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One of the key aspects of the game is that you get to play with these ancient artifacts throughout the campaign. That's half the fun of it. The AP is designed for you to keep the shards, yes.
Perhaps your GM has other ideas about how he/she wishes to run it, however. I don't know why he/she wouldn't allow you to use them though.
If you have groups that do everything in an AP exactly as it's drawn up, then you have groups completely unlike mine. I make sure my crew knows the expectation of the AP/campaign going in . . . that goes for the ones I wrote myself back in the day, as well as the pregens I run for them now. If they choose to "ignore that sort of thing," that's their choice. The consequences belong to them. That's called accountability, and I enthusiastically support holding my players, students, friends, etc. to it. ;)
If a GM with his group has a play style that differs and lets the group get away with things, I suppose he or she knows his or her group well enough to know what's fun to them. That's the best part of gaming with groups you know! The enjoyment level differs from crew to crew.
I also loved Runelords! How they covered Karzoug was fantastic, and I enjoyed playing that up too. Don't mind if they change up things a bit.
As to what a "truly smart Big Bad" would do can be dependent on the Big Bad, and whether said Big Bad is having fun . . . or not seeing a threat. You speak of foiling plans, but if the PCs aren't foiling plans, but merely being nuisances because the Big Bad is actually the victor in those plans (to a point), the Big Bad may find itself enjoying their interference. And that's just one possible reason; others are certainly feasible. Forcing them to do what they can in a series of no-win situations, which they can score minor victories in, would be something fun and different, however. It's forcing them to cope on a whole other level than they're used to, and it makes the consequences real.
Now, I'll concede that there are a number of people that couldn't--or wouldn't--handle this sort of AP well, which is probably why something like it will never make it to print. I know my players would eat it up though, because they love challenge and suspense, and the thought of going up against high CR cities killers at level 3 or 4 would be a rush of adrenaline they'd be all about! I think there's many that would enjoy it. That's personal preference though. To each his/her own. =)
Albeit, one of the things you could do with this is make it plain that if they choose to square off against the dragon itself, they will die. Heroic, in this case, means doing the best you can to mitigate the damage/destruction without having the ability to kill the thing. I think this could lead to some amazing adventure potential, because it would mean that the PCs have to play this stuff smart. Honestly, I kind of like the idea that the dragon actually wins some of the battles. That helps to build up the legend of the dragon in question, and it gives them the opportunity to meet said enemy numerous times throughout the AP before they're able to actually destroy it.
Another thing this does is enable you to play with the dragons themselves. Give us a dragon that doesn't abide by conventions. That way, knowing that you're going up against a red dragon doesn't mean you have the ability to prep for it. Throw some monkey wrenches in there to really screw with the PCs and make them far less comfortable about their tactics because the dragon's tactics are ever changing. Almost the Napoleon of dragons!
Also, there was talk of a hard mode AP. I think you could really get away with making a dragon AP hard mode, so that the power potential of PCs would also be mitigated by a dragon/dragons that are built unique and incredibly powerful. Make it life and death stuff unlike we've seen in any AP.
No interest in Starfinder.
Strange Aeons has Lovecraft, and while I am a fan of Lovecraft, I ran a Lovecraft campaign expansion in my Kingmaker game, which pretty much put an end to our need for this one. My players aren't interested in doing another one based on the Lovecraft mythos. I'd be up for playing in it, but otherwise this one won't happen for us. I'm not getting it.
Ironfang Keep I'm somewhat ambivalent about. I love the idea of learning more about Nirmathas and Molthune, but haven't enough interest to purchase it. However, if our other GM decides to purchase this AP for us to play, I would be willing to play in it.
Ruins of Azlant I'm all over! This one has me exceptionally excited, and I can't wait to get my hands on it. I love the ancient history stuff for Golarion. Thassilon has been an incredible amount of fun for my players, as they all love it the history too, and Azlant is something I've desired to learn more about for a long time. Also very excited to do some underwater exploration! Everything about this AP is win where I'm concerned! I wish it was next!
