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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber. 393 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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Tels wrote:
Fourshadow wrote:
Sean K Reynolds said "If you play an RPG to maximize your damage, you may as well play a video game."
No, this is basically declaring that one person's way of playing a game is 'wrong'.

You absolutely could interpret it that way! my interpretation of the quote, however, would be that if one enjoys soloing games, perhaps it would be more fun for you and those around the table if you played solo games. ;)

Clarification: "You" here not intended to point a finger at anyone in particular on these forums.

Greylurker wrote:
little bit on Multiclassing that actually sounds pretty neat. Kind of like 4E feat dip multiclassing.

This actually scares me just a touch . . . When you start looking to 4E for inspiration . . . Oi!

All the same, I'm looking forward to this one.

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WormysQueue wrote:
Still there was never any need to get those high-level-NPC more involved in your campaign than the high-level NPCs from the Golarion setting. While they had a lot of exposition through the novel line that hadn't to mean anything for one's own campaign (And if you needed a reason why they didn't interfere in one's campaign, well it was the novels which gave it to you - they simply were busy elsewhere).

All those powerful NPCs in the Realms made it difficult to justifiably explain why they never showed up when a huge problem arose though. They were everywhere! And their driven purpose in the Realms was to affect it, both overtly and covertly. Having some great Realms-shattering storyline happening and not working these NPCs into it was virtually enough to destroy suspension of disbelief. Even those players that hardly knew anything about Realms continuity still knew about Elminster and Drizzt and the Seven Sisters and so on. If everything in Faerun was going to the hells in a handbasket, did it make sense for a few of these superpowers--namely the ones that could teleport around the world on a whim, and who were so connected with the Weave and the gods that they knew everything that was happening anywhere in the world--to not show up and do something about it? It didn't make sense.

To Paizo's credit, the NPCs they have hovering around their world aren't nearly as intrusive. Yes, there are powerful ones, but they either keep to themselves or are the big bads your characters are supposed to beat! The ones we read about in their PF Tales novels are cool, but none of them are overly powerful. The two coolest, in my opinion, are Radovan and Jeggare from Dave Gross's novels, and I've got PCs in the world that could easily walk either of them, or both of them together. That's good thinking on Paizo's part, as far as I'm concerned. They saw the problems an overabundance of potent NPCs created and learned from it.

And WQ, this is coming from a person that still enjoys reading about the Realms. I always enjoyed that world!

WormysQueue wrote:
Some people here in this very thread have argued that they had problems with the realms because of new published material antagonizing what they had developed in their own campaign. That's something I never really understood. Why should I let myself get stifled by anything an author writes?

At one point in my campaigns, I had ten players around the table. (One thing I loved about 2E, you could run a game with these types of numbers no problem--not the same in PF!) While the majority of them were the folk I described in my post above--they had lives and other things to do other than keep up on Realms continuity, there were a couple of them that were exactly the opposite. They read every book (including ones I hadn't read!), and knew every little thing that went down in the Realms. It meant I had to try and decipher this intricate puzzle to keep everyone happy. You know how some people are! If the world's creators make it canon, how can you say it's not? Telling those people, "In this game, that and that and that never happened, but this and this did" just never really worked, because it all created the whole to them. Missing anything meant it affected everything else.

Thus, the majority of my group back in the day would argue that this bit of continuity really screwed them over, while the minority of the group would argue that that bit of continuity was crucial because, without it, these other things don't make sense! Either way, you're ruining the experience for some people or for all people.

Again, haven't had this problem in Golarion yet because they created a static world in which the players' continuity is the only thing that matters. (And what I want to do with the rest of it, of course, as it sounds like you do, WQ!) From a gaming and player perspective, this works better for us.

That's not to say I'd get all disgruntled if they did it otherwise. I played in the Realms for 15 years plus, as I stated, and we made it work. There were just a lot more complications involved.

WormysQueue wrote:
One the other hand, why should the authors of a campaign setting let themselves get stifled in their creativity, because some readers could take offense with it? Because that's exactly why they thought they had to destroy the Realms and create a new version.

This was an interesting note you made, too, as I'd not heard this one. I do recall listening to Greenwood, Salvatore, and a couple of the developers (Baker, I believe was one of them) comment that because 4E was so drastically different mechanically, they needed to jump the Realms so the world would work mechanically with the system. The price one pays for having a world that requires adaptation to the game that's being played in it, as opposed to stories just being told via novels.

Perhaps there was a little of both going on!

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WormysQueue wrote:
As I said before, I can rearrange the material as I like, but then it's me who's breaking the canon.

Except you're not breaking canon because you're creating it . . . by playing the game. That's one of the beautiful things about how Paizo does this. They give you all the backdrop details. All those little intricacies about what could be going on here and here and here and there and over there. They don't give you the storyline of the whole world past a point (4708, as you stated). Thus, everything that happens beyond 4708 in your games is canon!

I usually play different APs with different years as the starting time. Our Runelords game was in 4709; Serpent's Skull in 4710; Kingmaker also in 4710 and has progressed into 4714. As we continue playing new APs, the events from those APs has taken place, and the results are canon in my world. There's continuity there that's beautiful because we made it! My players like that a lot too! It's fun for them to hear about stuff their old characters have already done and how that changed the world someplace else.

In Forgotten Realms (the world I ran for nigh 15 years between the mid-90s to 2010), the continuity often got in the way for my players because I was the only one keeping up on it as GM. They would construct character stories from stuff they'd learned in past campaigns, to which I would tell them repeatedly, "No, no, see that's changed because of such-and-such who wrote a book about it." It aggravated them a great deal.

No such problem in Pathfinder! Everyone is much happier in my crew!

I love advancing continuity! I just love when my players are the ones doing it and not necessarily a plethora of writers and developers for the company.

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If run "as is," I've found that PF APs usually last us between 18-22 months. Kingmaker will probably make it to the 3 year mark because I added a large amount of stuff to it, both my own and other module/mini-campaigns (playing weekly, ~4 hours/night).

When I used to GM 2E, the campaigns were much, much longer! I've run five 2E campaigns to their conclusions. The shortest took about two years. However, the last one I did completed in just over three years, while the CoRD game (2E Forgotten Realms -- our primary world of choice) took almost 7 years, and our Ravenloft 1890s game ran for about 9 years.

