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That depends. What do you want/need?
Raging Swan comes to mind first though for GM stuff. Did you know about their Patreon?
Rite also does Adventure Quarterly the spiritual successor to Dungeon magazine.(several excellent short to medium long adventures per issue).
Four Dollar Dungeons does excellent adventures for $4. Run Amok Games does great adventures too.
Check out this thread on 3pp campaign settings for what is out there ...
Dustin Ashe wrote:
Raging Swan Press has two great 1st level adventures but they actually do not start in a town iirc: Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands, and Retribution.
Four Dollar Dungeons has 3 very excellent 1st level adventures (The Horn of Geryon , Key to Marina and Firemaker) all starting in towns iirc, though I'm not sure how much of the towns are detailed. The modules are super awesome judging from the reviews though. They also have more low level adventures.
Frog God Games has several 1st level modules starting in a town:
Stoneheart Valley compiles and updates three classic 3.5 old school flavored modules starting at lvl1 in a small town.
For 3.5 there's the lavish lvl 1-15 Goodman Games' Castle Whiterock which details a campaign in and around (under) a town.
There's lots of threads for AP ideas out there. Take one of the more niche ones and go...
For example a Tian Xia AP is a common request.
With Everyman Gamings race books (kitsune, samsaran) and maybe leadership/psych combat (soon available combined as Ultimate Charisma). Add Rite Publishing's heroes of the Jade Oath or yakuza/samurai clan rules (and talented writers). Maybe add a bit of the Kaidan talents/stuff. Add Dave Gross to the mix as well
Or go more into Vudra and add Dreamscarred Psionics or maybe Occult Adventures....
...Maybe a mythic AP ? (LG + ?)
A war AP? (LG ultimate battle rules)
So mythic war in Vudra?
Or a shadow planar AP starting in Nidal err the shadowy lands with Legendary Games Dark Druids, Boomers evil stuff and maybe the Jon Brazer shadow stuff.
Theme is essential, and niche is good. As you say plain fantasy is covered by Paizo. Though there's lots of not so plain stuff in Golarion too. So still IMHO making it somehow loosely adaptable would be a selling point for me. But the example WOtW was IMO not intentionally made adaptable and doesn't fit perfectly. But it's enough that I can be adapted. The more adaptable the bigger an audience you will have IMO.
As for companies/people:
Kobold press does not share their IP so much do they're probably out.
The people from LG have lots of experience with APs and with filing of the trademarks/pluggable Golarion stuff.
Frog God games have experience with super modules and Vaughn was involved in lots of APs.
Richard Develyn (Four Dollar Dungeons)
Ron Lundeen (Run Amok Games)
As for interesting adventures you might want to use/adapt some pre written adventures. Check out Raging Swan Press or Four Dollar Dungeons for some excellent low level adventures.
As for NPCs check out d20pfsrd.com NPC section. Don't over prepare and sometimes fudge or simply wing it. Reuse and reskin unused NPCs later. There are lots of good NPC books out there: Raging Swan Press has a Villains series as well as the pure crunch series. Legendary Games also does good Villain products.
Consider using a random encounter table or several. There are great ones available from Purple Duck Games, Rite Publishing or Raging Swan Press. Also check out Raging Swan Press GM Miscellany series.
Check out these threads:
In their newsletter LGG announced it's going to publish a planet hopping AP.
Get the news here.
TL;DR Legendary Planet AP!!!
From the newsletter:
Interplanetary, New Worlds, Ancient Species, Aliens, Technology, Psionics, and more!
Legendary Games brings you an eight-part, sword-and-planet Pathfinder Adventure Path; authored by some of the biggest names in Pathfinder, Legendary Planet will take your characters across the multiverse and back again in an incredible campaign like none other!
Are you ready to explore the galaxies? Coming to Kickstarter June 15th we plan to run until mid to late July, just in time to get ready for Gen Con.
The Assimilation Strain - To Worlds Unknown - The Scavenged Codex - Dead Vault Descent - Confederates of the Shattered Zone - The Depths of Desperation - Mind Tyrants of the Merciless Moons - To Kill A Star
TL;DR Legendary Planet AP!!!
The question boils down to how can you measure ingame a class or even *gasp* a level? Certain class features are observable ingame. Only a paladin is immune to disease and can lay on hands. Spell slots come in distinct quantums and spells are grouped into levels.
Read the excellent Sepulchrave's Story Hour for what I consider an excellent tale in I game representation of class mechanics like spell levels and vancian casting.
Maybe organizing sessions to stop at different points might be helpful?