And for those disliking the fact that they're doing new underwater rules for this AP, I think they're overreacting a lot. My expectation is that they'll put these new rules in the free Player's Guide, as Valantrix1 stated, and so it won't be hard for anyone to get their hands on them for absolutely no cost to them at all.
Vic Wertz wrote:
Every rulebook since the second printing of Rise of the Runelords has had a page in the back called "Things to Keep In Mind," which includes a section headed "Cards Don't Do What They Don't Say." It's very germane to your question.
The Rise of the Runelords box that we have was bought something like 2 years ago, so I'm not sure it has that page . . . but I've personally not read the rulebook anyhow, so I can't say for sure. Two of the gents that I play with were looking through the rulebook the first couple times we played, and the person in question (who was doing this) came into the game on our third session, so I don't think he's seen the rulebook either.
Regardless, your point is taken, and all the help has been appreciated very much!
This may be a unique question, but we're new to this adventure card game, and a friend of mine did this last session. I wasn't sure about it then, but didn't want to say anything until I got some input.
Basically, he's playing Valeros. When he would explore and draw a weapon to acquire, because the "Check to Acquire" says Strength Melee he was using a weapon card from his hand to give him an additional die (or two, if he recharged it) to acquire the weapon.
As an example, let's say he drew the "Horsechopper +1" weapon card while exploring. The Check to Acquire for the weapon is Strength Melee 9. Valeros has a d10 in Strength, with a Melee +3 bonus. He would then reveal a longsword to give himself an additional d8 to the roll, and discard (or recharge it, because he's Valeros) for another d6. Thus, he would end up rolling 1d10+1d8+1d6+3 to acquire the "Horsechopper +1" with a score of 9.
Is that legal according to the game rules? Or, must he only use his d10 Strength +3 Melee roll to acquire the weapon?
My only disappointment here is that I didn't see Brandon Hodge on the list of authors for Ruins of Azlant, and he has been involved in so much of the Azlanti stuff thus far . . .
This, of course, does nothing to diminish my excitement for this AP! Honestly, I don't think I've been as ready for an AP to hit the stores than I have for this one. I love it when Paizo explores their history because they do it incredibly well.
And, for the record, Serpent's Skull was the first AP I ever ran/finished in Golarion, and my players absolutely loved it. Granted, it required more prep time from me than any other I've done since, but it was worth it. I expect Ruins of Azlant to be better because they've had plenty of time to grow from that one.
I'm geeked people, and I'm not frightened to share that fact! Thank you, Paizo, for doing this one!
Truth! My players already met him . . . in the conclusion of our Kingmaker AP.
Man, that was fun.
Hayato Ken wrote:
Never claimed it was. But, if you're looking for high level adventure in the Silver Mount, you can look to AP #90. From pages 8-55, it's all adventure in Silver Mount.
We just started playing this card game a couple weeks ago and have only done so once. I actually played Ezren in the opening scenario of the RotR box set, although it wasn't part of that AP (it was some sort of beginning trio of scenarios, of which we played the first).
I'm seeing you all talk about different Ezrens, and especially this "CD" Ezren, and I'm curious as to what your meaning is by that?
Thanks in advance to any info provided!
Garde Manger Guy wrote:
Plus, they could work out a way to provide maps that somehow work on every axis! I mean, if you're going to be fighting under water, you'll not have to worry about that silly x-axis only, but the y-axis too! Need to figure out a better way of doing that on these maps other than clear dice containers flipped upside down! =D
Well, this might not help you with naming conventions, but the following thread has a ton of info on Azlanti stuff, if you're interested!
Also, I remember Eric Mona stating in a thread I was involved in years ago that Absalom had definitive connections with Jerusalem (historically) as far inspiration. As Aroden was Azlanti, I also decided to use Hebrew as the root for the Azlanti language. I think it works well in the end.
Dale McCoy Jr wrote:
Humans are what they are. They're relatively plain, but I think that's because we are humans, and so know them best and find them least mysterious.
Elves are pathetic. Not a fan of Golarion elves at all. They're simple hedonists, which apparently one has the right to be because they live long lives. I'm actually playing an elf in the upcoming Giantslayer campaign, but he's forlorn, and has had all that conceit and hedonism beaten out of him. He's a simple protector now. I am looking forward to that. However, a typical elf in Golarion? Pretty much want nothing to do with them.
