a day with a +1 bonus at 21st, twice a day with a +2 bonus at 22nd and so on.
This far its worked out superbly, the only problem having been the work necessary to disassociate mythic threats with some of their mythic aspects. The players feel suitably epic, are well challenged and the story is being told perfectly well. Moreover, the power curve if infinitely easier to predict which makes life much easier for me as the GM.
Wrath of the Righteous = tremendous story and epic campaign.
Mythic Rules = utterly unnecessary complication which may well have ruined the AP for many players as we're seeing in these forums.
Let's define 'too common'.
LGBT represents approximately 3.8% of the population. I think its safe to say that among gamers that number is probably a little higher.
In the last two AP's, the last seven books thus far, we've had three LGBT couples front and center, meaning that they and their relationships were important enough to warrant detailed descriptions among the few NPC full page spreads in the back. 3 in 7 books, compared to how many hetero couples getting the same treatment in the same time frame? Any?
I can see the why people are saying that its starting to become a little too much, that its pouring over from simple inclusion into a pretty strong agenda push. As a woman, I personally don't see anything wrong with the occasional scantily clad girl or 'traditional' relationship... there are straight guys in the gaming community as well, no? I would hate to think that they - the vast majority of the gaming population - are welcome at Paizo's table only if they 'toe the progressive line'.
Very often we portray discrimination not as something active or even deliberate, but simply something that occurs automatically due to privilege, as the simple, inevitable result of a group being in the minority and therefor excluded from the larger group through poor representation. Well, politically, socially and now even in gaming circles, it seems like its becoming the default position that if you're a straight, white, male then you have something to prove when you sit down at the table... something women, blacks, gays or whomever else doesn't have to because they've been grandfathered in by sole virtue of being 'in the minority'. There is absolutely nothing inherently wrong with being in the racial, sexual or gender majority, and I'd hate to think we're getting to the point where we presume there is, because once we reach that point, we're doing EXACTLY the same thing we have have felt victimized by in the past.
I didn't care for most of the NPC's as written (we get it Paizo - you're progressive) so I made some pretty extensive changes that actually streamlined the story a bit and didn't feel quite so 'forced'. In our game Anevia and Irabeth are a lesbian couple - and great NPC's both. Horgus is Anevia's wealthy father who resents Anevia's marriage due in large part to his not having an heir - they are estranged as a result and his pigheadedness gets him killed early on in a rather horrific way (vermlack, anyone?). Aravashnial stayed pretty much as written.
Aron, Sosiel and the little Halfling bard are all out. I replaced them with a Mongrelman Archeologist (Lann) who serves as a liaison with his people and a human Ranger who serves as the chief spy/scout - Anevia serves as his second and it's he with the secret shadow blood addiction which he eventually fell victim to and disappeared, returning later as a hunter and stalker of the PCs, striking when they were most vulnerable.
It all worked out really well without any bigotry or over-the-top agendas in sight.
If you're wanting to stick to canon it'd be very difficult. They weren't erected until the second crusade and Vorlesh was the one who opened the worldwound. She'd be a big deal well before the wardstone was around. To keep that I'd probably have an interlude where Iomedae (or another patron for the party) lets them glimpse back to the time before Sarkoris was torn asunder to see all that was lost. Not sure exactly how it was, but a bit of the glory days, back when they thought Aroden would return to lead humanity into the golden age and then everything goes wrong.
That's kind of what I'm thinking... sort of a bit of time-jumping where they get to 'participate' even though they're just perceiving it, immersing them in the drama of the most important and historical moments. I'm not real sure how I'm going to do it but I think the idea has a lot of merit as a finale for book 1.
Maybe just encounters with Vorlesh, maybe a witness to history from the beginning in Sarkoris... I don't know if I want a series of battles they flash from, one to the other culminating with a battle against Areelu before snapping back to the present... or if I want to actually put together a mini-adventure in Kenebres at some key moment in history.
Really what I'm aiming for is a bit of time spent in the 'memory' of Kenebres as it was and a previous conflict with Areelu that can bounce them back to the here and now, as if the reverberations of that experience echoes back through time.
Am I over-reaching?
It really bothered me that the PC's didn't get more time to explore Kenebres and some of the history and detail available on the city - in part because there is such a rich tapestry to draw from and in part because the more they come to love the city, the more appreciation they'll have for it and by extension the devastation they face at its fall. I also want the PC's to have a greater investment of hatred in Areelu beyond her simply being the bogey man that shows up at the end of Book 1 and then later as the next Boss they have to face.