In 2E, our characters averaged about 12-14th level by completion. PF really streamlines the leveling process, so we're usually finishing APs at about 17th level.

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Gargs454 wrote:
For instance, while I said earlier the idea of the megadungeon in the Stolen Lands sounds awesome (and still think it does) I could see that causing issues with some of the players that I have played with over the years. The main issue being that a lot of my players do not like the idea of ever leaving a dungeon unless every single critter inside has either been freed or killed. Granted, there are things the GM can do to handle that, but that is a different issue.

I think the group can definitely play a large part in determining this, absolutely. My players have been much more organic in their thinking in this campaign, as opposed to simply being a band of adventurers out to kill everything. Making them royalty has certainly had a change in mindset as to how they play this one, and it has been for the best, I assure you! They don't necessarily seek to "kill everything," for instance. They haven't always cleared entire dungeons just to say they have, but have gone in with purpose and, when achieving that purpose, sealed the place back up and made it next to impossible for anyone else to fine (as an example).

Basically, they haven't been XP sponges. Their mindsets have been far more focused on the mission of growing a kingdom and political intrigues. They do what they think is best for their kingdom. It's been a blast!

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Orthos wrote:
Yeah I learned the hard way that Kingmaker is not the game to throw a ton of extra events and encounters into if you're still using XP, and once this campaign is over we will not be using it for any future ones. It was a long hard road to convince me to do that, but it did the job.

I'd hate to disagree, but I have to! I've thrown two modules, a mini-campaign (Red Hand of Doom), and been creating my own Lovecraftian storyline throughout this campaign using the slow progression XP charts the whole way. My group has just now gotten to the point of starting the 5th book, and they're 5k away from 14th level.

Needless to say, I've added a ton of additional content (including a lot of political intrigue involving Mivon) to this campaign, while still using XP, and it's worked out perfectly in our run.

Again, individual mileage may vary.

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Use Gedovius, the gargoyle rogue, from the dungeons of Irovetti's palace in Book 5. The background of that character is just too cool to be simple fodder. I actually added 5 mesmerist levels of the Occult playtest to make him a bit more powerful, then turned him into a recurring assassin-type able to manipulate the minds of those around him so as to keep from being caught in my players' kingdom. His connection to Irovetti gives some very interesting leads towards Pitax, yet Irovetti's ability to lie via his bard skills offers him a great amount of leeway in "honest" denials.

In my game, the players never actually caught Gedovius, but there was evidence left behind in one of the assassin's victims that led to the perpetrator being a gargoyle. Thus, between the sorcerer's legend lore spell and the master spy, connections were made as to this gargoyle's origins, and its connections to Pitax.

Just one example of something that gets virtually no time in the books which can be played up more in the campaign! You can find his stats/story in Area S2 (pg 48-49)

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I'm simply using the slow progression. It's pretty much done all I needed it to, and players have had more time to play with their current levels. My players do like to keep track of advancement, so eliminating XP would not be something they appreciate overly. I also like it because the chaos in level advancement can add some interesting depth to the campaign. They've fought things 4+ CR higher than them at times, and been able to slaughter things that would have been a challenge, except they had out-leveled it by the time they came back to it. That's almost like a reward in-and-of itself for them!

Additionally, my players pretty much stopped the vast majority of hex exploration after Book 2. Once they started getting into the ebb and flow of ruling a kingdom, they actually found that simple exploring no longer was something they had a lot of time for! They started hiring out that gnome troupe to do a lot of the exploring for them. That's really another thing that makes this AP so awesome: there are a ton of different ways it can be played, and none of them are wrong or boring. In some ways, I feel that if I were just giving them XP at "appropriate" times, it might have actually hindered the randomness of the sandbox.

Still, individual mileage will vary.

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Gorbacz wrote:


What, Asmodeus CR 36? That's two rounds of combat from a moderately optimized mid-level party, and when I say "moderately optimized" I mean that even chimpanzees could do that, let alone human beings who actually comprehend what 'math' and 'balance' mean.

Well, I can't speak for mid-level, moderately optimized parties or anything, but if you throw a CR 36 against a party of level 20/tier 10 heroes, you're almost certainly looking at a 1-2 round fight, tops. Either he'll be dead within that first twelve seconds of mythic combat or they all will.

I mean, CR 30s have a rough average of about 775 hit points, right? Based on Nocticula and Cthulu and such . . . . At CR 36, you're probably not looking at much more than 1100 or so, which still places this "god" within single round for a buffed up melee type or wizard that can bypass any and all immunities or resistances.

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Zagig wrote:
Well, I don't want to have them gain a bunch of XP through the Scenarios and then the regular parts of the AP are too easy.

I'll be using PFS scenarios with my group. They already know that they'll be gaining no XP for them, but will be gaining the riches that come from them, which will effectively raise their WBL, which should be prize enough!

All my players have indicated they're fine with this arrangement. It's really the stories they enjoy. =)

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I am indeed one who included Red Hand of Doom into my KM game. It truly fits in there rather seamlessly . . . In fact, many of my players still believe that it was part of the actual Kingmaker campaign! I run my game at slow XP progression, so it was a bit easier for me to incorporate it.

In my campaign, Hargulka, from Book 2, was an advance Wyrmlord seeking to weaken the area before the main body came in. At that point, I pretty much threw them into the whole thing going into Book 3. While I didn't do it this way, it would be easy for someone to replace the Ghost Lord with Vhordekai (BBEG of Book 3), if they so desired.

Granted, due to the nature of the KM AP, there's a lot of playing around with the Red Hand mini-campaign, but it works beautiful if you have the time or inclination! My players loved it!

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I played 2E for nigh on 17 years and couldn't stand 3.0/3.5 rules. It was too rigid for me. Encounters were more epic in 2E because they required everyone get involved, which I've noticed in this edition isn't necessarily the case. And 2E allowed the GM more wiggle room within the rules.

Now, I'm definitely getting used to 3.x, though there are still aspects about it that I find ridiculous (like the amazingly high damage output at higher levels). Having a blast with PF!

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thenovalord wrote:

You should have hung around for books 4 to would have really disliked it by then...everyone knows everything and you just interfere with the NPCs very important lives

Four was that bad I dropped out for most of it

Five was the best of the bunch

the writer of book 6 obviously forgot the PCs would be 16th and therefore full of tricks, resolve and bypasses....and the ending one big anti-climax....

