The first Scarred Lands Creature Collection had the Feral - a creature with one soul split between multiple bodies. Every time you killed one, each of the others gained a hit die and other stat increases, until there was just one really powerful one left.
The great thing about this is that if one of your players does confront and kill their stalker, the others will see theirs get stronger.
You might have to tweak the stats for your party's level (the standard Feral pack was, IIRC, 15 2-HD monsters, meaning that the final version would end up as 16HD. If you start with a pack size of 4 then obviously the ability range will be that much smaller).
Third Mind wrote:
The other wizard has been somewhat erratic as he's brand new to the game (and chose one of the more complex classes).
I actually don't think a Wizard is that complex, or much harder to play than a sorcerer, as long as the player has a clear and accessible copy of his spellbook. And unlike a sorcerer, he can afford to make some mistakes with his spells learned since he can always make up for it by throwing money at the problem.
It's the martial classes that tend to collect conditional bonuses and abilities from feats and items. One of my players regularly comments that it's just as well he's so good at maths since he's playing a fighter.
I rather like the potion of gaseous form
This is a great one against anything with high Natural Armour. In a campaign a couple of years ago we managed to obtain such a potion baked into a cake. We gave it as a gift to a dragon, and the DM ruled that since he wasn't expecting it, he had to make a concentration check to change back. Which he couldn't, because we were causing so much damage each round.
One of the NPCs in the campaign I'm running now has access to beguiling gift and also has a philtre of love. It's an expensive backup plan for her but I expect she'll need it.
As DM, I came up with a more contemporary solution to not wanting a first offence of banditry to carry the death penalty: If a bandit is found missing a little finger, he is by definition unrepentant since that means he's been caught once and has returned to banditry.
The party soon got the idea and have removed a finger from any bandit who surrendered, and have ensured that anyone they released actually has a plan for what to do next other than returning to a life of crime. Two of them have been helping out with repairs at Oleg's in return for food and board, and at least one more might end up on the council.
I've been thinking about this, as I have been planning to finish with the return of Choral.
So, the civil war starts in Brevoy and the Swordlords have every intention of staying out of it and declaring independence for Rostland, calling on the PCs' Kingdom to back them up. Then Choral returns and kicks it up a notch - the Orlovskys, always loyal to Rogarvia, accept him immediately but Noleski doesn't want to give up his position so rallies half of Issia against Choral.
Choral is seen flying away towards one of the mountain ranges that borders the PCs' Kingdom. So the PCs are approached by the Swordlords - they would rather bend the knee to their southern allies than be ruled by either Surtova or Rogarvia, so they offer to do so if the PCs can get rid of Choral.
My intention is to use this, as suggested in another thread, so I needed an excuse to make it a lair assault rather than a war. But the promise of adding Rostland to their Kingdom should be a good motivation.
The problem with Kingmaker as a whole is that the finale is badly tied to the rest of the campaign. Very little in any of the first 5 books actually points to what is going to happen in book 6.
That's not entirely true, if the PCs are lucky they will know a lot about Nyrissa and her likely course of action by the end of book 5. But that's tied to a couple of specific clues (finding out the nature of Briar and rescuing Evindra), and if they miss those then the whole thing does come as a complete surprise.
One thing I am going to do is let my party find a partial copy of Zudigger's Picnic early, probably in Fort Drelev. That way, when the first bloom appears they should recognise it and know to look for a complete copy ASAP.
I'm very tempted to squeeze book 5 out, rather than book 3. Extend the threat from the Tiger Lords and work Briar into their treasure, maybe have a couple of army encounters with them, and replace the rest of the Pitax battles with some initial Fey incursions. Much as I love Irovetti as an opponent, I think a brief war against Drelev followed by a prolonged one against Pitax is too much of the same.
I feel quite the opposite - it works as a standalone adventure while still fitting into the setting, and takes out one of the PCs' rivals without them having to go to war. It's a nice bridge between thinking of themselves as a party of explorers, and thinking of themselves as a nation.