Now, dwarves? A dwarf is never overrated. Battle-hardened war machines that are loyal and dutiful and love to create. I'd probably take a dwarf over any of the races in Paizo's world.
I'm not really a fan of any evil races, at least not playing them (outside the GM role, of course). The one exception to this might be goblins, but even then I couldn't do it for an entire AP. Honestly, I don't know how one could expect a goblin to live through the first book of an AP anyway. They're so chaotic and self-destructive that playing a goblin correctly would mean death no further than two-to-three books in at the most!
I can kinda get behind this, too. I've had to go 5E just to get a Darklands AP that I didn't have to write. I'm not converting it, just transplanting it to Golarion.
Vikings vs Witches. Because Norse culture is the bomb, and so is the Land of the Linnorm Kings. Plus, there's witches right next store! It's the AP that has needed to be made, has not been made, and that's a true crime.
I mean, while Tian Xia got almost three whole books in Jade Regent, the Vikings got one. That's roughly three times more coverage! Definitely time for a Vikings vs Witches AP. The Linnorm Kings have been slighted, and they are ready for war!
Honestly, on principle alone, I think Aroden was more significant than people often wish to admit. There's a reason they refuse to ever shed light on the mystery surrounding his "death." I can't believe they'd desire to keep it such a mystery if his fall meant nothing.
Steve Geddes wrote:
I don't mean to beat a dead horse here, but I would be careful about recommending Wizard's Mask as well. I loved the idea of Nirmathas and Molthune until I read that book, which completely turned me off to the regions and their conflict. It pretty much made both regions--and the people in them--out to be pathetic. I saw no redeemable qualities in the book. I remember being quite sad that it was considered canon for the conflict.
Although his point is still valid. I know that in my Shattered Star campaign, I've made it far more restrictive when it comes to knowing the language. It's actually to the point where a character that does have it will still be required to make Linguistics checks in order to read it properly.
Still, it sounds like the OP and his GM have a pretty good understanding of where the line is at, so no biggie!
Thank you, Mr. Finch!
My apologies if I sounded cross earlier. It tends to make me nervous when I hear a report that says one thing, then don't hear anything else for a month after, if only because of the issues with other kickstarters I've seen reported on these forums alone (The Razor Coast by Logue and Underdark Kingmaker AP by the group I can't recall the name of now come to mind). Nothing but exemplary reports have come out about FGG, but for a first-timer like me all this is new, so silence becomes a concern.
The update and explanation is greatly appreciated.
Any ideas as to what's going on with this? On January 30th, it was expressed by FGG that a backer kit would be out to the supporters within the week. It's now a month later, and there's been no backer kit or additional word by anyone official as to what's going on . . . I've posted on the kickstarter page, as well as on the FGG Forums kickstarer thread for this, and all has been ignored.
This was my first kickstarter backing, so I'm not as up-to-snuff on how these things usually go. Is this normal? Thus far, I'll admit to not being impressed at all with the process if it is, especially since it was stated repeatedly that FGG had a proven record when it came to handling kickstarters.
I got involved in this one because I'm a massive fan of Richard Pett's stuff. However, this is giving me serious doubts as to whether I wish to get involved with another one in the future. A month without word at all just doesn't strike me as decent customer service, especially when the money has already been deducted from my account.
But, I digress . . . or something . . .
That's kind of the issue though, isn't it? They shouldn't need to be mythic to pass the Test of the Starstone. It should be just as feasible for a player who is level 20/tier 10 to pass or fail as it is for a character who is level 1 with no mythic tiers. This Test should blow all other tests out of the water in scale and scope, yet be different for every person who takes it.
Oh, and the chances of passing it should probably be exceptionally low, too!
Xanderghul and Sorshen are going to have disappointing story-arcs, unless we wait long enough for Mr. Jacobs to like the idea of another Mythic path.
I'm not so sure. Granted, you might need a couple mythic levels for it, but you don't need to get all carried away like WotR. I've got a group of players that are now level 19/tier 5 going up against Cthulhu and a small host of Starspawn Tuesday, and based on what I've seen them able to do with the mythic rules, I'm pretty sure they'll handle it without a lot of problems. I'm hoping it'll be something of a challenge, but we'll see . . .