A problem I have with most PF AP's...the writers seem to want to be novelists, where everything is an npc, not adventure writers where the PCs have input and independence of thought

Or you just need to consider who's running your games and not play in one of their games again. Serpent Skull was the first AP I ran and completed for my players, and they absolutely loved it.

thenovalord wrote:

A railroad is ok if done well

You go from a to b to c etc.....they are adventure PATHS after all

What is needed is what you do at each point is....
To be interesting
To have some affect down the line, gives the players choice

SS fails for me as it doesn't matter what you do, someone gets there first, the npcs are too over bearing, important, invincible etc

That's just poor GM'ing you're talking there, my friend. Again, I had none of these problems in the game I played. My players determined how things went down. They were even able to form an alliance with the vegepygmies (and that took some work on their part)! Not all the factions arrived at Saventh-Yhi (at least until much later) because my players tried to keep things on the hush-hush (except they let a couple things slip, which enabled a couple of the factions to arrive shortly after them--one actually before). Their actions determined events that took place in Book 4 (which I actually blended in throughout Book 3). Book 6 was by no means a cakewalk for them because there were numerous villains from earlier books that had gotten away and warned the enemy of their capabilities.

Everything ran smoothly for me, and much of what happened was dictated by the PCs themselves, by their actions. Again, they loved it! If an AP doesn't allow for player decisions and their consequences (good or ill), that's a GM not doing their job. It's not the AP's fault.

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archmagi1 wrote:
My biggest problem to date, is that without the revenge vs the cult or vs Nebta angles, the motivation for a Neutral party to continue along the AP past book 2 is a bit esoteric. My players understand its an AP and requires a certain amount of "just go with it", but I can easily see how other groups might not care to go do research about the mask (particularly when legend lore will give all the artefactory powers anyway, and is cheap), and even less to go tromping off through the desert to kill a miniscule cult. Book 5 and 6's stakes are a bit easier to sell to a N party, but its the mid-3 through 4 pull that really is difficult for a group who isn't out to save the world.

See, I don't agree with this. You could have absolutely neutral characters and still easily go through this entire AP. Two possible examples would be for monetary (ie. treasure hunters) or scholarly purposes. Neither requires a desire to save the world, and both can act as a form of personal enrichment exclusively (or to share an incredible discovery with the academic community of Osirion or elsewhere). These two routes could even be taken with minimal alterations by the GM.

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CWheezy wrote:
Depending on class make up they either win extremely hard or just regular hard

Class makeup would be:

- Paladin of Sarenrae
- Master Spy Rogue (scout)
- Sorcerer (arcane bloodline)
- Monk/Inquisitor/Barbarian/Bard
- Heavens Oracle
- Druid (this one is off-and-on as to whether he shows)

I will also say this: I'm intending to give Cthulu that mythic feat that makes him immune to smiting, and am teetering as to whether I want to also make him immune to critical hits (albeit, not sneak attack damage, cuz that would totally screw the rogue). Still determining how I wish to play that one, because I know the Monk/Inquisitor/Barbarian/Bard halfling is also very reliant on crits for damage potential.

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NobodysHome wrote:
You know, maybe Hathor and Cthulu should come along...

I'll be throwing 5-6 PCs at ~19th level 5th Tier against Cthulu. We'll see how that goes!

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Sorry for the double post! I just got back here too late to edit the last one!

I've found enough info to make a pretty good dent in what I need to do with Mythic up to Tier 5, so don't bother answering the second part of my post above! (Unless you want to!)

My apologies again!

Merry Christmas everyone!

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NobodysHome wrote:
(2) The "easy switch" gets turned on. Not to repeat myself ad nauseum, but the CRs of all encounters get dropped too low for even non-mythic PCs. (Generally from character level to character level - 2). For mythic PCs, the encounters are just pathetic. I've heard it was for XP reasons, which (if true) is just yet another argument for dumping XP entirely.

Well, I'll disagree with the bolded part (which I added). I think it's yet another argument for fewer encounters in a book, so that the encounters that do exist are more story-based and less "just because." The occasional encounter to allow the heroes to feel like heroes is great, but we don't need adventures that have 19 of them and two worthy ones. We need more APs that focus on great story and great story-based encounters. You do that, there's no issue at all with the XP system.

I've been running games for 20 years (nigh on, anyway), and I've never had an issue where the XP system inhibited my storytelling capabilities. If such happens, that's a flaw in designing the story, not the XP system itself.

Not saying that playing without XP is a bad thing, mind you! If that works better for you, then by all means do so! Whatever is most fun for you and your group, I say go for it! However, I don't believe for a second that it's an issue of pointing the finger at the XP system and saying, "It's all your fault," is accurate.

It's the design decisions that make or break a system. Paizo has focused their current design for their adventures on a plethora of meaningless encounters with a couple significant ones thrown in, which leads to this outcry that XP is to blame. Tweaking that design philosophy slightly so that there are fewer insignificant encounters and more story-based, meaningful encounters would also fix the problem without having to eliminate the XP system.


On a separate note! For those of you that have run Mythic, I could use some of your input here. I'm planning on adding a Mythic adventure at the end of my current AP, but will only be granting my players 5 mythic tiers. I've heard that 3rd Tier abilities are where things break down. Any suggestions as to changes I should make to see to it that no one can one-shot or easily eradicate Cthulu (CR 30) would be appreciated!

Everyone is awesome! Thanks in advance! =D

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I don't know about PFS, so I can't say anything about what's legal or illegal. I can tell you that, in Golarion, there's a university in the Mwangi Expanse called Magaambya that has the knowledge of taking druid spells and making them arcane. It was a specialty of its "founder" -- Old Mage Jatembe -- to do such.

I believe there are rules for it in Inner Sea Magic, but I don't know how or if such a thing will help you for PFS. Still, the precedent is there for such a thing being possible in the world!

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I haven't decided on race yet; either human or half-orc.

I plan to play a Hunter Mammoth Rider with a Megatherium animal companion (as they have the natural ability to climb). Rather than going all 9 levels in Hunter though, I might dip 2-3 levels in Ranger or Fighter for better BAB and Favored Enemy/Feat help.