However, it doesn't hurt to play up Nyrissa's involvement. If you read the module carefully, there is a link there but it's not one the PCs are likely to pick up on. So you have to work a bit to make that more obvious, and it might also be an idea to give either the centaurs or the spriggans a bit of knowledge about Nyrissa that the party could discover. Even Vordakai, being so old, may have something among his possessions that ties back to the First World's presence in the area.
My party decided that since it wasn't very fancy and probably used local ingredients, it must have been made by Bokken (or at least that the recipe would be known to him). So as their payment for the Fangberries, they asked him to make a batch that was significantly stronger, and made sure that got to the Staglord in place of the real stuff. Made the fort a significantly easier encounter, but they deserved it.
I love hearing when a group does something completely differently than my group, like subjugating the mite tribe instead of burning their tree down like my group did.
I, on the other hand, am quite glad to hear that my group weren't the only ones who set fire to the tree (mine had some alchemist's fire, and some Kobold scouts with them, so they actually let the Kobolds do it).
Joe Wells wrote:
About that. From the Reaper boards:
Okay, that does put it in context as about on par with the price ratio of the other Bones, if not slightly better.
Nevertheless, it's too big to be useful for gaming and I can't see many of the kind of people who would want a collector's piece being happy with one that was vinyl (even though actually, a collector's piece that was easy to transport when moving would be a pleasant change).
Joe Wells wrote:
I suspect that's because most of the retail price came from finding and commissioning suitable packaging. Which I think is a mistake, anything in soft plastic that's too big for a blister pack should just come in a plastic bag with a card header (like, for example, GW scenery). I'd be very surprised if they sell many at retail.
The only thing I would say is that given the trade routes the parties are trying to open up, Mivon is actually the best candidate as the major trading partner. Mivon as such doesn't play much of a part, but if you don't have a nation down there, your players may question where the trade is coming from.
The 3.5 MiC had the Farspeaking Amulet. I can't give you a link as it's not SRD content, but it allows the owner of the amulet and up to four others to communicate verbally as if they were in the same room. Let one of the NPC councillors who isn't likely to travel own something similar, and then he can give one secondary charm to a party member, and one to any other NPC councillor whose duties are likely to involve a lot of travel.
I'm not expecting that because my most likely character to become the baroness (pretty much decided apart from writing it on the sheet) is a female gnome. So Jubilost Narthropple - who I've rebuilt as an Archivist bard, with a low-level Sorceress assistant - may well end up as Baron or Consort.
I'm going to go against the consensus here. I do have access to the printed map pack (borrowed from someone who's been a subscriber since then) but I see 3 issues with using them
1) We don't have the space. It's a big decision to clear the table sufficiently to use miniatures for an encounter, and each of those maps needs more space than the average fight.
2) The PCs are supposed to be the first people to map the area properly, and they are concentrating much more on landmarks and content than on exact geography, so these maps really don't feel like what the characters would produce. Plus, if they make any mistakes I'd like them to be stuck with them (they've been pretty accurate so far, but I can just see one of their armies getting lost later on because they didn't spend enough time on a hex).
3) I can't change anything. Given that the hexes don't actually line up between the first two maps in the AP, I need to tweak the Western edge of the Narlmarches, and that's before I even think about adding features to support extra encounters and side adventures.
In short, I felt it necessary to justify why Fort Drelev (and Varnhold too, for that matter) were positively tiny in comparison to the PCs realm
I kind of had the opposite, in that my PCs have only just defeated the Stag Lord and founded their first settlement, but know that Fort Drelev and Varnhold already exist.
So I reasoned that since they didn't have a base of operations comparable to Oleg's, and were in areas known to have longer term problems than the bandits, the other two had been given charters which permitted fortification prior to exploring and pacifying the area. This explains why they are settled early but expand slowly; Drelev isn't very good at (or interested in) the exploration part, and Varn is just unlucky.
And I also had Drelev as the 'official' settlement, given his charter publically and including Surtova representatives, in order to keep the king from looking too closely at the others.