I think you could get away with an awesome AP involving either of those characters with the granting of maybe 2-3 tiers only. Oh, and I've outlawed a great deal of the different mythic feats and whatnot that provide for stacking criticals, so I still gimped my players, and they're still way powerful! Anything built by Paizo will be weak by comparison due to their policy--not that I have a problem with their policy, it's just the way it works.
captain yesterday wrote:
Not to mention that the continuous string of items found throughout the adventures that are made of nymph's hair is a pretty good tipping point that perhaps there's a nymph behind the scenes doing things to drive the plot forward.
My players were already debating that very thing at the end of the first adventure, after recovering Nyrissa's boon found on the Stag Lord. Subsequent findings of nymph's hair boons in later books helped to reinforce that point. Granted, they were not expecting what hit them in Book 6, but I very much appreciated that fine twist into the campaign.
Pedantic Pundit, The wrote:
Another thing about themes ran into the ground, by now, demons/devils/other evil outsiders have been run into the ground just as much or more than dragons have.
You can keep on preachin' on, my friend. Especially succubi and other such lust demons/devils. That stuff hasn't just been run into the ground . . . it's dug a deep tunnel through the crust and mantle and exploded in the planet's core. If I never saw another lust-related fiend in a roleplaying game ever it would not bother me one iota. And demons are so much more boring than dragons!
I'm right there with you SW. I'm tired of hearing all this "cliched" this and "cliched" that crap. Everything that's written these days has call-outs to what's been done in the past because every genre is saturated. Even the authors that write these adventures are constantly making comments about how they're paying homage to this adventure or that author's story . . . . To say that Paizo shouldn't do something because it's been done before is akin to saying that Paizo should just stop doing anything.
Dragons are as iconic as it gets in the fantasy genre, and they have a rich history in real world mythology, as well. They've been beloved by many for a very, very long time! Even a few years ago, there were some seriously awesome authors chomping at the bit to make a go of a draconic AP, but the Paizo developers were afraid they couldn't do anything creative enough to make it worth while. I'd love to see them take a stab at it now, especially with the phenomenal writers that they've got now capable of creating wonderful roleplay experiences. Authors like Jim Groves and Crystal Frasier, who are masters at writing adventures that are roleplay intensive and not just combat fests, alongside older favorites like Neil Spicer, Richard Pett, and Brandon Hodge could put together a draconic AP that would be amazing.
So, enough with the excuses; they've become cliched themselves by this point. I think the time has come to give this some serious thought again!
A couple possibilities that I plan to use for my game are from the PFS scenarios:
1) Echoes of the Everwar, Part III: Terror at Whistledown (either season 1 or 2); it's honestly not the greatest written scenario, but it gives you some decent detail on Whistledown and a vampiric problem happening there that you can easily manipulate into something more interesting. The mystery is easy to hook players passing through into without any Society stuff necessary.
2) The Night March of Kalkamedes (Season 4 I believe); this one is designed for lower level play, but can be easily adjusted. I think the story to this one is stronger than Terror at Whistledown, and it takes place in the region just east of the Fens, within the Fenwall Mountains. Again, it would be simply to adjust this adventure to PCs just passing through (such as having them come across this dude sleepwalking in the middle of the wild). Also, it might be an interesting mystery for them to solve in a quick fashion so as not to interrupt their progress toward Korvosa too much.
Not sure if these are examples of what you're looking for, but there you go!
captain yesterday wrote:
I think calling it nonsense is a little harsh. Granted that Mr. Jacobs has said it's not going to happen for a couple different reasons, but it's still a viable wish. I, for one, think that Thassilon is one of the best parts of the entirety of Golarion. It's been the main focus of a couple different APs, and been included in a host of other modules and such (at least in bit pieces), yet I still don't think we've been given enough. The history there is so rich and incredible, I can't get enough of it. Jacobs once said he'd like to do an entire hardcover campaign setting book akin to Inner Sea Gods but about Varisia . . . I'd love to see that come to life, and when it does, I'd hope it would have 100 pages on Thassilon (I know it wouldn't, but still). Stated simply, I love that history, and I want to know much more about it than they've given me, and they've given out quite a bit!