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Mogloth wrote:
Doing away with XP would be an incredible thing. XP is so archaic.

Don't see the point of making such a drastic change, honestly, since they already give you what you want at the beginning of every adventure anyhow. There are those of us that still enjoy XP, actually. I know my players very much enjoy the tangible reward at the end of every game.

Additionally, as mentioned already, XP doesn't hinder anything when it comes to progression through adventures. Make more higher CR fights instead of all these APL -2 ones we're getting, include more story awards for roleplaying XP, and you could easily get up to 20th in six books (if so desired). Again, this matters not to me, as I have no problem with them cutting it off at 17th or so at AP's end.

I do so love archaic things! History is awesome!

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We all have life issues . . . such comes from living life!

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Orthos wrote:

I think the main obstruction to such a thing is, I have to say it, the XP Budget. So long as that restriction is in place, the majority of such efforts will be hamstrung by the need to keep encounters to relatively add up to the expected amount of experience for that particular section/module/quest.

If you could start the module or adventure with a disclaimer saying "It is highly recommended that you not use experience as the method of progression for this adventure, but rather grant the players levels and tiers at the appropriately-marked events" and support that by not listing the "XP ZZZ,ZZZ" line in ANY statblocks, you could probably pull it off. Someone could, at least.

Or, maybe the could forgo the idea that a single printed adventure needs to have 20+ encounters in it, settle for something like 12-15 encounters that are difficulty-based, and concentrate the rest of it on story. Wouldn't have to change the XP budget at all, then . . . only the expectations of how many actual encounters a single adventure should have in it.

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Because chicks dig them . . .

And glory lasts forever.

'Nuff said.


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Just a couple things:

Mogloth wrote:
Yeah, as a player, if I ever get the sense that the GM is out to kill my character simply because I made an effective character, then I'm out. Too many other things to do than play with a GM who has to prove that he can 1up me.

I agree. If the GMs purpose involves showing up the players to the point that they look to eliminate those characters they don't agree with, it's not worth playing a game with that GM. A spiteful GM is not a fun GM by any stretch. I want someone willing to work with me as a player, and that's what I try and do as a GM for my players.

Mogloth wrote:

As an example, my current character in one of my games I am in is a Pouncebarian. I do have Come and Get Me. But, honestly, I rarely use it or activate it.

He is a pure combat machine. He was designed to eat faces. And he does that quite well.

I do believe some caution must be used when creating a character, however. I don't believe there to be anything wrong with a Pouncebarian, or other such powerful force on the field of battle. Unless, that character makes every other character at the table unnecessary. When one character build has become some dominating that the other players no longer have fun, then I have a problem.

Such a problem is typically able to be dealt with via communication, however. You may have that amazing battlefield stomper, but the rest of your table may be playing characters that support or work well with such a character as you have, in which case they are all having a blast with combat scenarios. It's all about group dynamics, in my mind. When a single player decides his character's awesomeness is more important than every player having fun, we've got a problem. Luckily, that rarely happens with my group!

Mogloth wrote:
The prevailing thought in my head during character creation was Wulfgar. I wanted a 2H weapon wielding barbarian from the north.

Wulfgar, however, was not a 2H weapon wielder. Aegis Fang was a warhammer, and thus a one-handed weapon. Just noting that! ;)

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boring7 wrote:
Also, multiple ranged attacks from lots of mooks already kind of operate like that, since they are all within range of the target, I presume that part of the troop or swarm's charm is that they get a larger attack bonus (so the jerk with a 37 AC doesn't just laugh it off).

Actually, as I understood the troop subtype from looking it over in RoW:B5, you needn't have an attack bonus at all. You've got a large number of enemies attacking a specified area with a plethora of arrows . . . the troop makes no attack at all, and instead you treat it more like an excellent ability: PCs roll a Reflex save for half damage, while those with evasion dodge all of it successfully.

Same goes for melee, except without the save. These are a large swarm of enemies flooding over and around you. There is no attack roll, only damage.

I used a troop of hobgoblin regulars against my PCs just last Tuesday, and they were a hit with my group. They loved it!

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James Jacobs wrote:
(The adventure that "B" happened to me was, by the way, "Red Hand of Doom," so that was more amusing than annoying, since that particular adventure's got a pretty good reputation...)

Not only did I absolutely love Red Hand of Doom, I incorporated it into my current Kingmaker campaign. Save for the one player that I told, all the others think it is part of the actual storyline of the AP, and they are loving it too!

I've always meant to thank you for the greatness of that mini-campaign, Mr. Jacobs. Well played, sir! HUZZAH!!

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You may wish to consider the module Crucible of Chaos by Wolfgang Baur. It's all about the lost city vibe, and it puts together a better inherent story, as well. It's PF 3.5 version, but it translates incredibly well and is an excellent adventure. It's for 8th level characters, so don't know if that'll make a difference.

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Shain Edge wrote:
Example is if a dog killed your favorite cat. Is the dog evil? You could think so, because that cat has meaning to 'you'. It's amazing how we are ok with a mountain lion killing a fawn, but if the same killed a child? It's a 'man killer(!!!)' and must be put down as dangerous (if not evil).

Because it is a man killer . . . it killed a man (using the term as encompassing all mankind here, should said child have been a girl). Are you saying that this animal should not be held responsible for its actions?

Perhaps the people in the area where this child was killed should seek to make a treaty with said mountain lion. Maybe ask it not to kill children, or anyone, anymore. Surely, if these people simply communicated rationally with this mountain lion, explaining to it that killing people is wrong, it will understand and quit doing it. Such is how any purely rational, intelligent being should react, I would think.

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Lucius Erasmian wrote:
zergtitan wrote:
Lucius Erasmian wrote:
False. I am without fault.
then the fault you bear is pride for you lack humility.
Modesty is a virtue only to the weak.

And the meek will inherit the earth!

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Ditto on the "get this done" vibe!

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Just a note: I'm relatively positive that Jason B. stated there will be no playtest for this book. Can't remember if it was earlier in this thread or in a different one, but I've noticed a couple people getting excited about playtesting . . . might want to just look forward to the book next Spring! Playtesting isn't going to happen for this one!