I'm doing most of the above. The tax levels determine the number to divide the economy roll by (from 6 for no taxation to 2 for overwhelming) but I'm adding unrest as well as the loyalty penalty at the overwhelming level. And I've introduced logging camps and quarries/mines in addition to farms, both of which add to the economy, and which will also allow them to get a bonus from resources that aren't otherwise worth putting a city on.
I'm allowing for negative consumption, but only up to the number of granaries they build (they can make a profit from having a surplus, but only if they have somewhere to store it).
As I'm not going for a low-magic setting, I'm keeping the magic item lists so that the players can see what's available locally. Anything apart from basic potions/scrolls/wands that isn't on the list will have to be commissioned or ordered from neighbouring lands (not necessarily Brevoy, a lot of their trade will be with Mivon). Since it will be easy to commission items, though, I've advised them not to waste feats on crafting.
Book 1 was played mostly as written. It's a 5-player group, so I upgraded some but not all of the encounters, and I made the Stag Lord's nymph-hair ring an actual useful magic item to ensure that they held onto it. I'll be scattering a couple more throughout the AP in addition to the cursed one in book 2.
For book 2, I've taken out the Lizardfolk tribe and expanded Candlemere, plus I've changed Narthropple's class and upgraded a couple of his companions with class levels - the Baroness is a gnome so I couldn't miss the opportunity for some gnomish diplomacy/politics, and a possible marriage. I'll be adding a few kingdom events, such as losing contact with the (Kobold-run) silver mine, because rescuing Kobolds is always fun.
Book 3 has a lot going on already, but I'm tempted to put a cave complex in the mountains leading down to Lake Silverstep.
There's a 3.5 mini-adventure based on the edge of a swamp that I've been meaning to run for years, so that's going into book 4. I'm changing Seppoko's tribe to be Vodyanoi (still an easy challenge at that level, but a bit higher base CR and some interesting abilities in the half-flooded environment).
After that things might get complicated. I don't like the premise of book 5, and I might rewrite things to expand Armag's forces and go straight from there into book 6. However, I don't want to plan too far ahead or my group will end up doing something to provoke Irovetti and starting the war anyway.
While there are plenty of NPCs available throughout the AP, there aren't enough when the kingdom is founded, and some of those are not ready to be persuaded immediately. Jhod, for example, is probably not going to accept the role of High Priest until there's either a settlement around the temple he's spent so much time restoring, or a new temple in the capital.
But the penalties for empty slots can be crippling to a new kingdom, so I'm either going to allow dual roles, or rule that some slots can be left empty without penalty until the kingdom reaches a certain size - it makes sense for example that while it's still one town and a couple of farms, there's only a need for one of the military roles, and some of the others such as Magister are a luxury for a small settlement.
If I go with dual roles, the rule will be that PCs can occupy two roles, but can't apply the same stat to both of them. This means that they will be filling one role to the best of their ability but just keeping the seat warm in the other one.
I think it's a tricky one. On the one hand, the bandits have had time to regroup and reinforce. On the other, presumably the party have been doing a good job of keeping trade routes clear, so the bandits might be short of resources.
So I think it depends on how much bandit activity has been observed since the last encounter. If it's been a lot, then the Stag Lord has obviously been successful in maintaining his power and probably recruited new troops. If it's been none, then perhaps the bandits have abandoned the fort entirely, and the party will find something else living there when they come back.
Sidhe Fax, female gnome Oracle (you might be banging your head against the screen at this point if you're British). Ancestor mystery, tongues, fell magic. Likely to become ruler due to being the only high-CHA character in the party.
Alea Mendax, female human Diviner wizard. On the run from a life of gambling, but while she is quite happy to cheat using divination, she has no time for enchantment or illusion (they are her opposed schools). Her player wants to be spymaster, but probably more suited to Magister.
Gregory, male human Scout rogue. Former bandit from the area who moved out when the Stag Lord moved in. Primarily uses a spear, and while not yet high enough level to get sneak attack on the charge himself, has been very successful bracing against enemies charging. Likely to become Marshal/Warden (depending on whether I fix the terminology). I'm going to have to change the name of a certain character in book 2 to avoid confusion.