Another concern is that the way I have our game set up, we're not using Mythic rules, but the party does see a two level jump upon the destruction of the wardstone fragment and the aftermath that comes with it... I'd like something to better satisfy that surge in power beyond a boom and a rush. So, what I've come up with is a bit of time travel... sort of. When the PC's strike the Wardstone with the rod of cancellation, one of the things that happens is that they begin to get visions of the Wardstone and the history surrounding it from the day it was created up until that moment - it occurs to me why not make them part of that history? I'm thinking of a brief adventure that occurs, set in Kenebres past involving the wardstone and Areelu before the height of her power, perhaps even before anyone knew the villain she would one day become... I'm thinking I write is as a mini-quest where the PC's realize when they are and make an effort to forestall disaster, but since they are merely witnessing a part of history firsthand, they can't. The adventure would bring them through various parts of Kenebres during more peaceful days, perhaps to uncover a cultist plot, and would culminate in their confronting Areelu, perhaps foiling an even greater plan in a dramatic moment where they flash back to themselves in the wardstone chamber the very instant the backlash tears Areelu apart.
At any rate, that's the rough idea, but I'm going to need to learn more about Kenebres and Areelu's history before WotR takes place. I've got access to the Inner Sea Guide and the Worldwound campaign setting - is there anywhere else I should look, online or in print, to give me the information I need to put this together?
The Paladin and Witch plan on single classing, but the "capstone" abilities for those are boring. The Paladin capstone is actually kind of bad, as the smite forces a banish (and ends the smite), but I'm letting that be an "if you want to" attempt.
Don't underestimate the 'maxing out' of the Lay on Hands ability as part of the capstone. It can be a really big deal.
We always pre-plan our character builds to give players something to work towards, though nothing is ever written in stone. With the understanding that they'll be reaching 26th level, the group is going to end up looking like this:
Khoresh Cimmeron, 20th level Paladin (Oath of Vengeance, Oath Against Fiends) / 6th level Oracle (Lame, Life): Paladin of Iomedae, offspring of a captive Aasimar woman and an Incubus intent on breeding his own cult. Slew his 'minders' and escaped, Growing up as an outcast hiding from the forces of good and evil alike. Started the campaign dedicated to his personal vendetta (that of finding his father and ridding the world of his and all other demonic presence) but stoic and mistrustful of others, needing to learn that the importance of the broader cause superseded that of his own.
Gregoravon al'Terendelev, 14th level Sorcerer (Draconic) / 8th level Dragon Disciple / 4th level Paladin (Sacred Shield) : one of several of Terendelev's progeny gathered together to serve as his personal attendants in Kenebres - there's a great backstory there involving a secret Augury which foretold one of his descendants would be the one to close the Worldwound if it could be done at all, and even that would not come to pass until after his (Terendelev's) death. It plays a key role in the dragon's sacrifice in the first book and ties the PC to Kenebres and the Crusade.
Lliam & Llira Valar, 20th level Bard (Dervish of Dawn) / 2nd level Fighter (Lore Warden) / 4th level Paladin (Holy Tactician): Twins from half a world away led to Kenebres by strange shared dreams. They learned in the last book (3) that they are in fact offspring of Sarenrae herself, her dual nature reflected in Lliam's swiftness to judgement and Llira's desire to see all who can be redeemed. The two balance one another - Lliam was slow to trust the Tiefling Khoresh while Llira was his greatest champion, and she is now uncertain how she feels about the growing closeness between he and the redeemed succubus in whom he finds a kindred spirit. The two make tremendous use of teamwork feats in their fighting styles.
The group is aided by an NPC, Lann the Mongrelman whom has been leveling as an Archeologist but at the regular rate since joining them in the first book and serving as liaison for the rest of his people. He's been with them off and on for about 2/3 the campaign so far. The redeemed succubus Arueshalae is a recent addition to the group as well.
All are effective in melee, all can cast to one degree or other, and all are capable of combat healing if needed. They've done well so far but I have real concerns coming up in books 5 and especially 6 - from the beginning I viewed Mythic as gross complication of the rules utterly unnecessary to tell this otherwise fantastic story, and now it looks like I'm going to have to do a fair bit of re-work to disentangle the major threats they will face from the Mythic ruleset. We'll see.
Best advice I can give:
1) Absolutely bone up on underwater combat rules.
2) Consider having Arron Ivey be alive rather than... what he is.
3) Consider flipping some of the major events in book 6 with book 5... i.e. take out Bonefist before rallying the pirates against the Chelliax fleet.