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Some of the discussed issues of versatility for sorcerers are not as applicable anymore either thanks to gear. For 5k gold, a sorcerer can get their hands on a Mnnemonic Vestment, which enables them to cast any spell they can get their hands on. Likewise, Rings of Spell Knowledge can help them to know more spells, as can favored class bonuses these days. Limitations to these items are obvious, but they greatly increase the sorcerer's versatility at any given time.

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Bossun wrote:
With the aforementioned information in mind... what I want to see is a skill test system for everything, most especially trap finding. Make trap finding something more than some one in the party spotting a trap and the rogue disabling it because he just happens to have +1 to +10 points better in disable from his class. Make it worthwhile to be a rogue! You remember that D&D movie that only the otaku/cult mentality types liked because they love D&D that much? I want to see traps like that! That's what makes it exciting to be a rogue. I want to be a rogue because the game makes it worthwhile and fun to be one, not because the party needs one "just in case we run into a trap".

I can completely appreciate this thought, though I think more needs to be done with traps period. Traps in 3.X have always been something of a disappointment in that they're not dangerous. You get a nice CR 16 trap that's really nothing more than pathetic because it has a DC 33 Perception/Disable Device score which any rogue by that time has no problem disabling. And these high CR/easily disabled traps take up half-a-page with their descriptions on how they work, despite the fact that the trap itself will never be used because it will be seen and disabled before anyone ever triggers it. Traps need to be made deadly again, or at least something more than just free XP. Devise a system that makes them a challenge! I'm fine with the rogue being the primary trap finder/disabler, of course, but if it actually became something of a mini-game in and of itself, that would be cool, too!

Bossun wrote:
Give us a threat system, and give certain classes like rogues and rangers a way to ignore threat so that they can target that pesky spell user anyways.

Be careful with this. Now you're talking about taking PnP gaming and turning it into an MMO, which I would not appreciate one bit. Challenges in PnP gaming should not be programs. That would make the whole system far less fun when you can force an enemy to behave in a certain way through a threat system like some bot in a computer game. I want villains/enemies that think for themselves and adjust according to their intelligence and what the GM knows about how they think. When you attach a system that dictates how villains/enemies perform, it cheapens them, and it destroys enjoyment and intuitiveness in the game.

Bossun wrote:
Above all, expand on your teamwork feats idea. GIVE US MORE BENEFITS FOR WORKING TOGETHER AS A TEAM AND LESS BENEFITS FOR BEING THE STRONGEST IN THE PARTY! It is a team game, not a soloist game. Reward the party with a system that supports teamwork.

I absolutely agree with this! One of the big issues I find with the game as it currently stands is that everyone wants to be the Big Show, that one character that can do it all. If I can't build a character that hits every time, deals an enormous amount of damage on every hit, can roll high on every skill check, have high save DCs for my magic that can't be defeated, and never fails a saving throw, then there's something wrong with the class/game. I would actually be more appreciative of a system designed where a single character can't do near as much cool stuff on his/her own, but which becomes more potent when actively and cooperatively working tactically with a group. A system that encourages this and not "why can't my fighter/rogue/monk/barbarian/sorcerer/etc. completely win the game alone?!?!" would be most welcome!

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magnuskn wrote:
JFK68 wrote:
I don't think Great Cleave works on Mirror Image.

Not per RAW, since Paizo inexplicably decided to buff the best second level spell in the game and then, when people were justifiably upset and confused by that decision, clarify via FAQ that, yes, they wanted Mirror Image to be even more OP than it already was throughout 3.0 and 3.5.

I don't roll with that, hence (Great) Cleave/Whirlwind Attack work just fine to get rid of Mirror Images. Arcane casters are OP enough already and that way those otherwise almost useless feats have some value at high levels.

Granted, I'm coming into this late, since I never really played 3/3.5 AD&D, but only Pathfinder, I'm going to say that they actually kind of weakened mirror image from 2E, since you can actually dispatch images without even rolling high enough to touch the actual individual. In 2E, if you didn't hit the AC of the real creature, you didn't touch a single image either. The PF mirror image spell says that if you come within 5 of hitting the target creature's AC, you've still dispelled an image. That only makes it easier to get through the spell, at least from my own personal history. Do players hate the spell? Oh yeah! When my monsters/villains use it, I hear a collective grinding of teeth around the table! I'm fine with that though, because it does give my enemies a little more longevity in combat, which makes things more exciting at the same time.

Naturally, magnuskn, I agree with all the talk about there being major issues with Mythic play. I do admit though that one has to be careful about assessing Mythic will supplying all the problems when our own house rules can oversimplify things for our players and make it so much easier on them, as well. Not to say that said villain above couldn't have been taken down just as easily by a magic-using member of your party perhaps, if Great Cleave hadn't worked to eliminate all those images. However, the fact that Great Cleave worked on a spell it shouldn't have via a house rule can't be used as justification that Mythic makes combat too easy. That's an unfair and misleading justification.

Truly enjoying this thread and the discussion taking place here. I believe that you're doing the community a service via the keeping of this log thread, though it sounds like that may be coming to a close soon, sadly. Keep up the good fight, sir!

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Auren "Rin" Cloudstrider wrote:
Rathendar wrote:
Not seeing it your way here.
just as humans use cattle on farms for sustenance required to survive, vampires use free humans for sustenance. at least vampires don't cage their "meal tickets" the way humans do. humans keep cattle encaged behind small fences on a farm to be raised for nothing more than to die and feed their human masters, vampires don't do that to humans at all.

I'm actually a little bit concerned that, in your personal view, humans equate to nothing more than cattle. ;)

Humans are intellectual superior beings to cows. Vampires are not intellectually superior beings compared to humans, but are equally intellectual due to the fact that they are human undead. If a vampire that once was human maintains its human intelligence, it should realize without doubt that killing other humans is an inherently evil act that one should not do. That it chooses to do so, treating another human being as nothing more than a (relatively) mindless animal, indicates the inherently evil nature of the vampire.

Especially since, if blood is all it needs, it could simply take the blood from the cow.

Just sayin'.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
OldManJim wrote:

Here's a link to the map of The Stolen Lands / Brevoy / Pitax / Mivon etc.

Be warned, it's a 16.5MB jpg file.

It shows what I think are the house borders in Brevoy, along with major towns & my best guestimate at major roads.