Caitlin Orlovsky, female catfolk ninja. Noble-born (actually a favoured servant adopted by the Orlovskys), she has been asked to join the party by the family, since they didn't have any representation in Drelev's group. In my campaign, Drelev is the 'offical' colony, approved by Noleski and filled with those sympathetic to him, in order to give the Swordlords more leeway to pick and instruct the other three.
Croloideae, female elf Archer fighter. Took the time to train her mount and normally fights from horseback, meaning that as far as I can remember, she's got through most of book 1 as a figher without taking any damage. Probable General.
So far, despite a 4:1 gender ratio and the presence of a Catgirl Ninja Maid, the harem aspects of the party haven't been played up too badly, though things got rather silly when they found the hot springs.
If all goes to plan, my group will be picking their site in a session or two. I have added forestry and mining in addition to farming (to boost the economy in place of the magic mart), so the Stag Lord's fort is actually a poor choice because it's too far from plains or forest hexes.
One of the players did have the presence of mind to warn the others not to mess up the site of the Thorn River camp (they were going to let Garuum move in there), so he at least is thinking ahead and that may well end up being their starting point. It makes it easy to claim Oleg's (for a free building and two potential councillors) and the Temple of the Elk (for another free building and another potential councillor, since neither Jhod or the Levetons are going to take the job if it involves moving).
I know, and from what I can see the dwarves were every bit as flavourful as the concept art, but slightly less exaggerated in mini form. Which is what I'm hoping for with the gnomes, the heads and ears are a bit too oversized for my liking in the concepts.
Either way, they have promised to have pictures of at least some greens up before the end of the Kickstarter, and I've zlready paid for the Midgard kickstarter and far too many other minis this month, so I'm happy to wait a bit on this one.
Three gnomes and a halfling in 'half-sized heroes' (though the gnome bard looks more like another halfling), plus Lem, plus Cassie in the initial 30.
I already have several Reaper gnomes in metal (to represent an NPC party that my players will encounter soon), so I'll only be pledging to this once I see the first greens and see how well the proportions match.
My thought about the Tax edict is that instead of dividing a successful Economy roll by 5, you divide it by a number based on your taxation level - from 6 at no taxes, up to 3 at maximum rate. This makes the effect much larger and makes it far more likely that the players will keep adjusting it based on the state of the treasury.
(edit - and I see CalebTGordan has had the same idea. Please let me know how it works out for you)
I have also significantly cut back the magic item economy, cut down the number of building types, but added more ways to develop non-city hexes in addition to farmland.
I'm hoping that between the changes I've ended up with something balanced, but if some of the numbers go a bit awry I figure I can always use Kingdom Events to bring them back in line.
I've just backed this at the Scout level, and quite a large part of doing so was for the bonus Kobolds. Most Kobold minis date back to pre-3rd edition and are doglike rather than dragonlike, even the Reaper Bones ones are based on a pre-3rd edition mould. So it will be nice to get some which match what I have in mind for the Kobold NPCs in my game.
Robert Hawkshaw wrote:
That's a little unfair, Maelstrom didn't liquidate voluntarily. One of their competitors managed to acquire one of their debts, and used it to force them into liquidation through the courts.
Having said that, there's every chance that their IP will be held to be an asset by the courts, and cause problems for Mierce, so I still don't think I'd take the chance.
Only on book 1, and so far I haven't changed any of the actual quests too much, but I have managed to make them a bit more organic.
I let them bring back some Moon Radishes on their own initiative (one of them is a gnome with a gardening obsession, so I thought they probably would). Svetlana recognised the radishes and asked them to go back for more.
Similarly, the PCs were never asked to bring back Svetlana's ring, since I was waiting for them to announce they were going after the bandits. They instead dealt with the mites and kobolds first and managed to pick the ring as part of their reward from Chief Sootscale. They only found out what it was when they took it to Oleg to have it valued.