We absolutely loved this AP and I'd be happy to work with you on your prep - drop me a line any time. :)
I'm going to be watching this thread closely. We're running through the AP right now and have just finished book 4 - its moving a little faster than our previous APs' but its been really great thus far. We, also, are running the campaign without mythic rules for a number of reasons. Instead, we are using some very basic home-brew epic rules:
1) The PC's level at the pre-determined points and also level at what would be Mythic tiers 1, 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 which means that at the AP's conclusion they will be 26th level. No more than 20 levels in any particular class can be taken, but it provides an actual opportunity to use one's capstone ability for once. The faster BAB progression, earlier access to higher level spells and accelerated feat accrual go a very long way towards keeping the characters at the appropriate power level and just as importably, in a much more predictable manner.
2) Because power curve is likely to drop off later in the game (think 20th level Wizard becomes a 20th level Wizard/1st level Fighter) and at a time when it needs to least, we added in this hombrew 'Epic' rule: At each level after the 20th, the character gains the ability to reroll any attack, combat maneuver, save, critical confirmation, skill check or ability check X times per day with a bonus of +X on the roll where X equals the number of levels past 20 they've reached. In other words, at 21st level a character can make 1 re-roll a day with a +1 bonus, at 22nd level a character can make 2 re-rolls a day with a +2 bonus and so on.
I'm planning on beginning a campaign journal soon, written in a narrative form from my notes, but I'm going to include GM comments and this topic in particular will be addressed often.
I appreciate the responses and I'm glad there seems to be a consensus - I'm trying to remain true to the deity canon because they play such a large role in the AP, and the impression I got of Iomedae was one of rigidity, a goddess who was far less concerned about redemption than she was about duty. I was worried the idea of a demonic outsider (no matter how dedicated) would seem inappropriate.
The general agreement here makes me a lot more comfortable moving forward with my plans. I think granting Scion of Humanity is a good idea and would represent his 'transformation' into divine herald well.
I'm running this for my group and they're just finishing up book 4 right now and I'm in a little bit of a quandary about what to do in book 5. Three of our four characters already have strong tie-ins with the powers that be in the story - a Dragon Disciple that's offspring of Terendelev (REALLY looking forward to that scene in book 6), Aasimar twin Dervishes who are children of Sarenrae (as revealed in book 3) - and I've been cooking up something special for our fourth. He's a Paladin (Oath of Vengeance, Oath Against Fiends) who is an utterly devout follower of Iomedae and is even similar to her in personality and outlook near as I can tell and I can't imagine a more ideal scenario for him than to get the opportunity to serve as her herald...
...but the problem is, he's a Tiefling. He was born of a captive Aasimar woman by a particularly powerful Incubus Sorcerer who was literally breeding his own private cult/army in a region of the Worldwound. As a youth he managed to slay his overseers and disrupt a ritual before escaping into the wilderness where he made his own way, dodging both good and evil forces until finally a Cleric of Desna found him. Without getting too much more into his background, suffice to say that he eventually turned his destructive impulses into a one-man crusade against the demonic menace that infested both his land and his body.
Its really worked out well to this point, in book three he both found a kindred soul in Arueshalae and defeated a half-brother in Marhevok. Becoming a herald of Iomedae would be the icing on the cake as far as this character's story goes... but from what I know of the Inheritor it seems incredibly unlikely that she would accept a Tiefling as a herald, so I wanted to get some thoughts from board members, particularly in the hopes of finding a perspective I can offer better than 'she's willing to overlook it'.
Also, I'd be interested in hearing any thoughts on what it means to become Iomedae's Herald mechanically speaking, since so little information was provided on the topic. How does allowing him to cast Greater Angelic Aspect 1/day as a spell-like ability? Also, since the PC is technically both Aasimar and to a much greater degree Tiefling, I was thinking about having Iomedae grant him the Aasimar racial trait 'Scion of Humanity', effectively cleansing him of his demonic heritage as reward for his devotion... what do you think?
The main reason why I love AP's is that they provide the framework for an entire campaign which allows me to spend my time fleshing it out, customizing it for my players and our play style. The AP's exist to be altered and changed as you best see fit. Without them I'd spend all my time working on the big picture and wouldn't have time to make all of those great changes.
I've run two full AP's and I'm running a third right now. I've also played through one and the first book or two of two more since they first started coming out. Not one of them hasn't undergone all kinds of changes.
Follow the advice of others and make sure you read ahead so that you know none of your changes are being made to crucial elements of the story. Come to the boards to ask opinions on specific changes from those whom have played through the AP... but feel free to change away.