This version of the map should be useable by any GM running Kingmaker without giving any major spoilers, plus the Stolen Lands are left empty (no Fort Drelev / Varnhold) so you can place them differently if you wish.

Seriously, dude . . . this is the most incredible thing ever!!!!! You're amazing, and I pray your life is truly blessed!

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This was the first AP I ran to completion.

1) GM Ease of Play: (3/10) If Kingmaker needed a GM willing to put the work in to make that AP his or her own, Serpent's Skull required just as much effort just to make the AP viable for play. Book One served its purpose exquisitely well, but Book Two through Four required an enormous amount of work on my part to run well, especially the infamous Book Three. Books Five and Six ran themselves relatively well with a couple alterations here and there, but without the extensive work in those middle books, it's quite possible a group will never get to the final third.

2) Synthesis of the Story: (6/10) I actually think the story does fit together fairly well, and it even has its moments of excitement for the players. However, it can get quite railroady in Book Two and in Book Five, especially. The PCs are literally expected to go a certain way, or to work with certain races that there's no guarantee or likelihood that they will or would. I had to eliminate a significant portion of Book Five because for my players it just wasn't feasible that they'd deal with a certain group. There were workarounds, but they were all still involving dealing with that certain group in some capacity, and that just wasn't possible. A few more or different story options would have increased this score by a point at least.

3) Role-play Friendly: (9/10) This AP still worked quite well in this category. There were plenty of NPCs for the characters to interact with, which was truly necessary since there was virtually not travel outside the location discovered at the beginning of Book Three. Civilization, in general, was out the door by Part II of Book Two, in fact! This is one aspect this AP still got right, which is one of the reasons why I love Paizo so much! They never fail to give me plenty of viable roleplaying encounters or opportunities for my players!

4) Combat Design: (5/10) The vast majority of the combat design worked well for the appropriate levels and 15-point character builds, but there was a ton of repetition found here, especially in Books Three and Five. Naturally, this does favor the PCs, because once they realize the best tactic to defeat a specific type of enemy, and then they face that enemy a dozen or a score more times in rapid repetitiveness, well, you understand . . . The final conflict, as written, was a huge letdown, too. I did a lot of beefing up the second to last encounter to make it a CR 20, which I accomplished by throwing in villains from earlier that had interacted with the PCs (in some cases numerous times) but always got away. By doing this, it caused the final confrontation--a CR 19--to be more hair-raising because they'd had to use up more resources in the fight immediately prior.

5) Fun factor: (7.5/10) We certainly did! My players had a lot of fun, though had I run everything "by the book," this probably wouldn't have been the case. Still, that's pretty much a given for any AP, I think. There were moments and aspects to the AP that wore on them a bit more, though. More traps, more high-end treasure, and more variable enemies would have increased the fun factor a bit more, I think. All of my players commented upon the completion of the AP that for a legendary lost city, there was nothing there for them except for discovering its history (a mechanic I had to build in, since the AP had nothing for that) and saving the world. It just didn't live up to their expectations of what it should have been.

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Right there with ya. I love Varisia. It's probably my favorite place in Golarion, and there's plenty they could do there. Keep bringing those Varisian APs as far as I'm concerned. So far, they've not gone wrong there.

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More than anything right now, I'm looking forward to seeing what they've cooked up for this new martial combat system, as well as how they plan on fixing action economy. It's the systems they're playing with moreso than the classes they're "fixing" that make this book worth it to me. People will complain about class issues until the day RPGs go out of style; they'll never fix such things to everyone's contentment. However, if they can make combat more intuitive, that'll be a godsend, I agree!

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Seannoss wrote:

Hit points for both the enemies and PCs are a joke when it comes to mythic output. We can all cheat for the NPCs and hand wave their HPs but the character's HPs are written down. There are many foes that can drop a fully healed player in one round or one attack.

If mythic is supposed to be fantasy super heroes then each rank or tier should grant an extra 50-100 hp.

That . . . does nothing, except increase the math. If my players are gaining 100 additional hit points every tier, and my baddies are increasing 100 hit point with every rank, I'm just blowing up the math department, but doing nothing to fix the problem. As far as gameplay is concerned, you're increasing the fights by--what?--a round? Half a round? Still not superhero material here.

I always thought this hilarious when I saw friends playing FF games, too. "Look how much cooler this is!" they'd tell me. "My tabletop character has 16 hp at level 3, but my FF character has 500!"

My response: "And how much do the enemy hit you for in FF? 80-100 points of damage a shot? How much different is that than your tabletop character getting hit for 3-4 points a shot? None, except you've got more math to work out."

Tossing hit points around means nothing unless you cut back on damage output. Problem is that doing this makes it feel less mythic in the eyes of many. The system is rather broken, of that I absolutely agree, but throwing out hit points arbitrarily won't fix that.

Well, except it'll make it even easier for PCs to walk through the game, because now they don't have to worry about getting hurt hardly at all while taking down the big bads in a round or less.

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I, too, am running this one currently. Almost completed with Book 4. Here's my thoughts:

1) GM Ease of Play: (4/10) If the GM isn't willing or able to do a lot of his/her own stuff for this AP, you'll literally miss half its potential. You've got to make this one your own if there's any true enjoyment to be had, as far as I've experienced. Thus, the amount of work a GM will need to put into it will be immense. Anyone looking to run this AP must go into with that understanding right from the start. One-a-day encounters do run rampant throughout the early books, and can still be present in books 4-5 if your players are heavy explorers.

2) Synthesis of the Story: (6/10) Do to its sandbox nature, there's a lot of room for interpretation here, but there is a story that runs throughout, and it can be seen if carefully brought to the attention of the players. The problem is if you don't plan for it the metaplot, your players will miss it. Someone above wrote that it's easier to take Book 6 out than it is to try and fit it into the story of Books 1-5 . . . that's true. However, I'll say openly that Book 6 of this AP is quite possibly my favorite Book 6 in any AP to date, so ripping it from the AP was never an option for me. Instead, I figured out a way to integrate the fey into a key role for the AP rather than having them play around the periphery as written.

3) Role-play Friendly: (10/10) Hands down the best RP opportunities of any AP written thus far. There's so many options and so many possible outcomes that roleplay almost becomes a necessity for enjoyment to Kingmaker. Many encounters can be completed without a fight at all if players wish to be more diplomatic than heavy-handed, and the sheer number of fleshed out NPCs is incredible.