I tried to set up the Fangberry quest by having the potions made by Bokken taste better than usual, to foreshadow the extra ingredient. However, they never had a reason to use one before meeting Bokken himself. They did, however, negotiate their own reward - they want him to make them a stronger version of the Stag Lord's wine, to make sure he's properly asleep before they attack.
One of the PCs ordered a new spear through their credit at Oleg's. I figured that rather than send to Restov, he could have that made locally. So I was able to introduce Vekkel Benzen as having taken up crafting after he had to retire as a hunter, rather than just a quest giver who happened to be in the bar.
I would run book 4 as is, but maybe cut down the exploration/wilderness encounter parts. Someone in another thread suggested placing all the interesting encounters en route when the PCs are escorting the Drelev refugees, which I think works really well to give the book more of a focus. Steal anything you really like from Irovetti's entourage and give it to Drelev so that it still gets used.
Then, run a shorter book 5, but instead of armies from Pitax, have the kingdom attacked by Fey forces. Perhaps the PCs find out about Briar and Nyrissa has to send through what she can to hold them up until the blooms are ready. This lets you use some of the locations from the book as written without involving Pitax at all (and having written this, I'm tempted to do the same myself).
I think book 6 can be run pretty quickly as long as the PCs have everything they need (or know where to find it) when the blooms begin.
One of the reasons my players havent gone after the Stag Lord yet is that they came up with a plan which relies on the help of one of the NPCs - and they won't get that until they've completed his quest (I replaced the listed reward with him agreeing to what they wanted). So they at least have to do a bit of exploring to find what they need for that quest.
So that would be my advice for achieving what you want in character: come up with a plan to take down the Stag Lord which relies on resources you don't yet have, and see if your DM buys into it.
That's great news, and congratulations on graduating!
Still on book 1 with my group, but I'm thinking of introducing the book (or at least an incomplete copy) prior to book 6, so they can realise its importance for themselves rather than being told.
Jon Chambers wrote:
My players loved this one. As an added bonus, the gnome's samples (gardening-related obsession, collects plant samples wherever she goes) had all been relabelled with the proper Draconic names. The gnome can't read Draconic, of course.
The sycamore was partly poor description on my part - they were under the impression that the lair extended into the tree itself when they set the fire. So I ruled that the fire put enough smoke and heat into the upper levels that the mites eventually came out to investigate. I also added a back entrance to give them a more dynamic encounter (plus, without a second entrance there's no way that lair is properly ventilated). So they never met the giant whiptail, but they did have to fight most of the mites, they just had the encounter in favourable rather than unfavourable terrain.
As for the bear, I had him retain his senses long enough to communicate that they should ask for guidance from a priest of Erastil. They spoke to Jhod, and the next day he was granted a form of atonement in place of his normal spells. So they had to escort an effectively spell-less Jhod back to the temple and get him in a position to touch the bear. And they had to do it all that day because Jhod couldn't guarantee he'd retain the spell any longer.
It worked, and the old priest is now effectively an awakened bear. But he's been told by Erastil to use the rest of his life as a bear defending nature, so he wont be at the PCs' beck and call (and may even come into conflict with their citizens later on).
On the way back, they managed to spot and identify the nest of a faerie dragon, so after a few more pranks they ordered a king-sized helping of pancakes from Svetlana and knew exactly where to leave them.
They're currently figuring out how to deal with a pair of Moss Trolls (an encounter I added). They know only fire will work, but the lair is in a forest hex and they're not sure how to deliver a decent amount of fire damage without setting the trees ablaze.
Also, kinda dig your players, the burned the sycamore that's certainly one way to handle the mite issue.
I thought they were going to make a habit of it, and I'd have to give them a good talking to by way of a dryad encounter, but they've actually been very careful not to throw fire around since they started exploring forest hexes.
I'd leave him unconscious until the players are able to cast Speak With Animal
Heh. That might take a while. The only casters are a gnome Oracle and a Diviner Wizard, and the gnome took the fell magic option so she doesn't get it as a SLA. Having those two as spellcasters does give lots of opportunity for mysterious visions, though.