Stopping with a cliff hanger instead if a resolution is normally used to get players more invested, but in your case maybe it helps offset ruminations of "what if I did something different ?" to a more proactive "what should I/we do next?".
Also realize that some losses are needed for a good narrative. This ties into GNS model but i don't get the feeling that your view is strictly gamist.
From a review wrote:
The book contains 4 adventures for parties that have lost a fellow PC, and seek to bring them back to life. No more “Well, you go back to town, pay the priest, and head back to the dungeon…” treatment. These are good adventures, and the common thread is a problem for many DMs to overcome.
Creighton Broadhurst has a series of blogposts on Freelance advice.
He also has published the awesome Be Awesome at Freelance Game Design pdf.
Here's an old thread about places to get published .
In the end though you need to get familiar with the different 3PPs and their product lines and find/approach some that fit for you.
Here's some great old threads with some discussion/speculation/worldbuilding for Hermea:
Also What is druidry
You need to somehow fit Bewildering Koan in there...
An over average LG town does not equal only average LG inhabitants. Especially in a large city. There are bound to be some other races even if in a minority and Evil, Lawful or - gasp - Neutral aligned people. There are bound to be a few monsters too.
What about classes ? Have you thought about prevalent classes? Is this a theocracy or a magocracy or neither ? Different religions can cause strife even if of similar alignment...
The web enhancement to the 3.5 DMG contains rules for building a city by district.
This dungeon article from Robin Laws goes into a bit more detail with conflicting power centers and prevailing alignments and degrees of authority.
They probaby all don't have Aasimars, just substitute them for humans and fudge any rolls to your liking. Quirks will be introduced, fun will follow.
Great book that one Chris. I thoroughly enjoyed it. And you're right no real villain but lots of shades of grey. Comes easier with an urban setting I believe. Good vs Evil can be easier changed to Chaos vs. Law there...
I need to get my hands on more of your self published stuff. How intertwined are those books btw? Are they all set in the same world?
Where Madness Dwells is a d20 adventure set in an asylum, and available for free at Drivethrurpg.
DCC #34: Cage of Delirium seems to be a very interesting adventure for Ravenloft. It takes place in a haunted asylum, and judging from this review i think it features a ghostly villain.
The TreeHopper/TreeDropper Tribe
These Tree Runner goblins live in the trees. They may have some pet monkeys, maybe some of them even develop into true monkey goblins.
Their leader is an oversized goblin drunken brute brutal pugilist barbarian with the Lead from the Back, and Monkey Style feats. Rage Powers:Animal Fury, Brawler.
Source: Monster Codex
Over-sized Goblins: A few goblins attain a much larger size than their kin. No one is exactly sure why they grow to be giants among their kind, but it’s probably due to a combination of luck, diet, and constant access to food. These goblins are monsters among their own kind, not just in height, but also in girth and in strength. If not cast out for eating all of the tribe’s food, over-sized goblins often become the bosses of their tribes, and the most powerful of them become chiefs.
Over-sized goblins are Medium size, and grow to 4 to 5 feet tall. They tend to be particularly obese, weighing between 225 and 275 pounds. Instead of the normal racial ability score modifiers for goblins, over-sized goblins gain a +2 bonus to Strength, a +2 bonus to Dexterity, and a –2 penalty to Charisma.
Many members have the Roll With It, Improved Unarmed Strike or Monkey Style feats.
Many also have 1 or two levels of rogue with the acrobat archetype. There's at least one daredevil bard among them and some feral gnasher barbarians that often attack flinging hardened poo via throw anything. (EDIT Battle singer feat not compatible with daredevil bard)
The shaman is an old aged disgusting shrivelled dual-cursed nature oracle 5 with the blackened and infested goblin curse who got burned by an attack of the fiery Ember Heart tribe whem he was a wee little goblin. He has the Friend to the Animals and Nature's Whispers revelations, often summoning poisonous verming like giant centipedes. He also has the Fire Tamer and Flame Heart feats.
(Note: Blackened curse is frozen at level 1, advancing the Infested Goblin Curse. Vomit Swarm is just too sweet...)
PS: Someone needs to figure out a tribe with goblin dogs.
I would also like the series to be continued, but I would like there to be a little bit more content to the encounters. At present it is only 2 statblocks , one item and a bit of history text and 2 small encounter ideas.
I would really have liked a description and map of granny's house for example. And a bit more guidance on how the encounters would play out. Also a bit more ecology/history on the wolf would have been nice. Is he a custom built monster ? I'd really have liked his mechanical build to be more clearly derived from a standard monster.
Unless you already sent EZG a copy I think I'll send him one for a more indepth review and constructive criticism, as I'd really like this line to go on.