4) Combat Design: (8/10) The vast majority of the exploration one-a-day encounters will be easily walked through by any party. However, the dungeon encounter areas are solid and will be dangerous to many. A couple of the boss fights will be quite deadly, though I don't think there was ever really a threat of a TPK in this AP. Some random encounters that can be APL +4 or +5 in the first book could do it, but only if they're rolled and players are truly careless.

5) Fun factor: (10/10) Hands down, this AP is awesome if the GM puts forth the effort to make it so. Kingmaker is built for GMs who customize their games to those playing in them, and I can say that my players haven't had so much fun in an AP yet compared to the enjoyment they've gotten out of this one. However, if a GM doesn't want to put the work into it to make it great (which will be extensive), I can see the score for such a group being significantly lower than how I rank it.

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Odraude wrote:
Alex Smith 908 wrote:
Artanthos wrote:

I want a Glitterboy.

I thought people wanted less anime in Pathfinder.

People want less non-Tolkien in their Pathfinder, since other people having fun with their non-Western settings ruins the quality of their fantasy apparently.

You're allow to have fun, but only if it's fun accepted by the fantasy fan base. Or else! :p

100% AGREED!!!

Wait, did you just--

Ooooooooh, you sly space lion, you!

For the record, I am a HUGE Tolkien fan. Just sayin'.

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Lord Snow wrote:

believe that we GMs too often out-think ourselves at these things. We have this deep-rooted idea of what we think a campaign should be about that we completely throw out any semblance of all the other possibilities of what it could be about. Your players put together a party like that, they're not in it for saving the world--at least, not at the outset. Knowledge and riches, my friend (to paraphrase a rather well-known archaeologist out there). Focus on that, and the glory will undoubtedly show up later.
I'm confused. How does the search for knowledge and riches correlates with staying in Wati and bruising knuckles on zombies and cultists? especially when local authorities go as far as demanding that you fight their own monsters just to prove yourself worthy? Shouldn't they just step away at first sign of trouble and find another tomb to explore?

Funny you should ask! Though I'm glad you did, because the answer to how the search for knowledge and riches correlates with staying in Wati to deal with the undead plague is easily pointed to in the first adventure! I'll put it in a spoiler tag, however, so as not to throw out legitimate story points in the open (I try to be careful about this).

Two areas in the Sanctum of the Erudite Eye offer clues to something significantly big being held at the Sanctum. The first, which is also incredibly subtle, would be in the library, when they find the tablet containing the decree of Pharaoh Djederet II, which alludes to a powerful relic that might easily tempt the clergy there. Granted that the Knowledge DCs are a bit steep here, but the PCs can determine from this that Wati was the location being spoken about.

The second, and most telling clues, can be found in the Reliquary of the Thrice-Divided Soul. Here, Ancient Osiriani hieroglyphs literally spell out that this chamber held an artifact/relic of some kind that contained a portion of the soul of the Forgotten Pharaoh that has the power to raise legions of undead and the damned! Additionally, while the knowledge roll is quite difficult at their current level, it's possible for the PCs to even determine that a source of overwhelming necromantic power resided within this room via use of detect magic!

So, your party discovers the info in book one listed in my spoiler above, then book two happens, and a legion of undead suddenly rise up in the city, originating from the Necropolis? I don't think it would be too difficult for them to put two-and-two together as to just exactly why, do you? And you've got two self-motivated knowledge hunters in your party that now have the opportunity to get their hands on this big and powerful secret; plus, they'd currently have the perfect idea as to where it is, which, if they don't take advantage of this opportunity to recover it, they may not have again. And just how much do you think knowledge of something like that might go for? You recover it, study it, and then sell it to the temple or some other collector for an amazing amount of gold . . . which makes the whole thing worth it to those motivated by greed.

Seriously, this could be a completely self-motivated transition for doing book two without any need for the local authorities butting in, which you seem to have such an issue with. Keep the authorities out of it entirely, man! Let your group be the ones to put it together an go for the prize themselves. It literally suits a party composition like the one you just gave the concepts for above, as everything they would possibly desire would have just fallen right into their laps. It's all right there in the books.

Lord Snow wrote:
Also... while players might accept that transition, I as a GM don't. And a campaign is as much a story for me as for my players - I'm not providing them a service, I'm playing a game with them. If I want my campaigns to go a certain way, I'm sure to try and influence things to get that. And choosing an AP where I feel the story is incoherent and clunky is a bad way to do it :)

And this is the truth of the matter, LS. It's not that the AP is lacking at all, but simply that it doesn't fit into your parameters of epic storytelling. You want this story to be about saving the world from the get-go, and it's not. Thus, you take issue with how it's done. That's fine! Not all APs are built to the desires of every individual. Completely understandable. It's not precisely what you were looking for.

I would contend, however, that this AP works just fine as written . . . Better, actually, because not only is there a legitimate connection between books, but there's also plenty of self-motivated possibilities for characters to continue the story without ever needing outside interference! Treasure hunters seeking a big payday or scholars seeking knowledge about Osirian history both have ample reason to buy into what's going on and go digging further into the happenings of future books beyond the first one.

In the end, however, I'd say you've psyched yourself out of enjoyment of this AP, not that the AP is incoherent and clunky. There's plenty of coherency in this AP, and you don't even need to look overly hard to find it. Whether it's the story any individual wants to tell or not, well . . . that's for each individual to decide for him- or herself!

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Lord Snow wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:

Why risk their lives?

Because they're adventurers, not greengrocers.

If they are too scared to "risk their lives" in a desert to stop a threat then they have no purpose in calling themselves adventurers and shouldn't be in the game. If your players need a greater reason for their adventuring than stopping a threat and finding treasure while doing so, then play Wrath of the Righteous or the like instead.

But the thing is, the first volume in the AP did NOTHING to set them up as that sort of an adventurer. For example, when I talked with my players about this AP, based only on the knowledge in the player's guide, here are the concepts they came up with:

1) A greedy local
2) A motivated explorer from a far off land (say, a Pathfinder)
3) An Osirion scholar
4) A mercenary type who's in it for personal benefit, working for the others

If this list sounds familiar, it's because it should be - remember "The Mummy?" from the first adventure and the player's guide, it's very easy to get the impression that these kind of adventurers would be a perfect fit for the story - after all, they came to Wati to explore it's tombs - and nothing else is presumed about the reason they are there.