I think I'll have him wake up in his right mind. He'll be speaking slightly archaic common (and trying to do so using a bear's mouth) so the wizard will need linguistics or comprehend languages. And by the time they get back with help, he may have reverted, so they might have to do it all again, but I'll pump the rewards accordingly.
Have they meet Jhod yet?
They have met Jhod, though they already had a vague idea where the ruins were before he asked them to find the temple.
The problem I have is that I need an on-the-spot resolution. The bear is not far unconscious and should wake up in an hour or two (though they don't know that for sure so I could fudge it), in which case if it's still acting under the curse, it shouldn't have too much trouble breaking its bonds and resuming the fight. I either need to have it wake up in a different frame of mind, or have something else happen at the temple, because they're not going to go back for help until this is resolved.
It's possible that Jhod could have had another vision and followed them, but I don't really want to involve him because the healing pool isn't much of a reward if they already have a higher-level cleric present.
Also note that players WILL come up with things you, or module designers, never predicted. Learn to roll with this and improvise on the spot.
Oh, I'm well aware of that, my group have broken several campaigns by going out of their way to avoid the plot, and it's one of the reasons we're sticking with APs instead of DM-written campaigns for a while. It's just that being nice was the last thing I expected from them! This kind of balances out the incident where they dealt with the mite lair by setting fire to The Old Sycamore.
Towards the end of the last session,my players encountered the Temple of Erastil and its guardian...
By the time it was badly injured, they heard a yell from the bear that sounded somewhat human, so they switched to non-lethal damage and now have an unconscious bear tied up. They've detected necromancy (curse) magic on it, but aren't high enough level to do anything about that even if the curse hadn't been placed by a god.
I'd kind of like to reward them for sparing it, but by the RAW, nothing positive happens until they kill it. Erastil doesn't strike me as a champion of mercy, so I can't see him interceding.
The fight was somewhat ridiculous, with the bear being hit by grease, mudball and ray of sickening (I ruled that the latter did stack with the existing sickened condition since it was from a different source), so I can see some friendly fey getting involved after watching that. The party have encountered their first pranks from Tyg and Perlivash, but haven't yet made any attempt to contact them, so if they reveal themselves now all the more involved pranks will go to waste.
I'm fond of Reach Spell. Nothing beats being able to cast touch spells from a safe distance, and it scales somewhat with level (since you can change the spell level by more than 1 to increase the range further). It's even more useful for Oracles, because access to ranged healing saves a lot of actions, but still quite handy for Sorcerers.
I would ask him whether he wants it to be you or him who leaves the group. You can't solve a clash of playstyles like this in-game, and all your posts suggest that's exactly what you keep trying to do.
Actually, I see no reason why the visual manifestation of the haunt shouldn't still take place. Just that if it's been neutralised, it has no mechanical effect.
In our experience:
Witch - fine, though it's one of the more powerful classes. I've restatted The Old Beldame in book 2 as a proper witch.
Oracle - fantastic class. Balanced, easier to play than a cleric and with some nifty abilities. Wish there were more options for the Oracle's Curse, though.
Alchemist - bombs are quite powerful at low levels, and then again when you start running across things with Spell Resistance. If you get an alchemist who always takes discoveries/feats to improve his bombs, beware. Also for the player, because nothing they use quite works like a spell, they're a bit fiddly to run.
Magus, ninja - only started using either of these lately, but they seem balanced and fun. Note that if you use any of the oriental-inspired classes from UC, you'll have to place some strange weapons as treasure. The ninja really loses out by not having bow proficiency.
Haven't tried any of the other classes yet.
I'm trying to have as much prepared as possible, so I have written out a few set piece 'random' encounters. Rather than assigning them to a specific hex, I give them a specific setup, eg: 'the first time the PCs emerge from a forest hex onto grassland, they see...', so they might happen in any one of a number of hexes.
I'm still intending to roll randomly during the game if the players are getting bored or complacent, because sometimes the more interesting encounters come from improvising on the spot.
