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You should have hung around for books 4 to 6......you 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.
A railroad is ok if done wellYou 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.