What's more, I know that I'm not the only one who loves Thassilon, and would love to know more about it. Frankly, when something gets AP status, Paizo does a fantastic job supporting it. If we got an AP, then, involving going back to Thassilon (time travel or just historical), that means we'd get a ton more Thassilon history than we have now. I'd gobble all that up, and I know a great many others would too.
So, it's not nonsense, as far as I'm concerned. It's one more vehicle to get a whole lot more of something I absolutely love about Golarion. So, I'd back anything that gives me a possibility of more Thassilon . . . even an unlikely historical or time travel AP.
Thus, I'm keeping focus on what's important to me in all this.
We should be done with our Rise of the Runelords campaign before December is done (okay, maybe first week of January, but close enough). My players have already got their characters ready for Shattered Star to come next. Their defeat by or defeating of Karzoug will determine whether Shattered Star is a nice, leisurely campaign or becomes a race against time to forge an artifact that can defeat Karzoug, who has started his conquest to reforge the Thassilonian Empire in northern Varisia.
Either way will be fun. =)
For the record, I'm GM for my group about 90% of the time (though one of my friends has picked up on the idea, done really well as GM of a campaign, and will probably continue, giving me the opportunity to play a little more . . . Yeah!).
I think Tangent is dead on. In the end, every game is your game, so feel free to make it yours. Just because I'm sitting here with a six-book series in front of me doesn't mean I can't let my players go their own way. My job as GM is to facilitate their fun by letting them do what they do and figure out ways to get them back on track later.
There was a great moment in our Kingmaker campaign that took place in the second book. A bunch of loggers from Mivon (realm to the south) that were cutting down trees around a pond and got involved into an altercation with a nixie. The players took the side of the nixie and convinced the loggers this was their territory now through some good diplomacy rolls. However, one of the characters was a bit more vindictive, and she sneaked down to the loggers camp and firebombed the whole place, destroying all their equipment and goods.
That heinous act led to a great deal of trouble with Mivon that required some serious diplomatic RP to avoid war, as the Mivonians also didn't like how the PCs kingdom apparently elevated fey above their own kind! With the PCs kingdom being so young yet, they didn't have money for building significant armies, so a war would have been very bad for them. As it turned out, they were able to make amends for their mistake by helping with the elves in northern Mivon, eventually convincing those elves to leave Mivon's territory to the loggers and settle in the Narlmarches, where the PCs gave them their own land for a small elven kingdom.
It was one small encounter within the book that led to a ton of political encounters not scripted at all. We're just finishing that AP after about a 3-1/4-year run, and it's been filled with unscripted situations where the PCs actions and desires determined things that happened.
Running APs doesn't have to be by the book ad nauseam! They can very much be your own . . . add to them, take away from them; make the story what you and your players are looking for! It provides a beautiful outline of a wonderful story with little work required (most of the time) though, which makes them perfect for me. And, like I said, there hasn't been an AP we've started that we haven't gone all the way through. I love them, but don't let yourself get lost in the text!
Throughout my younger years, when I had the time to create the vast majority of my own campaigns, their lengths would be between 2-4 years. That's about the period of time I felt comfortable telling a genuine, epic story, while still giving my players enough time to truly delve into their characters. It meant I didn't need to level them too quickly that they felt the whole thing a race to the finish, yet they weren't waiting forever to attain that next level of progression. I've probably run nearly a dozen campaigns in my time, but there are only two that I haven't brought to completion (one because I simply grew bored with the setting; another that after 2 years of gameplay, I realized we had only scratched the surface of my story, and that it would be another 8-10 years before we could finish . . . far too long, even for my own tastes!).
So, are the Paizo APs too long? I would say definitely not! If we just run through them, my group can usually complete an AP in about 18 months. The Kingmaker AP (which we've loved from book one through book six) is one we've been at over 3 years now and should be finishing soon (we're done with the books, and are completing the finale of my own Dark Tapestry storyline interwoven through the campaign).