Lloyd Jackson wrote:
Only one potential TPK? My friend please direct your attention to the Random Encounter table for Stolen Lands. The Will-o-wisp, the Shambling Mound, and... Trolls! Oh the Trolls. My poor PCs leave Oleg's after thrashing the bandits, feeling quite confident, and for their first exploration encounter I roll 4 trolls. The party to the better part of valor and fled, quickly.
I must admit, I've toned the Random Encounters for Stolen Lands down a bit, if only because I don't want them overshadowing the set encounters. The troll entries are now moss trolls (CR3 rather than CR5, but still nasty in forests) and any Will-O-Wisps are likely to be seen at a safe distance. The Shambling Mound is too good to leave out, but I'd run it as a dawn encounter for a party at full capability, or possibly substitute a slightly lower CR plant monster if it catches them at a more vulnerable time.
I won't be making so many changes in subsequent books as I don't think they go quite so far out of the party's CR range (higher level characters cope better anyway, or at least should have learned when to run).
Perfect then, I think I'll have her story be that they lost half their number in Thousand Voices (because I really want to hang a lampshade on how dangerous it is before they have a reason to investigate it) and then Irovetti mopped up the rest.
My plan is for them to meet two of the other groups before heading to Oleg's (Drelev's group, being diplomats and professional soldiers, got their charter under different circumstances). They'll have some friendly contact with Maegar Varn and his mercenaries, but pretty much get the cold shoulder from the Iron Wraiths who don't think they look up to the job. So Ilora will be swallowing a lot of pride having to ask them for help later on.
Have I missed something, or do we never find out what happened to the Iron Wraiths? Presumably the assumption is that they failed against the Tiger Lords, wandered into Thousand Voices or made the mistake of trying to negotiate with Irovetti before they were strong enough.
If I'm right that it's never mentioned, I wonder whether to change Ilora Nuski's backstory to make her the last survivor of the Iron Wraiths. It would give her more in common with the PCs and tie up a loose end with the plot.
Book 1 only really has one potential TPK, so you can afford to boost some of the other encounters a bit. Book 2 has some nasty encounters, but is a bit more generous with the XP and can probably be run with no changes. After that it gets very subjective, depending on how the characters and the kingdom are doing.
There are conversions in this thread for running with six players. I'm prepping to run it for a group of five, and while in theory the path can be run as written for five people, the first book is very tight on available XP. I'm using some parts of the 6-player conversions to up the challenge for my players, but another option is just to increase the likelihood of random encounters (though if you do that, make sure some of them have treasure or the party will be behind in that respect as well).
I've been doing some playtesting to see how many of these changes I want to implement. I've removed the magic item economy (though I will still generate a list of available items so the players get some ideas to spend their money on), adopted the Logging Camp for forests and a Quarry/Mine as a single development for hills or mountains. I've cut down the number of options for town buildings, but not to the extent the OP did.
Interestingly, the hexes with free buildings all seem to be traps in this model because of their locations. Here's where I'd start instead:
The best place to build the first town seems to be the Spider Nest. It's next to the Radish Patch (which is at least a logging camp and maybe a resource if the DM is feeling generous), the Gold Mine and several grassland hexes for cheap farming.
So, claim and build the Logging Camp and the Gold Mine first. Then claim three grassland hexes for farms (that's about the right number to get Consumption manageable) but don't claim Oleg's yet.
Now hunker down for a couple of months and let the Treasury build up. As soon as you can afford it, build a Mint in your town. This boosts the economy and also lets you raise the tax level to boost it further. In my playtests this happens in about month 9 or 10, so by the 1 year mark they should have made some of that investment back and be ready to expand further. For example, into Oleg's or the Temple of Erastil for a second town, saving the Stag Lord's fort until they've explored more of the Southern Greenbelt.
Of course, there isn't a chance that my players will run it this way, though if they surprise me and actually consult an expert or make knowledge rolls, I'll at least drop some hints. One of the players is going to be running a Diviner wizard, so his character (if not the player) should see the sense in doing some research.