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Seoni

Story Archer's page

682 posts. Alias of Wiggz.


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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:
...to 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.

Thanks,
Steve

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.

Agreed.

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)

Feats:
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?

;-P


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.


Irnk, Dead-Eye's Prodigal wrote:

If you really want to use the Lady's Light as a setpiece, I would recommend not even bringing the sihedron shard into it, other than possibly something just too dangerous/uncontrollable to remove from the tower. Instead I would go with the PC's possibly finding notes about another 'enterprise' Xanesha is pursuing there, possibly pertaining to ancient Thassilon, or not as you think. You know your players after all.

The thing to keep in mind is that what is in the Lady's Light can potentially spoiler/foreshadow a lot of what is going on in RotRL, which largely assumes the PC's/'society in general' knows just this side of nothing concrete about Thassilon.

As far as the rest of SS goes, the next in the AP, 'the Asylum Stone' has the most directly to do with Karzoug, so you might consider having the PC's go there rather than/'in addition to' Runeforge, to gather the intelligence they need to confront him. Unfortunately, 'as written' the Asylum Stone is going to be significantly lower in difficulty than your PC's will be prepared for by that point in the AP.

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.


Bellona wrote:
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.


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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.


Leveling the PC's at the predetermined times has always worked well for us and has streamlined the game a good bit.


Shadowborn wrote:
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.


NobodysHome wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
Story Archer wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
Feral wrote:
I'd planned starting my own Wrath PBP here but minus the mythic rules entirely for the PCs. I'm curious what the interest would be like.
Story Archer is finishing up a campaign where the player characters were not mythic but rather gained an additional level every two tiers, so you might want to try to contact him about advice on that kind of campaign.
Her. :-P
Sorry. :) I've gotten a bit cynical in my older age about who really is a lady on the internet. Too many times when I assumed that a female avatar would mean that really a female person was be before the screen, only to be proven wrong. ^^
It's all Mikaze's fault.

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 ;)


magnuskn wrote:
Story Archer wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
Feral wrote:
I'd planned starting my own Wrath PBP here but minus the mythic rules entirely for the PCs. I'm curious what the interest would be like.
Story Archer is finishing up a campaign where the player characters were not mythic but rather gained an additional level every two tiers, so you might want to try to contact him about advice on that kind of campaign.
Her. :-P
Sorry. :) I've gotten a bit cynical in my older age about who really is a lady on the internet. Too many times when I assumed that a female avatar would mean that really a female person was be before the screen, only to be proven wrong. ^^

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?


magnuskn wrote:
Feral wrote:
I'd planned starting my own Wrath PBP here but minus the mythic rules entirely for the PCs. I'm curious what the interest would be like.
Story Archer is finishing up a campaign where the player characters were not mythic but rather gained an additional level every two tiers, so you might want to try to contact him about advice on that kind of campaign.

Her. :-P


Vaellen wrote:
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.


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Tangent101 wrote:

Here is my concern. Mythic Adventures went through playtesting. While some changes were made (such as fixed Mythic Points rather than having it dependent on one specific stat), there were some significant flaws left in the rules, and some broken areas that were overlooked.

We now have a new Ruleset coming out for 10 new classes come August. The playtest was... entirely too short. We saw a significant rewrite of one class, true, and some partial rewrites of some others... but there were problems reported going into this.

How broken will the Advanced Class Guide be? Will I be banning specific classes because I don't want to let classes that are overpowered into the AP? (Alternatively, will I be having specific classes advancing with the Slow Advancement rules while the rest advance under Medium Advancement (and perhaps let Rogues go to the Fast Advancement) so to "balance" overpowered classes like they did in 1st and 2nd edition AD&D?)

Paizo may very well need to extend the time for playtesting new rules. If we had the Mythic Rules for an extra two months, we might have seen more of how broken the rules are... and they could have been fixed better. Likewise, we could have better balanced the 10 classes in the upcoming rulebook if we'd had more time to playtest the classes.

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?


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Aldarionn wrote:

Just thought I would post an update here. I've been DMing Wrath of the Rigteous for some time now and we made it through book 3 and partway into book 4. The campaign started out great, with cool challenges, fun NPC's and a relatively well balanced set of encounters.

I got tired of it, and last night I made the decision to fold the campaign and chock it up to a failed AP. I verbally told them how the AP concluded and next week we will begin Mummy's Mask with a different DM.

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.


Muser wrote:

We've had a couple of these in PFS. I think they're all dead though.

Specialization is one hell of a drug. In many ways.

Who is this in response to?


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.


magnuskn wrote:

@Story Archer: Thank you, that was very comprehensive and exactly what I was looking for with my questions. :)

At this moment I regret quite a lot that I did not go this route when I first began to have doubts about using the mythic rules and rather let myself be overruled by the players after discussing my doubts to just using a (not enough) nerfed version of the ruleset. Things are already getting out of control now early in module three.

I really would have preferred to do it in your way. I guess I may take it up with my players one more time, but at this time it seems a bit late for that. Oh, well, hindsight, 20/20 and all that.

My pleasure.


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magnuskn wrote:
Wiggz wrote:

My vote is emphatically no.

We played around with the Mythic rules and found them both unnecessary and fraught with danger for imbalance and abuse.

We've been playing through Wrath of the Righteous and we simply took the common sense approach of leveling faster to meet the challenges we faced, with additional levels coming where tiers 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 and 10 would have taken place, resulting in 26th level characters at the end. Among other things, it finally allowed us to take and enjoy our class-defining capstone abilities for the first time in all of Paizo's published materials... and earlier access to spells, feats and class features were all that was necessary to meet the challenges we faced. Moreover, the power advancement was much more easier to predict and the variables for both GM and player much easier to anticipate.

Wrath of the Righteous has been a wonderful experience, but I feel it was made so by divorcing ourselves from the Mythic rules early on. I hope to never see them introduced except as an option in any future materials.

If I may ask, how did you change mythic opponents? Did they still use the mythic rules or did you rebuild them? How was the level of mortality in the campaign among player characters? Was high-level combat more or less balanced?

If you already made a thread about this, please point me to it, otherwise I'd really appreciate any more information you could give me.

Oh, and needless to say, I completely agree with your points from this post you just made.

Hi.

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.


Tizno wrote:

Hello,

So I will be running this with a group of 5 PC's, everyone is pretty new and inexperienced but we had tons of fun with the beginner box.

I was wondering since the AP is balanced around 4 players if adding a 5th changes anything? Should I up the monsters HP at all or just play it how it is written for 5 players?

How about experience? Should I just use the recommended level guide when they enter certain areas and advance their levels with the AP or allow them to gain exp as we go along and whatever level they are at for a particular encounter is how it happens?

Party consist of: (We rolled 4d6 and dropped lowest since its our first AP so they all have pretty nice stat rolls)
-Fighter (2hander)
-Draconic Sorcerer
-Ranger
-Good Domain Support Cleric
-Paladin (Hasnt rolled yet, unsure if they are 2hander or sword and board)

Any other advice would be great!

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.


eleclipse wrote:

As a side question if someone know some item that i can suggest to the group now that they are without a healer it would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance for any help

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.


Nefreet wrote:
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.

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