If anything, I'd say the APs--as they currently are--would be too short! That's not to say that I expect or want them to lengthen them, as that's something I can do on my own if I so desire. Up to this point, my players and I have never yet found an AP (we've completed only one, but are near completion of three others--Runelords, Jade Regent, and Kingmaker) we haven't thoroughly enjoyed! Don't mess with a good thing, I say.
I agree whole-heartedly! I want the physical book in my hand! I'm old-fashioned that way, I guess.
As for players walking away from something, I've heard several references, where a GM described how they had spent a lot of time preparing a whole big story arc for their campaign based on things the players asked for... and then when he was ready to start it they all suddenly decided to go for something different. If it were me, I'd just work the new idea they wanted into the rest of the plans, let them start with the new thing and have it feed into the planned events.
This is exactly how I created an entire campaign in my last real campaign in the Realms. I built the story, but let the players go and do whatever they would, installing story elements wherever they went. Eventually, they got hooked into the story and decided to follow where it led. Worked incredibly well, and all of them felt very much as though they drove the story forward, not me.
I've got two:
Sound of a Thousand Screams - Probably my favorite finale of any AP, but admittedly part of this is because it involved the First World heavily, and I love fey-themed stuff! However, I also loved that the PCs actions had ramifications throughout the adventure. The fact that they could do this and cause that to happen gives them a feeling of accomplishment well before the adventure climax occurs, and it's always significant when the players can feel like their actions actually mean something! I also loved that the threats in this adventure were often real. My players are a pretty tough crew, but this has not been a walk in the park for them at all. A fantastic completion chapter for a wonderful AP!
The Dead Heart of Xin - I think Brandon Hodge has become one of my most well-loved adventure writer because he's mastered the art of pacing and PC significance. A lot of what I love about this AP has been described above by captain yesterday. What's most awesome about all of it though is that it shows how Mr. Hodge continually evolved his adventure writing based on feedback from those that ran his past adventures. He listened to the players and wrote an adventure that gave them what they asked for. Again, player actions throughout the AP and the adventure adjusted its play. I love it when this happens. Another thing I loved about it was the opportunity for roleplay encounters throughout . . . it wasn't just a slugfest.
Great thread, Mr. Groves! Best of luck in the continual honing of your craft! I'm a big fan of your stuff, as well!
They've pretty much already said not to get any hopes up, actually. Many times. While the six books in an AP do cost more than a single core book, the page count is also significantly larger, so that makes sense. The other problem that has been repeatedly documented, which you also state openly here, is that if they started making hardcover omnibus of every AP for cheaper than buying the AP books themselves, there is no incentive for purchasing the AP books . . . which, inevitably, destroys their subscription numbers. Thus, they begin competing with themselves, as AP subscriptions are pretty much their bread and butter, and the income they get for those subscriptions is what helps pay for all those other fun things they do (such as the opportunity to do the Rise of the Runelords Anniversary Edition!).
In short, don't expect any hardcover omnibus to get done. If they ever do another one, it'll probably be either Crimson Throne, or one of the other unconverted APs.
So, I know it's early yet (having not even gotten the first adventure to read and all), but has anyone else given any serious thought about how to incorporate the Queen's Hand from the PCS: Rival Guide into this? I mean, c'mon! A team of highly trained special investigators that works directly for the queen? A province (or whatever they're called in Cheliax) in the early stages of rebellion? These two have to go together somehow!
Scott Calnan wrote:
He may have already been suffering from Ghoul Fever when they met him in Burnt Offerings, but wasn't showing any symptoms of it yet, or not bad enough symptoms so as to be recognizable. His slaying merely finished the process a little quicker, and now the Strix has an obsessed mortal enemy on his hands!
Nobody, huh? Any idea on how to price these things? Any standards? A friend of mine said that some general pricing for abilities equating to a feat to be around 5k gold, while abilities that generate powers equivalent to class abilities could be anywhere between 10-26k gold.
That's a good start, I'd say. Still, some of the above abilities for the items listed don't fall into those categories either (although the fly spell as a swift action could equate to the Quicken metamagic feat, which would mean that cost would be 5k).