LS, honestly, if I were running this AP, and my group came to me with those four character concepts, I'd be sending praises to my Lord above, man. That group does this AP without any outside need for motivation. To heck with risking their lives to stop an ancient evil. The need to establish that type of story is now gone. I've got two characters almost completely motivated by greed and two characters motivated by the thirst for knowledge. This AP has enough built-in material in all six of its books to keep this group motivated and pushing toward the goal of riches and knowledge without my having to hardly get involved in establishing them.

I believe that we GMs too often out-think ourselves at these things. We have this deep-rooted idea of what we think a campaign should be about that we completely throw out any semblance of all the other possibilities of what it could be about. Your players put together a party like that, they're not in it for saving the world--at least, not at the outset. Knowledge and riches, my friend (to paraphrase a rather well-known archaeologist out there). Focus on that, and the glory will undoubtedly show up later.

There's nothing wrong with the story structure of this AP from what I can see. It anticipates that adventurers will come into it living for the moment, and if you have PCs that enter gameplay with that mentality, you'll do just fine. Especially if they have a group construction like the one you posted above! Everything you need to keep this AP running from beginning to end (at least book 4, as I've not seen the last two yet) is built right into the AP itself. It works quite well for what it is, though too often I think we try to turn it into something more that we (the GM) want it to be. Mummy's Mask needs time before it becomes that epic story. It unfolds slower. There's nothing wrong with that because a lot of characters won't be in it for epic storytelling from the beginning. There's more than enough to keep characters interested in knowledge and riches involved though, until the epicness of what's to come really comes to the fore.

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memorax wrote:
Good opinions stated . . .

I honestly don't think the problem here is that players can do legendary things that future bards will sing about with relish. Mythic play means players being able to do mythic things that mere mortals can't accomplish. That's cool. I'm all about that!

In fact, I seem to recall someone above equating it to Herculean acts of power and grandeur. How awesome is that?!? When I put that mental image in my head, it's just WOW, that'd be cool!

However, as cool as great feats of Herculean effort are to perform, there comes a time when having no challenge against them just makes it boring! I'm reading posts here (and in another thread that's been quite consistently updated) where GMs are hand-waving encounters because there is no challenge anywhere in this AP, if run as written (and sometimes even with changes made).

Hercules walking right up to Hades in his own realm and curb-stomping him in less than six seconds without even straining a muscle isn't mythic, it's comedy. Such ridiculousness can't be taken seriously. That's the equivalent to what players are doing to Demon Lords in their own realms in this AP using mythic rules. It's not fun, man. It's laughable, and that's not a winning AP.

Let me also toss out my agreement with Jawa, though. I own every Paizo AP save one, and their quality has always been top notch. This AP sought to use a new system of rules, and, unfortunately, it fell down. This wouldn't dissuade me from purchasing another Paizo AP using the mythic rules in the future even, because I believe the company can learn from this one and improve upon it. And would! There's a learning curve in everything. Just because one AP falls down doesn't mean there's a problem with the process. One failure provides for a learning moment. It's not the end of the world.

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mikeawmids wrote:
5: when the PCs are sent to the temple of the erudite eye, they witness confrontation between cultists and Nebta Khufre, who escapes with the mask.

This is the only one that would raise my warning meter big time. I know that if it was my group, they'd undoubtedly figure out a way to involved themselves in said confrontation, defeat Nebta Khufre, and take hold of the mask. Naturally, this makes for a bit of a situation for the continuing campaign as written. As well if the cultists were the ones to get away with the mask!

Not allowing the PCs to do anything about what they're witnessing shackles them pretty badly, and it requires a lot of railroading. Now, I have no problem with railroads, but I specifically construct railroads so that it feels much more natural with my players. I also tend to allow them to do what they wish and throw consequences at them, which helps to eliminate railroad feel. I would be concerned about any situation that intentionally forces my players not to act, or to absolutely act in a certain fashion.

But that's just me. You know your players better than I do, and what their preferences are. If it works for you and them, I say have fun with it! =)

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Zaister wrote:
So, which part is "The Hill Giant's Pledge"?

I believe it was mentioned above that it's the 2nd installment.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Sub-Creator wrote:

Love the idea of this AP! Love that it starts with orcs, as Paizo hasn't done anything with orcs yet, and I've been truly missing them!

Probably the only thing I'm not excited about is the book with hill giants . . . I know they are a staple, but that's the one type of giant I feel has been overplayed, and, well, they're just boring. With so many different giants in Golarion that are incredibly awesome, I'd rather see hill giants replaced. However, I can understand the old school thought that pushes for the inclusion of hill giants, so it really doesn't dissuade from my excitement of this AP!

Once upon a time, we thought goblins were boring too.

Let's see what we can do with hill giants before we call them boring, is all I'm saying.

Mr. Jacobs, your work has thus far been phenomenal, and I've appreciated a great deal the job that yourself and Mr. McCreary have done with the APs. I own every one of them to date, in fact, except Crimson Throne, because a friend of mine purchased that one.

So, please don't take this as a disrespectful comment when I say that I have seen what you have done with hill giants. There are numerous adventures out there that highlight them, a couple that feature them, and I've also purchased Giants Revisited, which has hill giant culture fleshed out in it. All that I've seen on this particular type of giant has not impressed me -- not anything close to the wondrous makeover you gave to goblins, especially!

Thus, my assessment on hill giant boredom stands . . . Though I'm more than open to being proven wrong on this account in the future! If anyone has the potential to do so, I have no doubt it'd be the Paizo crew.

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Love the idea of this AP! Love that it starts with orcs, as Paizo hasn't done anything with orcs yet, and I've been truly missing them!

Probably the only thing I'm not excited about is the book with hill giants . . . I know they are a staple, but that's the one type of giant I feel has been overplayed, and, well, they're just boring. With so many different giants in Golarion that are incredibly awesome, I'd rather see hill giants replaced. However, I can understand the old school thought that pushes for the inclusion of hill giants, so it really doesn't dissuade from my excitement of this AP!

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